The original "McNamara Barrier" concept; thought provoking, innovative, ground breaking, technologically advanced. So exacting, it was thought to be overwhelming to the North Vietnamese but United States combat forces fighting on the DMZ knew better. An eighteen year old Marine could have told Secretary of State McNamara his "conceptual barrier" would never work because he had over looked one small factor, "North Vietnamese artillery." How in God's holy name could men who adhered to such acclaim be so ignorant to basic facts of war? One sixty foot tower, part of the barrier, set in place by air lasted less than twenty-four hours before NVA artillery reduced it to scrap wood near FSB Gio Linh
1st Searchlight Battery's original displacement orders; the unit was initially "top secret" due to it's connection to the McNamara Barrier but shortly after arriving in Vietnam their role rapidly changed. Highly effective on perimeter's and in the field, "mules" were deployed in platoons being sent both north, south, east to the coast of the South China Sea and west into the Khe Sanh TAOR. The NVA soon learned the night no longer was theirs; 1st Searchlight Battery's lights illuminated the dark perimeters of Gio Linh, Con Thien, Camp Carroll, Khe Sanh, and other areas where North Vietnamese soldiers had used the cover of darkness to attack Marine outposts. The "Mules" had an "immediate positive effect" wherever they were deployed.
Last 1st SL Battery update: 4/10/2010