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Page 431 (1968: The Defining Year)





Photo
from the Abel Collection

South Vietnamese Maj Tran Phouc Xang, a battalion commander with
the 51st ARVN Regiment, hatless in the left center of the picture, tries
to explain to Vietnamese villagers why they have to be evacuated from
their homes during Operation Meade River.

inflicted casualties, destroyed confidence in the supporting units,
and lowered morale."58

On 28 November, Thanksgiving Day, BLT 2/26 and the 2d Battalion 5th
Marines reached the Suoi Co Ca. On the same day, the 3d Battalion, 26th
Marines which had been helilifted earlier into the southern Dodge City
area, relieved the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines along Route A. The latter
battalion was then to attack north toward a series of phase lines between
the railroad berm and Suoi Co Ca. Lieutenant Colonel John W. P. Robertson,
the commander ot the 3d Battalion, 26th Marines, remembered that his
unit "enjoyed" a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey loaf and prepared to
follow the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines in the attack.59

At midnight on the 2Sth, Marine artillery began a heavy and concentrated
barrage on the now greatly diminished area within the cordon. Following
six hours of intense artillery fire, PsyOps teams used loudspeakers
in an attempt to convince the enemy to surrender or rally. The broadcasts
continued for an hour between 0600 and 0700 on the morning of 29 November
and painted a grim, but true picture:

Why is
your unit still surrounded? Why have your leaders found no way for you
to escape? There is no way to escape. North, south, east, and west,
you are completely surrounded and the circle is getting smaller. Today,
you cannot go a thousand meters in any direction. Tomorrow, will you
be killed in your bunker? Tomorrow, will your legs be blown from your
body and will you die in a hole in the ground far from your home?

There is a way to
avoid being killed. Many of your friends have become Hoi Chanh [ralliers];
surrender today, or will you be killed tomorrow?

For
awhile, now, the artillery and bombs will stop falling. Put down your
weapons, pick up your wounded comrades and Chieu Hoi [rally]. Your wounded
will receive medical treatment and you will not be harmed. You
are completely surrounded. You cannot move a thousand meters in any
direction. Will you Chieu Hoi today or die tomorrow? Chieu Hoi now,
while the bombs and artillery are stopped tor a little while.60








Page 431 (1968: The Defining Year)