At 0700 on 7 August, SLF Alpha started Operation Beacon Gate by landing southeast of Hoi An along the coastal boundary of Quang Nam and Quang Tin Provinces. Intelligence reports fixed elements of the V25 Local Force Battalion and other smaller VC units in the battalion's operational area. During the five-day southerly sweep, the Marines endured continuous sniper fire. The infantrymen made extensive use of armed UH- lE helicopters to suppress the snipers. Operation Beacon Gate ended on 11 August at 0800; the Marines killed only 12 enemy soldiers.
The same day, SLF Alpha shifted to the operational control of Task Force X-Ray of the 1st Marine Division for the start of Operation Cochise. BLT 1 / 3 made a heliborne assault from the Beacon Gate AOA into a landing zone approximately seven miles east of Que Son. There the battalion occupied block ing positions to support elements of the 5th Marines which were attacking to the east.
On 16 August, BLT 1 / 3 started search and destroy operations, also in an easterly direction, in conjunc tion with the 5th Marines. The BLT made heavy con tact with an enemy force late on the 16th, but the enemy broke off the engagement during the night. The rest of the first phase of Cochise consisted of sweep operations, still to the east, with contact limited to sniper fire.
Phase II of Cochise began on 19 August. BLT 1 / 3 transferred to the operational control of the 5th Marines. Enemy contact, as in Phase I, was negligible, but the Marines uncovered several rice caches and an ammunition dump. Phase III opened on 25 August. The BLT continued search and destroy operations northeast from Hiep Duc to Que Son. It encountered only snipers. When the battalion arrived at Que Son on 27 August Cochise ended. The next day the BLT moved by helicopters to Chu Lai where it began re-embarkation. Beacon Gate / Cochise produced good results for SLF Alpha; the BLT claimed 59 VC/NVA killed and 65 detained at a cost of nine Marines dead and 51 wounded.
THE ABOVE OPERATIONS ARE CREDITED
TO 1/3 COMBAT HISTORY FILE AND THE BOOK, "SEMPER FI VIETNAM"
Beacon Gate / Cochise
(7-11 August 1967, 11-27 August 1967)