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Vol 3 No. 11          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          March 11, 1968



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1st Bde                            1 2/14                                 3 2/27 Photos                   4 3/17 Air Cav                    8
1/5 Photo                        7 2/14 Photo                     3 2/27                                 6 3/22 Photo                       1
1/27 Photo                      4 2/14                                 6 2/27                                 7 4/9                                     1
116 Aslt Hel Co             6 2/14                                 6 2/34 Armor Photo         8 4/9                                     7
125th Signal Photo       1 2/14                                 7 2/77 Arty                        8 4/9                                     8
125th Signal Photo       6 2/22                                 8 25th Inf                           6 Postal Rates                    3
188 Aslt Hel Co             7 2/22 Photo                     8 3/4 Cav                            7 Shot Record                    7
2/12                                 1 2/27                                 3 3/17 Air Cav                   7 W-2 Forms                      2


Six Day Fight, 122 VC Dead

   3RD BDE - After battling an estimated battalion of Viet Cong for six consecutive days, elements of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div drove the enemy from the village of Tan Hoa, two kms west of Cu Chi.
   The 2nd Bn, 12th Inf "White Warriors", under the command of LTC Dean Tice, continued to fight the enemy daily aided by air strikes, artillery and gunships.  Weakened by the continued pounding by the U.S. Forces, the Viet Cong were forced to leave their maze of tunnels, spider holes and bunkers within the village.
   A total of 122 enemy were killed and five Viet Cong suspects detained during the bitter fighting.  Eleven American soldiers died in the six day period.
   The six day battle began shortly after helicopters dropped elements of Delta company in a landing zone near the village.  The infantrymen immediately came under heavy fire from automatic weapons and rocket launchers.
   For the following five days, the White Warriors steadily pushed into the widespread village which was honeycombed with spider holes and complex tunnel systems.
   1Lt Ronald Hendricks, first platoon leader of Delta, commented about the complex system of tunnels.  "Charlie would fire at you from one spider hole concealed in a hedgerow, crawl through a tunnel to a new position and open up again.  It made it rough to pinpoint his location, but once we did, we put it to him.."
   LTC Richard Simpson, acting battalion commander in the absence of Tice, said the men did a magnificent job.  "The battalion went through a new phase of fighting the Viet Cong.  They went against a large force, well dug in, and by the hard effort of every PFC and SGT, they took the village.  Those are the men that did the job."
   According to intelligence officers, the enemy was well armed with fully automatic weapons of every caliber the VC are known to employ.  They had an abundant supply of ammunition.


Pilot Should Win A Prize
Grenade Right On Nose

   1ST BDE - It's hard enough marking an enemy position with smoke from 1,500 feet, but for CPT Don Cribb of St. Pauls, N.C., a Forward Air Control (FAC) pilot, it was nothing to mark the position and score a body count when his smoke grenade bounced off the head of an enemy soldier.
   I was just amazed," recalled LTC Fremont Hodson, 1st Bde commander, as he witnessed the tossed grenade strike a North Vietnamese Regular directly on the head.
   The FAC pilot was flying his O-1 Bird Dog aircraft over a rocket launching base just uncovered by the brigade troopers.  The NVA rocket base had been shelling the base camp at Tay Ninh for the previous two nights.
   "We had a pretty good day.  We found the enemy base camp, destroyed 23 bunkers, and killed 59 enemy," the sharp-shooting pilot remarked.
   Cribb said, "I had just finished calling in an air strike and was observing the armored personnel carriers make their way into an open bunker complex, when I spotted nine NVA, in black, near a wood line and decided to call in a gunship to take care of them.  The only ship in the area was Col. Hodson's, so I told him I'd mark their position and his ship could take care of them."
   As the pilot flew over the enemy, he tossed his smoke grenade out the window of the plane.  The colonel's ship was already on the scene.  "We could see the enemy troops running for the wood line, and then I saw a shot in a million, as the grenade bounced off the NVA soldier's head, killing him," Hodson stated.
   Hodson explained that his ship opened up killing three more before the rest made it to the wood line.  "I can just imagine how fast that grenade was traveling when it hit its mark.  I'm glad I don't have Cribb throwing smoke grenades at me," the commander concluded.


25th Rated Tops In Kills

   A recent edition of Army Times ran the following message about the 25th Inf Div's kills in the last year.
   "For months the 1st and 25th Inf Divs in Vietnam have battled over which has done the most to win the Vietnam war; now the 1967 roundup just published by U.S. Army Vietnam tries to settle the issue.  Both units were credited with 4000 enemy KIA's in 1967.
   "USARV also listed these enemy losses:  87,000 killed, 28,000 small arms, 3000 crew served weapons, and more than 2 million rounds of small arms, artillery, and mortar rounds as well as nearly 60,000 grenades and 13,000 mines."


IT'S DARK DOWN HERE - A tunnel rat from the 25th Inf Div's 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, slides head first into a tunnel near the village of Tan Phu Trung, 32 kms northwest of Saigon.  The Tropic Lightning troopers encountered extremely heavy fighting in the village during the recent Viet Cong Tet offensive..  (Photo By SP4 Thomas Keller, Jr.)



Red Radio
   'This Important Message'

   1ST BDE - An airmobile assault 64 kms east of Tay Ninh provided a surprise for a 25th Inf Div battalion commander, as Viet Cong conversed with him on his battalion radio frequency.
   LTC John Henchman, commander of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was coordinating the operation when he heard voices warning him to turn back.
   "All tactical communication on the battalion frequency ceased immediately and I relayed this message to the Viet Cong:  all Viet Cong get off the Manchu push.  Viet Cong Dien Cai Dau, Viet Cong Didi Mau, the Manchus are coming," Henchman, of Bremerton, Wash., said.
   The Viet Cong replied, "Come on Manchus, com on."
   "We employed company frequency for tactical instructions but as it turned out the Viet Cong and us were not at the same place, at the same time, the LZ was cold," Henchman commented.  "I'm sorry we missed them, I'd liked to have taught them a lesson for eavesdropping."


NEW COMMANDER - LTC John W. Sorbet addresses troops of the 125th Sig Bn after receiving the unit colors from LTC Louis G. Mathern Jr.  Looking on (from left) are LG Bruce C. Palmer, MG F. K. Mearns and Mathern.  (Photo By SP4 William Fix)


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968



COL John R. Thurman, 25th Inf Div
LTC Hal B. Rhyne, HHC, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
LTC William A. Zeigler, 25th Admin Co
MAJ Richard R. Cook, HHC, 1st Bde
MAJ Lawrence M. Hamberlin, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
MAJ David E. Hereford, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
MAJ Ralph K. Hook, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
MAJ William R. Pinkston, HHC, 25th S&T Bn
CPT Warren K. Hendriks, HHC, 25th Inf Div
CPT John P. Von Hoene, Co B, 725th Maint Bn
CPT James E. Metelko, C Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
CPT Stephen R. Ellis, HQ, DISCOM
CPT Lois T. Rosenberg, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
CPT Carl V. Glover, HHC, 1st Bde
1LT Irving L. chapman, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Carl F. Ettlinger III, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
1LT Ronald R. Kuhar, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
1LT Ronald F. Lamberti, 25th Repl Det
1LT Roger C. Turner, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
1LT James G. Jenkins, Co C, 65th Engr Bn
1LT Sol Wainwright, HHC, 25th Inf Div
1LT Richard D. Mencil, C Btry, 3rd Bn, 14th Arty
1LT Ronald C. Davis, HHC, 1st Bde
1LT Elywin L. Taynton, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SGM Carl D. Craner, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SGM Richard J. Kingston, HHC, 25th S&T Bn
MSG Robert H. Lankford, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
MSG Horst H. Adam, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
MSG Leonard D. Sprankle, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
MSG Donald L. Winters, HHC, 1st Bde
1SG Dalton W Leonard, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
MSG Clifford R. Brown, HHC, 25th S&T Bn
1SG Earl F. Hoover, Co B, 65th Engr Bn
1SG Duke S. Peterson, Co C, 65th Engr Bn
SFC Woodrow Parker, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SFC Jackie H. Thomas, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SFC Daniel W. Moody, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
PSG John C. West, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PSG Nelson Rodriquez Diaz, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PSG Arthur E. Williams, Co A, 65th Engr Bn
SFC Tony Gonzales, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SFC Charles F. Price, HH&Svc Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
SFC James B. Castleberry, D Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SFC Albert V. Marshall, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SFC Floyd E. Gilbert, Hq&Co A, 725th Maint Bn
SFC George W. Steward, HHC & Band, 25th DISCOM
SSG Emmett Martinez, HQ & Svc Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Donald C. Hart, HHC & Band
SSG George J. Pasick, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Kenneth C. Klinger, Co C, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
SSG Billy Evans, HHB & Svc Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Billy Evans, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SSG Donald G. Greene, A Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Raymond M. Henry, 25th Admin Co
SSG Shelton H. Thomas, 25th Admin Co
SGT Joseph Currin, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Carroll D. Cummings, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Charlie J. Snyder, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Roy Teel, Jr., HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Ronald Young, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP5 Vincent W. Collins, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Gerald R. Williams, Co B, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Danny Stillwell, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT Dennis Thompson, Co D, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Ronald Randazian, Co C, 2ne Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Emmett Brown, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Anthony R. Clandro, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Robert Griffen, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SGT Alan E. Pickwell, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Ronald Wilkes, Co D, 725th Maint Bn
SP5 Johannes Huizinga, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP5 Butler B. Painter, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 William J. Callahan, Trp B, 3rd Sqdu, 4th Cav
SP4 Richard L. Coffman, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Phillip V. Temple, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Dan W. Schlichter, Co A, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Dale L. Biallas, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 William L. Bonds, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Alexander Bubas, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Dennis Steinke, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 William L. Spafford, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert G. Drennen, HHC, 2nd Bde



Tax, Combat, W-2 Forms

   The time of the year has again arrived for us all to face the specter of one of life's two unavoidable situations - taxes.  At least, that's what the old cliché states.
   Everyone has received his W-2 forms and, after the initial shock of seeing how much we really made during 1967 wears off and we have convinced ourselves that we really do have our correct withholding statement (not the one that shows the income of the commanding general or the department head), it's time to start gathering the necessary data to compute our income tax return.  Of course, in the process we try to determine where it all went and why we don't have more to show in the way of savings or other assets.
   However, the moment of truth has arrived - it's time to compile figures and actually compute exemptions, deductions, credits, etc.  Although we have a highly complex tax law, the government has made every attempt to make your income tax computation as easy as possible.
   When you compute your tax, or, if necessary, have someone else do it, remember this:  the government does not want you to pay more than your fair share of taxes.  If you are in doubt about a deduction to claim, consult your legal officer or other tax expert, don't simply ignore it with the idea, "It wouldn't be accepted anyway."  If you are legally entitled to a deduction, the government wants you to take it.
   On the other hand, don't try and be "slick."  The IRS takes vigorous action against those people who attempt to shirk their responsibility and shift their individual tax burden to other conscientious taxpayers.
   Our self-assessment tax system is a model for the rest of the world and depends on the honesty and integrity of the individual taxpayer.  It is also equipped with built-in safeguards to protect the individual in case of missteps, differences and honest errors.
   Your annual federal income tax is one of the responsibilities that comes with the rights of citizenship.  All that is expected is that you meet this responsibility honestly, accurately and by April 15.  (AFPS)



   How much can you save in a month?
   How about $37.50, slightly more than half of your hostile fire pay?
   If you bought a $50 U.S. Savings Bond (the cost to you is $37.50) each month of your tour in Vietnam, you would have an investment of $450 when you got home.  Actual value would be $451.24.
   Of course, if you let the bonds mature in the current reduced time of seven years you would have $600.
   Would you believe $904 for the same $450?
   All you need do is extend the bonds at maturity and they continue to draw interest.  In 17 years overall, their value would be $904.
   Think about the money earned if you invested in a $100 Savings Bond each month ($75 cost to you)!
   It takes a visit to your finance office to begin saving and earning automatically.  Now, it is YOUR move!  Buy Savings Bonds with your tax return.  (MACV)



When, Why, How Much

   (Article prepared by the Office of the Judge Advocate General)
   Armed Forces personnel who served in a combat zone during the past year are entitled to the "combat zone exclusion" on their 1967 federal income tax return.
   Under this exclusion, all compensation received for active service as a warrant officer or enlisted man and up to $500 of compensation for active service as a commissioned officer is excluded for any month in which the service member served at least part of the month in a combat zone.
   Also, this exclusion applies to servicemen on active duty and hospitalized anywhere as a result of wounds, disease, or injury incurred while serving in the combat zone.
   This exclusion is taken into account in the preparation of the W-2 Form, so no special calculations are required of the individual taxpayer.  If the W-2 Form is incorrect, a corrected copy should be obtained from the local custodian of the individual's financial records.
   The income tax returns of military personnel who are entitled to a combat zone exclusion and whose returns indicate a refund due will be given special treatment.  To insure this special attention, the words "COMBAT ZONE" should be placed at the top of the return.  It is also advisable to write the same words in each margin of the W-2 Form.
   The special treatment of these returns is available even if the individual is no longer in the combat zone at the time he files his return, as long as he qualified for the exclusion during the taxable year and as long as he is entitled to a refund for that year.
   Individuals are cautioned that the law relating to the combat zone exclusion was slightly different for the taxable years prior to 1966.  If an individual served in the Vietnam combat zone prior to 1966 and did not receive the benefits of the exclusion, he should contact his local legal assistance officer.


Must Wife File Now, Or Extension Also

   U.S. military personnel serving in Vietnam (including those missing in action) have an automatic extension as to filing their federal tax returns.  Their returns will not be due until 180 days after they leave Vietnam, or if hospitalized outside the United States as a result of such service, the return is due 180 days after release from the hospital, whichever is later.
   The extension privilege is also available to the spouse of such taxpayers wishing to file a joint return, but not for filing a separate return.


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
SP5 Terry Richard  . . . . . . . . Editor
SP4 Dave Cushman . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968


Dragons Find VC Rocket Cache

   1ST BDE - A cache of 107mm Chinese Communist rockets which had been haunting the personnel at Tay Ninh base camp was discovered by the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bn, 14th Inf "Golden Dragons" on a recent reconnaissance in force operation near Tay Ninh.
   1LT Douglas H. Necessary, the battalion intelligence officer, said, "The rockets were initially reported as an unknown high explosive type.  Our investigation proved the rounds to be unlike any others recovered in this area and samples were evacuated for further study."
   The spin stabilized rockets were a part of a large ammunition supply dump uncovered by the Golden Dragons while searching for the Viet Cong who were firing rockets into their base camp during the night.  In addition to 67 of these type rockets, 102 81mm mortar rounds and 30 RPG-2 rounds were found.


NEW VC AMMO - A member of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, holds one of the new 107mm rockets being used by the VC in Tay Ninh Province.  The projectile measures 30 inches long, 4 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 60 pounds. FUZE ASSEMBLY - Members of the battalion examine the fuze of a 107mm rocket.  The "Golden Dragons" uncovered 67 of these plus 102 81mm mortar rounds and 30 RPG-2 rounds.  (Photos by SP4 Jerry Bell)


New Rates At APOs

   The United Stated Post Office Department placed new postage rated into effect on 7 Jan 1968.  The new rates are as follows:
   a. Airmail:  10 cents per ounce
   b. First class:  6 cents per ounce
   c. Fourth class (parcel post):  Rates have been changed on weights of five (5) pounds and below.  Some rates are higher; some are lower.  The basic flat rate to Calif. has been raised from .68 to .80.
   Rates for mailing film to the United States are as follows:
      a. Airmail:
         (1)  35mm in metal can, and instamatic cartridges: .22
         (2)  35mm without metal can:  .12
         (3)  8mm movie cartridges:  .35
      b. First Class:
         (1)  35mm in metal can, and instamatic cartridges:  .14
         (2)  35mm without metal can:  .8
         (3)  8mm movie cartridges:  .23
   Personnel addressing film to countries other than the United States are reminded that this film is subject to international postage rates and customs inspection.  International postage rates to representative areas are as follows:
   a. Australia:
      (1)  35mm and instamatic cartridges:  .60
      (2)  8mm movie cartridges:  .90
   b. Japan:
      (1)  35mm and instamatic cartridges:  .60
      (2)  8mm movie cartridges:  .90



'Our lives to him'
    Wounded Pilot Lands Chopper

   TAY NINH - During a recent courier flight from Dau Tieng to Tay Ninh, the skill and cool nerves of the pilot, 1LT Frank R. Adams, of Columbia, Mo., resulted in the safe landing of a helicopter damaged by enemy ground fire.
   The helicopter, an OH-23, was transporting two passengers and assorted documents when it was engaged with automatic weapons fire by an unknown number of Viet Cong in prepared positions.  The aircraft was hit by four rounds; one pierced the tail boom, one struck the radio antenna, one impacted in the engine, and one penetrated the Plexiglas bubble, struck the control panel, and fragmented, wounding both the pilot and 1LT Roy T. Johan of Boston.
   The helicopter began losing power, and Adams, though wounded in the arms, legs and face, and bleeding badly, managed to maintain control of the faltering aircraft and set it down safely in a rice paddy 2 kms from where it was hit.
   As the chopper landed, 2LT Dale Eckerty of Broadlands, Ill., grabbed his M-16 and took up a security position in front of the aircraft.  Johan, despite his wounds, moved out to the rear to provide protection there.  Adams remained in the pilot's seat, radioed for assistance, and stayed there directing the rescue operations.  A short time later a rescue chopper from Tay Ninh appeared, and guided by a smoke grenade thrown by Johan, landed near the downed ship.  The two wounded men were helped aboard the helicopter and flown to Dau Tieng, where they were treated.
   Eckerty recalled, "Despite the fact he was hurt bad, Adams did a hell of a good job getting the chopper down.  both Johan and I owe our lives to him."


VC Loses To PFC Playing Hot Potato

   2ND BDE - PFC Douglas L. Edwards of New York, enjoys a game of catch as much as the next guy - but next time, he would prefer baseballs, not hand grenades.
   Edwards, a rifleman with the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds:, was on a reconnaissance in force mission in an area 40 kms northwest of Saigon where 15 Viet Cong had been spotted.
   When the company came upon a trench hidden in a hedgerow, they fanned out and discovered a series of bunkers and spider holes.
   Suddenly, a Viet Cong opened up from one of the spider holes.  Edwards moved forward to knock out the enemy position.
   He threw a hand grenade in the hole.  It came flying back out.
   He threw another.  It too hurtled out.
   Edwards threw three more, with the same results.
   Finally, the Wolfhound caught the Viet Cong off guard.  On his sixth try, the Viet Cong - not the grenade - burst from the hole.  Other members of the platoon killed him.
   "I was glad he came out when he did," Edwards commented.  "I was just about out of grenades."


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968


Hounds Head For - Help Hoc Mon


LOTS OF WIND - Prop blast whips a field near Hoc Mon as members of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", launch a combat sweep during a recent 25th Inf Div operation.  (Photo By SP4 Joe Carey)


CHECKING IT OUT - A platoon leader and his radio-telephone operator of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, check out a hut in Hoc Mon, a suburb of Saigon.  (Photo by SP4 Ross Roessler)


HUNGRY CHILDREN - SSG Elmer K. Poplun of Janesville, Wisc, who is a member of the 1st Wolfhounds, passes out candy to hungry Vietnamese refugees in Hoc Mon, badly damaged during the New Year offensive.  (Photo By SP4 Ross Roessler)


JACK BE NIMBLE - The infantryman holding his helmet in picture at the left watches an RTO leap over a canal as they head for Hoc Mon, 10 kms northwest of Saigon.  (Photo By SP4 Joe Carey)


TEMPORARY DISPENSARY - Vietnamese refugees from Hoc Mon crowd around a house where Filipino doctors and members of the 25th Inf Div Wolfhounds set up a medical aid station.  (Photo By SP4 Ross Roessler)



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968


Golden Dragons Arrive
Stay For VC Dinner

   1ST BDE - Heliborning into the jungles of nearby Tay Ninh Province proved profitable for the 25th Inf Div 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, as the Viet Cong were forced out of their base camp by the "Golden Dragons" during a reconnaissance in force operation.
   Cos B, C, and D were sweeping their assigned areas and each company found evidence of the enemy being nearby.  Cooking pots were still simmering with various foods, live fish were found attached to fishing lines and poles, two large burlap bags full of live frogs and a water buffalo skinned and dressed for eating were found.
   Documents, ammunition, five bicycles, clothes, web gear, a ton of salt, tobacco and a live carrier pigeon were among the cache.
   The dressed water buffalo attracted the attention of Co B, Platoon leader.  Lt. David R. Lunn of Ogden, Utah, said, "It looked like Charlie was all set for a barbecue.  Slabs of meat were scattered around a metal grill, and spices of all types were on a table with various utensils for food were nearby," added Lunn.
   Co D was checking the stream where the fish lines and poles were found.  SP4 Benny Gaia of Barlow, Ken., said, "No doubt about it, the VC were preparing for quite a feast, but we put a quick end to it."
   All the items that couldn't be evacuated were destroyed and burned leaving the enemy with little to return to.  In the words of SP4 Bobby L. Hopson of Greenville, Tenn., "Not only were we able to get four Viet Cong, but we also upset his barbeque too.  I know I'd feel mighty discouraged if I came back to my base camp and found out someone had ruined my chow!"


Sgts See Sniper Stars

   1ST BDE - Two sergeants in Co A of the 25th Div's 2nd Bn., 14th Inf, saw stars for awhile but later thanked their lucky stars that they were wearing their helmets.
   As the 1st Bde unit moved through a dense bamboo thicket in War Zone C near the Cambodian border they came under heavy sniper fire.  SSG Noe Balderas of Copperas Cove, Tex., and SGT Melvin Wood from North Wildesboro, N.C., quickly took cover together as their position was taking the brunt of the fire.
   A moment later both Tropic Lightning troopers were hit on their helmets by automatic weapon fire.  The first man hit was Balderas.  The Viet Cong's bullet slammed into a pocket-sized Bible tucked into the camouflage band and knocked it to the ground.
   Wood was not quite as lucky as his partner.  A round penetrated his helmet and creased his scalp, leaving him with a slight wound.


116th Stingers Support 25th, Kill Thirty VC

   CU CHI - During two days of combat assault operations, the "Stinger" gunship section of the 116th Asslt Hel Co, 1st Avn Bde, forced enemy elements to pay a heavy price.
   While operating in the Tan Son Nhut area, the 116th gunships utilized two light fire teams to wreak havoc among the Viet Cong forces.  With miniguns, rockets and 40mm grenade launchers pouring out heavy volumes of fire, the Stingers helped crush enemy elements in the area.
   After sweeping the enemy with murderous fire, the Stingers accounted for over 30 VC killed in a single day's action.
   The next day, Stingers while in support of the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde, met enemy resistance in an area north of Cu Chi.  By the end of the day, the Stingers had killed eight VC and had destroyed two enemy structures.


FOR PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE - LG Bruce C. Palmer, deputy commander U.S. Army, Vietnam, affixes the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) to the colors of the 125th Sig Bn during ceremonies at Cu Chi.  (Photo By SP4 William Fix)


Cemetery Last Stop For 35 Viet Cong

   2ND BDE - A quick-thinking sergeant and his equally fast 25th Inf Div platoon killed 35 Viet Cong in a hasty ambush six kms north of Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
   The action unfolded about 9:40 p.m. when members of a 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", ambush patrol spotted a column of Viet Cong approaching them from across a cemetery.
   According to Sgt Donnie L. Coleman of Detroit, the lead elements of his patrol from Alpha Co broke through a hedgerow into a cemetery when they detected movement to their front.
   "There must have been at least a company of VC," Coleman recounted.  "I ordered the patrol to open fire when the point element was in the center of the cemetery."
   "We certainly never expected to see what we saw," added SP4 Alalfo Aguilar of San Antonio, Tex.  "The VC broke through the hedgerow at one end of the cemetery.  They were wearing light tops and black pajamas and carried their weapons at sling arms."
   Aguilar described the enemy as moving in a rough column formation made up of three and four man groups.
   With no time to set up Claymore mines, the Americans opened up with small arms, automatic weapons and grenades, cutting down 35 of the enemy.


YO RINNY - Pat Becker is taking a smoke break in the Ho Bo Woods.  Alright men, who wants to be point?  (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox)


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968


PFC Thinks First Night On Guard Duty Memorable Occasion

   1ST BDE - "That first night, every sound, every movement I thought was the Viet Cong.  I was never so scared . . or wide awake, in my whole life," said PFC James K. Smith from Chicago, as he described his first night on perimeter guard in Vietnam.
   Smith, assigned as a rifleman to Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, was a guard on the bunker line at the 25th Inf Div 1st Bde headquarters at Katum, 110 kms northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border.
   "Even after I was relieved, I couldn't sleep.  Every time I heard a noise, I grabbed my M-16 and hit the ground," Smith recalls.
   "I never saw anyone like him before," said SP4 Robert Wolfley of Modesto, Calif., "He kept the entire squad up all night."
   On his second watch that night, Smith heard a noise about 20 meters to his front and took it under fire.  The firing woke up Wolfley, who said, "I thought we were being overrun or something.  Smith was so excited he kept motioning wildly at the dense brush."
   The two men remained awake until morning, straining to detect any further movement.  At first light, Smith and Wolfley inspected the thicket in front of their position and discovered what had made the noise during the night; a wild boar, now dead from one of Smith's bullets.
   "I took a lot of kidding," recalled Smith, "but I don't care what anyone says, that first night is pretty hairy."


SP4 Gets Point Exactly 14 times

   1ST BDE - SP4 Dale Burmeister of Carmichael, Calif., has taken a lot of needling as a result of his recent encounter with an unusual foe in Vietnam.
   While Burmeister was exchanging fire with a Viet Cong, a soc - a small animal similar to a chipmunk - embedded his teeth in the right arm of the 25th Inf Div soldier.
   The doctor needled Burmeister with 14 rabies shots.
   And the men of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, are still needling him about his "enemy encounter."


SOLEMN MOMENT - Robed in a camouflage parachute Chaplain James A. Peterman of Milford, Del., holds Mass for the men of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, during Operation Yellowstone 100 kms northwest of Saigon.   (Photo By SGT Roger Smith)



Three Quarter Cav SSG Hero Commands Men For 5 Hours

   CU CHI - With all his officers wounded, a 25th Div sergeant took command of 65 men battling a battalion sized Viet Cong force trying to overrun Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
   A scout section leader with the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, SSG Gary D. Brewer, 26, of Indianapolis, raced through the darkness with two platoons of Trp C into the full force of the enemy attack.  Traveling cross country to avoid ambush, the platoons moved from Cu Chi, 40 kms northwest of Tan Son Nhut.
   The enemy used anti-tank rockets, machine guns and small arms in a continual fire.
       In Control
   With complete disregard for his life and constantly under enemy fire Brewer directed the fire of his men, called for reinforcements and provided clear and accurate reports of the battle.  As the ammunition supply became critically short, he supervised redistribution of the remaining stock.
   When the remaining platoon of his troop arrived near the battle area, Brewer calmly briefed his superior officer by radio, and recommended correctly the direction of attack in the darkness.
   Continuing at his post despite the stronger enemy and intense fire, he directed the firepower of his remaining force and provided the only real information which allowed for the proper deployment of the relief column.  Brewer commanded and controlled a company sized force of armored cavalry for over five hours.


You Might Stay Here
          Shot Record Correct?

   SAIGON (MACV) - Fewer servicemen will be turned away at planeside as they leave Vietnam thanks to a tighter policy on immunization checks.  An increase in the number of people denied permission to leave the country has been traced to deficiencies in their shot records; incomplete personal information, all required immunizations not taken, or too great a time lapse between the original shot and re-immunization.
   Commanders and sponsors have been given the task of checking the shot records of personnel in their area of responsibility.  This includes a final check one week before the departing individual boards a plane to leave the country.
   The designated supervisors will check the completeness of personal entries including the subject's signature, as well as insuring that all shots are taken at the proper time, duly entered and authenticated.
   In the case of smallpox vaccine the authentication must include the type of vaccine, origin, and batch number plus the date and doctor's signature.  The cholera immunization must be authenticated by a doctor's signature.  There is a six day waiting period on cholera shot if the re-immunization was more than six months after the previous shot.


188th Spiders Support 25th

   The "Spiders" gunships of the 188th Asslt Hel Co (269th Cmbt Avn Bn) killed 24 enemy soldiers in an all-out assault against a suspected enemy base camp in an area northwest of Tay Ninh.
   In support of elements of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde, the Spiders led by WO1 Charles J. Padie, of Anchorage surprised a large number of enemy in an open area and poured heavy concentrations of firepower on them.  The VC panicked and the Spiders were able to make several passes as the enemy, in random attempts to escape, scattered.


3/17th Air Cav Chalks Up 219 VC In Two Weeks

   TAY NINH - The first two weeks of Feb. saw elements of the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, in support of 25th Inf Div units, account for a large number of enemy killed and inflict heavy damage to other phases of enemy activity.
   With the main action centered in an area just southeast of the division's large base camp at Cu Chi, Trps B and C of the squadron were responsible for 219 enemy dead.
   Gunships of the squadron also rendered a heavy beating to other enemy activities in the surrounding area, as they destroyed 66 various buildings, structures and fortifications and heavily damaged 23 others.  Sampan traffic on the surrounding rivers and canals were also hard hit, as 39 of the craft were destroyed and 23 others received damage.


'Hound' Sniper Finds He's Not Really City Boy

   2ND BDE - After a night of Saigon street fighting, a 25th Inf Div squad leader is ready to return to the wide-open countryside.
   SGT Lawrence A. Bowlds, of Marion, Ind., a squad leader with Delta Co, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", was sent with his squad to the roof of a Saigon bachelor officers quarters to eliminate sniper fire in the area.
   On the streets below, elements of the Wolfhound battalion and a cavalry unit of the 1st Inf Div spread out to engage the snipers from ground level.
   "We traded shots with snipers all night," Bowlds recounted.  "We even got one out of a tree not 50 meters from the building."
   But one enemy sniper in particular had plagued them.  All night, he eluded the 2nd Bde soldiers by darting between two rooftops across the street.
   At dawn, Bowlds moved by himself to a vantage point - then ordered his squad to draw the enemy's fire.  When the sniper popped up to pick off a few easy targets, Bowlds shot him.
   "Somehow, I like the way the war is fought in the field better," Bowlds commented later.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 11, 1968


Skillful WO 'Out On Limb'

   CU CHI - There is an old saying that has made the rounds for years about people "going out on a limb" for one reason or another.  To one crew of an LOH-6A observation helicopter of C Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17 Air Cav, this is no longer just a figure of speech.  They not only went out on a limb, but also went through the tree and brought back the limbs as souvenirs!
   The observation craft, piloted by WO G.A. Lloyd Lamonte of Tucson, Ariz., was on a visual reconnaissance mission approximately 32 kms northeast of their Tay Ninh base camp, when they suddenly spotted 15 Viet Cong sitting in a small clearing apparently taking a lunch break.
   Quickly circling the area, the ship prepared for another pass to mark the target with smoke for nearby gunships.  As they came in at tree-top level, automatic weapons ground fire engaged the ship from the rear.  The ship was hit several times, causing a momentary loss of control.  As Lamonte regained control of the ship, he found himself confronted by a large tree.  Unable to avoid the tree the ship crashed through it, losing the right landing skid, most of the plexiglass bubble and emerged carrying several large tree limbs in the cockpit.
   Despite the severe damage to the aircraft the pilot was able to regain control of the ship and maneuver it out of reach of the enemy fire.
   Miraculously uninjured, the crew was then faced with the problem of getting the heavily damaged craft to a safe landing area.
   "When we hit the tree, I thought for sure we were on our way down," stated the ship's gunner PFC John Nichol of San Jose, Calif.  "With all those VC down there, we would have been sitting ducks."
   Upon reaching the field position the ship circled several times before landing safely by resting the skidless right side of the craft on a large mound of dirt.  All three crew members emerged with not a scratch from the incident.
   SP4 Larry Nowlin, the ship's observer from West Harrison, Ind., said, "I would like to know what Charlie thought when they saw us going through the tree.  They probably thought it was some new method of camouflage and concealment," he remarked.


WORDS OF PRAISE - MG F. K. Mearns, commanding general of the 25th, addresses the officers and men of the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, following a ceremony in which he awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal to the former "Dreadnaught" CO, LTC Hal Rhyne.  LTC John Tipton assumed command of the battalion.  (Photo by SP4 George Phillips)



Manchus Hold Scout Program For Hoi Chanhs

   1ST BDE - A recently applied program called the Kit Carson Tiger Scout Training Program has proved to be effective in tactical operations with American troops.  The program carefully screens selected Hoi Chanhs for attachment to U.S. and Free World units.
   The trainees become familiar with U.S. tactics and learn the standard operating procedure of the units to which they are assigned.  They are trained to act as interpreters and scouts leading allied forces to enemy convoy routes, base camps, rendezvous locations and for questioning Viet Cong sympathizers and suspects.
   Twelve Kit Carson cadets have been assigned to the 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", for advanced training.
   "The Tiger Scouts in training with the Manchus were quick to pick up the use of the M-16 rifle and to learn the English phrases we taught them," SSG Robert L. Goff of Bedford, Ind., said.
   "They'll help us a great deal in actions against hostile forces," Manchu Commander LTC John M. Henchman of Bremerton, Wash., commented.  "I know that their knowledge of Viet Cong strategy will make our task a lot easier.  They're very grateful to the new start given them and they show it."


Hitch A Ride
       Mech, Arty Move Together

   3RD BDE - An Infantry battalion is called upon to perform many varied missions during the course of a given operation but quite an unusual one befell the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, on Operation Yellowstone, when the men of the battalion were informed that their armored personnel carriers were to become the prime movers for the 105mm howitzers of Btry B, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty.
   When fire support base Burt, the site of the New Years Day Battle of Soui Cut near the Cambodian border, was closed down the "Triple Deuces" received orders to tow the tubes of Bravo Btry in order to provide covering fire for their move while they were temporarily out of range of other fire support bases.
   Before the move, the air pressure in the tires was reduced so that the guns and ammunition trailers could easily negotiate the freshly broken jungle trails over which they would be towed.  The tubes were towed and the men carried on the tracks of the battalion's reconnaissance Plt, while Alpha and Bravo Cos pulled the ammunition trailers.
   For two days the two units worked together through the jungle, along with the self-propelled 155mm howitzers of Btry A, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty.  When they came well within the range of friendly guns the tubes were lifted out by helicopters.  The successful operation proved that towed artillery, when supported by mechanized infantry, can operate in the densest of jungle. 


KING-SIZE TAILPIPE - Arty-men ride on the APCs of the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf.  An artillery battery moved with the mech from fire support base Burt.  (Photo By SP4 Robert Rossow)



Tax Deductions For Wounded

   (This income tax article prepared by the Office of the Judge Advocate General.)
   Overseas Savings Deposits:  The Internal Revenue Service has recently ruled that interest on deposits in the Uniformed Services Savings Deposits Program must be reported in the taxable year in which the interest is actually received or made available to the taxpayer.
   Interest, which accrues at the rate of 10 percent a year, is made available to the serviceman only when he returns to the United States on a permanent change of station (PCS) move.
   Military Uniforms:  Another recent Internal Revenue Service ruling has recognized that in certain instances active duty military personnel may deduct the cost of purchase and maintenance of required military uniforms.
   There are strict limitations on the deductibility of these expenses.  To qualify for the deduction, the uniform must be required as a condition of employment and must not be adaptable to general or continued usage to the extent that they take the place of ordinary clothing.
   Military uniforms fulfill this last requirement only where the wear of such a uniform while off duty is prohibited by local regulations.
   This deduction may be taken only if the taxpayer itemizes his deductions.
   Personal Exemptions:  A relative in the armed services who has been there for the entire tax year may not be claimed as a dependent by a taxpayer.  This includes those relatives attending armed forces service academies.  (ANF)



Thanks to:
Ronald Minton, Co. C, 2/14th Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 08-29-2012

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