( 20-26 July 1967)
At sea on 17 July 1967, Lieutenant Colonel Emil W. Herich assumed command of BLT 2 / 3, relieving Major Broujos, who reverted to battalion executive officer. Lieutenant Colonel Herich had only a brief "shakedown;" SLF Bravo landed again on the 20th. The operation, Bear Chain, targeted the coastal region between Quang Tn City and the city of Hue. The mission was to attack the exposed seaward flank of the 806th VC Battalion and to destroy it, or at least drive it westward toward ARVN forces engaged in Operation Lam Son 87.
Southwest of the Bear Chain operational area, the 4th Marines was conducting a search and destroy operation named Fremont. As Bear Chain progress ed, it phased into Fremont. At 1400 on 21 July, BLT 2 / 3 switched to the operational control of the 4th Marines for the rest of the operation.
Bear Chain / Fremont produced the desired results. The enemy reacted as the Bear Chain planners had hoped. Communist units moved west toward Route 1, directly into the Lam Son 87 ARVN forces. In the following battle the South Vietnamese troops distinguished themselves. They held their positions with determination and 252 Viet Cong died. A secondary gain of Bear Chain/Fremont was the capture of an extremely large rice stock.
Late the afternoon of 24 July, BLT 2 / 3 Marines, searching the village of Don Que, less than a kilometer east of Route 555, captured a VC suspect, the only male found in Don Que. Company F received sniper fire from the village just before they captured the suspect. A search of the town turned up enormous quantities of rice. Villagers stated that the Viet Cong had told them to harvest their rice and be ready for the VC rice collectors who would arrive "within a few days." The final tally of rice was over 37 tons. The Marines bagged it and flew it out in HMM-265's helicopters.
The BLT Marines had helped maul the 806th VC Battalion and confiscated its rice supply. Its purposes achieved, the Bear Chain portion of the operation ended on 26 July and SLF Bravo went back to sea. Nine Marines and two corpsmen died on the operation
THE ABOVE OPERATIONS ARE CREDITED
TO 1/3 COMBAT HISTORY FILE AND THE BOOK, "SEMPER FI VIETNAM"