Vol 3 No. 24 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 3||2/14 7||2/34 Armor Photo 7||4/9 8|
|1/5 Photo 4||2/14 Photo 7||25th Avn 3||4/23 1|
|1/5 6||2/14 Photo 8||242 Aslt Spt Photo 6||4/23 1|
|1/5 Photo 8||2/22 8||3/4 Cav 1||4/23 6|
|1/27 1||2/22 Photo 8||3/4 Cav Photo 1||725th Maint 7|
|1/27 3||2/27 7||3/4 Cav 7||Air Force 1|
|1/27 3||2/27 7||3/22 1||ARVN 3|
|116th AHC 1||2/27 7||3/22 Photo 6||ARVN Photo 3|
|116th AHC 3||2/27 8||3/22 6||Boots 6|
|2/14 6||2/34 Armor 1||4/9 1||Comb.Matrl.Exp. 4|
|4/9 1||Comb.Matrl. Photos 4|
Remember Old Glory's Tradition - Flag Day
TWO 25TH BNS HALT
VC PUSH INTO SAIGON
CU CHI - Two battalions of the U.S. 25th Inf Div halted the thrust of a Viet Cong battalion two kms west of Saigon May 27 amid reports that the VC were once again trying to send troops into the capital.
Initial contact was made by Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf when it came under small arms, rocket propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire shortly before midnight. The infantrymen, supported by Div artillery and gunships, kept the VC pinned down overnight. An Air Force "Spooky" kept the area of contact illuminated by flares until dawn.
The next morning, elements of the 25th Div's 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, commanded by LTC Glen K. Otis, 39, of Springfield, Virginia, advanced in tanks and armored personnel carriers, joining with the 4th Bn, 23rd Inf in engaging the VC.
The VC ceased resistance late in the afternoon and the attempt on Saigon was stopped.
In a complete sweep of the battle area by the 4th Bn, 23rd Inf, commanded by LTC Clifford C. Neilson of Mobile, Ala., and the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, 218 VC bodies were counted.
Captured in the action were twenty-seven AK-47 assault rifles, five light machine guns, nine RPG rounds, eight RPG launchers, one 60mm mortar and one 57mm recoilless rifle.
U.S. Air Force tactical aircraft were employed with devastating effect along with short range artillery and tank gun fire. The cavalrymen and mechanized infantry also utilized an unprecedented number of hand grenades against the enemy in his hastily built open foxholes. U.S. casualties were light; a total of six were killed.
Task Force Kill 600 In 13 Days
3RD BDE - In 13 days of operations northwest of Saigon, a task force of the 25th Inf Div has killed more than 600 enemy soldiers attempting to slip away from the Saigon area following the May offensive.
The task force, consisting of four battalions, destroyed 94 bunkers. Over 60 Viet Cong suspects were detained for questioning.
COL Leonard R. Daems, Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, headed the task force, which included a mechanized battalion, two battalions of infantry and one of armor.
The operation began between Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, as first day action cost the enemy 159 killed. During the following days, Task Force Daems pursued the scattering Viet Cong across the division area of operations past Trang Bang, forcing remnants into the area of the Boi Loi and Hobo Woods.
On the seventh day of the action, 118 VC were killed in the vicinity of the Cambodian border. Three days later another 91 Communists were killed, with lesser body counts on the other days of the operation.
The capture of 77 AK-47 assault rifles and four 60mm mortar tubes as well as several enemy rockets was also accomplished during the action, a continuation of Operation Toan Thang. The task force also captured over nine tons of rice, 1,300 pounds of salt, two USSR flame throwers and several Chinese radios, as well as medical supplies. Additionally, Task Force Daems turned up an assortment of mines, booby traps, enemy clothing and supplies.
Battalions comprising the task force included the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf; 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, and 2nd Bn, 34th Armor. Companies from other battalions of the division were assigned to the task force for portions of the operation.
|Thought for Today
Abraham Lincoln once said: "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it."
New Leave Policy To Affect ITT, Stateside Transferees
Soldiers are not able to take as much leave enroute to their next duty stations as they have been under a new Army policy effective 1 May 1968.
Those leaving for the states or a duty assignment on an inter-theater transfer are now authorized a maximum of 30 days leave.
The amount authorized prior to movement for other soldiers will vary. For transfers within the same overseas command or within the Continental United States, a soldier will no longer be authorized leave on his orders. The commander of the soldiers unit will control the amount of leave.
Emergency leave, ordinary leave, for compassionate reasons or enlistment leave is limited to a maximum of 30 days.
Basic combat trainees coming to Vietnam will only get 15 days leave before movement unless they are assigned to a stateside unit first. These personnel may take a 14 day leave before going to their unit and 15 more prior to overseas movement plus any accrued leave if the commander authorizes it.
MANCHUS Engage VC For 9 Hours
1ST BDE -The 25th Inf Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", killed 84 Viet Cong with the aid of helicopter light fire teams and airstrikes, six kms northwest of Saigon.
The action started at 3 am when a large Viet Cong force ran into one of the battalion's night ambush patrols. Withdrawing from the intense fire, the VC brushed a second night ambush patrol.
The Viet Cong, hurt from the two skirmishes, ran into the Manchus night perimeter. The VC mortared the night position with 60mm mortars and tried to break through the perimeter under the barrage but were repulsed by the Manchu infantrymen.
The Viet Cong crawled down a trench and tried to flank several positions. But SP4 Rick Bridwell spotted them and opened up with his M-16 rifle, killing one Viet Cong. PFC James Gilliland popped a claymore mine on the advancing enemy, killing five. Turning, Gilliland noticed an enemy soldier crawling off to his right flank. Fortunately, he reacted quicker than the VC and shot him.
The fight raged through the night and into the morning with the VC suffering heavy losses. Gunships and airstrikes were called in on the enemy positions. Around noon the enemy broke contact and fled, dragging some of their dead and wounded with them. The Manchus swept the area around the camp and counted 84 dead VC.
|A smiling Viet Cong soldier gladly accepts a helping hand from CPT William E. Shaffer, CO of Trp C, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, after being buried in his hole during a battle two kms west of Saigon. The soldier was a member of a VC unit which was stopped by 25th Inf Div units during a weekend attempt to attack Saigon. (Photo by SP5 J.D. Slater)|
Point Blank Fight Nets Wolfhounds 16 Enemy
2ND BDE - Elements of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bn, 27th Inf ."Wolfhounds", killed at least 16 enemy in a battle that raged all day at point blank range.
1LT William C. Kemp, 23, of Carmel, Ind., Co A CO, reported that the battle's climax came when a two-man assault team slogged across a fire-swept canal and knocked out the enemy's flank bunker.
Kemp said his company had swept only 400 meters after airlifting into rice paddies 16 kms north of Saigon when Viet Cong gunners opened fire as the Wolfhounds were in midstream crossing a canal.
When enemy in a second series of bunkers began to fire, Kemp pulled his men back and called for helicopter gunship support.
A light fire team from the 116th Aslt Heli Co raked the enemy trenches and bunkers with fire, Kemp reported, and "did a real fine job."
Meanwhile, another Wolfhound platoon had exchanged fire with dug-in Viet Cong to the north of his position.
Co A and Co C, which had moved in to reinforce, pulled farther back and called in artillery and tactical air strikes on the enemy's "L"-shaped bunker complex.
"We got a breakthrough the second time we went in," Kemp related. "We got one element across the canal, and they managed to secure the other side."
The pair, PFC's Alan B. Woodward, 21, of Delavin, Wise., and Donald K. Frye, 26, of Kingstrel, S.C., crossed the canal under fire and tossed four hand grenades in the bunker, killing two Viet Cong and capturing their weapons and a 60mm mortar tube.
"Then we moved more men across, but found four more bunkers down the canal," Kemp related. "They opened fire after we knocked out the flank bunker.
"The first platoon lined up and gave covering fire, we got the men back to our side of the canal and pulled back for more support," Kemp said.
A third wave of air strikes, artillery and gunships finally broke the enemy resistance. A final, third assault across the canal succeeded in taking the line of heavily-reinforced bunkers, Kemp added.
Inside, his men reported finding the 16 communist bodies, five automatic weapons and an RPG-2 rocket launcher with several rounds of ammunition.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
PFC Joseph J. Kasuboski, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Nathan G. Jones, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Clark L. Lohmann, Co B, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Aubrey G. Corley, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Jan E. Nelson, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC David J. Behrens, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
PFC Lawrence N. Keller, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Jimmie Burton, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Alvin E. Hayes, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Paul E. Lewis, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Leonard Naldoff, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Rickey C. Still, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC John Germick, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Roy E. Flesher, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gary E. Rusha, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Elroy D. Lozano, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Donald R. Hildebran, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC James M. Harvey, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Richard L. Brin, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Jimmy J. Sterling, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Ignaius L. Castaldo, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Harold L. Neff, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC William A. Seiman, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Lupe D. Mancha, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Wallace L. Giesen, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Luis A. Olmeda, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Larry G. Weinrick, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Thomas P. Martin, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Peter McDermitt, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Ronald Morel, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Roger W. Jackson, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Larry G. Baker, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Barry L. Lamp, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC John V. Michlitsch, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Steven L. Harmon, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jimmie L. Marcum, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Frank M. Jermann, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Conley J. Lineberry, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Abie, Mazon, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
PFC Alvin G. Martina, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Virgil E. Ewings, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gerol Mingo, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Leonard S. Wilinski, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Ronald L. Fawly, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Paul D. Warsaw, HHC, 3rd Bde
PFC Edwin E. Johnston, HHC, 3rd Bde
PFC Francis McCann, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Robert L. Gaylor, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Walter D. Wilkie, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Andrew R. Wilcox, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Lee E. Marsh, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gary L. Landis, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Gregory A. Whitehead, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Parris L. Nelson, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Charadine Lewis, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Phillip W. Hooks, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Alvin King, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Booker Jones, Jr. Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Alexander Mogo, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Isaiah H. Jones, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC John L. Difelice, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC George R. Davaul, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Orie C. Beltz, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Dirk L. Zollinger, Co A, 3rd Bn. 22nd Inf
PFC Richard R. Tryba, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gerald W. Foote, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Curtis Williams Jr., Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC James E. Dice, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gary B. Conner, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Frederick L. Sels, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Walter G. Wilson, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Sheliey O. Smith, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Mitchell K. Furman, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Donald R. Beckstrom, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC Santiago A. Sanchez Jr., C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Billy J. Brown, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Roger S. Warner, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gill R. Moffitt, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC James L. Mc Allister, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Norman R. Bryant, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty ,
PFC Donald R. Anderson, A Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Jimmy R. Pierce, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Ira R. Brewer, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Gary L. Hulet, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Jackie M. Chaney, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Tom J. Gunn, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC George K. Hatfield, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Duty Exemptions Save $!
In addition to the two types of exemptions discussed in the last two weeks' articles, sending gifts not exceeding $10 in value and the special $50 exemption for gifts from a combat zone, there are two more types of goods exempt from customs duties.
One of these, personal and household property, includes items acquired overseas for personal use of persons returning to territory of the U.S. under government orders upon ending of extended duty.
The exemption applies to those on regular tour or on TDY of 140 or more days. Parcels should be addressed "Free entry claimed under Law, movement orders enclosed." Enclose a copy of orders.
The other exemption includes articles which are grown, produced or manufactured in the U.S. and have not been advanced in value or improved in condition since export.
These may be mailed back duty free to the U.S. but a properly filled out customs form must accompany them. The words "Returned U.S. Merchandise" will be written on the form.
Jewelry poses the only problem as parcels containing any, especially costume jewelry or watches having a value of more than $10.00 will not be accepted at APOs except as registered mail. Registered mail is limited to first class or at the air mail rate.
It is therefore advisable to mail jewelry valued higher than $10.00 in a separate parcel to avoid paying postage at the higher rate for other articles mailed at the same time.
Customs exemption rules are comparatively easy to understand and remember although there are some fine points which now and then apply.
The major points to remember are that there are exemptions for gifts of $10.00 or less, for $50.00 worth of gifts for military members, for personal goods being sent when a member is reassigned back to the states and for goods originally from the U.S. and have not been improved.
Since you cannot pay the customs charges on parcels you send home, it would be best to remember these guidelines. Not many people want to send their loved ones a gift which cannot be delivered without payment of a customs fee!
Put Your Photos In Yearbook
Are you a really great photographer? Could you put to shame such photographic greats as Horst Faas, Matthew Brady and Pinky Finklemeier? If so, you may have a photo or two of such truly exceptional quality that it would merit inclusion in the 1967-68 25th Inf Div yearbook.
In case you haven't realized it yet, the forgoing was a sneaky attempt to gain your attention and make you aware of our need for good black and white photographs or color slides which help tell the story of the Tropic Lightning Div in Vietnam.
If you have pictures you think might fill the bill, we at the Div Information Office would like to see them. If we share your feelings, we'll have the photos or slides copied and return to you pronto without damage. Your gems may very well, in such case, appear in the next yearbook. And if they do, you'll be given credit.
So. . . Provolone! (Or is it "Cheese!, I never can remember.)
|A Good Thought
GEN Dwight Eisenhower, speaking in London in 1945, said: "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."
Don't Pass Up Fight; VOTE For freedom
How many times in our lives have we backed away from a good fight - not just a passing fracas, but one that directly affects us by its outcome? It doesn't sound logical does it? When we've got something at stake, we're going to fight for it tooth and nail.
Well, if past statistics hold true, about half of us are going to turn our back on one of these fights this year. We're going to pass it by without a second glance and then, when it's all over, we're going to sit around and cry about the outcome. We're going to howl like a stuck pig because the guys we let do our fighting lost and we don't like the way the winners are doing things.
We're not talking about the shooting war in Vietnam - or a shooting war anywhere else for that matter. We're talking about the battle that's going on right here at home this year - the 1968 elections.
This is our chance to fight with something other than bullets - our ballot. It's one of the most powerful weapons we own in the battle to maintain freedom. But it's like any other weapon - we have to use it for it to do any good.
Now don't start mouthing all the worn-out reasons why our vote isn't important or we can't vote. Ninety-nine per cent of the reasons just don't hold water.
Our vote is important and, strange as it might seem, could be the deciding vote in our state's election. Another worn-out excuse for not voting is, "I'm so far away from home I can't get back there to vote."
What about an absentee ballot? Have we taken the time to learn how to get one so we can vote no matter where we are when election time rolls around?
There is a little card called the Federal Post Card Application for Absentee Ballot (FPCA) available to all commands. It's the key to absentee voting. Once we fill it out and send it to our home state, we've started the ball rolling.
Sometimes, just the FPCA is enough to get us registered and get our ballot. In other cases, it gets us the particular state forms we must fill out and return to be eligible to vote. This varies from state to state, but the FPCA is the first step.
The Department of Defense and the individual services provide more ammunition for the battle of the ballots. They publish page after page of voting information which can tell us all we need to know about voting in our states. All it takes to get it is a few minutes of our time.
Our absentee ballot is our weapon and knowledge is our ammunition. Use them and use them effectively in the battle of the 1968 elections. (AFPS)
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
MG F. K. Mearns . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Andrew J. Sullivan . . Information Officer
2LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Terry Richard . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Don Brown . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
RVN Induction Centers Filled; Thousands Wanting To Serve
"After what the Viet Cong did to me and my people, I wanted to do more to fight them . . . I volunteered as soon as I was able."
This is how 20 year-old Pham Hue Phuc explains what compelled him to volunteer for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).
Throughout South Vietnam, military induction centers are working overtime to process a huge influx of volunteers for the armed forces.
Like Phuc, who saw his family home destroyed and his parents wounded, many young men have developed a feeling of bitterness engendered by the Viet Cong Tet offensive.
The sudden attack during the holiday period was unsuccessful. The communists lost some 40,000 of their best troops and failed to achieve a hoped for popular uprising. Nevertheless, thousands of South Vietnamese civilians were killed, more thousands injured and many thousands left homeless.
According to the South Vietnam Mobilization Chief, COL Bui Binh Dam, over 20,000 new recruits have joined the ARVN since Jan 1. This is over three times the number of enlistments for the same period in 1967.
COL Dam attributes the sudden rise to "a sense of national identity that the communist offensive has given to the poeple of South Vietnam."
He added, "They won't soon forget what they have seen."
|Thoung Si Nhat (First Sergeant) Cu, greets new recruits as they arrive at the Danang Recruiting and Induction Center.|
VRB's Now Available In Lump Sum Payment
All personnel interested in applications for a lump sum payment of the Variable Reenlistment Bonus as a result of reenlistment are advised to read the following changes in processing.
As of May 11, the individual requesting payment must indicate in writing to his immediate commander his desire to receive lump sum VRB payment and specific reasons for it.
He must include the MOS in which qualified, ETS or intended reenlistment date, the length of reenlistment, a statement that income tax implications of lump sum payment are understood and the purpose or planned use of the payment.
When stating the planned use, he has three choices. One, to discharge personal debts or obligations. Two, his desire to make a worthwhile investment to enhance his future financial status or provide for retirement, or three, an income tax benefit which he will accrue.
A final statement as to the amount of lump sum requested and VRB payment already received if applicable.
The commander will also include a statement that the individual has been advised of tax obligations and tax advantage arising from annual payment.
Personnel in Vietnam will be appraised according to provisions of DA message 799632 on "Combat Zone Exclusion of VRB for Federal Income Tax purposes."
Because payment of lump sum VRB overseas could adversely affect gold flow if not controlled, the commander will counsel the individual on available savings plans, including bonds and soldier savings which are very advantageous to him.
'Stinger' Pilot Spots Cache
2ND BDE - Alerted by helicopter gunships that "something" was lying on the ground ahead, a 25th Inf Div platoon captured a massive enemy supply cache 20 kms northwest of Saigon.
The first platoon of Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", captured 15,600 pounds of polished rice partly camouflaged in stacks along a canal dike near the Saigon River.
A "Stinger" gunship pilot of the 116th Aslt Heli Co first warned the infantrymen that "something covered by straw" was lying scattered along the canal bank 100 meters to their front.
The platoon, led by 2LT Robert Presser of Warren, Mich., moved up and discovered a series of hay-covered mounds.
Moving north along the canal, the platoon reported finding two more caches, containing a total of 126 100-pound bags of rice.
CHOPPER KILLS 25 VIET CONG NEAR BORDER
CU CHI - A 25th Avn Bn gunship killed 25 Viet Cong and detained one while on its way to support an ARVN compound at Diamond Village near the Cambodian border.
After the initial assault, pilot CWO George A. Grinnell of Berkeley, Calif., swooped his Huey in low. He and his co-pilot WO Robert E. Hayner of Wichita Falls, Texas, spotted two VC scuttling into a foxhole.
A hail of bullets from door gunner SP5 Bill Caubeaon, Ellwood City, Pa., brought one of the enemy out to surrender. The chopper landed and picked up the suspect with his AK-47.
While enroute back to Cu Chi, the detainee told Grinnell, who speaks Chinese, that he was Cambodian, and that the VC had pressed him to fight.
Later, he was turned over to the ARVNs.
Mech Battles NVA For Every Inch Of Ground, 33 VC Die
2ND BDE - Inching through a hamlet two kms south of Tan Son Nhut Air Base, elements of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, killed at least 33 North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops in a three-hour battle.
According to 1LT Henry Engelke, 27, San Angelo, Tex., the 25th Div troopers moved into Phu Tho Hoa after villagers reported an enemy reinforced platoon had occupied the town.
In the opening stages of the search, the U.S. troops detained one North Vietnamese soldier and found the bodies of 22 more who had been killed by air strikes.
But soon afterwards, the 2nd Bde infantrymen spotted an armed man darting between two buildings. Minutes later, Engelke said, automatic weapons and RPG rocket fire erupted from the far side of the community.
LTC Thomas C. Lodge of Deland, Fla., organized his unit into an assault line and started a house-to-house advance through the village. "The rapid reaction of the men quickly turned the advantage to us," he related.
"The fighting was inch by inch," added Engelke. "They wouldn't give ground."
Using machine guns, anti-tank weapons, grenades and automatic rifles, the "Bobcats" eventually picked off at least four enemy RPG teams in methodical assault through the village.
When the infantrymen reached the last two streets of the village, they sent armored personnel carriers crashing over heavy enemy entrenchments and routed the NVA force from the village.
A final search of the community turned up four RPG-2 rocket launchers, eight AK-47 assault rifles and an assortment of ammunition and gear, Engelke, the battalion intelligence officer, reported.
VC Stroll Into Assembly Area
2ND BDE - Two Viet Cong were killed and a third was detained when they walked nonchalantly into an assembly area that had already been occupied by 25th Inf Div troops.
PSG James M. Sims, 46, of Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds" said his unit had set up at dark along a canal bank 15 kms west of Saigon.
The first enemy was killed about 1 am as he walked into the U.S. position, carrying a bag of 60mm mortar rounds "and talking his head off," Sims said. The second enemy was killed by machine gun fire as he walked into the company's night location about a half hour later.
Sims said a suspect found near the site the next morning explained the canal bank was to have been an assembly area for a Viet Cong company.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
Charlie's Rockets Streak For Home
Cu Chi Base Camp celebrated the 78th birthday of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh. It was with the greatest of pleasure that Tropic Lightning Divarty, assisted by men of the U.S. Element Combined Material Exploitation Center prepared their own version of a North Vietnamese party.
But for 'Charlie' out beyond the perimeter, it was not to be such a pleasant occasion. Rather than use U.S. artillery to show the Viet Cong that they wanted in on the celebration, they fired his own weapons back at him!
Using 122mm Russian-built rockets captured by men of the 2nd Bde, the canoneers set them up on the outskirts of the base camp and, on the eve of the President's birthday, the six foot-four inch long rockets blasted off on a return trip to 'Charlie.'
Undoubtedly, it gave him some food for thought, but for the men of the 25th Inf Div it was more like the icing on the cake.
|PUSHED FOR FIRING - A captured Russian-built 122mm rocket is fused for firing back at Viet Cong forces. Fusing the rocket at Cu Chi base camp is Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Thomas L. Swearenger, munitions analyst for the Combined Material Exploitation Center. He is assisted by SP4 Jerry L. Peters of 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf. The rocket, captured by men of the Tropic Lightning Div, was fired on the eve of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh's 78th birthday.|
|PRE-FIRING BRIEFING - LTC John C. Baker (center) director of US Element Combined Material Exploitation Center, explains the fine points of firing the rocket to assistant division commander, BG Donald D. Dunlop (left). COL Gordon Sumner Jr., commander of the Division's Artillery (right), listen in.|
|OLD STANDBY - A few sandbags provide a good alternate position for firing 122's.|
|BIRTHDAY PRESENT - The rocket blasts off on its "return trip". It was fired into a suspected enemy position.|
|READIED FOR FIRING - The 122 is loaded for firing back at the VC.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
New Boots Made For
Walking In Paddies
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (ANF) - The chief surgeon at McDonald Army Hospital here has designed a new combat boot for use in swampy areas of Vietnam.
LTC Foster H. Taft, Jr., created the boot by using nylon mesh instead of leather on the side panels. He calls the new footgear "paddy boots" because they resist the heat, mud and water of rice paddies.
The innovative surgeon, who received the Legion of Merit for streamlining the helicopter evacuation of wounded soldiers in Vietnam, designed the boot to fight the foot problems of infantrymen.
While serving as a medical battalion commander for 9th Inf Div soldiers fighting in the Mekong Delta, Taft noticed that the Americans were suffering from long exposure to water but captured enemy troops showed no ill effects.
"Because they were clothed only in shorts or loose, lightweight trousers and wearing no underwear or footwear, I decided that the clothing of our soldier was limiting him in combat," the Army doctor said.
He designed a boot of nylon mesh and leather that would help drain water out of the boot and also reduce the temperature inside - thus preventing fungus growth that causes irritation. The U.S. Army Natick Laboratories, Natick, Mass., produced sample boots.
The Palo Alto, Calif., doctor also suggested a mesh sock made of quick-drying synthetic fiber that would be cooler than the standard Army wool sock.
|REGULARS - From the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, board a Chinook from the 242d Aslt Spt Heli Co as the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, force moves to a new position near Cu Chi.|
TOMAHAWKS Keep Moving;
"Move On" a Familiar Cry
1ST BDE - In late Jan 1966, the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf arrived in Vietnam. As always when a unit changes locations they must build upon a new area. The "Tomahawks" did just that at the 25th Inf Div Hqs located at Cu Chi.
A handful can still recall the long hours they worked in building the many hootches, bunkers and roads. The battalion area was made as comfortable as possible. There was a certain modest pride that is had in the appearance of our battalion area.
The Tomahawks while working out of Cu Chi have taken part in Operations Junction City, Gadsden, Manhattan, Barking Sands, Atlanta, Saratoga and Quyet Thang just to mention a few. These operations were considered major successes as the enemy was routed out of various areas of operation. Pride seems to linger in every man's heart with the satisfaction of a job well done.
But as always when you have built something well and accomplished something constructive, there comes a familiar cry of "Move On." So the Tomahawks started all over again, loading bags and baggage for a move from Cu Chi to Tay Ninh. There was the tiresome task of loading foot lockers, wall lockers, army cots and personal gear on a "deuce and a half". Many a Tomahawk sweated in the heat of the day, loading all the equipment from the mess hall, supply and administration.
Upon their arrival at Tay Ninh, they found a vacant lot and were told, "This is your new home." Some of the men could vision what the area would look like in a matter of weeks. Day after day the sounds of hammers and saws could be heard throughout the battalion area. Slowly but surely hootches sprung up overnight, administrative sections were again in full operation and yet men were in the field routing out the enemy in an area strange to them.
United once again with the 1st Bde, the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf is ready to serve out of its new home at Tay Ninh. In making such a move in so short a time, it is truly keeping not only in the tradition of the Tomahawk slogan, "WE SERVE" but also the motto of the 25th Inf Div, "READY TO STRIKE ANYWHERE .... ANYTIME."
3/22 Ambush Nets 3 VC
3RD BDE - Shortly after an Eagle flight into their old habitat, the thick jungle near Dau Tieng, a 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf ambush patrol accounted for three Viet Cong killed.
The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div force had established night ambush at the intersection of two recently used trails.
"Just before midnight a squad of enemy troops came toward us down one of the trails," explained CPT Gerald J. White, Delta Co CO, "so we blew our claymores when they reached the killing zone."
Two enemy were killed instantly, one an NVA regular, while another VC escaped into the night.
Three hours later several more VC advanced down the other trail. The "Regulars" claymores killed one of the enemy.
"We heard the others flee toward a nearby woodline so we called in artillery on the area," stated White.
Recovered from the bodies were one .38 pistol, one AK47 assault rifle, and several Chicom grenades.
2ND BDE - The enemy troop was just standing there so what else could a good western-watching PFC Dexter Danielson say but, "Stick 'em up'!"
Danielson, of Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, was on a 25th Div combat patrol when he heard a noise to his front.
Upon investigation, Danielson saw a North Vietnamese soldier digging a spider hole, his AK-47 lying on the ground, less than 50 meters from the U.S. position.
Danielson crawled up, jammed his rifle in the enemy's back and told him to reach for the sky.
Besides detaining the enemy, Danielson, of Portland, Ore., captured the assault rifle, web gear, a gas mask and some medical supplies.
Kit Scout Gets Drop On
Three Hiding Charlies
1ST BDE - Keen ears and careful planning by a 25th Inf Div rifle company paid off as three suspected Viet Cong were detained along with their weapons and supplies during Operation Toan Thang.
Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, detained the suspects while en route to their night ambush site 30 kms northwest of Saigon.
"I was walking right flank and I heard something move," said PFC Wesley F. Hall, of Bapchule, Ariz. "I called for 'Squirrel' and he came over to help me out," added the rifleman.
SP4 Thomas M. Winston of Panama City, Fla., (nicknamed 'Squirrel') alerted the rest of the company and the suspected area was surrounded.
"We figured the VC had hidden in one of the tunnels in the area and we cautioned the men in examining the tunnel entrances," remarked one of the platoon leaders, 2LT Francis J. Culkin of Philadelphia, Pa.
After 20 minutes of careful searching one of the company's Kit Carson scouts, Vo Van Nam, heard and located the VC. Nam succeeded in talking the enemy into giving up.
In addition to the three detainees, three AK-47 assault rifles, web gear and personal items were evacuated.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
Lot Of Pots Found In VC's Mess Hall
1ST BDE - A 25th Inf Div rifle company has reported the discovery of a Viet Cong mess hall during Operation Toan Thang 30 kms northwest of Saigon.
Co A, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, uncovered the kitchen while examining an enemy campground on a reconnaissance in force mission throughout the Filhol Rubber Plantation.
"We had been humping all morning and were headed back to our night location when we found the camp," said SGT Charles R. Pearson of Radnor, Ind.
The Tropic Lightning troops immediately set up security and made a thorough search of the area.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw all the food that came from the bunkers," stated SP4 James L. Chapman of San Antonio, Tex. "In the bunkers there was a lot of freshly prepared food, jars of pickled peppers, dried fish, peanuts, wheat cereal, canned cocoa, 50 pounds of rice as well as various cooking utensils," added the rifleman.
The infantrymen divided up the cache and carried it back to their base of operations. A pot of mixed C-rations and Viet Cong herbs with rice was then prepared for the hungry infantrymen's evening meal.
"You might call our meal a kind of half and half," concluded SP4 James H. Cook of Troutman, N.C.
|HERE'S ANOTHER - SGT Charles R. Pearson of Radnor, Ind., removes cooking pot from Viet Cong kitchen found during 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, sweep 30 kms northwest of Saigon. (Photo By SP4 Larry Weist)|
NVA Gets Into Twin Trouble
2ND BDE - The soldier walking down the berm looked like one of his own men, but SGT Dan M. Burchfield's shouts to take cover were drowned by the noises of the fight.
Minutes before, a first platoon ambush patrol of Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", had triggered an ambush along a deserted highway 20 kms northwest of Saigon.
The patrol hit the lead elements of an estimated North Vietnamese platoon but soon drew fire as the remainder of the enemy force moved up.
Burchfield, 20, of Itta Bena, Miss., saw that the left element of the patrol was receiving the heaviest contact, and decided to draw it back into a defensive perimeter with the rest of the platoon.
As he began to circle around his squad, he noticed someone walking toward him. When the figure drew closer, Burchfield spotted the AK-47 assault rifle.
"Somehow the NVA had infiltrated the platoon perimeter," explained the squad leader. "I got him with one burst of my M-16."
After the platoon regrouped, the NVA force broke contact. A search the next morning revealed four dead NVA regulars and the AK-47.
725th Maint Bn
Unit of the Week Keeps 25th Moving
Every fighting unit today, as any fighting unit of previous wars, cannot function effectively for any long period of time without backup support. For this reason, the Department of the Army has created Support Commands for its line units.
Today in Vietnam, for every man out on the front line there are nine men backing him up with support.
Though individuals of these Support Units can operate effectively as infantrymen when required, they have the responsibility of seeing that the men up front have the necessary supplies, maintenance and evacuation so vital for efficient operation. The 725th Maint Bn is one of these units.
First organized on Oct first, 1941, it served as a maintenance platoon of HHC, 325th Quartermaster Bn in the territory of Hawaii.
After the outbreak of World War II, the 725th was converted to an Ordnance Maint Plt on August first, 1942. Three months later the 725th was reorganized as the 725th Ordnance Light Maint Co and assigned to the 25th Inf Div.
The 725th while supporting the 25th Inf Div, witnessed famous campaigns such as Guadalcanal, Northern Solo mons and Luzon. For their outstanding service, the 725th was awarded the Philippine Unit Citation. This was the first of the numerous awards the 725th would receive.
During the Korean War the 725th went through another restoration and became the 725th Ordnance Bn.
As in World War II, the 725th participated in a number of famous campaigns in this conflict. Providing combat material support and their relentless efforts to ensure that the combat effectiveness of the division was always at a maximum, won them two Republic of Krea Presidential Unit Citations and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
On July 15th, 1963, the 725th was reorganized again into the 725th Maint Bn.
Today in Vietnam, the 725th is providing 80 per cent of the third echelon support for the Tropic Lightning Div. During 1966 the 25th Inf Div Support Command was confronted with the major task of building and developing the base camp of Cu Chi.
Their display of professionalism, a high degree of initiative, exceptional zeal and dedicated devotion won them their second Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional service.
The 725th Maint Bn has been lauded continually for keeping up with its motto, "Service to the Line", in a most admirable way.
Ammo & Rifles In Big Caches
2ND BDE - Operation Toan Thang infantrymen reported finding a cache containing enough rifles, ammunition and equipment to arm an enemy squad during a sweep of canal banks 15 kms north of Saigon.
SGT Roger McCorriston, 25, Medford, N.J., said his squad located the cache while searching the scene of an earlier battle.
McCorriston said he accidentally kicked a bamboo log in which his men found two AK-47 assault rifles. Continuing the search, his men found three more automatic weapons, 4,000 rounds of ammunition, 35 AK magazines and five sets of web gear.
His company of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," also reported capturing 15 Chicom hand grenades, two rifle grenade launchers and a Viet Cong medical handbook in the cache.
Reconnaissance Beats Whole VC Battalion
CU CHI - The 15th of May marked a black day for the VC 7th Bn, Sub-Region, also known as the "Cu Chi District Battalion."
On this day, the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav surprised the VC battalion in the upper Ho Bo Woods, 11 kms northeast of Trang Bang and just west of the 'mushroom' of the Saigon River.
During a routine reconnaissance mission, A Trp, commanded by CPT William 0. Coomer, spotted nine VC moving in the underbrush of an area cleared by Rome plows.
Opening fire on the enemy, the cavalrymen downed three, when suddenly VC hidden in fortified positions opened up with RPG anti-tank weapons, small arms and machine guns. The battle raged all morning in the thick underbrush.
When additional ground support was necessary, C Trp of the 4th Cav, commanded by CPT William E. Shaffer, was moved in. In order to reach the area, C Trp made an excellent cross-country move, deploying rapidly to the north of A Trp. The VC defenses were split in two by "Mackenzies Raiders," the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav. A search revealed 99 VC bodies.
Aggressive action by numerous troopers was commonplace. 1LT Roger A. See and SP4 Roy A. Harbaugh led searches of tunnels that produced three VC detainees.
In addition to a high body count, the squadron captured 28 individual weapons, 3 anti-tank rocket launchers, 3 light machine guns, 2 60mm mortars and two flame throwers. They detained six VC for questioning.
More than eight tons of rice were captured and turned over to division civil affairs personnel. One cache alone, found by C Trp in the lower Boi Loi Woods, produced six tons of polished rice.
PFC Lyall H. Chester of A Trp, was rewarded for his thorough search of a tunnel by locating approximately 50 pounds of medical supplies.
It was a busy week for "Mackenzies Raiders," the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
RELIEF FUND HELPS YOU!
The 1968 Joint Annual Fund Campaign for Army Emergency Relief and the Army Relief Society is being conducted at present through Sept 13th.
Contributions to the emergency assistance program for servicemen and their families amounted to more than $173,000 in 1967.
The AER-ARS campaign provides an annual opportunity for all members of the Army to insure a year-long availability of emergency funds to themselves and their fellow soldiers.
Make your contribution soon.
"Rock" In Boot Really AK-47 Slug
2ND BDE - The fighting was heavy and bullets seemed to be flying everywhere, but all SP4 Michael J. Brassil could think about was the rock in his boot.
Soon enough, though, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds" pulled back to call in artillery support. The brief respite gave Brassil, 21, of Los Angeles, a chance to remove his boot.
Then he realized how hot the fighting had been: the "rock" was an AK-47 round that had ripped through the sole of his boot but was too spent to harm his foot.
"That's about as close as I ever want them to come," commented Brassil.
|M48-A3 TANK - A 25th Inf Div M48-A3 tank of the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, rumbles through the Ho Bo Woods in search of the enemy, 41 kms northwest of Saigon. (Photo By PFC Robert Dinardo)|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
GREAT DAY FOR 2/22
3RD BDE - A pinch of fire fight, a dash of river work and throw in several large caches to complete a very good day for the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf.
Several skirmishes on the eastern fringe of the Boi Loi Woods brought the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div unit nine Viet Cong bodies and nine VC suspects detained.
A series of caches produced 30,000 pounds of rice, 5,500 pounds of peanuts, 1,000 pounds of salt, 65 cases of canned food, and 30 cases of powdered milk.
Equipment caches revealed 30 drums of gasoline, nine drums of oil, eight sampans, seven outboard motors, seven bicycles, two carbines, a set of carpenter's tools, bolts of cloth, clothing and medical supplies.
The day's results were especially satisfying when considered in light of the fact that the "Triple Deuce" sustained no casualties of any sort from any cause despite the contacts and varied operations.
Army Expands Its Insignia Program
The Army has expanded its distinctive insignia program.
Distinctive insignia are now authorized for major army commands, field armies, tactical corps, field forces, logistical commands, groups and hospitals.
Organizations already authorized distinctive insignia include parent regiments organized under the combat arms regimental system, TOE battalions, non-color-bearing units of separate brigades and divisions, service schools and organizations which inherit insignia from their predecessor units.
Chase Ends In Cache
2ND BDE - A 25th Inf Div rifle company uncovered a major enemy supply point in northern Gia Dinh Province after a seemingly futile chase of three fleeing enemy troops.
Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", had touched down in open rice paddies during an Operation Toan Thang combat assault.
According to CPT Arthur E. Blackwood, Co C CO, his men had just begun to sweep towards the Rach Ong Phau canal when the point elements spotted three enemy 300 meters away.
The trio managed to escape a fusillade of small arms and grenade fire, but Blackwood swung his company in pursuit across open rice paddies and marshland to the north.
The lead elements of the company reached the canal bank and discovered a sampan hidden in the tall grass, Blackwood, 34, of Rancho-Cordova, Calif., reported. Inside the boat were two AK-47 assault rifles and 15 pounds of medical supplies.
Within a 400 meter stretch, the Wolfhounds turned up a crew-served weapon ammunition supply point hidden in the grass along the canal.
Included in the find were five 122mm rockets, 98 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, 40 anti-tank mines, 120 RPG-2 rockets, 24 60mm and 162 82mm mortar rounds, two more automatic weapons and several pounds of medical supplies.
|An armored personnel carrier of the Reconnaissance Plt, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, moves along a jungle road as the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, force operates in the Boi Loi Woods. (Photo By SP4 Robert Rossow)|
42 F-111A's Grounded
The US Air Force has grounded 42 of its F111A fighter bombers for repair of a defective hydraulic valve.
Enemy Wears Big Holes Into A MANCHU's Clothing
1ST BDE - Heavy enemy fire didn't stop SP4 Frank Oder of Houston, Tex., from helping two wounded soldiers to safety recently. "They can't shoot me, I'm too short," was his confident reply when asked about his actions.
The VC certainly tried. The 25th Inf Div radio-telephone operator had two bullet holes in his radio, one in his canteen, and one in his shirt before it was over.
The incident occurred when an element of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was on a reconnaissance in force mission.
Oder's platoon was receiving intense machinegun fire from a hedgerow to their front. He saw one man get hit and crawled in the open to drag the wounded soldier to cover. Before he could get the man to safety, he had four holes in his equipment and clothing.
But this didn't stop him. Oder exposed himself to enemy fire a second time to help a wounded medic back to cover.
Oder emerged from the two-hour battle with only a slight burn from the tracer round that went through his shirt.
|Troopers from 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, team up and move towards a woodline during operation Toan Thang 35 kms northwest of Saigon. (Photo By SGT Marty Caldwell)|
|A machine gunner of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, blazes away at enemy positions during a fight 21 kms northwest of Saigon. A later sweep of the area indicated that the machine gun had knocked out a heavily reinforced enemy bunker.|
Don Casteel, 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
©2004 25th Infantry Division Association. All rights reserved.