(Kim Ki Sam/Stars and Stripes)

Dien Ban, Vietnam, Nov. 25, 1968: Pfc. Daniel H. Webb, left, and Pfc. Robert M. Lacus, writing a letter, relax a moment while on blocking position. In the background stands the ancient Cham tower, the octagonal Bang An tower.

The Marines were part of Operation Meade River, a cordon and search operation conducted by several regiments of the 1st Marine Division and the South Vietnamese army. The operation — which started Nov. 20 and would end Dec. 9 — had American Marines and South Vietnamese troops 7,000 strong systematically tightening a 15-mile circle in the “Dodge City” area south of Da Nang, where between 200 and 900 members of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army were holed up in caves and dugouts. The nickname was given due to frequent ambushes, firefights and rocket attacks on U.S. troops.

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