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Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A191220

Top, PFC Murray C. Henaerson of Company F, 2d Battalion,
1st Marines cools himself off using his helmet as a bucket on the way
from Ca Lu to relieve Khe Sanh during Operation Pegasus. Below, a Marine
convoy moves along Route 9 between Ca Lu and Khe Sanh. This road had
been closed since the previous summer
.

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A191584


this time with two companies, and cleared the ridge of enemy, killing over 30. The 1st Battalion, 9th Marines continued the westward advance it had begun the previous afternoon, capturing Hill 552 with no enemy resistance. Near Khe Sanh Village, the 2d Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry Division captured the old French fort after a three-day battle against an NVA battalion. Along Route 9, the 1st Marines conducted a few airmobile operations of its own, as the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines and the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines searched the vicinity of the highway for signs of enemy activity which might threaten the 11th Engineer Battalion's road repair project. The 3d Brigade of General Tolson's division pressed on along Route 9, still west of the 1st Marines.126


Enemy resistance began crumbling even further as the allied force maintained pressure. Units reported finding many abandoned weapons and large numbers of North Vietnamese bodies and mass graves as enemy units withdrew toward Laos. Some organized resistance remained, however, as the Communist forces continued to conduct limited objective ground attacks and probes in some areas.127


The much awaited linkup of U.S. forces at the Khe Sanh Combat Base proper occurred at 0800 on 8 April, when the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry entered the base along the coffee plantation road.128 As the 3d Brigade began moving in, the 26th Marines prepared to depart the base it had defended amid so much





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