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Vol 3 No. 15          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          April 8, 1968



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                          6 2/14                        4 2/14 Photo             8 38th Scout Dog       8
1/27                        7 2/14 Photos             4 2/27                       1 4/9                          1
12th Evac Photo      6 2/14                        7 25th S&T Photo     8 4/9                          6
12th Evac                8 2/14 Photos             7 3/4 Cav                  7 65th Engr                6
187 AHC                6 2/14                        7 3/22                        1 Hong Kong             3
2/14 Photo              1 2/14                        8 3/22                        6 Air Force                8



Manchus Slay 169 Viet Cong

   1ST BDE - Soldiers of the 1st Bde, 25th Inf Div, battled a reinforced Viet Cong battalion 8 kms north of Saigon killing 169 enemy soldiers in 14 days of fierce fire fights.
   The 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", under the command of LTC Richard Simpson of Westminster, S.C., reconnoitered the area with thrusting sweeps in a determined effort to drive out the Viet Cong from the vicinity of Saigon.
   "We fought without the benefit of artillery and air strikes until the safety of the civilians could be assured.  The men fought hard and deserve outstanding credit for their victory over the Viet Cong," Simpson commented.
   "At every canal the enemy was dug in.  The fire was intense, forcing us to maneuver in chest deep mud and water.  We'd encounter sniper squads constantly firing from trees, hootches, bunkers, sugar cane fields, and fighting positions."
   "After the infantrymen were dropped onto the landing zone they swept in a short crushing sweep which uncovered a bunker complex loaded with rice, and combat gear," Simpson stated.
   The Manchus employed night ambushes against the enemy which proved effective by limiting enemy night movements which kept them off balance and hesitant.
   On the second day of the reconnaissance-in-force mission, Co C netted a rocket cache which was part of a large base camp.
   "It was just like garrison living," 1LT Larry Ward of Wellsburg, Iowa, recalled.  "And that was the largest rocket cache I've ever seen.  Firing, electrical devices, weather maps and charts were found in one of the large bunkers."
   According to intelligence officers the Viet Cong unit initiating contact against the "Manchus" was the Go Mon Bn - the Viet Cong's crack strike troops.
   "The enemy was beaten and dispersed," Simpson remarked.


ROUTINE CHECK - SSG Daniel Ireland examines identification card of a suspect.  The 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, was on a reconnaissance-in-force operation near Tay Ninh.  (Photo by SP4 Marty Caldwell) SSG Daniel Ireland



First Time
      Medcap To New Area

   2ND BDE - Medical and civic action personnel of the 25th Inf Div staged a first in Hau Nghia Province when they crossed the Oriental River to treat needy Vietnamese.
   The medical civic action program (MEDCAP) team of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", crossed the river by gunboat after a village chief requested his people receive medical treatment.
   Previously, the area had been considered too hostile for the MEDCAP teams to enter.  The village sits in a rich rice and swamp area between the river and the Cambodian border.
   A 100-man Regional Force Co escorted the Wolfhounds on the MEDCAP, explained CPT Linnie L. Wall, head of the battalion's civil affairs section.  Wall, of Marion, S.C., said, "We got a very good reception.  Everything was organized, everything ran smoothly.  We plan to go back."
   According to SSG Charles W. Sowder of Cincinnati, the MEDCAP team treated 244 patients in the small village, located near the commercial center of Duc Hoa.
   "The MEDCAP was a real breakthrough.  According to the village chief, this was the first time anyone had come into the village and the people accepted them," Sowder noted.
   "At the end of the day, the villagers returned the MEDCAP team to the east bank of the Oriental by a large sampan belonging to one of the villagers," Wall said.


Wire Leads Unit To Rockets

   3RD BDE - What began as a company sized day ambush north of Saigon turned up some surprising discoveries for an element of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
   As Bravo Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, was moving into its ambush position near an abandoned bunker complex, 1LT Philip C. Bryant, 2nd Plt leader noticed coils of wire in the area.
   "I became suspicious when I saw so much wire strung throughout the complex," related Bryant.  "A few minutes later we discovered a cache of 10,000 feet of wire near a bunker."
   Soon afterward a 122mm rocket was found buried under a few inches of dirt on a shallow mound.  "We noticed that there were several such mounds in the area so the platoon began a thorough search," explained Bryant.
   Four more of the six-foot long rockets were uncovered.


   The bereaved parents of a 25th Inf Div medic killed in Vietnam wrote the following words of faith and encouragement to their son's comrades-in-arms.
   PFC Michael A. Hodge was fatally wounded on 6 Feb 1968 while helping the injured in his unit, the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf. Ed.

Dear General Mearns

   Michael's Mother and I want you to inform the officers and men of our 25th how proud we are of our Son and them.  We have faith in our God, our Country and you, and that faith will continue to sustain in us the knowledge that his supreme sacrifice will not have been in vain.

   While trying to find the words with which to write you, your last sentence keeps going through my mind, "We in the division are available to assist you in any way possible".  Those words and their compassionate meaning have somehow reversed themselves to the point that I ponder what we can do for the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the 25th Infantry Division.

   Perhaps it will help to tell you that at this time of personal sorrow and bereavement, it was not only our faith, family and friends that gave us strength and courage, but the American people as represented to us by the City of Sparta, Wisconsin.  They came to us mostly as strangers with one common purpose - to help the family of an American fighting man who died so that they might live, and I could not possibly list here the many fine things that were done for the family of Private First Class Michael Allard Hodge, United States Army.  Their actions tell us that the true spirit of America is not dead, and that therein lies the hopes of all mankind for a lasting peace with freedom.

   Again, I only wish we could help in some way.  Hopefully, these few lines have conveyed my conviction that the vast majority of "folks back home" feel the same way.  Lastly, I can only say that our prayers are with you always.

                                         Most sincerely,


                                         LTC & MRS JOSEPH P. HODGE & Family
                                         Air Force Reserve (Retired)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968



CPT William F. Von Valtier, HHC, 25th Inf Div
CPT Alfred W. Baker, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
1LT Richard W. Prillaman, D Trp (Air), 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav
1LT Donald A. Sherman, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
WO1 Arthur B. Newcomb, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
1SG A. D. Clark, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1SG Cecil Hills, A Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
1SG Howard C. Kinder, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
1SG Oscar P. Barkhurst, Co A, 65th Engr Bn
1SG Roy V. Pierce, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
MSG Charles W. Brooks, HHC & Band, 25th lnf DISCOM
MSG Antoni Cieslak, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SFC James B. Brown, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SFC Howard E. Huff 25th Admin Co
SFC Harold L. Eaton, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
SFC Valentino V. Sauceda, 9th Cheml Det
SFC Gerald L. Ricker, 25th Admin Co
SSG Melvin A. Fisher, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SSG William J. Harel, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SSG Edward G. Miranda, Co A, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SSG George F. Valli, Co A, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SSG John D. Burkhalter, C Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Harold T. Henley, Co A, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
SSG Charles E. Howell, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SSG Clarence Russell, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG J. C. Chambers, Co A, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Floyd C. Brown, HQ&Svc Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Donald C. Worth, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Barrell R. Cock, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT James H. Beard, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 John T. Fattes, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Terence E. McConnell, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Tyrone J. Allen, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP5 Melvin E. Dunlap, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Mark Delong, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Robert Garland, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Bobbie Sikes, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Barry Stover, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Gary R. Messick, B Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Kenneth J. Hamilton, HHC, 2nd Bde
LTC William A. Zeigler, 25th Admin Co
CPT Robert McLaughlin, B Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
CPT Larry A. Shields, HHC, 25th Inf Div
1LT Chris Archer, HHC, 2nd Bde
1LT David C. Wakefield, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
2LT Norman A. Welch Jr., HHC, 25th S&T Bn
CW2 William G. Samuels, Svc Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
WO1 Jose Castellanos, HH&Svc Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
WO1 Phillip A. Zoller, HH&Svc Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
MSG Raymond W. Ellington, HHC, 25th S&T Bn
SFC Freddie J. Weston Jr., HHB, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SFC John O. Moon, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SSG William C. Kinney, Co E, 725th Maint Bn
SSG Wilmer Bobo, A Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Donald E. Rasmussen, Co E. 725th Maint Co
SSG Orval L. Bilby, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
SSG Carliss V. Marlin, Co B, 25th S&T Bn
SSG Robert E. L. Johnson, Co B, 25th S&T Bn
SP5 Standlee Davis, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SP5 Darl L. Sutter, HHC, 4th En, 9th Inf
SP5 Olin R. Watson, HHB, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 David H. Guilds, B Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SGT James Guardino, B Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SP5 William B. Fama, Co E, 725th Maint Bn
SP4 Jimmie R. Burkett, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Joseph A. Killinsworth, HHB, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 John C. Edlund, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SP4 Sidney A. Quintal, 25th MP Co
SP4 Edward C. Bateman, Co D, 725th Maint Bn
SP4 David M. Bossary, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Stafford H. Burns, C Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cov
SP4 Norman W. Clark, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 James R. Garner, Co E, 725th Maint Bn
SP4 Oren J. Lutz, HHC & Band, 25th Inf Div
SP4 John C. Magnasco, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SP4 Paul H. Myers, HHC, 3rd Bde
SP4 William L. Costello, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Jeffrey W. Heebner, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Edward W. Scevers, HHC, 25th S&T Bn



          Think It Over

   There is little doubt in anyone's mind that a good education is necessary to succeed in today's modern world.  Certainly, there are still a few success stories about the man who made a million with only a third grade education, but you hear them less and less.
   A quick look at the help wanted section of any metropolitan newspaper will graphically show that the better paying jobs with the greatest opportunities for advancement go to those who are educationally prepared to meet the challenges.
   If you were to check the service records of those military personnel who have advanced rapidly and have been given the more responsible assignments, you would find that these men have taken advantage of every opportunity for self-development.
   The thousands and thousands of military personnel engaged in off-duty education programs are doing something to improve their military careers.
   Whether the courses they take are part of a long-range development process leading to a college degree, allow them to complete high school, improve their technical skills or simply increase their general knowledge and keep their minds active, these men are moving forward.
   They will be the ones who receive the promotions and responsible assignments.
   Will you be one of them or will you be in the group who never quite got around to taking that course and getting that diploma?
   There is unlimited opportunity to further your education while in the Armed Forces, but only you can decide to make full use of that opportunity.  It is your decision and it will be you who either reap the benefits or pay the penalties.
   Right now, this week, this weekend is the time to see your education advisor and take the first step.     (AFPS)


Shot Record MUST Be Up To Date

   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 the doctor's signature.
   The cholera immunization must be authenticated by a doctor's signature.  There is a six day waiting period on cholera shots if the re-immunization was more than six months after the previous shot.
   The new requirements were laid down as the number of persons scratched from departing aircraft rose due to failure to meet U.S. Public Health Service and World Health Organization standards.


New Postal Rate Called PAL In Effect At APO

   The U.S. Post Office Department has announced that parcel post mail addressed to military post offices outside the continental United States will travel by air on a space available basis for a fee of $1.00 in addition to the regular surface postage rate.
   The parcels, which must be marked with the letters "PAL" on the address side, must not exceed 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined.
   This plan applies to all parcels other than a parcel mailed air mail or as air parcel post. (ANF)


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 Hugh F. Orr . . . . . . . . .  Information Officer
1LT James R. Leman  . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Terry Richard  . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP5 Dave Cushman . . . . . . .  Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968



H.K. - World's Bargain Basement

   Some 900 air miles north of Saigon lies the British Crown colony of Hong Kong.  This ancient city offers the R&R soldier a variety of sights to see and is the best "bargain basement" in the Orient for camera gear and tailor made clothing.


Hong Kong harbor One of the many magnificent sights in Hong Kong - a hillside view of the busy harbor.
Hong Kong's famous Tiger Pagoda. Tiger Balm Pagoda
Hong Kong street Chinese signs and people dominate a street scene in Hong Kong, 98 per cent of whose population is Chinese.
Passengers ride in a double decker bus through a busy downtown street. Hong Kong at night



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968




   "We helilifted into a dry area and waited while the 22nd Mech came up along the wood line off to the right.  Then we moved out.  Went about a klick till we hit the water.  Ya' know, walking in that wet rice and grass is about like walking in a bowl of shredded wheat.
   "Old Boyle took a wrong turn and got bogged down.  Had to pull him out.
   "When we got out of the water we turned toward the woods.  We moved along behind the APCs.  Man what a mess they make.  Red ants come out of the trees 'bout as thick as the rain in the monsoon around here.
   "Was about three when the mech pulled away and not ten minutes later we found Charlie.
   "He opened up with about everything he had.  Wasn't enough though.  Toby and I opened up with the 60 while Kirby and Smitty laid it down with the 79s.
   "I don't know how many were there but there were a couple automatics.  Really blazin'.  We got three of 'em.


PFC Robert G. Boyle of Co C, bogs down crossing a rice paddy.


2/14th Golden Dragons
Assistant machine gunner glances to the right flank during a battle between elements of the "Golden Dragons" and a company of NVA and VC.


2/14th waiting 25th Inf Div soldiers fight red ants as well as the Viet Cong during a reconnaissance-in-force operation conducted near Tay Ninh.
Men of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, and 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf, team up before moving out. 2/14th waiting for 2/22 Mech.



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968


Canal Cruisers Curtail Cong

   CU CHI - Infantry and engineers took to the water recently to halt the flow of enemy troops and supplies moving southward into the Saigon area.
   In numerous raids and ambushes along the canal system bordering the Saigon River 12 kms northwest of the capital, members of the 25th Inf Div's 3rd Bde, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, and Co E, 65th Engr Bn, killed at least 40 Viet Cong in one week of waterborne operations.
   LTC Roy K. Flint said the task force, operating under the control of the 2nd Bde, had met considerable success.
   "Working with the boats, we were able to sneak up on the enemy and catch him off guard," Flint explained.
   Using 17-foot "Boston Whalers" and 27 foot landing crafts armed with .50 caliber machine guns, the infantrymen cruised the interlocking canals by day and night in search of the enemy.
   One night, the boats dropped off an ambush patrol along a suspected enemy supply route.  By the next morning, Co A's patrol had killed 12 Viet Cong and sunk five sampans which floated by their location at different intervals.
   The boats then brought in fresh troops to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force mission, and returned the ambush patrol to the battalion base camp.
   Fast and maneuverable, the boats took the infantrymen to areas inaccessible by land and too dangerous for routine heliborne assaults.
   They also served a second purpose - to evacuate wounded.
   "We hit the shore one day and the troops jumped off," described SP4 Roger Brewer, an engineer from Albermarle, N.C., "Charlie opened up on them, one man was wounded, and they were still in contact.
   "We got a radio call for a dustoff, but realized no chopper could land at the location.  We went back in and brought the wounded soldier back to the battalion's night location.
   "The chopper met us there and took him out," Brewer explained.
   In addition to searching for Viet Cong, the task force secured an area where elements of the 169th Engr Bn from Long Binh had been repairing a road and river dike damaged. during the enemy's Tet offensive.


Unwanted Visitor Exits Hurriedly After Arrival

   1ST BDE - A soldier in the field never knows what the next day, next hour, or next step might bring and SP4 Murray O'Donnell of Dashore, Pa., is one of the first to agree.
   O'Donnell, a radio-telephone operator with Co B of the 25th Inf Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was out on a night ambush patrol in War Zone C when his favorite "war story" occurred.
   He was on radio watch when he was suddenly jostled from behind.  "I thought it was one of the guys so I muttered 'yeah man, what's up?'  About that time a VC jumped and screamed 'GI' and ran for the underbrush.  I must have jumped five feet myself," O'Donnell recalled.  "By the time I got my M-16 and got off a few rounds every one was hollering at me to find out what was happening."
   In the morning they found a blood trail but no body.
   "I still shudder whenever I think about it, knowing he was that close.  The only solace I take is that he jumped more than I did," O'Donnell stated.


Heli Pilot Rescues 4 Soldiers

   CU CHI - Helicopters of the 187th Aslt Heli Co, 269th Cmbt Avn Bn, made an emergency medevac to save the lives of four injured infantrymen.
   Near a base camp of the 25th Inf Div, a soldier triggered an enemy booby trap, injuring him and three other infantrymen.
   Noting the explosion, a pilot for the 187th, WO1 Vincent Tortolano of Lawrence, Mass., flew his aircraft, a smoke ship, to the area to investigate. Arriving at the scene of the explosion and realizing that his helicopter was the nearest one, Tortolano radioed the 187th's command and control aircraft and proceeded to land near the wounded troops.
   After placing the critically injured soldiers aboard his helicopter, Tortolano found that due to the combined weight of his cargo and the wounded men, the smoke aircraft would not take off.
   At that moment, the C and C ship, piloted by CPT William Schwend of St. Louis, Mo., reached the area.  Schwend landed his ship nearby and aided in moving the wounded from the smoke ship to his own aircraft.
   After the infantrymen were safely aboard the helicopter, Schwend rushed them to Cu Chi's 12th Evac Hosp.
   S c h w end later remarked, "There were no medical 'Dust Off' helicopters in the immediate area, and those men were hurt."


SECOND AWARD - COL Leonard Maldonado, CO of the 68th Med Grp, attaches a unit citation streamer to the guidon of the 12th Evac Hospital.  LTC Robert Neimes, commander of the hospital, flanked by his crew of doctors and nurses looks on. 12th Evac get streamer



1LT Runs Cub Den Through The Mail

   2ND BDE - "Hi from Vietnam!  How do you like the Cub Scouts?  I wish I were home to help you boys and to watch you work."
   A company commander in the 25th Inf Div has a busy enough life anyway, but for 1LT Henry Engelke of San Angelo, Tex., the pace is a little bit more hectic:  he is running a Cub Scout den through the mail.
   Engelke, headquarters company commander of the 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, became interested in Scouting on his son's eighth birthday.
   "I used to belong to the Cub Scouts when I was his age," Engelke recalled, "and I really learned a lot through the experience.  I wanted my boy to benefit the same way."
   Before he could put his plan in action, Engelke received orders for Vietnam.  His wife, Mari Sue, decided to carry on where he left off.  She soon had eight boys, including her son, in the newly organized Den 3, Cub Scout Pack 9.
   "I write to each boy as often as I can and I try to encourage them in their work," the lieutenant said.  "In return, they write me and their letters show a great concern for the work we are doing over here."
   With pictures and slides that Engelke sends home, his wife plans programs for the Scout meetings.  Because of his dedication, parents of the young scouts have written Engelke to show their support for his part in Vietnam and their appreciation for his work with the Scouts.
   Engelke plans to keep on with his work upon his return to the states.  "I'll let my wife keep her den, and I'll get myself a pack," he explained.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968


Golden Dragons' Uncover Rocket Cache

   1ST BDE - Elements of the 25th Inf Div searching through the HoBo Woods, found 12 complete 122mm rockets hidden near the Saigon River 64 kms northwest of Saigon.
   Infantrymen of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, uncovered the enemy artillery after an air strike exposed a tunnel entrance.
   "A passageway extended about 30 feet from the entrance and led to a small exit," said SP4 James H. Cook.  "There were rockets all over the room," the Troutman, N.C., rifleman added.
   The troops, under the operational control of the 2nd Bde during the opening days of Operation Quyet Thang, evacuated the rockets to the division base camp at Cu Chi.
   "The rockets were broken down into three parts and some of the pieces were in canvas bags," stated PFC Daniel J. Langley of Molina, Fla.
   "The largest sections were the rocket motors.  They were leaning against the walls of the room," said PSG Franklyn S. Weisgerber of Bradenton, Fla.
   "Warheads and detonators were stacked along the passageway.  We were real careful in evacuating them," the platoon sergeant said.


Col. Raymond Miller, 2d Bde PDC Larry Atchley, Sgt. Michael Autry.
COL Raymond Miller, CO of the 2nd Bde, examines one of the 12 122mm rockets captured.  (Photo By I LT Bruce Burton) WEAPONS CACHE - PFC Larry Atchley (left) and SGT Michael Autry examine RPG-2's found in a large cache by Co B, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, on a reconnaissance-in-force operation in the Ho Bo Woods.  (Photo By SP4 Marty Caldwell)



VN Vet Preferred
            100,000 PO Jobs Open

   WASHINGTON - Veterans who have served on active duty since the 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident will be given first crack at filling an estimated 100,000 vacancies in the Post Office Department this year.
   The action is a follow-up to President Johnson's recent executive order (11397) to government agencies to give job priority in the first five levels of civil service to veterans.
   The order authorizes the prompt, noncompetitive hiring of veterans who pledge to continue their education on a part-time basis under the GI Bill.  Veterans will be issued "transitional appointments" and will be hired ahead of all others who may be on civil service registers.
   In recent congressional testimony, Civil Service Commissioner John Macy said no more than 10,000 to 15,000 jobs will be available to veterans annually under the program in regular civil service.  The biggest number of openings will be non-Civil Service jobs with the Post Offices.
   Veterans will be eligible for appointment to Post Office jobs as clerks, special delivery messengers and letter carriers.
   In addition, the Post Office is operating a training program at 35 military installations where servicemen are given concentrated courses in postal skills.  They will be able to take the necessary examination to qualify for career postal appointments as soon as they are discharged from the armed forces.
   The Post Office plans to expand its Project Transition training to 50 more Stateside installations within the next few months.
   Postmaster General Lawrence O'Brien said that at its current rate of expansion, postal training through Project Transition will reach an estimated 25,000 servicemen this year.
   Veterans who have completed a Project Transition course may also take advantage of a transitional appointment which is a swift path to a postal job.  Those who have not participated in Project Transition would receive on-the-job training in postal skills.
   After the successful conclusion of these study requirements, the veteran is eligible for conversion to competitive career status, provided he has completed one year of satisfactory service.              (Army Times)


Hedge Row Hopping Works For Force

   3RD BDE - For the commanders of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div Task Force, it was just like a chapter out of history.  Hedge row hopping just as U.S. soldiers did following the invasion of Normandy in World War II. Only this time it was from rice paddy to rice paddy north of Saigon.
   The Task Force, made up of elements of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", and the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, found WW II tactics to their liking.
   The first contact was made in early afternoon when the units received sniper fire from VC hidden in spider holes.  Heavier contact was made late in the afternoon as the VC seemed to think U.S. troops would break contact as night fell.  They were in for a surprise.
   Instead of breaking contact, the company was relieved by two other Wolfhound companies and another Trp of the 3/4 Cav moved in to relieve the Trp that had been in contact.
   The battle continued throughout the night.  Air strikes and artillery fire helped the 3rd Bde force keep the pressure on Charlie, as he gave up hedge row after hedge row.  By first light the next morning, the VC had had enough.
   A total of 62 enemy were killed, several weapons captured and from captured documents it was learned the VC unit was two companies of the 2nd Bn, 272 VC Regiment.  There were no American casualties that night.
   Hedge row hopping might have been a WW II tactic but it sure isn't outdated.


Ice Cream on MEDCAP YUM-YUM GOOD -This little boy digs into a cup of vanilla ice cream given to him by members of the 3rd Bde, 25th Div Civil Affairs office before he was returned to his village.  (Photo By LT Ralph Campbell)



VC Make Hasty Retreat As 2/14 Hits Base Camp

   1ST BDE - A large, newly built, well fortified and concealed Viet Cong base camp was destroyed by elements of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, while on a recent reconnaissance-in-force operation near the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde base camp at Tay Ninh.
   "Fresh charcoal still burning in cooking stoves with rice in the serving bowls and many pieces of clothing hanging on lines, indicated that the enemy must have left just before we airlifted in," said SGT James M. Irizarry from Rochester, N.Y.  "Soil around the area had been freshly worked and the overhead coverings of the bunkers were camouflaged with newly cut leaves and wood," added Irizarry.
   A trench line led from bunker to bunker around the perimeter of the camp.  "An open area surrounded the camp and I'm sure glad we discovered the camp before Charlie got all set up because he could sure bring smoke from a trench line like that," remarked SP4 Ernest Forrest Jr. of East St. Louis, Ill.
   Documents and other valuables were evacuated before destroying the base camp.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 8, 1968


AF Donates
     TV For Hosp Ward

   CU CHI - Members of the Army, Air Force, and the Nurses Corps have teamed up to provide Ward C-6 of the 12th Evac Hosp with a television set that was badly needed.
   The hospital, serving the 25th Inf Div, is located at the Div base camp near Cu Chi and it was here that the idea first started with Technical Sergeant William Pierce of the United States Air Force.
   Pierce is assigned to the 8th Aerial Port Detachment at Cu Chi and was in Ward C-6 recovering from minor surgery.  "I noticed that there was only one TV set in the ward and it was down at the far end," explained Pierce, from Charlestown, W.Va.
   "None of the patients at the other end could hear what was going on and most of them couldn't even see the set so I figured that a fund could be started to get another one," Pierce said.
   Pierce mentioned his idea to the ward nurse, 1LT Theresa Morel of Newton, N.J., to see what she thought of it.
   Morel was all for it.  "A TV set would be great for morale.  These boys are all bedridden and can't get closer to the one set we do have, so it really depresses those at the far end," she said.
   "They've already gone through hell," emphasized the nurse as she gazed around her at the patients. "Anything that can be done for them is great in my book."
   Many of the nurses and the patients themselves contributed to the fund while Pierce returned to his detachment and started asking for contributions.
   "Every man in the Detachment contributed some money and when I went over to our company area the response was tremendous," Pierce beamed.
   The Airmen stay with the HHC and Band where they draw rations and live.  "Within 24 hours the fund contained $160.00," stated Pierce.  "I'm putting up a box in the Air Terminal for anyone who wants to contribute something," said Pierce as he contemplated the future happiness of countless wounded soldiers.


PFC Believes In Best Friend

   2ND BDE - PFC David Stickels will pay a little more attention the next time his scout dog alerts.
   Stickels, a member of the 25th Inf Div 38th Scout Dog Plt, was on a roving patrol with the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", when his dog, Fritz, alerted.
   "Down about 25 meters, Fritz hesitated, then pulled to my left.  "The next thing I knew I was in midair, falling down an eight-foot well.  Fritz landed right on top of me."
   The "Wolfhounds" pulled the scout team from the hole.  "From now on," noted Stickels, "I don't go where my dog doesn't want to go."


NEW COMMANDER - LTC John K. Henderson makes a speech to his men after assuming command of the 25th Div's Supply and Trans Bn.  MG F. K. Mearns, 25th Div Commander and COL James Brownell, CO of Discom (seated) witnessed the ceremony. LTC John Henderson, 25th S&T



'Golden Dragons' find Huge Cache

   1ST BDE - A 25th Inf Div rifle company reported uncovering a massive enemy weapons cache containing enough arms to outfit a reinforced enemy company.
   Bravo Co of the 1st Bde's 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, located the weapons in two underground vaults while searching along a creek bed in the Filhol Plantation, 48 kms northwest of Saigon.
   According to LTC Alfred M. Bracy of Petersburg, Va., battalion commander, the "Dragons" had met heavy enemy resistance while trying to move into the area the day before during a 2nd Bde reconnaissance mission.
   Searching the area the next morning, PFC Larry R. Atchley discovered the first of two tunnels containing the weapons.
   SP4 William E. Darnell, a tunnel rat from Goshen, Ind., had crawled a few yards into the passageway when he came upon a small room.
   "I couldn't believe my eyes," Darnell stated. "The room contained 38 AK-50 assault rifles, 30 SKS-model carbines and 348 magazines for the assault rifles."
   In a second vault about 30 meters away, Sgt Michael K. Autry of Modesto, Calif., found 203 82mm mortar rounds, 36 RPG-2 rockets, 192 canned fuses for mortars and 50 mortar charges.
   Among both caches, the Golden Dragons captured two 30-caliber machine guns, a Browning Automatic Rifle, four carbines, an RPG-2 rocket launcher, an 82mm mortar, a 60m mortar, 103 hand grenades, 250 pounds of explosives and 35 pounds of documents.


Captured mortar rounds LTC Bracy, 2/14th
LTC Bracy, 2/14 CO, talks to pilot who extracted the rifles and mortars.  There were enough weapons to outfit an enemy company.  (Photos by SP4 Caldwell)
Captured AK-47 rifles



Thanks to
Ronald McIntosh, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 8-12-2004

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