Further north. Company B, under the acting command of First Lieutenant
Thomas M. Whiteside, continued the consolidation of the C-4 Strong Point
and the outpost at Oceanview, the eastern anchors for the Duel Blade
anti-infiltration effort. Reinforced by a platoon of Marine tanks, a
section ot 40mm Dusters, an Army artillery target acquisition team,
and a naval gunfire spotter team, the company maintained both visual
and radar coverage of the DMZ and requested fire missions on sighted
squad- to company-sized enemy forces, bunker and trenchline complexes,
suspected supply and staging areas, heavy trail activity, and sampan
and boat movement. While tactical air, artillery, and naval gunfire
missions destroyed or damaged many of these targets, the enemy reacted
to aerial reconnaissance flights over the DMZ on several occasions by
firing at friendly aircraft with small arms as well as .30- and .50-caliber
With the end of Operation Napoleon-Saline II in early December, operational
control of Damewood's battalion was transferred from the 1st Brigade
to the newly formed Marine Task Force Bravo. The Task Force, commanded
by Colonel Thomas W. Clarke, took over responsibility for Operation
Kentucky and, in addition to the amtrac battalion, consisted of the
2d Battalion, 3d Marines and the 3d Tank Battalion. According to Lieutenant
Colonel Damewood, as part of Operation Kentucky, the 1st Amphibian Tractor
Battalion had one of the largest area of operations in the division
sector extending from the DMZ south to the Cua Viet and west of the
mouth of the Cua Viet to Dai Do village.5 While Company A launched numerous
mechanized and infantry patrols along the Cua Viet, in coordination
with the Navy Task Force Clearwater, Company B maintained both visual
and night detection radar coverage of the eastern DMZ in an effort to
prevent enemy infiltration.* The company, in late December, joined the
2d Battalion, 4th Marines in an extensive cordon and search of Xuan
Khanh Resettlement Village, one kilometer northwest of the mouth of
the Cua Viet. While the Marine units maintained the cordon, elements
of the 2d ARVN Regiment swept through the village with negative results.
To the west of the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion's area, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 3d Marines supplanted the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division in early November, which had moved into the 1st Cavalry Division's former area. Operating primarily from Cam Lo, C-2, C-3, and Con Thien, elements of both Marine battalions conducted extensive patrols in their new sector. They also participated extensively in the pacification effort in Cam Lo and Huong Hoa Districts.
Early in November, Lieutenant Colonel Bryon T. Chen's 2d Battalion
moved into the Cam Lo District, on a test basis, and began the process
of integrating with local Regional and Popular Forces in an attempt
to upgrade their training, efficiency, and overall combat effectiveness.
The initial effort to place a Marine platoon with each of the district's
Regional Force companies met with limited success and the battalion
then shifted to a program of total integration. Captain Donald J. Myers'
Company H had a fire ream with each Regional Force squad, a squad with
each platoon, and a platoon with each of the three Regional Force companies
in Cam Lo District. Command, control, and coordination was maintained
by appointing the Marine unit leader as an advisor or assistant commander
to a Regional or Popular Force unit one echelon above their own. A Marine
squad leader, for example, was the advisor to a Regional Force platoon
Photo courtesy of Col Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)
Marines from Company H, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines
integrated with South Vietnamese Regional Forces (RF) in the Cam Lo
Sector. In the photo, Marines of the company and RF troops ride on top
of a Marine tank during a combined sweep in the sector.
* Lieutenant Colonel l>amewood recalled that the executive officer
of the Navy Task Force was a Marine and that "extensive coordination
was required between division units, especially the 1st AmTrac Bn and
Clearwater to optimize safe transit of the river." LtCol Walter W. Damewood.
Jr. Comments on draft, dtd 31Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File).