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Vol 1 No. 26                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                August 26, 1966



Unit                     Page Unit                    Page Unit                    Page Unit                      Page
1/5 Photo                               6 2nd Bde Photo                      7 25th DivArty                        7 3/4 Cav Photo                     6
1/8 Arty Photo                     3 2nd Bde                                 7 25th DivArty Photo            7 3/4 Cav                                 6
1/27                                        3 2/9 Arty Photo                     4 25th Inf Div                          1 3/4 Cav Photo                     6
1/27 Photo                            3 2/14 Photo                             8 25th Inf Div                          8 3/13 Arty                              6
1/27                                        3 2/27 Photo                             1 25th Info Bn                         3 3/13 Arty                              7
1/27                                        7 2/27                                         6 25th Med Bn                        1 7th Surgical Photo              3
1/27                                        7 2/27                                         8 25th MP                                7 7th Surgical                          3
1/27                                        8 25th Admin                           7 25th MP                                8 Buddhists                             2
1/35 Photo                            4 25th ARVN Recon               6 3rd Bde                                  8 Combat Inf Badge               2
1/35 Photos                          4 25th Avn Bn Photo             6 3/1 Cav ROK                        1 MARS                                   1
1/69 Armor                            1 25th Avn Bn                         6 3/4 Cav                                  3 Yearbook Sales                    1

[The 1966 Vietnam issues of Tropic Lightning News were published in Saigon, and are of lower quality than later years that were printed in Japan.  Over the years the photographs and text have faded and it has been difficult to reproduce them.  Even when the photos are unclear, I have been included them to give a sense of the activities in the Division.]


3rd Bde., ROK Units Blast 172 V.C.

   A 23-man 3rd Brigade tank platoon and a Republic of Korea (ROK) rifle company killed 172 North Vietnamese (NVA) soldiers recently in a fiery six-hour, night-time battle near Pleiku.
   It was one of the bloodiest battles of the three-month-old Operation "Paul Revere."
   The 1st Plt., Co. B, 1st Bn., 69th Armor, was positioned five miles south-southwest of Duc Co in support of the ROK 9th Co., 3rd Bn., 1st Cav. Reg., when the action broke out.
   At about 11:15 pm. a ROK infantry lieutenant reported hearing digging and movement to the east of the unit's command post (CP) area.
   Illumination rounds from the company's mortar section revealed five NVA scurrying for cover.  That was the beginning of the six-hour battle that raged on a knoll in the middle of the jungle.
   The five tanks of the first platoon and ROK soldiers began reconnaissance by fire throughout the eastern side of the unit's outer perimeter.  They drew return fire immediately.
   "I figured they were wanting to get in as close as possible before they tried anything," said 2nd Lt. Charles E. Markham of Canyon, Tex., the armor platoon leader.  "We just hit them first."
   The enemy was only about 150 yards from the ROK CP area when the fighting began.   The NVA elements, estimated by platoon members to be numbering seven or eight, were scattered throughout the area to the east. They fired 60mm mortars and recoilless rifles into the allied camp.
   In the woodline to the south of the CP, NVA automatic weapons began firing at the tanks.
   "All the tank commanders kept their heads up and did an excellent job despite the heavy fire directed at them," Lt. Markham said.
   Many of the tanks took hits as bullets from the machine-guns ricocheted from the turrets, fenders and hulks.
   "There was an enemy soldier in a tree with a light machine gun," the platoon leader said, "and he kept firing at the tank commanders' heads as they looked out the turrets."
   "Needless to say, he wasn't there very long after we fired our 90mm high explosive rounds into the tree," the lieutenant said.
   Artillery from the 3rd Brigade Task Force supported the allied force all during the night by pouring artillery rounds onto the NVA positions and to the enemy's rear.  The NVA had nowhere to go.
   "There was no mass attack on our position," Lt. Markham said.  "There were only a lot of groups of eight or so."
   "We were able to see the people all night long thanks to the illumination dropped by the flare ships in our area, and the illumination rounds fired by the ROK mortars."
   "We didn't have more than 15 or 20 seconds of darkness at any one time after the battle started," the platoon leader explained.

Maj. Gen. Larsen Praises 3rd Bde.  Page 8



3 Nations
   Presentation Marks Unity

   Three commanding generals from the 25th divisions of the Army, Republic of Vietnam, (ARVN), Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) and the United States Army were presented plaques proclaiming their joint fraternity against oppression and tyranny.
   The presentation took place during a ceremony last Saturday at division headquarters as Gen. W.C. Westmoreland, Commander-in-Chief of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and other top military officials looked on.
   Representing the three divisions were Brig. Gen. Phan Trong Chinh, commander of the 25th ARVN Division, Maj. Gen. Kwak Choel Jung, commander of the 25th ROKA Division, and Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand. U.S. 25th division commander.
   The ceremony began as the commanders reviewed a troop formation composed of squads and colors from each nation.
   After their national anthems were played, squad leaders representing each unit presented their commanders with the plaques.
   The plaques were read by each of the commanding generals in their native language.  The plaques read: "By this proclamation, we hereby join in a fraternity for freedom comprised of soldiers of the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Vietnam, sharing a common purpose in the struggle against oppression and tyranny."
   "We reaffirm our faith in liberty and justice, and pledge our skills, resources and endeavors to the cause of freedom to all nations and all men."
   Gen. Weyand then added that proclamation put into words the objectives of Americans since the days of the American Revolution, and that he was proud to acknowledge the defense of freedom of the common objective pursued by the three brother divisions.

STAND TALL - Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware (l), Chief of Information, inspects members of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., Bunker Line Platoon as he makes a tour of the division perimeter line. (See story, page 8) MG Keith Ware inspects 2/27th Inf.



MARS Radio Opens to Cu Chi
By PFC Doug Kearney

   A new unofficial communications system has opened up to the men of the 25th, and it involves sending messages to Mars.
   MARS, which stands for Military Affiliate Radio System, is a world-wide network of military and civilian amateur radio operators who relay telephone and teletype messages for members of the military.
   Specifically, it works like this: Pvt. John Doe of Utica, N.Y., just came in from an operation.  Pvt. Doe realizes his unit was in some heavy fighting and his parents may worry about his health.
   Pvt. Doe contacts the Mars station here and arranges to send a MARSgram to his parents - just like a commercial telegram.  The message is sent by radio teletype through relay stations to the Pentagon and from there to the nearest military installation to Pvt. Doe's home.
   From there it is called to his parents.
   Although the station gives priority to the hospitalized, anyone can send a message to anyone in the free world.  Direct telephone conversations are now possible with Hawaii and the network is working to establish communications with the United States by telephone.
   The MARS station here is operated by SFC Stanley A. Opsahl of Redwing, Minn.  Sgt. Opsahl has held a general class amateur license since 1950.  He began working for MARS that year at Fort Gordon and has been in the business ever since.
   Sgt. Opsahl is the 25th Med. Bn. communications chief and operates the MARS station alone in his spare time.  He says the station is supposed to operate a minimum of 12 hours a day, but he "just doesn't have the time."  Consequently, the station is on the air from 1 p.m. to around 8 p.m. every day.
   If Pvt. Smith's wife in Hawaii wants to call him, she phones Schofield Barracks 658934 or 658935, and they send the call here.
   Pvt. Smith has the option of calling either from the nearest phone to Lightning 40, the MARS station number, or coming to the station in the 25th Med. Bn. area to make or receive his call.
   Sgt. Opsahl urges "Tropic Lightning" troops to make use of the station.
   He says, "There's no limit on the number of messages you can send on a first-come, first-served basis, but just remember the other guy has a message to send, too."


Passport Photos

   Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand require passports from members of the armed forces on leave from Vietnam.
   The 125th Signal Battalion will provide passport pictures from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Thursdays, at the division photo laboratory.
   All personnel should have their passport photos taken with a minimum of ten days prior to date of departure.  For further information contact the Personnel Action Office (Lightning 102).


Yearbook Sales Near $50,000

   The 25th Infantry Division's Information Office announced this week that sales for the anniversary pictorial review book are nearing the $50,000 mark.
   The colorful 400-page book will commemorate the division's silver anniversary in combat on Oct, 1, 1966.
   Preparations are currently underway at the division to present a copy of the "25th's 25th... in Combat" to President Lyndon B. Johnson.  The division will also present copies of the book to the next of kin of division members killed in action while serving in Vietnam.
   In a recent letter to Major William C. Shepard, division Information Officer, Albert Love Enterprises, Inc., publisher for the book, stated that sales to date have set a precedent for a military publication of this nature.
   The publisher also noted that the book will he used as a model book for the publishing company, a division of McCall magazine.
   The final sales campaign will be conducted on payday, Aug. 31, 1966.  Individual unit project officers will be at all pay lines, and three-man teams will he assigned to the Cu Chi, Pleiku and Tay Ninh areas to assist with sales.
   To further accommodate sales, books may be ordered at the Cu Chi and Pleiku post exchange on payday.  Only the number of books ordered will be printed.
   Cost of the book is $5 and includes prepaid delivery within the United States.
   Hundreds of pictures have been selected to portray division activities on military operations in Vietnam in several sections of the book.  All units of the division will be featured in a special section with combat pictures in Vietnam.
   Active duty members of the division will have their names included in the book.
   Division activities in base camp at Cu Chi and Pleiku are included to portray what "Tropic Lightning" soldiers have undergone since their arrival in Vietnam.
   Sales to date include: 1st Brigade $7025; 2nd Brigade, $7940; Division Artillery, $5335 and Division Support Command, $5000.  The 3rd Brigade Task Force at Pleiku has accounted for approximately $6000 in advance sales.  In addition, sales at the Cu Chi Post Exchange have totaled $5000.
   Individual high unit sales are HHC, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., $920; HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., $1060; HQ Btry., 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., $770; 25th Admin. Co, $1205 and A Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., $795. Thirty-four division units have not reported for the month of July.
   Orders from the 25th Infantry Division Association, former division members' Schofield Barracks, Hawaii residents and present division members are continuing to come into the 25th Infantry division Information Office.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966



1st Lt. William M. Connor, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.  
Maj. Frederick C. DeLisle, HHC, 1st Bn., 35th Inf.
Maj. Desmond D. Dewwy, HHC, 25th Inf. Div.
Capt. Joseph R. Monihan, A Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
1st Lt. John L. Barovetto, A Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
1st Lt. John J. Fitzgerald, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
SMaj. Armand Pardy, HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf.
PSgt. William Novajosky, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PSgt. Edward K. Paresa, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. (Posthumously)
SFC Joe E. Lucas, Co. B, 1st Bn., 35th Inf.
SSgt. James C. Bishop, HHC, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
SSgt. William T. Gregory Jr., Co. B, 1st Bn., 35th Inf.
SSgt. James E. Joslyn, A Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SSgt. Lawrence Watai, Co, B, 1st Bn., 35th Inf.
Sgt. Max E. Goshorn, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Otto Leonard, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Peter Smith, HHC, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sp4 Stanley I. Sagon, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Herbert S. Jackson, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Antonine Kocipher, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Fred Richardson, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC William E. Somers, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Maj. Anthony J. Adessa, Co. B, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. Gene A. Mitchell, HHC, 1st Bde.
Maj. James R. Vance, Co. B., 25th Avn. Bn.
Sp4 Clifton Prince, Co. B., 25th Avn. Bn.
Sp4 John A. Rhodes, Co. B, 25th Avn. Bn.
Capt. David P. Winchester, HQ & A Co., 25th Med. Bn.
Sgt. Robert L. Young, HHC, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Irvin R. Beverly, HHC, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Sherman Clements, HHC, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Keith E. Lockhart, HHC, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Capt. Francis K. Delvy, D Trp., 3rd Sqdn. 4th Cav.
2nd Lt. Peter C. Edwing, Co. B, 1st Bn., 35th Inf.
2nd Lt. Clifton L. Henning, Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf.
SSgt. Donald L. Eveland, Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th inf.
SSgt. James E. Joslyn, A Trp., 3rd Sgdn., 4th Cav.
Sgt. Sidney F. Adams, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sgt. Tommie L. Dean, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sgt. Ben E. Kyles, Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf.
Sp4 William J. Giannelli, Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC William E. Perrett, B Trp., 3rd Sqdr., 4th Cav.
PFC Myron R. Richardson, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Douglas M. Robinson, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Enoch R. Walker, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.



Buddhists to Celebrate 'Wandering Souls' Day'

   The Vietnamese festival of "Trung Nguyen" or "Wandering Souls' Day" will be celebrated next Tuesday throughout Vietnam in Buddhist pagodas, private homes, business firms, workshops, airports, government buildings and by units of the Vietnamese Armed Forces.
   Its origin lies in the Vietnamese conception of the soul.
   Buddhism teaches that a soul can be absolved from punishment by prayers said by the living on the 1st or 15th day of each month.  But Wandering Souls' Day is the best opportunity to secure general amnesty.
   On this day the gates of hell are opened at sunset and the "damned" souls fly out naked and hungry.  Those who have relatives return to their homes and find plenty of food on the family altars.
   Those with no one to pray or perform ceremonies for them are dependent on charity.  They are feared because cold and hungry they may harm the living.  To prevent this, prayers and offerings are made.
   A special meal is prepared in private homes at nightfall.  Tables are set up in front of homes containing all kinds of food, fruits and cakes.  Votive papers and coins of small denominations which will later be given to children are also placed on the tables.
   Incense is burnt.  Rice and salt are scattered as offerings and the votive papers, which simulate the real thing the departed soul might need, are burned.
   Ceremonies also take place in large pagodas: Free vegetarian meals are offered to everybody.  The poor come to the pagoda with their families in the belief that the food from Buddha brings luck.  By late evening the pagoda is filled with an immense crowd.
   Heads of shipping companies and other business owners make offerings out of a fear that those souls who do not receive anything will avenge themselves by causing accidents.
   Each Vietnamese man dreads that he might die without someone to pray or perform ceremonies for the atonement of his soul.
   The festival serves as a link between the living and such unfortunate souls.  The Vietnamese are aware that offerings made during the festival never reach their dead.  Nevertheless they continue these rites as an expression of their belief that departed souls can achieve salvation though the efforts of the living.


DA SMaj. Calls CIB An Honor

   "The badge is the most important of all."  This quote from the new Sergeant Major of the Army, SMaj. William O. Wooldridge, sums up in eight words the high esteem all servicemen hold for the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
   First awarded in World War II, the badge is now authorized for service in Korea, Laos and Vietnam.
   An individual must be an infantry officer in the grade of colonel or below, or an enlisted man or warrant officer with an infantry MOS.  He must have satisfactorily - since Dec. 6, 1941 - performed duty while assigned or attached as a member of an infantry unit of regimental or smaller size during a period such unit was engaged in active ground combat.  One award is given for each war the individual participated in.   The basic portion of the medal is a silver musket mounted on a slim blue badge three inches long and one-half inch wide.  This is imposed over an oak wreath.  The wreath is open at the top for the first award.  Second and third awards are indicated by one or two stars respectively between the points of the wreath.
   The badge is worn centered above the left breast pocket; if alone directly above the pocket and if with others above the other badges. (ANF)


How many guys like to show-off?  The answer is none.  The Vietnamese are no different from us; they don't like attention-getting show-offs either.
   Clowns belong in the circus, not in public places.  All you have to do, is behave as you would in your hometown.  If you wouldn't do it there, don't do it here.



The TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS is an authorized publication of the 25th Infantry Division.  It is published weekly for all division units in the Republic of Vietnam by the Information Office, 25th Infantry Division, APO U.S. Forces 96225.  Army News Features, Army Photo Features and Armed Forces Press Service material are used.  Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army.  Printed in Saigon, Vietnam, by Saigon Daily News.

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand . . . . Commanding General
Maj. William C. Shepard . . . . . . Information Officer
1st Lt. William H. Seely III  . . . . Officer-in-Charge
Sp4 David L. Kleinberg . . . . . . . Editor
Sp4 Adrian E. Wecer  . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966


Wolfs' Net Another V.C. Gal

   Members of the 1st Bn., 27th Inf., have had several encounters with female VC, but their latest will be remembered for quite a while.
   During a recent operation, Cos. B and C were pushing their way toward the "Wolfhounds'" reconnaissance platoon which had set up a blocking force.  While the two companies were still several hundred yards away, the "recons" came under heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire from a woodline between them and their friendly units.
   Unable to reach the woodline, they called in armed helicopters nearby.  The chopper pilots riddled the area with rockets and machine-gun fire.
   Minutes later Co. C swept into its position and discovered the body of the second lady VC to be found within a week's time.

Calling in Support

Capt. John A. DeSaegher leads service
WAR PAUSE - In a large cathedral with the sound of an organ or on a large battlefield with the sound of artillery, American soldiers take time out for religion.  The "Wolfhounds" of the 1st Bn., 27th Inf., and members of the 1st Bn., 8th Arty., listen solemnly as Capt. John A. DeSaegher, 2nd Bde. protestant chaplain, gives his Sunday service during an operation southwest of Cu Chi.  (Photo by PFC Leland Earl)



SAM Winners

   Forty-eight surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries of Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM) have been winners of "E" awards for excellence in combat proficiency.  (CD)


'Coffee Pot' Perks Up PFC

   PFC Tom Hermann used to think the safest place to walk while on a sweep was behind an armored personnel carrier (APC) until he stumbled across a "coffee pot."
   The 23-year-old Philadelphian was following an APC while returning from a sweep with Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., during a recent operation a few miles west of the division's base camp.
   He looked down and saw an object that resembled a coffee pot.  Later, he said it was "the biggest shape charge I ever saw."
   "I was really lucky," Pvt. Hermann said.  "The track (APC) hit the charge but it didn't go off because it was just grazed on the side.  If it did go, it would have turned the track over and killed me and a few of the guys around."
   At the evening mess formation, it wouldn't have been too surprising to find that no one had bothered to offer Pvt. Hermann a steaming cup of coffee.


Saigon to Cu Chi
   Cav. On Road Watch

   The heavily laden convoy moved slowly through the warm, heavy rain.  Containing vehicles from both the 1st Logistical Command and the 25th division, the convoy was enroute from Saigon to Cu Chi.
   Aboard the vehicles all eyes searched the brush along the road, watching for a foe that isn't seen.  Sighing with relief, one of the men in the lead vehicle spotted a track of the 3rd Sgdn., 4th Cav's main supply route security force (MSR).
   These MSRs are situated at strategic spots along Highway One from Saigon to Cu Chi.  Their mission is to insure the safety of the supply convoys between the two locations.
   The men in the MSR tracks sit for long, boring hours, waiting for the inevitable to happen.  They never know when or where the Viet Cong will attempt to ambush a convoy, but they do know that they are there to punish them if they do.
   Usually it is an armored personnel carrier (APC) in which the men wait for the VC.  But tanks are also used.  The tracks move out to their positions just before the convoy leaves in the morning.  They return to base camp as the late convoy arrives from Saigon.
   All tracks of the MSR are in constant radio contact with each other.  If one were to come under fire, the others, within a reasonable range, would be on the spot within minutes.
   An excellent example of an MSR platoon in action is the 3rd Plt., Trp. B of the 3/4 Cav.
   Shortly after sunrise the third platoon moves out to its preassigned position.  On this particular day, a truck and semi-trailer had engine trouble and were forced to drop out of the convoy.  Almost immediately, an MP gun jeep stopped at one of the tracks of the MSR security force and informed them of the trouble.
   The APC roared down the road to provide security for the truck until it could be repaired.
   The APC attached a tow cable to the truck and pulled it to the sentry position where it was parked across the road from the track.  It was decided that semi-trailer would go back to base camp with the convoy when it returned from Saigon.
   As the second convoy passed, the men on the tracks visibly relaxed a little.  One of the tracks, however, spotted a "dud" grenade near them.  A charge of C-4 explosive was detonated next to the "dud," disposing of it.
   The rest of the day was uneventful, and when the convoy returned once again from Saigon, the MSR platoon fell in behind it to return to the base camp.  But even now the day was not over.  There were weapons and vehicles to be cleaned.
   But the roads were safe for another day.

TESTING - Three nurses of the 7th Surgical Hospital demonstrate the anesthetizing equipment used in the operating rooms of the division's new hospital at Cu Chi.



New Hospital Opens

   The 7th Surgical Hospital, which recently opened for business at Cu Chi, is capable of handling any type of injury or illness encountered in Vietnam.
   Prior to the arrival of the hospital, patients in need of surgery were evacuated to the 25th Division Dispensary, but often had to be re-evacuated to another hospital for surgery.
   PFC Thomas L. Conard of Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf., was the first patient to be logged in - some 14 hours after the official opening of the hospital.
   Pvt. Conard of Mishawaka, Ind., praised the speed and efficiency of those who aided him.
   Another patient, PFC Malcolm D. Pelt of Goldsboro, N.C., said that within 20 minutes after he was injured, he was being treated in the hospital.
   The staff of the 60-bed surgical hospital is composed of 90 enlisted men, 10 nurses, four administrative officers and 16 physicians, including specialists in general, thoracic and orthopedic surgery.
   There are four operating rooms in the new hospital, and under emergency conditions, six simultaneous operations could be performed.


IO Offers Its Own 'Ambush'

   The division became the first combat unit in Vietnam, and possibly in the entire Army, to publish a monthly magazine with the August issue of the "Tropic Lightning Ambush."
   The 32-page monthly magazine is published by the division Information Office and is printed by the Saigon Daily News.
   Editor of the new magazine is 1st Lt. Jack R. Carollo of Chicago.
   The Information Office also publishes a weekly newspaper, runs Armed Forces Radio - Cu Chi, and publishes a 400-page anniversary yearbook, titled "The 25th's 25th... in Combat."


Page 4 - 5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966


The Other Foe In Vietnam

   In Vietnam, the deadly terrain can often prove a more formidable foe than the Viet Cong who hide behind its facade.
   In these photographs, the men of the 25th Division, some operating 20 miles from Saigon and others in the highlands near Pleiku, run into all the treacheries Vietnam has to offer.
   Sometimes the jungle canopy is so thick the sun is unable to penetrate the dense foliage.  The humidity underneath the top can be unbearable.
   Some march through jungle swamps, almost neck deep in muddy water.  Rice paddies, woods and rubber plantations surround Cu Chi.  Not only ground troops, but even artillery officers must consider the terrain.
   The Viet Cong can be defeated.  The men know this.  But the terrain is another story.

SSGT Wilbert Wikeerson and Bravo Co. 1/35th Inf.
OPEN - Squad leader, SSgt. Wilbert Wikerson, Co. B, 1st Bn., 35th Inf., leads his men during a recon patrol near Pleiku.


2/9 Artillery in the field
GRASS - The men of Battery A, 2nd Bn., 9th Arty., fire their 105mm howitzer at a suspected Viet Cong base during Operation "Paul Revere."


In the trees TREES - Recon Plt., 1st Bn., 35th Inf., passes through a tangle of fallen trees during a patrol near Pleiku.
SWAMPS - Recon Plt., 1st Bn., wades across a rain-swollen stream near Pleiku. Crossing a stream
On patrol WOODS - "Tropic Lightning" soldiers move cautiously through the Ho Bo Woods, 35 miles northwest of Saigon.
BURMS - Members of Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., take cover behind a hedge row during sniper fire from the Viet Cong. 1/27th takes cover



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966


SP4 Arnold Huston passes rocket SP4 Vernon Reid checks fuel
QUICK LOAD - Sp4 Arnold E. Huston of Hickory, N.C., passes a 2.75 rocket to the pilot of a UH-1B helicopter.  Specialist Huston, a member of the 3/4 Cav., is assigned to the 25th Avn. Bn. ammunition team.  (Photos by Sp5 Robert E. Williams) FUEL - Sp4 Vernon D. Reid (r) of Manassas, Va., checks the meters on his truck as he pumps fuel into a UH-1B helicopter which has stopped to refuel.  Specialist Reid is a member of the 25th Avn. Bn. petroleum team stationed at the Cu Chi helipad.


Avn. Bn. Keeps Choppers Flying High
By Sp4 Todd Darch

   In this war it has become increasingly evident that the helicopter is a leading asset in military operations.  Acting as a troop carrier, a rescue ship, a lethal gunship or a means of transporting cargo, the helicopter has proven itself invaluable.
   But as with most other modern machines, the helicopter is only as good as the many men who work to keep it flying.  Part of this great task is the responsibility of the air field petroleum and ammunition teams.  The teams at Cu Chi are composed of about 18 men of the 25th Avn. Bn.
   Working 10 to 18 hours a day and always on 24-hour call, it is the job of the two teams to supply the whirly-birds with ammunition and fuel.  Sgt. Walter L. Chambers of Klamath Falls, Ore., said that his ammunition team loads between 100 to 150 rockets weighing 23 pounds each for an average of 15 ships a day.
   "Our record for the number of rockets loaded in one day is 830, which was during a large operation," Sgt. Chambers said.
   A total of 5324 rockets were loaded by the team during July.  The men also supply ammo other than rockets, such as last month's 659,000 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.
   Working in conjunction with the ammo team is the petroleum team.  These men pump an average of 300,000 gallons of fuel into the helicopters each month.  Sp4 Paul T. Frankenhauser explained that the average filling time for each chopper is about two minutes, depending on the fuel level of the ship when it stops.
   Fuel is drawn by large tank trucks from the base camp petroleum depot to the air field where the men stand-by, ready to service all aircraft.
   Working together, the men of the petroleum and ammunition teams can re-fuel and re-arm a ship in a matter of moments.
   It is not a colorful job; the work is hard and the hours long, but each man knows that the role his team plays is an important one.  It is the fuel he pumps that gives the helicopter life and the ammunition he loads that makes it a very effective weapon of destruction against the enemy.


Hawaiian Luau Toasts Cav.-ARVN Unity

   A Hawaiian luau at the division enlisted men's club marked the end of a month-long joint training program for the Army, Republic of Vietnam, (ARVN), 25th Div. Recon. Co., and the U.S. 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
   Men of the "Tropic Lightning" prepared a feast of kalua pig, steamed rice, chicken and long rice, coconut, pineapple and other delicacies.  As the pig was taken out of the imu (underground oven), a combo from the division band played Hawaiian music.
   In addition to men of the 3/4 Cav. and the ARVN Recon. Co., Maj, Gen. Fred C. Weyand and Brig. Gen. Phan Trong Chinh, U.S. and ARVN division commanders, attended.
   Lt. Col. John R. Hendry, 3/4 Cav. commander, presented certificates to each of the Vietnamese soldiers, making them honorary members of the 4th Cav.
   "It has been a great pleasure to have served with such fine soldiers," the colonel said.  "I know you will enjoy future success in defeating the Viet Cong."
   The ARVN unit commander presented Col. Hendry with a lacquered plaque commemorating the joint training venture.
   Although 25th ARVN soldiers have worked closely with U.S. units in Hau Nghia province, this was the first large-scale joint training mission.
   The program was concluded with a Vietnamese cultural show from the ARVN camp at Duc Lap.

SFC Laie Fonotmoana, PSgt Herman Kamai HOT POTATOE - SFC Laie Fonotmoana (1) of the 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf., and PSgt. Herman Kamai of the 3rd Sqdr., 4th Cav., remove roasted sweet potatoes from the imu (underground oven).  The 3/4 Cav. hosted the Recon Co. of the 25th Div. Army, Republic of Vietnam, to a Hawaiian luau at the enlisted men's service Club at Cu Chi.  (Photo by Sp5 Jose Finklea)



2/27th Aid VNP Family Survivors

   The 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" have set up a fund for the families of National Policemen killed in action, while working for the battalion.
   The Vietnamese government draws the responsibility of providing for the families, but the men of the Wolfhounds want to do even more.
   On the first pay day, a total of $400.55 was collected to help the families.
   The money was brought to the division's intelligence office (G-2) for distribution.


Sirens 3/13th Cue

   When the loud scream of a siren stabs the air at Btry. D, 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., the men know that it means fire mission.  They scramble to their battle positions, ready to set the guns on target.
   The switch used to activate the siren is located in the fire direction center.  When the battery is alerted for a fire mission, the siren is sounded, calling the gun crews to their posts.
   Battery Commander Capt. John A. McFarland, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, obtained the siren from a friend who is a helicopter pilot.  The pilot had the siren mounted on his helicopter, but was told to get rid of the noisy accessory.   Capt. McFarland said he could put it to good use anyway.
   The siren is used when the battery is called on for immediate support.  The men conduct drills to keep alert and decrease the time in getting to the guns.  They are compensated by being allowed a little relaxation while on duty, as the siren can call them back to the big eight-inch guns from anywhere in the battery.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966


The Abominable Mailbox

   Sp4 James Ebert of Des Plaines. Ill., a mail clerk for the division's Admin. Co., has built what could very well be the largest U.S. mailbox in Vietnam.
   "It took me three days to build it and another day to paint it," said Specialist Ebert, "but now that it's finished, I honestly think that it's what the company needed.  It not only helps in distributing the mail, but adds a little life to these olive-drab surroundings."
   The mailbox, standing almost 10 feet tall, is painted the traditional state-side mailbox colors of red, white and blue.  The walls, floor and ceiling are built from left-over scraps of tent kit lumber and the top is covered with a sheet of corrugated aluminum roofing.
   Inside, Specialist Ebert has installed individual boxes for each of the company's sections, and a large table to accommodate the "always welcomed" packages from home.
   An estimated 435 packages and letters pass through the mail box each day as they reach the anxious hands of the company troops.
   Many of the troops who gather around the large mailbox each evening at mail call have amiably named it "Ebert's Mailbox."



CG Presents Award

Army Pilot Receives 9th OLC

   Capt. John W. Kearns was presented the third through ninth Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal in ceremonies at his hospital bedside recently.
   Brig. Gen Edward H. deSaussure Jr., new commander of the 196th Inf. Bde., made the presentation.
   Capt. Kearns was awarded the third and eighth Oak Leaf Clusters with "V" Device for heroism against the Viet Cong.  Capt. Kearns, the pilot of an OH23G helicopter, provided surveillance and adjusted artillery fire in support of division operations.  He flew over areas of heavy fighting, descending his aircraft to low altitudes to permit observation in dense foliage.
   On two occasions, he landed his helicopter in unsecured areas to evacuate wounded personnel.  On another occasion, Capt. Kearns' aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire, and the aircraft shuddered.
   Capt. Kearns continued to fly and assisted in artillery adjustment until the sniper fire stopped.

TOP TALK - Capt. John W. Kearns speaks with Col. Daniel B. Williams, Div. Arty. commander, while Brig. Gen, Edward H. deSaussure Jr., former assistant division commander, looks on at bedside.



3/13th's Dick, Ray Are Same-Same

   Sibling rivalry is one thing, but how about twin brothers who will stick by each other in Vietnam?
   Third Bn., 13th Arty., just happens to be the proud "parent" of two men who came into the world together and entered the Army together.
   Raymond P. and Richard W. Letellier are well-known, thanks to double exposure - Ray is a clerk in the message center; Dick keeps people talking by repairing telephone lines.
   The Cumberland, R. I., twosome were drafted into the Army together, went to basic training and advanced individual training together, and came to the 25th still a pair.
   Dick was sent to the 7th Bn., 11th Arty., while Ray went to the 13th.  Within two weeks the men were back together again after discovering that they were brothers.
   According to a recent regulation from the Department of Defense, two members of the same family do not have to serve in Vietnam at the same time.
   Ray and Dick, who have more than three months to serve, have decided that they will stick it out together.

Richard Letellier Raymond Letellier





Cop With New Beat

   Vietnam's central highlands are 12,000 miles from the streets of Salt Lake City, Utah.  PFC Perry Watkins, however, has enforced the law in both.
   Watkins, an MP with the division's 3rd Bde. at Pleiku, entered the Army in July 1965 and was assigned to the MP Corps on the basis of his civilian experience.
   As an MP, he handles security and investigation of minor crimes, convoy escorts and searches, and guards prisoners of war.
   During his three years on the Salt Lake City police force, he was credited with apprehending a homicide suspect and capturing several burglars.
   Upon completion of his Army obligation, Watkins plans to trade his MP armband in for his civilian police star and return to Salt Lake City.


Hero Honored

   A third training brigade area at Ft. Polk, La., has been dedicated to PFC Milton L. Olive III who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam.


Wolfhounds Capture 24 Tons of Rice

   The 1st Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" captured more than 24 tons of rice recently while on an operation six miles west of the division's base camp.
   Acting on intelligence reports, the "Wolfhounds" began their search the previous night by sending the reconnaissance platoon around the village of Ap An Phy to set up a blocking force before Cos. B and C began their search.
   While on their way to meet the "recons," Co. B encountered light resistance from a retreating enemy squad.
   Before the two companies reached their destination, the "recons" engaged enemy arms and automatic weapons fire from a wooded area separating them from the two companies.  Armed helicopters strafed the area for almost 20 minutes, resulting in one VC dead and one captured.
   Shortly after Co. B received sniper fire from the vicinity of the rice storage area, the "Wolfhounds" blasted the area with M-79 grenade launchers and called in artillery support from the 1st Bn., 8th Arty.  The "Automatic Eighth" pounded the target for several minutes before Co. B entered the area.  Meeting no resistance, it discovered the huge rice cache.
   Residents in the area said rice was left behind by the VC for storage and recovery at a later time.

REUP - SSgt. George T. McPhaul congratulates Sgt. Michael A. DiSanto after he reenlisted.


Sgt. Reups -- $4444

   SSgt. George T. McPhaul, career counselor for the 2nd Bde. congratulated Sgt. Michael A. DiSanto, Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., recently.
   Sgt. DiSanto had just reenlisted for six more years and received a whopping $4444 under the Variable Reenlistment Bonus System.
   Sgt. DiSanto, a former helicopter gunner and a "Wolfhound" squad leader, has received the Air Medal, Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantry Badge and Aircraft Crewman Badge.
   Besides Sgt. McPhaul, some of the division's career counselors are SFC Clarcnce N. Eddy of Hopkinsville, Ky., SFC Edlouis Perkins of Philadelphia, Pa., MSgt. J. J. Ice of Wellington, Kan., and SFC Henry A. Tucker of Concord N. H.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1966


Maj. Gen. Larsen Praises 3rd Bde.

   Maj. Gen. Stanley R. Larsen, commanding general of I Field Forces, last week in a message to Brig. Gen. Glenn D. Walker, 3rd Bde. commanding general, extended "heartiest congratulations to the officers and men of your command for the spirit, determination and fighting ability demonstrated by your troops over the last 100 continuous day of arduous and sustained combat in Operations 'Paul Revere' 1 &2."
   "This is a feat rarely equaled by U.S. Forces in Vietnam."
   He went on to say this was in the finest tradition of the Tropic Lightning Division.



2/27th Finds 732 Grenades in Barrel

   "More fun than a barrel of monkeys" could hardly describe the contents of a 55-gallon barrel uncovered by Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" in a recent operation west of Cu Chi.
   The barrel contained 732 hand grenades which had been hidden by Viet Cong in the area.  Along with the barrel of grenades, the Wolfhounds found one anti-tank mine, 13 rifle grenades, one homemade 60mm mortar with base plate, one 81mm mortar round, 46 60mm mortar rounds, one 57mm recoilless rifle canister, four supplementary charges, one hydraulic jack, a vise, seven bangalore torpedoes, a white phosphorous grenade, a yellow smoke grenade, an aircraft rocket motor and 583 rounds of small arms ammunition.
   The VC brought the Wolfhounds under sniper fire several times during the day in an attempt to keep them from the cache.
   For the men of Co. A taking the cache from the VC was probably "more fun than a barrel of monkeys."

DIRECT - The weapons platoon, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., directs mortar fire at suspected Viet Cong positions during recent 25th operation.  (Photo by PFC Vernon Shibla) Mortar fire



Chief of Information
   Maj. Gen. Ware Visits

   Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware, Army Chief of Information, and Col. Robert J. Coakley, Information Officer for U.S. Army, Vietnam, recently visited the division base camp.
   They were greeted by Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander, and Maj. William C. Shepard, division Information Officer.
   At division headquarters, the official party was briefed on Army information needs.
   Following the briefing, Gen. Ware toured the division base camp, stopping at the division Information Office and the new Lightning Ambush Academy.
   The official party also visited the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., "Scout Dog" platoon where a demonstration was given by members of the platoon.  Gen. Ware also toured the 27th's bunker line where a fire fight demonstration was conducted.
   Gen. Ware's visit concluded a seven-day tour of information offices in Vietnam.

MG Fred Weyand, MG Keith Ware ARRIVAL - Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware, Chief of Information (r). is greeted by Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander, as he arrives at Cu Chi on a recent visit.



Wolfhounds Encounter 25 Punji Pits

   Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., recently discovered 25 punji pits on a sweep seven miles west of Cu Chi.
   The "Wolfhounds" came upon the pits along paths in places where a soldier would have to take a small hop to cross.  The well-concealed pits awaited the troops' arrival on the other side.
   According to 1st Sgt. Samuel K. Soloman of Kohala, Hawaii, the pits varied in size and depth.
   "But," he said, "most of them were large enough to completely fall into."
   Needless to say, Co. C quickly destroyed the hazards and continued on their mission.


25th MPs Boast Armored Truck

   "Nelleybells" is the pride and joy of the 25th MP Co.  She's a standard M151 1/4-ton truck with armor plating to protect the occupants from sniper fire.
   Capt. Courtney R. Fritts of the MP Co. estimates that the 1/2-inch steel plating will stop a .50 caliber round fired from a medium range.  The armor-plated truck, the first in the division, and one of the first in Vietnam, was designed and fabricated by the 725th Maint. Bn.  Nelleybell is used as a convoy escort on re-supply convoys, as a riot control vehicle and as a VIP escort.

Capt. William Frank treats villager WIDER, WIDER - Capt. William J. Frank of Grand Junction, Colo., Division dentist, treats a villager from Tan An Hoi during one of the regular MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) visits to the village.  (Photo by Sp5 Willie J. Finklea).



Thanks to:
The 25th Infantry Division Museum for providing the volume of 1966 Tropic Lightning News,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Battalion for finding and mailing them,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 12-30-2007

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