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smaller teams, about four to five men, very often out of artillery range. Using both walking patrols and helicopter inserts, these patrols were out to obtain information rather than fight. According to Colonel Alexander L. Michaux, the 3d Marine Division operations officer, these teams were sent out and told "not to call in fire or anything. . . . Just find them and tell us where they [the NVA] are. We'll fix them with a battalion." Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. Berg, who relieved Lieutenant Colonel Kent in July as commander of the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, noted that when he took over the battalion three of his companies were attached to other units. By mid-September, he had these three companies returned to his command and carrying out reconnaissance missions. In December 1968, General Davis observed that he had anywhere from 58 to 60 active reconnaissance teams with about 40 to 45 out in the field at any given time. Within artillery range, he employed the Stingray patrols while the smaller patrols, designated "key hole" missions,* operated usually further out with the mission of watching and reporting on enemy troop activity. Like the artillery firebases, the 1st Marine Division also adapted the 3d Division reconnaissance techniques in Operation Taylor Common at the end of the year.61


*Chaplain Ray W. Stubbe, who has written extensively on Marine operations at Khe Sanh and on Marine reconnaissance forces, observed that the keyhole missions were "a return to the original concept of the Force Recon Company of having 4-man patrols, very lightly equipped, with the mission only [emphasis in original} of gathering information, operating very deep in enemy controlled territory far beyond the artillery fan for support. (The original Force Recon concept was for 4-man patrols operating up to 300 miles inland). This is a very historical development of recon in Vietnam." LCdr Ray W. Stubbe, Comments on draft, dtd 28Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File).




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