Page 138

[Image 1: Marine
Corps Historical
Collection. BGen
Richard E, Carey,
pictured here
as a lieutenant
general, assumed
command of the
9th Marine Amphibious Brigade on 26
March 1975. Gen
Carey enlisted
in the Marine
Corps in 1945
and served in the Korean War at Inchon
and the Chosin
Reservoir before
his designation
as a naval aviator
in 1953.]

Page 138(The Bitter End)

rine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 (HMH-463), prepared to join the contingency
operations in the South China Sea. The Hancock, homeponed in Alameda, had
not been included in the MABLEx. While enroute to Pearl Harbor, it received
instructions to load HMH-463
and carry it to Southeast Asia.

Naval forces scheduled to participate in MABLEx 2-75 and also available
for any contingency that might arise in that area of the Pacific were either
undergoing repairs or completing pre-exercise preparations (for more specific
details see the chart below). In addition, the Air Force in the Pacific could
support, if requested, 9th MAB's exercise or, if required, any Western Pacific
operation by employing its aircraft and airmen stationed at bases throughout
Thailand: Utapao, Korat, Ubon, Udorn, or Nakhon Phanom.

As originally planned, MABLEx 2-75 included the use of an entire MAF, but
the commitment on 28 February of the 31st MAU and ARG Alpha to an indefinite

deployment in the Gulf of Thailand (possible evacuation of Phnom Penh) altered
that plan. It made necessary a reduction in the size of the exercise force,

from a MAF to a MAB.38 The Brigade General Hoffman chose the assistant commander
of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Brigadier General Richard E. Carey, ro command
the 9th MAB. General

Carcy, an aviator, had a previous combat tour in Vietnam as the commanding
officer of VMFA-115 from 5 October 1967 to 16 January
1968. His new command would take him back to Vietnam, this time not as
an F-4 pilot, but as the commander of an evacuation force.*39

Naval Ship Disposition, March 1975

-ARG Alpha, consisting of the amphibious assault ship Okinawa (LPH 3), the
amphibious transport dock Vancouver (LPD 2), and the tank landing ship Peoria
(LST 1183), was on station in the Gulf of Thailand.

-ARG Bravo, composed oiDubuque (LPD 8), the amphibious cargo ship Durham
(LKA 114), and the tank landing ship Frederick (LST 1184), was undergoing
in-port repairs. The Dubuque was at Yokosuka while the Durham and Frederick
were alongside the pier at Subic Bay.

-The amphibious command ship Blue Ridge (LCC 19) was in port at White Beach,

-Amphibious Squadron 5, containing the Denver (LPD 9), Duluth (LPD 6), Anchorage
(LSD 36), Mount Vemon (LSD 39), Mobile (LKA 115), Barbour County (LST 1195),
and Tus-caloosa (LST 1187), was preparing to get underway for its impending
Westpac tour.

Within 48 hours of the reactivation of the 9th MAB, the South Vietnamese
situation had deteriorated to such a degree that modifications had to be
to the newly completed plans. The rapidly changing state of affairs in Southeast
Asia had begun to affect 9th MAB planning and even its assembly. These events

had the greatest impact on courses of action involving Military Regions l
and 2. The Marines had been chosen ro help evacuate their fellow citizens

from northern South Vietnam. Operation Gallant Journey, later redesignated
Fortress Journey, attempted to move Americans and some of the general populace,

including the Viet-

*ln his previous lour in South Vietnam. General Carcv also had served as
the 1st MAWs operations officer during the I'XiH let Offensive and the siege
of Khe Sanh. During Tet. he participated in the planning for air support
resupply at Khe Sanh, providing him with multi-service, large-scale, operational
experience in South Vietnam. Carcy Comments.

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