Department of Defense(USMC) A 192247
of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines on side of hill prepare to fire LAAWs
(light antiarmor weapons) at enemy positions in the valley below. The
Marine with the soft hat in the background apparently is holding a M14,
rather than the M16 rifle.
Regiment also had moved into an area just north of the abandoned
Marine Combat Base.64
Although Brigadier General Frank E. Garretson, who assumed command
of Task Force Hotel at the end of August, had hoped to begin operations
in the area during September, inclement weather forced a series of postponements.
But by early October, with the completion of four fire support bases
and the movement of Marine 155mm howitzers and 8-inch self-propelled
guns eight kilometers west along Route 9 to Fire Support Base Stormy,
and a battery of Army 175mm guns to Ca Lu, all was ready.
While the 9th Marines secured all fire support bases east of Khe Sanh and patrolled the high ground surrounding Vandegrift Combat Base, the 4th Marines, now under the command of Colonel Martin J. Sexton, began search and clear operations to the west of Khe Sanh. On 5 October, Major John E. O'Neill's 2d Battalion, 4th Marines assaulted into landing zones just south of Ling Vci (2) and Lieutenant Colonel Bourne's 3d Battalion was heli lifted into the area just north of Lang Vei (l). Seizing the two objectives without enemy opposition, both battalions began to sweep east astride Route 9. The following day. Lieutenant Colonel Galbraith's 1st Battalion assaulted into landing zones near Hill 503, three kilometers southwest of Huong Hoa, on the southern flank of the two attacking battalions. The battalion's mission was to interdict enemy movement along the north-south routes leading to and out of the Khe Sanh area. Simultaneously, the 3d and 4th Battalions, 2d ARVN Regiment were helilifted into landing zones seven kilometers north of Bourne's Marines and moved toward Hills SS1 North and SS1 South.
Galbraith's and O'Neill's battalions travelling east toward the Da Krong Valley, uncovered numerous munitions caches and grave sites while engaging several small, but isolated groups of enemy soldiers. On 16 October, the 2d Battalion, now under the command of Major William L. Kent, returned to Vandegrift Combat Base for a period of rehabilitation prior to a helicopter lift into the northwestern portion of the Scotland area of operations. Elements of Galbraith's battalion left the Khe Sanh area the same day and deployed to various fire support bases throughout the regimental area. Marines of the 1st Battalion spent the remainder of October in a normal perimeter defensive posture, manning patrols, listening and observation ports, and killer teams. Composed of artillery and 81 mm mortar forward observers, a forward air con-