SEATO troops storm Borneo beach
KOTA BELUD, North Borneo — A combined landing force of U.S. Marines and British Sherwood Foresters stormed across the beaches of this isolated area Tuesday and moved inland ahead of schedule to launch SEATO Operation Saddle Up.
By mid-afternoon, the main command post, under Marine Col. Roy S. Batterton, was set up less than a mile from the landing beach. Col. Batterton, with a combined staff of U.S. Marine and British officers, was controlling troop movements.
Vehicles were able to move inland about a mile. From there, Marines and Foresters prepared to march forward despite severe jungle temperatures.
Because of the rough terrain and the lack of roads, supplies will be brought forward by back pack and helicopters.
TO HELP SIMULATE the realism of an actual beach landing, only one day's supply of water was brought in.
"This will test our resupply ability," said Col. Batterton.
Troopers of both nations moved forward through thick jungle and dense vegetation onto an open plain.
THE FIRST CASUALTY of Operation Saddle Up occurred on a Monday night jungle patrol when U.S. Marine PFC Paul J. Commander of Norfolk, Va., was bitten on the leg by a cobra.
Corpsmen immediately applied a tourniquet and suction cup. A helicopter was dispatched from the aircraft carrier Thetis Bay and Commander was airlifted back to the carrier by the 362nd Marine Sq. chopper. He was given anti-venin and was later reported out of danger.
Maj. Michael Sparks, operations officer of the Marine battalion, credited the precision teamwork of Navy landing units and the 1st Marine Air Wg. with enabling the operation to move ahead of schedule.
VICE ADM. FREDERICK N. Kivette, Seventh Fleet commander, visited British and Marine units during the day.
"I was greatly impressed with the wonderful coordination between the U.S. and United Kingdom staffs in this operation," he said.
Adm. Kivette and Sir Richard Hull, commander-in-chief of the British Far East Land Forces, drove up to the Marine command post in a Marine Mule.