Foster C. LaHue

Foster Carr LaHue (1918 – 12 February 1996) was a Lieutenant general in the United States Marine Corps. He saw combat in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War he commanded Task Force X-Ray which was involved in the heaviest fighting at the Battle of Huế.

Foster Carr LaHue
Lieutenant general Foster C. LaHue
Lieutenant General Foster C. LaHue, USMC
Nickname(s)"Frosty"
Born2 September 1917
Corydon, Indiana
Died12 February 1996 (aged 78)[1]
Ormond Beach, Florida
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service1941-1974
RankUSN-USMC O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general
Service number0-7721
Commands heldChief of Staff, HQMC
Force Troops, FMFLANT
Task Force X-Ray
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines
2nd Battalion, 4th Marines
Battles/warsWorld War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart
Air Medal
Commendation Medal (2)

Early life and education

LaHue graduated from Corydon High School and subsequently attended DePauw University where he graduated in 1939.[1]

Career

LaHue completed Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, in May 1941 and was commissioned as a Marine Second lieutenant.

World War II

LaHue served as a platoon commander, company commander and battalion staff officer with the First and Fourth Raider Battalions, participating in the New Georgia Campaign and in the Admiralty Islands campaign in the Pacific Theatre.[1]

Korean War

LaHue deployed to Korea in November 1950, serving as the Division Adjutant in the 1st Marine Division. From June to November 1951, he commanded the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, during this time he was awarded the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit.

Vietnam War

From March 1967 until April 1968, LaHue served with the 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam.

On 9 August 1967, the 1st Marine Division commander, MG Donn J. Robertson reactivated Task Force X-Ray with his Assistant Division Commander Brigadier general LaHue given command. Task Force X-Ray comprised the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines. BG LaHue then launched Operation Cochise against the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 2nd Division in the Quế Sơn Valley. At the conclusion of the operation on 28 August 156 PAVN had been killed and 13 captured for the loss of 10 Marines.[2]

On 4 December 1967 BG LaHue was again given command of Task Force X-Ray to implement Operation Checkers, the movement of the 1st Marine Division from Thừa Thiên Province north to Quảng Trị Province. On 11 January 1968 Task Force X-Ray headquarters was established at Phu Bai Combat Base and assumed operational control of the 5th Marine Regiment which moved north from Da Nang and the 1st Marine Regiment already based at Phu Bai.[3]

In the early morning of 31 January 1968 as part of the Tet Offensive, the PAVN and Vietcong (VC) seized control of the city of Huế from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 1st Division. The Marines at Phu Bai were called on to support the ARVN 1st Division and US forces at the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) compound in the new city on the south side of the river.[3]:166–7 LaHue would later write that "the initial deployment of forces was made with limited information."[3]:171 On 1 February BG LaHue ordered Colonel Gravel's 1st Battalion, 1st Marines to move 6 blocks west from the MACV Compound and recapture the Thừa Thiên provincial headquarters and prison. In a press interview he stated that "Very definitely, we control the south side of the city... I don't think they have any resupply capability, and once they've used up what they brought in, they're finished."[3]:175 As with other commanders LaHue still did not appreciate the strength of the PAVN/VC forces in the city or their open supply lines; the Marines would not capture the provincial headquarters and prison until 6 February.[3]:176 On 9 February once the new city of Huế had been largely secured by the Marines, BG LaHue ordered the 1/5 Marines to move into the Old City to support the ARVN in retaking the Citadel. In his briefing of 1/5 Marines commander Major Robert Thompson, LaHue expressed his view that it would only take a few days to clear the Citadel.[3]:197-8 On 16 February at a meeting with LaHue and deputy COMUSMACV General Creighton Abrams, South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ approved the use of all necessary force to clear the PAVN and VC forces from the Citadel. The following day the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was placed under the operational control of Task Force X-Ray and tasked with blocking PAVN/VC lines of retreat to the south and southwest of the city.[3]:205 Operation Hue City formally concluded on 2 March 1968 and BG LaHue redeployed his units in line with the original Operation Checkers plan and relinquished control of Army units temporarily assigned to his command.[3]:248-9

On 14 March, BG LaHue launched Operation Ford on the Phu Thu Peninsula east of Phu Bai. The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines and the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines swept the area engaging the VC 804th Main Force Battalion. At the conclusion of the operation on 20 March 145 VC had been killed and 5 captured for the loss of 14 Marines.[3]:249

On 7 April, BG LaHue was relieved as commander of Task Force X-Ray and returned to Da Nang where he was replaced as Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division on 14 April.[3]:252

Later career

LaHue was promoted to major general in August 1969. He was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 August 1972, and served as chief of staff until his retirement on 1 September 1974

Decorations

Here is the ribbon bar of Lieutenant General Foster C. LaHue:[4]

Gold star
Navy Distinguished Service Medal ribbon
Silver Star Medal ribbon
V
Legion of Merit ribbon
Air Medal ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon Army Commendation Medal ribbon
Purple Heart ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
U.S. Navy Unit Commendation ribbon
American Defense Service Medal ribbon American Campaign Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon
World War II Victory Medal ribbon
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon
Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon Order of the White Elephant - 3rd Class (Thailand) ribbon
VPD National Order of Vietnam - Knight BAR ArmyDSMribbon Vietnam gallantry cross-w-palm-3d
United Nations Service Medal Korea ribbon Presidential Unit Citation (Korea) Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp
1st
Row
Navy Distinguished Service Medal with one 516" Gold Star Silver Star Legion of Merit with Combat "V"
2nd
Row
Air Medal Navy Commendation Medal Army Commendation Medal
3rd
Row
Purple Heart Navy Presidential Unit Citation with four stars Navy Unit Commendation
4th
Row
American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two 3/16 inch service stars
5th
Row
World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal with one star Korean Service Medal with four 3/16 inch service stars
6th
Row
Vietnam Service Medal with three 3/16 inch service stars Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon Order of the White Elephant, Commander
7th
Row
National Order of Vietnam, Knight Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
8th
Row
United Nations Korea Medal Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Vietnam Campaign Medal
Military offices
Preceded by
John R. Chaisson
Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps
August 1, 1972 - September 1, 1974
Succeeded by
John N. McLaughlin

References

  1. ^ a b c "FOSTER C. LAHUE, 78, DIES". Washington Post. 2 March 1996. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. ^ Telfer, Gary (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 109-11. ISBN 978-1494285449.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shulimson, Jack; LtCol. Leonard Blasiol; Charles R. Smith; Capt. David A. Dawson (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968, the Defining Year. History and Museums Division, USMC. p. 105-6. ISBN 0-16-049125-8.
  4. ^ "Valor awards for Foster C. LaHue". valor.militarytimes.com. Militarytimes Websites. Retrieved May 19, 2018.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

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