While heavy fighting continues in several parts of Vietnam, American, and Vietnamese forces have been attempting to protect a part of the vital rice harvest from Viet Cong attack.
While heavy fighting continues in several parts of Vietnam, American, and Vietnamese forces have been attempting to protect a part of the vital rice harvest from Viet Cong attack. The effort, which has been strikingly successful is being carried out in Quang Ngai Province northwest of Chu Lai and is known as Operation Harvest Moon.
A complex of villages in the valleys northwest of Chu Lai Containing about seven thousand persons organised combined working parties to harvest an estimated 40 thousand kilos of rice during a four-day harvesting period. The 2nd Battalion of the U.S. Fourth Marines and a company of South Vietnamese Popular Forces mounted a guard over the harvest.
The Viet Cong have made heavy inroads into previous harvests; in this case, they first attempted to purchase the rice and were turned down. The n the threatened to simply take the crops if the villagers refused to sell, and the Marines and popular forces were sent in.
The villagers were described as jubilant as the harvesting went forward under the guns of the soldiers. The Viet Cong were reported sitting helplessly atop surrounding hills watching their food supply vanish into the protected villages. The villagers, then moved into the upper valleys and, still under the guns of the soldiers, happily harvested rice planted by the Viet Cong.
The guarding solder - backed up by the large American forces at Chu Lai - also mounted guard over the collection and storage points of the rice. Military spokesmen say they are hopeful that the Viet Cong may get hungry enough to come down out of the hills.