Photo courtesy of Igor Bobrowsky
Members of CAP Delta-1 are on patrol near the hamlet of Thanh Quit south of Da Nang. One CAP member, Igor Bobrou'sky. remembered that prim to Tet the local populace began "making coffins."
need for "unity of command" on the Marine side. He continued that, with the "increased mobility of infantry units, it is impractical for the infantry unit commander to effect continued and close liaison with Vietnamese officials." This had to be handled through the Combined Action structure itself, pointing out for example, that the 3d CAG at Phu Bai had units in both the 1st and 3d Marine Division area of operations. Earlier, in a telephone conversation with FMFPac, General Cushman observed that he was conducting a study to find the best way to use the CAPs."-'
The Tet offensive, however, in January and February 1968, would have more effect upon the changes made in the Combined Action program than the jurisdic-tional battles with CORDS and MACV and out of date tables ot organization. Even before Tet, there were strong indications that things were different. Combined Action Platoons, both near Da Nang and Phu Loc, increasingly came under attack.' One CAP Marine, Igor Bobrowsky, assigned to one of the hamlets of Thanh Quit below Da Nang, remembered, "it was just that the intensity of what was going on kept on increasing, increasing, increasing." He observed the contacts with the VC became "increasingly more frequent and stronger ripples turning into waves around us ... ." Sources of intelligence had dried up but in a macabre way villagers provided an indication that something big was about to occur: "As we'd walk through some place, people were making coffins." Bobrowsky recalled thinking: "Who died? Was . . . there a plague?" The people "were just getting a jump start on the burials to come . . .," but before the Marines realized the import of the situation, "the shit hit the tan, but it wasn't... all at once. It was just that suddenly we found ourselves totally isolated . . . ."8}
In any event according to a Department of Defense analysis, from 1 November 1967 through 31 January 196S, nearly half or 49 percent of enemy initiated attacks in I Corps occurred against the CAPs. In February the percentage dropped to 3S percent. According to the report, "It is significant char this period of high activity against the CAPs coincides with the buildup and attack phases of the Tet offensive."*84
*Scc Chapters 6, 7, and 8 for description of the attacks on the CAPs during this period and during Tet.