On the night of 18/19 March the Vietcong 1st Regiment overran the ARVN 936th Regional Force Company outpost at Hill 141 northwest of Quảng Ngãi, the ARVN 2nd Division commander General Lãm decided to send a reaction force to retake the outpost. The 120 man ARVN force collected from Quảng Ngãi by helicopters from HMM-261, but as they approached the outpost they were met with heavy machine gun fire damaging 8 of 10 helicopters and only 3 helicopters were able to land to offload their troops. Given the heavy fire encountered the decision was made to abort the operation and while Marine jets bombed the outpost, the helicopters returned to evacuate the ARVN troops. General Lãm then approached the 3rd Marine Division commander General Wood B. Kyle to mount a joint operation to retake the outpost. On 19 March General Lãm and Colonel Oscar F. Peatross planned an operation similar to the recently concluded Operation Utah. The plan called for the 3rd Battalion 7th Marines and the ARVN 5th Airborne Battalion to be deployed by helicopters, 4 km west of Hill 141 and advance east in 2 columns to retake the Hill.