A Brief History…….

Men of the 7th Marines, during the past year, spent most of their time conducting operations which had been designed to keep the enemy off balance and away from populated areas and allied bases. These operations were often in the form of ambushes and foot patrols, common to all wars. They were monotonous and tedious with negligible results more often than not.

"Operation Golden Fleece 7-1"

The 1st Battalion, 7th Marines conducted this operation in September 1966 in a coastal area near Quang Ngai City. The mission was to protect the rice harvest from enemy hands and search and destroy enemy food supplies and fortifications. The result was that the local peasants retained 85% of the rice harvest.

"Operation Prairie"

In August, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines shifted its area of operations to Dong Ha, near the DMZ. In the month of September, the 3rd Battalion followed but, after a brief stay, moved south to Dai Loc in the vicinity of Da Nang. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines entered Operation Prairie with elements of the 4th Marines, acting as a blocking force and conducting reconnaissance in force patrols. Heavy contact and casualties were sustained for both the NVA and Marines. During the 2nd Battalion's brief but bloody foray into the battle on the DMZ, three members were awarded the Navy Cross for their actions. On 19 September Corporal Lawrence J. Lazaro, and on 24 September, 1966, HN Raymond D. Clay, and HN Gerald C. Mc Keen earned the award. Bloodied and battered LtCol. Roothoff's 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines were subsequently withdrawn and ordered back to their old base in Chu Lai.


"Operation DeSoto"

Initiated in late December 1966 , Operation DeSoto was the last major battle for Marine units in Quang Ngai. The 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, which had re-deployed from Dai Loc in January, 1967, saw extensive action throughout the 4 month long plus operation. De Soto ended on 7 April. While the 3rd Battalion was in II Corps, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines was part of the SLF and took part in operations throughout the Marines Corps area of responsiblity. The 1st Battalion, 7th Marines with elements the 5th Marine Regiment bore the brunt of most of the patroling and contact with the enemy who's presence continued in Chu Lai TOAR. One particular incident on, March 26, 1967 which was Easter Sunday ended the month of March on a disturbing and sad note.

In April, the 7th Marines received its initial issue of M-16 rifles, and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade replaced the Marines in Chu Lai. Headquarters 7th Marines relocated to Hill 55 just south of Da Nang and took over the duties of elements of the 3rd Marine Division which had transferred to Northern I Corps. The 5th Marine Regiment moved northward also and would be operating just south of the 7th Marines from their Combat Base at An Hoa. Operation Arizona, which began on 14 June, 1967 was the first majour operation for the Regiment after it's arrival to the Da Nang TAOR. It was an 8 day sweep in Dai Loc and Duc Duc districts of Quang Nam Province, and covered much the same area of Operation Mallard.

On 11 August 1967, Lance Corporal Roy M.Wheat from "K" Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor-the first for a member of the 7th Marines in the Vietnam War.

The Viet Cong launched two devastating attacks in early November on Hieu Duc and Dai Loc. In the early morning hours of 2 November, 1967 an estimated 150 Viet Cong attacked a Platoon of Marines from "Mike" Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines on Hill 25 but were repulsed. Corporal Willet R. Amendola received a Posthumous Award of the Navy Cross for his heroic actions. The 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines initiated Operation Foster to find and destroy those enemy units that had wreaked so much damage. Operation Badger Hunt, with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines as the primary maneuver battalion, began as a companion operation. The enemy refused to fight but lost significant material and had numerous fortified positions destroyed by the Marines.

On 20 December 1967, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines went on alert for a possible ground and rocket attack against the Da Nang Airfield or another of the major installations. Patrols were stepped up to try and intercept the enemy before he could accomplish his mission and cause some sever damage. Corporal Larry E. Smedley, the leader of a six man ambush squad from "Delta" Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions against the enemy after his patrol discovered by a large enemy force. His Platoon Commander, 2ndLt. Michael I. Neil who had been warned by the squad, set out with a reaction force to aid his Marines was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions that night.

For the actions at Phuoc Ninh, Quang Nam Province on 20 - 21 December 1967, members of the 1st Platoon of "Delta" Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines were awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation. The Marines were one of the smallest units ever to be awarded this honor, and the smallest during the VietNam War.


During the buildup for the Communist 1968 Tet Offensive, the number of enemy contacts made by the regiment almost doubled over the previous level. The first multi battalion-size in 1968 was Operation Worth, which began in March and pitted the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 7th Marines, against elements of the 2nd Battalion, 31st North Vietnamese Regiment.

Operation Allen Brook became the most significant operation that spring for the regiment whose aim was the prevention of an attack on Da Nang by the 36th and 38th North Vietnamese Regiments. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines began the operation on 4 May on Go Noi Island, "A" Company from the 1st Battalion joined the sweep on the 8th. In 10 days of fighting "A" Company was credited with 60 confirmed enemy killed while sustaining 12 dead and 65 wounded. On 9 May, a large enemy force was caught in the open in the hamlet of Xuan Dai and sustained heavy losses. The 3rd Battalion which relieved the 2nd Battalion, found an entrenched NVA unit at Phu Dong (2) on the 16th, charged the fortifications and ousted the enemy. 2ndLt Paul F. Cobb , and HN3 Robert M. Caseywere awarded the Navy Cross Posthumously for their brave actions day. At dawn on 17 May while moving south toward the hamlet of Le Bac (2) "I" Company, 3rd Battlalion, 27th Marines who also were attached to the 7th Marines for this operation were ambushed and suffered heavy casualties. Operational control was turned over to the 27th Marines that same eveing and at dawn the next day with new units in the field the 7th Marines participation in Allen Brooke was terminated.

The 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, launched Mameluke Thrust, a companion to Allen Brook, on 18 May in an area 10 miles west of Go Noi against elements of the 31st North Vietnamese Regiment. Mameluke Thrust continued through the summer and into the fall.

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