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Vol 4 No. 43          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          October 27, 1969



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                   3 2/12                                 8 2/34 Armor Photo          1 3/4 Cav                           1
1/5 Photo                       7 2/14                                 7 2/49 ARVN                     3 3/22                                3
1/27 Photo                     3 2/14                                 7 2/49 ARVN                     7 4/23                                1
1/27                                 7 2/14 Photo                     8 2/77 Arty                        8 4/23                                3
1/27                                 8 2/14                                 8 25th Inf Band Photos   4 4/23                                7
1/49 ARVN                    8 2/27                                 6 25th Inf Band                 4 46th Scout Dog            3
2nd Bde Photo              1 2/27                                 8 25th Inf Band Photos   4 547th RF                        1
2/12 Photo                     2 2/27 Photo                     8 3rd Bde                           7 65th Engr                       6
2/12 Photo                     3 2/34 Armor                     1 3rd Bde Photos             7 65th Engr Photo           6
2/12                                 3 2/34 Armor                     1


FACs Flay Floundering Foe

Forward Air Controller

QUICK AND POWERFUL reaction by a 2d Brigade forward air controller (FAC) led to the complete destruction recently of a Viet Cong camp five miles north of Fire Support Base Pershing.  Nineteen enemy died.  Air Force Lieutenant Stephen Morehouse of New Briton, Conn., responded to the sighting of the camp by a Centaur gunship from Delta Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, and directed jet fighter planes in a devastating bombardment of the area. The FAC's destroyed eight bunkers and set off two secondary explosions.


Tomahawks Nab 19 On Mountain Slope

   TAY NINH - Movement was spotted just before midnight.  M-79 and M-60 machine gun fire immediately followed.  Tomahawk scouts of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry had eliminated 19 enemy on the rocky slopes of Nui Ba Den.
   "We could see groups of three to four at a time," said Staff Sergeant Douglas R. Conn of Merrimac, Mass.  "We first thought that this activity was a diversionary tactic, but we later found they were setting up mortar positions and searching for better cover," continued Conn.
   AT DAY BREAK, the Tomahawk scout platoon plus two dogs proceeded up the cave-infested mountainside.  Even the scout dogs had a difficult time scaling the sharp rocks.
   "You couldn't take a step without noticing another crevice that the 'little man' could easily be hiding behind," commented Specialist 4 William J. Garcia of Oceanside, Calif.
   MANY OF THE caves are now collapsed by air strikes and continuous bombardment of artillery or filled with water.  Supplies have been choked off by effective maneuvering and interdiction by the Tomahawks and armormen of the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor.
   "It sounded like 20 to 25 natives jabbering - we knew it was time for us to start downward," explained Private First Class Joseph F. Derenzo of Pittsburg, Pa.  "As we descended we could hear the whizzing sounds of small arms fire buzzing over our heads.  Our only hesitation on the way down was to toss a grenade into a cave where we heard voices, which accounted for two more enemy dead."
   By noon the scouts had found 19 enemy bodies. They took no casualties in the action.


The second largest number of accidents occurring in the 25th Infantry Division (after motor vehicle accidents) is caused by persons with rounds chambered in their rifles when there is no need for it.  Foolish accidents happen when people forget to put the safety on or clear their weapon before cleaning it.  DEROS. Do it the safe way.


Nui Ba Den Action Resumes
                     Dreadnaughts, RFs Kill 11

   TAY NINH - While conducting a dismounted reconnaissance-in-force at the base of Nui Ba Den, a combined force of Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 34th Armor's Reconnaissance Platoon and the 547th Regional Force Company of Tay Ninh Province engaged an estimated company-sized NVA unit, killing 11 and confiscating seven AK-47 rifles.
   As the combined allied force moved through the dense underbrush and banana groves surrounding the base of the Black Virgin Mountain, AK-47 rifle fire cracked through the groves.  Staff Sergeant Anseino Arismendez of San Antonio, Tex., section leader for the reconnaissance platoon, deployed his men and directed their fire on the enemy's position.  A barrage of M-16, M-60 machine gun fire, and M-79 grenades answered the enemy.
   AS THE armormen returned fire, Private First Class Norval A. Horton of Menahga, Minn., and Private First Class Sammy W. Nugent of Harrisonburg, La., spotted 10 to 15 enemy running for one of the numerous caves at the base of the mountain.
   Horton, relating the contact, explained, "Sam (Nugent) and I were at the end of the column when we hit the ground and returned fire.  Then we spotted the NVA.  I yelled up to the other guys and we just sprayed the area."
   A call for air support was made by company commander Thomas Boling of New Paris, Ill., and he directed the men to pull back.
   AIR FORCE JETS first arrived, pounding the enemy position with their devastating load.  Rockets and miniguns from a light fire team continued to spray the enemy's position for the next hour.
   While the Cobra gunships expended their load, artillery from nearby Fire Support Base St. Barbara, (French Fort) took over and for the next half hour their guns echoed through the mountain.

DREADNAUGHT FIREPOWER blasts away at enemy positions near the base of Nui Ba Den.  Tankers of the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor used .50 caliber machine guns and 90mm main guns to rout the entrenched enemy from the mountain's flanks. (Photo by SP5 Carl Detrick) Tankers



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969



SSG Jimmy L. Fannin, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf SP4 Roger L. Smith, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
CPT Arthur L. Minnefield, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CPT David J. Boyle, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1SG Frank A. Nother, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG Tillman Chastain, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Gary P. Hershberger, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Walter E. Lausman, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Daniel E. Workman, Co D, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PFC Willard C. Humphrey, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Phillip V. Shortman, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
LTC John E. Mann, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Thomas J. Sinclair, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Harding C. Thorpe, HHC, 3d Bde
1LT William W. Foster, HHC, 1st Bde
CW2 Robert Beck, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
CW2 George V. Conger, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Jackie E. Craig, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 David R. Watson, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP 5 Charles N. Edwards, Co B. 25th Avn Bn
MAJ Robert D. Helman, HHS, Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
CPT Arthur C. Smith, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Norman C. Boyter, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Joseph E. Root IV, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Stanley J. SprInger, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Ramon T. Pulliam, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
1LT James N. Williams, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
1LT Thomas P. Ward, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1LT Steven Boal, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT William N. Bradley, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
1LT Kenneth Lancaster, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Joseph R. Finch, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
2LT Noel E. Adams, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CW2 Henry V. Perry, Co D, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
WO1 Jackie E. Craig, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Jack A. Cosby, HHC, 2d Bde
MSG Charle E. Rennie, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SFC Clinton Russell, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Bruce D. Holzhauer, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Richard G. Lisher, HHS Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SSG Lloyd D. Buzzard, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SSG William A. Talada, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Ronald Riskus, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SSG Donald R. Wright, Co E, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Donnie J. Ashley, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Vance A. Baustert, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Timothy J. Blazei, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Lynn A. Miller, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Hubert M. Carter, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Wiliam C. Skidmore, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Curtis A. Ryans, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT John F. Lawinger, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Ralph W. Carbaugh, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT John A. Meissen, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP5 Walter L. Jones, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Edwin K. May, Co B; 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Victor Stewart, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Samuel W. Chance, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 James W. Boyce, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 George F. Clemmerson, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William W. Soper, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Henry L. Spooner, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Russel Wolfgram, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Richard G. Cox, Sr. Co B. 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Marcus J. Garcia, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 John P. Fee, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Robert J. Senger, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert Barton, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 John M. Piercy, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Thurmond Moore, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Dennis Dollar, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Grady A. Mead, Co A, 3d Bn, 22 Inf
PFC Douglas L. Jackson, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Danny P. Presley, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Gary R. Bolton, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Thomas S. Shipley, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Thomas Cumby, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Kenneth Shollenberger, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC David A. Kidder, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Cecil C. Dark, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Steven L. Johnston, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Vance M. Evans, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jett L. Lewis, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC William A. Cunningham, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Jimmy W. Garrett, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Raymond D. McKimm, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PVT Ambrose C. Dunn, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf



$ - Power of Suggestion

   "Your Ideas Are Worth Cash," is the slogan of the Army Suggestion Program.
   Adopted suggestions mean cash in the pockets of soldiers who have ideas for accomplishing their missions faster, easier and more economically.  They also constitute millions of dollars in savings to the U.S. Government.
   In the 26-year history of the program more than $12 million has been paid to military and civilian personnel whose suggestions were adopted.
   Cash awards ranging in amounts from $25 to $25.000 are given for adopted suggestions.  The money saved by the Army during the first year the suggestion is in use determines the amount of the cash award.
   Two notable examples of the Army Suggestion Program in action are:
   CWO Carroll E. Nelson, Fort Benning, Ga., received $1.500 for suggesting the use of personnel data cards and unit morning reports when auditing entries on leave records for individuals of the military service.  His idea resulted in an estimated annual savings of $634,278.
   Sgt. Lawrence E. Frawley, Fort Bragg, N.C., received $830 for his proposal of a better clamp to hold an air cleaner to the carburetor on certain Army vehicles.  His suggestion is expected to result in an annual savings of $35,765.


                 Combat Honor Roll

PFC John Razcykowski   Private First Class John Razcykowski of Company A. 2d Battalion. 12th Infantry has been added to the Tropic Lightning Combat Honor Roll.
   While on a dismounted reconnaissance operation, elements of Company A came in contact with a large enemy force in well-concealed fortifications.  During the initial engagement, one man was seriously wounded and pinned down by the fire from three enemy fighting positions.
   Unhesitatingly, Razcykowski secured three light anti-tank weapons and began to maneuver towards the aggressors' emplacements.  After moving to a strategic position only twenty feet from the enemy, Razcykowski, with complete disregard for his own safety, exposed himself to the hail of hostile fire as he fired the light antitank weapons directly into the enemy bunkers, completely silencing the positions.
   As a medical rescue team moved forward to evacuate an injured soldier, Razcykowski remained in an exposed position in order to provide covering fire for his comrades.


Tropic Lightning Assoc. Born

   Announcing the birth of the Tropic Lightning Association - a service organization run by 25th Infantry Division soldiers for 25th Infantry Division soldiers for 25th Infantry Division soldiers.
   Pending projects include the offering of Tropic Lightning Christmas cards, distinctively marked souvenirs, personal items and more.   Details for membership will be released soon.
   The Tropic Lightning Association is happening.  Let it happen to you.


Deadline Due On Xmas Mail

   Deadlines for mailing packages home for Christmas are drawing near.  To insure delivery before Dec. 25, they should be mailed before the following dates:
   Airmail:  Dec 13;  first class: Dec. 10;  PAL (parcel airlift): Dec. 10;  SAM (space available mail): Dec. 4;  fourth class parcel post: Nov. 25.
   All Vietnam-based servicemen are entitled to a $50 customs exemption on bona fide gifts bought through an Armed Forces Exchange agency.  Customs duty is never paid on U.S.-manufactured items.
   The weight and size of any parcel introduced into the military postal system must not exceed 70 pounds or 100 inches in combined length and girth.


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:

SP4 Bruce W. Thomas, HHC 65th Eng, a boy, Oct 9
SSGT James E. Anderson, C 25th Med, a girl, Oct 10
PFC Dennis L. Clark, E 2/12 Inf, a girl, Oct 11
PVT Herbert Morris, Jr., A 3/4 Cav, a girl, Oct 1.2
1LT Richard Hetzel, 25th MP Co, a girl, Oct 13
PFC Thomas W. Berryl, B 1/5 Inf, a boy, Oct 14
PVT William T. Tufts, C 2/12 Inf, a girl, Oct 15
1LT David S. Weaver, ADV TM 43, a boy, Oct 15
SGT Howard W. Tucker, B 36th Sig, a girl, Oct 16



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
SP4 Harold O. Anderson . .  Assistant Editor
SGT John Genitti. . . . . . . . . . Production Supervisor


SP4 Dennis Bries
SP4 Bill Frame
SGT Bill Obelholzer
SP4 Larry Goodson
PFC Jim Williams
PFC Richard Sears
SP4 Carl Detrick
Wally Baker
SP4 Frank Ditto
PFC Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
PFC Craig Sampson
SP4 Pat Morrison
SP4 Ken Baron
SP5 Tony DeBlasio
PFC Rich Fitzpatrick
SP4 Ken Fairman
SP4 Brad Yeager
PFC Frank Rebbonico
PFC Doug Sainsbury
PFC Richard Fitzpatrick
SGT Larry Goodson
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 K.C.Cullen
SP4 Tony Crawford
SP5 Pete Freeman


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969


Two of a Kind
               Tomahawks Score Double Jackpot

   TAY NINH - What could be more demoralizing for the enemy than ONE company of Tropic Lightning soldiers uncovering his underground belongings?
   TWO companies, of course, and that's exactly what happened as Alfa and Bravo Companies of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry Tomahawks scored a daily double when they separately discovered caches in the Crescent area of Tay Ninh Province and in a cave on Nui Ba Den.
   Alfa Company was conducting operations on the southeast side of the mountain when the soldiers came upon a cave with unburned firewood and a fresh cooking position at its opening.
   PRIVATE FIRST CLASS Dennis Molina of Cicero, Ind., said, "I knew we had hit a gold mine.  I couldn't wait to see what we'd found."
   The Tomahawk discovery included over 5000 AK-47 rounds, three 25-pound mines, two RP G-2 warheads, an 82mm mortar, several Chicom grenades, a telescope, a can of explosives, a pair of wire cutters, a flashlight. 50 pounds of rice, and a 25-gallon can of cooking oil.
   The battalion's S-2 section had just finished counting Alfa's cache when Bravo radioed saying that it was on its way in with another cache.
   BRAVO TOMAHAWKS had been conducting a reconnaissance-in-force mission with a Vietnamese Regional Forces company.
   Specialist 4 Bruce McMahon of Mahopac, N.Y., from the 46th Scout Dog Platoon said, "We worked up to the wood line and then found a trail leading in.  When we didn't find anything we turned around to come back and our flank man ran right into a bunker."
   In a subsequent search, they uncovered four RPG rounds, 11 Chicom hand grenades, two claymore mines with bipods, two bangalore torpedoes, and medical equipment. After collecting the goods, the Tomahawks blew up the bunkers and returned to their base satisfied with their day's work.

BREATHER - Private First Class Curtis Thrift of Richmond, Va., an RTO for the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, takes a short rest during operations in the Boi Loi Woods.  (Photo by PFC Jim Williams) PFC Curtis Thrift


Cats By-Numbers' Ambush Nets 3 VC

   CU CHI - Infantry training, whether in AIT, NCO school, OCS or Ranger School is usually the same: repetition of correct actions until they become automatic when under fire.
   With this in mind, many hours of training are spent practicing the "book" approach to ambushes.  The success of this training is demonstrated each day by actions in Vietnam.
   The first platoon of Alfa Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry set up just such a "by-the-numbers" ambush and caught three Viet Cong in the process.
   THE FIRE BRIGADE troops spent the afternoon at Fire Support Base Devin, cleaning weapons and resting up for the long night.
   As dusk arrived, they moved out toward the ambush point.  The unit's Kit Carson scout, Dat Huynh Tan of Tay Ninh, led the men through a heavily booby-trapped area.  By eight in the evening, the 2d Brigade soldiers had set up a triangular perimiter at the target site.
   TWO SIDES of the perimeter faced paths, and the third was a security element.  Each point of the triangle was manned by a squad leader with starlight scope and an M-60 machine gunner.  One hundred percent security was established, and each man was wearing his gear, ready to strike.
   Noise and light discipline were strictly maintained, so that when the Bobcats heard sounds about ten o'clock, they knew it was the enemy.
   Within a few seconds, three Viet Cong were detected approaching the security element of the triangular perimeter.  When the enemy entered the kill zone, an M-60 and the M-16's on line opened up.
   Two VC were killed and a third was hit.  A hasty sweep indicated the men had been carrying mines and digging tools.

Warriors Put Charles On Riceless Diet

   CU CHI - In two separate days of operations to the north of Fire Support Base Pershing, men of Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry stole 6,600 pounds of rice right out of Charlie's mouth along with some seasoning and dessert - 300 pounds of salt and 50 pounds of sugar.
   Airmobile on both occasions, the 2d Brigade Warriors swept through two areas near the Boi Loi Woods.
   Private First Class Gene Loving of Chester, S.C., described the scene on the first day:  "We were traveling along a road that ran off into some thick brush, and it was just lying there in the open, covered with NVA ponchos."
   The rice was found in 100-pound bags.
   Early in the afternoon that same day a salt cache was discovered consisting of 300 pounds located in a deserted hootch.
   The following day while conducting operations through the same general area, another 400 pounds of rice was located along with the 50 pounds of sugar.  They also found several articles of clothing, a hammock and an NVA poncho.

A Clerk Goes Humping

   TAY NINH - "I was sick of hearing the term 'base camp commando' and the members of Echo telling me I didn't know what it was like outside the gate."
   These words explain why Specialist 5 Steve King, company clerk for Echo Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry decided to act as a radio-telephone operator during a three-day laager operation.
   King carried a PRC-25 radio for Specialist 4 Ricky Watson of the Regulars' 4.2 inch mortar platoon.  Watson, of Brennen, Ala., was serving as an artillery forward observer for a company of ARVN Airborne soldiers while the paratroopers were on a combined operation with Delta Company of the Regulars.
   A NATIVE of Salt Lake City, Utah, King found himself in overgrown jungle and thigh-deep water, experiencing the heat of the noon-day sun and the chill of a monsoon cloudburst.
   "I went out on a challenge, but I came back with and understanding and respect for what those guys go through on a daily basis," commented the part-time infantryman.
   Working with the ARVN's gave King another bit of insight into a major phase of the Regulars' activity, the combined operation.
   "I EXPECTED a rag-tag outfit and was a little worried about going out with them. But the ARVN Airborne soldiers are excellent, carrying everything but the kitchen sink on their backs."
   "The ARVN's spend almost all of their time on operations in the field and they carry as many of the comforts of home as they can.  Hammocks, pots and pans, ponchos and the like make their days and nights a bit easier.  But they don't sacrifice safety for comfort," he said.
   King is back at his desk and happy with his morning reports.  His final comment on the jaunt into the wilderness: "I'm glad I did it.  It was worth the wet feet and the loss of sleep to find out what it was like out there.  It was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't like to live there."

Where's My Mortar?

   CU CHI - Enemy firepower within the Tropic Lightning 2d Brigade area of operations suffered a heavy loss recently.
   Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldiers of the 2d Battalion, 49th Regiment on a combined operation with Delta Company, 2 d Battalion, 14th Infantry unearthed a complete 120mm mortar.
   A former NVA soldier who had rallied to the ARVN troops led soldiers to an area southwest of Patrol Base Hunsley where the mortar had been buried.
   First Lieutenant Alic Tahir of Philadelphia, Pa., assistant advisor to the ARVN battalion said, "We searched the area pretty thoroughly at first.  I was about to give up.  The ARVN's kept working the area over, though.  They kept probing the ground with entrenching tools and bamboo sticks."
   The ARVN company commander, First Lieutenant Uy Quay said, "It took about a half hour to find the mortar.  One man suddenly struck the bipods.  Then another found the tube, then the base plate."
   "It must have been some job for the enemy to carry a mortar that large so far.  Now they've lost it before they got a chance to use it," Tahir said. "Credit for the find should go to the ARVN's."
   The mortar and base plate weighed more than 1,000 pounds.

One Extra Day

   Beginning Nov. 1, personnel traveling to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Taipei and Manila on R&R will receive an extra day's stay.  R&R's to Australia and Hawaii have already been extended to six days.
   Normal leave to these locations will now be limited to a regular R&R cycle.

CHUG-A-LUG-Seymour, mascot of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, downs a tall cool one as Sergeant Mike White of Meridian, Miss., looks on.  White, the club manager, says that Seymour has become quite a lush since taking up residence with the Wolfhounds.  (Photo By SP4 Brad Yeager) Sgt. Mike White, and Seymour



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969


What do you do on a Sunday afternoon when you've finished all details and band jobs?  Practice.
The Band
Trang Bang is alive with the sound of Tropic Lightning music.
The Boys 
     in the Band

Bandmaster WO Ronald C. Ridenour

Bandmaster WO Ronald C. Ridenour of Ashland, Ky., leads the band through one of the CG's favorites-" Dogface Soldiers."


Mobile Band The mobile marching band cuts loose with a Dixieland number while patrolling around the Cu Chi base camp.
Specialist 4 Ronald Guerrieri of New Yoik (left) and Staff Sergeant Fred Coleman of Los Angeles do their respective things in an impromptu jam session. SP4 Ronald Guerrieri


   WANTED: Musicians with either college training or professional expertise for 18-hour days, much traveling throughout the AO, plus plenty of regular base camp details.  Instrumentalists must also be virtuosos on the M-16.  Apply to 25th Infantry Division Band.
   What's your bag in music?  Beatles?  C&W?  The modern classics?  Soul?  You name it and the men of the 25th Infantry Division Band will play it.  That's what they are here for - to boost the morale of the men throughout the division.  And anywhere you find Tropic Lightning troopers - on MEDCAPS, in Cu Chi, or in the most isolated patrol base - you'll find the band.
   From sunup to sundown, the bandsmen are off to Tay Ninh or Pershing or Kotrc or maybe even AFVN to spread their sounds.  And that includes a lot more than "When the Caissons Go Rolling Along."  Sure, there's the full 48-man marching band that plays at all ceremonies.  But there's a small woodwind ensemble, a hard Soul group, a rollicking hillbilly band, a hot dixieland band, and a choral group, just to name some of the band's sub-divisions.  About the only thing they don't have is a left-handed kazoo players' sextet.
   When the average GI's day is over, there's a lot more to be done before the bandsmen can call it quits.  If they don't have KP or bunker guard or CQ or some other details, they've got hours of practice needed to keep the groups sharp.  And when you're in at least three groups, that means beaucoup practice.
   Still want to apply for that soft band job?  The band master is looking for more woodwinds at the moment and will audition anyone who can get down to Cu Chi.

The Audience
On the Move
The band hits fire support and patrol bases more frequently than incoming.


Concert 'Anybody Here know Melancholy Baby?'



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969


Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SERGEANT CERTAIN: I've been seriously considering settling down in Vietnam and building myself a homestead.  Do you know about any good real estate buys in the Tay Ninh area?  
          H. Greeley

DEAR H: We located a local broker-"Honest Nguyen's Properties" - and found some listings you might be interested in.  "For those who favor hillside living, we offer -18a Den Estates.  The ultimate in style, all our Ba Den homes offer complete basements.  In fact, some of the basements are so complete, they go on for miles.  Nothing compares with the view from this area as the warm rays of the setting sun reflect off the scro ditches of Tay Ninh West base camp.  Television reception is marvelous."
   "Mole City Manor-This is for the man who enjoys the wide open spaces.  These bi-level dream houses are convenient to infiltration routes from Cambodia, and only a few minutes by eagle flight from the heart of downtown Tay Ninh.  Public swimming facilities are available in numerous nearby B-52 strike craters, and and other local sports activities include daily water buffalo chasing, hikes in the nearby nature's paradise of the Straight Edge Woods (usually followed by a local dance called "Doing the Red Ant") and water-skiing on the lovely Vam Co Dong River."
   "And for those who groove on the cool sylvan glad scene, we offer War Zone C Vista, one of the world's most favored triple-canopy jungle hideaways.  Property rights include rights to all cans of C-rations you can find, plus salvage rights to all unexploded bombs and artillery shells.  Local mackerel and rice caches will make a shopping delight.  No money down; GI and VC Bill benefits acceptable."

DEAR SERGEANT: What can you tell us about the rumors that we're going back to Hawaii?  
          D. Ho

DEAR HO: Here it is exclusive - and remember you read it here first.  We're not going back to Hawaii.  We're not permitted to disclose our next destination, but we can tell you the service club there will be called "Grossinger's East," a new C-ration meal of corned beef (with pickle) on rye with cheese cake will be added to the menu, a picture of Golda Meir lounging around a Dead Sea resort in a bikini will be the first TLN pin-up, and a piece of matzoh will replace the taro leaf on the division patch.

DEAR SARGE: I have a beautiful Vietnamese girl friend who unfortunately speaks no English.  Can you give me any Vietnamese phrases that'll really charm her?  

DEAR TWITTER: Here are a few phrases that might come in handy: "Rev lon he len-a ro Ben stein" ("Sure, what kind of hair spray do you want?").  "Dee ah Jahn numah-ten sock mau" ("You're the only girl I've ever loved.")  "Buf lo saym saym of boo-t" ("This Vietnamese food has a very exotic flavor.")

65th Puts Fire in Hole
          What a Blast!  Engrs Clear 'Hound Fire Zone

   CU CHI - Besides the drone of a distant Huey or the sudden roar of an approaching Phantom, Wolfhounds of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry found themselves listening to resounding explosions as hedgerows around their new patrol base were cleared away by men of the 65th Engineer Battalion recently.
   When Alpha Company Wolfhounds moved to Patrol Base Harrison near the Vam Co Dong River, they took with them elements from Delta Company of the Whiskey Fifth.  Under the leadership of Staff Sergeant Floyd Harris of Chicago, Ill., leader of the second platoon's first squad, engineers immediately began to set up bangalore torpedoes, shaped and cratering charges upon their arrival at the patrol base.  Blasting hedgerows, bamboo groves, and undergrowth in the area, they soon cleared a field of fire 100 meters in depth around the small base.
   "WE MUST HAVE blown 100 pounds of demo a day for three days," said Private First Class Edgar Nichols of Denver, Colo.  The smaller undergrowth of the hedgerows could be cleared with the bangalores, tubes of composition B, linked together on a ring main with girth hitches and detonated with a time fuse.  Larger trees and bamboo clumps had to be blasted with cratering or shaped charges.
   In addition to the vegetation and brush cleared away, there were many secondary explosions, indicating that mines and booby traps had been detonated by the demolition.
   "Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! " yelled Harris, and moments later a deafening explosion punctured the air and part of the horizon turned black from billowing clouds of smoke.
   An enemy fighting position was discovered after a bamboo thicket had been partially blasted away.
   "This will be a fine place to set a cratering charge," said Harris, as already his men began carrying the demolitions for the next charge.
   "CARRYING ALL the charges from the patrol base to the perimeter of the clearing area is the biggest part of the job," said Specialist 4 Harry Wallace of Indianapolis, Ind.  "That's when we really have to hump."  "Only so much caution can be practiced out here," said Harris. "The rest is pure guts."
   If a booby trap struck a bangalore before the charge had been completely set up, the entire charge could be blown including the men setting it.  "I want to get my men out of here without getting any one of them hurt," Harris said.
   For 65th Engineers, however, the odds are that the torpedo charges will set off the booby traps harmlessly in place - saving someone from certain injury and possible death.

PFC Vaughn E. Houston Boom! Using Det Cord
BIG BOOM-Private First Class Vaughn E. Houston of Washington, Pa., primes a bangalore torpedo at Patrol Base Harrison.  The torpedoes, though only five feet long, can be joined together to a length of 1000 feet, enabling the destruction of an entire hedgerow. FIRE IN THE HOLE! - Besides clearing brush, the explosion detonates any mines or booby traps in the area. USING explosive det cord, 65th Engineers can detonate an entire chain of bangalore torpedoes simultaneously.  The soldiers were clearing a field of fire outside Patrol Base Harrison.  (Photos by SP4 Garth Fike)



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969


'Operation Red Rose' Wilts VC Hopes for Hau Nghia

   BAO TRAI - The pacification campaign underway in Hau Nghia Province has put so much pressure on the enemy that he has fled to the west side of the Vam Co Dong river for safety.
   The name of the pacification campaign is Red Rose.  Coordinated by the 3d Brigade, it combines all U.S. and Vietnamese resources in the area.
   One intelligence officer said, "A year ago it was unsafe to travel through almost all of the communities in the province.  Now virtually all of them are secure or contested and the only part the enemy considers 'liberated' is west of the Vam Co Dong river."
   THE RIVER is a natural obstacle the campaign is using to seal off the enemy.  The area west of it is a no man's land called the Plain of Reeds, which is mostly marsh during the rainy season.  No inhabited villages remain in the vast tract that stretches to the Cambodian border.
   Since Red Rose began in August, it has seen one entire enemy company depleted, and has left remaining units at about half strength.
   Many of the enemy from these companies have rallied to the province government at the Bao Trai Chieu Hoi Center.  During September, a record 350 Hoi Chanhs were reported by the Center.
   THE LEADERS themselves must come out of hiding to buy food because men from the ranks were consistently heading for the Chieu Hoi Center after being sent east for supplies, an intelligence officer said.
   "It is hard to replace these people because they are indigenous to the area," he said.  A primary mission of the enemy units in the area is to serve as guides for outside elements that are sent in to fight.
   "Unless they get help soon, they are hurting," he said. "It's the Mao Tse-Tung axiom 'A guerrilla is like a fish in the sea - when the sea dries up, the fish die'."
   COLONEL William Maddox, the 3d Brigade commander who is charged with coordinating Red Rose, believes that pacification success is just beginning.  He says the brigade is the catalyst in the combined operation.
   He likens the three-month-old program to the flight of a helicopter.  "A chopper goes through transitional lift, shudders, then begins to fly - we've just finished shuddering," he said.

Surprise, Surprise!
          Dragons' Ambush Downs 19 NVA

   CU CHI - "They were really surprised," was how the leader of a recent night ambush patrol described the enemy's reaction after the aggressors walked right into the gunsights of the 2d Brigade's Golden Dragons of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.
   Staff Sergeant Stuart Ledwith of Malone, N.Y., and his Charlie Company 2d Platoon downed 19 of the 27 enemy.  The figures were supplied to the Tropic Lightning soldiers by a rallying Hoi Chanh who was a member of the NVA force and who had turned himself in the next day.
   Stuart, one of the two men recommended for the Bronze Star for valor for the night's activity, described the ambush formation and gun emplacement as ideal for "very effective fire."
   A PLATOON of the 2d Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment accompanied the Golden Dragons on the ambush.
   Private First Class Larry Freeze of Charlotte, N.C., said that about six NVA came out of a hedgerow into the fire zone of his machine gun.  He opened up, but more of them kept appearing.
   The next day Charlie Company again made enemy contact, killing five of the attackers.  The fight began in the same area as the AP, while the company was sweeping.
   LED BY the recent Hoi Chanh, they searched for the enemy staging area from the night engagement.  The company at first passed over the enemy bunker complex, but when the US soldiers came through a second time, the NVA opened fire.
   Quick reactions by the Fire Brigade troopers silenced the enemy guns.  A search of the area confirmed that five NVA were killed.

Tomahawks Have Early Halloween

   TAY NINH - "I guess you could say we were trick-or-treating early," said Specialist 4 Ricky Jones of Greenfield, Tenn.
   Halloween came early for the Tomahawks of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry while conducting operations at the base of Nui Ba Den.  Instead of spotting NVA, they spotted a cave which they proceeded to check out.
   "My first thought," said Jones of Alfa Company, "was that the cave would be booby trapped in some way.  Sure enough we found a 105 round which we had to disarm."
   Security was set up around the area before the Tomahawks ventured further into the cave.  They discovered seven 75mm rounds and one Chicom claymore mine.  Also concealed were miscellaneous food supplies, three 105 dud rounds and one 82mm mortar tube.

Playing Soccer COMING UP ROSE'S - During the 3d Brigade's Operation Red Rose, giant strides have been made in the pacification programs of Hau Nghia Province.  Left, former enemy relax and play a game of soccer at Bao Trai's Chieu Hoi Center.  Right, a Tropic Lightning interrogator and a Vietnamese soldier question villagers concerning members of the Viet Cong infrastructure in the area.    (Photos by SSG Jack R. Anderson) Questioning Villagers


Barber's Buried Hideout Busted

   CU CHI - The next time a Viet Cong officer near Fire Support Base Patton II tells Private Nguyen to "Get a haircut, troop" the poor private may have a hard time finding a barber.
   Golden Dragons from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry put a Viet Cong barber out of business recently when they overran his barber shop in the center of a bunker complex several kilometers east of Patton.
   How did they know it was a barber shop?
   "Because there was hair all over the place," said the platoon leader.

Drum Yields Big Cache

   CU CHI - Ground reconnaissance forces of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry uncovered a 55-gallon drum recently, but the contents weren't what they expected to find.
   The drum contained a small arsenal of enemy weapons and documents.
   Included in the find were three Chicom 40-pound anti-tank mines, six rifle grenades, one AK-66 with grenade launcher, five AK-50, eight AK magazines, two AK bandoleers, an RPG-7 scope, 20 electric blasting caps, 30 B-40 rockets, 37 RPG boosters and two Chicom hand grenades.
   'Several items of enemy equipment were found including a pair of sandals, three shovels and a Viet Cong gas mask.
   "That drum was really a surprise," commented one Wolfhound.  "I never expected to find so much stuff in it."

1/5th on patrol
ENGAGING A SUSPECTED ENEMY position, men from the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry Reconnaissance Platoon, working with their Kit Carson scout (center), carry out an Eagle Eye mission on the outskirts of a hamlet near Cu Chi.  The Bobcat scouts continued operations through the marshlands during the day but found no trace of the retreating foe.  (Photo by PFC Rich Fitzpatrick)



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 27, 1969


NVA Fumble Fourth Try on Kotrc


Wolfhounds Wallop Charging Charlies

   PATROL BASE KOTRC - Defenders of this tiny border outpost repulsed an early morning assault by an estimated two NVA companies, killing 10.
   The attack was the enemy's fourth futile attempt to take this outpost, located only three kilometers from the border, in recent weeks.
   Elements defending Kotrc include Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry: 1st Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment; and Alfa Battery, 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery.
   WHAT BEGAN as a two-company sapper and ground attack from the north and northwest ended in a rout of the single enemy company that managed to reach Kotrc's outside wire.
   First contact was made at 10 p.m., according to Captain Jay Yurchuck of Columbus, Ga., Delta Company commander.
   "We spotted a large group two and one-half kilometers northwest," Yurchuck said.  "Arty engaged the enemy, scattering them everywhere.  We must have really blown his mind with our arty," continued Yurchuck. "Right after we scattered him, 10 of the enemy walked into an ambush set by Bravo Company which was working three clicks northwest at Phuoc Luu village."
   BRAVO'S AMBUSH killed three and detained one suspect.  A night hawk team killed another enemy soldier who was running from the ambush site.
   "We were definitely ready for the group that hit us from the south," said Sergeant John Schroeder of Lincoln, Neb.  "We went on 100 percent alert at 11 p.m., and it wasn't until one a.m. that they hit us."
   Specialist 4 Thomas Guidry of Orange, Tex., was a tower guard when the first round was fired at the perimeter.  "I saw about ten in the hedgerow to the southeast.  As soon as I saw them, RPG's and rockets came in," he said.
   "FOUR-DEUCE mortarmen put illumination rounds up before they could mount much of attack," Guidry continued.  "As soon as they lit the sky, the NVA started to scatter, heading for the canal and tree line."
   Guidry was awarded a Bronze Star for his valor the next day.
   Specialist 4 J.B. Dunn of Boston, Mass., picked off several enemy from the tower and was also awarded the Bronze Star.
   One of the major factors in the enemy's defeat, according to the men who were at Kotrc, was the quick reaction of the 81mm mortar platoon and the four-deuce section.
   "Our three guns fired 262 high explosive rounds that night," said Sergeant First Class Wilbur Martin of Asbury Park, N.J.  "Our mortars made them withdraw.  They didn't even have a chance to think about firing at us."
   After small arms and mortars dispersed the enemy, air and artillery took over.  A large group tried to escape east along the canal.  Artillery and the gunships ran them down.
   Another group came along the other end of the canal and opened up with AK and RPG fire.  The bunker line returned the fire with small arms and mortars.  Then the gunships and Spooky worked the canal banks to the west.  Contact ended by 5:30 a.m.
   They included four AK-47 rifles, four satchel charges, 2000 rounds of rifle ammunition, 19 grenades, five RPG-7 rounds with boosters, three bamboo rocket launchers, two ammunition belts, two grenade bags, one Chicom claymore mine, and propaganda leaflets and newspapers.

Providing Cover READY RTO covers for a rifleman as he moves in to check out a hedgerow.  Wolfhounds of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry have been involved in the explosive business of eliminating bunkers and fighting positions surrounding Fire Support Base Jackson and Patrol Base Kotrc.  (PHOTO BY SP4 PHIL JACKSON)


Short-Timer Saves Day
               Warriors Down 5

   CU CHI - What was to be the last night in the field for a 2d Brigade Warrior proved to be a hectic night as the men of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry brought to an end the nocturnal activity of five Viet Cong.  Alfa Company Warriors caught the unwary enemy within sight of their claymore mines.
   Out on an ambush patrol from Patrol Base Dees, the Fire Brigade soldiers had set up in an area that nights before had been reported as cluttered by enemy activity.
   As midnight approached, Staff Sergeant David Fanesi of New Haven, Conn., spotted the enemy.  They were moving toward the Warriors' position.
   As the dust and dirt of exploding claymores settled, the Warriors had enough time to confirm the enemy dead before they began receiving small arms fire.
   Realizing their position was in jeopardy, the Warriors pulled back toward safety only to find themselves being followed.  Reconning with M-60 machine guns and M-79 grenade launchers as they were moving, Specialist 4 Victor K. Luke of Berkeley, Calif., the platoon RTO, started calling in artillery from Fire Support Base Pershing and mortars from Patrol Base Dees.
   As a result of his actions, Luke was promoted to sergeant.  It was his last night in the field.

'Hounds Alive and Well Living on Devil's Island

   CU CHI - The name "Devil's Island" conjures up prisons, torture and untold suffering.  But Wolfhounds of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry have given a new meaning to the name.
   The Wolfhounds' Devil's Island is a desolate outpost, all right, but it serves as a vital link in blocking enemy supply and infiltration routes between Bao Trai and Tra Cu.  It also makes an ideal place for the battalion's nighttime "eyes and ears" to detect enemy movement.
   The outpost is set on a high spot along a narrow bombed-out road.  Waist-deep water and swamp surrounds it on all sides.
   Devil's Island is manned by four permanent personnel with Sergeant Jeff Kessel of Long Island, N.Y., in charge.  Kessel and his men have built a tower 15-feet high.
   The island's protection is handled by one platoon of Wolfhounds who man the bunkers, and artillery from nearby Fire Support Base Chamberlain and Patrol Base Fleek.
   Wolfhounds hope this Devil's Island will be as difficult for Charlie to get into as the original was for French prisoners to get out of. 

SP4 Sidney Ryan, SP4 Mike Lovell HUMPING across a canal southeast of Fire Support Base Patton II, Specialist 4 Sidney Ryan of Rochester, N.Y., and Specialist 4 Mike Lovell of Irving, Tex., work on an operation for Alfa Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  (PHOTO BY SP4 FRANK DITTO)


Hot Sweep Ends in Battle

   CU CHI - A hot, tiring sweep out of Fire Support Base Patton was short in kilometers but long in its detailed search of every hedgerow in the path of Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  By noon, all that had been found were discarded C-ration cans and red ants.
   The monotony of the afternoon was suddenly torn apart by sniper fire.  Several entrenched enemy soldiers popped out of their holes to run for a thicker hedgerow with guns blazing.
   Spotting a running soldier, Private First Class Joseph Mitchel of Pottstown, Pa., called out to see if the man was friend or foe.  Mitchel was answered with a volley of small arms fire.  Accurate return fire silenced the enemy rifleman.
   Continuing the sweep, a tunnel rat found what he thought were NVA 'C' rations.  They turned out to be containers for 63 82mm mortar fuses.  Also found was a 75mm recoilless rifle round still in its protective container.
   After searching several nearby tunnels, Bravo turned up two AK-50 assault rifles, another recoilless rifle round, and the 75mm recoilless rifle to go with it.  Three enemy soldiers were killed.


Thanks to:
Karl Karlgaard, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., and a Tropic Lightning News correspondent, for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 10-31-2004

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