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Colonel Jarman, moved by helicopter to Hill 162, northwest of the
supposed enemy position. With Twohey's Marines blocking enemy movement
to the north, Bates' battalion occupying positions to the northwest,
and Davis' troops pushing from the south, the forward elements of the
enemy regiment could only turn east or west. If they did so, batteries
of the 12th Marines located at Thon Son Lam, Camp Carroll, and C-2 could
seal off the enemy's movement in either direction.

Learning that the assault by Twohey's battalion had split the 64th
Regiment
, General Davis decided to commit the 9th Marines in an
effort to halt any attempt by the regiment to reinforce its forward
elements. Early on the morning of the 17th, Lieutenant Colonel LaMontagne's
3d Battalion helo-assaulted into Landing Zone Sparrow, nine kilometers
southwest of Con Thien and the site of the battalions 17 July engagement.*
Lieutenant Colonel Colleton's 1st Battalion landed at LZ Saturn, three
kilometers west of C-2, later that morning, and with elements of Company
A, 3d Tank Battalion in direct support, moved west. But as Colleton's
Marines left the open, rolling terrain and entered the canopy, where
the tanks found it impossible to maneuver, the tank company returned
to C-2.

With Colleton's battalion moving west toward the 3d Battalion, LaMontagne's
Marines began a series of intense and aggressive company-size patrols
throughout its assigned area of search. While on patrol near Sparrow
on the morning of the 19th, Captain Richard A. O'Neil's Company M surprised
and engaged a squad of North Vietnamese soldiers with small arms fire
as well as artillery and airstrikes. As the enemy reinforced, swelling
his ranks to two companies, LaMontagne ordered Captain Jack D. Schaeffer's
Company K to join O'Neil's Marines. During Schaeffer's reinforcement
of O'Neil, enemy ground fire hit and destroyed a Marine F-4 Phantom
flying in support of the two companies. Both pilots ejected and were
later rescued. A sweep of the battle area resulted in a reported 38
enemy bodies and miscellaneous weapons and equipment. The Marines also
captured two enemy soldiers from the 7th Battalion, 64th Regiment.


Two days later, on the 21st, Captain Gary E. Todd's Company I, while on patrol one kilometer west of Company Ms contact on the 19th, encountered an enemy unit of undetermined size. Using artillery and airstrikes to the maximum extent possible, Todd's Marines forced the enemy to break contact leaving 14 dead behind. During a sweep of the area, the Marines of Company I discovered a large enemy complex containing 60 well-constructed bunkers, a mess area, and laundry hanging out to dry. On 23 August, helicopters returned Company I and the remainder of the battalion to Vandegrift Combat Base.


While Company I was engaged west of Lang Dong Bao Thoung on 19 August, Lieutenant Colonel Colleton's battalion assaulted into three landing zones, two kilometers further west, leap-frogging over LaMontagne's Marines. Moving toward the high ground, within one kilometer of the DMZ'S southern boundary, a patrol from First Lieutenant Stephen E. Stacy's Company B encountered an enemy company armed with small arms, automatic weapons, and 60mm mortars. Within minutes an aerial observer arrived on station and called in air and artillery strikes. But as darkness fell, the patrol was unable to break contact and return to the company's main position, 600 meters away. Early the following morning, a misdirected fixed-wing airstrike resulted in the wounding of 10 other Marines, part of a relief force attempting to make its way to the patrol's position. The first patrol eventually rejoined the company, but was forced to leave its dead on the battlefield. Lieutenant Stacy's company, on the 24th, recovered the bodies of seven Marines and one Marine earlier reported as missing. The following day, Lieutenant Colonel Colleton's battalion rejoined the regiment at Vandegrift Combat Base.48**


Although the 9th Marines reported 72 enemy soldiers killed in eight days, Colonel Barrow believed that the 64th NVA Regiment lost many more. "I believe very much," he later stated, "that we killed a great many more because we had an unusual operation in which the 1st Battalion, 9th was on a narrow ridgeline and brought under heavy attack from within the DMZ and we responded with massive air, artillery, and mortar fire on forces that were observed by the AOs as being massed and large in number, and we brought great devastation on the area, on. these forces." Although unable to enter the DMZ and confirm enemy casualties, Barrow believed, "that our activities in that area

* See Chapter 18.

** Colonel Thomas H. Galbraith, who commanded the 1st Battalion, 4th
Marines at the lime, commented "What happened to Stacy's patrol was
the kind of thing we constantly worried about. Simply getting food,
water, and ammo to small units that were operating any distance from
an LZ was difficult, and getting help to them in a timely manner when
they were in trouble was sometimes almost impossible. Supporting arms
and air were the best you could hope for, and, of course, if the weather
was bad, you couldn't count on air." Galbraith Comments.







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