Page 399

Page 399 (1968: The Defining Year)

of Defense (USMC) Photo A191909

Marines from the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines examine
a LZ on Mutter Ridge as a Marine UH-1E helicopter sits nearby.

dealt that regiment a pretty severe blow, far beyond the confirmed
body count."49

While Colonel Barrow's 1st and 3d Battalions were heavily engaged
to the north. Colonel Michael's 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, under Lieutenant
Colonel Twohey, continued to sweep south down Mutter Ridge, finding
numerous platoon- and company- sized bunker complexes. Each find led
to a more sophisticated one further south. The most significant finds
were an enemy supply battalion's storage area and what appeared to be
a regimental command post. The supply cache included more than 1,000
82mm mortar rounds and close to 15,000 AK-47 rounds. In the regimental
complex, the Marines found numerous ammunition storage bunkers, messhalls,
kitchens, several 60mm and 82mm mortar positions, and an extensive Chinese-built
field phone communications system.

On 19 August, Lieutenant Colonel Twohey s battalion continued southwest
along Mutter Ridge while Lieutenant Colonel Davis' 2d Battalion swept
west through Helicopter Valley, between Dong Ha Mountain and Mutter
Ridge. At the same time. Lieutenant Colonel Bates' 3d Battalion moved
tour kilometers northwest of the Rockpile to the Razorback, a large
sharp ridgeline paralleling the Cam Lo River. With two companies conducting
company-sized patrol operations on either side of the river, Bates'
Marines engaged numerous small enemy groups in short, but sharp encounters,
and frequently came under heavy artillery and mortar fire. With the
3d Battalion, 3d Marines in place, blocking the western end of both
Mutter Ridge and Helicopter Valley, Marine helicopters lifted the 1st
and 2d Battalions, once they had completed their searches, to Thon Son
Lam and Camp Carroll for refurbishment.

During the last week of August, the enemy was once more on the move.
He not only increased his artillery and rocket attacks against Thon
Son Lam and Camp Carroll, bur the large number of contacts and sightings
indicated he had entered the upper Cam Lo Valley, north of Thon Son
Lam and northwest of Dong Ha Mountain.50 With this information in hand.
General Davis decided to insert the 1st and 2d Battalions, 9th Marines
west of the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines positions, into a rugged, jungle-covered,
mountainous region never before entered by Marines in force.

Prior to the insertion of the two battalions, Marine aircraft dropped
a large quantity of heavy ordnance to

Page 399 (1968: The Defining Year)