Significant Events January-December 1968
l January Allied and Communist forces
in Vietnam begin the new year with a cease-fire. The allies report 63 violations
of the truce.
l January The Marine Corps troop level
in Vietnam reaches 81,249. The III Marine Amphibious Force, which is responsible
for I CTZ, begins the year with a total strength of 114,158 troops, composed of
76,616 Marines divided among the 1st Marine Division, the 3d Marine Division,
the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and Force Logistic Command; 3,538 Navy personnel;
and 36,816 Army personnel, including the Americal Division and one brigade of
the 1st Air Cavalry Division, and 88 Air Force personnel.
3 January The 5th Marines concludes
Operation Auburn south of Da Nang (28Dec67-3Jan68). The operation results in 37
reported enemy casualties with 24 Marines killed and 62 wounded.
11 January As part of Operation
Checkers, in an effort to rotate units of the 1st Marine Division north to
relieve the 3d Marine Division, Task Force X-Ray headquarters is activated at
Phu Bai. Task Force X-Ray subsequently relieved the 3d Marine Division
headquarters at Phu Bai, which moved to Dong Ha in Quang Tri Province.
16 January The 2d Battalion, 26th
Marines reinforces the Marine base at Khe Sanh.
16 January A North Vietnamese
representative states that North Vietnam will not begin peace talks until the
United States halts bombing of the North.
20 January Operation Lancaster I
(lNov67- 20Jan68), a 3d Marines operation to safeguard Route 9 between Cam Lo
and Ca Lu, ends with a reported 46 enemy casualties and 27 Marines killed and
20 January The 1st Marines concludes
Operation Osceola I (20Oct67-20Jan68) in the Quang Tri City region. The
operation resulted in a reported 76 enemy casualties with 17 Marines killed and
20 January The 4th Marines concludes
Operation Neosho I (lNov67-20Jan68) northwest of Hue. The operation resulted in
77 reported enemy casualties with 12 Marines killed and 100 wounded.
20 January A Marine patrol
participating in Operation Scotland makes contact with a heavy concentration of
North Vietnamese troops around Hill 881 South near Khe Sanh. The ensuing battle
signaled the beginning of the siege of Khe Sanh.
21 January The 1st Air Cavalry
Division, USA, is placed under the operational control of III MAF commander.
Marine Lieutenant General Robert E. Cushman, Jr.
21 January The 4th Marines begin
Operation Lancaster II in the same area as Operation Lancaster I.
21 January The 3d Marines begin
Operation Osceola II in the same area as Osceola I.
21 January General Westmoreland,
Commander USMACV, orders a temporary halt to work on the 'McNamara Line,' the
barrier and antiinflkration system south of the DMZ.
21 January The NVA begins the
bombardment of the base at Khe Sanh and the Marine outposts in the surrounding
hills. This rocket, mortar, and artillery barrage will continue for the next 77
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