One Magnificent Bastard
Most Marines know that the leathernecks of 2d Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment are known as “The Magnificent Bastards.” That title originated in 1965 with the battalion’s arrival in Vietnam. They gained honor and glory a couple of years later at the Battle of Dai Do under the leadership of then-Lieutenant Colonel William “Wild Bill” Weise.
Now a retired brigadier general, Weise is the central figure in “One Magnificent Bastard.” BGen Weise is a perfect example of why the relationship between Marine Corps leaders and the men they lead is so powerful.
Intuitively, he knows that Marines will accomplish what is expected of them, and that Marines excel when challenged. Marines seek great leadership, and Bill Weise provided that in a long, illustrious active-duty career and continues to provide that dynamic leadership today. This is his story.
Having completed boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in 1951, during a time when most newly made Marines were sent first to Infantry School and then directly to combat in Korea, Weise internalized the importance of training Marines to know their weapons, and of ensuring that his Marines were physically conditioned so that they could defeat any enemy.
Throughout his 31-year career, he challenged himself and his Marines to excel in their preparation for success in combat. At the small village of Dai Do in Vietnam, his leadership skills were put to the supreme test. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of this book describe the incredible odds that Weise’s battalion landing team faced during a three-day period against the 320th NVA Division. The price of this book is worth it for these three chapters alone.
But BGen Weise is much more than a great combat leader. His life story, both before and after the Battle of Dai Do, contains compelling examples of this exceptional man’s qualities. His faith in God, his love of family and the deep respect that he holds for Marines—especially those whose lives were entrusted to his leadership—are values to be emulated by all of us. To this day, “The General” still takes care of his Marines.
An easy, well-paced, engrossing read, “One Magnificent Bastard” will be enjoyed by Marine families as well as military men and women of all services. As a tribute to BGen Weise and his commitment to the Marines and families of “The Magnificent Bastards,” the proceeds from book sales will be used to place bricks along the trails through the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center in Triangle, Va. Those bricks will contain the names of each 2/4 Marine killed in action over the years.
MGySgt James W. Rogers, USMC (Ret)
Editor’s note: The e-book is available for download from the MCA&F’s The MARINE Shop Amazon bookstore.
MGySgt James W. Rogers served 27 years in the Corps, entering as an infantryman and then making a lateral move to the comptroller field. In Vietnam, he was with 2d Bn, 4th Marines, “The Magnificent Bastards,” and fought at the Battle of Dai Do in 1968, earning the Bronze Star with combat “V.” He is on the board of the 2d Bn, 4th Marines Association. The association is now embarked on a program to install bricks honoring every Marine killed in action while a member of the battalion.