Operation Hastings

Operation Hastings was an American military operation in the Vietnam War.

Having been threatened by numerous encounters with enemy troops in the Cam Lo area, on July 7, 1966, United States Marine Corps General Lew Walt led a joint U.S. Marine and ARVN force of 8,500 and 3,000 troops in a strike through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Plans to maintain U.S. occupation of the Cam Lo area in the Quang Tri province soon became known as Operation Hastings.

Under the command of Brigadier General Lowell E. English, the operation continued on July 15. His responsibility was to secure landing sites so that more U.S. Marines and ARVN soldiers could occupy the rear of the province. However, the major goal of the operation was to thwart the North Vietnamese 324 B Division's efforts to take control of Quang Tri Province. The mission was a strategic success in terms of driving off the 324 B Division, but the People's Army of Vietnam (NVA) forces successfully withdrew across the DMZ. When the ease with which the NVA was able to move across the DMZ became apparent, the US military leadership ordered a steady build-up of U.S. Marines near the DMZ from 1966 to 1968.

The major clash between the allies and the invading North Vietnamese occurred in July 1966. For several weeks before this time Marine reconnaissance teams had been sighting groups of North Vietnamese near the village of Cam Lo in the east central part of Quang Tri Province. By early July reconnaissance teams in the Cam Lo area were almost invariably finding themselves in contact with large enemy units. Interrogation of prisoners and analyses of captured enemy documents confirmed that no fewer than 5,000 regulars of the 324B Division of the North Vietnamese Army were in South Vietnam, preparing to overrun Quang Tri Province.