Operations & Intelligence

I Corps Reporting: February 1969

During February 1969, NVA and VC units initiated 51 indirect and ground fire attacks in the I Corps area, the highest number of attacks since August 1968. This book contains a valuable collection of edited operational and intelligence reporting from the major headquarters in I Corps, providing unique insight into this period of the war. The documents are enhanced with declassified satellite imagery, maps and order of battle (OB) data on NVA and VC units in the Northern Provinces. Collectively, they provide a fascinating summary of U.S. and NVA/VC activity by province in the region. The senior headquarters at the time was the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) in Da Nang. The major subordinate elements to this headquarters in February 1969 were the XXIV Corps, the 3rd Marine Division, the 1st Marine Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). The enclosed reporting discusses significant events and operations in the month of February to include: Operation DEWEY CANYON – This multi-battalion operation under the 3rd Marine Division began on 22 January 1969 with the establishment of Fire Bases Razor and Cunningham along the border with Laos.

Col. Robert H. Barrow led the 9th Marines into NVA strongholds in the northern A Shau Valley and discovered one of the largest NVA munitions and arms caches of the war. Elements of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the 101st Airborne Division Hook Company flew in support, despite limited visibility due to Monsoon weather. The heaviest fighting was from 18-22 February, which is covered in this book. By the termination of Dewey Canyon on 18 March 1969, Marines had found 525 tons of weapons and ammunition in the jungle covered mountains on the Laotian border. Operation MASSACHUSETTS STRIKER - This operation, in the southern portion of the 101st Airborne Division’s Area of Operations, was designed to open Route 547 in the 25 mile-long A Shau Valley. This area was normally under the control of the NVA and the terrain in this region was formidable. The peaks of some mountains along the side of the valley reached almost 7,000 feet above sea level. Operations DEWEY CANYON and MASSACHUSETTS STRIKER were part of a series of operations in the A Shau Valley region by the 3rd Marine Division and the 101st Airborne Division throughout 1969.

This series of historical books is intended to provide unique historical documents to the reader, permitting a better understanding of the war in Vietnam. As a result, faded ink, notes in the margins as well as variations in print clarity may exist due to the age of these original documents. The included Periodic Intelligence Reports were published by III MAF’s intelligence section (G2) and were usually released weekly. They provide a fascinating summary of enemy activity by province and an analysis of the enemy situation to include assessments of the strength and unit locations in the I Corps Tactical Zone. Marine Corps Command Chronologies were initiated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in July 1965. This reporting was usually completed monthly by line units in Vietnam and is a foundation for Marine historical documentation of the war. The supporting cable traffic is highly detailed. This book covers other ongoing III MAF operations during the reporting period to include: SCOTLAND II and PURPLE MOUNTAIN- TF Hotel operations in Quang Tri Province, extending to the Laotian border. . MARSHALL MOUNTAIN- Elements of the 3rd Marine Division with the 1st Brigade, 5th Division (Mech) in Quang Tri Province. TAYLOR COMMON – Elements of the 1st Marine Division discovered large caches of supplies during operations from Go Noi Island to the An Hoa basin.

Completing the Narrative on Vietnam(SM).   Thomas F. Pike