The first major engagement of the Vietnam War, Operation Starlite was launched on 18th August 1965 under the command of Oscar Colonel Peatross and involved 2 rifle batallions (one each from the 3rd and 4th batallion) as well as all supporting ground, air, and sea-borne forces. 


Responding to intelligence supplied by a deserter that the 1st  Viet Cong regiment were amassing in the village of Van Tuong, 15 miles southeast of the Marine base at Chu Lai, the US  launched a pre-emptive strike against the Viet Cong forces in a bid to protect the base from attack. After 6 days of bitter fighting, the conflict resulted in a US victory as the majority of the Viet Cong forces retreated, having suffered extensive losses, with over 600 fatalities and an unknown number of wounded. 

In the above photograph, tanks, infantry and older UH-34 helicopters of the Special Landing Force can be seen together in the opening stages of the operation. 

 The original image can be found here.