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Vol 4 No. 37          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          September 15, 1969



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/8 Arty Photo           1 2/14 Photo                6 4/9                            1 9th Chem Det Photo  3
1/8 Arty                    6 2/14                          6 4/9                            7 ARVN Airborne        1
1/8 Arty Photo          6 2/14                          8 4/9 Photo                  8 BG Edwin Black        7
1/49 ARVN              8 2/22                          7 46th Scout Photo      7 MG Ellis Williamson   1
2/12                          3 2/27                          2 46th Scout Dog         7 MG Ellis Williamson   4
2/12                          8 2/27                          8 7/11 Photo                7 MG Harris Hollis        1
2/14 Photos              3 2/77 Arty                  8 7/11                          7 MG Harris Hollis        1
2/14 Photos              3 25th DivArty             7 75th Ranger               8  
2/14                          6 3/22 Photo                7 9th Chem Det            3  


Farewell to a Fellow Soldier

   In the normal course of military events, most soldiers do not come to know their commanding general personally.
   They do, however, come to know him, indirectly but profoundly, by his actions.
   We, the men of the 25th Infantry Division, have thus come to know Major General Ellis W. Williamson.
   We know him by his presence overhead in a helicopter during the heat of firefights, watching, supervising, encouraging and, in a low-flying ship exposed to enemy fire, taking risks along with his men.
   We know him by his talks to us during visits to the field, by the understanding he has shown for our problems, by his ability to relate the actions of our unit to larger objectives, by his willingness to spend a few moments chatting or laughing with us as he quickly toured a fire support base.
   Most of all, perhaps, we know him for his direction of our unit's activities, a direction that has clearly aimed at accomplishing the division's mission, but accomplishing that mission with the smallest possible human cost.  We know him as a man concerned with our welfare as well as with victory.
   We, the men of the 25th Infantry Division, know Major General Ellis W. Williamson as the kind of commander a soldier is proud to serve under.  As he leaves Vietnam, after leading us for nearly 14 months, he carries with him our respect, our admiration, our thanks and our warm farewell to a fellow soldier.

MG Harris W. Hollis



MG Hollis Assumes Command
Tropic Lightning Tour Ends for MG Williamson

   CU CHI, SEPT. 15 - Major General Harris W. Hollis took command of the Tropic Lightning Division in ceremonies here this morning.
   MG Hollis, in becoming the 23d commander in the division's 28-year history, replaces Major General Ellis W. Williamson, reassigned as Deputy Chief, Office of Reserve Components, Department of the Army, after serving 13 months, 12 days with Tropic Lightning.
   THE NEW DIVISION commander's most recent assignment was with the 9th Infantry Division, which he led from April 2 through its deactivation in August.  He arrived in Vietnam in November, 1968, to become deputy commanding general of I Field Force, USARV.
   Born in Richburg, S.C. on June 25, 1919, MG Hollis graduated from Clemson University and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve in 1942.
   During World War II he was a company commander with the 326th Glider Infantry, serving with the 1st Airborne Task Force when it invaded southern France.
   After attending the Officers' Advanced Course at the Infantry School in 1948, he moved to an intelligence position at General Headquarters, Far East Command.
   RETURNING TO THE United States in 1952, he attended the Command and General Staff College, upon graduation taking over as deputy chief of staff for military operations at Department of the Army Headquarters.
   In Korea, he was regimental executive officer and commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry.
   He then attended the Armed Forces Staff College before becoming military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for financial management and later military assistant to the Undersecretary of the Army.
   AFTER ATTENDING THE Naval War College he was assigned to the operations division of Army headquarters in Europe.  He commanded the 2d Brigade, 3d Infantry Division, from September, 1963 through May, 1965, before becoming assistant chief of staff, G-3, at headquarters of VII Corps in Germany.  In March, 1966, he was named director of operations in the office of the deputy chief of staff, military operations, Department of the Army.
   He was serving in that position before his assignment to Vietnam.
   MG Hollis' decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, National Order of Vietnam 5th Class, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm (two awards), Civic Action Honor Medal 1st Class, Vietnamese Culture and Education Medal 1st Class and Glider Badge.


4/9 GIs Join ARVNs to KO 35 NVA at LZ
By PFC Richard W. Sears

   TAY NINH - Learning one lesson while they taught another, Manchus of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry joined the 22d Company of the ARVN Airborne Battalion recently to kill 35 NVA soldiers.
   The lesson the Machus learned was the value of teamwork.
   The one they taught, to the NVA, concerned the folly of underestimating the strength and determination of allied units.  The lesson cost the communist troops four men who surrendered under the chieu hoi program and a sizable quantity of weapons, rice, documents and ammunition as well as 35 dead.
   THE BRAVO COMPANY Manchus charged off an early morning eagle flight into a hot landing zone near the thick of the Boi Loi Woods.
   "We started getting sniped at when we made our first move toward the woodline," recalled Sergeant Bruce Kramer of Green Bay, Wis.  "The men moved up on the spot where the sniper fire was coming from."
   The enemy was burrowed into bunkers on the edge of the woods, hidden by dense, heavy grass.
   Some of the Tropic Lightning soldiers positioned themselves within 30 feet of the bunkers, laying down a barrage of covering fire while other GIs and the ARVN paratroopers clawed through the dense underbrush, lobbing grenades toward the enemy.
   The NVA decided on a temporary withdrawal, but they weren't finished.
   BY MID-AFTERNOON the Manchus and ARVNs had maneuvered to their pick-up zone and were ready to end their operation when the woods near the PZ erupted as the enemy tried again to surprise the allied troops.
   Manchu company commander Captain Ronald J. Cabral of Fall River, Mass., remembered it this way:
   "AS WE STARTED back in, the ARVN commander, Captain Hanu, came up to me and asked if we needed his help.  He mentioned that my company had been in heavy contact all day and that he and his men would like to take some of the pressure off us.  I told him I had a wounded man in front of one of the enemy bunkers, and we were having trouble getting him out.  Captain Hanu ran off with some of his men and in a couple of minutes emerged with our man.  They loaded him onto a dustoff."
   The allies fought on together, finally scrapping their way into the NVA positions.  They found the enemy had used 30 bunkers six feet by six feet with as much as four feet overhead cover.  The Manchus blew up those fighting positions not destroyed during the artillery and air bombardment.
   At the end of the day the allied soldiers had rounded up 12 AK-47 rifles, 300 rounds of AK ammunition, one RPG launcher, one pistol, 500 pounds of rice and 35 NVA KIA.

BOOM - Major General Ellis W. Williamson pulls the lanyard to fire the 900,000th round used by the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery, since the unit came to Vietnam in January, 1966.  The round was fired from Fire Support Base Pershing.  (PHOTO BY PFC KEN BARRON) MG Ellis W. Williamson



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969



LTC Forest S. Rittgers, Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
MAJ Charles C. Darrell, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Charles V. Penn, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Norman F. Sligar, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT David A. Brown, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Plimpton L. Graul, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Daniel L. Putnam, HHS, Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
1LT Kenneth D. Nelson, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
2LT Burr W Sullivan, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
2LT Stephen Thompson, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
CSM James J. Gallagher, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
1SG William G. Horton, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SFC Joseph C. Thibodaux, Co E, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Juan F. Naputi, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Wilbur V. Martin, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Robert M. Newsom, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Joseph C. Little, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Louis P. Mayrand, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT David A. Reynolds, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Robert S. Spears, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Douglas A. Nesselrodt, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Wiley Langston, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Joel C. Peyton, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Carlos M. Salidino, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Larry Jackson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 John A. Carlin, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Ronald W. Panno, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Ricky W. Church, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Andrew R. Dixon, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James Anderson, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Daniel R. Green, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf



In command WHETHER HE'S a platoon leader guiding his men through a tense and rugged patrol (below), a forward observer calling in the artillery that could be decisive in a firelight (above), or an engineer designing life-saving fortifications for an infantry unit, the young Army officer faces tremendous responsibilities.  But he also has the opportunity to derive great satisfaction from his work.  The Army is currently encouraging enlisted men and warrant officers to apply for its Officers Candidate Schools. Leading...


OCS: Are You Good Enough?

   Enlisted men or warrant officers planning an Army career are urged to look into the Officer Candidate School (OCS) program.
   USARV, implementing a Department of the Army drive to encourage applications for OCS from enlisted men, says, "It is the responsibility of all commanders to be alert for personnel they would recommend for the OCS program and to give these individuals special counseling and guidance to direct their thoughts toward a career as an Army officer."
   THE THREE FACILITIES currently the sites of the 23-week OCS course are Fort Belvoir, Va. (engineers), Fort Sill, Okla. (artillery) and Fort Benning, Ga. (infantry).
   Active duty EM and warrant officers meeting the following requirements are eligible to attend OCS; they must be:
   At least 18 1/2 and no more than 32 1/2 years old;
   A graduate of a high school or a school of similar level, or have passed the General Educational Development Test (high school level);
   AN INDIVIDUAL WHO achieved an Aptitude Area GT score of 110 or higher, and who attains a score of 115 or higher on the Officer Candidate Test;
   Of high moral character;
   Able to meet moral, medical and training requirements as specified in AR 350-50.
   Personnel in pay grade E-4 and below are appointed to E-5 upon entrance into OCS.  Those who fail to complete the course, however, revert to the grade held when they entered the school.
   SINCE CANDIDATES MUST live in candidate barracks during the course, arrangements for housing of dependents should be made.
   Successful graduates must serve at least two years' active duty, starting as a second lieutenant at a base pay of $386.40 per month.
   Those with more than four years in enlisted status will receive $534 per month.
   Graduates are usually assigned to the branch of service corresponding with the school they attended.  Candidates who graduate in the upper 10 per cent of their class are eligible for designation as "distinguished graduates" and may apply for appointment as second lieutenants in the Regular Army.
   OCS graduates have the same opportunity to attend Army schools as other new officers.  They may apply for airborne, ranger or flight training before completing OCS, and may apply for other courses offered by the Army after assignment to a unit, preferably after at least six months of troop duty.


Troop Withdrawal Leads to Closing Of R&R Allocations to Penang

   The Penang, Malaysia R&R site has been closed because of the program of gradual withdrawal of United States forces from Vietnam.
   Because of the withdrawal, fewer R&R seats have been purchased for the time period beginning October, 1969.
   Previously scheduled allocations to Penang will be rescheduled to Singapore.
   Other R&R sites still open are Tokyo, Manila, Hawaii, Sydney, Bangkok, Taipei and Hong Kong.


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:

Aug. 26
PFC Jerome Haefner, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf, a girl

Aug. 27
SP4 Stephen Lomax, Co B, 65th Eng, a boy

Aug. 28
SGT Franklin Stott, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, a boy

Aug. 29
SP4 Bobby Keith, Btry A, 2d Bn, 27th Arty, a boy
SP4 Harold Gerard, 25th Admn Co, a girl

Aug. 30
SGT David Mapus, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav, a boy
PFC Albert Dastle, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, a boy
Aug. 30
PFC Gayle Pike, 116th AHC, a girl
SP4 Leehan Jackson, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, a girl

Aug. 31
SP4 Larry Lent, HHC 2d Bn, 34th Armor, a girl

Sep. 1
CPT Ronsld Taksar, HHC, 65th Eng, a girl

Sep. 2
SP4 James Bishop, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, a boy

Sep. 3
SP4 Reitzel Turner, Co B, 36th Sig, a girl



    Combat Honor Roll

   Private First Class Andrew R. Dixon of Company A, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, is the latest addition to the Tropic Lightning Combat Honor Roll.
   Dixon earned the honor Aug. 12 while serving as a machinegunner with the Wolfhounds.  As his company moved away from the helicopters that had just dropped it at a landing zone, enemy fire began pouring from a nearby hedgerow.
   Several Wolfhounds were wounded, and the unit was pinned down by the hostile fire.  Despite the heavy fire, however, Dixon moved to administer first aid to his wounded comrades.
   After helping evacuate one of them, Dixon advanced through the deadly hail of enemy fire to a forward position, 15 meters from the hedgerow, and began placing devastating machinegun fire on the aggressors.
   As the battle progressed the Wolfhounds' ammunition began to run low.  Due to the heavy enemy fire, the unit could not move to secure a resupply.
   Dixon unhesitatingly rushed 200 meters through a rice paddy to secure ammunition from a helicopter, and repeated the trip four times before the day was through.
   Then, returning to his forward position, Dixon resumed his machinegun fire on the insurgents' bulwark, adding to an already immense contribution to the defeat of the aggressor force.


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 Harris W. Hollis . . . . . . .  Commanding General
MAJ Warren J. Field . . . . . .   Information Officer
1LT John C. Burns . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP4 Ralph Novak . . . . . . . . .  Editor
SGT John Genitti . . . . . . . . .  Assistant Editor
SP4 David DeMauro. . . . . . . Production Supervisor


SGT Jon Anderson
PFC John Frame
PFC Sam Dixon
SP4 K.C. Culen
SP4 Larry Goodson
PFC Jim Williams
SP4 Pete Freeman
PFC Richard Sears
SP4 Carl Detrick
PFC Frankie Ditto
PFC Greg Stanmar
PFC Jim Stalnaker
PFC Phil Jackson
PFC Craig Sampson
SP4 Pat Morrison


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969


Dragons Drag 'em Out
     Kit Carson Catches 7 in One
By SP4 Frank Ditto

   CU CHI - A 2d Brigade Kit Carson scout with a reputation like a bloodhound's for sniffing out the enemy recently uncorked a hole containing seven NVA soldiers in the southern portion of the Ho Bo Woods.
   Phan Van Chung, Bravo Company Scout for the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, almost single-handedly tracked down and captured the men.
   THE GOLDEN Dragons acted as a blocking force for a company from the 2d Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment, during the morning.  After completing this mission, Bravo started a sweep through the same area the ARVN troops had searched.
   As the point element moved past a bomb crater, Chung noticed fresh footprints.  He alerted two GIs behind him.
   The three men followed the footprints around a large clump of brush.  On the far side of the bushes, Chung uncovered a trap door to a bunker.
   While Golden Dragons pulled security, Chung and Staff Sergeant William Talada, Sayre, Pa., opened the bunker entrance.
   CHUNG SHOUTED into the hideout and fired three rounds into the entrance.  Again he shouted orders into the bunker and followed with a second burst from his M-16.
   Suddenly, NVA soldiers began to pop out of the ground.  When the bunker was cleared, six NVA soldiers and one Viet Cong squad leader had emerged.
   CHUNG WENT into the bunker and found four AK-47s, numerous ponchos, over 40 pounds of clothing, cooking utensils, two NVA canteens, one flashlight and five Chicom grenades.
   The VC squad leader indicated to an ARVN interrogator that the NVA regiment of which they were a part was waiting only about 2,000 meters away.
   These seven captives represented a total of fifteen prisoners uncovered by Phan Van Chung in the past two months alone.  In addition to them, Chung has also discovered several weapon and food caches during the same period.

Handing part of the captured goods up from the bunker, a Golden Dragon trooper fights ants and mud.  Staff Sergeant William Talada, Sayre, Pa., takes an NVA helmet from Private First Class David Shaw of Travis AFB, Calif. SSG William Talada, PFC David Shaw in hole
Intelligence scout, Sgt. Charles Wilson Searching through 40 pounds of clothing, weapons and utensils, Fire Brigade Golden Dragons are aided by a member of the intelligence squad 49th ARVN Regiment.  Sergeant Charles Wilson, Cleveland, holds one of the five Chicom grenades found.  (PHOTOS BY SP4 FRANK DITTO)



A One Nose, One Track Flying Evil People Sniffer
By SP4 Gary Sciortino

   CU CHI - What flies at treetop level and "smells" the air to find well-concealed Viet Cong?  It's a Mechanical People Sniffer, better known as the sniff, used by men of the 9th Chemical Detachment of the 25th Infantry Division.
   The sniff is actually a machine that rides in a helicopter.  The device is designed to detect human activities on the ground that are hidden from observation.  The machine analyzes air samples through an electro-chemical process.  It is so sensitive that it can detect the odors given off by human beings who have remained or even passed through the sniffed area.
   "THE MAIN advantage of the sniff mission is that it can find the general location of the enemy no matter how well he is concealed," remarked Captain Charles G. Shaw, commanding officer of the 9th Chemical Detachment, from Marion, Va.  "That's why Charles doesn't like our machine.  Once he has been found, artillery and gunships can be brought in on him."
   One outstanding characteristic of a sniff mission is the extreme low altitude flying.  At a speed ranging between 80 and 100 knots, the sniff aircraft skims over tree tops then dips down to fly a mere 10 to 15 feet above the fields.
   THE MECHANICAL People Sniffer has already proved its worth during Tropic Lightning operations.  The sniff located movement by a large enemy force three miles northwest of Fire Support Base Crook in early June and helped infantrymen prepare for the assault on that position in which over 400 enemy died.
   In the first week of July, the machine was responsible for helping Tropic Lightning troops find a half ton of rice and some bicycle tires stored in fresh bunkers in a thickly wooded area southwest of Dau Tieng.  It also helped locate 14 new concrete enemy bunkers near the Sugar Mill, seven miles southwest of Trang Bang.
   When the sniff is combined with a quick combat response it becomes a real threat to any enemy who thinks he can rely on his surroundings for concealment and safety.

MECHANICAL NOSE - Staff Sergeant Joseph H. Drisdom, a 9th Chemical Detachment sniff machine operator, gives his machine a pre-flight check.  (PHOTO BY SP4 GARY SCIORTINO) SSG Joseph H. Drisdom



Recon Cops VC Cache

   FSB PERSHING - While operating on a sweep mission northwest of Trang Bang with the 619th and 157th Regional Force companies, the Reconnaissance Platoon of Echo Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, captured two VC suspects and was credited with two enemy killed.
   The combined operation with the Fire Brigade Warriors resulted in the capture of a cache of weapons, ammunition, and documents.  Along with two AK-47 rifles and one pound of records, was a light machinegun and 1,000 rounds of ammo for the weapon.
   The Warriors moved through a small village, and apprehended two suspicious Vietnamese.  The detainees later told ARVNs of a cache hidden nearby.
   Platoon Sergeant David L. Powell, Garland, Tex., explained the action: "As we were moving along the road, one of the Vietnamese sergeants spotted two VC in spider holes.  We immediately opened fire on them."
   The two enemy were killed and the combined force moved in and claimed another cache for the Warriors.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969


After 14 months of leadership

General Williamson Bids Farewell

   When I assumed command of the 25th Infantry Division in August, 1968, I sensed a spirit, a feeling of pride among you.  Last June General Abrams made it a matter of record.  "You stand tall," he said.  "You look proud."  I will always stand a little taller for having served with you.
   As I pass the Division colors to Major General Hollis, my official association with the Tropic Lightning Division comes to a close.  But I cannot sever so easily the emotional ties which have grown up over the past fourteen months.  The victories we have won in the field and the swift efficiency of the combat support elements are the result of a professionalism and dedication unsurpassed by any other unit in Vietnam.
   This intangible spirit has produced a very tangible result: victory.  In the past fourteen months this mighty Division has frustrated the enemy at every turn.  When he attempted to skirt around us or go over us he met with disaster.  The thundering defeats he suffered at Mole City, Frontier City, Crook and Diamonds will stand as a testimony to the courage and commitment of this Division.
   Our enemy cannot point to a single action, one solitary battle, in which he was victorious.  Today he has pulled many of his troops out of our area and is licking his wounds.  If he decides to come back I know Tropic Lightning will be ready to meet and defeat him as it has so many times in the past.  Our enemy will soon realize that the will of the 25th Infantry Division does not change, though its commanders may.  He will ultimately realize that the pride and the professionalism of the men who serve in this unit remains constant and undaunted.
   I admire you, I pray for you and will always remember well the fine association that I have enjoyed with some wonderful people.

Major General Ellis W. Williamson









Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969


Welshman Journeys 3,500 Miles to Enlist in US Army
By PFC Greg Stanmar

   FSB PATTON II - Some of America's young people have gone north to Canada in an attempt to keep out of the Armed Forces.
   C Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry boasts a man who traveled 3500 miles across the Atlantic to join the Army.
   The zealous Fire Brigade GI, Private First Class Glyn Eatwell, Cwmcarn, South Wales, arrived in the United States on August 16, 1968.  His attempt to enlist in the Army for three years was thwarted when he could not get a security clearance, which requires United States citizenship.
   EATWELL, HOWEVER, found he could still be drafted.  He then volunteered for the draft.  The Selective Service obliged, and on December 3d he was on his way to Fort Jackson, S. C., for basic training.
   This is not the first army hitch for the PFC.  He served two years in the British Army, holding the equivalent to E-5 rank.  He was a member of the Red Berets, the British Special Forces.
   As a combat engineer with the Red Berets he had tours in Germany, Malaysia, and Aden.  Eatwell saw action in Aden, where about 50 British soldiers were killed in an uprising.
   "It was quite bad," said Eatwell.  "The Arabs were throwing around quite a few grenades and things."
   THE ACTION DID not dampen his enthusiasm for field action.  Although the blond Welshman says; "I don't like being in the infantry," his fellow GIs see it differently.
   "He's our machine gunner - and boy, does he love that gun," said a member of Eatwell's squad.  "He could fire that thing 24 hours a day  If there was a bigger gun to be had, he'd try and get it.  Glyn once tried to become a gunner for the fifty."
   PFC Eatwell studied for two years at Cross Key College, Monmouthshire, before joining the British Army.
   After his two-year term is over and he has received his citizenship, Eatwell plans to reenlist for flight school, his original intention when coming to America.

PFC Glyn Eatwell DAILY CHORE - Private First Class Glyn Eatwell, a Welshman who moved from the British Isles to the United States so he could join the American Army, works at a daily chore - keeping his M-60 in good condition.  Eatwell carries the machinegun for Charlie Company of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons.  Eatwell served a hitch with the British Army before emigrating to the U.S.  (PHOTO BY PFC GREG STANMAR)



Salvos, Salvation Keep Briggs Busy
By PFC Ken Barron

   FSB EMORY - Approaching the 2d Brigade's Fire Support Base Emory on a drowsy Sunday afternoon you will hear the stillness sporadically broken by the roar of a 105mm Howitzer.
   But as you enter the perimeter, there is another sound that drifts past the gun emplacements and sandbagged bunkers.
   A deep bass voice, accompanied by the twang of a battered guitar, booms out the lyrics of "The Old Rugged Cross."  Once the song ends, the same sonorous voice delivers a reading of Biblical Scriptures.
   WITHOUT SHIRT or hat, the voice's stocky source stands to the side of a 105mm artillery piece.  Holding a large, worn Bible, he espouses the "hellfire and brimstone" style of preaching reminiscent of forgotten evangelists who once roamed small Southern communities.
   The young men sit or lean against the sandbag wall of a parapet, occasionally nodding in agreement.
   Sergeant First Class Clate W. Briggs, chief of firing battery of Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery lowers a tanned and weathered face and offers the benediction.
   Once the service ends, he picks up the guitar and plays a couple of country and western tunes along with several gospel songs for some of the cannoneers who have purposely lingered in the area.
   THE SIZE OF the "congregation" usually varies from seven to 15 men who appear to be enthusiastic and appreciative of the old-fashioned sermons and gospel singing.
   Briggs says that there is no conflict between his informal services and the worship programs of the 25th Division's Chaplains.  The Chaplains agree and are grateful for the sergeant's assistance.
   A resident of Elizabethton, Tenn., Briggs once served as a "circuit rider" preacher for the small churches within a hundred mile radius of Lawton, Okla.
   ALTHOUGH LICENSED to preach by the First Freewill Baptist Church of Lawton, Briggs spent most of his time substituting for vacationing clergy and standing-in for churches without permanent pastors.  He also visited hospitals and held services at old people's homes.
   A veteran of 16 years of Army service, he also has preached while in Baumholder, Germany, and Cao Lanh, Vietnam, in 1964.
   Briggs says he developed his voice bellowing basic artillery instructions to trainees at Ft. Sill, Okla.

ALWAYS ON SUNDAY - SFC Clate W. Briggs reads from a Bible during one of his evangelistic services at FSB Emory. SFC Clate W. Briggs



15 VC Fall To Dragon Ambushes
By SP4 Frank Ditto

   CU CHI - For three consecutive nights, Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry engaged platoon-sized elements of Viet Cong.
   Working out of Fire Support Base Patton II on the first night, the Golden Dragons sprang an ambush on a VC unit, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.
   The following night the company sent out a small team of men to the same area.  At about 11 o'clock p.m., another platoon-sized group was sighted, and the team successfully eliminated three VC.
   ON THE THIRD straight night, another ambush patrol was organized by Delta.  Again, at approximately the same time of night, the enemy was spotted moving into the kill zone.
   The Delta Devils let the enemy walk all the way into the zone before they opened up.  After the firing had subsided, the AP swept through the area and turned up several weapons and some enemy documents.
   "I don't understand what these VC were doing," said company commander Captain Thomas I. Waldera, Algona, Iowa on the third night of activity.  "They just came walking down this trail laughing and talking as if they were on a picnic.
   "But my men showed them that this is not a game," said Waldera, "by eliminating over half of the element."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969


DIVARTY Program Helps Vietnamese Help Themselves
By SP4 Ken Fairman

   CU CHI - The 25th Infantry Division Artillery civic affairs program is providing a stepping stone in helping the Vietnamese people to help themselves.
   The DIVARTY area of operation consists of Trang Bang District, 11 miles northwest of Cu Chi.  The civic affairs section's aim in this heavily populated area with over 54,000 people, is to help develop and maintain loyalty toward the government of the Republic of Vietnam by raising the people's standard of living.
   According to Captain Kenneth B. Hendrix of San Antonio, Tex., civic affairs officer, "We try to be available whenever the local village governments need help.  Goodwill toward the U.S. is really a secondary aim.  We're here to help the people and develop their loyalty toward the GVN."
   PACIFICATION, THE JOB of removing the causes of insurgency by helping local governments improve the lives of their people, is extremely important in the DIVARTY program.  Inadequate or nonexistent facilities, a lack of educational facilities and shortages of food contribute to dissatisfaction among the Vietnamese.
   To help the Vietnamese in Trang Bang District with these problems, the civic affairs program, to be most effective, is divided into two main areas: civic action and psychological operations.
   Civic action helps provide the money, material and training programs that normally are beyond the means of local officials for self-improvement of their villages.
   Money and materials are given to build schools, hospitals, provide tin for new roofs.  Medical assistance includes training of Vietnamese nurses and teaching proper hygiene to the people.  The most well-known and appreciated medical assistance is given through medical civic action programs (MEDCAPS).
   REQUESTED BY VILLAGE officials, U.S. doctors with MEDCAP teams treat any injured and sick wishing treatment.  The people openly welcome MEDCAPS and large crowds are always lined up for treatment.
   Psychological operations, the second area of civil affairs programs, is an important aid in pacification.  It can build support for the government of the Republic of Vietnam, break down the enemy's fighting ability and will to resist, influence the enemy to rally under the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) program, and distribute government information directly to the people.
   Leaflets dropped from helicopters or fired into enemy territory in special artillery projectiles, and loudspeaker systems broadcasting from the air or from vehicles, are primarily used to disseminate information.
   The Voluntary Informant Program gives Vietnamese piasters as reward for finding enemy weapons and supplies.  According to Hendrix, "When a Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army Regular defects, he becomes a Hoi Chanh and is given a reward for any weapons he turns in, too.  Many units have reported having good success with this program."
   The DIVARTY Civil Affairs program helps the Vietnamese in Trang Bang District develop security, peace and prosperity for themselves and their families.  More important, this gives them a reason to resist the VC/NVA forces and support the national government.

SP4 Edward Bowers and dog Brut POINTMAN AND FRIEND - SP4 Edward Bowers and his dog, Brut, of the 46th Scout Dog Platoon, lead men of Alpha Company 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry out of a jungle on an operation northwest of Tay Ninh City.  The job of scout dog and handler is not an easy one, but the men of the line companies have great respect for the team.  The dog can keep them out of ambushes and booby traps, and aid in detecting the enemy.  (PHOTO BY SP4 K,C. CULLEN)



VC Don't Agree on Man's Best Friend
By SP4 K. C. Cullen

      TAY NINH - Victor Charlie has a hairy nemesis which shares his name.
   "Charlie" is a dog of a very special type.  He is a scout dog with the 46th Scout Dog Platoon, which lends assistance to the line companies of the 1st Brigade of the 25th Division in Tay Ninh West Base Camp.
   Private first class Don Ackley of Flint, Mich., Charlie's handler, gave a brief description of what makes Charlie and the other dogs of the platoon along with their handlers so special.
   "A scout dog shows a part of his personality in the way he alerts," said Specialist 4 Edward Bowers.  "Some pull the handlers, others sit down.  Ears may perk up or just a turn of the head may tell the handler that something is not cricket in a given direction."
   The degree to which the dog alerts also allows the handler to judge the distance to the thing or person the dog is interested in.  Ackley commented: "Charlie is a puller, and just how much he pulls can give me an idea of how far away the enemy is.  But I must take wind, weather and terrain features into consideration when I determine this."  The dogs are normally effective to about 100 to 150 meters in an open area.
   The handler is a professional point man, and he and his dog make an early warning system to the enemy's immediate whereabouts that is hard to beat.  They add to the speed with which a company can move through an area safely because of their proven ability and the confidence commanders put in them.  Besides pointing out an ambush or trail watcher, an alert by the dog often means the discovery of a recently used bunker system or cache.  A unique type of man and dog do a difficult and dangerous job and do it exceedingly well.

7/11 Arty puts up concertina wire
SAFEGUARDING FIREBALL - The men of Headquarters Battery 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery aid Bravo Battery in their move to a new position near the Boi Loi Woods.  The one-day move to a new location to support infantry units is known as a "Fireball."  An entire battery can be moved and set up in a day and be ready for fire support that same night.  (PHOTO BY SP4 PETE FREEMAN)



Arty Heads Up, Moves Out
By SP4 Pete Freeman

   TAY NINH - In order to support the infantry on certain operations, an artillery battery is often called on to pull out of its fire support base and move to a new position to provide the infantry with direct artillery support from a closer distance.
   Generally, this involves a one-day operation called a "fireball" mission, but on some occasions it is necessary for the artillery firings battery to set up a temporary patrol base and stay for a number of days
   RECENTLY, BRAVO Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery moved out of Fire Support Base Buell near Tay Ninh base camp and headed 20 miles southeast where they set up a temporary support base next to Fire Support Base Wood, 10 miles south of Dau Tieng.  The move was made in conjunction with operations in the Boi Loi Woods, which lie three miles east of Wood.
   Bravo Battery moved in to fire direct artillery support for three companies of the 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 22d Infantry and Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry operating with ARVN Airborne Infantrymen in the heavily wooded area.
   UPON THEIR arrival, the Battling Bravo cannoneers moved into the area, quickly set up their 105mm howitzers and began construction of their new post.  Bunker and parapets began going up and by late that afternoon, their new home was practically finished, complete with mess tent and a fire direction center.
   Bravo Battery had come to fire, and that they did.  Firing at a rapid clip of over 700 105mm rounds per day, the cannoneers expended some seven thousand rounds during their stay.  On two consecutive days of supporting the Boi Loi operations, the rapid-loading artillerymen expended more than one thousand rounds per day.
   Ten days after their arrivals, Bravo Battery, commanded by Captain Kenneth Macon of St. Louis, Mo., dismantled their support base, packed up and moved out, their operation completed.


BG Black to Ft Ord.

   Brigadier General Edwin F. Black left the Tropic Lightning Division recently after serving eight months as assistant division commander for support at division headquarters in Cu Chi.
   In his farewell speech to the troops, General Black, who has held the post since January said that he was "proud to have served with men of such dedication and valor."
   General Black added that the division "should look forward to the future.  You have defeated the main enemy force on the field of battle.  He is like a wounded tiger, slinking into the jungle to hide and lick his wounds.  It's up to the men of this division to hunt him down, and finish him off.  Your role in the coming months will be one of relentless pursuit to seek him out."
   General Black was reassigned as commander of the training center at Ft. Ord, Calif.  His list of previous assignments includes commander of the OSS Detachment, Berlin, commander of the 2d Battalion, 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and commander of headquarters, U.S. Army Support, Thailand.
   Replacing General Black as Assistant Division commander for Support is Brigadier General Thomas J. Camp, Des Moines, Iowa.
   General Camp comes to the 25th Division from duties as Director, Organization, Unit Training and Readiness Directorate Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 15, 1969


Golden Dragon Heat Victim Pays Off in Cache

   CU CHI - A heat casualty in Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons turned out to be a lucky stroke recently when the stricken trooper fell at the entrance of a sizable enemy arms cache.
   The cache contained an unmined store of supplies for a mortar squad or for a staging area, according to Second Lieutenant Gary Tucker of Houston, Tex.
   THE COMPANY-SIZED heliborne operation, dropped four miles northeast of Fire Support Base Patton II, had taken a break for lunch when a grenadier suddenly passed out from the heat.
   Medic Larry Jackson of Sabetha, Kan., went to the soldier's aid and then discovered the fall had revealed a trap door to a tunnel.
   Specialist 4 Ken Cory of Pittsburg, Calif., and the company's Kit Carson Scout, Ho Van Tan, went into the tunnel and quickly discovered two enemy rifles.
   They then followed the tunnel 10 feet to a bend, which opened into a small room four and a half feet high.
   FOUND IN THE ROOM were 53 60mm mortar rounds complete with fuzes, 38 rounds without fuzes, 18 cases of AK-47 ammunition, five pounds of documents, five cans of mortar charges, nine cases of fuzes, 35 rifle grenades, six boxes of blasting caps, 17 NVA uniforms with web gear and 30 pounds of medical supplies.
   Many of the ammunition boxes were rusted on the outside.  "It was surprising how well-packed they were on the inside. however," said Tucker.
   "If it had not been for the heat casualty," Cory said, "we definitely would have missed the cache.  We hadn't had any recent enemy activity in the area to indicate possible enemy supplies in the area."
   The region is made up of thick underbrush, and the entrance to the tunnel was well-camouflaged, Cory added.

90mm recoilless rifle in action ON TARGET - A 90mm recoiless rifle team from Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Manchus blasts a tree line where North Vietnamese Army troops had been spotted.  (PHOTO BY PFC RICHARD SEARS)



NVA Loses 22
    Teamwork Traps Sappers

   CU CHI - Combined units of Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 27th "Infantry Wolfhounds, 2d Company, 1st Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment and Alpha Battery, 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery repulsed an early morning sapper attack on Patrol Base Rittgers, killing 17 NVA soldiers and capturing a truckload of equipment and ammunition.
   Other Wolfhound soldiers added another five to the enemy losses in supporting Alpha Company.
   The area of contact was 13 miles west of Cu Chi base camp.
   THE HEAVY ACTION started at 0225 hours with incoming small arms fire spiced with RPG and mortar rounds.
   "They were pretty accurate with their mortars," said Sergeant Juan Naputi of Oahu, Hawaii.  "What we got were mostly RPGs and mortars that were falling like rain."
   At about 0230, the enemy sappers started heading for the wire.  The well-trained saboteurs were able to penetrate the outer wire without setting off the trip flares strung along the outter defenses.
   The major part of the attack came from the east-southeast.  The Allies combined infantry and artillery firepower drove back the enemy element coming from the southeast, but they managed to regroup and join the force concentrating on the east.
   Two of the 2/77 artillery gun pits took direct hits.  One received a direct hit from a mortar and the other from a satchel charge.
   "THE COURAGE OF the men in the battery was really exceptional," commented the 2/77's First Lieutenant Robert Anderon of Fullerton, Calif.  "Even after receiving direct hits, they kept on putting the fire out although one gun had a tire blown out by a mortar round and its men were wounded."
   Anderson also commented on the ARVN's valor in the face of the enemy.
   "They (the ARVNs) fought as well an any soldiers I've seen.  They were out of their bunkers returning the fire."
   Private First Class Joseph Tallericl of Wyandanch, N.Y. described his first thoughts this way: "I didn't think - I just saw them coming and started firing."
   The heaviest contact was at about 0335 hours.  A body count of nine was found inside the wire and eight more were later found outside.
   WITH DAWN COMING, the Wolfhounds' Charlie, Delta and Bravo Companies were committed to trap the enemy before they could escape across to Cambodia, Charlie Company was inserted near the border and Bravo was sent to the north, while Delta Company swept west from the Vam Co Dong River towards the sandwiched enemy.
   While moving into position, Charlie Company became pinned down by a company size element using mainly automatic weapons.
   Delta linked with the embattled Charlie Company to set up a night defensive position.  Air strikes and gunships worked over the dug-in enemy positions to give the tired Wolfhounds a breather.
   A sweep of that area in the morning produced an additional body count of five along with one destroyed .51 caliber machinegun, four AK-47s and other personal items.
   A sweep outside Patrol Base Rittgers produced 31 RPG rounds, five RPG launchers, 111 Chicom grenades, 4 AK-47s, five Chicom claymores, and one Chicom radio.
   Wolfhound Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Richard Moore of Richmond, Va., said of his troops:  "They all kept their cool.  The men at Rittgers did a fine job of fighting off sappers and soundly punished their foes."


Ranger Rookies Learn Fast
By PFC Jim Stalnaker

   CU CHI - On the third day of a long range patrol, two members of F Company, 75th Infantry Rangers surprised an eight-man enemy squad.
   The nine-man Tropic Lightning ranger team was working on the Oriental River near Tra Cu.  They were 200 meters north of the east bank of the river when they set up a defensive position.
   THE AREA AFFORDED insufficient cover, so an observation team of two Rangers was sent out.
   Private First Class Alfred E. McKinny, Birmingham, Ala., and Private First Class John M. Jakulouski, Winsor Locks, Conn., walked out 25 meters ahead of the main body and set up the observation post.  Shortly after they had gotten into position, they spotted eight enemy soldiers with rucksacks and weapons moving toward their positions.
   As the first three enemy moved out of the bushes about 25 meters from the Rangers, the US team opened fire with their M-16's.
   Because of the distance back to the main element, the two Rangers could not get support from the other members of the team.  They put out a heavy volume of fire that completely routed the enemy and resulted in three VC killed and three wounded.
   NUMEROUS DOCUMENTS were also obtained.  The two Rangers moved back into the main body while gunships and artillery were called into the area.
   The Ranger team later moved back down the river and returned to Cu Chi the next day, the mission complete.
   "Both men were new in country," said Sergeant James P. Badger, Niagra Falls, N.Y., the team leader.  "It took a lot of courage to initiate contact against a larger force."

MUDDY BUSINESS - Specialist 4 Gordon Nietz of Minneapolis, Minn., finds searching for the enemy can be a rather muddy and dangerous business.  (PHOTO BY PFC CRAIG SAMPSON) SP4 Gordon Nietz



Lost and... Found Dept.

   Most of us have at one time or another lost something and at a later date accidentally discovered it again.
   But not everyone experiences the likes of the identification tag problems of 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Warriors Specialist 4 Jerry Smith and Private First Class George B. Tullas.
   While assigned to the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry, Smith, of Jonesboro, Ark., lost his ID tags in the Crescent area near Tay Ninh City.  The tags were lost in February near the Cambodian Border.
   Five months later, while the Warriors were securing Highway 6A, Smith's ID tags were found in the possession of a Vietnamese child outside of Trang Bang.  Specialist Tony DeBlasio of Elmira, N. Y., noticed the tags.  After recognizing the name of his fellow Warrior, DeBlasio checked out the service number, which cinched the case.
   Tullas of Hallsville, Tex., had experienced a similar surprise recovery earlier.  While on a RIF around Fire Support Base Pershing in October, 1968, Tullas reached for the chain that secured his ID as well as a P-38 can opener; it was then he discovered the loss.
   March found him in the same general area on a similar mission.  Unbelievably, Tullas retrieved his lost ID tags.
   Tullas said, "I was checking the ground especially close for booby traps when I noticed something metal barely visible in the grass.  I checked it out, and found my dog tags, chain and P-38 where I had lost them five months before."


Thanks to:
Dan Herald, 2/77th Artillery, for sharing this issue, pages 1,2,7,8,
Tony DeBlasio, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., and TLN Correspondent, for pages 3,4,5,6,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 01-06-2007

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