Operation Hickory, was a search and destroy operation conducted by the 3rd Marine Division in the area around Con Thien, Quảng Trị Province known as Leatherneck Square from 18 to 28 May 1967. Operation Hickory was the first authorized incursion into the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
|Part of the Vietnam War|
Map of Operations Hickory, Belt Tight, Beau Charger and Lam Son 54
|United States||North Vietnam|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Robert E. Cushman, Jr.||Unknown|
2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines|
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
1st Battalion, 9th Marines
2nd Battalion, 9th Marines
3rd Battalion, 9th Marines
1st Battalion, 12th Marines
2nd Battalion, 26th Marines
|Casualties and losses|
US body count 304 killed|
Following the 8 May attack on Con Thien, recognizing that the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) were using the DMZ as a sanctuary for attacks into I Corps, Washington lifted the prohibition on US forces entering the DMZ and MACV authorized the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) to conduct combat operations into the southern half of the DMZ.:23
From 13–16 May, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines clearing Route 561 from Cam Lộ Combat Base to Con Thien fought a well-entrenched PAVN force south of the base. The PAVN subsequently withdrew into the DMZ.
III MAF proceeded to plan a series of combined operations with Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces to take place from 18 to 26 May. Under Operation Hickory the 3rd Marine Regiment would advance to the Bến Hải River. Under Operation Lam Son 54 the ARVN 1st Division would advance up Route 1 parallel to the 3rd Marines while the amphibious Special Landing Force Alpha secured the coastline south of the Bến Hải River under Operation Beau Charger and Special Landing Force Bravo would link up with 3rd Marines under Operation Belt Tight. Once at the Bến Hải River, the forces would sweep south on a broad front to Route 9.
On the morning of 18 May, the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines and the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines advanced north from Con Thien to press any PAVN against a blocking force from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines landed by helicopters on the Bến Hải River. At 10:00, 2/26 Marines made contact with 2 PAVN Battalions in bunkers and trenches. The 2/9 Marines joined 2/26 Marines and fought a running battle until nightfall. 5 Marines were killed and 142 were wounded, while 31 PAVN were killed. That night 75 radar-controlled airstrikes were called in on the bunker complex. At 07:00 on 19 May after 2 hours of artillery preparation (in which short rounds killed 3 Marines), the 2/26 Marines proceeded to attack the bunker complex, overrunning it by 10:30 killing 34 PAVN.:26 At 13:30 2/9 Marines met heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire and an M48 tank moved up to silence the PAVN positions with canister fire. 2 M48s were later knocked out by RPG-2 fire and 2/9 Marines suffered 7 killed and 12 wounded.:27
On 20 May, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines covering the left flank of the operation encountered a PAVN bunker complex and in fighting lasting into 21 May losing 26 killed and 59 wounded and claiming that the PAVN suffered 36 dead.:28 The reserve Special Landing Force Bravo 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines joined the operation on 20 May landing by helicopter northwest of Firebase Gio Linh. They swept the area north to the DMZ meeting minimal resistance but discovering PAVN bunkers and supplies.:28
On 25 May, Company H, 2/26 Marines engaged a large PAVN Company at the base of Hill 117 (UH-1E injuring the command element and the assault was postponed until 27 May when Companies E and F of 2/26 Marines and 3/4 Marines secured the hilltop with no resistance.:29) 5 km west of Con Thien. Company H joined by Company K, 3/4 Marines made repeated advances up the hill against the PAVN with heavy fighting lasting throughout the day and cost 14 Marines and corpsmen killed and 92 wounded and claimed that 41 PAVN killed. Marine air and artillery pounded the top of the hill throughout the night and a new assault was planned for the morning of 26 May, but PAVN fire brought down a
For the remainder of Operation Hickory the Marines encountered only scattered resistance but discovered and destroyed numerous bunkers, ordnance and rice.
From 19 to 27 May when Lam Son 54 ended the ARVN were in constant contact with the PAVN 31st and 812th Regiments. The ARVN suffered 22 killed and 122 wounded, while claiming that the PAVN suffered 342 killed and 30 captured.:25
The amphibious element of Operation Beau Charger met no opposition, while the heliborne assault dropped into a hot landing zone. Only one platoon was landed and it remained isolated until rescued several hours later. Beau Charger continued until 26 May with minimal contact. 85 PAVN were killed.:25-6
Operation Hickory concluded on 28 May, the Marines had suffered 142 killed and 896 wounded and claimed that 362 PAVN were killed. Lam Son 54, Hickory, Belt Tight and Beau Charger also resulted in the removal of the entire civilian population from the area with the result that it was all now a free fire zone.:30
The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment ("Blackhorse Regiment") is a unit of the United States Army garrisoned at Fort Irwin, California. Although termed an armored cavalry regiment, it is being re-organized as a multi-component heavy brigade combat team. The regiment has served in the Philippine–American War, World War II, the Vietnam War, Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War). The 11th ACR serves as the Opposing Force (OPFOR) for the Army and Marine task forces, and foreign military forces that train at the National Training Center.
The OPFOR trained U.S. Army forces in mechanized desert warfare following a Soviet-era style threat until June 2002, when the OPFOR and the 11th ACR changed to portraying an urban/asymmetrical warfare style of combat U.S. soldiers are facing in operations abroad. From June to December 2003, members of the 11th ACR deployed to Afghanistan, where they helped to develop and train the armor and mechanized infantry battalions of the Afghan National Army. These specialized units would defend the Afghan capital during the country's constitutional convention. In January 2004, the 11th ACR deployed to Iraq. The 11th ACR was not reorganized under the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, but has been reorganized under the U.S. Army Regimental System.1st Division (South Vietnam)
The 1st Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975—was part of the I Corps that oversaw the northernmost region of South Vietnam, the centre of Vietnam.
The 1st Division was based in Huế, the old imperial city and one of two major cities in the region, which was also the corps headquarters. This division was also tasked with the defence of Quảng Trị, the closest town to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and among the first to be hit by the Tet Offensive.2nd Battalion, 9th Marines
2nd Battalion, 9th Marines (2/9) was an infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Formed during World War I, the unit played an instrumental role in the defeat of the Japanese forces in the Battles of Guam and Iwo Jima during World War II. The battalion distinguished itself in the defense of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, and later participated in an ill-fated invasion of Koh Tang Island in Southeast Asia, with the intention of rescuing the crew of SS Mayaguez. During Operation Desert Storm, the battalion served as the lead battalion for the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF).
2/9 also participated in various humanitarian missions. The battalion helped evacuate Americans from Northern China during the Chinese Civil War and in various occasions participated in providing relief to the victims of typhoons. In 1992, the battalion participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
2nd Battalion 9th Marines served until September 2, 1994, when it was deactivated to make room for one of three light armor reconnaissance battalions. It was part of the 9th Marine Regiment and the 3rd Marine Division. On July 13, 2007, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines was re-activated again as part of the 6th Marine Regiment and replaced the Anti-Terrorism Battalion (ATBN). On April 1, 2015, it was deactivated as part of a post-war drawdown.30th Armored Brigade Combat Team
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team ("Old Hickory") is a modular heavy brigade of the United States Army National Guard.
The unit is composed of units from North Carolina South Carolina and West Virginia. It was formed from the remains of the downsized 30th Infantry Division of World War II fame. It was nicknamed the "Old Hickory" brigade, in honor of Andrew Jackson, due to the original division being composed of National Guard units from areas where he lived.3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (3/4) is an infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Nicknamed "Thundering Third". The most recent leader Lt. Col. Birchfield III, J. W. radio callsign is "Darkside". They are based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, and consist of approximately 1,000 Marines. The unit currently falls under the command of the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, but — along with its two sister battalions — is hosted by the 3rd Marine Division, at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, when training in jungle warfare. The 3rd falls under the 4th Marine Regiment at such times.3rd Marine Division
The 3rd Marine Division is an infantry division of the United States Marine Corps based at Camp Courtney, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler and Okinawa, Japan. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps and together with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1stMAW) and the 3rd Marine Logistics Group (3rd MLG) forms the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF). The division was first formed during World War II and saw four years of continuous combat in the Vietnam War.4th Marine Regiment
The 4th Marine Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps. Based at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, it is part of the 3rd Marine Division of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.Con Thien
Con Thien (Vietnamese: Cồn Tiên, meaning the "Hill of Angels") was a United States Marine Corps combat base located near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) about 3 km from North Vietnam in Gio Linh District, Quảng Trị Province. It was the site of fierce fighting from February 1967 through February 1968.List of United States servicemembers and civilians missing in action during the Vietnam War (1966–67)
This article is a list of US MIAs of the Vietnam War in the period 1966–67. In 1973, the United States listed 2,646 Americans as unaccounted for from the entire Vietnam War. By August 2017, 1604 Americans remained unaccounted for, of which 1026 were classified as further pursuit, 488 as no further pursuit and 90 as deferred.List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1966)
This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1966, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1967)
This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1967, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (G–L)
This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their assorted allies. This is not a complete list. Operations are currently listed alphabetically, but are being progressively reorganised as a chronology.List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (M–S)
This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War, a war fought by the United States to try to stop communism in Southeast Asia, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and allies consisting of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines. This is not a complete list. Operations are currently listed alphabetically, but are being progressively reorganised as a chronology.List of coalition military operations of the Iraq War
This is a list of coalition (Multi-National Force – Iraq) military operations of the Iraq War. The list covers operations from 2003 until December 2011. For later operations, see American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present).Michael P. Ryan (USMC)
Michael Patrick Ryan (January 30, 1916 - January 9, 2005) was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of major general. He is most noted for his service as a company commander during Battle of Tarawa, where he earned Navy Cross, the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat. Ryan later served in Korean and Vietnam Wars and ended his career as Director of Marine Corps Reserve. Together with Colonel James L. Fowler, he co-founded the Marine Corps Marathon.Operation Buffalo (1967)
Operation Buffalo (2–14 July 1967) was an operation of the Vietnam War that took place in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone, around Con Thien.Operation Kingfisher
Operation Kingfisher was a US Marine Corps operation that took place during the Vietnam War. The operation was carried out in the western part of "Leatherneck Square" near Con Thien, lasting from 16 July to 31 October 1967.Đông Hà Combat Base
Đông Hà Combat Base (also known as Camp Spillman or simply Đông Hà) is a former U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army base northwest of Quảng Trị in central Vietnam. The base was first used by the 4th Marines in late April 1966. In mid-July Đông Hà was used by the Marines as a helicopter base and logistics area. Numerous US marine and army units rotated through the base, and several artillery units were based there.
During 1968 units of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) made repeated attacks on the base, on one occasion destroying its ammunition dump. During these attacks, and in other actions in the general area the PAVN suffered heavy casualties. By January 1972 the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 3rd Division had assumed responsibility for the defense of Đông Hà and the area north of Highway 9. During April 1972 the PAVN made repeated assaults on Dong Ha and it fell on the 28th.
Easter Offensive (1972)
Post-Paris Peace Accords (1973–1974)