On August 3, 1966, U.S. Marine units commence Operation Prairie, a sequel to an earlier operation in the area (Operation Hastings), which involves a sweep just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) against three battalions of the North Vietnamese 324B Division. Its job was to eliminate North Vietnamese Army forces south of the DMZ. During August, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, 3rd Battalion 4th Marines and other units saw heavy fighting with the NVA 324B division. Prairie was a string of battles that was fought in the foothills south of the DMZ. Some of these areas were called: Mutter’s Ridge, the Razorback, Hill 400, Hill 484 and The Rockpile. 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. An additional 1,500 Marines from Seventh Fleet ships off Quang Tri Province conducted amphibious landings on September 15 to assist in the operation, which lasted until September 19 and resulted in a reported 1,397 communist casualties.
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