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Vol 1 No. 43                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                December 16, 1966



Unit                     Page Unit                    Page Unit                    Page Unit                      Page
1st Bde            5 12th Evac          8 25th Avn           9 3/21              10
1/5                8 125th Signal      10 25th DivArty       9 4/23               1
1/14               1 196th Inf          5 25th Inf Div       1 4/23               3
1/14 Photo         2 196th Inf Photo    6 25th Inf Div       8 52nd Avn Photo     8
1/14               2 196th Inf          9 3rd Bde Photo     12 65th Engr          1
1/14               2 2/1                9 3/4 Cav Photo      3 65th Engr Photo    3
1/14 Photo         2 2/1                9 3/4 Cav            5 65th Engr          5
1/14 Photo         8 2/9 Arty Photo     1 3/13 Arty          5 65th Engr          9
1/27               3 2/9 Arty           5 3/13 Arty          8 7th Surgical      12
1/27              12 2/14               3 3/21               5 7/11 Arty          3
1/35               2 2/14               9 3/21              10 725th Maint        8
1/35               2 2/27              12 3/21              10 Helping Hand      11


New Bde Joins 25th;  Div Area Now Largest

   United States Army Vietnam has announced the attachment of the 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, to the 25th Division.
   The addition of the "Ivy" Div combat troops to what is already the free world's largest single combat force in Vietnam gives the 25th the additional distinction - and responsibility - of covering and wresting from Communist domination more square miles of Vietnamese soil than any other unit.
   The new brigade is currently located at Dan Tieng, 50 miles northwest of Saigon.  This area was the site of the recently concluded Operation "Attleboro," the largest operation thus far in the war.
   More than 1100 enemy were killed and 3 million pounds of rice captured.
   The addition of the brigade-sized combat unit in the Dau Tieng area creates a triangle of three U.S. Army base camps: the 1st and 2nd brigades of the 25th at Cu Chi, the 196th Lt Inf Bde at Tay Ninh, and the 3rd Bde, 4th Div at Dau Tieng. Within and around are areas long noted as Viet Cong, and more recently, North Vietnamese Army, strongholds.  Now, with the mammoth strike force available at a moment's notice, no longer will War Zone C, the Boi Loi and Ho Bo Woods, and the Michelin Plantation be sanctuaries for the enemy.
   In addition to the "Tropic Lightning" elements already mentioned, the division has other record breaking units deployed in Vietnam.  The 3rd Bde base at Pleiku has set the longest consecutive days in combat with Operation Paul Revere.  The previous mark of 165 days was established by the 25th during the Pacific campaigns of World War II.
   Although not under the operational control of Division commander, Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, the 3rd " Bronco " Bde has kept close ties with the parent unit since leaving Schofield Barracks, Hawaii early this year.
   In addition to the brigade-sized forces, one battalion from the Cu Chi base camp has been deployed to Ben Luc in Long An Province, marking the first time a U.S. unit has ventured into the region.



APC'S Enroute
   Mech Switch Coming at 4/23

   The 4th Bn, 23rd Inf., "Tomahawks" will soon become the first "Tropic Lightning" unit to be converted to a mechanized outfit in Vietnam.
   The changeover from infantry to mechanized infantry will give the battalion the additional power and speed necessary to carry out its mission against the Viet Cong in the Cu Chi area.
   Armored personnel carriers (APCs) are scheduled to arrive at the Cu Chi base camp before the Christmas holidays.  Preparations for the transition are already under way.
   "The first thing we are doing," explained Capt. C. E, Demmon, "is tripling the size of the present motor pool."
   Dump trucks tractors, and scores of men from the 65th Engr Bn are already clearing, dumping, and rolling hard layers of earth throughout the selected tract of land.
   The next task to be encountered is described as the most difficult of all: training the drivers.
   "Tlrere are two driver training classes scheduled for the men of the battalion", explained Capt Demmon.  The first is for basic driving which entails teaching the men how to maneuver the track.  And the second is designed to teach them the various formations and maneuvers used in combat."
   "Mechanized infantry is a new concept of warfare to most of these men," Capt. Demnon explained.  "They will be able to move faster and farther, but by the same token they will be restricted in many new ways."
   The 4/23 will be one of the two mechanized infantry battalions assigned to the 25th Division.  The other mechanized outfit, the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, "Bobcats," is assigned to the 2nd Bde.


2/9 Arty fire mission SHELL SHOCK - Members of Btry B, 2nd Bn, 9th Arty, fire a 105mm howitzer in support of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf., during a battle in the central highlands.  (Photo by Sgt. Michael N. Horowitz)



Highlands Battle Nets 166 Foe Dead

   For the second time in one week and in the same general vicinity, elements of the lst Bn, 14th Inf, "Golden Dragons" engaged units of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in a duel for control of the central highlands of Vietnam.
   On a recent Saturday morning, Companies B and C, plus the Recon Platoon of the Golden Dragons and an attached Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) force, set out on a sweep and destroy mission to blow up an enemy bunker complex discovered the day before.  The infantrymen from the 25th ended up in an eight-hour fire fight.
   Prior to reaching the bunker complex Co B's right came under enemy small arms fire and shortly thereafter the CIDG company and the Recon Platoon began receiving small arms and grenade fire.  Within minutes the friendly forces were engaged with a two-battalion NVA force.
   Co B was receiving heavy fire from the front while the Recon Platoon and CIDG Co were being hit mainly from the west.  The forces were pinned down.  Co C was used as a maneuver element since it was the only unit not in contact.
   Two platoons of the company began flanking to the west to help relieve the pressure placed on the Recon Platoon and CIDG Co.  The other platoon was held back to clear an adequate landing zone (LZ).
   Co C was slowed by heavy contact and difficult terrain, which considerably reduced observation.  At this point the decision was made to pull back to the prepared LZ, extract the friendly wounded and call in artillery and air strikes on the suspected NVA bunker positions.
   After contact had been broken, air strikes were immediately called in and were followed by more than 1800 rounds of 105mm ammunition fired by the 2nd Bn, 9th Arty, "Mighty Ninth."
   As the companies pooled forces for the night in a perimeter defense around the LZ and the last of the artillery rounds had been dropped some 166 enemy soldiers lay dead on the battlefield.


Latest Reports
Through December 14

Operation Province Began FC KIA VCC VCS
Lanikai Long An Sept. 15 L 47 9 36
Paul Rev. IV Pleiku Oct. 18 L 946 83 81
Ala Moana Hau Nghia Dec. 1 L 17 2 43



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


Battle Dragons board chopper

1/14th "Battle Dragons."  On the 201st day of fighting, they came home.



Sp5 Tells of NVA Encounter

   You could see where the leaves were falling and hear the crack of their rifles, but you just couldn't see them.   That's how Sp4 Newton. T. Tate of the 3rd Brigade Task Force described the situation he found himself in during a recent encounter.
   His unit, Co B, 1st Bn, 14th Inf "Goldren Dragons," had gone in to secure a landing zone and had come under heavy enemy sniper fire.  They were getting hit from the right, the left and the front by a numerically superior North Vietnamese unit.
   Sp4 Tate said that this was the heaviest contact that his unit has had in the six and a half months since he has been in Vietnam.  The initial sniper fire was only the beginning and soon enemy mortars, grenades, and automatic weapons and small arms fire were being hurled at the Golden Dragons.
   Finally the American troops were able to silence some of the enemy fire and it became Specialist Tate's job as machine gunner to cover the withdrawal of the two friendly platoons engaged in the action.  For a while he was the only man covering the withdrawal.  The vegetation was so thick that be was unable to see very far but he could hear small arms fire all around him.
   According to his company commander, he did an excellent job under very difficult conditions while Specialist Tate's own appraisal of his actions was, " I just did my job, but it sure was lonely out there."  The other men in his unit feel that he did quite a bit more.
   Specialist Tate's battalion did its job well, serving 201 consecutive days in the field on Operation "Paul Revere IV," before returning to base camp at Pleiku.


CLAMPER Contributions
   Reno Sgt. Aids Viets

   "I just want to help these people."  That was the comment made by Sgt. Terry M. Hansen, 22, of Reno, Nev., a member of Co C, 1st Bn, 35th Inf, who has initiated his own civil affairs program.
   Sgt. Hansen arrived in Vietnam with the 3rd Brigade in May 1966. He was disheartened to see the poor and unsanitary conditions the Vietnamese people were living under.
   So Sgt. Hansen wrote his mother asking her to send him such items as clothes, soap and medicine.  Thinking her son had a great idea, Mrs. Hansen decided to ask help from other people in the community.  The response was tremendous.
   Mrs. Hansen went to the organization "CLAMPER," an historical organization dedicated to preserving Nevada.  The CLAMPER took the task to heart and overnight there was a statewide drive to raise the needed items to sent to Vietnam.  Numerous church and civic organizations joined in the drive.  Five hundred pounds of needed items were soon readied for shipment and mailed to Sgt. Hansen.
   After the first load of goodwill packages were sent, the people of Nevada continued to work on the project.  At the present time Sgt. Hansen said there is a plane load of packages waiting to be sent to Vietnam.
   When the first load arrived at the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, base camp at Pleiku, a local Montagrard village was selected by Capt. Alvino Cortez, intelligence officer, to receive the packages.
   The village chief was notified that Sgt. Hansen wanted to help his people and that he had many packages for them.  Upon Capt. Cortez and Sgt. Hasen's arrival at the village, they were met with open arms by the Montagnard chief and his people.
   The packages were opened and handed out to the villagers.  Not only were there the main items Sgt. Hansen had asked for but also many other needed items such as fishing hooks, shoes and candy for the children.
   Overwhelmed by the way the people received him, Sgt. Hansen is even more anxious to continue his work with the people of Vietnam.


1/14th Co Rescued From Fierce Fight

   "When I realized that I had come through this uninjured I just couldn't believe it.  It was a nightmare come true."  That's how PFC Michael W. Thomas described a recent fire fight involving his company of the division's 3rd Brigade Task Force.
   At the time of the contact PFC Thomas was team leader with the 2nd Platoon of Co A, 1st Bn. 14th Inf, "Golden Dragons."  They were hit by a large North Vietnamese NVA force and a number of men were wounded in the initial contact.
   The enemy was infiltrating the line to the right front of the landing zone (LZ) where the fighting was taking place and PFC Thomas positioned himself in a spot where he could protect the wounded.  He shot three NVA who managed to get into the LZ.  One of the three was an officer, as confirmed by the equipment he was carrying.
   PFC Thomas kept firing in the area for over an hour to keep the enemy away from the wounded.  Finally Co C broke through and the enemy ended contact.  Their arrival is probably the most welcome sight that PFC Thomas will ever have.




PFC Curtis McLawhorn

HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET? - PFC Curtis R. McLawhorn, a grenadier with the 1st Bn., 14th Inf, part of the 3rd Brigade Task Force, shows just how close it can get by pointing to where an enemy round hit his helmet during a firefight on Operation "Paul Revere IV."  (Photo by Sp4 Dale V. Sutphin)



R'chom-Anhuet:  Just a Friend Called 'Ben' by Man of 1/35th

   His name is R'chom-Anhuet, but to the men of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, "Cacti Green" he's just Ben, the friendly Montagnard.  Ben came to the intelligence section last March from the Montagnard Army.
   He took a liking to the men in the intelligence section of the 1/35th as they did to him.  It was more than that.
   it was friendship, but after Operation "Garfield," Ben had to return to his own unit in the Montagnard army.
   Ben wasn't happy back in the Montagnard Army and the 1/35th didn't seem the same without Ben.  One friend that Ben made was Sp4 Garland Bell who went to visit Ben at his unit and his village.
   On September 15 as the men of the intelligence section were going about their day's duties, Ben reappeared.  He had taken an indefinite leave from the Montagnard army to rejoin his friends in the Cacti Green and has been with them ever since.  Ben speaks and writes English now.


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


4 Grenades Fail;  Cong Burnt Out

   "There were two Viet Cong firing at us from a house on our right flank," explained Sgt. Edward Cole, a platoon sergeant with Co A, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.  The lieutenant rushed up and tried to enter the house, but got hit in the side and fell wounded in the doorway.  That's when McMahan began to move."
   PFC Michael McMahan, 19, of Knoxville, Tennessee, had just begun his deeds that day.  A moment later, he was rushing the house again with a grenade.
   I sent him in to get the lieutenant," continued the sergeant, "and with the help of another man, he dragged the lieutenant out of the doorway and behind some cover.  As they moved, we laid down covering fire, but the enemy kept right on shooting.  I can't understand how McMahan made it out of there."
   "I flipped one in the door and made it back to cover as it went off, but after the explosion, the enemy kept firing," said PFC McMahan, "I knew I had to try it again."
   Picking up another grenade the young infantrymen again rushed the building and threw his second grenade in.  Another blast shook the house but the stubborn enemy still kept firing.  PFC McMahan had run almost 30 yards through heavy fire to throw grenades, but they had no effect.
   Another quick 30 yards and a third grenade quieted things a bit but after a short lull there it was again, the blast of an automatic weapon.  PFC McMahan was becoming impatient, he just had to knock out that position.
   A fourth 30-yard sprint brought McMahan back to the side of the building.  Grenade in hand, he carefully moved along the side and with a flick of the wrist, tossed the explosive through the threshold.
   "The grenade must have hit the door, because it bounced right out and was smoking by my feet," sputtered PFC McMahan.  "I ran around the building fast in time before it went off.  That was too close!"
   With that scare, he ran hack to his shelter behind a berm.  He was out of breath and shaky, but determined not to give in.  Pulling his cigarette lighter from his pocket, he again made his way through the enemy fire to the building's blind side.  A twist of the flint wheel, a spark, and the thatched roof was ablaze.
   PFC McMahan stood back as the smoked billowed and the fire raged through the building.  The other "Tropic Lightning" troops readied their weapons and sighted on the doorway.
   A few more shots were fired from within the burning walls, and then, in a mad rush, the enemy came out.
   Rifle fire from every direction riddled the enemy as they tried to flee from the undodgeable steel, and soon all was quiet.  PFC McMahan had gotten his way.


65th Engineers sweep road DANGEROUS FIND - The "pip-pip-pip" of a mine detector reacting to buried metal brings a careful probe from the 65th Engr on a road-clearing mission during Operation "Attleboro."  (Photo by PFC John R. Dittmann)



Osaka Orphanage Fund Zooms As 1/27th Remembers Sergeant

   Members of one Division rifle company have donated nearly $2400 to an orphanage in Japan in memory of their recently killed first sergeant, a staunch supporter of the home in the past.
   1st Sgt. Samuel K. Solomon, of Hawi, Hawaii, was killed by a sniper at the battle of Dau Tieng during the first days of the recently concluded Operation "Attleboro" in War Zone C.  He had been first sergeant for Co. C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds."
   His unit has continuously supported the Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan, and many credit Sgt. Solomon for the project's increasing success over the years.  Said one platoon sergeant, "He was the driving force behind the project.  I'm afraid donations may drop off now that he is gone."
   Apparently such fears were unfounded as the men of his company contributed an average of more than $13 per man to the First Sergeant Solomon Memorial Fund providing for the record breaking total contribution.
   The battalion sergeant major, assessing the meaning of the large contribution, commented that he felt it was due to respect for the man himself rather than to his position as first sergeant.
   Men who worked with him or for him alike, remembered Sgt. Solomon as a kind and generous man who worked with all his enormous. energy to promote the welfare of the orphans of Osaka.
   Expressing the feelings of the entire company the executive officer issued this statement:  "The donations from Co. C, for the Wolfhound orphanage are in memory of 1st Sgt. Solomon and show our desire to continue to support our friends in Osaka in the same fine spirit that he established."


Mortar Platoon Answers 2/14th Calls With Shells

   A few hundred yards inside the perimeter of the Division's base camp at Cu Chi stands a sandbagged bunker.  The simple, gray-brown, unobtrusive facade belies the ant-like activity going on inside.
   The bunker is the nerve center of the 2nd Bn, 14th lnf 4.2 inch mortar platoon.  The activity has been generated by a call for support by a patrol operating in the Filhol Rubber Plantation.
   The radio cracked out the simple call to action, "fire mission."  With rapid precision the sergeant at the radio takes down the firing data given by the forward observer in the field.
   With equal rapidity and precision the horizontal chart operator reads range and deflection from his chart and translates them into the language of the men on the mortars.
   Meanwhile, down in the mortar pits the crew chief keeps his ear glued to the field telephone waiting for the commands.  "Shell 'H, E' fuse quick, deflection three six zero niner, elevation three niner five."
   In seconds the high explosive shell is "hanging" in the tube, waiting for the final command.  "Fire," spits the voice from the phone.  "Ka-woom," echoes the mortar as it sends its deadly load of ripping steel hissing into the lair of the hated Cong.
   And so the daily saga goes.  It is the mission of the "Four Deuce" mortar platoon to support the infantryman in the field.  And support they do.
   As one man so aptly put it, "The Four Deuce is our Ace in the hole."


MIGHTY PROTECTOR - The crew of an M-48AI tank of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav scans the dense woods alongside Highway 1, just outside of Cu Chi.  The tank provides security for convoys traveling between Cu Chi and Saigon.  (Photo by SP4 Todd C. Darch)



7/11th Arty Fills Requests With Deadly Blasts

   Viet Cong traveling through the brush surrounding the 25th Division's Cu Chi base camp find the going extremely rough these days.
   As Capt. Michael J. Lombardo, the battalion fire direction officer noted, "Charlie" has had a bad month.  During November the 7/11th accounted for 40 enemy killed.
   The best single day's action saw 14 VC killed by artillery.  This battle began for the artillerymen when a unit of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf "Battle Dragons" called in for help.  High explosive shells rained the trees in front of the 2/14th and the enemy firing stopped.
   In a recent action, SSgt. Earl J. High, from Indianola, Ill., an aerial observer, was flying in a light plane above the Ho Bo Woods when he spotted two of the enemy strolling down a path.  When they heard the noise of the airplane, the VC hightailed it down the trail.
   Sgt. High radioed back to Btry A which replied with a salvo.  The rounds landed directly on target and when Sgt, High made another pass over the area he saw both of the communists sprawled lifeless among the debris of the wooded sector.


Page 4                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966



1st Lt. Alan Perrault, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sgt. Robert E. Taylor, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Aaron .L. Thomas, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Roy R. Blewett, Co A, 2nd Bn. 27th Inf.
PFC Earl D. Hutton, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Col. Thomas M. Tarpley, HHC, 2nd Bde.
Sgt. Wayne W. Ballard, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Richard A. Stevens, Co A, 2nd 13u, 27th Inf.
PFC Cartone E. Frida, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Darold G. Lokken, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PFC Clarence E.Matthews, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Leonard E. Welch, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Alan F. Lucas, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Paul F. Widfeldt Jr, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC William T. London, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PFC Halley D. Whitlock, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Ray G. Murchison, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Mickey J. Pope, Btry C, 1st Bn, 8th Arty.
Sp4 Roy W. Pruitt, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Ronald E. Reid, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 James T. Rogers, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 George R. Taylor, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sp4 James T. Williams, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 James D. Williamson, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Ernest R. Lopez, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Richard D. Manning, Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
PFC Robert Mark, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Kenneth R. Nealy, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Dan Price, Co. B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PFC Geary Rivers, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC James R. Taylor, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Gene G. Vigil, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.



Indianapolis Teen - Ager offers Thanks and Help to Men in VN

   (Editor's Note:  This letter war written by a Brebeaf High School Junior to the Editor of The Indianapolis Star.)
   This letter is for the troops of the 25th U.S. Infantry Division, in combat in Vietnam:
   I know many of you will not have time to read this letter because you will he fighting for s to halt the world's worst disease - Communism.
   I know you are very proud to be fighting for our great country and will continue to do your best.  I, too, would be very proud to be in Vietnam to help you brave men of the 25th infantry Division.  However, there is one obstacle which stands in my way.  I am only a 16-year-old high school student.
   Like many young people in the United States, I feel I must do something to help men in some way.
   I know many of you men view the teen-agers who are not fighting with you as juvenile delinquents.  You also may see us leading some campus demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam.  You may see us riding our big motorcycles and wearing our shining black leather jackets.  However, these young people only make up a very small percentage of our nation's population.  There are some teen-agers who take the time to write you and thank you for your brave and hard tasks over there.  There may also be some teen-agers who may be sitting next to you right now reading my letter.  These are the men who some day will rule the country you are fighting for.
   You may think that the people over here in the States do not appreciate what you are doing.  Many people think that the war is useless.  There are probably even some men over there who think that the war is useless.  However, you know you have a job to do and you do it without hesitation.
   I would appreciate it very much if you would send me a list of things you may need or want.  I would be very happy to send you some hometown newspapers, recent records, or anything I can do within my power.  I hope you will take my letter seriously and let me do something for you guys.
   Thank you for your valuable leisure time in reading my letter.
   Thank you also for fighting and possibly dying for us over in the States.  I really want to do something for you so please grant me any request and I will see what I can do.



   They Chose Freedom

   Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry came from very different backgrounds, but they shared one thing in common - a love of freedom.
   To them, this freedom was worth as much as life itself.  It is often worthwhile for Americans of this day and age to reflect on the contributions our forefathers made in order to preserve the ideals many of us now take for granted.
   Thomas Paine, on Englishman by birth and the son of a poor family, fled to America in 1774 to escape the tyranny of King George III.  Early in 1776, Paine wrote a pamphlet, "Common Sense," which had a tremendous effect in mobilizing colonial opinion and bringing about the Declaration of Independence.
   Throughout the war, Paine wrote inspiring newspaper pieces which he titled "The American Crisis," or simply the "Crisis" papers.  These two were a potent force in the cause of freedom.  Paine's writings sustained morale and created hope when American fortunes were at a low ebb.
   Patrick Henry, on the other hand, was a wealthy trial lawyer and land speculator just prior to the Revolution.  Largely self educated, he quickly became a leader among the citizens of Virginia and spoke out for individual freedom on every occasion available.
   As on orator, he had no equal.  His words, "Give me liberty or give me death," are familiar to all Americans.
   Today, we can learn much from these two men and the countless thousands like them.  Our forefathers showed us the necessity of preserving our freedom and sharing it with others.
   As advocates of freedom, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry never faltered in the belief that their cause was just and their duty clear.  Their choice was freedom, and they stuck to it.


Westmoreland Urges Cutdown On Reckless Piaster Spending

   Gen. W. C. Westmoreland, commander of United States Armed Forces in Vietnam, this week called for a sharp reduction by all personnel and agencies in the spending of piasters.
   Citing the economic hazards which result from continued uncontrolled flow of piasters into the Vietnamese economy, Gen. Westmoreland directed his staff and component commanders to institute an aggressive and dynamic program directed toward the reduction of piaster expenditures.  Specifically the program will lessen the inflationary impact of our presence upon the economy of Vietnam.
   Programs are to be aimed specifically at controlling the official-rate piasters spent by DOD  agencies and their contractors, "Assistance in Kind" (AIK) expenditures, and personal spending by the military and U. S. and third country employees of contractors.
   While there are no plans at present to limit the number of piasters individuals may purchase at the accommodation rate of exchange Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) has called for a personal, self-imposed limitation on piaster expenditures.
   Leading the list as the most painless way to reduce personal piaster purchases is to increase deposits with the Uniformed Services Savings Deposit System.  This program especially designed for men overseas, pays the individual 10 percent on deposits up to $10,000.  Also high on the list of positive controls on personal spending are the 5 percent interest, no-cost checking accounts of the Bank of America and the Chase Manhattan Bank now operating in Vietnam.  In addition, the United States Savings Bond program continues to offer another painless way to put money to work while increasing personal savings.  The objective here is to have the soldier get his money out of Vietnam into one of the savings programs or through the allotment system.
   Among the personally less desirable suggestions being considered are earlier curfews, reduction in passes and increased use of the "off limits" designation.
   It is recognized by officials that personal efforts alone will not completely achieve the desired level of reduced piastcr expenditures.  For this reason officials have directed all contracting agencies to take a close look at operating methods and establish effective programs to reduce piastrr expenses.  Among areas under consideration are increased logistical and special support for laundries, PX, movies, hobby shops, USO, Red Cross and supervised athletic programs.
   Relocation of military personnel and agencies to new facilities and troop cantonment areas outside the Saigon metropolitan area will be accelerated.  Personnel residing in private billets, leased apartments and hotels can anticipate relocation to troop areas as quickly as facilities become available.
   Numerous other proposals for controlling expenditures of piasters are under consideration.  These will be reported on if and when they are adopted.  In the meantime, Chairman of the MACV Piaster Expenditure Control Working Group, Col. Paul A. Wedlan, stated that his group welcomes constructive suggestions, from individuals or agencies, which contribute to the success of the program.


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, Armed Forces Press Service and Armed Forces News Bureau material are used.  Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army.  Printed in Saigon, Vietnam, by The Vietnam Guardian.

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
Sp5 Jimmy Edwards  . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Sp4 Adrian E. Wecer  . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant



Page 5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


$25 Prize
   1st Bde PFC Wins Div. Combat Photo Contest

   PFC Lawrence A. Craig of HHC, 1st Bde, was awarded first prize and $25 in the division's Combat Photography Contest sponsored by Division Special Services.
   PFC Craig won the first-place prize of $25 for his 3" x 5" color print of a 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, tank securing Highway 1.
   The second-place prize of $15 was awarded to PFC Patrick Davis of Btry A, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty for a color slide showing division helicopters firing at a suspected VC location.
   Capt. David G. Crane of HHC, 25th Div., won the third place award of $10 for a 4" x 5" black and white shot at a division MEDCAP.
   1st Lt. William H. Seely III, 25th Admin Co, took fourth place and $10 for a 5" x 7" color print of a door gunner on guard.


Jungle Becomes Quick LZ

   Recipe for a landing zone (LZ)?
   Take one bomb crater, and two platoons of engineers from Co. D, 65th Engr Bn, four tons of explosives, and stir with chain saws.  That's the combination that worked on LZ-510-Alpha, the landing zone or the tactical command post of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, in the central highlands of Vietnam.
   Hacked from the dense jungle, Zone-510-Alpha is now large enough to hold six helicopters at one time, in addition to the tactical command post and an artillery unit of the 2nd Bn, 9th Arty.
   The trees in the landing zone were primarily mahogany, up to four and five feet thick and towering more than 100 feet.
   For an encore, the engineers, commanded by Capt. John E. Stetzinger, took a few of the mahogany trees, built a bridge across a creek bordering LZ-510-Alpha and built another four-ship landing zone.




Boy Sends 'Kool' Aid

   Eleven-year-old Jeffrey Waits of Wilmington, Ohio, is a special kind of American boy who wanted to do something for the American soldiers fighting this special kind of war.
   With the help of his mother, Jeffrey prepared a package and letter to a soldier who had been in combat and did not receive much mail.  The pakage contained numerous goodies, including Kool-Aid, since he thought the water here wasn't too tasty.
   When the package arrived at the home of the "Gimlets," 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, 196th Lt. Inf. Bde., it was sent to Co. C.  Capt. Russell DeVries, Co. C Commander, presented the package to PFC Joe Mrziock of Whiting, Ind. For the members of his squad.
   Capt. DeVries conveyed the men's thanks to Jeffrey in a letter.


MPs Aid Downed Helicopter
By Lt. Richard Steirhausen

   The airstrip was a beehive of activity.  For hours airplanes and "Chinook" helicopters had been pouring in supplies and ammunition for the troops on Operation "Attleboro."
   Sp4 Brian E. Anderson stood at his post directing traffic and watching for civilians crossing the air field during the heavy traffic.  He was one of the Military Policemen from HHC, 196th Lt Inf Bde, assigned to provide security and traffic control during the operations near Dau Tieng.
   A nearby 'Huey' took off, heading out of the village.  It appeared to lose power and suddenly plunged to earth and burst into flames.
   "I saw the billowing clouds of smoke and I started to run toward the MP shack to get help,"  Specialist Andersen said, "I yelled to a couple of my buddies who came running over and we piled into the jeep and raced over to the accident."
   "When we reached the wreck some fellows were carrying one of the crewmen into a helicopter.  Sgt. Wayne Reed of Akron, Ohio and Sgt. James B. Dalton of Framingham, Mass., started tossing buckets of water on the blaze, while PFC Robert Salmy of Unadilla, N.Y., kept the crowds away from the blazing cauldron.  When the buckets proved useless we grabbed small fire extinguishers and tried to contain the flames."
   Sgt. Reed recalled, "It was too darn hot.  I wanted to get away from the flames, but I knew if we did the fire would spread to the nearby huts and possibly burn down half of the village."
   The MPs fought the blaze for 10 minutes until a fire truck from the village arrived with hoses.  Refusing to leave the scene until the job was finished they manned the hoses with the Vietnamese firemen and together extinguished the deadly flames.
  The villagers nearby cheered and shouted for the heroic "firefighting" policemen of the "Chargers" brigade.


Capt. Hershel Gober, SP4 Jimmy Tobias PATCHES A GO - Capt. Hershel Gober, (l) and Sp4 Jimmy Tobias, members of the Black Patches, a military entertainment group touring Vietnam, stops briefly at Cu Chi to entertain 25th troops at the "Lighnting Bowl."



By Sgt. Bill Becker

   LAST WEEK, I promised to reveal my choice for the potential hero of the Vietnam war.  If you'll remember, he was to embody the qualities traditionally characteristic of the American Fighting Man, and at the same time wield a physical prowess capable of winning the war in heroic fashion.
   One man toting all of these would admittedly have to be a personality of herculean dimension.  My nominee, then, the one person who most completely fills the bill, is none other than Hercules himself.
          Scoffers All
   You scoff.  Yet Hercules is not only known for his physical prowess, but is the Greek demigod of physical prowess.  Hercules, we are told by those who claim to know him, combines the finest qualities of the heart with the highest development of the body.  Who, then, would be more qualified to take the post of our envisioned champion?
   True that Hercules emerged from a rather shady beginning.  His father was Zeus, king of the gods who was married to his own sister, and his mother was the mortal spouse of another Greek.  But a faculty of legendary characters pulled Hercules from ruin and made him a most accomplished hero.
          Son God
   Armed with weapons from the gods (he was Zeus' favorite son despite his mortality), Hercules has slain monsters, done away with tyrants, felled giants, freed captives and generally cut quite a political figure.
   The same legends that robe Hercules, however, obscure him.  The only indication we have of his personality is his beard.  This growth points to a rebellious vein in the hero, which could be a problem during basic training, but his deeds make him out to be a good boy and I'm sure he would concede minor points to those who out rank him.
          Cattle Lord
   In evidence of his capabilities, for instance, Hercules undertook 12 tasks a while ago and performed each of them famously.  In the sixth of the 12, he illustrated his incomparable ability as a detail man by cleaning the hopelessly befouled stables inhabited by a massive herd of cattle belonging to the King of Elis.
   Bringing his unparalleled imagination into play, Hercules diverted the rivers Alpheus and Peneus through the stables and did away with the mess in one day.
          No Medals
   Then, there is Hercules The Warrior.  In the first of the tasks, he faced the Nemean Lion, a beast invulnerable to arrows and swords.  Undaunted, Hercules simply approached the animal, clubbed it over the head and strangled it to death.
   Finally, Hercules would not demand money or medals for his service.  He undertakes impossible feats simply for the satisfaction of crusading through gauntlets of injustice.  A noble man is Hercules, a man of stature.  And he seems to reign unequivocally as the hero for the Vietnamese war.
   Certainly a job worthy of the Army's best recruiters.



Page 6-7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


[This issue of Tropic Lightning News was scanned from a bound library volume provided by the 25th Infantry Division Museum.  Three of the photographs. their captions, and one full column of text on pages 6 and 7 were printed across the center of the 2-page-wide sheet and partially hidden from sight - the book could not be safely opened wide enough to see that part of the page.]


Blow Up a Big M-U-S-T For 196th at Tay Ninh


   In the ever present fight to bring increased, more effective medical service to the man fighting in the field, the Army's most modern combat medical facility, the 45th Surgical Hospital, is now operational at the 196th Lt Inf Bde at Tay Ninh.
   It is the first military service surgical hospital to use the new Medical Unit Self-Contained Transportable (MUST) equipment.  Under control of the 1st Log Command, the new hospital is commanded by Maj. Charles M. Lyon.

[paragraph is missing in the center fold of the page]

of a combination expandable shelter-shipping container; an inflatable shelter for hospital wards; and a utility system which provides electrical power, air conditioning, heating, hot and cold running water, and waste service.  Its elements are compact, lightweight, and easily movable and by combining equipped functional elements, can be assembled into the various types of field hospitals.
   Each hospital ward shelter holds 20 patients in air conditioned comfort.  It can be erected in 30 minutes by inflating a series of inter-connected tubes with air pressure from the jet-engine powered utility pack.
   The expandable container features modern facilities for performing the most complex and delicate operations, yet can be folded into a compact package which serves as a shipping container holding all equipment.  It can be carried by a 2 1/2 ton truck, cargo aircraft, helicopter, or can he mounted on detachable highway transporters for towing.
   The 45th Surgical Hospital received its MUST equipment at Ft. Sam Houston, Tex. in June 1966.  The facility is staffed with over 100 personnel including physicians, nurses and enlisted corpsmen.

SURGERY - Surgeons, using the most modern equipment, can perform even the most complex operations at the new MUST hospital at Tay Ninh.  (Photo by Garrett Corp.)
INSTANT HOSPITAL - The new lightweight, highly mobile hospital consists of inflatable buildings which house wards and treatment facilities. eve ar below are portions of the hospital being erected. (Photos by 7th PI Det)
CONNECTION COMPLETE - A soldier zips up an interior connecting panel in a MUST hospital ward shelter.  (Photo by 7th PI Det)
INSPECTION - A soldier inspects the air pressure valve and exterior of a MUST hospital ward shelter.  (Photo by 7th PI Det)


Inflatable hospital with patients
COMFORT - Patients can recuperate in air conditioned comfort at the MUST hospital wards.  Each inflated ward can accommodate 20 patients.  (Photo by Garrett Corp.)
Maj. Charles M. Lyon and troops
COMMANDER LEADS - Maj. Charles M. Lyon, commander of the 45th Surgical Hospital, directs men as they prepare to erect a MUST ward shelter.  (Photo by 7th PI Det)



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


VC Fights 15 Years, Then Quits

   A man we'll call Mr. X entered the village of Tan Phu Trung.  He stopped at a small house on the outskirts and sent word to the chief that he wished to join the Chieu Hoi (open arms) program.
   Immediately, the chief sent popular forces personnel to the dwelling to escort Mr. X back to headquarters.  To show his true faith, Mr. X turned over a pistol to the popular forces.
   Mr. X was interrogated by the village chief and Capt. Archie L. Dowdell, civil affairs officer for the 1st Bn, (Mech), 5th Inf.  Shortly after Mr. X was ushered away to the Chieu Hoi camp at Bao Trai.  Here is his story of how he became a Viet Cong and why he decided to quit.
   "When I was 19 years old I was very dissatisfied with the way the French were running things in Indochina.  I decided there must he a better way and looked for it.  Shortly thereafter, I came in contact with elements of the Viet Minh.  The group, headed by Ho Chi Minh, was determined to overthrow the French.  I joined in 1950 and fought against the French until their ultimate defeat at Dien Bien Phu some four years later."
   "Indochina was then split up into four separate countries: Laos, Cambodia, North and South Vietnam.  Being a South Vietnamese, I stayed in the south and went back to my farming."
   "In 1956 Ho Chi Minh told us to rise up and unite the two Vietnams.  For five years I fought the South Vietnamese Army and on the sixth year I fought the Americans.  We were experts in jungle fighting with our vast knowledge gained through experience."
   "In 1962 I went to North Vietnam for special training and became an Artillery officer.  I stayed there and worked until 1965 when I was ordered to return to the South and set up propaganda and security operations in the vicinity of Cu Chi."
   "It was my job to go into a village in my area, gather the people about me and explain what the Vietcong did and why.  I would attempt to indoctrinate them into the communist way of thinking."
   "Recently the American artillery killed some of my friends and the Americans soldiers were closing in on me too fast so I decided to turn myself in."


A MOMENT OF PRAYER - Chaplain (Maj) Michael Filip, chaplain of the 3rd Brigade Task Force, conducts Mass for men of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf "Golden Dragons" in the field. Chaplain Michael Filip



Modern Facilities
   12th Evac Is Ready

   Amid the many improvements and additions that have appeared in the Cu Chi base camp is an elaborate medical facility designed to render immediate service to any soldier operating in the area.
   The newly opened 12th Evacuation Hospital located at Oahu and Taro Roads, is staffed by 98 officers and 214 enlisted personnel.  The 33 assigned doctors provide a professional staff which can perform any type of surgery and diagnostic service.
   The unit provides everything for the care and comfort of the patient, including messing, transportation, temperature control, electrical power, telephone and teletype communications, laundry facilities, disinfection and shower units, repairs and utilities, and even road building.
   The 400-bed hospital will enable maximum recuperatory time to the individual patients, thus eliminating the necessity to evacuate some of the more serious cases out of the base camp.  This will directly reduce the delay in returning a patient to duty.
   An organic dental clinic, capable of performing facial or oral surgery, is attached to the new medical facility.  Dental care for hospitalized patients, as well as for the hospital staff, is available.
   The 12th Evacuation Hospital, whose motto is "Be the Best," was located at Fort Ord, Cal., prior to moving to Vietnam and has a record of service dating back through both World Wars.
   The hospital will work in conjunction with the 25th Med Bn and 7th Surgical Hospital, both located at Cu Chi.


Lt.'s Call Brings on Artillery Teamwork

   Teamwork of all kinds is important in a combat situation, but the artillery units of the 25th have an unusual method of working together on aerial observation missions.
   1st Lt. Donald C. Parcells and his latest flight is a good example.  The lieutenant, who calls Oradell, N.J., his home is the ammunition officer, assistant fire direction officer and an aerial observer for the 7th Bn, 11th Arty.  But on a recent mission he called on Btry A, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty.
   The target was a group of suspicious Viet Cong running back and forth from a rice cache. When Lt. Parcells dropped the small plane lower for a better look, the enemy took off.  Seconds later 155mm artillery shells from the 3/13 began chewing up the terrain.
   Lt. Parcells said he saw trees being chopped up and knocked down right in the spot where the VC were last seen.  Three of the communists were found motionless among the shattered brush.
   As this mission was being carried on, Lt. Parcells unit back at Cu Chi was firing support for an aerial observer with the 2nd Bn, 82nd Arty.


A "Friendship House" Wins Friends for U.S.

   In a situation where it is all too possible to be among enemies, the spirit of the 25th Division's Friendship House is quite refreshing.
   Friendship House is less than a hotel but more than a barracks; it charges no rent but the annual returns are beyond calculation; it is located on a military reservation but it is designed with a decidedly civilian outlook.
   First conceived by Lt. Col. Robert R. Hicks, 44, of Savannah, Ga., the house is intended to provide temporary quarters for Vietnamese guests of the "Tropic Lightning" Division.  Guests live in the comfort of an all-wooden building with a tin roof.  They have at their disposal reading material, a radio, wash facilities, fresh water and a choice or either oriental-style floor mats or Army cots for the night.
   Room service provides three hot meals a day, on the American plan.


Service, Recovery Section Keeps Busy

   The Service and Recovery Section of Co. B, 725th Maint Bn, staffed by a platoon of 33 men handles the recovery of disabled vehicles from the division - and it can be quite a task at times.
   "Our job takes us into the rice paddies to retrieve a personnel carrier or tank that has been demobilized by an anti-tank mine, on the open highway or secluded village road to hoist out a truck that is bogged down in mud, or right inside the base camp to up-right a fuel tanker," said SFC Milton D. Johnson.
   The term service takes in a variety of operations, including welding, machine work, metal fabrication, and body and fender repairs.
   The shop is equipped with three main types of welding apparatus: heliarc for welding aluminum and other non-ferrous metals; oxyacetylene for light welding and brazing jobs; and arc welding for joining heavier metals.
   A machine shop, complete with lathe, drill press and shaper, makes it possible to manufacture many parts essential to the repair of a vehicle which are not readily accessible through supply channels.
   With many types of metal ranging in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and alloys at their disposal, the section is able to fabricate numerous items which will improve their living and working conditions.
   Two other facilities available at the service and recovery section are a canvas shop and a glass shop.  Here the S&R men repair all seats, truck tops, windshields and window glasses that are turned into the 725th maintenance.


PUFF THE UGLY DRAGON - A CH-47 Chinook from the 52nd Avn Bn, hovers over a 3/4-ton truck while a soldier from the unit hooks the sling to the hook under the aircraft.  The photo was taken during Operation "Paul Revere IV." 52nd Avn. Bn. Chinook



Page 9                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966




Lt. Col. W. Davis, CO
Capt. D. Moore, IO
"Battle Dragons"

   Several changes of command took place during recent ceremonies within the battalion.  1st Lt. Charles E. DeWese, formerly Heavy Mortar Platoon leader, now commands a platoon of Co B.  1st Lt. Michael R. Rapauno meanwhile has assumed leadership of the Mortar Platoon.
   1st Lt. Stanley Yates has been appointed as Co B executive officer after serving as a battalion Reconnaissance Platoon leader.  Replacing Lt. Yates in the Recon Platoon is 1st Lt. Dale R. Crafton.
   Now in their second month in VN are 1st Lt. Elliot L. Winkler Jr, a platoon leader for Co A, and 2nd Lt. David A. Cope, Co B platoon leader.  2nd Lt. Willie E. Maxwell Jr. has now taken over the company's weapons platoon.
   The Battle Dragons wish to express their deepest sympathy to Capt. Neal J. Senkus of Co C.  The poor captain had to pack his bags and leave the unit for 60 days of unfortunate temporary duty at the Bankok R&R Center!
   A tip-of-the-hat to nine new sergeants from the men of the battalion.  They are Nathaniel Alicea-Rios, Calbert E. Allen, Robert L. Goforth, Ronald S. Harrison, Johnny Holloway Jr., Aaron D. Hunt, Virgil V. Kass, Richard V. Koleff and Carl L. Watson.
   Plans for a permanent enlisted men's club are in the making, replacing the temporary club now in use.  Completed just before Thanksgiving, the temporary club was termed an "overwhelming success" by SSgt. Angel Dela Cruz, club manager.
   The men of Co C feel pretty safe with Psgt. Bennie J. Shelby near-by.  A Korean War veteran, the sergeant holds the Distinguished Rifle Badge, the highest award for excellence in competition with a service rifle, the M-1.  Sgt. Shelby has participated in many championship matches and in 1953, won the All-Army rapid fire championship while setting a record for the event.

Div Arty
Col D. Williams, CO
Maj. E. Standeven, IO

   The annual division artillery ball was held Dec. 3 at Artillery headquarters officer's club.  Nurses and doctors from the 12th Evac Hosp and 7th Surg Hosp were honored guests.  Entertainment was provided by the Division combo band.  The highlight of the affair was the presentation of orchids, specially flown in from Hawaii, to the ladies present.
   Artillery headquarters has high hopes of having a new chapel by Christmas.  At present the construction site is empty but soon artillerymen will be building a cement floor and walls and a thatched roof will be erected.  A bell for the new chapel has been bought and donated by Col. Daniel B. Williams, Div. Arty. commander.

65th Engr En
Lt. Col. C. Strider, CO
Capt. S. Crow, IO

   After a six year separation, two "Tropic Lightning" soldiers got together for the same purpose, which brought them together in 1960, but under somewhat different circumstances.
   The meeting took place at the Mines and Booby Traps School.  The occasion was the re-enlistment ceremony for Sgt. Sterling R. Moore of the 65th.
   Among the several persons attending the brief ceremony was Sgt. William H. Hummer of the Divisions re-enlistment office.  Sgt Hummer had signed Sgt. Moore for re-enlistment at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., six years ago.
   As the two men reminisced over the past years, it was apparent that many things were unchanged.  Six years ago Sgt. Moore was an instructor as he is now and Sgt. Hummer was working in re-enlistment.  "This time," stated the engineer, "Sgt. Hummer had to travel a few thousand miles to sign me up.  Six years ago both men were staff sergeant and now both are sergeants first class.
   Sgt. Moore, who is assigned to Co. A, also served with the 65th during the Korean War.

196th Lt Inf Bde
Brig. Gen. R. Knowles, CG
Capt. M. Randall, IO

   The honorable Mr. Alejandro Almendras, a senator from the Republic of the Philippines, visited the 196th base camp at Tay Ninh, recently.
   Sen. Almendras arrived with Brig. Gen. Gludencio Tobias, commander of the 1st Philippine Civic Action Group, Vietnam (PHILCAGV) stationed at Tay Ninh.
   The senator was given a briefing and discussed issues at hand with Brig. Gen. Richard T. Knowles, 196th commander.
   Sen. Almendras' visit was concluded with a tour of the base camp and the city of Tay Ninh.

25th Avn Bn.
Lt. Col. E. Davis, CO
Maj. D. Winters, IO
"Little Bears"

   The infamous hooch known as the Bamboo Lounge Raiders have their first VC KIA confirmed by body count.  Credentials identifying him as Ho Chi Mouse, the lone enemy had become notorious during recent weeks for his raids on exotic cheese and clean T-shirts.  After a thorough analysis of the situation, a plan was hastily conceived - the "Last Resort" weapon would be used.  The famed Victor Brand Mouse Trap and a little mess hall cheese proved to he too inviting for Ho and fell into the ambush.  He met his death approximately 3:30 p.m. on November 27.  He  was given a full military funeral by the occupants of the hooch as any tenacious and wily foe deserved.  Burial was in the battalion's trash dump.
   The Diamond Head Light Construction Co. has completed projects at the mess hall including a new annex.
   The aviators extend congratulations to Talmadge Dobbs who was recently promoted to sergeant.


VC Get Hot Meal;  2/1st Saves Captive

   The "Guardians" of Co. A, 2nd Bn., 1st Inf. treated a group of Viet Cong to a "hot breakfast" recently while operating northwest of Tay Ninh.
   Co. A also rescued a Vietnamese captive during the same action.  PFC Bobby J. Pendergrass of Queens, N.Y. recalls:
   "We were sweeping through some thick jungle covering about 5000 yards.  Traveling nearly 2000 yards, we came into a clearing.  We noticed a few men sitting down, apparently eating breakfast."
   "Moving closer to the unsuspecting party, we heard one of them yell, 'Yanks!'  They were Viet Cong.  But our arrival took them so much by surprise that they left two weapons laying against a tree."
   "There was a fire fight which lasted about three minutes, and we killed one VC.  We suffered no casualties."
   The dead VC, wearing an expensive watch, and carrying a .44 caliber pistol was believed to be an officer.
   A search of the area uncovered two bicycles, two small arms weapons, and numerous other items, including gas mask and pistol belts.


FENCED IN - Lovely Jean Carroll pauses at a rustic spot as she takes in the sun.  Jean is an amateur sports enthusiast and was last year's Tournament of Champions Queen. Jean Carroll



New Commander Arrives at 2/1

   Maj. Stephen E. Nichols is the new commanding officer of the 2nd Bn, 1st Inf at Tay Ninh.  He was formerly assigned to HHC, 173rd Airborne Bde.
   Maj. Nichols is a 1952 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.  He holds a master of science degree from George Washington University in Washington, and has studied briefly at the Alliance Francaise in France.  In 1958, the Major was a French instructor at the USMA.





Page 10                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


Attleboro Action
   Sgt. Gets Silver Star

   Sgt. Lester Armstrong of the 3rd Bn. 21st Inf, has been recently awarded the Silver Star for heroism under fire during Operation "Attleboro."
   Elements of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" were pinned down by an estimated battalion-size enemy force in the jungles north of Tay Ninh Province.  Reinforcements were needed quickly.
   The 196th Lt Inf Bde received an urgent call for assistance and within minutes Co C, 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, was sent in for the rescue.
   During the search and destroy operation with Co C, Sgt. Armstrong's platoon was pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a bunker to their front.
   The dense jungle undergrowth made movement almost impossible.  In the maze of vines and roots Sgt. Armstrong's machine gunner became entangled and could not move forward with the rest of the platoon.  Realizing the importance of the weapon for protection, the sergeant rushed through enemy fire toward the soldier, picked up the gun and he and another platoon member assaulted the bunker.
   Hit in the arm and leg by burning grenade fragments the Missouri native increased his fire and wiped out six VC as they scurried for cover.  Then concentrating his fire on the machine gun bunker, he quickly knocked out the three VC in that position.
   Sergeant Armstrong's platoon continued without further casualties.


Unit Gets Juke Box From N.Y. Residents

   125th Signal Battalion, without even asking, received a jukebox complete with records.  The generosity of the people of the greater Island Park, Long Island, N.Y., area was so tremendous that the soldiers of this "Tropic Lightning" Division unit still find it hard to believe.
   The men had little to look forward to on their off duty time as far as a place to relax went.  Then the battalion built an enlisted men's club.  Although the building was comfortable inside and had an air of relaxation to it, the silence was deafening.
   During this time, the club's custodian, Msgt. Andrew J, Ziemba, wrote his brother Albert in Island Park, describing the club and its problem.  Sgt. Ziemba mentioned the need of a record player.
   Time passed and then a letter came from brother Al saying that of all things, a jukebox would be on its way shortly.
  Brother Al, meanwhile, was enlisting the aid of the town newspaper, radio station WTHE in Garden City, Long Island, and a television station.  He also staged benefit dances to raise the necessary funds for shipping costs and records.  Mr. Sandy Moore, a New York City music distributor, had already donated an $800 high fidelity jukebox.
   Station WTHE picked out 250 new top rock'n'roll and western records while an Island Park packing company crated the jukebox free.
   As for the men of the 125th Signal Battalion?  They sent Albert Ziemba and his wife a dozen red roses and an appreciation card.  To the Island Park city hall went a dozen bird-of-paradise flowers and a letter of appreciation.  Mr. Moore was sent a letter of thanks.
   The radio station received a special present.  Every man present at Cu Chi, assigned to the 125th, signed his name and hometown on a long sheet of teletype paper expressing their gratitude.
   The staffs of the 12th Evac Hospital, 7th Surgical Hospital and all patients able to come are invited as honored guests of the club.
   This example of concern on the part of the people of island Park came a long way to Vietnam and will go a long way to cheer a great many soldiers in the months to come.


AIRBORNE - A powerful CH-47 Chinook helicopter lifts a UH-1D chopper which was disabled while supporting the 1st Bn, 14th Inf "Goiden Dragons" a during a recent operation in the central highlands.  (Photo by Sgt. Michael N. Horowitz) Transporting Damaged Huey



Boxer Scores a Musical Smash At 196th Command Performance

   PFC Richie Moore, a rifleman for Co C, 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, can just as easily win an expert badge behind a microphone.  Recently, he and his musical group, "The CIB," played at a command performance before the brigade commanding general and his staff.
   Brig. Gen. Richard T. Knowles was entertained with such hits as "The CIB" and "Jolly," a familiar cadence-calling song set to calypso, both of which PFC Moore has composed.
   The group consists of Sgt. Charles A. Medieros Jr. and PFC Terry H. Fogely on guitar; SSgt. Lawrence F. Mokulohua on bongos; and PFC Gordon Green on drums.  Backing up with vocals are Sp4 Reginald Long and PFC's Carl King and Albert L. Lester.
   Center of all attention at the general's dinner show was PFC Moore's new song, The CIB, which was inspired by Co C's participation in Operation Attleboro.  Capt. Mitchell L. Leeds, PFC Moore's commander and manager, is having the song copyrighted and plans to make it into a commercial recording.
   PFC Moore started singing for audiences by winning an elementary school talent show back in his hometown, Detroit.
   Multi-talented, the rifleman holds the Fort Devans, Mass., Lightheavyweight boxing crown and here the Co C, PT trophy.
   Along with Capt. Leeds, he credits his Army success to Maj. Harold L. Coop Jr., the brigade adjutant, who writes the music to his songs and Lt. Col. Charles K. Nulsen 3/21st commander, whom PFC Moore says, has given him a lot of support.


The Clara Ward Singers
HOLIDAY HIT - The Clara Ward Singers, a negro spiritual group, entertain troops of the Division during a Thanksgiving Day appearance at the "Lightning Bowl."



3 Inductees Still Together Now Serving as Gimlets

   Thousands of miles separate Galien, Ohio, and Tay Ninh Province.  But these long miles could not separate three soldiers of the 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, "Gimlets."
   Sp4's John M. Fisher and Richard C. Melchoir and PFC Michael Plummer, all of Galien, received their induction on the same day.  And they all completed basic training at Fort Devens, Mass.
   All three were sent to Camp Drum, N.Y., and last May completed advanced unit training.  Three months later and the "inseparable buddies" were still together - not at such plush surroundings as Fort Devens, but instead in the steaming jungles of Vietnam, thousands of miles from their hometown.
   Now more than ten months since induction Specialist Fisher, a medic with Co B, has been awarded the Combat Medical Badge and has participated in Operation "Attleboro."
   Specialist Plummer, meanwhile, is serving as an ammo bearer with the anti-tank platoon of Co D.
   An outstanding graduate of advanced individual training, Specialist Melchoir is a battalion clerk.


Page 11                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


Part 3; Helping Hand
   Know Your Division
By Sp5 Wayne Brendt

   What started out as a desolate looking peanut patch is now a thriving complex dedicated to the belief that people who care can bring new hope into the lives of those who have nothing.
   This is the home of the division's "Helping Hand" Program.  The sign outside the Helping Hand's base of operations is appropriately a huge hand reaching out to assist the Vietnamese people.
   In the beginning the "Tropic Lightning" Division got a big head start, as the warm hearts of the people of Hawaii went out to the Vietnamese villagers they had never seen.  When the troops left Hawaii for their new assignment in Vietnam more than 350 tons of assorted goods came along.
   With this "ammunition" the Helping Hand concept of operations was ready for action the day it arrived at its Cu Chi base camp.  With most other civic action programs, international agencies such as United            States Aid for International Development (USAID) and CARE have to be contacted to get their program materials.  Helping Hand, however, had its goodies all boxed and ready to roll.
          59.000 Helped
   Since March 1966 the peanut patch workers have assisted 59,000 Vietnamese people.  The Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) portion of Helping Hand has treated more than 57,000 persons.  In addition there is enough left of the originally donated materials to last for some time.
   Another little known fact is that when the program was started it had $5800 in donated funds to use to assist the program's efforts.  One small portion of the fund went to provide 18 wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival parties for 4,000 children in four provinces around the Division's base camp.  Cakes, lanterns and soft drinks made uncounted new friends that day while numerous parents looked on, wide eyed, at this unexpected display of American love for children.
   A typical request for Helping Hand materials would proceed in this manner: A unit of the 25th, operating in the field, notices a need.  After coordination with local Government, the need is transformed into a written request that speeds through channels to the Helping Hand Operations Center where the request becomes a box of materials.
   The unit involved receives a telephone call and the items are picked up, transported to the required area, and the need is filled.  The result is another group of Vietnamese villagers helped, swiftly and without needless delays in paper work.  In fact, the speed with which Helping Hand works sometimes even amazes the Americans involved.
          Specialized Kits
   Another thing that is amazing is the materials that make up Helping Hand.  There is almost a little of everything.  The Operations Center has stocked huge amounts of clothing for all ages, toys, books, tools, health and sanitation items (tooth paste, tooth, brushes, combs, wash cloths, towels, and soap), as well as canned goods of all types.  The materials are made up into kits which fulfill specific needs.
   Some of the kits include one for refugee families (a rice cooker, fry pan, soup base, two water buckets and cooking utensils); individual refugee kit (sleeping mat, rice bowl, chop sticks and cup); woodworking kit (rip saw, cross cut saw, large claw hammer, plane, chisels, drill bits and a drill); school kit (note books, pencils, ruler, pens, chalk, erasers, some slates and a plastic bag to carry the things in); and a condolence kit (articles of clothing, toys, shower shoes, bag of rice, health and sanitation items, canned goods and leaflets (explaining how to cook American foods).   The condolence kits are used to aid victims of Viet Cong terrorism attacks and families of Vietnamese National Policemen killed on duty with the Division.
   The refugee kits are issued out whenever the division receives refugees in connection with operations and whenever the refugees are without the basic necessities of life.
   One unique sidelight to Helping Hand is its vocational training programs.  Donated sewing machines are being used in local schools to establish sewing training classes.  High school age girls and some adults are given this home economics education.  The machines are loaned out to various schools as the need occurs.  Without these machines, many young girls in the area would not have a chance to learn this valuable skill.

Maj. William Walker III HELPER - Maj. William W. Walker III, assistant civil affairs officer for the division, displays a Helping Hand Refugee Kit.



Radio And TV
FRIDAY - Dec. 16

6:30 News Headlines
Information Please
8:00 Gunsmoke
7:00 Addams Family 9:00 Danny Kaye
7:30 News 10:00 The Tonight Show


1:30 News Headlines
Social Security
Football Game
Sportsmans Holliday
2:00 M-Squad 8:00 Ringling Bros. Circus
2:30 Candid Camera 9:00 Hollywood Palace
3:00 Town and Country 10:00 Late Show (Movie)
  Swingin' Country    
  Beverly Hillbillies    
  Andy Griffith    

SUNDAY - Dec 18

1:30 News Headlines 4:30 Football Game
  The Christophers 7:00 20th Century
  Sacred Heart 7:30 News
2:00 Silver Wings 8:00 Dick Van Dyke Show
2:30 Roger Miller 8:30 Joey Bishop Show
3:00 Sunday Matinee (Movie) 9:00 Bonanza
4:15 Sports Scoreboard 10:00 John Gary Show

MONDAY - Dec 19

6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 Combat
  National Education 9:00 Bewitched
7:00 The Flintstones 9:30 Third Man
7:30 News 10:00 Dean Martin

TUESDAY - Dec 20

6:30 News - Headlines 7:30 News
  What's My Line 8:00 Rawhide
7:00 My Favorite Martial 9:00 12 O'Clock High
    10:00 To Be Announced


6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 Perry Mason
  Information Feature 9:00 Micky Finn's
7:00 Batman (Part 1) 9:30 Channel 11 (Movie)
7:30 News    


6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 The F.B.I.
  Wonders of the World 9:00 Hazel
7:00 Batman (Part 2) 9:30 Have Gun Will Travel
7:30 News 10:00 Milton Berle

Saigon 540ke                          1330ke Cu Chi

0005 Be Still and Know 1220 USO Show
0007 Sign Off/On 1305 Feature Report
0015 Night Train 1330 Cu Chi Special
0305 Small World 1405 Country Music
0405 Bill Stewart Show 1505 Afternoon Break
0505 Country Corner 1705 Monitor
0600 Expanded News (10) 1800 News and Sports (30)
0610 Meditations 1830 Music By Candlelight
0615 Dawnbuster 1905 Swinging 60's
0705 Morning Meditations 2005 Jazz Concert
0710 Dawnbuster 2030 Night Beat
0830 Cu Chi Special 2105 Aussie News
0905 Bill Stewart Show 2110 Night Beat
1005 Destination Noon 2200 News and Sports (30)
1200 News & Sports 2230 Night Beat


0005 Be Still and Know 1330 Cu Chi Special
0007 Sign Off/On 1355 Point of Law
0015 Jazz Show Case 1400 Country Music
0105 Night Train 1455 News (5)
0505 Jim Peters 1500 Football
0600 News (10) 1705 Bolero Time
0610 Meditations 1800 News & Sports (30)
0615 Dawnbuster 1839 Candlelight Music
0705 Mediatations 1905 Sammy Davis Show
0710 Dawnbuster 2005 Grand Ole Opry
0905 Polka Party 2105 Aussie News
1005 Saturday Swing 2110 Night Beat
1200 News and Sports (30) 2200 News and Sports (30)
1230 Navy Hour 2230 Night Beat
1255 World of Money 2305 Patty Show
1305 Feature Report    


0005 Be Still and Know 1305 Panorama
0007 Sign Off/On 1455 News (5)
0015 Night Train 1500 Football
0505 Jim Ameche 1705 Afternoon Music
0600 News (10) 1800 News & Sports (30)
0610 Morning Music 1830 Candlelight Music
0805 Tabernacle 1905 Roger Carroll
0830 Protestant Hour 2005 Footlights, Soundtracks
0905 Message of Israel 2105 Aussie News
0930 Hour of the Crucified 2115 Night Beat
1005 Morning Music 2200 News & Sports (30)
1200 News and Sports (30) 2230 Night Beat
1230 Army Hour 2305 Night Life
1255 World of Money    





Page 12                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 16, 1966


5 Silver Stars Given Wolfhound Company

   Sp4 Aaron Thomas of Philadelphia, Pa., distinguished himself when a comrade near his position was wounded.  Specialist Thomas, with complete disregard for his own safety, advanced toward the wounded man until he became a casually himself.
   Realizing he could no longer move, he exposed himself to the enemy fire to cover the medics who were treating the wounded until he died of injuries.
   Sgt. Robert Taylor of Warsaw, Ind., was cited for his actions when his squad was suddenly hit by enemy automatic weapons fire to their front.  During the initial attack, the squad took several casualties.  Realizing his entire squad was pinned down, Sgt. Taylor leaped to his feet and led an assault against the enemy positions until he was killed.  His quick actions and personal sacrifice enabled the squad to reorganize and efficiently engage the enemy.
   Five members of Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" were posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action while the 25th Division and elements of other American units were routing the 9th VC Division from their longtime sanctuary in the dense jungles of War Zone C.
   The five men lost their lives on November 5 when their company came under intense enemy fire from concealed positions while on a search and destroy mission near Dan Tieng, 60 miles northwest of Saigon.
   PFC Roy Blewett, 23, of Dubuque, Iowa, was cited for moving to an open position to lay down a heavy volume of fire into enemy positions while medics evacuated the wounded.  Private Blewett held the enemy down until he was killed by an enemy bullet.
   PFC Earl Hutton of Laharpe, Kan., heroically distinguished himself by exposing himself to enemy fire when medics were attempting to extract wounded personnel.  Private Hutton did this to draw the hostile fire away from the medics and towards himself.  He did this steadfastly until he was fatally wounded by a burst of enemy fire.
   1st Lt. Alan Perrault of Needham, Mass., was cited for gallantry when his platoon came under intense fire from its front.  During the initial burst, Lt. Perrault and several of his men were wounded.  Refusing medical attention and evacuation, he helped other wounded men and assaulted enemy positions.  While moving to the aid of another seriously wounded man, he was struck by hostile fire a second time and was killed.
   The heroism and personal sacrifices of all five men enabled other members of the company to repel the enemy forces and displaying the valor and courage which have been a Wolfhound trademark for nearly half a century.


TOP TALK - Col. James G. Shanahan, commander of the 3rd Brigade Task Force and Col. Judson F. Miller, commander of the 2nd Bde, 4th Inf Div discuss strategy on Operation "Paul Revere IV." Col. James Shanahan, Col. Judson Miller



Medics Determine Type of Terrain By Analyzing Patients Treated
By PFC Doug Kearney

   A medic can tell what kind of terrain his men have been working in just by the kind of diseases they pick up.  That's the conclusion of PFC Angelo Soto, 22, of New York City, a medic with the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds."
   On Operation "Attleboro," recently concluded by the 25th Division, the medics either had more patients than they knew what to do with or else the cupboard was bare.  In one of those slack moments came the sudden realization that they wore treating entirely new kinds of diseases.
   PFC Soto recalled that most of the sick call problems in the past were skin ulcers related to water or moisture.  The Wolfhounds had spent most of their time operating in rice paddy areas.  Prolonged exposure to water often led to severe cases of immersion foot or jungle rot.
   But on Operation Attleboro the ground was considerably dryer and the problems encountered at sick call proved it.  One of the biggest problems that popped up while he was in Zone C  operations was the scourge of wood ticks.
   According to PFC Soto, they were small, gray wood ticks and they were extremely painful.  The only way to get rid of them is to sponge the ticks with alcohol and pick them out with tweezers.  The wound is then treated with tincture of methiolate.
   What water there was in the woods was mostly slimly stagnant stuff - a real favorite of the leeches.  The 1/27th spent a night camped near such a an area during the operation and sick call was bedlam the next morning.  PFC Soto recalled that every man seemed to have at least five or six of the sticky bloodsuckers on his body that day.
   PFC Soto and his fellow medics had finished treating the ten men or so that they normally treat on sick call in the field, when they began to compare the health of the VC to the health of their own men.  They had an opportunity to compare the two because they often have to treat wounded VC when on an operation.
   Many of the Viet Cong that came to the Wolfhound aid station were suffering from some sort of foot disease.


Baby Born at 7th Surgical

   The first baby has been born within the confines of the 25th Infantry Division's Cu Chi base camp.  The birthplace was the 7th Surgical Hospital.
   SSgt. Nathaniel Prince, the noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the division's "Helping Hand Operations Center was enjoying a routine morning when the stork arrived.
   "Hey Sarge, there's a woman over here having a baby," called one of his men.  Sgt. Prince dashed across the grass, around a stack of tall boxes and sure enough, there was one of the Vietnamese female workers ready to give birth.
   A quick jeep ride got the woman safely to the Hospital where she had a baby girl, two hours later.
   The woman is now back at their village Ba-Ha 1 just outside the division's base camp.  On the day she delivered the woman was unpacking and sorting donated clothing.
   The baby girl, named Lao, is being affectionately called Little Miss 25th by the "Helping Hand" soldiers.
   As Sgt. Prince noted, "We sure were surprised, but Helping Hand helps everyone.




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 01-21-2008

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