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"Sparrow Hawk" or "Bald Eagle" rapid-reaction forces ?

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  • "Sparrow Hawk" or "Bald Eagle" rapid-reaction forces ?

    Reconnaissance Marines generally employed two types of long-range patrols in this massive intelligence effort. The 8- to 12-man, heavily armed Stingray patrols operated within range of friendly artillery. Their mission was to seek, fix, and destroy the enemy with all available supporting arms. These patrols would be reinforced by "Sparrow Hawk" or "Bald Eagle" rapid-reaction forces, if the opportunity arose to destroy the entire enemy force. In the more remote areas of Quang Tri Province, beyond artillery range, "Key Hole" patrols would be used. Much smaller in size, normally composed of four to five men, and armed with only essential small arms, ammunition, and communications equipment, "Key Hole" patrols were to remain out of sight and observe. If discovered, they were to evade the enemy and attempt escape. These long-range patrols would not normally be reinforced unless artillery could be inserted; if under fire and taking casualties, the team would be extracted by helicopter.

    The 3d Marine Division, as Davis later stated, "never launched an operation without acquiring clear definition of the targets and objectives through intelligence confirmed by recon patrols. High mobility operations [were] too difficult and complex to come up empty or in disaster."

    1968 The definitive year
    Semper Fidelis

    George T. Curtis