Operation Prairie

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Operation Prairie
Part of the Vietnam War
U.S. Marine with 3d Battalion, 4th Marines moves forward during Operation Prairie.jpg
American Marines from 3rd Battalion 4th Marines during Operation Prairie.
Date August 3 – October 27, 1966
Location Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone
Result Indecisive[citation needed]
Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of South Vietnam.svg Republic of Vietnam
North Vietnam North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
Lew Walt
Col. Alexander D. Cereghino
Lt Col. Arnold E. Bench[citation needed]
Vo Nguyen Giap[citation needed]
Units involved
2/4, 1/4, 3/4,2/5, 2/7, 2/9 and 3/12 Marine Battalions
14,228 helicopter sorties and 5,190 bomber sorties supported[citation needed]
324B NVA Division[citation needed]
Casualties and losses
226 Marines killed
1,159 Marines wounded[1]
At least 5 helicopters shot down[2][3]
U.S. reported 1,329 killed and 27 POW[1]

Operation Prairie (August 3 – October 27, 1966) was a U.S. military operation in northern South Vietnam to eliminate North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). During August, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 4th Marine Regiment and other units engaged in heavy fighting with the NVA 324B Division. Prairie was a string of battles that were fought in the foothills south of the DMZ. The commander of E Company 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, Capt. Howard V. Lee, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his outstanding bravery during this operation.[4]

According to estimates by the American command, NVA/NLF forces lost 1,339 killed and 27 captured. 248 weapons were captured by U.S. forces.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Operation Prairie" (PDF). U.S operation report. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Fails, William R. (1978). Marines & Helicopters, 1962–1973. Washington D.C.: History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps. p. 111. 
  3. ^ Coan, James P. (2004). Con Thien: The Hill of Angels. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press. p. 49. 
  4. ^ Shulimson, Jack (1982). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: An Expanding War 1966. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 363. ISBN 978-1494285159.