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Vol 3 No. 48          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          November 25, 1968



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                          1 159 Engr                4 2/77 Arty               1 3/22                      8
1/5 Photo                7 168 Engr Photos     7 2/77 Arty               7 3/22                      8
1/5 Photo                7 168 Engr Photo      7 20th US Engr         4 317 Bridge            4
1/27                        1 187 AHC               1 25th Inf                  3 4/9                        1
1/27                        1 2nd Bde                 8 25th Inf                  6 46th Engr              4
1/27 Photo              3 2/12                       1 25th Avn                2 46th Scout Dog     8
1/27                        6 2/12 Photo             3 25th Avn Photo      2 554 Engr               4
1/27 Arty                1 2/12 Photo             6 25th TAC Photo    8 573 Bridge            4
12th Evac                8 2/12                       6 269 Avn                4 65th Engr              4
100th Bridge Co      4 2/12 Photo             8 3rd Bde                 1 65th Engr Photo    4
116 AHC                1 2/14 Photo             2 3rd Bde                 7 7/11 Arty              8
116 AHC                8 2/27 Photo             6 3/4 Cav Photo       1 79th Engr              4
128 AHC                1 2/32 Arty               1 3/22 Photo             7 Phu Cuong Bridge 4



Wolfhounds' Sweep A Three-Day Spree

   DAU TIENG - Wolfhounds of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, found five substantial caches in three days as they swept the Trapezoid, 40 miles northwest of Saigon.
   The 3d Brigade soldiers began the three day spree shortly after landing on a massive eagle flight aimed at establishing a new fire support base near the hamlet of Thanh An.
   Bravo Company was greeted by sniper fire moments after they hit the landing zone.  Answering the enemy with volleys of their own, they killed one enemy soldier, whose blood trail led them to three fighting positions in a bunker complex.
   Only hours later, Delta Company, searching a small hamlet near the Saigon River, found another 900 lbs of polished rice and numerous luxury items.
   The following day the skein was kept going as Charlie Company, working a kilometer north of the new fire support base, unearthed another 2,000 lbs of polished rice.
   On the following day, Charlie Company ran into a fire fight as they eagle flighted four kilometers north of their night location.  They found a battalion-sized base camp as the enemy retreated, leaving behind two dead.  Inside the 30-bunker complex were found a Chicom submachine gun, three RPG rocket grenades with four boosters, 16 rounds of 60mm mortars, three aiming stakes, a tool kit, and a sight for a rocket launcher.
   "These finds are appropriate to our entry into this new area of operations," said Lieutenant Colonel Mark L. Reese, Wolfhounds battalion commander.  "These are the sorts of caches that people have come to expect of our battalion.  It is the sort of work that has earned us our name."


Huge Division Attack Wins New Fire Base

   DAU TIENG - In one of the largest air and ground combat assaults ever staged from Dau Tieng base camp, two battalions of 3d Brigade infantrymen established a fire support base near the Iron Triangle.
   They also detained 100 VC suspects.  One enemy was killed.
   The massive operation, centered around the hamlet of Thanh An 40 miles northwest of Saigon, saw three companies of air assault helicopters lifting in Wolfhounds of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, while armored personnel carriers of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, rumbled in to secure roads leading from the area.
   When the day had ended, Fire Support Base Mahone had been established and Charlie Battery of the "Up Tight" 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, was emplaced.
   The day began with a reconnaissance platoon of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry detaining five Viet Cong suspects.  The detainees were taken to Dau Tieng, along with captured VC documents, 100 lbs of rice, and 8,000 piastres.
   Minutes after the detention of the suspected enemy quintet, a barrage of more than 550 rounds of eight-inch, 175mm, 155mm and 105mm artillery were zeroed in on the area which would be the Wolfhounds landing zone.  Five strikes by Air Force fighters also softened up the LZ.
   Salvo after salvo rang out over Dau Tieng as guns of Bravo Battery, 2d Battalion, 32d Artillery; the 1st Battalion, 27th Artillery, and 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, hurled projectiles into area seven miles south of base camp.  The artillery was still firing as the assault helicopter companies hovered almost 30 choppers into two pickup zones.  The airlift consisted of Crusaders, Tomahawks and Hornets of the 187th, 128th and 116th Assault Helicopter companies.
   While the efforts to establish the support base continued, the Wolfhounds and infantrymen of Bobcat began sweeps into an abandoned rubber plantation and heavy undergrowth, searching out snipers who harassed the oncoming force.
   Bravo Company Wolfhounds found a 30-man sleeping position which apparently had been abandoned by North Vietnamese only hours earlier.  Found were a 75mm recoilless rifle round, a poncho and other small items.
   Not far away the company came up with eleven 55 gallon drums of gasoline, an NVA officer's uniform, and part of an anti-tank mine.  All were destroyed in place.
   Meanwhile the battalion's reconnaissance platoon found a 500-pound cache of rice in a fighting position.  Shortly thereafter Bravo Company made another find, 800-pounds of rice and six motorized sampans.  All the booty was taken to Dau Tieng.
   A Delta Company Wolfhound discovered a 10 foot tunnel behind a fireplace.  A substantial cache found in the tunnel included 30-pounds of tobacco, 100 packs of cigarettes, 100 cans of fish, 50 bottles of cough medicine, 75 bottles of perfume, 50 tooth brushes, a large supply of razor blades, and buttons for enemy uniforms.
   Meanwhile Alpha Company of Bobcat, normally mechanized, also flew an air assault into the area.  Shortly after arriving they were greeted by sniper fire, and rang up the only body count of the day, killing an enemy hiding in deep foliage.
   Meanwhile the reconnaissance team and other members of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, were rounding up suspects finishing with a total of 81 detainees.
   In assessing the day's results, Major Wilbur McPherson, 3d Brigade operations officer, termed the activities "a complete success."


SSG Bobby Franks and SP5 Billy Bennett Detonating bunker
SIR CHARLES' HOME - Staff Sergeant Bobby Franks (left) and Specialist 5 Billy Bennett with the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, prepare a C4 demolition charge to blow a VC tunnel camouflaged as a well. KAFOOM! - The C4 does a quick remodel of Charlie's abode.  (PHOTOS BY PFC ROBINSON TRUITT)



Bird Dog Gets Revenge; Calls In Sniper's Doom

   DAU TIENG - Three snipers who hit an Army observation plane lived only long enough to regret their deeds, as they died in a hail of artillery fire.
   The enemy trio, lurking in rubber trees of the Michelin rubber plantation 45 miles northwest of Saigon, fired at an O1 Bird Dog piloted by First Lieutenant W. M. Prain of Detroit, Mich.  The situation looked bleak as Prain's aircraft sustained hits in two gas tanks and one wheel, blowing out a tire.
   Undaunted, Prain and an aerial observer for the 1st Battalion, 27th Artillery, returned to Dau Tieng, base camp of the 3d Brigade and made a safe emergency landing.
   Quickly repairing the plane with the aid of an Air Force ground crew, Prain and his observer returned to the skies.  The observer, First Lieutenant Martin C. Newman of Long Beach, Calif., spotted the three enemy troops stealing away from the area.
   Newman called in 155mm artillery from the 1-27 guns at Dau Tieng, killing the snipers.
   The aerial duo returned the following day and spotted seven more enemy soldiers and an oxcart in the same vicinity.  Newman once again called in 1-27 artillery fire, chalking up four more enemy soldiers.


Nation's Top Honor To Div. Sergeant

   WASHINGTON - A First Sergent from the 25th Infantry Division has been awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his defense of an infantry company's position.
   First Sergeant Maximo Yabes is the 7th Division soldier to win the nation's highest award for valor.
   The award recognizes the heroic action of Yabes near Phu Hoa Cong on February 26, 1967 while serving with Company a 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry.
   Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor presented the medal to First Sergeant Yabes' widow, Mrs. Janis A. Yabes of Lafayette, Colo., in a ceremony at the Pentagon.
   Yabes had already received two awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge when the unit's position came under intense automatic weapons and mortar fire.  A battalion-sized enemy force then assaulted the company.  As the enemy penetrated the defensive perimeter, Yabes was injured while protecting fellow soldiers from enemy grenades.
   Although wounded, he continued to fight by firing a grenade launcher point blank at the advancing enemy.
   He fell mortally wounded after destroying an enemy machine gun position that had been set up within the perimeter.
   The Medal of Honor Citation read, "First Sergeant Yabes' valiant and selfless actions saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and inspired his comrades to effectively repel the enemy assault."
   Minutes after the detention of the suspected enemy quintet, a barrage of more than 550 rounds of eight-inch, 175mm, 155mm and 105mm artillery were zeroed in on the area which would be the Wolfhounds landing zone.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968



Bronze Star
MAJ John F. Teed, HHC, & Band, DISCOM
CPT Gary D. Maynard, Co D, 25th Med Bn
CPT Gennaro Mellis, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
CPT Elvin C. Scott, HHC
CPT Earnest L. Newton, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Robert J. Kelly, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
W03 Robert D. Cash, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Richard A. Silva, Co B, 725th Maint Bn
1LT Lewis Anderson, Jr., HHC
1LT Alfred R. Crosswell, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
1LT Loren L. Goetzke, HHC, 3d Bde
1LT Patrick G. Jordan, Co D, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
1LT Lawrence A. Loughlin, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
1LT Edgar S. Mc Kee, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
1LT Donald Dillon, 25th MI Det
1LT John F. Palicki, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
1LT Delvin C. Plonka, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Richard D. Rhoads, 25th MI Det
WO2 William R. Russell, Co D, 725th Maint Bn
1SG Benjamin L. Comeau, Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SFC George A. Inouye, Hq & Co A, 725th Maint Bn

SSG Encarnacion Rodriguez, HHB, 3d Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Michael D. Soetart, Co F, 50th Inf
SSG Ambrose C. Carl, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SSG Paul E. Wright, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG William J. Weidig, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SSG Alonzo Grate Jr., HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Dennis L. Abell, 25th Admin Co
SSG Pearl V. Centers, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SSG James M. Allen, D Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Jimmie L. Adams, HHB
SSG Lawrence W. Hubbard, Jr., 25th Admin Co
SSG Richard M. Bumgardner, Co F, 50th Inf,
SSG Cleophus Lomax, HHC
SSG Kenneth J. Pettit, HHC
SSG Jasper M. Carter, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SSG Perry W. Claunch, HHC, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SSG John G. Morgan, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SSG Henry C. Till, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SGT Robert L. Stone, Co F, 50th Inf

SGT Frederic Bunge, HHC, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT Charles E. Hagenem, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Albert Pacheco, Co D, 25th Med Bn
SGT Gregory A. Smith, C Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SGT William W. Tompkins, Co D, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT Benjamin L. Ainsworth, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT Harold L. O'Brien, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Thomas T. Morris, 25th Admin Co
SGT Carl C. Reiher, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SGT Alvin L. Upton, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT James D. Burke, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Richard J. Leboeuf, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SP5 Keith R. Welchlin, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 James A. Okabe, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 William A. Rohmann, 46th Inf Pit (Sct Dog)
SP5 Arthur L. Emerson, HHC, 4th Bn( Mech), 23d Inf
SP5 Daniel A. Tofflemire, HHC, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf

SP5 Walter L. Bates, 25th Admin Co
SP5 Thomas Barr, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 Paul G. Breece, 25th Admin Co
SP5 Robert J. Byrne, 25th Admin Co
SP5 Howard Lavinsky, 25th Admin Co
SP4 Robert E. Sebree, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Louis H. Phillips, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William T. Martin, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Ernest James, Co F, 50th Inf
SP4 Demos D. Johnson, Jr., Co F, 50th Inf



vStork.jpg (2787 bytes)Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division – As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
Born To:

October 31
SP5 and Mrs. Quinton Neal, HHC, 269th Cbt. Avn. Bn., a son

November 3
PFC and Mrs. Joe C. Hocut Jr., 25th Admin Co, a son

November 5
MAJ and Mrs. Roy S. Johnson III, 86th Sig Bn, a son
PFC and Mrs. Paul Perez, Co. C, 2d Bn. 27th Inf, a son

November 6
1LT and Mrs. John H. Webb, Co. A, 25th Avn Bn, a daughter
SP4 and Mrs. Ronald Fontenault, Co. C, 725th Maint. Bn., a daughter
PFC and Mrs. Harry E. Roderick, Co. A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf., a daughter



Pilot Gets Lieutenant's Bars Through New Army Policy

   Would you believe W01-CW2-2LT in nine days?  Second Lieutenant Larry W. McCabe, an Army aviator serving with A Company (Little Bears), 25th Aviation Battalion, has probably set a new Army record.  McCabe went through three pay grades, from a Warrant Officer to a Commissioned Officer in nine short days.
   On October 24, WOl McCabe was promoted from WOl to CW2, something that happens every day.  However nine days later on November 2 Brigadier General Glen C. Long, assistant division commander, commissioned, then CW2 McCabe, to the rank of second lieutenant, something that does not happen every day.
   McCabe, winner of two Distinguished Flying Crosses, twenty Air Medals, and a Bronze Star during his Viet Nam tour will shortly depart to attend the Basic Armor course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.


BG Glen Long swears in Larry McCabe SECOND LIEUTENANT - Larry W. McCabe is sworn in to his new rank (left) by Brigadier General Glen C. Long, assistant division commander for maneuver.  (PHOTO BY SP4 DENNIS JOHANSEN)



Christmas Calls Are Scheduled

   Thg Departrpent of Defense will cooperate again this year with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO, in administering the 12th annual "Hi-Mom" Christmas telephone call program.
   The program provides free telephone calls from certain overseas servicemen to their families in the United States.  Priority this year will be given to calls from patients in military hospitals outside the continental United States.
   The family of a serviceman or woman may be contacted by a local union of the CWA.  The family then will have the serviceman place a collect call, which will be paid for by the local union.
   Arrangements for calls will originate overseas, where the United Service Organizations, Inc., (USO) may select a serviceman who will notify his family that he will call.


Tropic Lightning
                Combat Honor Roll

MG Ellis Williamson decorates SP4 Leroy Zube
   Added to this week's Combat Honor Roll is Specialist Four Leroy Zube of Company A, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.
   He distinguished himself by heroic actions on October 3, 1968 while serving as a machine gunner for Company A.
   His unit was securing a friendly fire support base when they came under intense mortar and rocket attacks which were followed by a massive ground assault by the enemy.
   He began placing murderous machinegun fire on the enemy, and even though his position was racked with RPG fire, he destroyed four hostile mortar and RPG teams.
   His accurate fire throughout the entire battle was responsible for the evacuation of his wounded comrades.
   Specialist Zube's valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and the defeat of the numerically superior enemy force.  His personal bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


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 Tom Quinn . . . . . . . . . . . Asst. Editor
SP4 Bill Berger  . . . . . . . . . . .  Production Supervisor


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968


Much to Be Thankful For


Major General Ellis W. WilliamsonThe Commanding General's Thanksgiving Day Message

To The Officers and Men
Of The 25th Infantry Division

   Thanksgiving is a time for counting our blessings, and a time for renewal of our devotion to peace.
   The first Thanksgiving was an expression by the Pilgrim Fathers for survival and of appreciation for the freedom they had found in a strange, new land.  Their determination to preserve that freedom and their resolve to overcome the dangers which confronted them formed a heritage which Americans have preserved at great cost in life and treasure throughout our nation's history.
   On this Thanksgiving Day we can count among our many blessings that our nation has survived, that our people remain free, and that we have the resolve to face the dangers and difficulties which confront us on the battlefield.
   To every soldier of the 25th Infantry Division, Tropic Lightning, I express appreciation for the vital contributions you are making to the preservation of peace at home and the struggle for peace here in the Republic of Vietnam.

Major General, USA



SP4 Richard Dyer

SMALL TOUCH OF HOME - A wet sandbag bunker isn't much to call home, but sometimes at Vietnam daybreak, a trooper can feel a little closer to home if Old Glory is waving overhead.  Specialist 4 Richard Dyer, of Bremerton, Wash., with the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, holds a private reveille.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HECTOR NADAL)

The Square American's Job: 
Preserve & Build Our Land

   You've heard of the 'Square American?'  You know him well - the farmer, factory hand, businessman, secretary or housewife, from the plains, the small towns, the crowded sidewalks of the big cities.

   Since 1776 they have been doing a job without praise or fanfare - a job of building our country.  Collectively, they are the 'Square American.'

   They salute the flag in unison with a Second-Class Scout when he says, "I pledge allegiance..."

   They stand each time the Colors pass at a parade.
   They "oh" and "ah" at fireworks on July 4th and applaud with tears in eyes when a band plays "America the Beautiful."

   They look on in amazement and disgust as a small minority, who call themselves Americans, perform acts of civil disobedience.

   These are the 'Square Americans'; the majority of the folks back home.
   They are proud of their American heritage, proud of their country's continued fight to preserve the freedom of other nations, as well as their own.  And most of all, proud of you - the American soldier; and proud of the job you are doing in Vietnam.

   Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for - we are Americans.



2/12th Inf under fire
SEEKING COVER - Delta Company Warriors from the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, dash for a hedgerow after hitting a hot Landing Zone.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY)



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968


In 26 hrs: A New Phu Cuong Bridge


By Second Lieutenant Don Eriksson

   CU CHI - United States and ARVN engineer troops teamed up to construct a pontoon bridge across the 700-foot-wide Saigon River in response to an act of Viet Cong sabotage that crumbled a portion of the Phu Cuong Bridge on Highway 8A.
   Less than 26 hours after the incident, traffic was proceeding as normal.  Not one truck was delayed from its destination.
   The Phu Cuong Bridge is a crucial link in the main supply route for the forces west of the Saigon River.  The task presented to the engineers was to construct a float bridge at the site, prior to the arrival of the resupply convoy on November 7, just hours away.
   The 65th Engineer Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James W. Atwell, directed the proceedings.  On the south side of the river, 65th Engineers directed delivery of huge rubber and steel pontoons by Chinook helicopters of the 269th Aviation Battalion.
   Meanwhile, the southern approach to the new bridge was being prepared by elements of the 65th Engineers and 554th Engineer Battalion, 79th Engineer Group, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles L. McNeil.  The filling and grading was done with equipment support from the 30th ARVN Engineer Group, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Nghia.
   On the north bank, while Company C, 46th Engineer Battalion, 159th Engineer Group, prepared the approaches, three float bridge companies worked on the bridge.
   The 100th and the 573d Float Bridge companies of the 20th U.S. Engineer Brigade and the 317th Float Bridge Company (ARVN) worked side by side assembling the heavy bridge sections and hauling them into position.  The ARVN Engineer School, located at Phu Cuong, provided valuable equipment support to this effort.
   At 4:45 a.m. on November 7, red-eyed engineers completed the last link, and the bridge was ready.  When the trucks appeared, they rolled on across the river.
   With the valuable assistance given by the ARVN Engineers, the nearly impossible was accomplished.  The bridge was up and not a single item of supplies was held up by the enemy's efforts.


GETTING THROUGH ON TIME - A supply convoy moves across the new pontoon bridge.  (PHOTO BY KENNETH MCARTHUR) Finished pontoon bridge lets traffic flow
Damaged bridge, new pontoon under construction WORKING TOGETHER - ARVN aid proved invaluable as men from the Phu Cuong ARVN Engineer Training School (background) worked with U.S. engineers to bridge the Saigon River.  (PHOTO BY 1LT RICHARD SONSTELI)
DAMAGED BRIDGE - Collapsed superstructure attests to the force of the blast.  (PHOTO BY 1LT J.N. BLACK) Damaged bridge
Inspecting the bridge GREEN BERETS - Divers from Company A, 5th Special Forces Group, in Bien Hoa evaluate the DAMAGE TO THE Phu Cuong Bridge after enemy sabotage.  (PHOTO BY 1LT J.N. BLACK)
BRIDGE BUILDERS - Engineers of the 65th Engineer Battalion move a steel beam into place as they lay supporting members of the pontoon bridge.  (PHOTO BY 1LT RICHARD SONSTELI) Connecting pontoons
Trucks roll again SUPPLIES FLOW - The first five-ton tractor-trailers of a supply convoy cross the Saigon River beside the partially damaged bridge.  The sabotage caused no interruption in supply.  (PHOTO BY 1LT RICHARD SONSTELI)
PONTOON BRIDGE - This pontoon bridge spanning the Saigon River was constructed through the joint efforts of U.S. and ARVN forces within 26 hours after the Phu Cuong bridge was damaged by enemy sabotage.  (PHOTO BY I LT J.N. BLACK) Pontoons



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968


Six Holed Up Viet Cong Get 'Smoke Treatment"

   DAU TIENG - 25th Division infantrymen and Vietnamese provincial reconnaissance soldiers 'smoked out' half a dozen suspected Viet Cong who refused to come out of a bunker.
   The combined Tropic Lightning-ARVN reconnaissance patrol was combing a clump of thick bamboo 38 miles northwest of Saigon.  They had just found a camouflaged bunker which was spotted by a Hoi Chanh who was helping them scout the area, near the hamlet of Than An.  Inside the bunker was a Russian assault rifle with 10 rifle grenades and a spare barrel.  As the combined patrol walked farther, two suspected Viet Cong were spotted jumping into a spider hole 50 meters distant.
   The patrol surrounded the spider hole as a pair of soldiers pointed their weapons toward the hiding place and fired several shots into surrounding brush.  Two frightened enemy suspects popped out of the hole and surrendered.
   Thinking there were possibly others in the hole, "we tried to get them to come up but they wouldn't.  So we tossed in some smoke grenades," said First Lieutenant Jerry Pruitt of Osceola, Ark., the patrol leader.
   Another suspect crawled out of the hole, gasping and choking.  Moments later three more emerged, bringing the total of detainees to six.  Two ARVNs went down and came up with enemy clothing, several gas masks, some rations, a carbide lamp and a radio.


PFC Arnold Gouch ROOTING OUT CHARLIE - A 2d Brigade rifleman from the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, Private First Class Arnold L. Gouch from Kings Mountain, Ky., crouches low, blasting into a camouflaged enemy bunker in the Ho Bo woods 10 Piles northeast of Cu Chi.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY)



Passed-Up Viet Cong Tips Cache

   CU CHI - The 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, Warriors uncovered two caches of enemy weapons eight miles northwest of Cu Chi when a dissatisfied Viet Cong surrendered and volunteered to lead the Americans to his comrades' munitions.
   The lone, young enemy approached the Alpha Company perimeter wire at the Warriors forward base camp near Trang Bang.  He appeared about mid-morning and was halted and searched by US troops.  Through an interpreter he told his story:
   "I have been a VC for a long time.  About a month ago my commander's brother joined the Viet Cong.  He was recently promoted above me.  It was very unfair."
   After offering to lead the infantrymen to stores of VC weapons, he continued to tell of the dangers of living in the area because "Americans are everywhere."
   The Warriors were quick to check out the former enemy's story.  By noon, with the Hoi Chanh leading the way, they were enroute to the first cache.


Viet Cong Hospital, Ammo Plant Found

   DAU TIENG - A deserted rubber plantation 50 miles northwest of Saigon yielded a sprawling Viet Cong hospital complex with bed capacity for an enemy battalion.  It also housed a massive munitions factory in which the enemy was manufacturing hand grenades.
   The 200 bunker complex, interlaced with numerous tunnels, was filled with more than 1,000 lbs of medical supplies.  Four enemy bodies still lay inside, apparently left behind as the enemy left.  It was estimated that the hospital and arms shop had been deserted for less than a week.
   The complex was discovered by Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds as they conducted a reconnaissance in force following an eagle flight into the area 11 kilometers west of Dau Tieng.
   "One bunker led to another and then another.  It was the largest base camp I have ever seen," said First Lieutenant David F. Barylski of North Woods, Mont., leader of the third platoon.  A vast variety of drugs, medicines, bandages, vitamin pills, surgical instruments and clean dressings greeted the astonished Wolfhounds.
   "The men found so much enemy equipment that they were really excited," said Captain Lawrence F. Rubino of Lynn, Mass., company commander.
   The enemy munitions plant, consisting of a ferro-metal shop rigged to turn out grenades, bangalore torpedoes and claymore mines was found deeper inside the complex.
   "Apparently they were driven out by our artillery fire, or they had to abandon the complex for lack of manpower," said Rubino.  The enemy left behind an assortment of small items including a typewriter and nine bicycles.
   "This was a very unusual situation.  I have never seen the enemy leave behind so many valuable items," Rubino commented.


SP4 Terry Caramiond WADE IN THE WATER - Specialist 4 Terry Caramiond of West Babycon, N.Y:, followed by Private First Class Donald B. Goodwin, of Barnwell, S.C., cross a stream as Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, search for the enemy near Fire Support Base Crockett southeast of Cu Chi.  (PHOTO BY SP4 ROBERT O'HARE)



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968


1/5 (Mech) on patrol
PROVIDING SECURITY - Armored personnel carriers of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, rumble along the edge of the Ben Cui rubber plantation, 45 miles northwest of Saigon.  The infantrymen of 'Bobcat' are under the operational control of the 3d Brigade as they run sweeps to provide security for deforestation operations of the 168th Land Clearing Company (Prov).  (PHOTO BY SP5 BILL SLUIS)
WHICH WAY OUT? - Infantrymen of Bravo Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, push their way through tangled vegetation near the Cambodian border southwest of Tay Ninh City.  The 3d Brigade Regulars were out in response to a report of an enemy supply dump in the area.  A pointman (below) stalks through elephant grass watching for the elusive enemy.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HERB BURDETT)
RESUPPLY - Dropping in a 'water buffalo' and a load of supplies, a Chinook helicopter resupplies the 3d Brigade's new Fire Support Base Mahon, 40 miles northwest of Saigon.  The supplies are for Charlie Battery of the 'Up Tight' 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery.  (PHOTO BY 1LT JOSEPH M. O'BRIEN II)
3d Brigade
"Smokey" lays down cover
SMOKEY - Flying just above treetops, a 'Smokey' helicopter lays down a screen for members of Bravo Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry on their sweep near the Cambodian border southwest of Tay Ninh City.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HERB BURDETT)


Rome plow and "Bobcats"
DESTROYING INFILTRATION ROUTES - Rome Plows from the 168th Engineer Battalion strip away the concealing jungle as Bobcats from the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, provide the engineers security from the Viet Cong.  (PHOTO BY SP4 DON MOUSSEAU)



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1968


New Bronco Puts New Sting Into FAC's


NEW STING FOR FAC's - The new OV-10 Bronco can give added protection to downed flyers, and greater speed and efficiency in marking targets for artillery and air strikes.  The new bird came in country in August and is presently undergoing a rigid three-month test period.  The Bronco, originally designed as a counter insurgency aircraft, can carry four 7.62mm machine guns, plus bombs or rockets.  The 25th Tactical Air Control Party is presently assigned use of the Bronco.  Major General Ellis W. Williamson (rear seat, left) tests out the new Bronco at Cu Chi.  (PHOTOS BY SP4 DENNIS JOHANSEN)



Blood Bank Remains High

   CU CHI - With Vietnam servicemen and veterans eliminated from the Army's pool of blood donors, are there problems maintaining adequate supplies in evacuation hospitals?
   None, according to Captain Leon Bingham from Whittier, Calif., head of the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi.
   Even at peak demand periods, Bingham said, blood supplies, drawn mostly from continental United States Army sources, remain plentiful.
   Because most of the patients needing blood are casualties with substantial blood losses, the hospital transfuse mostly type-O, universal, donor blood.  Although general donations are not accepted from in-country personnel, a walking blood bank file is kept by the hospital for emergency situations. The risk of spreading blood-carried diseases like hepatitis and malaria is too great for in-country donations to be generally-used.
   The 12th Evacuation Hospital also preserves frozen plasma, the liquid portion of the blood without red cells, for use in treating clotting problems.
   At full capacity, the 12th Evac Hospital can transfer more than 3,000 units of blood a month.


Be sure to listen to 'Lightning 25' on AFVN Radio every Sunday at 1245 hours.  The show features the men and units of the 25th Infantry Division on location in the field and in base camp.  News and features of interest to you, and facts about the operations that keep Lightning on the move in Vietnam are the backbone of 'Lightning-25'.  Don't miss it!



Air, Infantry, Arty Stop NVA Soldiers

   TAY NINH - Fighting in War Zone C, involving 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, and 116th Assault Helicopter Company gunships resulted in five North Vietnamese soldiers killed.
   After establishing the base of operations, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander -Hunt of Wealder, Texas, the infantry battalion commander airlifted his Alpha and Delta companies into the jungle ten miles north of Dan Tieng on a search and clear mission.
   As the men of Company D hopped off their choppers, they received small arms fire from a woodline directly too their front.  They immediately returned effective fire upon the enemy positions and halted their own advance to call in artillery and gunship support.
   Battery B of the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, showered the enemy positions with scores of artillery shells from the Division's recently established Fire Support Base Grant.  Stinger gunships of the116th Assault arrived with rocket and machine gun fire.
   Hunt spotted four NVA running for cover near the woodline during the battle. Delta company and the gunships pursued them, killing all four enemy.
   "They were in hastily dug positions," said First Lieutenant Dale Richey, Delta's commanding officer.  "Their foxholes were very shallow and did not offer adequate protection from the devastating fire we were pouring in on them."  During the course of the day's fighting, Delta company and the Stingers killed five NVA.


Search Yields Suspected VC

   TAY NINH - Twenty-three Viet Cong suspects were recently detained just outside the 1st Brigade base camp at Tay Ninh.  The suspects were held during a cordon and search operation at Binh Trung village which borders the American camp.
   Company D of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, along with one Vietnamese Regional Force and a Popular Forces company, cordoned the small village before the day's first light.
   Scout dogs from the 46th Scout Dog Platoon assisted Vietnamese National Police and a 1st Brigade combined reconnaissance platoon in searching the homes at Binh Trung.
   The civic action medical team from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, conducted a MEDCAP which treated 293 villagers.


Fire Bde's FAC Sets Div. Record For AF Strikes

   CU CHI - A 2nd Brigade forward air controller (FAC) recently set a division record for air strikes called in during one month.
   Air Force Captain Charles R. McGregor, from Detroit, Mich., called in 72 tactical air strikes on enemy positions during September.
   Two hundred and eighty-six bunkers were destroyed, and another 117 were damaged or uncovered during the strikes.
   The big bombs collapsed some 550 meters of trenchline and 19 tunnels.
   Supporting Tropic Lightning infantrymen, the air strikes knocked out three, .51 caliber machine guns and destroyed 10 additional gun positions.


HOW do you get a birthday cake to your son in Vietnam?  Send it by airmail, naturally!  Parents of Specialist 4 John McEwen of East Aurora, N.Y. followed that advice and the once-a-year treat arrived in perfect condition for their son, a radio operator with the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry.  The cake was sent in a box with a clear plastic top, with instructions for the postman.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY) SP4 John McEwen celebrates birthday




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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