Vol 2 No. 34 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 1||116th AHC 1||2/27 CRIP Photos 4||4/9 6|
|1/5 6||2nd Bde 8||2/27 8||4/9 6|
|1/5 6||2nd Bde 8||2/27 Photo 8||4/23 3|
|1/5 8||2/12 3||25th Avn 1||4/23 Photo 3|
|1/5 Photo 8||2/12 3||3rd Bde 8||4/23 7|
|1/8 Arty 8||2/14 Photo 6||3/22 1||6/77 Arty 3|
|1/27 1||2/14 7||3/22 Photo 1||65th Engr 3|
|1/27 Photo 6||2/14 7||341 Avn 7||65th Engr 7|
|1/27 8||2/22 7||341 Avn Photo 7||65th Engr 8|
|12th Evac 7||2/27 3||4/9 1||CRIP 4|
|116th AHC 1||2/27 CRIP 4||4/9 1||CRIP Photos 4|
Lightning Raid on Thanh An Captures 22, Kills 7
22 VC Held
DAU TIENG - A lightning fast raid on the village of Thanh An, seven miles south of here, netted seven Viet Cong killed and 22 captured for a battalion of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, on Aug. 15.
There were no friendly casualties.
Lifted out of Camp Rainier early in the morning by 30 UH1-D helicopters and supported by six armed gunships, the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, quickly sealed off the village. Gunships overhead accounted for five of the enemy killed as they swept the escape routes with deadly machinegun and rocket fire.
Ninteen of the Viet Cong captured during the day were accounted for by the Battalion Commander, LTC Thomas U. Harrold.
During the search of the village, Harrold paused at a tunnel entrance - certain that he heard a sound. Upon investigation of the tunnel, seven VC were ferreted out including several sets of web gear and a number of hand and rifle grenades.
Harrold also was responsible for the capture of twelve more of the Viet Cong troopers when, from the air, he directed his reconnaissance platoon to an area where he had spotted some equipment lying under a tree. When the recon element arrived, they found not only the equipment, but twelve Viet Cong in a bunker.
SP4 Steve Hilton of High Point, N.C., was the point man for the platoon when he turned a corner on the trail to see several bags resting at the base of a tree. At this moment a VC popped his head out of the bunker. Hilton snapped off a shot, killing the man instantly, fired several more times into the hole and eleven more Viet Cong emerged. One AK-47 assault rifle and one M-1 rifle were taken.
Intelligence reports indicate that the Viet Cong taken in the action, were members of the 83rd Rear Support Headquarters whose mission is to supply guerrilla elements in War Zone C.
|CAUGHT - With a captured M-1 rifle, a "Tropic Lightning" soldier leads a captured Viet Cong back to a landing zone for evacuation. (Photo by PFC Vince Housden)|
Serpent Aids VC
A Hoi Chanh who led elements of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, to a large rice cache, also uncovered a new method used by the Viet Cong to guard their supplies.
The rallier led the 25th Div infantrymen to the site of a tunnel in Tay Ninh Province, 10 Kms northwest of Trang Bang. Plt Leader 2Lt Ronald B. Beedy of Turner, Maine, found that the tunnel entrance was too small to allow any of his men to enter. "The Hoi Chanh volunteered to crawl through the entrance," Beedy said, "and he wasn't down there five minutes when he came scrambling out, shaking like a leaf."
The rallier had not only located a large cache of rice, but also found that it was guarded by a tiger (cobra) snake. The snake had been tied in such a position that it was impossible to evacuate the rice without someone being bitten.
VC Lose Weapons
Six Viet Cong are weaponless - thanks to PFC Willy Townsend of Memphis, Tenn. The alert pointman for Co C, 4th Bn. 9th Inf (Manchus) patrol was on a sweep through rain-soaked jungle when he spotted a poncho in the middle of a dry patch of grass.
Townsend probed the area and found booby trapped butterfly bombs on the ground around the poncho. The "Manchuman" disarmed half the booby traps and lifted the poncho with his bayonet. Underneath were six CHICOM rifles with bayonets. Further probing uncovered a trip wire running from the rifles to a grenade with its pin half pulled.
Close Look Is Costly
Viet Cong infiltrators crossing the wide Oriental River 37 kms northwest of Saigon shot down an unarmed three-man observation helicopter when the pilot thought he'd take a closer look at their suspicious looking sampan.
The pilot, WO Walt Cook of Manhattan City, Calif., spotted the sampan crossing the river as he was returning two operations officers to the forward base camp of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
"There were five bundles on the front deck all wrapped in ponchos," said Cook. "It looked suspicious so we dropped down to a thousand feet for a better look."
As the tiny helicopter began circling, the sampan hit the shore and five Viet Cong soldiers burst from beneath the ponchos and began firing upward.
"There were bullets snapping all around," said the pilot, "and I could feel both passengers squeeze in toward me but luckily no one was hit."
One round pierced the aircraft's oil reservoir, disabling the engine. Cook headed the helicopter, now without power, for the 25th Div mechanized unit's base camp.
By the time they spotted the camp they had lost so much speed that they were forced to make a running landing. "That was a real experience," said Cook. "A runway with rice paddy dikes every hundred feet makes for a mighty rough landing, but we made it," he ended. Moments later mortar and artillery fire blasted the riverbank where Cook first spotted the suspicious looking sampan.
A picture perfect rescue of a downed helicopter gunship took place recently 37 Kms northwest of Saigon. Officials of the 5th Inf Div said it couldn't have been better if it had been planned.
The gunship, part of the 116th Aslt Hel Co based at Cu Chi, was downed by hostile fire while making a pass over a suspected enemy position.
MAJ Luther Vaughn of Pensacola, Fla., operations officer for the 1st Bn 27th Inf. heard the ship's distress call just after his "Alpha Company" had lifted off toward a preplanned combat landing zone. Within seconds the entire company was diverted toward the downed ship.
With VC advancing, the downed pilots scrambled aboard a second gunship just as the airmobile infantry company came into sight.
A rapid combat assault drove the Viet Cone force off permitting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to extract the crippled ship.
The 27th Inf company made their scheduled assault on the planned landing zone just one hour after the rescue call was received.
6 Sampans Netted By "Stingers"
Evening target practice by helicopter gunners of the 116th Avn Co "Stingers" recently netted the aviators six enemy sampans.
The gunship team had requested permission to practice low level gun runs over the Oriental River 37 kms northwest of Saigon. The open area, part of the Operation "Kolekole" sector of the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde was the only nearby area clear of friendly civilians.
As they swept in on the first practice pass the lead pilot spotted a small convoy of Viet Cong sampans making its way across the monsoon-swollen river.
Switching from practice to the real thing - machine guns and grenade launchers quickly reduced the six boats to floating rubbish.
Pilots reported killing four enemy soldiers but it was getting dark and the count could not be confirmed.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means
which the God of Nature has placed in our power . . .
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone;
it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
|BRONZE STAR (VALOR)|
|PFC John P. Collopy, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf||PFC Terry D. Alsup, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf|
BRONZE STAR (MERIT)
CPT William G. Coats, HHC, 1st Bde
1LT Charles C. Dickey Jr., Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
1LT Lewis B. Gaiser, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
WO1 Clarence A. Meier, Co B, 704th Maint
WO1 Dale D. Thorngate, 25th Admin Co
SFC Lewis Hayes, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SFC William B. Prince, 38th Inf Plt (Scout Dog)
SFC Roy V. Woodrum, 9th Cml Det
PSG Albert ,Graham, Jr., Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG James M. Mosgrove Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf.
SSG Oxley C. Moultrie, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Charles W. Hunt, HHC, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SSG Agripino L. Rivera, Co A, 65th Engr Bn
SSG Rufus J. Elliot, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SSG William Heddleson, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP5 Clifford C. Phillip Jr., HHC, 65th Engr Bn
SGT Herbert Sherrill, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT Paul Blazis, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Ronald Dedenback, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Gregory Corradino, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Lowell T. Garland, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SGT John R. Griffin, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT James R. Snyder, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Lynn C. Hayes, Co B, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SP4 Charles L. Keller, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Xavier Johnson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Alton Shedd, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Stanley Tomaszewski Jr., Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Jack J. Coopereood, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Eddie E. Williams, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Eugene A. Ward, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC David E. Niemann, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Emmett Jermany Jr., Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Jasper J. Newberry Jr., Co B, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
PFC Jack Elenboas, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Henry A. Johnson, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Larry F. Markus, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Jimmy K. Morrison, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (VALOR)
|SP4 Vjekoslav Maretic, 3d S&T Co (Prov)||SP4 Maxiniliano Gonzales, Co B, 704th Maint Bn|
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (MERIT)
CPT Charles E. Simmons, HHC & Band, 25th Inf Div, Spt
SSG Robert Goodman, Co B, 704th Maint Bn
SSG Jerry Eckstein, Co B, 704th Maint Bn
SP5 Bill F. Fife, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP5 Wayde L. Christensen, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Craig S. Durland, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP5 Douglas W. Foy, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP5 Walter Zenczak, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Hugh Hamilton, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 James Hardy, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Eugene E. Hazard, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Richard G. Jacobs, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Colin M. Lewis, 25th Admin Co
SP4 William O. McNew, HHC
SP4 Douglas R. Andrews, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Donald G. Downs Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Lester Hoffman, 25th Admin Co
SP4 David E. Gaige, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Joseph Picarella, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Robert M. Simonds, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Buddie L. Ziegert, HHC, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
Harassing villages has probably been the most common form of terror used by the Viet Cong. Most harassment has been in the form of small arms fire and sniping. It seldom receives much attention in the press or in official reporting because of its apparent inconsequential results.
Pro-GVN hamlets serve as primary targets. Periodically guerrillas will approach a village and fire into it a half dozen random rifle shots. This alerts the defenders who can never be sure that a full scale attack is not underway. Word is radioed to the nearby military headquarters whose commander is then obliged to decide whether the action is harassing fire or an attack, and if an attack, whether an ambush is its real purpose or whether it is a feint designed to draw away from the scene of an actual attack elsewhere.
Any guess he makes is apt to be the wrong one. The correct military decision, usually, is for the moment to do nothing, and await developments. This causes villagers to doubt that the unit will aid the village if it actually is attacked. This in turn increases the anxiety in the village, precisely as the Viet Cong hoped it would, and adds to the sense of insecurity which villagers naturally feel when a rifle bullet snaps by them.
The harassing fire often continues sporadically for weeks, generally accompanied by nocturnal megaphone taunts, threats, and appeals; sometimes after a few weeks of softening up a full scale attack is launched. Harassing fire is cheap and can be done by even inexperienced guerrillas. It creates a great sense of anxiety within the village and keeps villagers awake at night, impairing their farming and normal daytime activities. And it builds confidence within guerrilla ranks.
Psychological objectives dominate Viet Cong sabotage and subversion efforts, emphasizing communist tactics. In the early years the guerrillas were under strict orders not to destroy or interfere with permanent fixed economic installations, such as power stations or port facilities. But beginning in 1964 these became targets of sabotage efforts.
Grenades are lobbed into vehicles stopped for traffic lights; poison injected into bottles of wine or soft drinks with hypodermic needles. There has been no end to the ingenuity employed in terroristic sabotage.
Good 'Form' for Flying
EACH year, millions of Americans travel on commercial airlines. A large portion of these travelers are servicemen and women.
Often separated from their families by great distances because of duty and limited in their available time for travel, men and women of the Armed Forces sometimes rely on rapid air transportation to get maximum value from their leaves and passes.
Along with the special discount for military fares, the Department of Defense and the airline industry have agreed to issue and use a new form which can make your reduced-rate airline travel smoother and more enjoyable. It is DD Form 1580, Military Standby Authorization for Commercial Air Travel.
When the form is properly completed by the authority issuing your leave papers or liberty pass, it will confirm your leave or liberty status and your entitlement to reduced military fares. The airlines may also use the form in establishing priorities among military standbys.
It is, however, your responsibility to initiate the request for sufficient DD1580's to cover every leg of your trip, both coming and going. In any case, you should obtain not less than five completed copies of the form from the command authorizing your leave, liberty or pass.
Even in the case of emergency leave when travel and leave authorizations are prepared on short notice, be sure you don't forget to get your DD1580 forms.
An added advantage of DD1580 is that Vietnam servicemen granted R&R leave in Hawaii can provide their wives with copies of their leave orders and DD1580's so they can travel from the West Coast to Hawaii and return at a special rate.
Although not now required by all airlines, the DD Form 1580 will be accepted and will go a long way to make your air travel easier.
Complete details on the use of DD Form 1580 and reduced fares can be obtained from your transportation section or the nearest Joint Airline Military Traffic Office. (AFNH)
DAU TIENG - In order to provide maximum covenience and more efficient mail distribution to the men of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, APO 96268 vacated it's worn-out premises and moved to an entirely new building recently.
An indoor mail room into which a USAF pallet can be delivered without removing it from the lift truck is only one of the new conveniences that is provided the patron.
The APO's hours of operation are from 9-12 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. daily. On payday and the two days following, the APO will remain open until 7 p.m.
Located on 3d Brigade Drive, APO 96268 is directly in front of the 2d Bn, 77th Arty's Bn Hqs. Parking is plentiful and entry and exit routes easily accessible.
OF CONDUCT NO. IV
If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
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 F.K. Mearns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
Maj. Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
1Lt. Larry Rottmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . Editor-in-Chief
SP5 Terry S. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
PFC Dave Cushman . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
Vietnam Soldiers Same-Same Duo
DAU TIENG - Two soldiers from the 3d Bde, 25th Div, left Vietnam recently on the same jet back to the States. This is not unusual, but these two soldiers have had a record of similarities ever since they were drafted into the Army a year and a half ago.
The two men are SGT Lester D. Cooper of Pullman, Wash., and SGT Ralph W. Bafaro from Spokane, Wash.
It all started in the United States. They were drafted at the same draft board on the same day, neither had seen the other.
They both went to the reception center at Fort Ord and then on to Fort Lewis for their basic training.
Both were in the same platoon of Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, and both received two weeks of training to become squad leaders.
On the same set of orders, they were both promoted to PVT E-2 after basic training, and then to PFC at the end of Advanced Individual Training.
Each was sent to the 6th Army NCO Academy on the same orders and both graduated in the upper one-quarter of the class. Promotion to Acting SGT came to the pair after NCO training. Later, both became SGT E-5 with the same orders.
After the 3d Bde's arrival in Vietnam, Cooper and Bafaro continued their identical ways. Both were squad leaders for 11 months of combat.
Both received the Combat Infantryman Badge on the same day.
Neither was wounded in 11 months of combat.
Both have been recommended for the same award for their service in Vietnam.
Finally, both left Vietnam on the same plane, same day, and again same set of orders, enroute to the same assignment in Fort Lewis.
So far during their tour in the Army everything has been the same for the two Sergeants except one thing - their serial numbers. With the numbers, Bafaro has a first over Cooper. Bafaro's number is 56378842 while Cooper had to settle for 56378843 - one away.
Battlefield Personnel Sergeant
A personnel sergeant with the 25th Inf Div frequently runs his office from the battlefield.
When men of the 6th Bn, 77th Arty, have problems concerning transfers, pay or rank they see SFC Edward E. Tate, Montgomery, Ala., or he goes to see them.
As the battalion personnal section NCO, Tate handles much of the paperwork and coordinates administrative functions between battalion and division.
Arriving with the artillery battalion's forward element in May, he immediately began work, preparing the way for the enormous job of processing a whole unit into the "Tropic Lightning" Div.
Hoi Chanh Finds Hospital
"Yes, this is the place my wounds were treated three months ago. The hospital is right over there." Following these directions by a Hoi Chanh, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf, started digging.
The battalion, an element of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde, was led to the Bao Cap area near Cu Chi by a former Viet Cong soldier who claimed there was a frequently used underground hospital. Bao Cap was the scene of some very bitter fighting when the "Tropic Lightning" Div was carving out an area for its base camp.
The first structure to be unearthed was a 12 foot square concrete hospital room. A surgeon's table, bandages, syringes and bottles of medicine were turned up by the searchers. From the room, tunnel rats followed a 400-foot tunnel which led to spider holes and other smaller rooms.
As the complex was cut into by bulldozers from the 65th Cbt Engr Bn, additional materials were uncovered. An M-60 machine gun, 30 M-79 rounds, 100 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, a variety of homemade mines, five VC uniforms and 20 pounds of documents were brought up out of the ground. The documents were found to contain rosters of VC squads operating in the Cu Chi area and a map of the complete tunnel complex.
After searching the area thoroughly, the complex was completely destroyed, preventing further use by enemy forces.
|BURIED TREASURE - CPT William W. Hertzzog, commander of Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf., shows one of the homemade mines that was taken out of a tunnel complex near Bao Cap to LTC Thomas A. Ware Jr. (right), battalion commander. (Photo by SFC Roy Doupe)|
Cong Terrorists Bomb Viet Bridge
A pre-dawn explosion Aug. 12 destroyed a bridge which is a major link for Vietnamese civilians between the cities of Bao Trai and Duc Hoa to the capital city of Saigon.
A single charge of explosives set by Viet Cong terrorists, crippled the concrete and steel span, which was rebuilt for the Vietnamese by the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde two months ago.
The bridge and connecting roadway are used primarily by the Vietnamese to transport their goods to Saigon for sale in the markets.
No one was injured in the explosion and military officials have no clues to the whereabouts of the terrorists.
A Brigade spokesman has already announced plans for the repair of the bridge.
|BLOWN BRIDGE - Damage to the Boo Trai-Duc Hoa Bridge as a result of the Viet Cong pre-dawn attack August 12. (Photo by SP4 Carey)|
Where Are You?
DAU TIENG - It was only his second day in the field on his first combat operation, but PFC Glen A. Jones of Elyria, Ohio, is likely to remember that day for a long time. On that day Jones, a rifleman with the 3d Bde, 25th Div, was on Operation "Diamondhead" northwest of Dau Tieng when he inadvertently made the wrong turn and found himself in the middle of the jungle - alone.
"The night before, the battalion area had been mortared by the VC and all through the night we had spotted movement to the front of the company position," related 2LT Bobbie J. Bates of New Orleans, La., platoon leader with Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf. "I ordered a sweep of the area about 50 meters to the front to check if the Claymores we had fired had hit anything."
One of the men in Bates' platoon was Glen Jones.
"I moved out with SP4 Steven Monin," said Jones. "We checked the area out and then Monin said to turn around and start back. I turned around and couldn't see him. I guess I became scared and headed in what I thought was the direction of the company area."
A while later, Jones was seen at the edge of a clearing, almost half a mile from his company, by CPT David B. Bradley who was piloting an OH-23G "Snoopy" observation helicopter over the area.
"When I got to the clearing, I saw the helicopter and started waving at it," continued Jones who was obviously shaken by the experience. "The chopper saw me, dropped down and picked me up. I was really happy to see him."
Sarge, VC Squabble
SGT Melvin Stennis found new meaning to the old story of the feuding old sarge and the young lieutenant when he played one role and a Viet Cong platoon leader took the other.
Stennis, a squad leader with the 2d Bn 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," was sweeping through a hedgerow.
As he turned a corner he found himself staring down the muzzle of a Chinese Carbine. "Before I could move he fired," said Stennis. "It blasted my steel pot off my head." The shattered helmet landed eight feet away, but the Los Angeles, Calif., soldier didn't stick around to watch.
"As I scrambled for cover he threw a grenade," he said. Unhurt by the blast, Stennis decided it was his turn in the argument and fired back with his M-16 rifle, hitting the enemy soldier in the foot.
During interrogation the VC admitted to being a lieutenant platoon leader in the area to rally local guerrillas.
"They needed rallying," says Stennis, "because soon after my little squabble with the lieutenant, we detained nine more VC soldiers."
|The 25th Infantry Division Information Office is presently compiling material and photographs of all division activities from 1 October 1966 - 1 October 1967. Anyone having good color, black and white, or color slide photographs of combat, civic action, or any other division activities, please bring them to the PIO and give them to LT Rottmann or PFC Hairston. If you desire, the photos will be returned, unharmed, after they are copied.|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
CRIP Costing Enemy Men, Weapons and Equipment
Story and Photos by 1LT A. R. Karel
Viet Cong in Hau Nghia Province are meeting up with CRIP. The introduction is costing them men, weapons, and equipment.
CRIP is the Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Platoon based in Bao Trai, the capital of the Province. It's a 50-man force made up of the Vietnamese S-2 Platoon from Bao Trai and the Recon Pit from the US 2d Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds."
The unit, the only one of its kind in southern South Vietnam is primarily designed to gather intelligence on enemy positions and movement by means of long range patrols. It is complete with interrogators, intelligence specialists and psychological operations soldiers.
But it also has a definite combat capability that was best shown recently when CRIP was helilifted into an area where Viet Cong operations had seldom been challenged. Their mission was to strike quickly and then be withdrawn.
Working side by side, the Vietnamese and Americans assaulted a wide hedgerow complex and drove on through to a major canal.
In the twisted growth along the canal they killed four Viet Cong in separate fire fights, took one prisoner and seven suspects. Most of this was accomplished in less than an hour.
The new unit is attached to the 2d Bde, and that unit's intelligence officials are happy to have them. "CRIP is one of the most effective examples of US-Vietnamese cooperation we have seen," said MAJ Lynn Steverson. "They are extremely aggressive and dependable."
Steverson points to the fact that the Americans and Vietnamese complement each other. "Both are learning a lot from each other," he said. "The Vietnamese are highly skilled in detecting boobytraps and hidden Viet Cong positions, and our own troops are very proficient with weapons and small unit tactics," he added.
Official comments so far have been very favorable, but no one has been more impressed than the men in the unit itself. "The one big thing it's taught me," says Recon Plt Leader 1LT Albert Cito, "Is that the people who say that the Vietnamese can't be good fighters just simply don't know what they're talking about. One mission with this group convinces you of the very opposite."
|A VIETNAMESE SOLDIER WAITS PATIENTLY, AS HELICOPTERS CARRY HIM AND HIS FELLOW SOLDIERS TO THE OBJECTIVE AREA.|
|ALL ATTENTION IS RIVETED AHEAD AS ENEMY FIRE BREAKS OUT TO THE FRONT. THE SOLDIERS HAD BEEN ON A SHORT REST BREAK.|
|A CRIP MEMBER DIRECTS A SAMPAN FROM A CANAL INTO SHORE. THE SAMPAN WAS BROUGHT IN TO BE SEARCHED. BASED AT BAO TRAI CRIP IS ATTACHED TO THE 2N BDE, 25TH INF DIV.|
|A CRIP MEMBER PUSHES A VIET CONG AWAY FROM HIS SPIDER HOLE AFTER THE VC'S FELLOW SOLDIER WAS KILLED.||CRIP MEMBERS TAKE UP MOMENTARY DEFENSIVE POSITIONS.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
Question & Answer
"Wheel of Knowledge"
By SFC Roy Doupe
A training device, dubbed the "Wheel of Knowledge" by its inventor, SFC James B. Brown of Cleveland, Ohio, is credited with increasing the proficiency of the Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf's Weapons Platoon by 50 per cent.
The device consists of a large wheel numbered 1 through 24 around its edge and a box with two compartments. One compartment contains questions numbered the same as the wheel while the other compartment holds the answers.
"We received a bunch of new troops about three months ago," Brown stated, "and they were fresh out of advanced individual training. I had to do something to raise their level of proficiency on the mortars but also knew that it would have to be something that would hold their interest."
The result was the "Wheel of Fortune." During periods when the platoon is not performing maintenance on the mortars or firing in support of a company mission they gather around the wheel. Brown selects one man to start things off and he spins the wheel. Then he goes to the question box and takes out the question corresponding to the number that the wheel stopped on.
The trooper drawing the question has the first chance to give the answer. If his answer is correct he selects the next man to take the stage. If he doesn't know the answer the member of the audience that answers it correctly becomes the next man. "I make sure they write the number down of any questions they don't know," continued Brown, "and after the class is over they study the questions they've missed.
"I give them certain portions of the training manuals to study and then make up the questions," he explained. The questions are changed once a week. "They certainly do seem to enjoy our sessions around the wheel," Brown concluded, "and I do know that it has made better mortar crewmen out of them."
|HOPE FOR THE FUTURE - Walking hand in hand, an American sergeant and a little Vietnamese girl symbolize the growing bond between the Allies and the Vietnamese people. The sergeant is SSG Warner Orlandi of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is assigned to the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, 25th Inf Div. Div. (Photo by SP4 Wermine)|
Viet Excites U.S. Officer
A 25th Inf Div captain got mighty excited recently when a Vietnamese civilian walked up to his armored personnel carrier waving a new leaflet that had been distributed by air just the day before.
CPT Albert Amos of Mobile, Ala., civil affairs officer of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, had published the leaflet asking for information on Viet Cong mines and weapons caches.
"I was sure he was coming to turn in some valuable intelligence," said Amos. "It's always a thrill to see a new leaflet work so quickly." An interpreter spoke to the man while the captain waited.
The conversation was short. "First we learned that the man had too much to drink," said Amos, "secondly, he had seen the helicopter fly over and the leaflets fall out and was just returning the lost paper we had dropped."
VC Cache Camouflage Under Par
A sharp pair of eyes, a sharp bamboo pole and a bad camouflage job by the Viet Cong added up to the discovery of a complete underground ammunition manufacturing site by 25th Inf Div soldiers recently, 40 kms northwest of Saigon.
The 2d Bde troops of the1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, had searched all morning without result along the banks of the winding Oriental River.
"We were probing through hedgerows with the sharp poles when I noticed a piece of ground that didn't fit in with the rest of the area," said PFC Joe Duncan of Bishop, Calif. "The grass was different and most of it was dead."
Digging with the pole he unearthed the cover of a small tunnel. Inside was a large roll of thick steel wire. Searching further around the area he found several other small holes filled with rifle grenades.
The find touched off a large scale search with every man available on his hands and knees probing the wet earth with bayonets and bamboo sticks.
By midafternoon the Co C soldiers had dug up a complete drill press, a pressure machine for stamping out grenade handles, 30 pounds of empty cartridges, 40 pounds of gunpowder and several boxes of tools for making grenades and reloading ammunition.
The day's find eventually led to the largest ammunition and grenade manufacturing site ever uncovered by the 25th Inf Div. The find was a result of the widespread 2nd Bde Operation "Kolekole" aimed at eliminating Viet Cong forces and influence from the districts northwest of Saigon.
|A 2d Bde patrol moves into heavy brush on a search and destroy mission southwest of Cu Chi. The men, part of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, 25th Inf Div, were taking part in Operation "Kolekole."|
Accidental VC Find
"Would you believe a VC bull?" remarked SP5 Theodore J. Duffy of South Hampton, Long Island, N.Y.
A radio-telephone operator in the 25th Inf Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf., Duffy was walking along a wood line during a sweep of an area eight miles north of Trang Bang when he suddenly saw a water buffalo bull charging him. "I didn't have anyplace to go except into the woods," Duffy continued. "I hit the edge of the brush with the bull just a few feet behind me when the ground dropped out from under me.
"I was pretty lucky. I had stepped into a punji pit, and there were stakes all around my feet but all I got was a small scratch on my leg." In his efforts to get out of the pit Duffy uncovered the entrance to a tunnel. The 1st Bde "Manchus" immediately secured the area and sent two tunnel rats in to explore the tunnel.
A search of the 20-foot-long tunnel turned up a hidden Viet Cong who surrendered the minute the tunnel rats flashed their lights on him.
"My run-in with a hostile water buffalo resulted in the discovery and destruction of a punji pit and tunnel and one more VC detainee for the company," concluded Duffy.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
Chinook Escapes Avn Fuel Fire
Quick action by a 25th Inf Div soldier helped prevent a bad fire from becoming a major tragedy.
SP4 Robert A. Adams of Flint, Mich., a fuel pump operator for the 341st Avn Det at Cu Chi Airfield was refueling a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, when a spark from the gasoline engine pump ignited aviation fuel vapors near two 3000 gallon rubber bladder storage containers.
Adams quickly helped disconnect the refueling hoses from the Chinook which enabled it to lift off only seconds before the two tanks exploded, spewing flaming fuel and white-hot fragments of equipment over a large area.
Although buffeted by the force of the explosion, Adams was uninjured, and he raced to a nearby phone to call the fire station.
By the time one fire truck and four crash-rescue trucks arrived five minutes later, flames were shooting 75 feet into the air, and an ominous black cloud that was visible for miles had formed.
Firemen, dressed in asbestos suits to protect them from the intense heat, battled the blaze with foam in a successful attempt to prevent the fire from spreading.
|CONTROL - Fireman battles blaze caused by a spark in the aviation fuel storage area at Cu Chi Airfield. There were rib injuries and quick action prevented spread of the fire. (Photo by 1LT Larry Rottmann)|
Beverage Peddler Arouses Suspicion
The Chieu Hoi Program is apparently becoming as popular as Coca-Cola according to the method one former Viet Cong used to become a Republic of Vietnam rallier.
Recently, LTC James Ladd of Perrysburg, Ohio, made a mental note after seeing a peddler trying to sell cokes to troopers of Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, in the vicinity of Phu Hoa Dong.
As Ladd was moving in his jeep towards the village the next day he spotted the same peddler standing close to the road. Quickly, he stopped the jeep and Company Commander CPT Alfred M. Coke of Denham Springs, Fla., jumped out and apprehended the man. Even though his papers were in order, he was taken into an ARVN compound for questioning.
After intense interrogation by the ARVNs, he was released.
Early the next morning, appearing very much shaken, he turned himself in.
U.S. And ARVNs Clearing Jungles
Army engineers working with ARVN elements are cutting a 1000 meter strip out of the jungle around the village of Phu Hoa Dong, 38 kms north of Saigon in Binh Duong Province, in an attempt to end Viet Cong domination of the area.
Tractors equipped with knife-edged "Rome Plows" from the 65th Cbt Engr Bn and mechanized security elements from 4th Bn, 23d Inf, began the operation Aug. 1.
Before the engineers began clearing, the Vietnamese within the strip were relocated inside the new perimeter by ARVN soldiers.
Phu Hoa Dong was the site of the recent large "County Fair" operation where elements of the 25th Div sealed off the village and ARVN troops searched houses and checked identification cards. Since that time 25th Div personnel have been conducting MEDCAPS and have started the Vietnamese on the self-help Revolutionary Development program.
For years Viet Cong have been controlling Phu Hoa Dong with terrorist tactics, according to MAJ Henry Hough, senior advisor of the Phu Hoa District.
"With the relocation of these families and the clearing of the rubber trees and dense foliage around the village," said Hough, "ARVN forces will be able to thrust back Viet Cong advances. This will give the villagers a feeling of security and confidence, necessary for political and economic stability."
Child Recognizes Rescuers
Shon Thi Tep, aged 10, lay impassive on the hospital bed in the intensive care ward. Several wounded soldiers were brought in, and she broke into hysterical sobs after recognizing one of the men.
The day before, several Viet Cong were spotted by a patrol from the 2d Bn, 14th Inf, who opened fire driving the enemy off. A search revealed the little Vietnamese girl lying on the ground a few yards from where the VC were spotted. She had been wounded and was rapidly losing consciousness.
SSG Benny Hawkins of Arkansas City, Ark., radioed for a dust-off helicopter and the youngster was taken to the 25th Div's 12th Evac Hosp.
"The whole platoon was pretty shaken up and very much concerned over the youngster," says Hawkins. "I arranged for transportation to pick the foster parents up each day, and while they were here, we fed them at Charlie Co's mess hall."
The platoon took up a collection and bought her dolls, a hairbrush set and clothing. Hawkins' brother, Archie, a pastor of the Pansey Baptist Church in Crosbyton, Tex., dedicated a service to the child. Members of the congregation have written to the youngster and collected clothing for her.
'C' Ration Can As Warning
Soldiers in Vietnam have thought up hundreds of uses for "C" ration cans from water cups to machine gun ammunition guides but it seems that the latest novel use has come from the other side.
The enemy soldiers had strung a rubber band across the open end and slipped a wooden paddle into it, then wound it up like a rubber band airplane.
A tiny wooden chip to stop the paddle from unwinding and a long trip wire to pull the chip out of place completed the device.
DAU TIENG - Seeing a doctor once is usually fine for a person with a sore throat or a small cut, but when cuts are infected or that sore throat is a sign of a much more serious disease, then repeated medical care is needed.
To supply this care, the 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf, now securing a forward fire support base at Suoi Da, 36 kms northwest of Tay Ninh, has started a daily sick call for the people in the area.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 28, 1967
Fisherman In Business
A 67 year old Vietnamese man who was so poor that his wife and children had to leave home to work is now back in business as a fisherman after civil affairs officials of the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde provided him with a new fish net.
Ngo Van Tao, of Luong Hoa, a tiny village on the Oriental River west of Saigon told in a halting voice how he last had a net in 1965 and hadn't had one since.
That was the year his wife had to leave the village looking for work to support their children and he stayed hoping for better luck.
The luck came when a division Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP) unit came offering several fish nets to needy villagers in the fishing town.
"We searched all over Saigon for the nets," said CPT Donald Royal, the brigade's civil affairs officer. "They luckily were the right size. Mr. Ngo seemed very happy to have one."
Royal explained that the nets were part of the unit's plan to assist Vietnamese in the Operation "Kolekole" area by letting them help themselves.
2d Brigade Birthday
Most 2d Bde troops on Operation "Kolekole" were too busy with combat missions to note, but on Aug. 26 the unit celebrated its fourth birthday.
Organized in Hawaii in 1963, the 2d Bde has spent nearly half its life in Vietnam combat. After a series of training operations it deployed to Vietnam in early January 1966. There it literally fought its way foot by foot to secure the present 25th Div base camp.
The brigade, commanded by COL Edwin W. Emerson, includes the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, Vietnam's first mechanized unit; and the 1st and 2d Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds."
For its outstanding achievements in securing the Cu Chi area, the brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation.
In his anniversary message COL Emerson said, "Men of the 2d Bde; the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, and the 65th Engrs can be justly proud of the outstanding combat record they have compiled. These units have fought and built side by side through some of the longest and most difficult operations of the war. They have lived up to the heroic traditions of the "Wolfhounds," "Bobcats," and "Automatic Eighth." It is now up to us to carry this fine combat record into the future."
Device Saves Time
DAU TIENG - Several times the maintenance section of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf's mechanized battalion has sent a new power pack, complete with engine and drive train, to the field, spent hours installing it into an armored personnel carrier, pushed the starter button - and nothing. The few failures included both new engines from supply as well as reworked power packs from the field.
All that has changed now. SSG Gerald Doss of Caralton, Ga. has devised a nine by five foot test stand to check engine power packs before deployment to the field. The stand has a permanent radiator and instrument panel, and it takes only 15 minutes to attach and evaluate engine performance. One week of spare time by Doss and the other members of the platoon were needed to transform some spare pipe into the new tool.
Now, every engine that passes through the maintenance shop is put on the stand whether the engine has come from the field to be fixed, or down from supply channels.
Doss comments, "This way, when we send the pack to the field we know it's good. It also increases morale and efficiency, because it lets you know you're not doing something for nothing."
|SCHOOL'S OUT - Usually the nursery at Dau Tieng is filled with children (top), but after the VC attack, the roof is off and the walls are in danger of collapsing. (Photo by PFC Vince Housden)|
Enemy Terrorists Sabotage Nursery
DAU TIENG - A 20-pound shaped charge, set against the rear of a Regional Forces-Popular Forces (RF-PF) nursery in Dau Tieng, heavily damaged the building recently in a Viet Cong terrorist attack at 3 a.m. in the morning.
The charge was one of two which had been placed against the building - one of which was detonated by a communist terrorist. The second cone-shaped bomb did not explode and was soon disarmed by US advisors at the district headquarters.
It was thought that the attack was meant for the National Police Headquarters which is adjacent to the nursery. No one was injured in the blast.
The nursery is used by the children of the RF-PF troops who man the outposts in Dau Tieng. The nursery had just recently been refurbished by the district with aid from the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, whose base camp is just outside Dau Tieng. The blast damaged the rear wall, the roof, and several other buildings in the nearby area. All the walls are in danger of collapsing.
|IT WON'T HURT - SP5 James Coleman, a medic with HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, 25th Inf Div, aids a Vietnamese child at an informal MEDCAP conducted by the "Wolfhounds." (Photo by SP4 Jerry Collins)|
|OLD AND NEW - Vietnamese farmers walk past the perimeter of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, base camp while a returning armored personnel carrier rumbles toward the camp. (Photo by. LT A. R. Karel)|
First Sergeant O.N. Davisson, 25th Aviation Bn. for sharing this issue,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn. for locating and mailing the issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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