Department of Intense (USMC) Photo A374442
A Marine from the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines during Operation
Allen Brook cautiously approaches a damaged hut. The VC dominated
the hamlets in the Go Noi.
the command group of the 3d Battalion together with Companies A of the 1st Battalion and G of the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, together with Company I, 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, recrossed the Thu Bon River and "moved in a single file under cover of darkness for security." Ironically, the 3d Battalion had none ot its own organic companies in the operation as it reached its line of departure about 2,500 meters northeast of Liberty Bridge, just north of the objective area, a few hours prior to dawn. According to Barnard, Colonel Hall, who had monitored the radio traffic, "was beside himself with the success" of the plan to reenter the Go Noi.7*
Lieutenant Colonel Bamard remembered that his objective "was a suspected
NVA installation .... We had reason to believe they did not know we
were there . . .." According to the battalion commander he was to attack
to the south with the mission "to search for, fix, and destroy the enemy."
As the Marines advanced with two companies on line and one in reserve,
they were "hoping to execute a major surprise." In fact, both sides
were to surprise one another. About 0900 on the mom-ing of the 16th,
the 3d Battalion encountered an NVA battalion in the hamlet of Phu Dong
(2) about 4,000 meters west of Xuan Dai, the scene of the latest heaviest
fighting. According to Bamard, "we hit a hornet's nest." Two of his
companies came under deadly machine gun fire and the battalion commander
described the situation "like being in the butts at the rifle range."
The Marine battalion tried to flank the enemy position, but as Bamard
recalled, "we needed more resources than we had for the situation."
He recalled that even maximum supporting artillery and mortar fire failed
to break the NVA defenses. Finally, extensive close air support, including
over 50 air strikes, "carried the day." By early evening, the Marine
infantry which had fought continuously throughout the day in the oppressive
heat finally forced the NVA out of their trenches and bunkers. Afraid
of encirclement, the
* Colonel Barnard credited the 7th Marines commander. Colonel Hall,
with the idea of openly pulling out the 2d Battalion, and unobtrusively
bringing in the 3d Battalion under cover ot darkness. According to Barnard,
Hall "was convinced chat after a week of 2/7 stirring up the AO [Area
ol Operations], we could fool the enemy into believing the Marines had
had enough." Col Roger H. Barnard. Comments on draft, dtd 13Jan95 (Vietnam