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Vol 2 No. 36            TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS            September 11, 1967



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1st Bde                         1 1/5                                 8 2/14 Photos                 4 3/22                               8
1/5 Photo                     1 1/5 Photo                     8 2/14 Photo                   8 3/4 Cav                         7
1/5                                 3 2nd Bde                        7 2/22                               3 4/9                                 3
1/5 Photo                     3 2/14                               1 25th S&T                     3 4/9                                 3
1/5                                 3 2/14                               1 3rd Bde Library           6 4/23                               8
1/5 Photo                     3 2/14 Photo                    1 3rd Bde Lib. Photos   6 6/77 Arty                      6
1/5                                 6 2/14                               1 3/22                               7 65th Engr Photo          1
1/5                                 7 2/14                               4 3/22                               8 7/11 Arty Photo           7
1/5                                 8 MARS Radio               3



PFC Fights Way Back To Company

By SP4 Bill Wermine
   Caught between two lines of fire, and alone, PFC John Miles of Long Beach, Calif., armed only with an M-16, crawled, crept, and ran through flooded rice paddies and jungle-thick hedgerows till he reached the safety of his unit's perimeter.
   Miles was the first man off the lead River Assault Group (RAG) boat after it hit the shore of the Saigon River, 10 Kms north of Saigon.  Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf had moved down river to form a blocking force for other 25th Div elements that were pushing an unknown size enemy force east toward the river.
   As Miles reached a point 50 meters inland, the RAG boats came under heavy RPG-2 rocket and automatic weapons fire from a jungle thicket just beyond him.  The Vietnamese flotilla commander gave the order to pull back into the river.
   Those men who had made it ashore scrambled back aboard - except Miles, who failed to hear the command because of the gunfire.
   "I saw the boats pull away," relates Miles, "so I took cover and waited."  It was a short wait because the RAG boats opened up on the enemy shore positions as well as artillery from the west.  "I used dikes for cover but even so, the concussion of the shells was terrific.  The shrapnel sounded like more bullets than I've ever heard at one time," says the combat veteran of four months.
   After the artillery fire stopped, the snipers took over.  Miles decided his only escape was to try and get back to his company which he figured to be 600 meters to the north.  "They must have been there because I heard a fire fight going on.
   Running, crawling, and returning sniper fire, Miles moved north.  Three and one-half hours later Miles entered the perimeter of Charlie Co.
   "Boy, was it a relief to see my buddies.  I think what scared me the most was being alone and cut off," says Miles.


VC Base Camp Found
By SP4 James O'Neil

   Led by a 47 year-old Viet Cong detainee, 25th Div engineers and infantrymen with ARVN elements located and destroyed an enemy base camp 11 Kms north of Saigon in Binh Duong Province.
   Co. C, 65th Cbt Eng Bn, and Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf working with elements of the 7th ARVN Regiment began the three-day operation August 22.
   The 2,000 square meter complex was situated in the thick jungle undergrowth of a swamp two miles east of the Saigon River.
   The 2d Bn with an ARVN company, who made a sweep through the general area a week before, found evidence of the base camp.
   According to CPT Joel A. Brown, 2d Bn intelligence officer from San Antonio, Tex., ground and air reconnaissance indicated that the base camp was capable of handling a battalion size Viet Cong force.  "After moving into the area, we found the camp set up for rest, resupply and maintenance", he said.
   Engineer demolition crews and supporting elements were brought in by helicopter and with the detainee started the search and destroy operation.
   "The Viet Cong proved to be quite cooperative," says 1LT Thomas J. Edgerton, engineer platoon leader, "and he certainly seemed to know his way around.  He pointed out hundreds of well camouflaged bunkers, most of which were well built and reenforced with heavy timber."
   Edgerton stated that 50,000 pounds of explosives were used to destroy the complex.


Preparing demolitions A PLUMBER'S DREAM - Engineers and infantrymen from the 25th Inf Div assemble Bangalor Torpedoes used for destroying enemy bunkers that were found in a base camp in Binh Duong Province, 11 Kms north of Saigon.  A Viet Cong detainee led the soldiers to the base camp.  (Photo by SP4 James O'Neil)



Monsoon Offensive Continues, VC Lose Men And Supplies

   Operation "Barking Sands", the 1st Bde's monsoon offensive, continues to hit the Viet Cong where it hurts most by capturing vast quantities of their supplies and weaning the villages away from their influence.
   Revolutionary Development (RD) and lightning-fast company and battalion size sweeps are characteristic of Barking Sands tactics used to harass the VC during the time of year when they are usually most active.
   The most notable of the RD phase of operations was the pacification of the village of Phu Hoa Dong.  The operation started on July 8, and has just completed an ambitious 47-day civic action program.
   Located on the edge of the Filhol Plantation, Phu Hoa Dong had long been a VC haven and a thorn in the side of operations in that area.  Three infantry battalions of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde with three ARVN battalions sealed the village to begin the operation.
   A thorough search of the village for weapons and food caches followed and progressed to the registration of every inhabitant.  Civic action teams from the 1st Bde and II Field Force then took over to determine what the village needed in the way of health, education and welfare assistance.
   An integral part of the program was the consolidation of the village.  To do this, more than 850 families were relocated from the heavily forested but sparsely populated north and west sections of the village to the more open southeastern sector.  This was considered necessary in order to deny the VC the cover afforded by the heavy vegetation.  As the homes were moved, all the undergrowth was cut down.
   During field operations, the 1st Bde's seasoned combat elements have conducted daily sweeps into VC infested areas as well as setting up both day and night ambushes.  These excursions into the field have netted 41 rifles, 2 machineguns, 2 mortars, 5 RPG-2 rocket launchers, 20,829 rounds of small arms ammunition, 69 mortar rounds, and 20 rounds for the RPG-2's.
   There have been 311 VC killed.  The 1st Bde's troopers have also detained 19,709 individuals for questioning and have taken 23 prisoners.


Viet Cong Are Fooled Twice In Same Night

   On two recent occasions the Viet Cong were forced to deal with a "necessary evil" in the form of ambushes set up by 2LT Douglas Necessary, a platoon leader from the 25th Inf Div.
   During the first patrol, the men of Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, set up an "L" ambush position along a trail that the VC were known to use frequently.  After a short wait, three guerrillas came down the path, and when they entered the killing zone the ambush was sprung.  All three VC were killed and their weapons captured.
   The second ambush occurred the next night alongside a hedgerow.  A Viet Cong patrol of approximately 30 men was almost in the ambush site when one guerrilla suddenly tossed a grenade into the American position, apparently to insure the area was clear.  The GI's immediately opened up and after a long fire fight in which artillery and gunships were employed, succeeded in routing the VC.  A sweep of the area in the morning revealed one enemy body.

PSG Samuel Jenkins, retired Gen. Omar Bradley A PROUD DAY FOR BOTH - PSG Samuel E. Jenkins of Augusta, Ga., receives the Silver Star from General of the Army (Retired) Omar Bradley during the five-star general's visit to the 25th Inf Div.  Jenkins is assigned to the 1st Bn, 5th Inf.  (Photo by PFC George Pullen)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 11, 1967



Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim
earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

LTC John M. Shea, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CPT Robert P. Kraemer, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Douglas C. Colliander, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Gerald K. Hudson, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Wallace C. Martz, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WOl Mark A. Lindamood, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Jon C. Jensen, Co A, 25th Avn Bn

PSG John O. Moon, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SSG Henry Ward Jr., Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Thurman A. Hill, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Wafals Walas Jr., Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Charles N. Harper, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James D. Fielder, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf

MAJ George F. Newton, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
MAJ Richard C. Winder, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Harvey E. Bailey, HHC, 3d Bde
SFC Mark A. Horgan, 25th Admin Co
SSG Carl E. Lacey, HQ & Co A, 25th Med Bn
SSG William R. Ochsner, HH&S Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Robert T. Shimabukuro, HH&S Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 David Ferguson, HHC, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SGT James L. Foley, HHC, 3d Bde
SP5 Timothy W. Helton, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Luther R. Adams, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Clyde Bednarz, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James R. Boaz, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Rennie Dobbins, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Fred P. Holton, HHC & Band, 25th Inf Div Spt Comd
SP4 Richard P. Cruz, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 David D. Williams, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Leonard O. Sandgren, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Thomas P. Brennan, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Michael F. Hill, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Thomas D. Bass, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 David L. Eller, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Paul Vasquez, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Jesse Bolden, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Henry Hagar, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Marvin J. Holma, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Kenneth Gosser, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.

SSG Heriberto R. De Leon, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Edward W. Johnson, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 John E. Regul, A Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
PFC Charles A. Thayer, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
PFC Dennis C. Steinke, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Frankie C. Brown, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Richard J. Loundry, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf

LTC Harvey H. Perritt Jr., HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Willie A. Tempton, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
1LT Clarence C. Buxton III, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Donald E. Appler, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Joseph H. Bridges, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Peter L. Johnson, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Michael D. Dufour, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Kenneth R. Brattin, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Salvador Naranjo, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Bert L. Nelson, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Charles R. Burnett, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Bert L. Nelson, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
PFC Donald E. Goode, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Sidwayne D. Collins, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Peter L. Mc Millian, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC James V. Holland, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC John R. Sims, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
PFC Donald A. Bruton, Co B, 25th Avn Bn



"How was it over there?"

   Just as sure as you are reading this, you are going to be asked this question when you have completed your tour in Vietnam and have returned home.
   How are you going to answer it?
   Your friends and neighbors and family are going to listen to what you have to say because you will have been here.  You will have firsthand experiences and information upon which to draw.  You will be considered an authority, an "expert", if you will, on the subject.  Your word will be taken above that of the TV commentator or the daily newspapers.
   Are you an expert?
   Have you really made an effort to learn something about Vietnam, its people, its customs, its religions, its government and its problems?  Have you studied books and periodicals, worked with the people in Civic Action projects, met them as friends when the situation permitted it, acquainted yourself with their long history, traditions and way of doing things, examined their efforts in the light of what you have been told about our reasons for being in Vietnam?
   Or have you drawn your opinions, experiences and information from the alleyways and the bars, from prejudice and frustration, from rumor and hearsay?  Have you closed your mind to a people who have requested our aid and our assistance so that you see nothing beyond the fact that their standard of living is not as high as ours?
   We often hear that the American serviceman of today is the most well informed and the best educated in the history of our nation.  It is true!  This is why it is possible to take him from his civilian environment and put him into a combat area such as Vietnam within the span of a few months.
   It seems only right that you do your best to be informed about all aspects of your service in Vietnam.  Thousands of others have.  Your unit and command newspapers regularly tell of individual and unit achievements in all areas of the nation-building effort of which you are a part - a soldier-ambassador.
   "How was it over there?"  Keep an open mind and an open heart and be prepared to answer the question truthfully, factually and with pride in yourself and your comrades-in-arms.  (MACV)


2 Months To Enter

   SAIGON (MACV) - Approximately two months remain until the deadline for entry in the 1967 Freedoms Foundation contest for servicemen and women on active duty who this year write on the subject, "Freedom - My Heritage, My Responsibility."
   Entries may be in the form of a letter, an essay or poetry and should be no less than 100 nor more than 500 words in length.  Awards range from $1,000 to $50 in cash and are accompanied by a George Washington Honor Medal.
   Anyone on active duty may submit as many entries as he desires, including regular reservists while on active duty status.
   All entries must include the typed name, rank, serial number, branch of service, complete unit address and permanent home state address and Zip Code of the author.
   Entries may be sent anytime before Nov. 1, 1967, to Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge, Pa., 19481.
   Through the 1967 subject, Freedoms Foundation hopes to stimulate the thought of servicemen and women on the subject of freedom as it is known in the United States of America.  The Foundation seeks also to call attention to the obligations which all citizens, particularly those serving in the Armed Forces, have in maintaining and protecting this freedom.
   Personal experiences may be used to illustrate the carrying out of responsibilities mentioned in the basic discussion, but photographs, newsclips and letters of commendation are extraneous materials and will not serve to enhance entries.
   If entries are in letter style, the addressee may be any person or organization, real or imaginary.


3 Months Required To Marry Alien

   SAIGON (MACV) - Servicemen in Vietnam planning marriage to an alien must have 90 days or more remaining on their tour of duty in order to complete the paperwork required by the U.S. Embassy and military commands.
   A MACV spokesman, in describing the current policy on marriage in this command, said marriage applications received from those with insufficient time remaining to complete the required processing and marriage prior to normal DEROS of the applicant will be disapproved.
   Processing normally requires six weeks.  If the applicant desires the intended spouse to enter the U.S. and she is not a citizen of the U.S., at least days are required by the Embassy to prepare and process immigration papers and related requirements.
   The spokesman said an individual will not be retained in Vietnam beyond his prescribed date of rotation because of problems involving emigration or immigration of his spouse.  Extensions of tours of duty in Vietnam will not be authorized for the purpose of marriage.
   Furthermore, the command will not approve requests for entry of members of Department of Defense agencies into Vietnam from areas outside of Vietnam solely for the purpose of marriage, obtaining concurrent travel or obtaining exit documents for dependents.
   The spokesman also pointed out command sponsorship is not automatically acquired by marriage.



He's a sporting mosquito with a lot of sense,
He carries spare beaks and a monkey wrench.
If the first one don't get you then the second will,
For added assurance, the tips are of steel.
He comes in low for he likes to glide,
To any spot of uncovered hide.
There's no need to slap for man cannot win,
He dodges your blow then bores straight on in.
You can always fight back, but to no avail,
He evades your punches as you continue to flail.
He's a bit on the small side, but built really well,
Three quarters stinger and one quarter tail.
If he were as large as an eagle, he'd eat anything,
Can you imagine one quarter and three quarter sting?
Marshes and wet spots are the scenes of his birth,
At the size of an eagle, he'd conquer the earth.
Take heed all you fellows, especially at night,
That's the time for his dinner and the peak of his bite.
Take all the precautions and cover your skin,
Make peace with your God, you surely can't win.

                                                       by SSG Key



I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free.  I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.



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                           September 11, 1967


Call Home
      MARS facilities

   Moments after the end of a recent Viet Cong mortar attack on a 25th Inf Div's forward base camp, PFC Ronald Bento scrambled from one armored carrier to another just in time to talk to his wife in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
   Bento made use of Vietnam's first "in-the-field" Military Affiliate Radio Station (MARS) facility now operating at the combat forward base of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.  The 2d Bde unit is fighting in Operation "Kolekole" 40 kms northwest of Saigon.
   The link, developed by SSG C.W. Muninger of Chanute, Kan., makes use of the MARS radio station at the 25th Div's Cu Chi base camp tied to the field by VHF radio telephone.
   Any time day or night, soldiers coming off operations in the swamps around the unit's base can hook up with home.
   "At first we had a hard time getting people to try it," says Muninger, "but now there's a waiting list."  The station has handled 86 calls in its two months of operation.
   Priority calls are for family illness or disaster but there is plenty of time for just calling home.  "The biggest problem," says Bento, "is planning everything you're going to say ahead of time and then getting so excited you forget it all."
   The mechanized unit stays in field combat areas for months at a time, normally giving the soldiers little chance at a regular station.  They say that the new idea has made a big difference.

LT Richard Ward listens to a familiar voice on the unit's combat area MARS station.  The station is the first of its kind in Vietnam.  (Photo by SP4 Smith) Lt. Richard Ward phones home



12 lb. Horseshoe

   When you get a ringer in "Bobcat Horseshoes", you've really done something.  The horseshoe is a 12-pound drive sprocket from an armored personnel carrier and the target is 20 feet away.
   The game was developed by Hqs Co executive officer, 1LT Claude Phipps of Fayetteville, N.C.  It's aimed at keeping "Bobcats" of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, in shape between combat sweeps.
   "It's similar to horseshoes," says Phipps, "but it's a little more strenuous, to say the least."
   The drive sprockets - 12 inches in diameter - start on their way toward the target ring after a handhold is taped over one of the teeth.

Horseshoes SP5 Stephen Reed lofts a "Bobcat Horseshoe" toward the pin, a game developed by the mechanized infantrymen of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.  The 25th Inf Div soldiers use the game to stay in shape between sweeps.  The horseshoe is a 12-pound armored carrier drive sprocket.  (Photo by SP4 Roger Smith)



VC Squad Surprised

   Communist propaganda claims that the soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam do not want to fight for their government nor do they cooperate well with the Americans.  A reinforced Viet Cong platoon has found out the hard way that such is not the case.
   A Vietnamese Popular Forces Company learned that a VC platoon was operating in an area northeast of Trang Bang in Tay Ninh Province.  The company commander asked CPT Alfred W. Baker of Oak Hill, W.Va., commander of Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf., to accompany them on the operation as an adviser.
   Near the village of Truong Giai, three miles northeast of Trang Bang, they made contact with the VC forces.  The PFs killed eight VC while Co B suffered one man killed and two wounded.


APCs Now Have Hot Water Unit

   DAU TIENG - In a mechanized infantry unit, the armored personnel carriers usually carry everything but the kitchen sink.  In the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div's mech outfit, they have almost, but not quite added that missing sink in the form of a portable hot shower unit that goes where the tracks go.
   Rarely in their Dau Tieng base camp, the 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf has been in the jungles and rice paddies of War Zone C for the majority of the time they have been in Vietnam.
   The advent of the monsoon season, the wet clothes that accompany the heavy rains and the lack of cleaning facilities posed a threat to the health of the men.
   "Before the showers were with us," said CPT Vselvolod Kohutiak, the battalion surgeon, "about 75 percent of the sick call was directly attributed to the lack of proper body hygiene.  Foot infections presented the greatest problem and were beginning to affect our manpower strength."


Lesson Taught

   A Viet Cong squad was literally caught flat-footed recently by a 25th Inf Div unit on a combat sweep through the Pineapple Patch 9 Kms west of Saigon.
   Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf was conducting the predawn operation when they came upon a small base camp with smoke still curling from the enemies' breakfast fires.  So great was the haste of the departed guerrillas that even their footgear was left behind, and the muddy trail still held the impressions of toe and heel marks.


Financial Aid Given To Bac Ha School

   CU CHI - Troops of the 25th Inf Div's Support Command are playing a vital role in the lives of 580 school children in the hamlet of Bac Ha I.
   According to LT William Henderson, Civil Affairs Officer for 25th S and T Bn, the men are paying over half of the schools' total budget through donations made in the payline.
   "They haven't missed a payday since the hamlet was adopted a year and a half ago," says Henderson.
   The kindergarten, elementary, and high school receive 60,000 Piasters every month.  The money goes into the schools' budget which pays costs of tuition, teachers salaries, text books and school supplies.
   Plus financial aid, the battalion provides two instructors for English classes taught in the high school.  "The classes began in 1966 and have proven very beneficial to the students," says Henderson.
   According to Henderson the hamlet has been very active in initiating Self Help projects.  Materials and advice are made available to the people for construction, remodeling, and maintaining of needed facilities.  An example of such a facility is the dispensary, where weekly MEDCAPS are held by the battalion.
   The hamlet dates back to 1954 when 13,500 Catholic refugees from North Vietnam settled in the unwanted section of a rubber plantation.  The people prospered by manufacturing fireworks, but, in 1960 laws were passed banning the production of such explosives.  The people then had to choose between raising rice and peanuts, or moving.
   In the years following, Viet Cong activity increased heavily and even more people migrated to the cities, until finally the entire population numbered only 700.
   In 1966 the 25th Inf Div arrived in Cu Chi, from Hawaii and since then the population of the hamlet has doubled and is continuing to grow steadily.


Communism possesses a language which every people understand - its elements are hunger, envy and death.
   Henrich Heine



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 11, 1967



Story and Photos by SP4 Bill Wermine

   Marriage counselor, financial expert and police advisor are but a few of the responsibilities facing a 25th Inf. Div. sergeant in the little village of Vinh Cu in Binh Duong Province.
   An assignment that started out three months ago as advisor to Vietnamese security forces in the Vinh Cu sector, has turned into a job that SSG Warner Orlandi of Brooklyn, N.Y., describes as one that, "Requires the finesse of statesman and the wisdom of Solomon."
   Orlandi learned Vietnamese at the defense language school in Monterey, Calif.  He has been in Vietnam for eighteen months - the first year was spent at the Military Assistance Command (MACV) headquarters.  Orlandi was then transferred to the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, because, " I wanted to get into the field and put my language training to work."
   At the start of the battalion's pacification program, Orlandi was sent to the Vietnamese garrison in Vinh Cu as an advisor - coordinating sector defense between Popular Forces and his parent unit.
   With the ability to speak Vietnamese and a healthy respect for the people and their way of life, Orlandi has become a prominent figure in the village because, as he says, "If you show respect for their way of life, and are sensitive to their problems and can come up with the answers, then you'll become one of them."
   Orlandi claims to know everyone of the 1500 villagers, and from the problems he has been asked to solve, it is apparent that every villager knows him.  He has solved problems of marriage, money, village security and public health.  According to Orlandi this trust works both ways.  "I've received information on VC movements in the area, and through a tip from a villager, we were able to break up a VC black market operation."
   When asked how he liked working with the Vietnamese and becoming such an important figure in their village, he modestly said, "It has given me a lot of satisfaction, and I hope to continue working with these people."







Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 11, 1967


3d Bde Has Big New SS Library

   DAU TIENG - Nestled among the rubber trees of the Michelin Plantation, the new Special Services library of the 3d Bde., 25th Inf Div, offers the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers the first hard-bound book collection in III Corps area, outside of Saigon.  In addition to the 2000 books on hand, a taping room and a magazine room complete the facility.
   Years ago, the present villa which houses the new library was one of the houses used by the French managers of the plantation.  Years of vacancy left it cluttered with dirt but all it needed was a new coat of paint and a general clean-up, fix-up campaign.
   Today, the main floor is filled with shelves containing everything from "Catch-22" to the "Encyclopedia Britannica."  The second floor of the old villa has the magazine room, the taping facility, and the balconies which boast lounging chairs for the reader who wishes to relax in the cool breezes which continually blow through the rubber trees.
   To set up the library took the combined efforts of the 3d Bde Special Services Officer, 1LT Emden L. Milliron of Youngstown, Ohio, and Miss Rosemary Vargo of South Bend, Ind., assistant Saigon Area Librarian.  It was Milliron's responsibility to have the books and other supplies shipped to Dau Tieng and prepare the building while Miss Vargo, who has a master's degree in library sciences, supervised the cataloguing and shelving of the books.
   "There are three Vietnamese who are in charge of the library," said Miss Vargo.  "They are learning very fast although they have trouble with the Dewey Decimal system.  I am teaching them to file alphabetically by letter rather than word, so the card file is a little confusing.  I have a sign on the file explaining the new system to the men."
   "With the tape room, a man will be able to bring in his own blank tapes and copy any of the 75 different tapes we have here," continued Miss Vargo.  "There is anything from concertos to Beatles for the men to enjoy."
   The library is located at the hub of the recreation activities located in Dau Tieng.  Behind it is the snack bar which serves hot dogs, hamburgers and milkshakes while on the right is the brigade swimming pool and to the left is the post exchange.

SP4 Andrew Smith, Browsing MAGAZINES - From the well stocked magazine rack, SP4 Andrew B. Smith of Los Angeles, Calif., selects some light reading at the first hard bound book library in the Corps outside of Saigon.  (Photo by 1 LT Ralph F. Campbell)
MANY BOOKS - Miss Nguyen Thi Ut places one of the 2000 hard bound books in the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, library on the shelves.  (Photo by 1 LT Ralph F. Campbell) Nguyen Thi Ut, Restocking
SP4 Dennis Miller, reading RELAXING WHILE READING - After a long day SP4 Dennis R. Miller of Muncie, Ind., relaxes with a good book at the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div's new library.  (Photo by 1 LT Ralph F. Campbell)
ALPHABETICAL FILE - Miss Rosemary Vargo, assistant Saigon area librarian, helps Miss Phan Thi Vien arrange the card file.  Because of the difficulty the three Vietnamese have with the Dewey Decimal System, Miss Vargo is teaching them an alphabetical system. Phan Thi Vien, Rosemary Vargo



Mail Is Important To Soldiers In Viet

   A soldier can put up with working long hard hours, slushing through rice paddies, hacking through dense jungles missing a meal or two, but he can't put up with not having his mail delivered.
   Everyone knows how much mail means to a soldier in Vietnam.  An example of this was when a courier helicopter which was carrying Btry C, 6th Bn, 77th Arty's mail from Dau Tieng to Cu Chi dropped their mail off by mistake at the VIP pad instead of taking it out to Fire Support Base Gladys.
   Realizing how much the men were counting on the mail, former 25th Inf Div commanding general, MG John C.F. Tillson III, had his aide-de-camp deliver the mail to the battalion where it was broken down and passed out to the happy owners.


Happier Evenings

   U.S. civil affairs soldiers do everything from treating the sick to painting schools, but few have offered the personal service provided a lonely old Vietnamese man by a team from the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde.
   The morning after a mortar attack on the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, forward base, CPT Albert Amos of Mobile, Ala., decided to take his civil affairs team along with a mine detector team looking for hidden mortar rounds.
   After searching for a half hour without result, an old man approached Amos with a sad tale.
   Six months before, he related, the Viet Cong told everyone to hide their radios because the Americans would take them.  The man's wife had buried his radio and soon after had left him and not returned.
   He said he had searched for months; but no radio.  The civil affairs officer borrowed the engineer's mine detector.  After a quick sweep of the man's house he got a strong reading under a corner table.  A few minute's digging turned up the lost radio.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 11, 1967


Buffalo is Called Most Deadly Foe

   The jungles of Vietnam are famous for deadly snakes and insects, but men of the 25th Div's 2d Bde are convinced water buffaloes are a greater threat.
   On a recent search and destroy operation with the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, PFC Kenneth Cosimano of Falls Church, Va., had just finished talking over the brigade's rash of water buffalo incidents when he heard someone ahead shout a warning.
   The hedgerows were so thick that Cosimano saw nothing until a crazed buffalo burst into view and charged him.
   "I couldn't move," he explained later, "there just wasn't time."
   The animal slammed into Cosimano's chest throwing him backward.  He landed wedged between two trees, his weapon several yards away.
   "I was pinned and the thing kept butting me so I kicked it in the nose with all my power and he backed off."  Other members of the mechanized unit broke through the thicket just as the buffalo was about to charge again.
   SGT Jack Cordle of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, fired a shot in the air to scare the animal off, but instead it wheeled around and charged him.
   "All I could think about at that point was it's either him or me, and I fired," said Cordle.  The burst from his M-16 killed the crazed buffalo.
   Cosimano was pulled from the trees bruised but otherwise unhurt; definitely believing all the water buffalo stories he had heard.


Hole Punch

   The old saying talks about turning "your swords into plowshares", but evidently the Viet Cong in Hau Nghia Province have got things backward.
   Soldiers of the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde found the floor of an underground VC munitions factory littered with hoes and other flat shaped farm tools, evidently taken from local farmers.  All had holes punched out of their blades.
   "We couldn't figure out why all the holes were punched in them until we found a custom made stamp press in the corner," said Captain Dick Wells of Heron, Mont.  The press was used to cut out grenade handles.

FIRE MISSION - Howitzers of the 7th Bn, 11th Arty, fire at an enemy target in support of 25th Inf Div ground operations, 37 Kms north of Saigon in Binh Duong Province.  (Photo by SP4 Shirk) 7/11th Howitzer



Inf, Cav Joint Effort

   DAU TIENG - The 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, convoy protection between Tay Ninh and Dau Tieng in War Zone C is a partnership responsibility of infantry and cavalry forces.  These security forces are presently composed of one company from the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, and one troop from the 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav.
   The road, which passes thru Thies and Ben Cui rubber plantations, is shielded by a series of mobile strongpoints ready to react at any time to VC activity.  At night, ambushes interdict any VC attempt to boobytrap the road or its bridges.  While a central base (never twice in the same location) is a ready reaction force against VC attacks in the area.
   For the "straight legs" of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, who share the duty in rotation, going into action atop APCs is a new experience, especially when the movement is at night without lights.  SP4 Charles Alioto of Chicago, Ill., commented, "We made a 10 click move the other night and I couldn't see or hear a thing."
   For the infantry battalion, this has been a successful and quiet mission with no VC action directed against the convoy - which speaks for itself as to the success of the combined protections.



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 11, 1967


VC Hit Hard by 1-5 Patrol

   Three 25th Inf Div, armored personnel carriers (APCs) rumbled into the dusk on a night ambush patrol.  Before the sun rose, Viet Cong had stepped into the ambush three times.
   The APCs of the 2d Bde, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf dropped off a 17 man patrol several hundred meters from the unit's base camp and disappeared into the dark.
   Just as PSG Horst Adam of Honolulu, Hawaii was setting up the ambush he noticed two Viet Cong to his front.
   The night lit up with weapons flashes as the patrol engaged the enemy.  Artillery fire blanketed the route where two blood trails led off into a thicket.
   On the way to a second ambush site, rear security elements spotted several Viet Cong in a woodline following the small unit.  This time 81mm mortar fire slammed into the enemy position.
   "It was too dark by that time to go back and check so we moved on to a third position along the Oriental River," said Adam.
   The night passed quietly until 5 a.m. when a thirty foot motorized sampan manned by three armed VC putted past the ambush.
   A white flare signaled the crashing start of U.S. machinegun, anti-tank and small arms fire that killed the three and sunk their sampan.  Adam later reported that the enemy had just enough time to fire one short burst of carbine fire before it was all over.
   The burst caught one patrol member in the shoulder and he was "dusted off" by medevac helicopter as the sun came up.
   The patrol trudged back into camp just in time for breakfast with quite a story to tell about a busy night.


Weapons Cache Found By SGT

   Sometimes the easy way out is the best, and for Army SGT Paul Hilbrect of Clarence Center, N.Y. it meant the discovery of a hidden Viet Cong weapons cache.
   Hilbrect, a radio operator for Bravo Co, 1st Bn., 5th Inf was looking for a short cut through a tangle of jungle growth when he spotted a small clearing a few meters away.
   "I noticed a pile of loose dirt in the clearing," explains Hilbrect, "so I started poking around with a bamboo pole."  He struck a solid object and cleared some of the dirt away until he found what was buried . . . a 55-gallon drum of the type so often used by the Viet Cong for hiding weapons and ammunition.
   The drum yielded 248 CHI-COM grenades, three M-1 rifles, 345 rounds of small arms ammunition and a radio.


Two VC Awakened By 4/23

   Evidently the Viet Cong has not yet learned the vital lesson of keeping one man alert at all times.
   During a pre-dawn search and destroy operation in the Trung Lap area, a patrol from Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf came upon a hamlet.  No movement was seen around the huts but approaching cautiously, they checked the area and started a house-to-house search.
   The first two huts searched by 2LT Robert B. Long of Alexandria, Va., and his patrol, were found to be empty.  However, when Lone entered the third hut he was surprised to see two young men sound asleep.  Long awakened them and they made a dash for the door only to see the rest of the patrol blocking the exit.
   "I thought they were just two young men," stated Long, "but when I tapped them and they were so startled I knew something was wrong."


Wrong Step
        Enemy Trap Snares Soldier

   DAU TIENG - Snared in a VC trap, PFC Burton Miller spent a breathless thirty minutes before being released after his platoon leader searched for hidden mines.
   The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, soldier made his misstep on Operation "Diamondhead" about five miles south of Dau Tieng as the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf swept the marshy jungle.
   Miller was on point when he placed his foot down between two small holes only to have a wire loop close tightly on his boot.  He froze in place, and carefully handed his equipment to a buddy.
   LT Larry Augsburger of Pekin, Ill came up and examined the situation.  A taut wire ran from the man's boot to a limb above.  He checked the area for a camouflaged claymore or other mine, then began to gently probe around and under Miller's foot with a bayonet - first telling Miller that if anything popped to try to leap clear of the blast.
   LT Don Lambert of Wichita Falls, Tex. came up to assist and suggested that the trap might be intended for small animals.
   "There's something solid here," said Augsburger.
   They began slicing away the sod only to discover some bamboo stakes.  Then the lieutenant held the wire while the other slipped the loop off Miller's boot.  Everyone took cover as the wire was released, but there was no explosion.

UNDERGROUND FACTORY - A tunnel rat from the 1st Bn, 5th Inf, digs away dirt that partially filled a Viet Cong underground grenade factory, as a second soldier returns after searching an adjoining tunnel.  The battalion has uncovered tons of munitions and dozens of grenade factories in an area along the Oriental River 16 Kms northwest of Saigon.  The search and destroy mission is part of a 25th Inf Div operation.  (Photo by SP4 Smith) Weapons factory



Texan Wins Shootout

   DAU TIENG - In a brief exchange of fire, a 3d Bde, 25th Div., soldier won a "Old West-style" shootout with a Viet Cong recently while with his battalion on Operation "Diamondhead" 1.5 Kms southwest of Dau Tieng.
   SGT Joe Velis was on the flank of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf when he came upon a trail and discovered fresh footprints.  Immediately after his discovery, Velis spotted five armed VC coming down the trail toward him less than 35 feet away.
   The lead guerrilla and Velis went for their guns at the same time, but Velis, a native of La Leria, Tex., beat him to then draw and with the first burst of his M-16 rifle, dropped the man.
   The brief firefight that followed sent the remaining insurgents fleeing through the jungle, leaving the body of their comrade.  Several blood trails were also found in the area.
   The dead man carried 120 rounds of ammunition for his AK-47 rifle.

Locating cache
SHOWING THE WAY - Using a map, a Viet Cong detainee points out the location of tunnels and bunkers to a 2d Bn, 14th Inf, interpreter during a sweep through an area 13 Kms north of Saigon in Binh Duong Province. The mission is part of the 25th Inf Div's, Operation "Barking Sands."  (Photo by SP4 Bill Wermine)




Thanks to
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.

This page last modified 8-12-2004

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