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Page 441 (1968: The Defining Year)

Photo courtesy of Col James W. Stemple, USMC (Ret)

Gen Leonard F. Chapman, Commandant of the Marine
Corps, at right with back to tree, receives a briefing on use of Scout
Dogs during Operation Taylor Common at Fire Support Base Pike on Christmas
Day, 1968. Other officers in the picture are, from left: LtCol James
W. Stemple, commander of the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines; BGen Ross T.
Dwyer. Jr., CG of TF Yankee; Col James B. Ord, commander of the 5th
Marines (standing); and MajGen Carl A. Youngdale, Deputy Commander,
III MAF (seated). Col Michael M. Spark, commander of the 3d Marines,
has his back to the camera.

previously established, the battalion began constructing FSB Spear atop the hill. With Fire Support Bases Lance and Pike, FSB Spear formed the point of a triangle which extended TF Yankee's thrust ever deeper into the heart of Base Area 112.99

Northeast of Base Area 112, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and BLT 2/7 maintained
the security of An Hoa through constant patrolling. Having accomplished
its blocking force mission in the Arizona Territory, BLT 2/7 conducted
a helicopter assault into an LZ near the western end of Go Noi Island,
at the edge of the huge Taylor Common area ot operations. The 1st Battalion,
5th Marines patrolled in the vicinity ot An Hoa, tre-quently encountering
small groups of the enemy.100

TF Yankee completed the initial penetration of Base Area 112 on 18
December, when the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines mounted a helicopter-borne
assault on Hill 375, about four kilometers south of FSB Spear. After
scoring yet another unopposed landing for the task force, the battalion
began developing the hilltop as Combat Operations Base (COB) Mace.*

The four battalions ensconced in the eastern half of Base Area 112
began a program of saturation patrolling and reconnaissance-in-force
operations, depending upon helicopters alone for all logistic sup-

* A Combat Operations Base differed from a Fire Support Base, primarily,
in not having any artillery.

Page 441 (1968: The Defining Year)