of the year, the New Jersey, in the words of one Navy report, moved from one offshore position to another, "wreaking havoc on the enemy wherever she employed her might." For ANGLICO and Lieutenant Colonel Frederick K. Purdum, who relieved Lieutenant Colonel Goodiel as the commander of the Sub-Unit in August, the battleship provided a convincing argument to allied and Army commands of the capabilities and uses of naval gunfire and the services of ANGLICO naval gunfire liaison teams.34
By the end of the year, the ANGLICO Sub-Unit l in Vietnam was somewhat smaller than in January, but it had become more self-sufficient. Unti1 November, although its headquarters was in Saigon, it drew its supplies from III MAF at Da Nang. With approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Sub-Unit obtained its own supply account and more importantly through an inter-Service agreement, it was now able to obtain common item supplies from the U.S. Army 1st Logistic Command in South Vietnam. By the end of the year, the Sub-Unit contained 217 personnel, but had expanded its operations in IV Corps. While the final six months did not require the extensive naval gunfire support of the first half, this support was more dispersed and employed more evenly in all four Corps areas. Embassy Marines
Another special Marine detachment in Vietnam was the Marine Embassy guard. In 1968, although somewhat larger than the usual Embassy security guard, the Saigon detachment performed much the same missions as their counterparts elsewhere: protected classified material and U.S. government officials and property, especially the Ambassador and the Embassy. From 1965 through 1967, the detachment in Saigon had shown only sporadic growth. While more than doubling in 1966, it had remained the same size for over a year and was subordinate to Company C, Security Guard Battalion (State Department) headquartered in the Philippines capital, Manila. In January 1968, the detachment consisted of one officer. Captain Robert J. O'Brien, and 67 enlisted men.35
Until the Tet offensive in January 1968, except for increased security watch, the war had largely bypassed the Marines assigned to the Saigon Embassy. On the afternoon of 30 January, however, a State Department security officer met with Captain O'Brien and informed him about the possibility of a VC attack that evening or sometime during Tet in the Saigon area. The Marine captain immediately increased the alert status and put a second man on all one-man posts. He also placed a rooftop watch on the Embassy's chancery building and assigned two men to the Norodom compound next to the Embassy compound. That night he and one of his sergeants visited all of the posts, finding nothing out of the ordinary, and about 0130 on the 31st, returned to Marine House, which doubled as the headquarters and barracks for the guard. O'Brien then stretched out on a sofa and gave orders to wake him in time so he could make another tour at 0300.36
The Viet Cong disrupted the captain's schedule. At 0245, a group of approximately 20 members of the VC C-10 Battalion armed with satchel charges, automatic weapons, and grenades, blew a hole in the wall surrounding the Embassy compound near the northeast gate. The two U.S. Army Military Police (MPs) from the 716th Military Police Battalion raised the alarm, but were gunned down by the intruders. Two more MPs in a jeep patrol tried to come to the assistance of their comrades, but also died in a burst of machine gun fire.37
At the time this occurred, Sergeant Ronald W. Harper, one of the three Marines posted in the Embassy Chancery building, was visiting and drinking coffee with the Marines in the guard shack by the Norodom compound. He suddenly looked up and saw a strange Vietnamese and then heard rocket and machine gun fire. Harper made a dash back to the chancery, finding the main entrance door still unlocked. He found Corporal George B. Zahuranic at the front receptionist desk on the telephone calling for help. Sergeant Harper immediately locked the door and then ran to the armory inside the building to obtain additional weapons.38
At that point, the VC fired several B-40 rockets at the front entrance. The rockets knocked out the windows behind the steel bars and penetrated the door, but failed to unlock it or force it open. Although knocked to the ground by the initial blast, Harper was unhurt. Corporal Zahuranic was not as fortunate-he was hit by a piece of metal and was bleeding profusely from the right side of his head and ear. Sergeant Harper provided what first aid he could for Zahuranic and then answered the phone from another post. He relayed the information about the wounded Zahuranic and pressed upon his caller the urgency of the situation.
On the roof of the Chancery was Sergeant Rudy A. Soto, armed with a shotgun. Like Harper, Soto witnessed the VC blasting their way into the Embassy courtyard. He tried to take the VC troops under fire, but his weapon jammed. Sergeant Soto had a radio