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attempt to escape rather than establish an organized resistance. Preparatory
fires would be placed only on barren areas near landing zones and fires
on other targets, such as known or suspected enemy locations, would
be planned but not fired unless necessary to prevent friendly casualties.
The soft cordon proved to be an effective technique for the division
and local South Vietnamese authorities to find the Viet Cong and blunt
its influence.

In mid-September, in an effort to prevent enemy reinforcement and
recovery from die losses suffered in Phu Vang, Phu Thu, and Vinh Loc
Districts, the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry and 2d Battalion, 502d
Infantry assaulted into the Dong Truoi mountain complex south of Hue.
For the next month, the two battalions conducted extensive company operations
in search of five infantry battalions of the 4th and 5th
NVA Regiments
, known to be in the area. Although not encountered
in large numbers, the enemy fled to the southwest, relieving the pressure
on Da Nang, Route 1 from Phu Bai to the Hai Van Pass, and on Phu Loc
District to the east.

While the division's 2d Brigade continued to conduct the series of
cordon operations in the coastal plains and die 1st Brigade operated
in the mountains to the south and west of Hue, the 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne
Division prepared to deploy from I Corps to III Corps. The 82d Airborne
brigade was released from the operational control of the division on
4 October and, simultaneously, the division's own 3d Brigade moved from
III Corps to I Corps and returned to the operational control of the
101st.

As the division regained its 3d Brigade, its boundary was extended
to the east to include the Phu Loc District and south to include the
remaining portion of Thua Thien Province, with the exception of the
Hai Van Pass. With the deactivation of Marine Task Force X-Ray in August
and the subsequent movement of the 26th Marines south. General Abrams
authorized the boundary extension.68* In late October, the
division's area of operations was extended north to the Thua Thien-Quang
Tri boundary as the l st Cavalry Division was alerted to deploy to III
Corps.

In recalling the memory of his service. Lieutenant Colonel Galbraith,
the commander of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, probably expressed
the feelings of most Marine and Army officers and troops who fought
in northern I Corps during this period:

Much
of what stands out in my mind ... is the totally miserable existence
of the squad and fire team grunt, the guy who lived day after day in
a hole he just dug, trying to do his job and at the same time stay halfway
dry, opening his can of C-rations, wondering when he was going to get
his next hot meal and a new pair of utility trousers to replace the
ripped and torn pair he sort of had on, and remembering the hot shower
he'd had a month ago when he was herded through the shower unit at Vandegrift.69


* See also Chapter 21.






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