This U.S. Marine Corps film chronicles Operation Dewey Canyon, which was the last major offensive by the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. It took place from January 22 through March 18, 1969 and involved a sweep of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA)-dominated A Shau Valley by the 9th Marine Regiment reinforced by elements of the 3rd Marine Regiment. The 56 days of combat were a tactical success but did not stop the overall flow of North Vietnamese men and matériel into South Vietnam. The 9th Marine Regiment and attached units were awarded the Army Presidential Unit Citation for their actions in Operation Dewey Canyon.
Dewey Canyon would be a three-phase operation. In Phase I, the regiment would move into the area of operations and establish fire support bases for the supporting artillery of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines (2/12). Phase II would consist of patrolling near the fire support bases and aligning the infantry units for a jump-off into the next phase. Phase III called for a conventional three-battalion advance southward, with the infantry units moving overland rather than by helicopter because heavy anti-aircraft defenses in the area of the Phase III objectives made movement by foot preferable to General Davis' usual concept of high-mobility heliborne operations. But because the area was in the remote southwest corner of Quang Tri Province, helicopters would still be critical in the early phases and in resupplying the troops on the ground.
In the long history of the Vietnam War, Dewey Canyon stands as one of the most successful American operations. Casualties, however, were heavy for both sides. Officially, 1,617 NVA were reported killed and five captured, while 130 Marines were killed and 920 wounded. The Marines had effectively disrupted a major enemy logistical center in Base Area 611, including in their total haul more than 1,000 NVA small arms, some 807,000 rounds of ammunition and about 220,000 pounds of rice. Marine fixed-wing aircraft flew 461 close air support missions, and Marine helicopters flew nearly 1,200 sorties. U.S. Army helicopters also flew numerous sorties in support of the Marines. The artillery fired about 134,000 rounds during the operation. This expenditure of effort proved worth the cost, as NVA plans for a big 1969 spring offensive in the I Corps Tactical Zone were derailed and, in fact, the Communists could launch no such offensive in the northern provinces that entire year. A major enemy attempt to strike at the population centers east of Base Area 611 had been forestalled by Dewey Canyon.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com