Operation Starlite was the first offensive military action conducted by a purely U.S. military unit during the Vietnam War. The operation was launched based on intelligence provided by Major General Nguyen Chanh Thi, the commander of the South Vietnamese forces in northern I Corps area. Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt devised a plan to launch a pre-emptive strike against the Viet Cong regiment to nullify the threat on the Chu Lai base.
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The operation was conducted as a combined arms assault involving ground, air and naval units. U.S. Marines were deployed by helicopter insertion into the designated landing zone while an amphibious landing was used to deploy other Marines.