A Brief History.....

Mameluke Thrust finally terminated in late October with the Marines claiming over 2,700 enemy killed.Fighting slackened during late summer, however, on 20 September 1968, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 7th Marines, with two South Vietnamese Army units, were able to trap a North Vietnamese battalion which lost 101 men in the engagement which ensued. Acting as a Special Landing Force Bravo in November, the 2nd Battalion carried out a helicopter-amphibious assault in Operation Daring Endeavor. A few miles to the north, a major operation, Meade River, began shortly thereafter.

One significant and tragic event occurred on 28 July, 1968, "K" Company who had been recently relieved from duty at An Hoa began a Company sweep of the southwest portion of "Dodge City", they were ambushed by the NVA as they approached a tree line suffering numerous casualties. For his bravery under fire HM3 Wayne M. Caron a Corpsman attached to "K" Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

On 12 August, For his actionsLance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley of "L" Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968, the only Marine of the regiment so honored that year.

"Operation Meade River"

Soon after the ambush of "Kilo" Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, five Infantry battalions from four regiments were secretly maneuvered into an area known to Marines as "Dodge City". The area on three sides - north, south, and east - had been sealed. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines was the brought in by helicopter and upon landing, launched the assault. The battalion continued to play an important role suffering 158 casualties until being withdrawn on 4 December. Hardly any enemy escaped. Marines killed or captured 1,013 enemy soldiers but suffered nearly 500 killed and wounded before the operation terminated.

The last battle in 1968 by an element of the 7th Marines was fought on New Years Eve. A squad from Company "K", 3rd Battalion spotted an enemy unit. Being heavily outnumbered, the Marines called in air and artillery strikes that scattered the foe.


The 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, joined with the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines to kick off Operation Linn River on 27 January 1969. Results were less than expected since the Marines did not make as many significant contacts with the enemy as anticipated. The 1st Battalion remained in the area after the operation ended. Operating at night, the Marines did enjoy some success.

On 23 February 1969, the 7th Marines acquired two more posthumous Medal of Honor Awards. Private First Class Oscar P. Austin of Company "E", 2nd Battalion was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions about 6.5 miles west of Da Nang. On the same day but in another area of Quang Nam Province, a platoon from Company "M", 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines was ambushed. For his actions on that day, Lance Corporal Lester W. Weber was also awarded the Medal of Honor.

Oklahoma Hills was the most important multi- battalion operation for the 7th Marines during the spring of 1969. All units of the organization plus the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines participated in the effort southwest of Da Nang. The operation was physically exhausting for the average infantryman. The rough, frequently slippery jungle terrain made it hard to maneuver. When the operation was terminated on 29 May, an estimated 600 NVA had been killed and a massive network of NVA installations had been destroyed. The 7th Marines saw limited action in the weeks following Oklahoma Hills. Part of the regiment took part in Phase I of Pipestone Canyon, which unfortunately produced few results.

Fighting picked up in August. On the 12th, elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines engaged a group of enemy soldiers and shortly thereafter, another Company came upon an entrenched force in the vicinity of An Hoa. When the battle was broken off the enemy death toll was placed at 146. The 1st Battalion, 7th Marines lost 15 killed and 66 wounded and evacuated. On the following day, the 13th, having made contact with the NVA, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, lost their CO, Lieutenant Colonel Dowd who was KIA. Marine casualties mounted. Between the 20th and 27th, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines alone sustained 27 killed and 255 wounded. The regiment at this time shifted its operations to the Que Son region along the Quang Nam-Quang Tin border, coordinating with units of the Army's Americal Division.

In August 1969, the U.S. Army handed the northern portion of the Que Son Valley back to the Marines as part of their TAOR. The 7th Marine Regiment was back to a familiar area, the regiments 2nd Battalion, had fought there before in Operation Harvest Moon their first battle in the Que Son Valley back in 1965. Moving into the valley the Marines inherited three combat bases from the U.S. Army, LZ Baldy the easternmost of the three combat bases was located at the intersection of Rte. 1 and 535 about 20 miles south of Da Nang. Baldy became the Regimental Headquarters, Fire Support Base Ross, just west of Que Son District Town, and the most western of the three FSB Ryder on Hill 579 which covered both the Que Son Valley which lay east and Antenna Valley to the west completed the Marine presence in the Que Son's.

On 28 August, Lance Corporal Jose F. Jimenez, Company "K", 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines received the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor for his actions during a search and destroy mission in the Que Son-Hiep Duc Valley.

On 12 November 1969, the regiment acquired another posthumous Medal of Honor reciepient. Private First Class Ralph E. Dias of Company "D", 1st Battalion, 7thMarines who received the award for his selfless act when he assaulted a machine gun emplacement as his company was moving to the summit of Hill 953 located just northeast of FSB Ryder.


The heavy and often bloody fighting of 1968 and 1969 had taken its toll among enemy units. Both the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese suffered severe losses in manpower and material. Lacking stamina in early 1970 for large-scale operations, the Communists struck back by hurling small elite bands of soldiers at selected targets. One such attack happened before dawn on 6 January at Fire Support Base Ross, located in the Que Son Valley and where half of the 1st Battalion was based. A series of search and destroy missions were soon launched by the 7th Marines to thwart further attacks. This movement through the mountains, however, did not produce many significant engagements.

The last Medal of Honor presented to a member of the 7th Marines came as a result of a grenade attack. Lance Corporal James D. Howe of "I" Company, 3rd Battalion received the posthumous award.

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