Vol 1 No. 30 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 7||2/14 Photo 4||25th DivArty Photo 1||4/23 3|
|1/8 Arty 3||2/14 6||25th Inf Div 6||4/23 6|
|1/27 1||2/27 1||25th Inf Div Photo 8||4/23 Photo 7|
|1/27 3||2/27 1||3/13 Arty 1||4/23 7|
|1/27 3||2/27 4||3/13 Arty Photo 1||7th Surgical Bn. Photo 6|
|1/69 Armor Photo 6||2/27 Photo 4||3/13 Arty 8||7/11 Arty 1|
|125th Signal 8||2/27 Photo 4||4/9 4||7/11 Arty 7|
|196th 1||2/27 7||4/9 Photo 4||725th Maint 4|
|196th 3||2/27 Photo 8||4/9 Photo 4||Helping Hand 7|
|196th 4||2/35 7||4/9 6||Pacification 1|
|2/14 Photo 3||25th Admin 4||4/23 1||Red Cross 6|
|2/14 4||25th DivArty 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.]
A New Report on Area Pacification
The dynamic tactic called pacification, begun by the division shortly after its arrival in the province early this year, is beginning to pay off.
An increasing number of Chieu Hoi (Viet Cong returning to the government under the "Open Arms" policy) and captured Viet Cong documents attest to the enemy's loss of strength.
Vietnamese villagers are showing their true feelings as they cooperate increasingly with government and U.S. officials. In Duc Hue and Duc Hoa Districts, located in the lower part of Hau Nghia Province, the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., has been applying as much success as the theory promises.
During the recently concluded Operation "Lahaini," the battalion and ARVN units working in close coordination killed 53 Viet Cong, captured 44, took 134 suspects into custody and seized substantial numbers of weapons and documents. Two actions in the operation were perfect examples of the pacification program in progress.
In one action, a Viet Cong informer disclosed the daily meeting place of a guerrilla terrorist platoon. Teaming immediately with ARVNs, the "Wolfhounds" were airlifted to the area and killed or captured 22 terrorists.
In the other action, the battalion paired with the ARVNs again, and on the basis of a Chieu Hoi report killed nine Viet Cong and captured 22 at the guerrilla's district headquarters.
The small successes that are being scored from the 25th's pacification program are among the first that Hau Nghia province has known during its unstable history.
In 1962 and 1963, most of the area was under VC control. In 1964, the military situation improved as the 25th ARVN Division moved into the program. But the Viet Cong adjusted their techniques, and the situation slipped again. The VC gained steadily until the arrival of the 25th last January.
With approximately 230,000 people and Viet Cong supply routes to War Zones C and D and the Iron Triangle running inside its boundaries, the province holds both decisive political and tactical significance.
The pacification program is usually carried out on a three-point program.
The first phase, search and destroy in an area under the influence of the Viet Cong, usually encounters initial civilian hostility and a minimum of intelligence information.
Often threatened by the Viet Cong, villagers are unwilling to jeopardize their lives by giving information. Although the VC move out as the Americans move in, the Vietnamese fear guerrilla reprisals when U.S. forces leave.
Consequently, American units dig into assigned areas to convince the villagers of good intentions. Key personnel form coordination and planning committees with local officials.
This phase usually lasts 30 days or more and results begin to show. District chiefs accompany units on operations and get to villages that they had not visited since Viet Cong moved into the area.
During the second stage, often called reaction and civic action, the unit operates from the division base camp while the MEDCAPS, the Tropic Lightning "Helping Hand" and other civic functions strengthen new ties.
As civil acceptance increases, intelligence does also. The third phase, rapidly approaching in many areas, is where the province and its districts are turned over to the government when it has gained enough support and strength to control and provide security for its people.
"Pacification is a big job for both the South Vietnamese government and the 25th Division," said Col. Thomas M. Tarpley, 2nd Brigade commander, "but the success already resulting from our hard work proves pacification is worth the effort. Our goal is to protect the Vietnamese people in Hau Nghia Province so that they can pursue their activities without interference from the Viet Cong, and so that they can choose a way of life rather than find themselves forced into one."
Gen. Seaman Visits
Nostalgic Return to Cu Chi Base
Lt. Gen. Jonathan 0. Seaman, II Field Force Vietnam commander, paid a nostalgic visit to the 25th Div. Arty. recently at Cu Chi.
Gen. Seaman has served as both former division artillery commander and "Tropic Lightning" commanding general.
The general was given a tour of several artillery units by division artillery commander, Col. Daniel B. Williams. First stop was the 7th Bn., 11th Arty., where Lt. Col. Felix Salvador, battalion commander, displayed several of the battalion's 105mm howitzers.
The general inspected a personnel bunker at one of the gun sites and a fire direction control bunker.
At 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., the general witnessed a 155mm fire mission. He stopped to question a gun crew chief, SSgt Porter Johnson Jr. of Cameron, Tex., about field maintenance problems. From there, the party went to 25th Div.Arty. headquarters, where Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander, met them.
There, Gen. Seaman presented the Silver Star Medal, the nation's third highest award for heroism, to Sgt. Francisco Kasagawa Jr. of El Paso, Tex., for heroism while serving as an artillery forward observer with the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., in the Boi Loi Woods.
Sgt. Kasagawa's actions were credited with saving a company from suffering heavy casualties.
After the awarding, Col. Williams presented Gen. Seaman with a plaque commemorating his service to the 25th.
The general said, "What you do has saved many situations and lives. In many predicaments, only through the efforts of the artillery were men saved. Yours is probably one of the important missions a soldier is called on to do."
|REMINISCE - Lt. Gen. Jonathan O. Seaman (1), II Field Force Vietnam commander, Col. Daniel B. Williams (c), 25th Div. Arty., commander, and Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander, reminisce about past accomplishments of the 25th Division.|
Huge Complex Uncovered
Elements of the division's 1st Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" stumbled onto a massive enemy way station, consisting of a 71-tunnel complex, recently during a sweep operation 10 miles north of Cu Chi.
"The complex, lying along a known Viet Cong supply artery, could have housed a VC battalion," a military spokesman said. "The complex must have taken years to build," he added.
Two of the tunnels measured more than 800 feet in length while the average tunnel reached 46 feet. Nearly all of them had two levels and were four feet high by three feet wide.
Companies B and C of the 1/27th destroyed the 71 tunnels, along with 36 bunkers, 90-spider holes, six trench systems, two bomb shelters and 57 surface structures, during a one-week period.
Among items captured in the complex were 19 anti-tank mines, 11 anti-personnel mines, 19 shape charges, six Chinese communist claymore nines, a number of duds and 659 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Co.B came upon the complex while conducting a normal sweep operation. The unit found one hamlet completely abandoned and became suspicious when it found no signs of domestic life.
Platoons spread into a loose rank outside the the village. The third platoon was rocked by an explosion. The first platoon set up a blocking position as armored personnel carriers (APC) moved up the middle.
"As the APCs came through our rice paddy," said PFC Leland Stanley, radio operator for the first platoon forward observer, "they dragged up a bundle of wires. We knew right away that they were wires for command detonated mines, so we followed them and found a mound.
"We could see peep-holes in the mound and we called an interpreter over to tell whoever was inside to come out. Nobody came and we started firing weapons and grenades through the holes."
"Then I don't know what happened," the 20-year-old from Elkhart, Ind., continued. "A couple of explosions went off again and some of our guys were lying on the ground wounded. It could have been more mines or the grenades could have been thrown back out of the hole. I don't know which it was."
The following morning, Co. B moved out again to explore the area. They found networks of tunnels, trenches, spider-holes and punji pits.
Westy Welcomes 196th
Gen. W.C. Westmoreland, commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, recently made his first official visit to the base camp of the division's 196th Light Infantry Brigade at Tay Ninh.
The general was greeted by Brig. Gen. Edward H. deSaussure, brigade commander, and spoke to the men of the 196th Brigade. The brigade arrived in Vietnam in mid-August and has been setting up its base camp and clearing the area nearby.
Gen. Westmoreland, in the States when the brigade arrived, welcomed them to their new mission and brought them up to date on military operations in Vietnam.
He summed up his speech by saying, "We are here to win the friendship of the Vietnamese people and to help them build their nation. I expect a great deal from you, and I know I won't be disappointed."
|LISTENS - Lt. Gen. Jonathan O. Seaman listens to SSgt. Porter Johnson Jr. of Cammeron, Tex., of Btry. A, 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., explain the operation of his 155mm self-propelled howitzer.|
Tomahawks Invade Viet Gong Sanctuary
The Ho Bo Woods, an area northwest of the division's base camp, has long been a sanctuary for an active Viet Cong organization.
The 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., "Tomahawks" are currently making a determined effort to clear the area - an area which is saturated with tunnels, spider holes, trenches, concrete hunkers, underground caches, a network of anti-tank mines and personnel booby traps, including thousands of punji pits.
Under steady rain, Co. A recently made a sweep of a two-mile square section of woods. Alpha troops were credited with uncovering and destroying 30 tunnels and several recently occupied enemy hootches.
Additionally, an estimated 400 pounds of cement and other building materials were discovered. Alpha troops uncovered and blasted a large underground room which was still under construction. It is believed the room would eventually have housed enemy arms and ammunition. Three anti-tank mines were also found and destroyed.
No enemy contact was made during the operation.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
|SILVER STAR MEDAL|
|Capt. Amos A. Bryant, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.||1st Lt. Alan K. Underwood, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.|
BRONZE STAR MEDAL (VALOR)
Lt. Col. Boyd T. Bashore, HHC, 2nd Pn., 27th Inf.
Lt. Col. Alvin L. O'Neal, HHC., 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PSgt. Vencen Ackerson, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
PSgt. Edward K. Paresa, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sgt. Daniel J. Beardemphl, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
Sgt. David W. Holmes, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sgt. Willie B. Williams, Co. A; 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 William H. Boyles, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Lawrence F. Hadzim Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sp4 William E. Lawless, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Edward T. Nettles, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Jerome Chennault, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Joel Goldberg, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
PFC Arttoine Kocipher, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Tommy J. Perkins, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
AIR MEDAL (VALOR)
Maj. Jack R. Rollinger, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
1st Lt. Charles L. Kendall, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
1st Lt. Jimmy D. Lowry, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
1st Lt. Robert McWilliams, Co. A. 25th Avn. Bn.
1st Lt. Vaughn K. Timberlake, HHB, 25th Div. Arty.
WO John T. Stephens. Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Sgt. Lawson Y. Pilkinton, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Sp5 Lonnie F. Wilson, Co. B, 25th Avn. Bn.
Sp4 Wayne J. Guillote, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Sgt. Eddie R. Jackson, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sgt. Donald J. Lafferty, Co. C, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
Sp4 John D. Flanagan, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sp4 Michael B. Leverland, Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th inf.
Sp4 Ronald A. Sondesky, Co. B, 4th Bn.., 9th Inf.
PFC Denton V. Buckley, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Jimmy W. Coffman, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Francis J. Desmond, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Richard W. Johnson, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Joseph J. McColgan, Co. C, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
PFC John L. McNeil Jr., Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Elble D. Morreil, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Viet Ribbon Okayed
Department of Defense has approved the acceptance and wear of the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon issued by the government of Vietnam.
The primary qualifications for award of the ribbon are six months service in Vietnam since 1960 or six months service outside the geographical boundaries of the country in direct combat support operations.
Personnel may also qualify for the ribbon if they are wounded in combat action, are captured and later released or rescued or are killed in line of duty or in action against the enemy.
Only one award of the ribbon will be made to an individual.
The ribbon is of alternating green and white stripes of equal width. It is worn after all U.S. service medals and other foreign ribbons to which the wearer is already entitled.
The Vietnam Service Medal was authorized last year for award to members of the Armed Forces serving in Vietnam or contiguous waters or air space after July 3, 1965.
To qualify, an individual must be assigned or attached to a participating or direct support unit for one or more days.
Personnel may not be awarded both the Vietnam Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam.
If a Serviceman has been awarded the latter medal, however, he may request that the Vietnam Service Medal be awarded in its place.
The Vietnam Service Medal uses Vietnam's national colors - red stripes on a gold background.
Cold War GI Bill And You
(Editor's note: This is the third in a series on the Cold War GI Benefits Program.)
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act raises the "rental provision" of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act from the previous $80 per month to $150 per month.
The law now provides that if an active duty serviceman's dependents are living in a house or apartment renting for $50 a month or less and rent is not paid, they can be evicted only after a court has given its permission.
(Should the court decide that failure to pay rent is not due to military service, an eviction may be ordered anyway.)
(But if it determines that nonpayment was due to a person's being in the military service, it may make the landlord wait up to 3 months before the dependents can be evicted for nonpayment - this period providing them enough time to find another place to live.)
Admissions to VA Hospitals are based upon a priority system. The provisions of this act relate to priority 3. (The first 2 priorities have to do with line-of-duty injuries or diseases.)
Priority 3 - for treatment of a non-service-connected disability - now applies to veterans with service after January 31, 1955 (as well as to wartime veterans) who were not discharged or retired for disability.
They may he admitted to a VA hospital for treatment of a non-service-connected disability if' they meet all three of these conditions: (1) hospitalization is deemed necessary; (2) they state under oath they are financially unable to pay hospital costs elsewhere; and (3) beds are available.
Another medical aspects of the act has to do with "presumptive service connection." Now, service connection is presumed for certain chronic and tropical diseases that show up with specific periods after discharge. Previously this presumption has been generally limited to wartime veterans.
A Guy Named Joe
Joe had been in the armed forces for about two years. He was doing good, he thought, three squares and a place to sleep. Not bad at all, really, when he recalled civilian life.
One night a "bull session" developed among his friends. The talk centered around promotions. And what it would be like to get back to civilian life.
At first, he paid little attention. Joe was quite content - three squares and a bunk, remember?
But the conversation grew hot. He perked up, listening intently. After all, he didn't have much education. He hadn't been promoted for a long time and civilian life had sort of "bugged" him - simply because he didn't have a job that paid much.
"And what's more," the conversation went on, "this new law authorizes the Veterans Administration to pay monthly education allowances to qualified post-Korean veterans and pay school tuition fees to guys like us with two or more years of service.
"They say some million veterans who have served during the past nine years and nearly three million of us now on active duty are, or will he, eligible.
"If a veteran qualifies and attends school full time he can get as much as $100 a month - or even more if he has dependents. Of course, we're going to have to dig up some money too. Uncle Sam can't do it all."
By this time Joe was all ears. Here was a chance to get an education with help from his government. Here was a chance to get a better job through learning. Here was a chance to get a promotion.
The spokesman had his answer: "An active duty serviceman (with more than two years of service) who is attending school, as his military duties permit, will receive education assistance under this program computed at the rate of the school's set charges for tuition and fees or at the rate of $100 per month for full time attendance, whichever is lesser. The computation is based on the amount of school work he is undertaking."
So, the story has a happy ending. Joe is now going to school on an off-duty basis. He also plans to attend college when he returns to civilian life. (AFNB).
|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
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 September 16, 1966
VC Squad Routed By 4/23rd
A unit of the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., routed a squad-size force of Viet Cong without suffering casualties recently during a sweep some 100 yards from base camp.
2nd Lt. James P. Kopp of Ashland, Ohio, the 1st Plt., Co. C, leader was told three VC had been spotted in the jungle, and was asked if they should be pursued.
Realizing the possibility of an ambush, Lt. Kopp ordered only a fire team of four men to chase the VC. The fire team had advanced only a few yards when an "L" shape ambush was sprung on it from its left flank.
Artillery and air strikes were called in on the enemy positions. Moving through the jungle brush, the 1st plt. Continued to receive fire.
"We estimate the VC had a machine gun, at least two automatic weapons and several small arms," said Lt. Kopp.
The troops advanced until the artillery began pouring in - mortars, 105mm and 155mm howitzers pounded the area for almost four hours. Then jet aircraft hit the area with 40mm cannon fire.
The platoon made no body count, but traces of blood and signs that bodies had been dragged away were found.
1/27th Kills 4 V.C.
A Viet Cont ox-cart supply convoy was ambushed recently five miles west of the division's Cu Chi base camp by the reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
The platoon killed four Viet Cong and captured eight 81mm mortar rounds, 2400 blasting caps, 11 crates of C-4 explosives and approximately 300 rounds of 51 caliber armor piercing ammunition.
The platoon set up its ambush in an area suspected of being a main Viet Cong supply route. They were in position about five minutes when the carts came up the road. Sp4 Richard D. Hess of Montebello, Calif., hidden at an intersection, met the convoy with the first burst of fire.
"I waited until the first two carts were right on top of me and hit them with a burst of automatic fire," said Specialist Hess.
The remainder of the platoon opened up with small arms, automatic weapons, rifle grenades and claymores.
An hour later, the recon platoon was hit on two sides by fire from a carbine, two rifle grenades and a 50 caliber machine gun.
PFC Larry D. McCaughey, 19, of Metan, Mo., a forward observer in the battalion's 4.2 mortar platoon, called for fire from the 1st Bn., 8th Arty.
"I knew that the small attack could've been a probe to find where our automatic rifles were," Specialist Hess said. "The men realized this and only returned small-arms fire. I called the command post and had indirect fire batter the area for 1000 yards in front of us."
The recon platoon praised PFC McCaughey for directing artillery and mortar fire that may well have stopped a larger attack. "He's the main reason we took no casualties," said the platoon leader.
Wolfhounds' Operation 'Aiea' Closes
The 1st Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" recently completed Operation "Aiea," a 23-day pacification mission five miles west of the "Tropic Lightning" base camp.
The Wolfhounds killed 16 Viet Cong, captured 19 claymore mines, 40 anti-personnel and tank mines, 11 "dud" artillery rounds, 1500 piasters, a printing machine, more than 20 tons of rice, 25 pounds of documents, tobacco, and thousands of feet of electrical and trip wire.
In addition they destroyed 47 structures, 17 bunkers, 79 punji pits, 43 tunnels, some in complexes three levels deep, plus numerous bomb shelters, spider holes and trenches.
Inspired Young Lad Writes CG
(Editor's Vole : This letter written by a 13-year-old boy from Fresno, Calif., was received at the Office of the Commanding General, 25th Infantry Division.)
August 29, 1966
Dear General Sir:
I want to ask if I could serve in your division and help you fight the Viet Cong? I get so sick of people saying we have no business in Vietnam, and it is all President Johnson's fault.
The way those stinking beatniks parade with those baby anti-war pickets make me wish we send those hairy apes to Red China.
When I read in the paper about our brave servicemen dying I think sometimes that he died for a cause, our country and we the citizens of the United States. Some people think we shouldn't fight now, but look what happened during World War II. They said that allies shouldn't fight at Rhineland, Czech. If people would stop and think why are we fighting in Vietnam, they would realize that we are fighting communism from spreading to other countries and finally here.
Would you please tell your men that those demonstrators are a mere handful to the supporters.
I'm thirteen and plan to go to West Point and make the Army a career. I want to volunteer for service in Vietnam as soon as I can.
My address is 2428 E. Carmen, Fresno, California 93703.
God bless all of you,
|ALONE - A soldier from the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., seems to be all alone as he checks for mines on Operation "Mokuleia" conducted recently 14 miles southwest of the division's base camp. (Photo by Sp4 Lee Earl)|
Page 4 - 5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
[This issue of Tropic Lightning News was scanned from a bound
library volume provided by the 25th Infantry Division Museum. One of
the photographs and caption on pages 4 and 5 are missing It was
printed across the center of the 2-page-wide sheet and was hidden from sight
because of the way the paper is bound into the book - the book could not be
safely opened wide enough to see that
part of the page.]
THE TROPIC LIGHTNING'S NEW FRONTIERS
A Division Moves Out
The 25th Infantry Division, which stole a few square acres of land from the Viet Cong last January, has been mushrooming out around Saigon ever since.
At first it was elements of the 2nd Brigade which pushed and probed into the surrounding Viet Cong territory.
Later the 1st Brigade joined in the search and destroy as the 25th took responsibility for more and more area. The arrival of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade at Tay Ninh once again expanded 25th operations.
And now, today, from the nearest to the farthest, the division is on the move.
Just recently, as close as 200 yards from the Cu Chi perimeter, elements of the division's 25th Admin. Co. and the 725th Maint. Bn. joined Vietnamese National Police and Popular Forces to search a village.
Bac Ha I had long been secure, but villagers had reported unidentified Vietnamese in the area carrying arms. The units searched 180 houses, but found nothing.
While miles away, men of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., sloshed through wet rice paddies, men of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., carefully tip-toed through treacherous woods, men of the 4th Bn., 9th Inf., set up mortar positions - all part of expanding division operations.
From the nearest to the farthest.
|CLOSE - Vietnamese National Policemen and Popular Forces, along with elements of the division Support Command and 2nd Bn., 27 Inf., fan out for a sweep of Bac Ha 200 yards from Cu Chi. (Photo by Sp4 Eric Mooney)|
|LEADER - Maj. Peter Kama (1), Support Command civil affairs officer, and Capt. Gunter Neubert, confer with Vietnamese National Policemen during a search of Bac Ha I. (Photo by Sp4 Eric Mooney)|
|CHECK OUT - Members of Co. C, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., check out a Viet Cong trench during a search and destroy operation near Tay Ninh. (Photo by Sp4 James Pardue.)|
|COOL - Men of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds" cool off their feet as they slosh through a rice paddy. (Photo by Sp4 Wallace Stachera)|
|UP THERE - The mortar platoon leader from Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf., points to an enemy structure on top of a hill. The structure he was referring to was a suspected look-out post for the Viet Cong. (Photo by PFC Wallace Stachera)|
|GOING HOME - Operation "Kahana I" is completed and the men of the 4th Bn., 9th Inf., wait for the homeward choppers to land. (Photo by PFC Wallace Stachera)|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
Sgt. Survives 2nd Grenade
Even enemy grenades don't seem to bother Sgt. Louis S. Hendrickson, 25, of East Hampton, Conn., a squad leader with Co. C, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
Sgt. Hendrickson was recently hit by his second VC grenade in three months. "This one almost got me," he said smilingly. "I thought the first one was a close call, but this one tops it."
A few months ago, Sgt. Hendrickson was knocked unconscious when a grenade exploded only a few feet from his head. His helmet saved him that time. The metal fragments ricocheted off his helmet and sent him down for the count, but none of the pieces hit him directly.
"This time," said the sergeant, "it was a rifle grenade."
The 4/23rd was on a search-and-destroy operation about 1000 yards from Cu Chi when it was hit by rifle grenades, semi-automatic and machine gun fire.
Sgt. Hendrickson was moving his squad across a rice paddy to reinforce his company's left flank when sniper and automatic fire opened up on his men.
"A second later, I saw a dot flying out of the tree line. I watched it get bigger and bigger, and then I realized it was coming straight at me."
The sergeant tried to dodge the oncoming missile, "but it was too fast." He had barely moved to one side when it struck him below the ribs and knocked him to his knees.
"It knocked the wind out of me," he said, "and then it kept right on going. I don't know why it didn't go off, or if it ever went off, but I do know I was lucky...twice!"
President Johnson congratulated two Air Force pilots recently, who as members of YF-12A test force, established three absolute and six jet class world records in one day. The pilots are Col. Robert L. Stephens, and Lt. Col. Walter F. Daniel. The records were for aircraft speed on a straight course traveling more than 2000 miles per hour and on closed course at 1688 mph. (CD)
|AMERICAN - 2nd Lt. Mary T. Miller, 22, of San Antonio, Tex., listens intently as young Vietnamese girl speaks in English. Other youngsters in the hamlet of Vinh Cu, 20 miles northwest of Saigon, press closely for their first view of an American woman. Lt. Miller, a nurse at the division's 7th Surgical Hospital, was in the Hau Nghia Province hamlet to take part in a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP). (Photo by PFC Vern Shibla)|
V.C. Hit 2/14th Perimeter; Piqued Co. C Charges Back
By Sp5 Dave Fisher
The Viet Cong 65 miles northwest of Saigon made the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., angry recently - and paid for it dearly.
The VC one night hit the Co. C perimeter. A mine was set off to the front of the company's defense line, causing light friendly casualties.
That was where the VC made his big mistake. During the next two days. Co. C, sparked by the anger of being hit by that mine, went looking for trouble.
In the afternoon of the first day, the company was moving through the area to the southwest of its camp when it came under sniper fire from all four sides. Calling in artillery support, the company began fighting its way out.
PSgt. Troy J. Woodie grabbed two machine gunners and with them covered the company's rear. The three of them remained in this position until the company was once again in comparative safety.
Even though the company was taken by surprise, it inflicted heavy casualties on the snipers, which included one Browning Automatic rifleman. A total of six Viet Cong were killed in the engagement.
On the second day, the company encountered a heavily dug-in reinforced rifle platoon. The fire was exceptionally heavy and "lead was flying everywhere," but three infantrymen on the company's point managed to penetrate the VC's defenses.
The men were wounded slightly and pinned down when Sgt. Ralph M. Graff, a squad leader with the second platoon, went in and dragged them to safety. Several minutes later, the sergeant once again exposed himself to the hail of bullets to recover a weapon that had been left behind.
Once again the artillery was called in. Air strikes were added and the VC began retreating. As the VC disappeared into the jungle, they left behind seven bodies.
After those two days of fierce fighting, "Charlie" may have got Co. C's message.
|MANEUVERS - A platoon of Co. C, 1st Bn., 69th Armor, conducts a search-and-destroy sweep on Operation "Paul Revere" southwest of Pleiku. An American tank platoon consists of five tanks divided into sections; two tanks in one section, three in the other. One section provides cover while the other section maneuvers to the next prominent terrain feature, there they switch roles. Here the two-tank section maneuvers while the three-tank section covers. (Photo by Sp4 Dale V. Sutphun)|
25th Steps Up Aid To Local 'Chieu Hois'
The "Tropic Lightning" division is well along in its program to aid families of "Chieu Hoi" returnees in Hau Nghia Province.
Guerrillas who defect to authorities in Hau Nghia Province are given the choice of living in New Life Hamlets in Hau Nghia or going to another area. Many choose to remain in Hau Nghia.
"Tropic Lightning" civil affairs officials say there are 42 Chieu Hoi families in Cu Chi District, and already 36 of these have been assisted. Eventually, all Chieu Hoi families in the province will receive assistance. Latest to receive aid were 10 families at Tan Phu Trung. Each family has given 10 pounds of rice, a gallon of cooking oil, five pounds of powdered milk, six cans of pork and beans, and six cans of soup.
The program is designed to aid those Chieu Hois who have not yet found work to support their families. The division plans to cover the entire province about once a month.
Manchus New Surgeon on 1st MEDCAP
Capt. Morgan A. Cowan, newly assigned surgeon to the 4th. Bn., 9th Inf., "Manchus" got a chance to learn about common Vietnamese ailments when he participated in a Medical Civic Action Program at Hoc Mon last week.
The captain and a party of seven medics arrived in the tiny village, three miles west of Saigon on Highway 1, and were faced with problems ranging from colds to advanced cases of pneumonia.
The average case treated involved open sores brought on by scratching mosquito bites. Ointment and bandages provided immediate relief.
Supplies of vitamins and soap were passed out to an eager group. All together, 256 persons were assisted, most of these dependents of the Army, Republic of Vietnam, 49th Regiment.
Red Cross Kits Ready
Some 450 American Red Cross (ARC) gift kits for children are now ready for distribution to Vietnamese in areas surrounding the division's base camp.
The kits were specially designed for boys and girls each. Girl's kits include a hair grooming set, bracelet and plastic doll while the boys will receive such items as soap, pad and pencils and a rubber ball. All the kits are enclosed in a colorful cloth bag.
Inside each gift is a card which reads, "The children of the United States wish to the children of Vietnam a new spring full of luck and happiness."
Sig Reichenberg, 25th Infantry ARC field director, said that 40 chests of school supplies will arrive for distribution to new schools in the area.
The chests were constructed by school children in the U.S. Additionally, 40 first aid kits for school classrooms will be distributed soon.
Reichenberg also stated that shipments of toilet articles are now arriving for hospitalized U.S. personnel.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
Brownie Can Be Pain at Times
1/5th Mech. Grabs 95 Suspects on Tip
On the basis of an intelligence tip that a rubber plantation in the province of Tay Ninh was being used by the Viet Cong as a meeting place, armored personnel carriers of Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., were rushed in to seal off the area.
No resistance was offered as a total of 95 suspects were apprehended inside the plantation's rubber processing plant and sent back for interrogation at the division's 1st Brigade field camp on the outskirts of Tay Ninh city.
There, the detainees were taken into custody by the 25th MP Co. and placed within a temporary detention compound, erected for that purpose by the men of Co. A, 65th Engr. Bn.
After 20 hours of continuous questioning, conducted by the 25th Mil. Intel. Det., 41 persons were cleared of all suspicion and returned to their homes.
Of the remaining 54 detainees, 48 suspects were turned over to provincial authorities for further questioning and six confirmed Viet Cong agents were sent to the division's compound at Cu Chi.
PFC's Pack Annihilated
When the going gets rough a soldier wants to travel as lightly as possible. PFC David C. Harvey, a member of the 3rd Plt., Co. A, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf., is no exception.
The Young riflemen had carried his gear in an North Vietnamese Army (NVA) pack he had picked up from a dead enemy soldier.
Recently his platoon made contact with the NVA and he dropped his pack in the heat of the action.
Another member of Pvt. Harvey's platoon approached shortly afterwards and saw the NVA pack lying on the ground. Not knowing whether there was an enemy soldier attached to it, he proceeded to riddle it full of holes.
After the fight, Pvt. Harvey returned for his pack only to discover that he had more lead in it than gear. Sorry about that.
|READY, AIM - Lt. Col. Lewis J. North of San Francisco, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., commander, fires his M-16 on opening day at the "Tomahawks" new firing range. Firing on the next lane is battalion Smaj Michael V. Termi.|
Lt. Col. North Opens Division's First Target Range For 4/23rd
"Ready...Aim...Fire!" was the cry at the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., "Towahawks" as they opened their new 100-meter target range. The new range is the first to be built at the division's base camp.
Capt. Ansel L. Huggins Jr. ,of Mullins, S.C., the range's project officer, said the range would prove invaluable in replacement training, sighting weapons and competition firing within the battalion.
New replacements will be issued new M-16's and train with them at the range, which also allows soldiers to keep their weapons zeroed and competitive intra-battalion contests.
Testing out the new range on opening day was Lt. Col. Lewis J. North of San Francisco, "Tomahawks" commander, who, himself, is an expert marksman. In 1956, Col. North placed 13th in an All-Army marksmanship contest held yearly in Ohio.
The "Tomahawk" Commander is a member of the distinguished "President's One Hundred," a group comprised of the Army's top rifle experts. During his recent test firing, Col. North placed all 20 of his rounds within the center bull with remarkable grouping.
2/27th Hits V.C.
Clearing the way with bangalore torpedoes, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., and an Army, Republic of Vietnam, (ARVN) unit recently broke into a Viet Cong arms storage 'depot' in the thick jungle brush south of the division's Cu Chi base camp.
The "Wolfhounds" encountered booby traps and light sniper fire from the defending VC. Using Bangalore Torpedoes, they cleared a path through a ring of mines and into the thick jungle brush. Once through the mine ring the Wolfhounds found 45 caliber rounds, supplemental artillery charges and fragmentation grenades.
The VC were so sure that no one would try to enter through the ring of mines that they had not hidden any of the cache. It wasn't long before the men of the 2nd Bn. found homemade bombs, explosives, 200 rounds of 50 caliber ammunition and 500 small arms cartridge cases.
The battalion turned the cache over to the ARVNs.
|NEW - Vietnamese women from the village of Tan An Hoi smile and laugh as they examine their new clothing. The clothing was donated by residents of Hawaii and distributed in conjunction with the "Helping Hand" program by the division artillery civil affairs section. (Photo by SFC Joe Hawkins)|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1966
PFCs Miers, Sipley Follow Each Other Like Two Shadows
By PFC Doug Kearney
Togetherness pretty well describes the Army careers of two "Tropic Lightning" soldiers.
PFCs Robert C. Miers, 20, of Belvidere, N.J.; and Arthur D. Sipley, 26,. of Columbia, N.J., weren't very surprised to be assigned to the same battalion. And being assigned to the same company doing the same job was nothing unusual for them either.
Because for Bob and Art, the Army has never done something to one that it hasn't done to the other - unless, of course, you count the service number. Art's service number is one digit after Bob's.
The service number is easy to explain; both men had to report for induction on the same day.
But it goes back even farther than that. Bob and Art both worked for the West Jersey Telephone Company for a year and a half at the same time, both as telephone installers and repairmen. Both were drafted on the same day, with only one digit of their service numbers separating them.
Both privates Sipley and Miers were in the same basic training unit, Company U, 2nd Training Brigade, Foxt Dix, N. J. Bob and Art both took on-the-job training together as telephone installers and repairmen at Fort Lee, Va., and both received their orders to Vietnam at the same time. They both were assigned to Co. A, 125th Sig. Bn.
Both Bob and Art work at the same job in the Army that they held before entering the service, and both plan to return to their former jobs when their service is completed.
In fact, the only difference between the two is that Art is married and Bob isn't. But Bob is planning on taking care of that minor discrepancy - he's getting married as soon as he returns home from Vietnam.
|INFORM - A captured member of a Viet Cong assassination team, masked to hide his identity from those he informed on points to a secret hole where three of his comrades were found. He led the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds," to the meeting place of the terrorist ring of which he was once a member. (Photo by PFC Andy Jensen)|
Official: 13th Arty Becomes the 'Clan'
It's finally official - the Clan is really the Clan.
The division's 13th Artillery has been using the traditional name, "The Clan," for longer than anyone in the unit can remember. It was only recently that it discovered the name had never been authorized for official use.
The battalion wrote to the Office of the chief of Military History at the Department of the Army requesting the unit's distinctive name be approved.
Department of the Army sent back a letter authorizing use of the traditional name, "The Clan."
The origin of the name is a confused issue. It wasn't until 1960 that a sergeant in the Clan wrote his version of the origin.
According to the sergeant the 13th Artillery - then a regiment - was engaged in an athletic contest with a group from the 27th Infantry Regiment at pre-World-War II Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
During the game, an argument started, a fight ensued, and the 13th stormed out of the stands en-mass, literally clearing the field.
During the subsequent investigation, all members of the 13th Artillery denied any knowledge of anything. They even denied that the game ever took place. As a result of this unanimous denial, the investigating officers reported that the regiment stuck together "as a Clan."
Henceforth, the 13th has been known as "The Clan."
|REUP - SFC Clarence N. Eddy of Hopkinsville, Ky., is the career counselor for 25th Div. Arty.; 3rd Sgdn., 4th Cav.; 3rd Bn., 13th Arty.; 7th Bn., 11th Arty.; and 1st Bn., 8th Arty. Having served in the Army for 12 years, Sgt. Eddy has done recruiting work at Bowling Green, Ohio, and with the "Tropic Lightning" Division in Hawaii before coming to Vietnam.|
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.
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