Armed Forces: The Next Marine Battle

At 9 a.m. on March 8, 1965, a 1,400-man force of the 9th Marines splashed ashore at Danang to become the first American ground-combat unit in South Viet Nam. The Communists were threatening to cut the country in two and the South Vietnamese army was collapsing. But that morning, the grunts in green met only rain, surf and a welcoming force of pretty girls. It was a placid preface to one of the bloodiest chapters in Marine Corps history.

Now the Marines are leaving Viet Nam. Earlier this month, the Corps' Third Amphibious...