Page 638

Page 638 (1968: The Defining Year)







had been assigned to the 1st Marines in the Cua Viet sector and returned there in Operation Proud Hunter after a brief period of amphibious training. On the 2rith, in Operation Swift Pursuit, the BLT established a new area of operations in the Mai Loc sector in the Operation Lancaster II TAOR. Into October, the battalion essentially operated under the 3d Marines as another infantry battalion in the Lancaster II sector.'9


Thus by mid-October, the situation with the SLFs had almost reverted to the situation that existed unti1 June. Both SLF infantry battalions had been operating for an extended period with III MAF units ashore. The main difference was that one was attached to the 3d Division and the other to the l sc Marine Division. BLT 2/26, which was still operating in the 3d Marine Division sector, was slared for rehabilitation training in the SLF base at Subic Bay. Concurrently, MACV had directed III MAF to undertake an expanded pacification campaign while at the same time increasing operations against the enemy base areas and main force units. III MAF wanted to use the SLFs in this campaign in "swift short duration operations . . . principally in cordon and search operations to nx)t out and eliminate the VC infrastructure." The principle target areas were to be the Bacangan Peninsula just south of Chu Lai and the Barrier Island sector south of Hoi An. At this point. III MAF consulted with the commander of the 9th MAB, Brigadier General John E. Williams," who on the basis of these proposed new operations decided to cancel the BLT 2/26 rehabilitation trip to the Philippines.20


The SLF Alpha ARG which had embarked BLT 2/26 on 19 October at Quang Tri began to steam for Da Nang." On 25 October, the BLT landed at Da Nang in Operation Eager Hunter. The following day, the BLT came under the operational control of the l st Marines and conducted Operation Garrard Bay until mid-November in the coastal hamlets between Marble Mountain and Dien Ban. On 20 November, the BLT joined the 1st Marines Operation Meade River in the "Dodge City" sector north of the Go Noi Island area in the Da Nang TAOR.21***


Photo is from the Abel Collection

Marines of BLT 2/26 wade through streams in the Barrier Island area southeast of Hoi An. The BLT, the SLF Alpha battalion, is conducting Operation Valiant Hunt.


In the meantime the SLF Bravo battalion, BLT 2/7 remained also under the operational control of the 1st Marines until early November when it embarked upon its amphibious shipping."" III MAF and the ARG/SLF Bravo commanders had planned to mount their first of the new amphibious cordon and search operations on the Barangan Peninsula. While liaison officers from the amphibious task group met with the Americal Division at Chu Lai, General Cushman and his staff'decided that a similar operation on the Barrier Island would prove more lucrative. Landing on the coast southeast of Hoi An, just below the Cua Dai River, on 10 November, BLT 2/7 carried out the new operation, called Daring Endeavor, for the next seven days. Although supposed to extend the operation to the south, the battalion encountered significant opposition in the original area. Using cordon and search techniques, the Marines reported killing 39 of the



* Brigadier General Williams relieved Brigadier General William C. Chip as CG 9th MAB on 12 August 1968. Brigadier General Chip had relieved Brigadier General Click on 20 January 196H when the latter became ^d Marine Division assistant division commander.


"Amphibious Ready Group Alpha (TG 76.4) now consisted of the USS Prinalon (LPH 5). USS DuhiiifHt (LPD 8). USS Oat Hill (LSD 7), and USS WinJhum Count) (LST 1170).


***See Chapter 21 for discussion of the Le Lot campaign and Operation Meade River.


****The 1st Marines relieved the 27th Marines in the Da Nang area of operations when the latter regiment redeployed to the United States. See Chapter 21, Amphibious Ready Group Bravo (TG 76.5) now consisted of the USS Merrills (AKA 97), USS Monticcllo (LSD 35), USS Ogden (LPD 5), USS Tri/toll (LPH 10), and Seminole (AKA 104).







Page 638 (1968: The Defining Year)