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Page 63(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)  


Lieutenant Colonel Archie Clapp (second from left), HMM-362 squadron commander. Major General John Condon (jow'th from left). Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and Colonel John Carey (extreme right), task unit commander, confer briefly after arriving at Sac Trang. {fhoto courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel James P. Kizer, USMC).

the other divisions that were operating within the corps tactical zone.* While operational planning was underway, the MABS-16 Marines set about to improve the newly occupied compound. Two diesel-powered generators were put into operation and began furnishing electrical power for the camp. The utilities section, which maintained the generators, then began installing electrical wiring throughout the compound. Toilet and shower facilities were constructed to accommodate the Marines.

Measures were also taken during this interlude to strengthen the airfield's defenses. Expecting that the Viet Cong might attempt to infiltrate the Marine position, Colonel Carey created a 40-man security unit to protect the inner camp and flight lines. This unit, composed of men from MABS-16 and HMM-362 and responsible to a permanent sergeant-of-the-guard, maintained roving patrols and security posts during hours of darkness. A network of concertina wire, trip flares, and machine gun emplacements provided additional protection around the helicopters and living area. Attack alerts were conducted periodically to coordinate the ARVN's outer defenses and the Marine guard within the perimeter.

Within less than two weeks after the first Marines had arrived at Soc Trang, the camp had been adequately prepared to support sustained combat helicopter operations. In addition, defenses had been established and the lines of logistical support from MACV had been opened. Food and

* I and II Corps had their own agencies within the corps headquarters for control of air assets whereas III CTZ relied directly on theJOC. Under this arrangement, I Corps and II Corps were required to pass mission requests for air support on to the JOC.



Page 63(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)