Siege of Dak To

Siege of Dak To

May thru July of 1969

The buzz of the incoming rockets caught the men of the 299th Engineer Battalion (Combat) in their noon chow lines. One second they were standing around joking with one another, the next they were frantically scrambling for cover as panicked voices yelled “INCOMING!  INCOMING!”

Vietnam Magazine Article December 2007
by: Edward F Murphy
Copyright © 2007
Famous Author/Historian

“…it had been a brutal three months for the 299th. In that brief time the four companies defending Dak To suffered 45% casualties.”


Click here for the entire story


Many thanks to John Bobb for providing the information.  John writes:

… I thought a lot of the guys that arrived early enough for the 11/1967, Dak To action might find a website interesting.  I found it interesting because Dak To is where I was in March 1969, when I left country.  There was hardly anyone there.  My 1st. Lt. CO was the base cmdr., and I was the XO.  There is a website, basically called the defenders of Dak To.  That is enough info to find it.  Long story short, a bunch of engineers, etc. were left to defend the whole place, for an extended Battle.  Supposedly Gen. Abrams, showed up and asked the Americans where a cetain ARVN bn. was that he had ordered up there, and he found out they never showed up.  He left these Americans up there with their asses hanging out.  Anyway a mention about this website may be of interest.

20 thoughts on “Siege of Dak To

  1. There is an untold story about dak to that “no one” has said a word about. These men were called The Dirty 30. I know about these men, I was one of them. It was my honor to serve with them . I was an assistant gunner on a mortar tube.
    The story about The Dirty 30 needs to be told. It needs to be “declassified.” We were not a myth, we existed. We were a strong part in the defence of Dak To. We are the untold fighters/defenders of Dak To.
    Who is left to tell the untold story about The Dirty 30?
    We existed

    • I was there too from Jan’69 to Mar’69. A levy came down for all 11bravos to go to the field where I was assigned to the 1stAirCavalry. I have 2 pictures of the sign that reads ‘Security PLT. / Home of the Dirty 30 / 299th Engr BN (C)’. The best part of that experience was the beer drinking games we played after our duty shift waas over. I had the M-14 with a bipod.

  2. I Crewed a 283rd dustoff medivac and went into dakto many times during the seige..a cannon across the border fired at the helipad taking 20second to hit where we loaded was a short stop.i was awarded the cross of gallantry with bronze star by the vn govt..for going in ..we were told we were the only helicopters that landed there..once a cobra pilot circling the gun across the border told us when it fired at us.i still have the medal and award documents in 2 languages eng and vn…supplys including pigs were all air dropped..poor pigs .. spec 4 dell johnson us50293130 283rd med det pliku vn

    • We were told a 2000 man supply convoy was turned back by the NVA during the seige. the NVA forward observer called the artillery across the border every time we flew over the rise and came into sight of the NVA FO in and out 20sec. We landed on a US soldiers foot once that was helping load the wounded..he didnt even have time to yell..we evaced a lot of Vietnamese, men, women etc if I remember right.. my co.was not told how bad it was in there. And the cannons across the border were off limits to return fire…at least by the cobra gun ship over them.US50203130 sp4 us army.Dell Johnson 1948 to date 2014 fbks alaska

    • Dell, I was a combat engineer with the 299th Engineer Battalion and was wounded during the Siege of Dak To.
      It was the brave man like you who saved my life, you all are my heroes.
      Thank you so much for all you did.
      Your brother forever, Donald Farrar

  3. Please don’t forget the men of the 1/92nd A battery. They stood their ground and returned fire as they were being fired on. They lost 5 good men when a 122 rocket landed in their para pit and many more were wounded. While the South Vietnamese Artillery hid in heir bunkers. We were there too.

    • I took pictures of those guns about 4 hours before the rockets hit them.
      I’d be happy to share them with anyone interested.
      Shoot me an email address where to send them.
      I was with the 299th Engrs.

      • . I am interested in seeing the pictures you took. My e-mail is I was with A Battery, 1/92 during the Siege of Dak To. We had four tubes at Dak To and two at Ben Het. From May to June we had 8 KIA and 33 WIA for a casualty rate of 60%.

      • D Company 299th Engineers. I was there all the way through 69. Did the mind sweeps from Dak To to Ben Het.

      • I was with A Co. 299th. I was across the air strip when the 8 inch took that dirrect hit. We walked accross the air strip picking up body parts and putting them where we were told. I have memories that will never leave. I’d like to see the pictures. Thanks, Tom what co. where you in? I wa in A Co. 3rd platton.

    • Vic, I was with the 1/92 also, working for LTC Thompson. The ARVNs were unprepared and not motivated enough to do us any good. The Engineers and the artillery (dusters, quad 50s, 105s, 155s and 175/8″ pieces) were what held Dak To together. LTC Thompson assigned me to submit the Presidential Unit Citation for the 1/92 when he left the command. I could never understand why the PUC was downgraded to a Valorous Unit Award until I started reading the Nixon Tapes transcriptions and learned that we had been hung out to dry, and that it was to appear that the ARVNs did all the heavy lifting. The Engineers confirm this, as do the MACV types I’ve been in contact with. I am resubitting our PUC and am intending to include the Engineers in the citation. Let me know if you have any Engineer contacts, or any information about the ARVN’s failure to perform during that fateful time. Brave Cannons! Gunn Haydon, SP6E6, HHB 1/92, Oct 68 – Oct 69.

    • The Engineers at Dakto showed only rank and 18th Engineer Brigade patch. Most wore rank pins (not sewed patch) so they could be removed ” as a last resort”. Our Dak To Defender patches were issued just prior to leaving in mid July, by companies, from Col. Newman Howard, BN. Commander.

  4. I served with Charlie Co 299th 1-66 to 11-66. Transferred to HHc in Nov 66. spent next 2 months spraying pentaprime on the taxi way at Kontum Special Forces camp. came home Jan 1967. I’d like to thank all of those who served. I’m proud to tell everyone I served in the 299th. I’m now 100% disable agent orange connected,

      • Hi Jim, I don’t remember you but I’ve run across your name many times looking for people who served with us, I have only found 2 so far Jack Mircoff from New Jersey And James Herron in Indiana. I also live in Elkhart Ind.

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