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On 3 August, after establishing a temporary fire support base, named
Shoup, on Hill 606, Rann's battalion received the additional mission
of searching the northern slope of the Khe Giang Thoan Valley, three
kilometers to the northeast. The area was believed to harbor the launching
sites of rockets that had harassed Thon Son Lam and the Rockpile for
several months. As Company F moved down Hill 606 toward the valley the
following day, it discovered seven abandoned huts. Below each, Marines
found caches of arms, ammunition, and equipment, the total of which
they estimated at 20 tons.37


The search of the Khe Giang Thoan Valley during the next two days produced no additional weapons caches and few rocket launch sites. However, the companies involved were probed continually once they had moved into night defensive positions. In one instance, Company E Marines heard movement along their perimeter throughout the night, and awoke the following morning to find their claymores turned inward toward the company's lines. In another, Company G's lines were probed by an estimated force of 10 NVA under cover of small arms and grenade fire. The company sustained four killed and six wounded in the attack. On 6 August, Rann's battalion ended its search of the valley and was helilifted to Landing Zone Stud, now officially designated Vandegrift Combat Base.

The 3d Marine Division, during the months of June and July, slowly
and methodically shifted from the defensive posture of the past to a
more flexible mobile offensive posture which would characterize future
division operations. It established large numbers of fire support bases
and landing zones in areas that the enemy once considered havens and
untouchable by allied forces. In addition, these months witnessed the
reorientation of division forces from the coastal lowlands to the mountainous
region of western Quang Tri Province. The remaining months of 1968 would
see this move accelerated.

Southern Quang Tri and Thua Thien

While Marine operations were conducted in central and western Quang
Tri Province, responsibility for the coastal lowlands, piedmont, and
jungle-covered mountains south of Dong Ha and north of Hue was shared
by the 3d ARVN Regiment and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division. The
ARVN Regiment operated mainly in jungle canopy of enemy Base Area
114
, southwest of Quang Tri City, while the 1st Cavalry Division's
three brigades, under the command of Major General John J. Tolson III,
USA, secured the coast and piedmont from Quang Tri City south to Camp
Evans. It also conducted search and clear operations in enemy Base
Areas 114
and 101.38*

During June and July, the division continued its participation in
Operation Jeb Stuart III, accomplishing the two-fold mission of rice
denial and offensive operations in the two enemy base areas within the
division's area of operations. In the coastal plains, it conducted rice
denial operations in conjunction with elements of the 1st and 3d ARVN
Regiments to ensure that rice from the spring harvest was withheld from
the enemy. In Base Area 101, west of Quang Tri City, the division's
1st Brigade initiated combat operations in search of enemy forces. At
the same time, in Base Area 114, elements of the division's
3d Brigade and a battalion of the 3d ARVN Regiment conducted operations
over rugged terrain in search of not only enemy forces, but also known
headquarters and support installations.

During the middle of June, advancing elements of the 3d ARVN Regiment
encountered heavy enemy resistance in the southeastern portion of Base
Area 114
as elements of the 803d NVA Regiment defended
a large cache area. The battle for the area continued with sporadic,
but heavy contact through the 21st. This action resulted not only in
the demolition of the enemy cache area and the capture of large quantities
of ammunition, but also in the destruction of the enemy regiment's antiaircraft
company and the seizure of the regiment's headquarters complex. South
of the base area, elements of the cavalry division's 2d Brigade entered
what appeared to be the enemy's Tri-Thien Military Region headquarters
bunker and tunnel complex, occupied during the attack on Hue. While
searching the complex, the Army troopers captured numerous maps and
documents relating to the enemy's activities from the DMZ south to Da
Nang. Among the maps was one which detailed the construction of a supply
road from the A Shau Valley east into Base Area 114. Reaction
to this information resulted in the destruction of several enemy trucks,
construction sites, and a large portion of the road.

While elements of the ARVN regiment and the division's 2d Brigade
battled the enemy's 803d Regiment in the mountains, two other
enemy regiments were on the move in the coastal lowlands, centered in
the Trieu Phong area, northeast of Quang Tri City. On


* Major General Tolson was replaced on 15 July as division commander
by Brigadier General Richard L. Irby.







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