OPERATION DOUBLE EAGLE PHASE I
January 28, 1966 � February 18, 1966
Battalion Landing Team 3/1 commenced embarkation on January 7, 1966 on assigned shipping in Okinawa, Japan for deployment to the Chu Lai Enclave, Republic of Vietnam. The BLT was combat loaded on assigned shipping prepared to executed such missions as might be assigned while enroute to the Republic of Vietnam. Embarkation of the BLT was completed on January 12, 1966 and on January 13th sailed for Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands arriving on January 16th. During the period January 17-21 the BLT conducted extensive pre-operational training. Culmination of the training was a practice landing was conducted across Green Beach in Subic Bay. The BLT sailed for Mindoro Island and conducted Operation Hilltop III in preparation for Operation DOUBLE EAGLE PHASE 1. The BLT sailed for the Republic of Vietnam on January 24th upon completion of back loading.
On January 27th final preparations for Operation DOUBLE EAGLE PHASE 1 with pre-day transfer of Kilo Company from the USS PAUL REVERE (APA-248) to the USS CATAMOUNT (LSD-17). The morning of January 28th (D-Day) was characterized by heavy seas. Notwithstanding Kilo Company (Wave One) embarked in 8 LVTP�s departed from the USS CATAMOUNT (LSD-17) and landed on Blue Beach at H-Hour 0700H; proceeded inland and secured BLT objective Alpha approximately 200 meters inland without opposition; establish and organize LVTP assembly area; from Objective ALPHA, be prepared to provide support by fire to Companies L, M, and I and be prepared to conduct search and destroy operations as maybe directed. When command Group Alpha established ashore the BLT shifted operational control from CTG 79.5 to Commander Task Force DELTA.
The area of operations was Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh Provinces, which has a large Vietnamese population with scattered groups of Montegnards mountain tribesmen. The province was virtually under Viet Cong (VC) control. The Viet Minh recruited many non-communists to fight the French in the name of Nationalism during the 1946-1954 war. They are now attempting to place U.S. Forces in the same status as the French in the eyes of the people. Enemy units consisted of the following:
18th PAVN Regt 2,000 (Est)
2nd VC Regt 1,680
2 Battalions (LF) 850
1 Company (LF) 100
PAVN = Peoples Democratic Republic of Viet Nam
VC = Hard core (Main Force)
LF = Local guerillas
February 14-16, Command Group Alpha with assigned forces, provided the covering force for the retraction of all combat service support elements, combat support elements, Task Force Delta Command Group for the Beach Support Area and Command Group BRAVO. Command Group ALPHA with two reinforced rifle companies conducted ad tactical retraction across and closed out Blue Beach and subsequently reembarked aboard assigned shipping for movement to Chu Lai, Vietnam. The BLT on the afternoon of February 17 commenced debarkation from assigned shipping
Jim Keely, MGYSGT USMC Ret.