Monday, May 27, 1968
Highway 4 continued from Hill 52 through a narrow pass. The Song Vu Gia river was strong and deep in this area, and the road ran through a sandy beach for a few hundred yards. From the shore to the village of Thuong Duc, the path was a straight 3 miles of open dirt roadway surrounded by rice fields. The ville was at the confluence of two rivers (Song Vu Gia / Song Con). Adjacent to this was an abandoned French airstrip, “Ha Tan” airfield.
Overlooking the two river valleys was a Special Forces compound (A-109). The Green Beret camp was built to monitor and assess NVA/VC movement and infiltration. It helped alert and protect Da Nang from enemy encroachment from the Laotian border.
Reports of increased enemy forces in Thuong Duc led to Marine units being positioned to do search and destroy operations. The 7th Marines were assigned as security in the area. All of this activity was part of Operation “Mameluke Thrust.”
The four guns of Kilo (-) battery were moved from Hill 52 to the Ha Tan airfield to support these activities. The position was surrounded on three sides (north, west and south) by the rivers wrapping around the landing strip. A substantial concrete bridge crossed the Song Con into the heart of the Thuong Duc village.
Travel from Hill 65 to Thuong Duc was now an all-day trip. Supply/ammo runs would have to “overnight” before returning to Hill 65. In addition, Doc Furman was flown in by helicopter to set up a field casualty station (a tent with 12 cots). Everything in the Kilo compound was basic, and there were no preexisting bunkers or fighting holes. It was, in a word . . . primitive.
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I was with the 7th Marines on Mameluke Thrust from the beginning. A 20 year old rifle squad leader who just made Sgt. E 5 and our assignment was to provide security for the Regimental Command Group. I will never forget the Operation and the heroic efforts of my fellow Marines and Navy Corpsmen. My squad was sent down the Que Son’s as a listening post on the back side of the mountain and we were in a hide that was provided good observation and defense. Early in the morning, before daylight we took incoming small arms and then Chico’s from an advancing NVA enemy. We were called back to the Command perimeter at the top of the hill and fought our way back up. Not my first listening post but by far the most fear filled I had experienced in my 13 month tour. Thank you for your recollection of Mameluke Thrust. That Operation changed my life forever. Semper Fidelis. Larry Jordan, SGT., USMC.
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