right flank. According to Weise, he told Captain Var-gas to halt and for Company
F to move up, only then to discover that the latter company was not where he
thought it was. About the same time, about 1700, Company G came under automatic
weapons fire on its left flank and left rear from across the stream, an area
supposedly secured by the ARVN mechanized battalion in its armored personnel
carriers (APCs). In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Weise remembered that when "we
first received fire from over there, we thought it was them [the ARVN] . . .
We saw a large number over there to the left and we didn't realize that they
were NVA and not ARVN that were on the move until we realized that we saw no
APCs. Ten or 15 minutes we looked at those guys."47
BLT 2/4 was in an untenable situation. In effect, its lead companies were
in unprotected perimeters with enemy troops in between them. Weise later related,
"There was just one hell of a donnybrook and 'Charlie, bar the door situation.'"
The battalion commander called in artillery, "all around and top of us." An
enemy RPG round killed Weise's Sergeant Major, John Malnar, and Weise himself
was seriously wounded by an NVA AK-47 rifle. The battalion commander praised
Captain Vargas, who also had sustained a minor wound, for his conduct of the
battle: "He was everywhere at once . . ."48
Company G stopped the initial enemy frontal attack and then turned around "and picked off most of the enemy" coming at it from the rear. According to Weise, "every Marine who was able to shoor, including wounded who could handle a weapon, fired and the fighting was violent and close." Using the tactic of withdrawal by fire teams, with two able-bodied Marines dragging a wounded man, the company fought its way back to the positions held by Company F. The two companies then retreated to Dinh To where they were met by Major Warren, the operations officer, who had organized a provisional platoon supported by amphibian tractors.49
After evacuating the most seriously wounded, including Lieutenant Colonel
Weise,* by 1800, the battalion had once more consolidated its perimeter in Dai
Do. With replacements and some reorganization, each company consisted of 40
men and 1 officer.
Photo courtesy of BGen William Weise, USMC (Ret)
A seriously wounded but still feisty LtCol William Weise,
with a cigar in his mouth, lies on a litter holding his own albumin serum bottle
awaiting medical evacuation. In the background, Navy medical personnel and Marines
attend to other wounded.
Major Warren had assumed command of the battalion from Lieutenant
Colonel Weise and was in turn relieved later that night by Major Charles W.
Knapp, the battalion executive officer, who had maintained the BLT rear headquarters
on board the Iwo Jima (LPH 2). In the fighting for the Dai Do village
complex on 2 May, the 3d Marines reported casualties of 40 Marines dead and
111 wounded and the killing of nearly 380 of the enemy.
The fight tor Dai Do was practically over. Although there were further probes
on the night of 2-3 May on the Marine lines in the hamlet of Dai Do, by daybreak
there was little sign at the enemy. Aerial observers saw small groups of North
Vietnamese retreating north from Thuong Do and called in airstrikes. Later that
day, Lieutenant Colonel Charles V. Jarman's 1st Battalion, 3d Marines took over
from BLT 2/4 responsibility for the Dai Do sector. The lst Battalion made a
sweep through the hamlets of Dinh To and Thuong Do without incident. Companies
G and H of BLT 2/4, which were temporarily under the operational control of
Jarman, followed in trace and collected the Marine dead
* An Associated Press photograph taken at the time shows a still feisty Lieutenant
Colonel Weise with a fat cigar in his mouth lying on a litter holding his
own plasma bottle in an evacuation area near Dai Do. Clipping from the Philadelphia
Evening Bulletin, p. 2 (Weise Folder, Dai Do).