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allied pacification on Quang Tri Province, E>avis continued, was to
make it "as secure internally as it's ever going to be. ... It compares
favorably with many places I know in the United States insofar as levels
ot violence and security are concerned."10

Rough Soldiering

As November began. Colonel Martin J. Sexton's 4th Marines and Colonel
Robert H. Barrow's 9th Marines, under the overall command ot Brigadier
General Frank E. Garretson's Task Force Hotel, conducted offensive operations
throughout the Scotland II area ot operations. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas
H. Galbraith's 1st Battalion, 4th Marines provided security tor artillery
units and radio relay sites located at Fire Support Bases Cites and
Shepherd and Hills 691 and 950, and patrolled our from the tour bases.
At the same time, the 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, under Lieutenant Colonel
James L. Fowler, continued the defense and development of Fire Support
Base Gurkha and patrolled the Khe Xa Bai and the Song Rao Quan Valleys.
To the northwest ot her sister battalions, the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines,
commanded by Major William L. Kent, completed its sweep west of Fire
Support Base Alpine, finding several abandoned North Vietnamese positions,
but no evidence of recent enemy activity. On 4 November, Company E was
helilitted eight kilometers northwest to Hill 1308 and began construction
of Fire Support Base Argonne. Positioned one-and-one-half kilometers
from the Laotian border and the highest fire support base in South Vietnam,
Argonne provided excellent observation of the vital enemy road net in
Laos which tunneled troops and supplies south. Although the Marines
on the base made numerous sightings, higher headquarters repeatedly
denied clearance for fire missions as the sighted enemy positions were
well beyond the border.


By 11 November with construction of the fire support base completed, the 1st Battalion replaced the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines. The 2d Battalion, now under the command ot Lieutenant Colonel Joseph E. Hopkins, displaced to Fire Support Bases Gates and Shepherd and Hills 691 and 950. It then began sweep operations north ot Cares and west along Route 9 toward the village ot Khe Sanh following the closure of Shepherd. With the departure of Hopkins' Marines, Galbraith's battalion conducted a two-company search north and east ot Argonne, into an area of sharp-sloped mountains covered in triple-canopy jungle and cut by many small fast-rushing steams. The search yielded









Page 450 (1968: The Defining Year)