radio, the Marines referred to the new command as "Task Force Hotel."
General Hoffman continued to maintain his CP ar Khe Sanh and directed
the same type of limited mobile operations as General Glick. He also
instituted what he called "key hole missions" consisting of four-man
deep reconnaissance patrols. Using a "touch and go" insertion system,
four or five helicopters with only one carrying the team would "come
in at various locations, set down, and be gone almost immediately."
The same procedures would be used to extract the teams. According to
Hoffman these reconnaissance probes brought back invaluable intelligence
about the location of enemy forces in the sector.27
The units conducting Operation Scotland II continued to draw their supplies from the logistic support unit at Khe Sanh, as had the units in Operation Pegasus, in an effort to reduce the stocks which had accumulated there during the siege. On 5 May, Khe Sanh reported a five-day level of supplies and the logistic support unit closed down. TF Hotel transferred the remaining stocks to Ca Lu by convoy and helicopter. From that time on, units in northwestern Quang Tri Province drew their supplies from Ca Lu.28
The requirement to resupply from LZ Stud once again increased the
level of traffic along Route 9, prompting the NVA to respond with another
ambush on 14 May. A convoy en route to the combat base from Ca Lu encountered
an enemy force along Route 9 just over one kilometer from the intersection
where the coffee plantation road led north into Khe Sanh. Company G,
2d Battalion, 1st Marines, which was providing security for the convoy,
deployed and engaged the enemy.
Nearby, the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines was assembling for a helicopter lift to Hill 1015. When the ambush took place, the battalion canceled the move to Hill 1015 and went to the rescue of the convoy. The NVA fled in haste, but the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines caught up with them 1,500 meters south of the ambush site and attacked them from two sides. The North Vietnamese, in company strength, withdrew into a bunker complex, pursued by the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines. The ensuing fight lasted into the following day, leaving 74 enemy dead. The Marines lost 7 killed in action and 36 wounded.29
The ambush of 14 May signalled the onset of increased enemy activity in the area. While patrolling
of Defense (USMC) Photo A191580
Marine M48 tanks patrol Route 9 between Ca Lu and Khe Sanh, passing a Marine small encampment along the way. The 3d Tank Battalion formed a "Provisional Mechanized Company" to monitor road traffic in this sector.