On 24 March 1968 3rd Marine Division commander MG Rathvon M. Tompkins proposed a combined arms operation against the area around Mũi Lay to reduce PAVN infiltration and destroy artillery that had been targeting the Cửa Việt and Đông Hà bases and supporting PAVN infantry operations south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The operational area would extend from the southern edge of the DMZ 14km north to Mũi Lay and 25km inland from the coast. The plan was submitted to III Amphibious Force (III MAF) and then to LG Richard G. Stilwell's Provisional Corps and then MACV for approval. On 21 June, after consulting with representatives from III MAF, 7th Fleet and 7th Air Force, COMUSMACV General Creighton Abrams approved the plan with a start date of 1 July.
On 28 June reconnaissance aircraft from VMCJ-1 and the 7th Fleet began photo-reconnaissance of the target area and these were then used by Provisional Corps to develop the target lists. 5 Marine artillery batteries moved east along Route 9 to new firing positions south of the DMZ, while large quantities of ammunition were brought in to support the artillery.:546