The Hải Lăng Forest was the location of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) Base Area 101 which supported the PAVN 5th and 6th Regiments. Due to a lack of available forces in I Corps the base had not been targeted by the Marines and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).
The operation began with a helicopter assault by the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines and the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines directly into the forest at Landing Zone Dove ( ) and then a northeast sweep while the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines acted as a blocking force.
On the morning of 11 October Company C, 1/3 Marines was hit by PAVN mortar and small arms fire and then a ground assault, which was repulsed.
On the afternoon of 12 October Company C, 1/1 Marines engaged PAVN soldiers in thick jungle, several Marines were wounded and so Company C fell back and formed a perimeter to allow medevac helicopters to evacuate the wounded. Shortly after the evacuation was completed Company C was attacked on two sides by an estimated 3 PAVN companies. Company D was sent to reinforce Company C and together they succeeded in driving off the attack. The following morning the Marines claimed 40 PAVN dead were found around the perimeter, Marines losses were 8 dead and 39 wounded. CPL William T. Perkins, Jr. would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.:139–141
The Marines continued their sweep finding a number of recently evacuated PAVN camps, but the PAVN avoided any further engagements with the Marines. Further north, 2 Battalions of the ARVN Airborne Division mounted Operation Lam Son 138 and on the morning of 20 October they engaged the PAVN 416th Battalion, part of the 5th Regiment, and claimed killing 197 PAVN.:142
The operation was indecisive. The PAVN were not driven out of the Hải Lăng Forest, but their operations were severely disrupted. Marine losses were 34 dead and 143 wounded, while the US claimed that the PAVN lost 53 killed and 3 captured and 26 weapons were recovered.
- Telfer, Gary (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 139. ISBN 978-1494285449.