Beginning in the summer of 1965, 3/4 (Third Bn, 4th Marines) were faced with an expanding tactical area of operational responsibility (TAOR) and shrinking numbers due to insufficient replacements coming in to fill combat losses. As a result, the Marines began working directly with the Popular Forces, local militias made up of old men and boys too young to be drafted into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The plan was approved by General Lewis Walt, the commander of III Marine Amphibious Force and overall Marine Commander in Vietnam at the time, as well as General Nguyen Van Chuan, the local ARVN commander. The Marines were given operational control of the PF platoons near Phu Bai.
Working directly with the PF were General Walt and Lt. General Victor Krulak, both veterans of the Banana Wars in Central America in the ’30s. The Banana Wars were instrumental in the formation of Marine “Small Wars” doctrine, codified in the “Small Wars Manual,” which remained the Marine counter-insurgency manual until it was replaced by FM 8-2, “Counter-Guerrilla Operations.”
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