Page 329

Page 329 (1968: The Defining Year)

Photo is from Abel Collection

Liberty Bridge over the Ky Lam River and a collapsed bridge beside it are visible from the air. The bridge connected An Hoa and Go Noi Island to Da Nang

both artillery and another air strike which resulted in a secondary explosion.4

For the next four days, the Marines again met only sporadic resistance
and encountered no regular NVA units. In fact, up through the 13th,
the indications were that the enemy troops that the Marines had engaged
to that point except tor the fight for Xuan Dai were from the usual
VC units known to be in the Go Noi. Even the enemy force in Xuan Dai
did not appear to be an NVA tactical unit. According to recovered documents
and to a prisoner captured in chat fight, the enemy in Xuan Dai were
from the 155th Battalion, 2d NVA Regiment. Marine intelligence
officers believed the 155th to be a temporary infiltration
group rather than a regular NVA battalion.5

Hoping to find the suspected NVA regular units from the 2d NVA
believed to have returned to the Go Noi, the Marine command
decided to reorient Allen Brook from east to west. On 13 May, General
Robertson reinforced the 2d Battalion with Company I, 3d Battalion,
27th Marines. While the other three companies attached to the 2d Battalion
reversed their direction. Marine helicopters lifted Company I, 27th
Marines into a landing zone in the Que Son Mountains to the south overlooking
Go Noi Island. The following day Company I moved down to blocking positions
near the Ba Ren River where it was joined by the other Marine companies
now advancing to the west. On the 15th, at 1400, the 2d Battalion with
all four Marine companies with the attached ranks arrived back at Liberty
Bridge. In their reverse march, the Marines had encountered the same
"harassing small arms and mortar fires and fluid guerrilla tactics"
that had characterized the operation for the most part up to that time.6

Operation Allen Brook appeared to be at an end. At least that was what the Marines wanted the enemy to believe. At 1800, on the 15th, Marine helicopters helilifted Company E and the command group of the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines out of the operational area. The commander of the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, Lieutenant Colonel Roger H. Barnard, then assumed command of the remaining forces in Allen Brook. To continue the "tactical deception," Lieutenant Colonel Barnard ordered the units still in Allen Brook to cross Liberty Bridge as if the Marines were closing out the operation. Then shortly after midnight on the 16th,

Page 329 (1968: The Defining Year)