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9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

At 0600 on 8 March 1965, Rear Admiral Donald W. Wulzen, commander of the Seventh Fleet's Amphibious Task Force, issued the traditional order to "land the landing force." Soon afterward, Vancouver (LPD 2), Mount McKinley (AGC 7), Henrico (APA 45), and Union (AKA 106) began disembarking Marines for the movement ashore. When the 3d Battalion, 9th Marines crossed the beach between 0902 and 0918, it became the first battalion-size American ground combat unit deployed ashore in the extended Southeast Asian conflict.

The landing of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Da Nang in 1965 marked the beginning of large-scale Marine involvement in Vietnam. Even before the full 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade had been deployed to Danang, American leaders were considering the use of these Marine and following Army units in active operations against the Viet Cong. The passive defense mission was shelved on 1 April 1965 when President Johnson authorized the Marines at Danang to move out and engage Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in combat.

By summer 1968, after the enemy's Tet Offensive, Marine Corps strength in Vietnam rose to a peak of approximately 85,000. The Marine withdrawal began in 1969 as the South Vietnamese began to assume a larger role in the fighting; the last ground forces were out of Vietnam by June 1971. The Vietnam War, longest in the history of the Marine Corps, exacted a high cost as well with over 13,000 Marines killed and more than 88,000 wounded. In the spring of 1975, Marines evacuated embassy staffs, American citizens, and refugees in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Saigon, Republic of Vietnam.

In late 1990 elements of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade continued to be involved in flood relief in the well-named Operation Mud Pack in the Philippines.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:18:28 ZULU