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Map Courtesy of Col Roger H. Barnard, USMC (Ret)

enemy withdrew leaving more than 130 dead in the hamlet.
Marine losses were also heavy: 25 dead and 38 wounded. One Marine, Second
Lieutenant Paul F. Cobb, a platoon leader with Company A, and one Navy
hospital corpsman, Robert M. Casey with Company G, were both awarded
the Navy Cross posthumously for their actions in the fight for Phu Dong
(2).8

Despite the Marine losses. Colonel Hall, the 7th Marines
commander, believed that his plan had been a success. Barnard's unit
had uncovered the North Vietnamese units in the Go Noi and hit them
before they were able to mass their forces. Lieutenant Colonel Barnard
later wrote, "when all enemy resistance ceased and the dusc had settled
it was clear we had . . . achieved a significant victory." The suspected
NVA installation was an "NVA regimental headquarters, with attendant
security and a major staging area for supplies . . . ." The battalion
commander remembered that the enemy supplies were so extensive, that
they could not evacuate them to the rear. Marine helicopters, however,
took out the casualties and the battalion "received water and ammo resupply."
Colonel Hall directed Bamard to continue his southward advance the next
morning.9

After an uneventful night, in which the battalion had
moved twice, it started out at dawn from a line of departure, just north
of the hamlet of Le Bac (2). Advancing southward, the battalion was
again in a column of companies, with Company I, 27th Marines in the
lead, and Companies A and G of the 7th Marines, and the battalion command
group, following in trace. Lieutenant Colonel Barnard remembered, "We
were in open country, without a defined objective." If Company I made
contact, Barnard planned to use Company A as a maneuver unit and Company
G in reserve.10

As events turned out, the Marine battalion ran into even
stronger resistance than the previous day. That morning, as Company
I came upon a dry river bed with a densely wooded treeline on the northern
bank bordering the hamlet of Le Nam (l), just above Route 537, the North
Vietnamese sprung an ambush from elaborate defenses "of significant
width." Strong enemy






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