Photo Courtesy of LtCol Justin M. Martin USMC (Ret)
Photograph presents a street rieu' of the village of Mat Loc in Huong Hoa District. Quang Tri Province. Company F. 2d Battalion. 3d Marines operated in the village together with a Regional Force Company u'hose commander made his, headquarters, in a cafe on this street.
counts. What did not happen is a better indication of our success. Incidents dramatically went down while we operated and trained the RFs.""
Yet, one of' the most ambitious of the division civic action projects, the establishment of a children's hospital in Quang Tri, proved how ephemeral such undertakings could be. With much fanfare and publicity, the division announced in August the scheduled opening of the 30-bed Dong Ha facility of what was planned eventually to be the "3d Marine Division Memorial Children's Hospital" dedicated as a "lasting memorial to 3d Marine Division Marines and Sailors killed in action in Vietnam." In addition to providing medical care for children, the hospital was to be a training center for Vietnamese medical personnel and serve as a symbol of American and Marine concern for the Vietnamese people. According to the division plans, the Marines were to finance the facility from croop donations, Marine Corps Reserve Civic Action funds, and by fund raising appeals to community and veterans organizations in the United States. The estimated cost of the finished modem hospital complex was $75,000 which was to be located in the Quang Tri Combat Base. Despite the high hopes and auspicious beginning, the hospital never expanded beyond the small Dong Ha facility. When the division left Quang Tri Province and Vietnam in 19^9, the hospital remained largely on the drawing boards except for six unfinished buildings. With the assistance of III MAF, the South Vietnamese turned these into a combination of clinic, orphanage, and dormitory, a far cry from the initial ambitious plans. As Colonel Clifford J. Peabody, the III MAF civil affairs officer in 1970, later commented, "a project which was outstanding in its humanitarian ideal of providing help ... has proved to be a real albatross in the long run."''''-
Like much of the pacification effort, the effectiveness of the III MAF civic action program was difficult to determine. It often challenged the best in many
-Colonel William E. Kerrigan, who served as the G-5 of che 3d Marine Division in the latter pan of 19CiS. observed that "although never operated as a Children's Hospital, one wing, became an infirmary and several were used as youth hostels for high school students who lived in areas too remote to be able to commute to schools in Quan^ Tri City." Col William E. Kernyan, Comments on draft, did l ll')ec94 (Vietnam Comment File).