its previous search, but also to recover the bodies of the two Marines
killed on 13 July. BLT 2/4, under the command of' Lieutenant Colonel
Louis A. Rann, simultaneously massed on Hill 679, 12 kilometers west
of Stud, and began search operations to the north.
Split into two command groups of two companies each, Galbraich's battalion advanced toward Hill 715 from the south and east, under heavy enemy small arms, rocket-propelled grenade, and mortar fire. The Marines found the hill, once secured, to be heavily mined and booby trapped. While searing an 81mm mortar baseplate, for example. Company B Marines detonated a booby-trapped antitank mine which killed one and wounded tour. Continuing the search, Galbrairh's Marines recovered the bodies of the two missing Marines, and at the same time discovered sizable caches of weapons, ammunition, and rice scattered throughout the hill complex, but encountered no enemy forces. While destroying the captured weapons and ammunition, the battalion prepared to evacuate the rice for distribution to refugees in the province. On 4 August, after the completion of the search mission. Marine helicopters lifted the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines out of the area and returned the unit to Landing Zone Stud.
By the morning of 29 July, Lieutenant Colonel Rann's Marines had reached Hill 6()6, tour kilometers north of Hill 679. Shortly before noon. Marines from Company G observed and took under fire 15 enemy troops. Later a platoon moved forward to check the area and encountered a well-concealed and well-entrenched enemy force. Four Marines were killed and nine wounded by the enemy's initial heavy burst of claymores and small arms and grenade fire. The bodies of three of the four Marines killed remained unre-covered as artillery and air pounded the bunker complex throughout the remainder of the day. The following morning, after an additional artillery mission, Company G moved forward and recovered the bodies without incident.
Photo is from the Abel Collection
Zone Stud has now become Vandegrift Combat Base, complete with a makeshift
radio tower to control helicopter traffic. LCpl John L. Phillips, in
the tower, is bringing in for a landing a resupply Boeing CH-46 Sea