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Vol 2 No. 20                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                May 22, 1967



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                          6 2/12                       3 2/27                       8 65th Engr Photo     4
1/8 Arty                  8 2/12                       3 2/27                       8 Cu Chi                   1
1/27                        1 2/12                       3 2/77 Arty               3 FSB Caroline         1
1/27                        6 2/12                       6 25th Inf                  8 LRRP                    7
1/27 Photo              8 2/22                       1 3rd Bde, 4th Inf      1 LRRP                    8
1/27                        8 2/22                       1 3rd Bde, 4th Inf      7 Opr Manhattan      1
1/27                        8 2/22 Photo             1 3/22                       8 RAG Boats            1
11th Armored Cav  1 2/22                       3 4/9                         7 RAG Boat Photo    1
196th ASHC           6 2/22 Photo             7 65th Engr Photo     4 Red Cross              2
2nd Bde Photo        6 2/27 Photo             3 65th Engr               4  



RAGS Aid Troops on Manhattan

   Operation "Manhattan" continues into its sixth week with some impressive caches discovered.  A military spokesman noted that "though contact with the VC has thus far been poor, we have been successful in finding an extraordinary number of enemy tunnels and bunkers."
   The discoveries included over 1069 fortifications, 96 tunnels, and 40 sampans.  In addition, 195 small arms weapons were found and 285 tons of rice seized.
   In the fourth week of the operation a new tactic was employed that has proved most effective in previous operations.  RAG (River Assault Group) boats from the III Corps River Rine started sweeps up and down the Saigon River as the infantry and mechanized units forced the enemy toward the shores of the river with pincer movements.
   The river has long been used by the Viet Cong for a supply route through the Boi Loi and Ho Bo Woods down into Saigon.
   Although 25th Div. soldiers have not come into contact with any sizeable enemy force, the VC body counts stand at 74 known dead and 70 possibles.
   Three "Tropic Lighting" units are taking part in the squeeze-play operation.  The multi-division sweeping exercise began on April 23 in the heavily booby-trapped Ho Bo and Boi Loi Woods.  The 25th Div. infantrymen are pushing steadily towards the northwest banks of the Saigon River as the 1st Inf. Div. and 11th Armd. Cav. are closing in from the opposite side in a converted effort to make the VC stand and fight.
   The military spokesman observed that Operation Manhattan "has cleared more VC than ever before from the Boi Loi woods. This is what we really want."

On RAG Boat
Heavily armed RAG boat runs river. Story on Page 8.  (Photo by SP5 Nicholas Polletta)



'Wolfhounds' Drop In

   Three Viet Cong were killed and their weapons captured during an aerial assault by Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" recently, 18 miles southwest of Cu Chi.
   The 25th Inf. Div. company making its third surprise assault of the day was reacting to local intelligence reports that a small Viet Cong unit was operating in the swampy lowlands along the Oriental River.
   Soon after the company swept out of its landing zone COL Marvin D. Fuller, 2nd Bde. Commander, circling the area in his command helicopter, spotted a group of 6 to 8 VC ahead of the unit.
   The company was deployed toward the enemy, with one platoon being airlifted behind the Viet Cong to act as a blocking force.
   Moving quickly through the mud of the swamp area, the headquarters element spotted the Viet Cong running desperately toward a hedgerow where they split into two groups.
   Approaching the hedgerow, 1LT Martin W. Pinnock, the company's artillery forward observer, shot a VC hiding in a bunker after attempts to flush him with smoke had failed.
   Meanwhile, the 1st Plt., sweeping in from the rear had made contact.  The men spotted a Viet Cong in a small hootch ready to fire on the advancing troops.
   "It all happened so fast that I didn't even have to tell the men to fire," said PSG Warren G. Brooks of Wilson, N.C.  One of his men had fired into the thatched building, killing the enemy.  The VC's weapon, a carbine, was found next to him.
   Moments later, fire from the platoon killed another Viet Cong as he ran from the thick undergrowth.  He was also carrying a carbine.
   A thorough search of the area produced no further contact.  The Wolfhound company shoved on to a planned extraction point, and was flown back to its Cu Chi base camp.


Patrol Returns With Hoi Chanh

   DAU TIENG - "I was point man," said SP4 James R. Carmichael, "and had worked the patrol to within ten meters of the bank of the river.  Just then I heard some noise in the brush, and heard somebody yell, 'Chieu Hoi, Chieu Hoi!'"
   Carmichael, from Little Rock, Ark., and the rest of the ten-man patrol from Co. A, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., were clearing the west bank of the Saigon River on Operation "Manhattan."  The patrol immediately dropped and prepared itself in a half moon defense.  Two Hoi Chanh came out of the wood line with their hands up and knelt down.  While CPL Bill Flynn of Lansing, Mich., and the rest of the patrol covered them, Carmichael and SP4 Wayne Vinyard of Cincinatti, Ohio, went forward to secure the two men.
   Interrogation revealed the two ralliers were part of a six-man group which had been trying to escape the 3rd Bde. encirclement for several days.  The 22nd Inf. is part of the 3rd Bde.


Cu Chi Takes Mortar Rounds

   Eight mortar rounds of unknown size landed within the Cu Chi perimeter May 12.  The first rounds came in around 9 p.m.  The second four rounds entered the 25th Inf. Div. base camp at 1:05 the morning of the 13th.   Not one person was injured and no damage was reported from the incoming rounds.


VC Mortar Arty Base

   An estimated two Viet Cong platoons fired mortar and recoilless rifle rounds into Fire Base "Caroline" on May 13 killing seven U.S. soldiers and wounding 26.
   The forward artillery support base is located some 45 kms northwest of Cu Chi and is the camp for units of the 3rd Bde. of the 4th Inf. Div.  Caroline is utilized for support of Operation "Manhattan."
   The 45 minute attack started about ten-thirty at night.  The enemy used 60 mm and 82mm mortar fire and 75mm recoilless rifle rounds to hit the artillery emplacement.  Small arms and automatic weapons fire also raked the camp.  Damage was listed as moderate.
   At one o'clock the next morning the area received small arms fire again.


'Ivymen' Discover Tunnels During Operation Manhattan

   DAU TIENG - An extensive tunnel system consisting of three levels and covering a 200 meter square area of War Zone C south of Dau Tieng was uncovered recently by the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., Ivymen on Operation "Manhattan".
   Part of a large VC base camp complex which also included five shorter tunnel systems and many large well-constructed bunkers had eight concealed entrances and extended 30 feet down into the ground.
   "It's a good thing I've lost weight," commented 1LT Rudy L. Whitehead of Alameda, Calif., Co. A, 1st Plt. leader, after he emerged from one of the small holes.  "This is the biggest system I've seen in the six months I've been here."
   Several of the smaller tunnels had indications of being lived in less than 48 hours before the armored personnel carriers of the 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf. rolled into the camp.
   "We almost ran over one of them," said SGT Gary R. Koenig of Brooklyn, N.Y.  "As the track pushed through the jungle, this Charlie jumped out of one of those holes like a scared rabbit.  One of our squads was in front of us so he got away."

"Ivymen" emerges from tunnel system found south of Dau Tieng. Tunnel Rat



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967



CPT Milton L. Caldwell, 569th MI Det.
CPT Roy D. Kimerling Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor
CPT Ted K. Yamashita, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
1LT Jesse O. Pearce, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
2LT Lee A. Smith, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.
WO John W. Lowe Jr., HHC, 1st Bde
SSG Jack Eaton, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SSG James K. Lindsey, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP5 Norman L. Ballance, HHB, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP5 Kim McCoy, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
CPL John F. Pezzulo, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Clarence F. Gipson, Co. Z, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
SP4 Allen S. Mican, Co. B, 3rd Bde., 22nd Inf.
SP4 Earl Noble Jr., Co. B, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.
SP4 James M. Wilkins, Co. C, 4th Bn., 31st Inf.
MAJ George N. Stenehjem, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
CPT Harold R. Fisher, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
CPT Thomas E. Fleming, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
LTC Richard C. Rogers, HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
1LT John P. Gagne, 25th Admin. Co.
1LT Ronald L. Johnson, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
1LT James D. Montavon, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
1LT Patrick D. Mulroy, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
1SG Charles M. Rutledge, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SSG George E. Groom, HHC, 25th Inf. Div.
SGT Richard E. Hammond, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SGT Charles J. Mardis, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SP4 Garry D. Faughn, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
SP4 Gerald T. Fettkether, HHC, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SP4 Edward E. Fortenberry, Co. B, 2nd Bn. Mech), 22nd Inf.
SP4 Larry L. Warnock, Co. B, 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf.
PFC Donald C. Armstrong, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Joseph V. Gigliuto III, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Keith R. Hadfield, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Joe L. Hicks, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC James S. Long, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Larrv L. Wilkinson, Co. A. 2nd Bn.. 27th Inf.
LTC Thomas E. Thompson, HHC, 22nd Avn. Bn.
MAJ Charles T. Gibson, HHC, 22nd Avn. Bn.
1LT Thomas B. Sharp, Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SSG Gene D. Smith, Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP6 Rom Worley, HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SGT Daniel C. Gillespie, Btry. C 1st Bn., 8th Arty.
SGT Robert A. McCartney, Co. B, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SGT Ernest M. Skinner, Co. B, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
CPL Gary P. Reynolds, 25th MI Det.
SP4 George T. Bean, Co. C, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SP4 Gary L. Fox, 38th Inf. Plt. (Sct. Dog)
SP4 James W. Hintz, Co. B, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SP4 Robert H. Miller, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
SP4 Patrick W. Murphy, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
SP4 Thomas C. Nickerson, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.
SP4 Antonio Perez, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
SP4 Roger D. Roseberry, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SP4 Paul F. Ruszkiewicz, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
SP4 Gary V. Schick, HHT, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP4 Gary Schuler. Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP4 Clinton A. Smith, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.
SP4 Donald L. Staton, Trp. A, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP4 Teddy W. Steelman, HHC, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf.
SP4 Michael W. Twigg, Co. C, 4th Engr. Bn.
SP4 George S. Walton, Co. A, 65th Engr. Bn.
SP4 Curtis J. Williams, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
PFC Terry L. Anton, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Kenneth W. Boaz, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
PFC Jerry L. Borgens, Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
PFC Gary L. Doose, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
PFC Donavan K. Elwell, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.



What Kind Does it Take?

   The lieutenant, staff sergeant and PFC cautiously advanced toward the spider hole.  There was a VC in there and these three men knew it.
   The soldiers worked as a team as they approached.  They had been together for almost seven months now.  'Sarge' had been wounded once but not really seriously.  They had been in some fine firefights.  They knew each other pretty well.  They knew what made the other guy tick and could pretty much predict what the other guy would do when approaching that spider hole.
   They didn't drop their guard but this was somewhat routine for them.  The "Charlie" in that hole would do one of several things.  He would crawl in as far as he could go, give himself up, or make a break for it.
   The men were within two meters now and fingers were hooked firmly around the triggers of their weapons.  Suddenly the VC jumped up.  There was a grenade in each hand.  There were several short bursts from the American weapons.  The enemy dropped with one grenade still in his hand.  The other one dropped outside the hole and rolled one meter toward the soldiers.
   Thoughts flashed. "I'm too close to run far enough to escape the blast and fragments," thought the lieutenant, "so I'll just hit the dirt and pray."  The sergeant broke out in a dead run hoping he could find some cover.  "Perhaps I can make it to that log."
   What ran through the mind of the PFC no one will ever know.  He dove on top of the grenade. He could have tried to get away.  He could have hit the ground and prayed that he wouldn't be cut up too badly.
   What made him jump on the grenade?  He must have known that it was sure death.  Does it take guts or stupidity?  He gave up his life but saved two others.  Did he even think of the consequences?  That can't be answered.  Anything concerning what ran through this PFC's mind in those few seconds are gone.
   The lieutenant said later, "I'll never know why.  He sure wasn't a great soldier.  He did his job but wasn't really gung-ho.  I guess you really can't peg what kind of guy it takes to give up his life like that."  He concluded, "I am deeply grateful for what he did but will never know why."
   For actions as heroic as this, the United States government posthumously awards the person the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Every time one is awarded, the question will be asked "What made him do it?"  Someone else will ask "What kind of guy does it take?"  It takes a man who places his fellow man above himself.  But as to why, it can't be answered.


RC Is Here If Needed

   The authority for granting emergency leaves to Army personnel assigned to overseas units belongs to the CGs of the divisions.
   The emergency leave program at the 5th Inf. Div. is administered by the AG.  The Red Cross field director does not grant emergency leaves.  The Red Cross is a civilian agency and does not make any military decisions.
   Emergency leaves are usually granted whenever death or critical illness occurs in a serviceman's immediate family.  Immediate family includes a serviceman's parents, brother, sister, wife and children.
   The Red Cross field director will verify emergencies at the request of a serviceman, or his commanding officer.
   Because of time and distance involved, servicemen are encouraged to advise their families to contact their local Red Cross chapter as soon as an emergency develops.  In this way the emergency can be verified and reported to the field director with minimum delay.
   Red Cross financial assistance in amounts sufficient to defray the cost of round trip air transportation from the port of debarkation to the home town is available from the Red Cross to personnel traveling on emergency leave.


         A Share In The Future

   United States Savings Bonds help strengthen America and further the cause of freedom.
   Members of the armed forces can see first hand how vital the savings bond program is to the cause of freedom at home, in the Republic of Vietnam and throughout the world.
   According to President Johnson, servicemen and servicewomen are excellent examples of participation in the Savings Bond program.
   He said, "They who are investing their lives in freedom's cause are also investing in Savings Bonds.  Last year, American servicemen bought about $350 million worth of Savings Bonds - close to $90 million in the last quarter alone."
Buy Freedom Shares   During this year's "Share in Freedom" U.S. Savings Bond Campaign, all Americans will be asked to buy bonds regularly.
   Now, however, there is a new addition to the bond line up.  It is the "Freedom Share," a companion to the Series E. Bonds and sold only in combination with them and through a regular purchase plan such as payroll savings.
   They are available in four denominations with a purchase price set at 81 per cent of the face value.  You can buy a $25 Freedom Share for $20.25; a $50 one for $40.50; a $75 share for $60.75; a $100 Freedom Share for $81.
   The Freedom Shares pay 4.74 per cent interest and mature in four and a half years as opposed to Series E bonds which pay 4.15 per cent interest and mature in seven years.
   Savings Bonds and new Freedom Shares not only help your country, they also help save money.  For a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee the future for your family, yourself and your nation.
   If you're already buying bonds, buy a Freedom Share too.  If you're not signed up to get bonds on a regular basis, join the millions of Americans who are making a sound investment in their security through the savings bond program.


VA Program To Help RVN Vets

   A Veterans Administration program to assist returning Vietnam servicemen has been expanded.
   Under the pilot program, two VA representatives went to Long Binh three months ago to provide information about veteran's rights and benefits to men soon returning to civilian life.  The program was launched with the full cooperation of the Department of Defense.
   Since then the program, implemented to carry out President Johnson's wish to help the fighting man make adjustment to civilian life, has proved so successful that it has now been expanded to include two more departure points: Cam Ranh Bay and Pleiku.


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 San Francisco 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 Tokyo, Japan, by Pacific Stars and Stripes.

MG John C. F. Tillson III  . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
CPT John P. Fortner . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson  . . . . . . . . NCOIC
SP4 John R. Dittmann  . . . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Nicholas V. Polletta  . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967


Drastic Change
            Village Won by MEDCAP
By SP4 Gary M. Silva

   DAU TIENG - "At first even the kids didn't smile at us, but after more and more MEDCAP's they came around."  So describes the civic action of the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.
   When the battalion S-5 (civic affairs) arrived at the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div. base camp near the hamlet of Dau Tieng, it was met with vicious stares and hostile fire as the Ivymen ventured into the village.
   But the people now realize the importance of the unit's program, and it's no longer a problem of trying to find villagers to treat.  It's a question of whether the "White Warriors" can keep the people in sick call lines.
   "The first MEDCAP we went on," SP4 Bobby A. Guljour of Larosa, La., said quietly, "was when we first got here.  A sniper shot seven rounds at us."  SGT Bill Peacock of Alice, Ore., a civic action member, had one bullet smash through an ammo pouch.
   On that first day 120 people were treated for various ailments and given instructions on the care of small children.  When the civic action team left the village "we were getting some smiles," Galjour said.
   With almost five months into the S-5 program the situation has changed from hostility to a sincere affection by the Vietnamese.
   At one village an American doctor noticed a 9-year old girl away from the line of patients walking around clutching her side and half bent over.  A quick examination found a ruptured appendix and a child in dire need of immediate attention.  Taken to a district clinic, the little girl's life was saved - in 12 hours she would have died.
   At first the men of the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., had to go to the people - now the sick come to them.
   At the base camp itself a woman brought in a 3-year old boy for treatment.  The child had had a simple ear infection at one time, but through neglect, ignorance and a local medicine the infection had swelled the boy's face, and was heading toward the brain.  The tot was saved.
   On another occasion a distraught mother brought in her baby because the child just cried and cried.
   "The little boy," Galjour said, "had sores all' over his body, and was in a lot of pain."  The child was treated, and the mother, through an interpreter, was told to wash the baby at least once a day and was given instructions on the proper care of a small child.


Father-Son Meet, Both Serve in VN

   DAU TIENG - It took LTC Melvin Thompson, Phan Rang AFB, three modes of transportation to keep an appointment which was standing since March 15.
   Now after two months he was going to meet the man whose career he had followed for 19 years.
   In the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div.'s base camp at Dau Tieng a young ammo bearer was busy carrying ammo when a friend said, "A colonel is looking for you."
   At first a little perplexed, the PFC started to amble toward Btry. C, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.'s orderly room.  Someone said, "I didn't know your father was a colonel in the Air Force."  Now the PFC Melvin Thompson started to run.  At the end of a row of tents he could see his father.
   The Thompsons spent the next day together and they plan to go on R&R together.


New Psy Ops Game Wins Hoi Chanh

   The Republic of Vietnam has a monopoly on the Chieu Hoi program - in more ways than one.
   The psywar division is distributing a new game to the VC and North Vietnamese soldiers, and it is patterned after the American "Monopoly".  There is no charge and even free dice are provided.
   Players, hopefully many of them, roll the dice and move forward (or backward) a specified number of spaces on the board.  Squares are marked and begin with departure from a North Vietnam village.  The last square is the Chieu Hoi camp in South Vietnam.
   There are pitfalls along the way.  For example, one square is marked "sampan carrying ammunition hit by enemy aircraft."
   The player must go back two squares.  Another reads: "sandal strap breaks on Ho Chi Minh Trail, go back two squares."
   In the center of the board players cross the DMZ and are eligible to hit the "VC Monsoon Offensive" square.  However, this one has ended in defeat so it is not an advance.
   Finally, the winner hits the square containing the national flag, which entitles him to march into the Chieu Hoi center, where friends, shelter and food await.
   Monopoly allows players to enjoy the dream of someday owning hotels, banks, land, etc.  The Chieu Hoi game distributed by the psywar people affords the VC and NVA soldiers an opportunity to plot a better life.

MANHATTAN HORSESHOES - There's not much to do for entertainment when you've got a few minutes off in the middle of the Boi Loi Woods.  Soldier ingenuity came through for the 2nd Bn., 27th -Inf., however.  They improvised a game of horseshoes with a couple of sticks and waste safety rings from 81 mm mortar rounds.  The result is a game of "ringers" during Operation "Manhattan." Horseshoes in the Boi Loi



NVA Regular Is Added To 12th Infantry Totem

   DAU TIENG - Depicting major conflicts in the history of the United States in which the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., has taken part, the "Warrior" totem pole, situated in front of battalion headquarters, received a new addition on May Day.
   Unveiled in a brief ceremony, the newest addition had been placed into position atop the 40 foot structure.  It depicts a North Vietnamese Regular, symbolizing the unit's participation in the Vietnam Conflict.
   Long before the unit's arrival in Vietnam, the totem pole served to remind all incoming recruits of the outstanding performances they were called upon to continue as an integral part of the 2/12th's fighting forces.
   Each figure carved in the pole represents the unit's participation in a major conflict, beginning with the War of 1812, proceeding through the Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and now the conflict in Vietnam.
   When the unit deployed to Southeast Asia, the pole was left behind at Ft. Lewis, Wash.  Responding to a challenge from his fellow officers, Bn. commander COL Marvin D. Fuller had the pole cut into segments, carefully packed and crated and shipped to Vietnam.  It was not until the unit reached Dau Tieng and Camp Ranier that the pole was reconstructed.
   A large combat infantryman's badge rests near the top of the structure symbolic of the American infantryman in all wars.  The totem pole now stands as it did back in the states as a tribute to those who have served so faithfully in the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf. since its beginning.



   DAU TIENG - Move, shoot, communicate - cornerstones of any mechanized battle plan.  The 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div. has learned many things since Oct. 1966, when they arrived in Vietnam.
   But their most important lesson has been an increasing awareness of the part that maintenance plays in the implementation of these three words.
   Maintenance of armored personnel carriers (APC's) for reliable mobility, personal maintenance of weapons to insure firepower when needed and continued adjustment of radio equipment to provide instant communications with other elements of the command are prime ingredients in the mech's role in Vietnam.
   The armored personnel carrier has proven to be an effective weapon for the "Triple Deuce."  When aggressively deployed, their .50 cal. heavy machine guns loose a deadly wall of fire.  Their capacity for transporting troops and ammunition through dense jungles has resulted in a number of notable victories for the 2nd of the 22nd, the most recent being when the tracks moved through 2,500 meters of dense jungle to relieve two stricken battalions under human wave attacks during Operation "Junction City".
   Timely arrival not only prevented a Viet Cong victory, but accounted for a good portion of the 647 enemy dead.
   The battalion maintenance sergeant, MSG Roger L. Andrews, has designed an A-frame for attachment to a M113 APC which allows performance of 2nd and 3rd class maintenance in the field.  This design has since been utilized throughout the division.  An example of the maintenance sections' efficiency can be illustrated by their operation on a recent mission.
   During the afternoon, a recon element hit a mine disabling its APC.  That night a Chinook helicopter flew in a new track shoe and a complete power pack.  At 3 o'clock the next morning the APC was ready to go.
   Due to the efforts of every man in the maintenance sections the battalion has a record of never having left a vehicle behind when the time came to move out.
   This enviable record of all-around maintenance and field expediency has contributed greatly to the success of the unit.  From the continuing job of vehicle repair to the utilization of a "liberated" Chicom field telephone, the men of the maintenance and commo sections have contributed more than their part to the battalion's battle record.


'Sam', Just One of the Boys

   DAU TIENG - Several units of the 4th Div. at Dau Tieng have adopted dogs as their official mascots, but one dog in particular, belonging to the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., deserves special mention.
   In the battalion's move from Ft. Lewis, Wash., a stopover was made for six weeks at Bear Cat, Republic of Vietnam.  It was there that SP5 George Cardullo of the communications platoon, HHC discovered "Sam."
Mascot Sam   Sam, a reddish-brown mongrel, spends the better part of the day in search of shade, only to come bouncing out at the first sign of a cool breeze.  He enjoys riding and will often be found cruising down the road riding `shotgun' in a jeep.
   Meals are no problem, as the mess halls within the battalion are well acquainted with Sam.  If they do happen to pass him by, he'd just as soon consume a full C-ration meal, chocolate candy and all.  Handouts are frequent from a number of sources, but those most frequent come from the commo platoon where Sam makes his home.
   Although he is a Vietnamese dog, the only time you might hear Sam let out a bark is when some of the Vietnamese villagers are in the vicinity.  He does not get along with them at all.
   Mortar fire also gets a rise out of Sam, but with an opposite reaction.  He heads for the nearest cover and stays put until it stops.  He appreciates even less the doctor who attempts to give him his necessary shots.
   The unit jokingly refers to Sam as the scout dog for the reactionary force which the unit leaves behind when they leave on maneuvers.  As unofficial mascot for the battalion, Sam constantly supplies companionship to any willing to befriend him.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967


Rome Plow at work SLICING THROUGH - A bulldozer with the new Rome plow clears undergrowth deep in the Boi Loi Woods.  The number four on the roof of the dozer indicates the machine is being controlled by helicopter from the air.  This is a new concept in clearing operations used during Operation "Manhattan."


Story and photos by
SP4 Mike Halloran



65th Engineers Take on Boi Loi Woods and VC

   For more than 20 years the 115 square kilometers of dense tropical undergrowth of the Boi Loi Woods has provided the Viet Minh and now the Viet Cong with a sanctuary for guerilla and terrorist operations, as well as major supply route between northern and southern provinces.
   This forest area, 56 km northwest Saigon, is the focal point of II Field Force's multi-division Operation "Manhattan."
   Denying the Viet Cong use of their stronghold is the military objective of the 25th Inf. Div.'s 65th Cmbt. Engr. Bn., assisted by the 588th Engr. Bn.  By clearing portions of the Boi Loi, the Engineers are denying the enemy one of their greatest weapons - concealment, and giving U.S. armor access to the entire area.
   The men are initially clearing 2500 acres of intertwined shrubs, vines and trees.  Secondly, they are upgrading trails and primitive roads to single lane military standard roads for use by supply convoys and armor units.
   By far the most difficult phase of the mission, according to MAJ Leslie Savage, battalion operations officer, is the "hacking away" of the impregnable undergrowth and cutting down of the trees.  At present the unit is using 15 Caterpillar D-7 bulldozers equipped with knife-edged Rome plows ... introduced in Vietnam last fall.  These 48,000 pound tractors have been clearing 50 acres a day in undergrowth so dense that helicopters are used to direct ground operations by air-to-ground communications.
   The upgrading of trails and roads have required extensive work because of the high water table . . . aggravated by the annual monsoon rains.  Laterite fill, the red porous clay found in abundance in Vietnam, is used as a surfacing material because of its natural quality to harden when dry.
   Savage stressed the point that both phases of the mission had to be accomplished with a minimum of delay to give security forces continual forward movement on their sweep and destroy operation.
   The clearing operation has uncovered several large food caches ... totaling eight and one-half tons of rice and some 2700 pounds of peanuts.
   Mines and booby traps are daily hazards to the engineers.  According to Savage, the road between the city of Trang Bang and the battalion's forward supply base has to be cleared every morning.  "The Viet Cong move in at night and set up mines at almost any point in the road," he added.  Supplies such as rations, small replacement parts and the like are flown in by helicopter, but the 1800 gallons of diesel fuel used each day, and heavy-construction material has to be driven in by convoy.
   "It is a hazardous job," advised the major, "but the 34th ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) Ranger Bn. and the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., have provided us with good security, which reduced the problem of snipers."
   The forward supply base is equipped with maintenance facilities and direct communications with the Division's base camp at Cu Chi by VHF telephone circuits.
   The 65th, under the command of LTC Avery S. Fullerton, differs somewhat from other combat engineer units.  It was pointed out that 75 per cent of their work is mine clearing and demolitions, but they still maintain the capability of performing missions common to their sister units.

Base Camp MAINTENANCE CAMP - Trucks and bulldozers of the engineers located at a forward camp in the Boi Loi Woods.  The base is used to repair equipment and service the machines.
ALWAYS SANDBAGS - Men of the 65th build a drain system between two rice paddies as the job of up-grading roads continues just outside the Boi Loi Woods. Laying sandbags
Grinding dozer blade TO GET A CLEAN SHAVE - A member of the 65th Engr. sharpens the blade of his bulldozer to facilitate easy clearing of the dense undergrowth.
CRANE STRAIN - A crane loads lumber onto a flat bed truck that will haul the materials to various sites to be used in bridge building.  The lumber is stored at the base camp of operations. Crane at work



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967



Bobcats Detain VC Commander

   A Viet Cong battalion commander was detained, three VC were killed and five more were detained in a recent sweep in the Boi Loi Woods by the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
   Battalion Commander LTC Richard Rogers, flying over his unit as it moved through the dense jungle, spotted a number of the Viet Cong moving ahead of his mechanized troops.
   He ordered Co. A to pursue the enemy and maneuvered Co. B to a blocking position in front of the fleeing Viet Cong.
   Co. A spotted the men and followed them on foot, killing two with rifle fire.  The unit, moving into a woodline, then discovered a series of holes.
   "I told the men to drop grenades in all the holes," said SSG Shelly Cleckley of Orangeville, S. C.  "A Viet Cong came up from one of the holes ahead with his hands up just before a grenade was dropped."
   The man later admitted to being a Viet Cong battalion commander.  His 9mm handgun was recovered by men of the company.
   Meanwhile, Co. B, moving to its blocking position, discovered a tunnel with Viet Cong soldiers hiding inside.  After the men refused to surrender, a grenade was thrown in the hole killing three.  Four VC still alive in the tunnel then surrendered.
   Tunnel rats from Co B found a Browning Automatic Rifle, a Chinese carbine, and several other small arms.


$1000 For An Essay

   Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has announced its Patriots Awards Essay Contest.  The subject for this year is "Freedom: My Heritage, My Responsibility."  Anyone on active duty in the Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1966 and Nov. 1, 1967, is eligible to submit as many entries as he desires.
   Entries may be submitted in essay, letter or poetry form.  Entries should be no less than 100 nor more than 500 words in length.  The contestant must type his name, rank, serial number, branch of service and complete unit address as well as his permanent stateside home address and zip code.
   Awards include the George Washington Honor Medal and $1,000, in addition to 50 awards of $100 and 50 awards of $50.
   In announcing the subject of the patriots awards, the Foundation hopes to stimulate the thought of servicemen on the idea of Freedom and to call attention to the obligation which all citizens have in protecting and maintaining it.  Personal experiences may be used as illustrations in the basic discussion of freedom.
   Entries may be sent before Nov. 1, 1967, to Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge, Pa. 19481.  It may not be possible to acknowledge each entry and only those persons designated for award by the National Awards Jury will be individually notified of the results.


Bicycles Found Near River

   If it's true that one of the Viet Cong's principal ways of moving combat supplies is by bicycle, the 1st Bn., 27th Infantry, "Wolfhounds" have put a major crimp in "Charlie's" supply system.
   The soldiers of the 25th Inf. Div. unit's Co. A, mounted in Vietnamese Navy River Assault Group boats, were searching the shoreline of the Saigon River for weapons caches.
   "We pushed into the area and there were bicycle parts everywhere," said SGT Kenneth D. Black of El Paso, Tex.  "That was about the last thing we expected to find."
   The soldiers, working carefully because of the threat of mines and boobytraps, uncovered 70 bicycle frames, 140 tires and tubes, 120 pedals, 50 chains and 77 baskets.  Nearby they found two sampans and an outboard motor with 70 gallons of motor oil.
   The sampans were destroyed, but the bicycles, all in perfect shape, were evacuated to the battalion rear area.


MEDCAPS Win Friends

   DAU TIENG - Since its arrival in Vietnam, the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., participating in more than 40 MEDCAPs, has been able to give invaluable aid to ailing South Vietnamese.  Involving several battalion medics as well as tons of medical supplies, each MEDCAP attracts some two to three hundred villagers in need of medical attention.
   Among the ailments treated are worms, pneumonia, and scurvy.  Infection runs rampant throughout the villages while the undernourished suffer immeasurably.  To combat these two major causes of illness, the medics administer countless shots of penicillin as well as distribute vitamin and iron pills to all.
   While the battalion searches the village for local Viet Cong, a MEDCAP is usually assembling to enter the village and perform its service.
   It would be difficult to say just how many men, women and children have received medical aid from the 2nd Bn. MEDCAPs, but whatever the number, this aid does much to improve relations with the Vietnamese people.


196th ASHC

   AN SON - The Army's 196th Assault Support Helicopter Co., formed and trained at Fort Sill, Okla., recently became operational in the Republic of Vietnam.
   The 196th is assigned to the 14th Combat Avn. Bn. and presently supports the 3rd Bde. of the 25th Inf. Div. and the famed Republic of Korea Tiger Div.
   During the first week of operations CH-47 "Chinooks" of the 196th flew 239 combat hours, airlifted over 560 tons of equipment, and carried 3951 combat troops.  The company was also active in the relocation of refugees, moving over 200 Vietnamese from combat areas to secure camps.
   The 196th is under the command of MAJ James E. Martin of Wenatchee, Wash.

TWO OVER EASY - SP5 Richard A. Craig of the 2nd Bde. HHC, serves up fresh eggs for breakfast at the unit's forward combat base on the edge of the Boi Loi Woods during Operation "Manhattan." SP5 Richard A. Craig



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967


What Sort of Man Reads TLN

PFC Donald L. Sonti, pastry chef

   Alpha Company, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., recently lost a good assistant machinegunner, but they've gained an even better pastry cook.
   PFC Donald L. Sonti of Seattle attended school for two years and obtained a diploma in baking and cake decorating.  When he was drafted he was promised that when the opening became available, he'd become a cook.
   One year later Sonti had been transferred to Vietnam and had won his Combat Infantryman's Badge; but the wheels had been turning and he finally got his chance to cook.  So he made the switch.
   "It's hard to get the correct ingredients here in Vietnam, so I have to improve a lot," says Sonti.  "You also have to make the turnovers a bit hard so they won't fall apart on the way to the field."
   The whole company will give witness to the results.  Sonti's prodigious feats of gastronomic wizardry give the men something to look forward to at the end of the day.



Join LRRP!

   If you can hide in grass for an hour with 15 VC less than 15 meters from you without giving away your presence, as a LRRP team did recently, call the Leapfrog switchboard.  Ask for Delta and then for the LRRP.  They are looking for men like you.
   You'll train hard and long.  The training will be both physical and mental.  You'll learn to detect hidden booby traps, disarm them and assemble traps yourself.
   You will be specifically trained in one area and cross-trained in several other areas.
   After long days of training and learning to work with a team, you will start your job finding and watching enemy's movements, seeing the enemy without being seen.
   You will become a member of the elite Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol, better known as LRRP.
   LRRP is now looking for men who would like to join the team.  Volunteers must be above average in military subjects, proficient in map reading, physically fit and able to swim.
   Infantrymen with Ranger, Airborne or Recondo training are preferred.  However, men without such training can be accepted.
   Volunteers will be accepted on a two week attachment.  If they don't meet the LRRP qualifications, they will be sent back to their units.


Cars Up

   SAIGON - Four U.S. automobile manufacturers sold 277 cars in April at exchanges in Vietnam, it was announced by COL Jack C. Ice, commander, Vietnam Regional Exchange.  The sale brought in a total of $896,327, which not only helped stem the gold flow but also represented an encouraging response to the Army and Air Force Exchange New Car Sales Plan.
   Under the plan, overseas military personnel can select and purchase cars for U.S. delivery at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest possible assurance of satisfaction and protection.
   Car manufacturers' representatives at the Cholon main store in Saigon and most up-country main exchanges are stepping up their respective programs to provide information on prices, models, accessories, availability, transportation charges, sales tax and other data applicable to buying a car.
   Vietnam Regional Exchange officials are optimistic that car sales in the coming months will exceed the April sales.



3rd of 4th Has New CO

   DAU TIENG - COL Kenneth E. Buell has assumed command of the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., at a ceremony held in Camp Rainier, home of the 3rd Bde.
   The guidon was passed from COL Marshall B. Garth to COL Buell by SGM Bill E. Woods, signifying the change of command.  Garth spoke of the new commanding officer with the highest of praise and wished him the best of luck.
   Buell served with parachute units during World War II in Europe and was a regimental executive officer of the 40th Inf. Div. during the Korean War.  He speaks Japanese and holds a masters degree in International Relations.  Prior to assuming command, Buell was chief, Training Division, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
   The new brigade commander is 47 years old, married and has one child.

MG John Tillson III, Col Kenneth E. Buell THEY'RE ALL YOURS - MG John C. F. Tillson III, CG of the 25th Inf. Div., congratulates COL Kenneth E. Buell who assumed command of the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div.  The brigade is under the operational control of the 25th.  (Photo by SP4 Brandt Olds)



Province Hqs Blown Up After Manchus Comb It

   It was five minutes after one in the afternoon when the first bomb hit.  That was the start of the destruction of a VC province headquarters in the Boi Loi Woods, 29 km northwest of the 25th Inf. Div. Cu Chi base camp.
   The 4th Bn., 9th Inf. "Manchus" discovered the bunker and tunnel complex the day before when they were on a sweep during Operation "Manhattan."  A Hoi Chanh had led the men to the area.
   The underground system consisted of three reinforced concrete bunkers 20 by 15 feet.  A tunnel big enough for two Manchus to walk along side by side and standing up led off the bunkers.  About every 50 meters there was another tunnel running off in an opposite direction.
   Tunnel rats were sent more than 500 meters into the VC subway and the end was not in sight.  Small reinforced bunkers encircled the main bunker.
   After a thorough investigation of the facilities, the Army and the Air Force combined their might to reduce the complex to an open space in the densely wooded area.
   The little gray FAC circled the area and dropped several white smoke markers.  Suddenly a downward scream was heard as an AF jet shot through the light cloud cover and dove straight for the area.
   LTC Robert Hyatt, the Manchu Bn. commander, was circling in his chopper.  When the resounding crack-whomp of the first 500 lb bomb reached the helicopter a slight smile flickered across the face of the 39-year-old colonel.  The headquarters was a big find for the Manchus.
   The jet made twenty runs and heavy explosives, napalm and 20mm cannon rounds were placed in the area.
   Supporting artillery units then fired a Time on Target with more than 300 rounds smashing the trees to splinters and plowing the ground more effectively than a dozen tractors.
   The Manchus went in the next day to blow the inside of the tunnel complex with cratering charges.  There is at least one province headquarters that won't host any big-wig VC meetings for a long time.
   The 4th Bn., 9th Inf., "Manchus" discovered the bunker, tunnel complex the day before when they were out on a sweep in Operation "Manhattan."


P's Down

   SAIGON - Personal piaster purchases dropped to an all-time low during the month of March with MACV comptroller records reflecting an average individual purchase of $18.88.
   The trend toward the purchase of fewer piasters by individuals began in December and continued throughout the first three months of this year.  Personal buying of `P's" for the three-month period averaged $22.15.
   An all-out campaign to reduce personal piaster spending and to increase personal savings began in December and is continuing.
   According to LTC Edwin C. Heffelfinger, recently appointed chairman of the MACV Piaster Expenditure Control Working Group, "military personnel in all of the services throughout Vietnam have shown that they recognize and understand the inflationary problem which Vietnam faces.  They have shown an amazing response in doing their part to ease the situation."




Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 22, 1967


Combat Assault
            2/27 Strafe VC

   Viet Cong planning to move cross country in Hau Nghia Province northwest of Saigon keep a sharp lookout for flying "Wolfhounds."
   Thirteen who did not were either killed or detained as the heliborne infantry of Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Wolfhounds, swooped down upon them recently on an aerial assault.
   The 25th Inf. Div. soldiers were reacting to reports that a Viet Cong platoon had been spotted in the rain-soaked fields along the Oriental River.  An assault made earlier had produced no results.  As the second attempt to hit the VC unit began, the third platoon received heavy automatic weapons fire as they swept through the deep mud toward a creek to their front.
   The Wolfhounds returned fire, and the Viet Cong fled in all directions.  Many attempted to hide in the thick reeds along the creek.  As the soldiers entered the area, one VC was pulled out of his hiding place.  He had dropped his weapon as he ran.
   Hand grenades were thrown into the water to flush the enemy from beneath the water.  SP4 Ray Curry spotted one VC as he dove underwater.  He threw a grenade and waited for him to surface.  "I knew he was down there so I waited after throwing my grenade before shooting."  Moments later the armed Viet Cong broke to the surface and Curry shot him with a burst from his rifle.
   Meanwhile, the remainder of the company was being landed.  One ship spotted two VCs running and flew after them.  "The pilot landed right on top of them," said squad leader, SGT Bryon Bruins.  "We took one step off the ship and grabbed both of them."
   Bruin's squad chased two more Viet Cong and caught them in an open area and then maneuvered into a heavily overgrown hedgerow where they seized two more.
   The entire company then regrouped around the creek where the remainder of the enemy had disappeared.  "They were down there breathing through bamboo reeds," said platoon leader 1LT Fred Noseworthy.
   The concussion of grenades thrown in the water flushed or killed five more of the armed Viet Cong.
   The whole action had occurred with lightning speed.  "We hit them so hard and fast that they had no choice but to surrender or be killed," said SP4 James Shirley.

Wolfhounds at work WOLFHOUNDS TURN STEVEDORES - Soldiers from the 1st Bn., 27th Inf., unload VC merchandise recently discovered during Operation "Manhattan."  (Photo by SP5 Nicholas Polletta.)



RAGs Hunt VC On River

   That portion of the Saigon River that runs by Hai Nghia Province is muddy and at places narrow and treacherous.  The shore is dense with foliage and the terrain is hilly.
   River Assault Group (RAG) 30 and Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., 25th Inf. Div., were given the mission to search the river banks for bunkers, sampans, rice caches and weapons, and deny enemy insurgents the use of the area 25 kms northwest of Saigon during Operation "Manhattan."
   RAGs, which are manned by the Vietnamese Navy, are designed to operate with or without the infantry.  Their mission is to supply isolated units, give fire support when needed, patrolling rivers and tributaries and ferrying troops into an area.
   Petty Officer William Peoples, USN, of Portland, Ore., assistant RAG advisor, noted that since the start of Operation Manhattan "the VC have refused to fight or engage us.  For their one round, we have 10,000.  The RAG sailors are all volunteers and they like to work hard."
   RAG 30 has been "beefed-up" for Manhattan ... its 24 boats are equipped with weapons that range from 30 caliber machineguns to the devastating 40mm cannon.
   Peoples further asserted that the "Vietnamese naval personnel themselves are familiar with the types of terrain the VC utilize for storage areas and this speeds up our task of searching the river and adjoining area.  Also, all we need is fuel, food and ammo and we can stay out on the waters indefinitely."
   In a recent search of the Saigon River bank with RAG 30, the "Wolfhounds" discovered and destroyed five large bunkers and three sampans.
   Later the same day as the RAGs "leap-frogged" down the river carrying the Wolfhounds, PFC Mark J. Denton of Camden, N.J., discovered what he termed "a VC mech supply depot" with 30 bicycles, outboard motors, sampans, drive shafts and hundreds of rubber tubes.  "It was one big Christmas tree find," declared Denton.
   The Wolfhounds loaded the merchandise onto the waiting boats and after they secured the area, the RAGs took the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers further down the river to search another location.
   By the end of the day's sweeping operation, over 800 gallons of diesel fuel, a truck transmission, and six freshly-dug graves had been located and seven tunnels destroyed.
   CPT Leonard G. Marcum of Jefferson, Ore., Co. A commander, when asked about the RAG boats and their effectiveness, answered: "They are ideal and outstanding.  Today, for example, we found part of Charlie's supply route and other valuable intelligence."
   "More important, however, the RAGs can provide instant and deadly fire support.  Many of my men enjoy the river boat operations.  It's something new and holds their interest."


 'Frozen Cow' From Friends

   "Ice cream on a hot day . . . what could be better?"  Or so think the men of the 25th Inf. Div. who have recently received a shiny new ice cream maker from their well-remembered friends in Hawaii.
   The huge stainless-steel machine was donated by the West Honolulu Rotary Club of Hawaii as an expression of their gratitude for the work being done by the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers in Vietnam.
   Crated in wood, the 900 pound "Frozen Cow" was shipped by air to Saigon, where it was then placed on a convoy and delivered to the division base camp at Cu Chi.  The Special Services branch then took charge of the gift and immediately began making preparation for its installation.
     Christening Taste
   During a recent ceremony, held at Cu Chi's Iliakai East Service Club, the twin-nozzled ice cream maker was presented to the troops.  MG John C. F. Tillson III, division commander, cut the ribbon and after a brief expression of thanks to the donors, led his men in the sampling of the chocolate and vanilla treats.
   CPT James Flowers, Special Services officer, noted that the machine is capable of producing more than 45 gallons per hour.
   Presently the machine is chugging out two flavors at its normal rate, but future plans include providing the men with additional flavors such as strawberry, peach and other fruit flavors.


1LT Awarded Silver Star

   DAU TIENG - The Nation's third highest award was presented to a 3rd Bde. 4th Inf. Div., "Ivyman" for heroism in the dense, swampy jungles of the Rung Sat Special Zone during Operation "Bremerton".
   1LT Roy M. Nilsen of Middlebury Center, Pa., was awarded the Silver Star by former Ivy commander, COL Marshall B. Garth.
   The 28-year old soldier and his platoon from Co. C, 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf. were moving through the jungles south of Saigon on Nov. 21, when the men came under intense enemy fire.
     Hit Three Times
   Nilsen, presently the executive officer of Hqs. Co., was struck in the left shoulder by a machine gun bullet when the Viet Cong launched the L-shaped ambush.  Disregarding his wound Nilsen helped his men to cover and again received another wound - this time in the opposite shoulder.  Every time he called in an artillery adjustment the VC would pour heavy fire into his position.  Undaunted, he continued to relay adjustments and killed two Viet Cong who tried to find better firing positions.
   Five hours later Nilsen had received a third wound, but refused to be evacuated.  Still protesting the platoon leader was carried to the waiting helicopter.


LRRP Plays Hide & Seek With VC

   ". . . we just laid there and watched them," stated SSG Billy Ponder of Columbus, Ga., as he described how the five-man Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) of the 25th Inf. Div., played a deadly game of "hide and seek" with the Viet Cong.
   "Our mission was to locate and observe their actions, and we did just that," he added.  Ponder and his patrol from the 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., were dropped into the dense undergrowth of the Boi Loi Woods 64 Kms northwest of Saigon.  They were prepared to spend three days at the deadly game.
   According to SP4 Thad Comer of Chicago, the team landed in mid-afternoon and started looking for an overnight position to observe a VC supply route.  "We got within 150 meters of the road when we spotted a VC walking down it.  "We hugged the ground, remained silent and let him pass.  We continued looking for the best possible observation point."  An hour and a half went by as the men just laid there and watched."
   "We counted 13 of them," Comer continued, "it seemed as if they were all around us."
   "I called back to the base camp for artillery support and a chopper to pick us out of this VC infested area," said Ponder.
   Five minutes passed and the artillery started to drop in, and the men made their way quickly and quietly back to the landing zone, their three-day mission working deep in VC territory was cut to a short four hour period.  The men saw what they were sent to see and made a safe return without casualties.


Wolfhounds Visit Orphans

   Photographer, newsmen, and city officials greeted eight "Wolfhounds" at Osaka, Japan, but the big welcome came after a short ride where 180 children cheered the 25th Inf. Div. soldiers.
   The eight, members of the 1st and 2nd Bns., 27th Inf., and the 1st Bn., 8th Arty., based at Cu Chi had just flown from war torn Vietnam to a heroes welcome at the Holy Family Home in Osaka.
   The "Wolfhounds" and the 8th Arty. have supported the Japanese orphanage for nearly twenty years through peace and combat.
   It was on Christmas Eve in 1949 when officers and men of the 27th Inf. visited the battered building that was the only shelter for many Japanese war orphans.  They were so touched by what they saw, that under the direction of MSG Hugh O'Reilly, they started a "help-the-kids" campaign.
   The soldiers supported the orphanage through the Korean War, their assignment to Hawaii, and now during the conflict in Vietnam.  Over $500,000 has been given by the men of the unit since the first contribution in 1949.  The Holy Family Home is now one of the best of its kind in Japan.
   The eight men visiting the orphanage are 1LT Bruce Jacobs, SSG Melvin L. Johnson, SP4 Edward Benedict, and SGT Espada Colon of the 1st Bn., 27th Inf.; SP4 Chester Smith and PFC Rudolph Long of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.; and PFC Mel Sarina and SGT Henry V. Stewart from the 1st Bn., 8th Arty.


Thanks to:
Gary Hartt, 2nd Bn. (Mech.), 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 06-07-2005

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