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Vol 3 No. 35          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          August 26, 1968



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1st Bde                    3 2/14                       8 25th S&T               7 4/9                         6
1/5                          8 2/14                       8 25th S&T Photos   7 4/9 Photo               8
1/27                        1 2/22 Photo             4 3rd Bde Avn          3 4/23 Photo             4
1/27 Photo              4 2/22                       6 3/2                         1 4/23                       6
187 AHC Photo      4 2/27                       3 3/4 Cav                  1 4/23                       6
2/12 Photo              4 2/27 Photo             4 3/17 Air Cav Photo3 4/23 Photo             6
2/12                        6 2/34 Armor Photo  1 3/22 Photo             4 4/23                       6
2/14 Photo              1 25th                       4 4/9                         1 4/23                       8
2/14                        3 25th Avn                8 4/9 Photo               4 4/23                       8
2/14 Photo              4 25th Avn Photo      8



Rest, Relaxation Site Revealed To Regulars
By PFC Herb Burdett

   3D BDE - A remote jungle setting seven miles north of Tay Ninh revealed an enemy rest and recuperation center, replete with picnic tables and a giant trapline for gathering food.
   Two companies of the 3d Battalion, 2nd Infantry, air assaulted into the isolated area near the Cambodian border to assess damage from B52 bombing raids.  They happened onto a deserted base camp featuring seven bunkers with firing ports, some 15 feet long.
   "It looks as if this camp could hold 100 people at a time," commented Captain Ardre Blackmon of Natchez, Miss., commander of Alpha Company.
   While his company prepared destruction of the bunkers, Charlie Company came upon the trapline, which encircled the area and was more than 1,000 meters long.
   "It was well camouflaged and wound along a trail we were following," said Captain James B. Hansard of Plainview, Tex., company commander.  "We encountered several dead animals, some of which had been there only a short time."
   The 3d Brigade company followed the line, destroying traps as they went.  Meanwhile Alpha Company was turning up web gear, clothing, cooking utensils and fish traps inside the enemy entertainment center.
   Destroying the complex, the Regulars blasted apart the bunkers and burned the picnic tables and other equipment.
   "Charlie's picnic is over," quipped one G.I. as the infantrymen finished their task.


Sgt. Willard (KIA), PFC Patrick Finnegan CAPTURED MUNITIONS - Private First Class Patrick Finnegan (right) hands a 75mm recoilless rifle round to Sergeant Willard Arntz of Santa Ana, Calif.   Finnegan, from Bernardsville, N.J., uncovered 11 of the Chinese-made rounds while on a sweep with the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, five miles northwest of Saigon.  (PHOTO BY SP4 LARRY WEIST)



Wolfhound Fists Fix Fleeing VC
By SGT Ross Roessler

   2d BDE - A chase on foot and a face-to-face fist fight with six panic-stricken VC tallied one enemy dead and four detainees for the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.
   While on a reconnaissance-in-force mission the platoon responded to an intelligence report that six Viet Cong were moving through a village.
   Sergeant Celso Cinden, 21, of New York City was walking point when he saw three men moving on the outskirts of a village after curfew.  Cinden notified First Lieutenant Robert Foran, Jr., 21, of Waldwick, N.J., of the sighting.  Foran directed the men not to fire.
   "We called to the three in Vietnamese and told them to come to us so we could check their ID's," Foran said.  "The men turned and ran.  We chased them on foot, but we could not shoot since we didn't know exactly who the three men were."
   Specialist 4 David H. Foss, 19, of Roseau, Minn., an assistant squad leader said: "It was difficult to chase the men with all the web gear we had on, but finally I caught one of them and wrestled him to the ground.  I found papers on him and our interpreter identified them as being VC."
   The Wolfhound squad then opened up on the other two, killing one.  The third escaped into the hedgerow.


Dawn Patrol Looks For VC Activity - Road Blocks
By SP4 Don Brown

   CU CHI - The Dawn Patrol is one of the highest priority missions of the 25th Infantry Division.  But what is the Dawn Patrol and why is it so important?
   According to First Lieutenant Joe Owens of Richmond, Mo., a pilot with D Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, the Dawn Patrol is an aerial reconnaissance of all main supply routes (MSR) in the 25th's area of operations.
   On these early morning missions, the patrol looks for any signs of enemy interdiction on the roads and radios information concerning roadblocks and possible mines back to engineer road-clearing teams.
   "The sweep teams could clear the roads by traveling them and removing the road blocks as they come to them," said Owens, "but with five convoys a day traveling the supply routes it would take too long for the roads to be cleared and fewer convoys would be able to get to the more distant base camps.  Thus the amount of supplies delivered would be greatly reduced."
   According to Owens, interdiction along the MSR increases as enemy activity in an area increases, and currently there is very little.  As a result, the Dawn Patrol pilots can train new observers in aerial map reading during the early morning run.  In addition, they give new pilots an in-country orientation during the two-and-one-half hour flight.



   1ST BDE - A 1st Brigade soldier received an almost fatal lesson on Viet Cong tactics during a recent sweep operation near Saigon.
   Specialist 4 Dennis J. Newcomer of Beringsville, Pa., had taken his squad away from the main force of Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, to search nearby hedgerows when he heard something pop.  "I turned around and saw smoke and immediately hit the dirt," stated the lucky Manchu.
   "I yelled for the rest of my squad to hit it, realizing I had tripped a VC booby-trapped grenade.  After a few seconds - when I knew it wasn't going to go off - I got up knowing I would be much more careful in the future," Newcomer said.
   About five minutes later Newcomer found another booby trap set up in the same manner as the first one.  This one was blown in place.  His lesson was well learned.


SPLASHDOWN - An armored personnel carrier from Company A, 2d Battalion 34th Armor plunges through a shall stream while on a sweep operation near Tay Ninh.  (PHOTO BY PFC E.R. JAMES) 2/34th Armor



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968



LTC Roy K. Flint, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
LTC Peter W. McGurl, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
CPT David M. Wahlbom, A Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
CPT James P. Hales III, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CPT Joseph L. Daubek, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
1LT Marvin K. Davis, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
1LT James H. Kennedy, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT William A. Bates, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
2LT Michael E. Shirley, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
2LT David C. Murchison, B Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SFC Jackie Stoltz, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PSG Salvatore F. Pesta, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Jesse B. Lunsford, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SSG Rosevelt Arnold, HHC, 4th Bn, 83d Inf
SSG Harry W. Freeman, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT James B. Ayres, Jr., A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Earl E. Williams, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Bruce F. Cotta, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 George E. Collins, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Thomas W. Nettle, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
CPL Johnnie Exum, B Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty

SP4 Ralph A. Ball, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Daniel R. Doyle, B Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Billy L. Saylor, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Charles R. McCornish, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Anthony J. Reisdorf, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Joel D. Goodwin, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC William Pockrus, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Herbert G. Jansen, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Greg W. Gebhards, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
PFC Eduardo Marquez, Jr., Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Ronald J. Lemay, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Eric D. Anderson, HHC, 25th Inf Div
PSG Donald E. Westwood, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG Austin M. Randall, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT Harry Selby, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Willie Jones, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Charles H. Harbold, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Dwight D. Davis, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Jerald C. Peterson, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Lloyd I. Bennett, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William Williams, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf 
SP4 Clarence E. Wilson, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Donald J. Hellman, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Julian L. Hearndon, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 James E. Hill, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Damian J. Hennen, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SP4 Thomas M. Curtis, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Alfred Dempsey, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Jack L. Rhoads, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Joshua Patterson, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Frank J. Oder, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 George K. Murphy, Jr., Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Gary W. Oliver, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Leonard N. Royston, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Melvin T. Clubb, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 James Kent, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Dwayne L. Brooks, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James W. Beach, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 George R. Lovins, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Holsey Corbett, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC George W. Kumpe, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC David E. Williams, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Donald K. Frye, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Ralph F. Gutierrez, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Arthur D. Mobley, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Florencio Alvarez, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Herbert V. Short, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Julian T. Womble, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Robert J. White, A Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav

PFC Domingo Rodriquez, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
COL Fremont B. Hodson, Jr., HHC, 1st Bde
LTC Richard R. Simpson, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
LTC Roy K. Flint, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
LTC Winfred G. Skelton Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
MAJ Linden O. Tanner, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
MAJ Walter Kuehn Jr., HHD, 25th Avn Bn
MAJ Fred R. Michelson, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CPT Gerald T. Hipp, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
CPT James L. Jaap, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
1LT Harold D. Dye, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
1LT James E. Simpson, HHC, 1st Bde
1LT Larry D. Patterson, D Troop, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
1LT Julian T. Clements, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Bruce F. Wood, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Lawrence M. Jantz, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Dennis M. Wynn, HHC, 2d Bde
WO1 Michael D. Siegel, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 John P. Lawlor, Jr., Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 David W. White, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO2 Patrick M. Heffernan, Co A, 25th Avn Bn



Take Advantage of Schooling Army Offers You While You Serve Here

   With back to school days rapidly approaching for most students back in the world, it's time to remind you the Army also takes a strong interest in your education, civilian as well as military.
   If you are ambitious enough to make the most of your abilities by continuing your schooling, the Army can help you do it while on active duty.  For this purpose, the Armed Forces are spending over $10 million a year on their General Education Development Program.
   Whatever your background, wherever your assignment, you can continue your education by attending night classes and taking correspondence courses.  Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of the Army's general education programs while you are in the service.
   High Schools and Colleges near Army installations generally offer night courses for soldiers.  College training is offered overseas by branches of stateside institutions.  Army education centers conduct organized group study at 283 installations around the world, offering courses in academic, vocational and technical subjects.
   The Enlisted Civil Schooling Program offers you a chance to attend the college of your choice as a full-time student when you get back stateside.  If selected, your tuition will be paid in full by the Army and you will enjoy full duty and pay status while you are going to school.  For each year you go to school in the program you agree to stay in the Army two years.
   The Degree Completion Program gives the chance for EM and Officers to get their college diplomas if they can finish their requirements in a year.
   Most important, you may take correspondence courses in 200 subjects offered by the United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI).  The courses, now taken by more than 100,000 Army servicemen, offer subjects normally taught in high schools, trade schools and junior colleges.  An initial fee of $5 will cover all USAFI courses you ever take.
   Civilian college correspondence courses are also offered in cooperation with USAFI.  You pay only for your text books, while the Army picks up the tab for the lesson costs.
   All these programs are offered for your benefit at a fraction of the cost you would pay as a civilian. (ANF)


Storing Hand Grenades In Hootches A Dangerous Game

   The work detail arrived on the job at 0830 hours and began policing the area.
   About 0900 the sergeant started handing out specific jobs.  Joe and three others were assigned to the old hootch in the middle.  It had to be swept out and repainted.  It was going to be the new club.
   An hour later, hot and sweaty, the four were almost finished.  Outside a Vietnamese hootch-maid talked and joked with another member of the detail.
   In the rear corner of the hootch, hidden under an old magazine, Joe found the grenade.  It had been there a while but not long enough to rust.
   He thought of an idea.  It was obviously a dud grenade.  The pin was bent and half-pulled.  It looked like it had been fooled with before.  "Hey bud," he laughed, "catch," and Joe tossed the grenade toward the other end of the hootch where Bud bent over working.  It hit once, bounced and rolled on the floor.
   Bud turned around and his face went white with fear.  Joe was getting a kick out of it.  Then the handle clicked off into the air and Joe couldn't believe what he saw.  Incredulously he stood there, mouth open.  He knew it would happen now, but yet he couldn't say anything.
   A detonation shook the area.  A flash of flame seared the hootch.  People ran from neighboring hootches to find that four men were dead and see the holes in walls, ceiling and ruptured floor boards.
   Although this story is fiction, it could very easily happen.  Many people are leaving grenades laying around their hootches after coming in from the field.  Not only can one or two be forgotten when its time to move out, its also a dangerous place to keep them.
   Hand grenades are potent weapons, often more effective than machine guns.  They are not to be stored with personal gear unless you are in the field where you may need them.


New System Lets Families Phone Gis

   Families can call soldiers in Vietnam through a joint program of the 593d Signal Company and the 69th Signal Battalion of the 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.  A call costs about $25.
   Calls are booked with the commercial operator in Oakland, California.  The caller in the United States tells the operator whom he is trying to reach and the telephone number in Vietnam.
   The soldier's name, unit, location in Vietnam and telephone number must be given the operator whom he is trying to reach and the stateside caller should make plans in advance to assure that the military man is available at the phone number given the operator at the time the call is placed.
   Commercial telephone service is also available for calls to the United States from Nha Trang, Long Binh and Saigon.


   Listen To
Tropic Lightning's
Radio Program On
    AFVN Saigon
   1345 Hrs.



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 Ellis W. Williamson . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Andrew J. Sullivan . . .  Information Officer
2LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP4 Stephen Lochen . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Bill Berger  . . . . . . . . . . .  Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968


Dragons Cache In As VC Clear Out

   1ST BDE - A hastily-abandoned enemy bunker line was the scene of a large cache of weapons and equipment captured by a rifle company five miles northwest of Saigon.
   Company C, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, came upon the 100-meter line of Viet Cong fortifications while on a reconnaissance-in-force sweep during Operation Toan Thang II.
   "When we first came to the bunker line, we got on line and reconned the area by fire," said Private First Class William Reams, of Marina, Calif.  "They must have left in a hurry, because they left behind a lot of valuable medical supplies," added Reams, the 3d Platoon medic.
   After security was set up, the men were split into search teams.  A thorough search of the area resulted in the collection of several weapons and equipment left by the retreating Viet Cong after air strikes had almost completely destroyed their fortifications.
   Items found in the cache include: five AK-47 assault rifles; 11 RPG rounds and boosters; 11 82mm mortar rounds; and 300 rounds of AK-47 ammunition.  The Dragon troopers also recovered an M-79 grenade launcher with 30 rounds.


Door Gunner OUT OF THIS WORLD? - Perhaps the unidentified door gunner pictured here has an unearthly quality reflected by his helmet and dark shades, but infantrymen of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry riding aboard a helicopter, depend on his down-to-earth firepower as they approach a landing zone.  The 3d Brigade unit was conducting a combat assault near the edge of War Zone C north of Dau Tieng.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY)



Wolfhounds Wrap-up Ops.,
Take 5-Day Cu Chi Breather

   2D BDE - After 97 days of operations to halt the VC shelling of Saigon and block enemy infiltration into the capital city, the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, returned to Cu Chi for a five-day breather.
   During their combat operations in the Saigon area, the Tropic Lightning soldiers captured eighty-one 122 millimeter rockets that will never find their planned mark against Allied soldiers or Vietnamese civilians.
   In addition, the Wolfhounds killed 129 enemy soldiers and detained 20 enemy suspects.  They destroyed 425 enemy bunkers and fighting positions and took more than three tons of polished rice from the enemy.
   While at Cu Chi, Lieutenant Colonel John Kenny assumed command of the 2d Brigade battalion.  The out-going commander, Lieutenant Colonel W. G. Skelton, praised his men:  "They have done a great job, and I've been proud of them.


3/17th Air Cav. Mortar Memento
   CAV CACHE - Air Cavalrymen of 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, presented MG Ellis W. Williamson, CG of the 25th Infantry Division, mementos of the twenty-nine, 120-mm mortars they found seven miles southwest of Trang Bang. 
(l-r) MAJ Jerry Lendabrand, SP4 Adrian Quintero, MG Williamson, SSG C. J. Triplett, SSG William Betts, SSG T. D. Leonard and SGT Robert Odykirk.



Lt. Col. Wolf New Brigade Commander For 1st BDE

   A West Point graduate and veteran of World War II and Korea assumed command of the 1st Brigade recently at ceremonies in Tay Ninh.
   The new commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Duquesene A. Wolf, is-a 44-year-old resident of Fairfax, Va.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1946 and attained a masters degree in nuclear physics at the University of New Mexico in 1962.
   The outgoing commander of the 1st Brigade, Colonel Fremont B. Hodson, Jr., leaves Vietnam for a post in Washington, D.C.   Colonel Hodson served as battalion commander of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, and for seven and one-half months was commander of the . Division's 1st Lancer Brigade.
   Colonel Wolf has been a systems analysis officer for the past year in Washington, D.C.  His foreign service includes duty with the Army in Europe, Japan, Korea, and Iran.  His previous awards include the World War II Victory Medal;  Parachute Badge; Glider Badge; Army Occupation Medal, Germany; Korea Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; National Defense Service Medal, with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, and a Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
   In remarks at the ceremony, Major General Ellis W. Williamson, 25th Division commander, stated: "One of the symbols that our country respects and honors is its soldiers.  The record of this Brigade speaks for itself.  I dare the 9th North Vietnamese Army Division to conduct a change of command ceremony in a public area as we're doing here today."  General Williamson continued, "It's quite seldom that we give a brigade to a lieutenant colonel, but a lot of people have a lot of faith in Lieutenant Colonel Wolf."
   Upon his departure Colonel Hodson said: "It has been my pleasure and honor to serve with you.  I leave this country with mixed emotions.  However I leave knowing full well that Colonel Wolf has a good team.  One that will serve him well, as you have served me."
   In accepting command of the 1st Brigade, Colonel Wolf remarked, "It is with a deep sense of humility and a simple soldier's pride that I take command of the 1st Brigade."


Smokey Play Fails To Fool

   3D BDE - "All of a sudden I saw this purple smoke coming up out of the jungle.  Surely we weren't bombing; our own troops!"
   The smoke, an apparent signal indicating friendly forces, startled Major Charles. P. Cabell of San Antonio, Tex., as he was guiding an air strike eight miles northwest of Dau Tieng.
   "I had already checked and double checked the spot for friendlies, and had. received negative reports," said Cabell, an Air Force forward air controller with the 3d Brigade.
   A rapid third check verified the fact that no friendly units were operating in the isolated area of War Zone C.  Cabell and his OH-1 "Bird Dog" aircraft fired a marker pinpointing the target for an F-100 Supersabre-jet.
   Once again, two cans of red smoke popped as the bombs slammed home onto their goal.
   This time Cabell didn't hesitate.  He called another strike onto the spot.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968


Division Soldiers Bear Monsoon To Seek Out
August's Elusive Enemy


187th Assault Helicopter Company
MECH TAKES TO AIR - Helicopters of the 187th Assault Helicopter Company carry men of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry into the landing zone on a combat assault NEAR TAY NINH.  (PHOTO BY SP4 DON MOUSSEAU)


PFC Ken Christian and Barry Price, 2/12th ON GUARD - Eyes intent for signs of enemy movement, Privates First Class Ken Christian (left) of Los Angeles, Calif., and Barry E. Price of Loretto, Ky., both with Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, stand watch during an operation NEAR THE EDGE OF WAR ZONE C three miles north of Dau Tieng.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY)
TEAMWORK - Members of the four-deuce mortar platoon of Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry, prepare to send a projectile on its way toward a suspected Viet Cong position.  The Triple Deuce unit was operating three miles WEST OF SAIGON.  (PHOTO BY 1LT JOSEPH O'BRIEN) 2/12th
Sgt. Rex Tarkington on the radio WET RTO - Keeping in constant radio contact with his commander, Sergeant Rex Tarkington of El Dorado, Calif., wades across a canal five miles SOUTH OF SAIGON.  Tarkington is a radio-telephone operator for Company D, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.  (PHOTO BY SGT ROSS ROESSLER)


MOVE! - Men of Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry race toward a chopper ready to lift them into a combat assault to the JUNGLES OF WAR ZONE C seven miles north of Tay Ninh. The 3d Brigade Company was sent in to assess damage from B52 bombing raids.  (PHOTO BY PFC HERB BURDETT)
OOPS, IT'S DEEP - Soldiers of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, can barely keep their heads above water as they cross a stream four miles NORTHWEST OF SAIGON.  (PHOTO BY SP4 LARRY WEIST)
2/27th Wolfhounds
SLOSHING - Water is no barrier to the men of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds as they wade through knee-deep rice paddies on a reconnaissance-in-force mission NEAR SAIGON.  (PHOTO BY SP4 ROBERT O'HARE)
SEARCHING - On operation IN THE BOI LOI WOODS, soldiers of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, rumble through jungle and open terrain searching for an enemy regiment reported in the area.  (PHOTO BY CPT LES RASCHKO)
HITTING GROUND - Men from Company D, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, jump from their chopper as the Manchus start searching for VC rockets and supplies five miles WEST OF SAIGON.  (PHOTO BY PFC JAMES HOWARTH)



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968


Support Platoon Keeps Tomahawks Rolling

   1ST BDE - The infantrymen have been fighting, sweating and trudging through waist-deep water for the last eight hours.  They are mounted on their armored personnel carriers discussing the day's accomplishment with a certain pride.  They know that they are returning to their night location for a few hours of well-deserved rest.
   Enroute, there seem to be certain questions asked of the squad leader - "Sarge, is the mail in?" or "Are we getting any hot chow tonight?"  Or maybe it's the track driver who notices the needle on the fuel gauge almost magnetically approaching "empty" and jokes to his platoon leader, "Sir, I hope they've got some diesel at the night location because old Betsy has got a powerful thirst.
   Once inside the wire the company commander says, "Send your people to chow, have the resupply truck pick up the mail, ammunition, C-rations, ice and soda.  Also have your drivers refuel their APC's at the diesel point."
   To the soldiers of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, this makes a perfect ending to a very hard day.  As pointed out by many commanders in-country, "Give the infantryman a hot meal at night, his mail, and cold drinks and you've got a contented soldier."  The unsung heroes who make this all possible for the Tomahawk battalion are the dedicated men in their Support Platoon, led by First Lieutenant Gary D. Bennett of Seattle, Wash.
   "Regardless of where he is - whether it be deep in the Iron Triangle, in the thick of War Zone C or at a lonely outpost securing a bridge - he can be sure he has a hot meal coming and , very frequently cold drinks to rehabilitate his morale," pointed out Bennett.
   Lieutenant Colonel Clifford C. Neilson of Mobile, Ala., the Tomahawk battalion commander, has a special pride in his support platoon.  They accomplish the impossible and surmont the insurmountable," stated Neilson.
   Although attached to the battalion S-4, headed by Captain Franklin D. Shiplett of Vidalia, Ga.,  the Support Platoon quite often works independently.  The platoon is split into two teams; one is responsible for sending out the resupply to the field while the other is responsible for field distribution of the resupply.
   There is no such thing as an eight-hour day for these dedicated Tomahawks.  The men of the Support Platoon can recall many times when they worked at the "chopper-pad" well into the hours of darkness, or one particular day when they loaded 300 rounds of 4.2 inch mortars and over 100,000 rounds of small arms ammunition case by heavy case.


Soldier Cashes In On Cache Cycle Worth Weight In Gold

   1ST BDE - Tropic Lightning troopers of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23d Infantry have captured a wide variety of enemy equipment, but a red motorcycle already filled with gas was almost too much to believe.
   The infantrymen came upon the swift cache while sweeping through the thick undergrowth five miles southeast of Tay Ninh.
   Private First Class Ronnie Dixon of Hartsville, S.C., was cautiously checking out the hazardous undergrowth when a bright red object attracted his attention.  The Company C rifleman carefully approached the bright object and saw a motorcycle covered with a poncho.
   "There wasn't a road anywhere around us so I thought that Charlie had left the motorcycle booby trapped because it was probably worthless," stated Dixon.
   The 1st Brigade soldier carefully wrapped a cable around the handlebars and stood back 40 meters.  He yanked at the cable until he had dragged it a few meters.  Since it wasn't booby trapped he ripped the poncho off and exposed a beautiful bright red motorcycle filled with gas.


PFC Ronnie Dixon SWIFT CACHE - Private First Class Ronnie Dixon of Hartsville, S.C., sits atop a captured Viet Cong motorcycle.  Dixon found the cycle while on a reconnaissance-in-force mission with the 4th Battalion, (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, five miles southeast of Tay Ninh.  (PHOTO BY SP4 WALT CHAIKIVSKY)



White Warriors Wipe Out Snipers In Village Cordon

   3D BDE - Encircling a village which was falsely reported to be harboring 90 North Vietnamese regulars, two companies of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, killed a fleeing enemy sniper.
   The White Warriors of Bravo and Charlie companies crept up on the village in a pre-dawn linkup five miles northwest of Saigon, to be greeted by heavy sniper fire.
   Two enemy soldiers, apparently unaware of the tight cordon of 3d Brigade troops encircling the village, attempted to flee as they and other snipers withdrew from a position, near the north end of the settlement.
   The enemy duo stumbled onto a machine gun position manned by three members of Charlie Company.
   "They were almost on top of us before I saw them coming," said assistant gunner Private First Class Willie B. Phillips of Columbus, Ga.
   "I didn't have time to alert the gunner, and ammo bearer, so I tossed a grenade."
   Hurling another grenade into brush where the snipers had disappeared, Phillips and the rest of the Warriors waited until daybreak.
   They found the dead sniper and a blood trail indicating that the other enemy soldier had been injured.
   During the following day the two companies remained around the village as security element for a medical civic action program operation.


Triple Deuce APCs Rumble To MEDCAPs

   3D BDE - Rumbling into outlying communities aboard armored personnel carriers, medics of the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry, treated more than 2,000 Vietnamese patients in little more than 20 days.
   Daily medical civic action program operations in communities near Tay Ninh averaged in excess of 100 patients after Lieutenant Colonel King J: Coffman of La Crescenta, Calif., battalion commander, urged his medical team to "utilize every possible opportunity" to extend the medical program.
   "Of course there were the usual cases of cuts, fevers and minor infections," noted Specialist 5 William R. Fyles of Marion, N.Y., a clinical specialist with the Triple Deuce battalion aid station.
   "But occasionally we encounter a serious case.  Several days ago an elderly woman came to us with an advanced case of tuberculosis."
   The woman was taken to the 25th Medical Battalion's facilities at Tay Ninh, from where she was assigned to a civilian hospital for continuing treatment.


Record LCLC Score Set

   CU CHI - Sergeant Charles Hill of Leesburg, Fla., recently shattered the academic record of the Lightning Combat Leadership Course.
   Hill, serving with the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, graduated with the highest. score ever attained in the school's two year history.  He topped the scores of` thousands of previous graduates by scoring 725 points out of a possible 800.
   Hill attained a perfect score in the weapons and map tests.  In addition to a superior rating on the compass course, he scored better than 90 per cent on his oral presentation, tactics test, patrolling exam, and comprehensive final exam.
   "I went to the school and tried my best," remarked Hill.  "I guess I was just lucky."
   On graduation day he was promoted to the rank he now holds and is presently a squad leader in Charlie Company.


Manchus & P.F. Team Together

   1ST BDE - The integration of American and Vietnamese forces in campaigns around Saigon has spelled double trouble for the Viet Cong.
   Each company of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Manchus was assigned one squad of eight Vietnamese Popular Forces soldiers.
   The Manchus recently operated away from their 1st Brigade home at Tay Ninh, and the PF soldiers knowledge of the surrounding area of Tan Son Nhut Air Base aided the Tropic Lightning troops in adjusting to their new locale.
   The Americans' base of operation three miles from the sprawling air base necessitated the usual preparations.  The Popular Forces soldiers worked with the Manchus in building, bunkers and defensive positions and laying wire.
   Whether riding in helicopters on combat air assaults or sloshing through water-soaked fields on sweeps, the PF's made their way with the Americans step by step.
   The Vietnamese soldiers were specially picked for the work with the Americans.  Each Vietnamese trooper assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry distinguished himself in actions with his former unit.
   According to First Lieutenant Fenley Stafford of Savannah, Ga., leader of the Manchus headquarters intelligence section:  "We have had good operations down here, and we all believe that our Popular Force soldiers have contributed greatly to our success.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968


Rearm/Refuel Famous For Quick Service

   CU CHI - Providing "maxi-service in mini-time" is the goal of the rearm/refuel point at Duc Hoa.
   Operated by B Company, 25th Supply and Transportation Battalion, the facility provides support to helicopters and other tactical units in the area, including Air Force light aircraft.
   In May, the point dispensed approximately 250,000 gallons of JP4 (helicopter fuel), 7,000 gallons of AVGAS (airplane fuel for non-turbine engines), 600,000 rounds of mini-gun ammunition and 5,000 2.75-inch rockets.
   The system has four bladder tanks so that four helicopters can refuel at one time.  A Huey gunship can completely refuel in two minutes.
   Seven soldiers man the point with Sergeant Larry Chatham of St. Louis, Mo., in charge.
   Says Company B commander Captain John Moran of Beverly, Mass., "Although effective, the original operation had shortcomings.  Through the efforts of Sergeant Chatham and his crew, the systems in rearming and refueling were rearranged so aircraft could be serviced with a minimum of delay."
   The facility is resupplied from Cu Chi twice weekly.  The convoy normally is escorted by a platoon of mechanized infantry and accompanied by a Forward Air Controller who flies ahead to check the route.


Story And Photos By PFC Tom Quinn



Refuelling A CREW CHIEF refuels his UH-1D slick at the Duc Hoa rearm/refuel point.
CHECKING THE VALVES - Specialist 4 John Rechsteiner of Dover, N.J., checks the valves of a POL tanker arriving from Cu Chi. SP4 John Rechsteiner
Cpt. John Moran, Sgt. Larry Chatham INSPECTING - Captain John Moran (right) of Beverly, Mass., and Sergeant Larry Chatham of St. Louis, Mo., inspect 2.75 inch rockets.



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           August 26, 1968


Chopper Crew Does Job of 14

    CU CHI - A job usually given to an entire assault helicopter company was handled recently by one helicopter from the 25th Aviation Battalion when elements of an infantry battalion needed to be transported to their night location.
   Because of a tactical emergency during the day, 85 Golden Dragon troopers of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, had lost helicopter support and at dusk they were five miles from their night location near Phu Long.  Intelligence reports indicated a numerically superior enemy force in the area.
   Because of the tactical situation, only Little Bear 086 from Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion was able to respond when word was received that the Golden Dragons had to be extracted.
   With heavy cloud cover blocking the moonlight and only radio contact for prior planning, the Little Bear's four-man crew, commanded by First Lieutenant Julian Clements of Tifton, Ga., located the infantrymen and started the shuttle.  Without gunship escort and with the decreasing number of troops in the pick-up zone, time was critical.
   Commented Clements, "The mission was extra hazardous because the landing zone was surrounded by tall trees.  Because of this, we had to use our lights and come over and go straight down."
   In two hours and 45 minutes, picking up six men at a time, 086 flew 14 sorties and safely removed the Golden Dragons.


Scout Spots Ambush & Mines

   1ST BDE - Drawing an his experience as a Viet Cong, a Kit Carson scout saved Company A, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, from walking into a VC mine field and ambush.
   The company was searching for the elusive enemy eight miles northwest of Saigon when Tran Van Duc spotted a potential mine field.  The company commander, Captain Henry Montgomery of Memphis, Tenn., respected Duc's knowledge of enemy tactics, and moved his company cautiously.
   Sure enough, the area was loaded with booby-trapped grenades.  Duc's suspicions confirmed, the skilled Kit Carson knew that the Viet Cong would be nearby in ambush.  About 100 meters away was a densely vegetated hedgerow and Duc volunteered to walk point with a patrol sent to investigate the area.
   But, Montgomery decided to use indirect fire to soften up the suspected enemy position and withdrew the company to a safe distance.  Just then the VC opened up with a burst of rifle grenades from the hedgerow.
   Duc was wounded by shrapnel, but continued to return fire and encouraged the Tomahawks to press the enemy.  After the brief fire fight, the enemy fled.
   While the medics treated Duc, he looked up with a smile and said: "No sweat, never happen again."


Chaplain Cited For Heroism

   CU CHI - An Army chaplain who exposed himself to intense enemy fire to bring wounded soldiers to the rear for medical evacuation was awarded the Silver Star, the Army's third highest award for gallantry in action.
   The award was presented to Chaplain (Captain) Robert J. Falabella by the Honorable Stanley R. Resor, Secretary of the Army, during a recent visit to Cu Chi, Vietnam.
   Chaplain Falabella received the award for personal bravery, aggressiveness and devotion to duty while with 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
   The Bobcats had pushed against enemy emplacements in an attempt to relieve forward units.  Several wounded soldiers were pinned down by machine gun fire.
   On at least four occasions, Chaplain Falabella, with complete disregard for his own safety, crawled forward under the heavy fire to retrieve the wounded men.
   Chaplain Falabella, a Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus, also exposed himself to move among the wounded offering spiritual comfort, reassurance and first aid.
   After the unit had returned to base camp, one private came up to him and said: "Father, you were an inspiration to us all.  We really appreciated having you there."
   Said Chaplain Falabella of the private's remark, "This is the greatest award that anyone can give an Army chaplain."


SP4 Joe Phipps, WO1 William Linder, 1Lt Julian Clements, SP4 Conrad neilsen LITTLE BEAR CREW - From left: Specialist 4 Joe Phipps, gunner; Warrant Officer I William Linder, pilot; First Lieutenant Julian Clements, aircraft commander; Specialist 4 Conrad Neilsen, crew chief, flew 14 sorties to single-handedly transport elements of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry to their night location.  (PHOTO BY MAJ. C. M. BARROW, JR.)



Rob VC Of Explosives

   1ST BDE - A cache of explosives believed destined for the destruction of the Phu Cung bridge was uncovered by an element of the 25th Infantry Division's 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, five miles east of Cu Chi.
   Company C of the Golden Dragons made the discovery while on a reconnaissance-in-force sweep 400 meters north of the battalion's forward location.
   Three hundred blasting caps and sixty blocks of TNT were found in one large bunker as the Tropic Lightning troopers swept the tunnel and bunker complex which had recently housed the Viet Cong sappers.


MG Ellis W. Williamson, Sgt. Arthur Ezzell BRIEFING THE CG - Major General Ellis W. Williamson, commanding general, is briefed on anti-personnel radar by Sergeant Arthur R. Ezzell of Wilmington, N.C., serving with Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry.  The Tropic Lightning commander was conducting an inspection tour of 3d Brigade units at forward locations near Saigon.  (PHOTO BY SP5 BILL SLUIS)



Wounded Priest Found Praying For War's End

   1st BDE - The Viet Cong showed no respect for the sanctuary of a temple when they shot a Buddhist priest praying for an end to the fighting.
   The 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Clifford C. Neilson of Mobile, Ala., was pushing the enemy out of a village 14 miles southwest of Tay Ninh near Go Dau Ha.  The Tomahawks cautiously approached a Buddhist temple which miraculously seemed unmarked by the scourge of battle.
   Specialist 4 Engle B. Smith, a senior medic from Pensacola, Fla., entered the temple and noticed a priest poised in the position of prayer.  "His snow white habit was smeared with blood, but yet he continued to pray," stated Smith.
   Through an interpreter it was discovered that the priest was shot twice in the arm while he was kneeling and praying for an end to the bloody battle raging outside.
   The 1st Brigade medic applied first aid to the priest's wounds and carefully carried him off to a helicopter landing zone where he was evacuated to a military hospital for further treatment.



Thanks to
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn., for locating and mailing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 8-12-2004

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