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lets of Dong Lai and Thong Nghia across the stream. The Marines would
attack north into the hamlets of Dinh To and Thuong Do.

Following his orders to continue the pressure. Lieutenant Colonel
Weise ordered Company H into the assault. He told First Lieutenant Prescott,
the company commander, to pass through the lines of Companies E and
G and seize Dinh To. Leaving the line of departure about 1300, Company
H fought its way into about a third of the hamlet. At that point, the
enemy counterattacked. While the company maintained its positions, Lieutenant
Prescott radioed for assistance, believing that he would be overwhelmed
by the next enemy attack.41

According to Lieutenant Colonel Weise, Captain Livingston in Dai Do
did not wait for orders. He gathered up what remained of his company,
about 30 men, and rushed forward into Dinh To. Lieutenant Prescott remembered
the change in his men when they learned that Company E was on its way:

We were
really desperate. Then my radio operator told me, "Captain Livingston
is coming." I knew then that we would be O.K. I yelled "Echo is coming."
The cry was repeated by others, "Echo is coming . . . Echo is coming."
Everyone felt like I did.42

For a time, both companies rallied and appeared to have gained the
upper hand, but not for long. Although Lieutenant Prescott sustained
a serious wound and was evacuated to the rear, Second Lieutenant Bayard
V. Taylor assumed command of Company H and effectively took control.
The two companies fought their way through a series of trenches until
stopped by an enemy machine gun. At that juncture, the North Vietnamese
mounted yet another attack. According to Lieutenant Taylor:

enemy counterattack dwarfed the fighting that had gone before in intensity
and volume. I recall seeing banana trees and the masonry walls of a
hootch cut down by the [NVA] automatic weapons fire. The bushes to our
front seemed to be alive with heavily camouflaged NVA soldiers.43

Sergeant James W. Rogers, an acting platoon leader with Company E,
remembered much the same: "NVA soldiers were all over... as soon as
you shot one, another would pop up in his place. We were receiving a
lot of machine gun fire." Rogers credited the "coolness and calmness"
of the Company E commander. Captain Livingston, "who seemed to be everywhere,"
with keeping the Marines "from panicking."44

About 1430, Lieutenant Colonel Weise, who had moved his forward command
post to Dai Do, ordered the two companies to disengage and return to
the battalion command post. An injured Captain Livingston, unable to
walk because of machine gun rounds in both his legs, insisted that he
not be helped to the rear until the rest of the wounded had been evacuated.
Under the cover of Marine airstrikes and supporting artillery, the two
companies pulled back with all of their wounded to the relative safety
of Dai Do.

By this time, Weise received the information that the ARVN mechanized
battalion had occupied Dong Lai, about 500 meters to the west of Dai
Do. With the approval of Colonel Hull, the Marine battalion commander
worked out a plan for the Marine and ARVN battalion to advance abreast
along both sides of the stream-the Marines again to move into Dinh To
and the ARVN to push from Dong Lai to Thuong Nghia, a distance of some
1,000 meters to the northwest. According to Weise, "coordination and
communication was difficult at best," but he had no spare officer to
send as a liaison to the ARVN. Both he and his operations officer, Major
George E Warren, however, talked by radio to the U.S. Army advisor with
the ARVN unit who assured them that the ARVN battalion commander understood
and agreed to the plan.45

For the attack, Weise selected Companies G and F. Although Company
G was down to about 40 men, it still had four officers. Company F, which
had been reinforced by the platoon at My Loc, had about 80 men. Captain
Vargas' Company G was to be in the lead followed "in trace by Company
F." The idea was for Company G to advance rapidly until it encountered
enemy resistance and then for Company F to push through and continue
the attack. Lieutenant Colonel Weise and a small command group accompanied
Company G. Major Warren, the operations officer, assumed command of
the perimeter formed by Companies E and H in Dai Do. Company B remained
in An Loc in what had become the BLT rear sector.46

Close to 1600, under cover of Marine air and artillery, the two companies
moved into the attack. This time, Company G only met sporadic small
arms fire as it pushed through Dinh To. Company F, however, became bogged
down in the rice paddies east of the hamlet where it came under artillery
and heavy automatic weapons fire from its northeast. Unaware that Company
F was not behind it, Company G drove to the southern edge of Thuong
Do. At that point, however, the company took fire from its front and

Page 302 (1968: The Defining Year)