Since no additional forces were available to accomplish this mission,
the existing forces in I Corps would have to be reallocated. Cushman
asked the XXIV Corps commander to furnish two battalions to the 1st
Marine Division "with proportionate share of division combat and combat
service support for the accelerated effort against 2d NVA Div and BA
112."8 The 3d Marines regimental headquarters, two infantry
battalions, and normal combat support elements were designated to move
As Spark's 1st and 3d Battalions left the field for Quang Tri Combat
Base and rest and refitting before being airlifted to An Hoa, the 3d
Marine Division activated, on 7 December, Task Force Bravo for planning.
On 9 December, Colonel Clarke, the task force commander, assumed tactical
responsibility for the Kentucky area of operations.
Following a short cordon encompassing a majority of the hamlets in
Huong Hoa District, on 12 December, the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, now
commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James J. McMonagle, moved into the area
of operations formerly occupied by the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines. Stretching
from the DMZ south to the Cua Valley, the 300-square kilometer area
included the fixed installations of Con Thien, C-2 Bridge, C-2, and
C-3, three of which previously were secured by a battalion each, now
were the responsibility ot two companies.
The last three weeks of December found McMona-gle's battalion with
two companies. Company F in Huong Hoa District and Company H in Cam
Lo District, assisting in the pacification effort through integrated
operations and training with Regional and Popular Forces. Company E
provided security for Con Thien and C-2 Bridge, as well as patrolling
and ambushing throughout its assigned 54-square kilometer area. McMonagle's
remaining Company, G, secured C-2 and C-3, while likewise conducting
patrols and ambushes in its area. Despite the lack ot enemy activity
and the insurmountable tasks assigned, the battalion was fully confident
that the area ot operations "was being denied to the enemy due to total
effort on the part of all companies."9
While McMonagle's four companies blanketed their assigned areas with
patrols and ambushes. Task Force Bravo conducted two large cordon and
search operations targeted ac the Cam Lo Resettlement Village and the
village of Xuan Khanh, near Cua Viet. The first, involving two companies
of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines and elements of the 1st and 2d ARVN
Regiments, screened more than 10,000 villagers, 93 of whom were detained
as Viet Cong suspects. The target of the second was the fishing village
of Xuan Khanh, near the mouth of the Cua Viet. On the day after Christmas,
the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines was relieved of positions in the western
mountains and helilifted into the area, where Companies F, G, and H
cordoned the fishing village, permitting the 3d Battalion, 2d ARVN Regiment
to search the area and process more than 9,000 inhabitants. Of the 174
who were detained, a majority later was determined to be draft evaders.
Due to the division's extensive commitment to the pacification effort
during the last two months ot 1968, the local Viet Cong, noted General
Davis, had to "rewrite his book." According to Davis, the VC used to
"strike and run to a hideaway, in a secure area. He doesn't have that
now. Marines are on his trails, in his hideaway, in his secure areas
not only in the hills but doing the same thing" in populated areas.
The effect of the
* See Chapter 21.
Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A371645
A view of Cam Lo Resettlement Village includes
the surrounding hills. The U.S. and South Vietnamese built new homes
for Vietnamese refugees and resettled them here to keep the people away
from the VC and also away from the combat areas.