Norman Ira Phipps

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
20 October 1947 - 30 April 1968
Haysi, Virginia
Panel 53E Line 021


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Norman Ira Phipps

10 March 2005


by a friend.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In May of 1968, the North Vietnamese launched what has been called their "Tet II" offensive, striking 119 provincial and district capitals, military installations, and major cities including Saigon. Unlike Tet I, which was primarily a Viet Cong uprising, Tet II was almost entirely an NVA affair.

The battle of Dai Do actually began on April 30 with the ambush of a US Navy utility boat by elements of the 320th NVA Division at the junction of the Bo Dieu and Cua Viet rivers. Since Battalion Landing Team 2/4 was in the area, it was ordered to eliminate the threat to the crucial waterway.

"The Battle of Dai Do was a fierce and bloody struggle between an understrength Marine battalion landing team (2nd Bn, 4th Marines {BLT 2/4}) and major elements of the 320th North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Division during three hot, humid spring days in 1968 (30 April - 3 May). I was privileged to command those magnificent Marines and Sailors who stopped the well-equipped 320th in its tracks on the north bank of the Bo Dieu River and drove it back toward the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

"I would like to say that our success was part of a carefully orchestrated plan. It was not. We reacted first to hasty orders from higher headquarters, then to targets of opportunity, and finally to one desperate situation after another. That we succeeded was more a tribute to the extraordinary performance of individual Marines and Sailors and their small unit leaders than to brilliance or insight by higher echelons. Bravery, competence, initiative, toughness, and selflessness carried the day."

Then-LT COL William Weise, Commanding Officer, BLT 2/4
Brigadier General, USMC, Retired
From Memories of Dai Do

Faced by three Regiments of the 320th NVA Division, BLT 2/4 was forced to fall back to defensive positions north of the river, but they stopped the enemy attack. NVA reinforcements were turned back by the Army's 3rd Bn, 21st Infantry, Americal Division, which occupied blocking positions at Nhi Ha to the northeast.

The NVA attempt to open an invasion corridor into South Vietnam had failed. The "Magnificent Bastards" of 2/4 Marines and the 3/21st Infantry had saved the day, for if they had failed the NVA would have been free to overrun the major supply bases at Dong Ha and Quang Tri and the entire DMZ defenses would have been undermined. However, the cost had been high. The Marines suffered 81 dead and another 297 seriously wounded, while Army forces at Nhi Ha sustained 29 deaths and 130 wounded. But the enemy suffered even greater losses - not only did the NVA fail to achieve their objective, they also left 1,568 bodies on the battlefield.

After regrouping, 2/4 Marines were able to field four rifle companies of 1 officer and 40 men each.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009