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Do. Although one of the platoons reached the eastern edge of the hamlet,
the other remained in the open in a cemetery about 300 meters to the
east. At one point in the course of the afternoon, Captain Butler radioed
that he only had "26 effective Marines."19

Lieutenant Colonel Weise had wanted to reinforce Company F with Company
G, but these hopes were soon dashed. The company had prepared for the
helilift from Nhi Ha and Lam Xuan back to the battalion CP. After the
first wave of helicopters had taken out the 81mm mortar section and
some of the supplies, enemy artillery and mortars bombarded the landing
zone followed by a ground assault against the company positions. Left
with little choice, Captain Manuel S. Vargas,* the company commander,
canceled the rest of the helilift. The company beat back the enemy attack
and then Vargas ordered the company to make a night march back to Mai
Xa Chanh.20

Earlier in the afternoon, Colonel Hull had boarded one of the Navy
patrol boats, a lightly armed, 14-foot, fiberglass boat with a 35-horsepower
outboard motor that the Marines called "skimmers," to have a look at
the situation for himself. He first stopped at Dong Huan and discussed
the fighting and evacuation of the casualties with Lieutenant Prescott
and then joined Lieutenant Colonel Weise on board the "monitor." According
to Weise, Hull told him that now that the "battle was joined we had
to maintain pressure on the enemy to keep him off balance." Hull promised
the battalion commander operational control of Company B, 1st Battalion,
3d Marines, which had a platoon of LVTPs attached to it south of the
Bo Dieu.21

First Lieutenant George C. Norris, the Company B commander, radioed
Lieutenant Colonel Weise to report his availability. Weise briefed Norris
on the situation and then ordered "his company to mount the amtracs,
cross the river, attack and seize An Loc, the hamlet from which the
enemy had earlier attacked the Navy Utility Boat." At 1625, the first
of two waves of Company B landed on the northern shore of the Bo Dieu
River just south of An Loc under covering fire from the weapons of Task
Force Clearwater's River Assault Group boats. By 1710, the second wave
was ashore, but Company B had only succeeded in establishing a rather
insecure beachhead.22

The enemy greeted the company with automatic weapons, RPGs, mortars,
and heavy small arms fire, not only from inside An Loc but also from
the hamlet of Dai Do to the north, and from the hamlet of Dong Lai,
about 1,000 meters to the northwest and across the second or western
stream in the Dai Do sector. NVA recoilless rifles damaged several of
the amphibian tractors, disabling one of the amtracs and destroying
another. Despite the strong enemy resistance, in its initial assault,
the company pushed through into about half of An Loc. At this point,
the casualty toll forced the advance to falter. Lieutenant Norris, the
company commander, was dead. A hidden enemy sniper killed the Marine
lieutenant as he was being helped to the rear after being seriously
wounded. According to Lieutenant Colonel Weise, who had carefully monitored
the events ashore, about an hour before dark, he "ordered Bravo Company
(now confused, disorganized, and with only one officer left) to halt,
reorganize, form a defensive perimeter in the western half of the hamlet.
. . ."23

Concerned at the same time about being able to coordinate three separate
perimeters, the battalion commander also told Captain Butler of Company
F to gather his unit together as best he could outside of Dai Do and
withdraw to the positions held by Company H in Dong Huan. Under cover
of darkness and with supporting fires provided by Company B and Company
H, Company F reached Dong Huan without sustaining further casualties.
In fact, Captain Butler discovered that when he had reassembled his
company he had about twice the force that he thought he had. With the
establishment of the two defensive perimeters at Dong Huan in the north
and An Loc in the south, the fighting on the 30th was about over.

During the night of the 30th, the enemy made several probes at Dong
Huan, but Companies F and H with the assistance of friendly artillery
easily repulsed them. At 2330, although under artillery bombardment
by enemy guns north of the DMZ, Company G to the east completed its
night march to Mai Xa Chanh from Nhi Ha and Lam Xuan. Company E, however,
was still under operational control of the division and remained in
its defensive positions on Highway 1, northwest of the Dai Do complex.
In the day's action, both the North Vietnamese and the Marine BLT including
Company B from the 3d Marines had sustained heavy casualties. The Marines
reported approximately 90 enemy killed while suffering losses of 16
dead and 107 wounded.24

At the end of the long day, Lieutenant Colonel Weise remained frustrated.
He believed that if he had Companies E and G attached to him from the
very beginning that he could have seized both Dai Do and

* On December 26 1973, then Major Vargas legally changed his name
from Manuel Sando Vargas to Jay R. Vargas. Col Jay R. Vargas Biographical
File (RefSec, MCHC).




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