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Vol 5 No. 42                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                November 2, 1970



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/2 Thai Army       1 2/2 Thai Army      1 2/27               7 4/9 Photo          8
1/5                 1 2/12               3 25th Inf           8 4/23               2
1/5                 1 2/14               2 25th Inf Photo     8 4/23 Photo         2
1/5                 8 2/22               1 3/4 Cav            6 4/23 Photo         3
18th ARVN Div       1 2/22 Photos        7 3/22               1 4/23               3
125th Signal        3 2/22               7 3/22               8 4/23               6
125th Signal Photo  3 2/22 Photos        7 30 ARVN Ranger     1 75th Ranger        1
125th Signal Photos 4 2/27 Photo         7 4/9                8 Special Serv Photo 3


Enemy Interlopers Ambushed Again and Again
          Alfa, Bravo Cats Make Life Miserable for VC


   BEARCAT - Viet Cong soldiers roaming around this base camp recently have found the Bobcats of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry unfriendly landlords.
   Both Alfa and Bravo Companies have been making life miserable for enemy interlopers.  One man's sixth sense and the alertness of his buddies enabled Bravo to weather a harrowing night by killing three VC discovered messing with friendly defenses.
   Responding to intelligence reports of enemy activity, Bravo's 3rd Platoon moved into a night ambush site along a stream bed near Highway 15 in Long Thanh Province.
   "Our laagers have had a lot of night movement lately so we knew that the VC were active in the area," said Private First Class John Robinson of Ingalls, Ind.
       Sees Figure
   "It was after we set up that I saw this outlined figure about 25 yards to the front," said Sergeant Charles Bryson of Mendon, Ill.  "I thought it was one of our guys setting up claymores, so I just watched."
   As the form moved closer, Bryson, realizing that the man was not a friendly, opened up on him with his M-16, bringing him down.
   "As I did, I yelled to the guys not to pop the claymores," Bryson recalled.  "Sixth sense, I guess.  Lucky thing I told them to hold off.  When we were searching the area the next morning, we found that Charlie had turned two of the claymores around and had cut the wires on three more.
       Two More
   While one section of the bush concentrated on the interloper, Private First Class Jim Nease of Comiskey, Ind., spotted two more VC about 25 yards away and opened fire.
   "I don't know if I hit either one," Nease said.  "They were there and then gone."
   After the initial contact, the Bobcats settled down.  But the night's activities were still not over.
       To the Front
   "About 11:30 p.m., we spotted movement to our front again," said Private First Class Percy Foster of Kansas City, Mo.
   Mortars were called in and the 81mm "stovepipes" were right on target, pounding the movement area.
   "No one slept the rest of the night," said Private First Class Greg Proudlock, of Garden City, Mich.  "It was a shaky feeling wondering if someone else was out there ready to frag us."
   Proudlock wasn't far off in his speculations.  At first light the men swept the area to their immediate front.
   "The first VC we found, the closest one, must have been going to frag us," Bryson said.  "He had a grenade in his left hand and his right index finger was on the pin."
   A subsequent search of the mortared area revealed two more VC bodies.
   The Bobcats of Alfa Company helped a Viet Cong soldier kick the smoking habit while on operations-west of Bearcat.
       Lighting UP
   Sergeant Clive Haws of Mesa, Ariz., on the outskirts of the unit's night position, thought he saw someone light up a cigarette out among the nearby trees.
   "I went over to the nearest track and told the guy on guard what I'd seen," Haws said.  "We both then kept our eyes on the general location of the light, about 50 meters to our front."
   Then Charlie made a big mistake.  While taking another puff on his cigarette, he stumbled over one of the track's trip flares.
       Hits the Prone
   "He immediately hit the prone and sprayed the perimeter with AK fire," said Sergeant Jim Roush of Huntington, Ind.  "Then, three or four of his buddies were spotted in the light of the flare."
   The Alfa troopers quickly opened up on the illuminated enemy with small arms and mortars.  Before fleeing, Charlie lobbed a rocket propelled grenade at the GIs.
   An early morning sweep of the area revealed the footprints of four individuals, an AK magazine and a heavy blood trail.
   After a futile search of the dense jungle, the men returned to their position, secure in the knowledge that they had at least helped a Communist kick the habit and join the unhooked generation.


Americans Join ARVN, Thais
      Allied Armies Chase Enemy

   BLACK HORSE BASE CAMP - The 2nd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division joined with two allied armies to sweep the area west of Xuan Loc last week in "the only large, combined, coordinated operation conducted in Vietnam recently."
   The 18th ARVN Division and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Royal Thai Army's 2nd Brigade, joined with Tropic Lightning units in trying to flush out an NVA regiment reported to be operating in the area.  Three battalions of ARVN rangers were inserted into the center of the zone of suspected enemy activity with instructions to "stir things up."
   Other allied units encircled the zone to choke off enemy escape routes.  According to 1st Lieutenant James Mange, assistant S-3 operations officer for the 2nd Brigade, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Royal Thai Volunteer Army's 2nd Brigade were to conduct saturation ambushes, looking for any increased enemy activity.
   The Thais brought their own artillery - a composite 105 and 155 Howitzer battalion - in direct support of the operation.
   In the northeast corner of the zone, 18th ARVN Division units (the 2nd of the 43rd and the 2nd of the 48th) began intensified patrolling operations in preparation for the enemy should he try to infiltrate through their area of operations.
   The 25th Division's 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regulars with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry under their operational control, began increased patrolling operations in the southeast corner.
   With all units in position, the operation was kicked off when two 18th ARVN Division ranger battalions, the 33rd and 51st, began a north to south sweep from QL1, the highway between Xuan Loc and Long Binh.  The next morning, the 30th ARVN Ranger Battalion was air-inserted into the middle of the area of operations to complete Task Force 333.
   The insertion went off in orderly fashion.  The young ARVN rangers lined up according to chalk loads on the rock-strewn air strip.
   The II Field Force choppers were on the ground waiting for the word.  When it finally came, the ARVNs were in their AO within an hour.
   According to 2nd Brigade Commander Colonel Joseph R. Ulatoski of Stamford, Conn., the value of the operation lay in the experience gained from several allied units operating together in the same area.



   CU CHI - DABOOM!  A sudden explosion rocket the air.
   "Here we go again.  Get those 81s (81mm mortars) ready to fire.  Second platoon, mount up' and get set to move out," shouted triple deuce's Captain James Schmidt, Alfa Company commander.
   The enemy had just detonated another one of 2nd Battalion (Mech), Infantry's mechanical ambushes (claymore mine).
   After firing 81mm mortars into the ambush area, the company moved in on armored personnel carriers to sweep.  They found two dead enemy and two AK-47 rifles.
   "We have been working an area approximately 14 miles north of here during the last month and a half," said the San Diego company commander.  During this time we have killed twenty enemy with mechanical ambushes alone."
   By studying the enemy's habits and patterns, the unit has been able to systematically set up mechanical ambushes in areas of suspected enemy movement.  This technique has been mastered by two veteran Triple Deucemen, Sergeant Henry McDonnell and Sergeant Henry Smith.
   "Before we started using mechanicals, the enemy could walk his trails at night like he was back in Hanoi," said McDonnell of Collbran, Colo.  "Now he has to find new trails and we're forcing him to move during the daylight hours."




   CU CHI - While on recent operations in the Hobo Woods, a 25th Division Ranger team threaded the needle with hand grenades, resulting in one enemy killed and two wounded detainees.
   At about dawn on the last day of the three-day operation, the team from F Company, 75th Rangers, heard several enemy crashing through some nearby bushes.
   "The enemy set up a day resting position only about 30 feet away from us," stated team leader Sergeant Scott Cook of Grass Valley, Calif.  "A few minutes later one of them got up and started walking down the trail, but we didn't follow him."
   That left the others vulnerable to the Rangers' skills.
   Besides the Communist casualties, this action also netted 20 VC ponchos,. one full AK-54 magazine, a US pistol belt and flashlight, some medical supplies and clothing.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970




Division Yearbook For SALE

   CU CHI - The Tropic Lightning Association announces that orders for the new Division Yearbook, VIETNAM: 1970, can be made by contacting your Battalion S-1 or Brigade Headquarters Company.
   The yearbook is now in its production stage with a tentative mailing date of early January. Copies will sell for $5 each.  Advance sale orders will be sent to the states at no extra charge.  Over the Counter sales, if copies are available, will begin in February.
   Other Tropic Lightning souvenir items are still available through the Tropic Lightning Gift Shop, located in the same building with the barber shop behind the Snack Bar next to the PX.



Shake and Bake NCOs
    A Step Up In Responsibility

   "Well, if you ask me `Shake and Bakes' almost run the Army over here."
   So said one 25th Division trooper in a recent survey of opinions on non-commissioned officer schooled sergeants.
   An NCO candidate is given 12 weeks of instructional training and, after graduation, as an E-5 or E-6, eight weeks of on-the-job training with an Infantry advanced individual training unit.  If he is then sent to Vietnam, in many cases he is immediately put in charge of a squad in the field.
   How do these instant leaders shape up to the task?  How do they adjust to leading men in a combat situation, when they're not even sure how they themselves will react under fire?  These and other questions were recently put to several members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons.
   Do you think an NCO school sergeant is ready to lead a squad upon arrival in Vietnam?
   Most of the men answered no to this question.  Many felt that, while people differ, for the most part a new sergeant should have time to get to know his men and vice versa before assuming leadership.
   They also stated that the field is such a unique experience that a man should have time to adjust before taking the responsibility for other peoples lives.
   "I feel the new sergeant should have at least a week to adjust," said platoon leader Sergeant James Wolfe of Madison, Wis., from Alfa Company.  "When you first get out to the field everyone and everything is new.  You really have a feeling of insecurity.
   Platoon sergeant, Sergeant Robert Silva of Petaluma, Calif., saw it differently.
   "Yes, I feel he's ready to take a squad upon arrival.  He's been trained to lead at NCO school and has led men in an AIT unit."
   What problems do these sergeants face when they first take a squad?
   Most said they had never seen any major problems arise.  A few said that when a Specialist 4 had been running their squad, there was some friction between him and the new sergeant, but nothing serious.  Most said that the new NCO fit in pretty well, and quietly observed how things were run before asserting much authority.
   "When I first took over, I wasn't really squad leader except in name," said Silva.  "I didn't take over for a couple weeks."
   Do you think the NCO school program should be continued?
   The majority said yes.  They stated that men with intelligence and leadership qualities should receive formal instruction in leadership through the program.


To Soldiers & Gridders Alike
    Teamwork is Way of Life

   XUAN LOC - Throughout Basic and AIT. (Advanced Individual Training), the Army emphasizes teamwork, but for Specialist 4 Dennis Thorell of Loomis, Neb., teamwork has been a way of life for a long time.
   Thorell, an RTO (radio telephone operator) for Bravo Company, 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry, played football for the University of Nebraska before entering the service.  He was a free safety for three years for the "Go Big Red" Cornhuskers.
   "The success of each play in a football game depends on how well each of the eleven men do their job," said Thorell.  "The same goes for squad, platoon, or company sized operations."
   During three years of varsity competition, Thorell played in three major post-season games.  In 1965, he played against the University of Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.  The next year he played against Alabama in the Orange Bowl and, during his senior year, Alabama again, this time in the Sugar Bowl.
   "There were times against Alabama that I would have liked to call in arty and gunships," kidded Thorell.
   After graduation, Thorell played two years for the Omaha Mustangs, a semi-pro team in the Continental League.  The Mustangs are affiliated with the Kansas City Chiefs.

TOMAHAWK CORNHUSKER - Specialist 4 Dennis Thorell traded his football helmet for a CVC combat vehicle crewman's helmet.  An RTO he now "plays" for the 25th Division's Bravo Company, 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry "Tomahawks."  He played free safety for the University of Nebraska, "Cornhuskers" in the Big Eight Conference. Dennis Thorell



The TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS is an authorized unofficial publication of the 25th Infantry Division. It is an offset publication delivered weekly for all division units in the Republic of Vietnam by the Information Office, 25th Infantry Division, APO San Francisco 96225 (Phone number: Tiger 925 5011/5538).  American Forces Press Service and Army News Feature materials 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 Edward Bautz, Jr . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Robert E. Kelso . . . .  Information Officer
1LT Martin E. Webb . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SP4 William M. Lane . . . . . Editor
SP4 Scott Watson . . . . . . . Assistant Editor
SP4 Michael J. Winston . . Production Supervisor


SGT Derr Steadman
SGT Mike Bailey
SGT Bryon Fites
SGT Mark Rockney
SGT Mike Conroy
SGT Daniel House
SGT Jack Strickland
SGT Dan Davis
SGT Bob Lodi
SP5 Tom Watson
SP5 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Frank Salerno
SP4 Tom Benn
SP4 Greg Duncan
3/4 Cav
SP4 John Corbin
SP4 Rich Erickson
SP4 Ed Toulouse
SP4 William McGown
SP4 James Duran
SP4 Kris Peterson
SP4 Frank Morris
SP4 Phillip Maslin
PFC Dan Lowry
PFC James Stoup
PFC Doc Polls
PFC Dan Danley
PFC Mike Roberts
PFC Richard Haley
65th Eng



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970


BEAUTIFUL...A girl with a name like Barsy Cavelty has got to have something.  And she does.  She has 3,000 European girls itching to write GIs in Vietnam.  Barsy is from Locarno, Switzerland., and her program began by accident.  But now that it's going, she is eager to continue.  Her English isn't perfect, but her thoughts come through loud and clear in a letter addressed to soldiers of the 25th Division.  After outlining the purposes of her thing, she concluded: "This project, called by my friends 'Operation Barsy, Vietnam' started 30 months ago, as my address (sic) ended by some misunderstanding by a Pen Pal list of a military paper there in Vietnam.  Since then my Opn has become to be an 'All Around Year Program' swinging pretty well.  It still does-with one hitch-YOU!!  Yes I need quite a lot addresses (sic) from you.  Sooo, may I hope to hear from you and your fellow servicemen in Vietnam?  As I said, I hope you won't look all to straight on my many mistakes in this letter-I'm still learning (Uhh, yay...with you guys as my teachers.  Therefore I can cuss pretty groovy-but writing a letter in a ladylike style?  Oh boy ... its too damn difficult)."
   If you'd like to take one of these European lasses off Barsey's hands, send your address to: Miss Barsey Cavelty, C.P. 101, 6600 Locarno, Switzerland.

WHY IS DEBBIE LAUGHING?...Because her Cu Chi Bunker Bunnies are romping all over the men of the 125th Signal Battalion.  Debbie, Special Services recreation director, goes into third base standing up as SP4 Mark D. Noyer of the 125th waits vainly for the throw.

Debbie, Special Services, and SP4 Mark Noyer


IN STORE FOR YOU ... Next time you make it to Cu Chi, walk toward the PX, turn right at the snack bar, and look for a little red sign that says "Tropic Lightning Gift Shop."  Inside you'll find such treasures as 25th Division letter openers, beer mugs, wallets, cigarette lighters and division yearbooks.  Add a little Electric Strawberry to your life.  Stop by the gift shop.

WE LIED TO YOU ...A couple of weeks ago we announced a contest in the Tropic Lightning News inviting soldiers to submit answers to the digital question: "what does the following combination of numbers signify - 29-19-12?"  We said that one entry would be chosen at random from all correct entries and that the winner would get a 3-day pass to China Beach.  Sorry.  One winner will not be going to China Beach.  Six winners will.  Yes, friends, we picked six names out of our scrungy bush hat and all will trip north.  The luckies are: PFC Donald E. Bruton, Company C, 125th Signal Battalion; SP4 Franklin Freeman, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry; PFC Richard Guerard, HHC, 65th Engineer Battalion; SP4 Dean Montour, 66th Infantry Platoon Combat Trackers; PFC David E. Dwelley, 25th Admin Company and Refugio C. Fonseca, Company D, 725th Maintenance Battalion.  Oh, yes, the answer. The number 29 equals the age of the 25th Division, 19 is the number of years the division has spent overseas and 12 is the number of years the division has engaged in active combat.  Isn't that interesting."

SP4 Darrell "Chief" Buck Elk, Scout Dang Van Co THE CHIEF AND THE SCOUT - Specialist 4 Darrell "Chief" Buck Elk and Kit Carson Scout Dang Van Co exchange cooking tips during a chow break 15 miles south' of Xuan Loc  (Photo by PFC Mike Roberts)


The Chief Tracks Charlie
     Sioux Brave on the Warpath

   XUAN LOC - The Tomahawks of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry have a real live tomahawk in their midst.
   He is Specialist 4 Darrell Buck Elk of Popular, Mont., a Sioux who uses his Indian skills to help his buddies in the field.
   "Chief," as he is known to his friends, volunteered for the infantry and Vietnam when he joined the Army.  He got his nickname during basic training and hasn't been able to shake it yet.
   "Since I've been in the Army, I've always been called Chief," Buck Elk said.  "I suppose if someone called me Darrell, I probably wouldn't answer."
   As a youngster, Chief learned how to track from his father and brother, a skill he practices even now as an 11-Bush.
       Cowboys and Indians
   "As a boy, we used to play cowboys and Indians," he said.  "And I used to track the other kids."
   Buck Elk noted grimly that "too many guys walk a RIF (reconnaissance-in-force) like they're back on the block.  On dismounted RIFs, it is very important to avoid making unnecessary noise to remain unnoticed by the enemy.  You just can't drag your feet and still keep noise at a minimum."
   Chief said that a good infantryman must be observant and employ the practice of stepping down with the balls of his feet, instead of his heels.
       Cautious and Observant
   "If you're cautious and observant," he says, "the chances of making your presence known to the enemy can be greatly reduced."
   During his tour in Vietnam, Chief has found numerous enemy trails and equipment which other GIs had walked past while on patrol.  He also excels in building waterproof poncho hootches in the monsoon weather and is always willing to share his knowledge with others.
       Learns from Scouts
   "I enjoy exchanging ideas with the scouts and working with them.  They're very quick in noticing booby-traps and finding signs of enemy activity.  I've learned a lot from them."
   Drawing on traditional Indian skills, Chief even uses his special knowledge about cooking to enliven C-ration meals.  He often can be seen mixing up a gourmet meal with the scouts by adding rice and wild greens to the Cs.
   It would seem that Buck Elk was destined for the Army. Before enlisting, he worked at Tribal Industries at Ft. Peck Reservation in his hometown repairing Army small arms.
   Then, he traded his moccasins for tropical combat boots and his job for an M-60.  And Darrell Buck Elk became a chief.


Sarge Leaves Canada To Join Sam's Army

   FSB JAMIE - "I am proud to be in the American Army and I am interested in doing my part here in Vietnam."
   So says a Canadian member of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry.
       Canadian Vet
   A former citizen of Montreal, and a veteran of six years in the Royal Canadian Army, Staff Sergeant Joseph G. Goyette left his snowbound home almost ten years ago to join the US Army.
   Now in his second tour with an infantry unit in Vietnam, the French and English-speaking platoon sergeant had to sacrifice his former Canadian rank of Sergeant and begin again, as an E-1.  But Goyette has no regrets.
       Chance to travel
   "Being with the US Army has given me the opportunity to travel - something I have always wanted to do," he explained.
   According to Goyette, obvious similarities and marked differences exist between the two fighting forces.  Unlike its US counterpart, the Canadian Army relies entirely on three or six-year terms of enlistment to meet its less demanding needs.
       No One to Blame
   "In Canada, if a man gripes about the army, he has nobody to blame but himself," said Goyette.
   The veteran feels that the introductory training (basic and advanced) in both forces is quite similar in the sense that discipline is obligatory and physical endurance demanding.  However, Goyette did have one particular problem.
       New Language
   "I am French but I always thought that I was adequate in English until I encountered some of the rapid commands given in US training," the sergeant related.  "It was like a new language."
   Goyette finds that chow, always of concern among the men of both armies, remains pretty much the same - there's always plenty of it.
       Ironical Twist
   Following his first tour in Vietnam, Goyette has since revisited acquaintances in the Canadian Army and finds a rather ironical twist in their opinions.
   "Many of them have ambitions of coming to Vietnam too.  They believe in our cause."


Page 4 - 5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970


SP4 Tim Anderson
COUNTRY TIME -- Specialist 4 Tim Anderson, alias Tim Stone, of Clarion, Iowa, handles WTLB's early morning Country and Western Show.


WTLB - On The Air


   DAU TIENG - If stateside radio is what you're looking for, it can be found by tuning to 107.8 on the FM dial - WTLB (Radio Tropic Lightning Brigade).
   The 125th Signal Brigade's new radio station was recently put into operation here, broadcasting the "NOW" sounds to those in the 1st Brigade area.
   It was almost four months ago when three GI's, formerly with WACR (Radio Blackhorse) at Quan Loi, arrived at the 1st Brigade base camp with five conexes containing turntables, recording equipment and 5,000 records.  Their objective was to build a radio station.
   "It was quite a challenge," explained Specialist 4 Mike Smith of Tulsa, Okla.  "We had to turn the dusty hootch that we found at our disposal, into an air-conditioned, soundproof, broadcasting studio, which is more of a job than one might imagine."
   Five weeks later, after using such field expedients as claymore wire to hook up their equipment, and mattresses to insulate the broadcast booths from the sounds of the base camp, the task was finished.
   Special attention was given to "Sinners basement", a music graveyard for the "moldy oldies" and point of origin for some heavy sounds.
   Commercials such as "Fill 'er up with Mobil Gas", and "Hai Karate Self Defense Lesson 1", with no actual monetary backing, lend authenticity to the station's "Stateside Radio" slogan.
   The station's programming covers a wide range in musical tastes.  Through the sounds of Heavy Rock, Soul and Country & Western, WTLB hopes to simulate the GI's favorite radio station back in the world.


Setting up MOVING IN - Upon arriving at Dau Tieng, home of the 1st Brigade, the DJ's had to put in a little off the air time sorting out equipment.


OFF THE AIR - Records and heavy sounds were preceded by many hours of sawing, hammering and hard work before WTLB could serve the men of the 1st Brigade.


Building their studio
SP4 Mike Smith ON THE AIR - Specialist 4 Mike Smith, alias Mike Stewart, of Tulsa, Okla., cues up another disc for WTLB "Stateside Radio" at Dau Tieng,


CONTROLS - Facing this WTLB DJ is a maze of switches, meters, dials, scripts and turntables--all tuned for the listening pleasure of the men of the 1st Brigade. Studio equipment



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970


Hawks Play Games;  Train Rooks, Vets

   OB LYNCH - War games in a combat zone? Yes, indeed.
   By simulating contact with the enemy, members of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry, proved that war games, even in Vietnam can be beneficial.
   The games took place recently in the Tomahawk area of operations of Charlie Company, south of Xuan Loc.
   Smoke grenades were used to signify that the lead armored personnel carrier had been hit and that the company was taking automatic weapons fire.  The reactions of the men were then observed and follow-up critiques given by seasoned tomahawk leaders.
   For those GIs fresh out of combat AIT (advanced individual training), the field problem gave them a more definite idea of what to expect when they encounter the enemy.
   "I just got here and now I have a much better idea of what I'm supposed to do when we make contact," said Private First Class Mike Peck, a rifleman, from Hamburg, N.Y.
   "To learn by doing is very beneficial to new guys like me," commented Private First Class James Minnic of Brooklyn, Mich.
   "We got a chance to correct any mistakes we make," said Specialist 4 Gene Duggan of Malden, Mass.  "We also become aware of-many problems that we didn't realize existed."
   "I'm new to a mechanized unit, and this training gives me a better idea of how they function."

SP5 Jim Yarnall CLINICALLY SPECIALIZING - SP5 Jim Yarnall of Chicago prepares to draw blood for a medical test.  Yarnell, a clinical specialist, works in 2nd Wolfhound aid-station.  (Photo by SP4 Philip Maslin)


Until It's Time for R & R
     Aidmen Are Forgotten Hounds

   CU CHI - If your an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry and you've got a sore foot or you need an armful of shots for that long-awaited R & R you go to the Wolfhound aid-station.
   If you don't need that kind of help, you forget about the station.  You probably don't even know it's around.
   Despite their forgotten status, the field medic, clinical specialist and the battalion medical officer stand ready both in the field and in the rear with a well-organized system for treatment - and preventive medicine.
   The battalion medical officer has many responsibilities in this program.  Since Vietnam has no front line, many Tropic Lightning units do not require doctors at their aid-stations.
   This releases the doctors from administrative duties which can be adequately handled by a junior officer.
   "Our responsibilities range from sanitation to preliminary treatment of injuries, and from malaria control to aiding the pacification program," said 1st Lieutenant Don Glover of Salt Lake City.
   "A medical officer must meet all battalion dustoffs, make courtesy calls at the hospital, handle all official medical transcripts of battalion personnel, brief the commanding officer and make recommendations of health and welfare of the battalion.
   "We have had no malaria cases or other serious diseases for the last four months which, speaks well for our preventive program."



   CU CHI - As a Kit Carson Scout received a Silver Star for gallantry here recently, two young Americans of his 25th Division unit looked on with special interest - he had risked his life to save theirs.
   Kit Carson Scout Nguyen Tong Hieu was a member of a night patrol of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, moving into the Boi Loi Woods when he detected some slight movement off to his left.
   Suddenly Hieu saw a hand grenade fall in front of two of his GI buddies.  Reacting quickly, he pulled the two men down and jumped in front of them, shielding their bodies from the grenade blast.
   Hieu suffered serious wounds on his arms, back and legs as a result.
   In connection with that operation, the Vietnamese hero was awarded the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry in action.


Ask SGT Certain

DEAR SARGE:  I went to pick up my laundry at the PX facility yesterday only to discover that it was closed.  The Army has terminated its contract.  I know all about Vietnamization, but are we really going to have to do all the laundry while the ARVNs fight all the war?  I don't DEROS until June, 1971, and that's a long time to wear one set of fatigues.
          Pvt. M.E. Webb
DEAR MEW:  You're right.
DEAR OL' SARGE:  Is there a MACV reg against our swimming pool at Waikiki East being open more than two days each month?  I have been stationed here for 10 months and I swear the pool hasn't been open more than a dozen times.
          PVT Mike Nelson

DEAR OZZIE:  We directed your complaint to the pool NCO, SGT Leif Rafft, and he said the problem was due to a lack of competent life guards.  Of course, he did mention that the large crater in the pool's bottom was also a factor.
DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  Yesterday, my first sergeant assigned me to sandbag detail.  Sarge, I know how important sand bags are to the Army but, well, I was not meant for such work.  I have a masters degree in wax carving, I have toured the finest art galleries of Europe and I have very sensitive cuticles.  I was a flute player in a rock band before being drafted and to use my delicate fingers for filling sandbags would be disastrous.  I wrote my mother a long; sad letter about it.  She will understand.  Why can't the Army be more like my mother.
          SP5 H.H.
DEAR DOUBLE H:  What do you mean?  I've heard many soldiers refer to the Army as a mother.


GIVE A LITTLE - Miss Gayle Hunnicutt, like all young ladies, is expecting gifts for Christmas from her young men.  Don't disappoint her or them.  Mail early.  (Photo by SP4 Howard Lavick) Gayle Hunnicutt



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970


Sgt John Nowak PRE-PLOTTING - SGT John Nowak marks the position of a proposed night ambush on his plotting board.
HANG IT - SP4 Edward McKinney, an assistant gunner, prepares to place a round in the tube as his gunner makes a last minute check for accuracy. SP4 Edward McKinney prepares to fire



Providing Fire Support
    Mortarmen A Moment Away

Story and Photos by SP4 DENNIS LEBLANC

   CU CHI - With loud cries of, "Deflection!  Elevation!  Hang It!", the Triple Deuce 81mm mortar platoons go into action.
   Outside of the mortarmen, the above terms are not too familiar to the men of the 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry.  However, every one of them has on some occasion used the supporting fire of the mortar platoons.
   Each company has its own mortar platoon under the direct control of the company commander. The mortars are either with the company or within range of company elements so that they can provide direct fire support at a moments notice.
   "Our principle job is to provide close perimeter defense at the night defensive position," said Sergeant William Cooper, a Bravo Company mortarman, from Chelan, Wash.
   "We are also the primary source of illumination and fire support for the company on daylight RIFs (reconnaissance-in-force) and night ambush patrols."
   The average mechanized mortar platoon has four tracks - three gun tracks and one FDC (forward direction control) track.
   Each gun track has one 81mm mortar mounted on a rotating base-plate which allows the gun to fire in all directions.  Using three basic rounds, white phosphorus, illumination and high explosives, the mortarmen can effectively place rounds within 75 meters of the target and in excess of 4,500 meters down range.  With each gun track carrying a basic load of 120-130 rounds, the mortar platoon adds greatly to the company's firepower.
   When the Tropic Lightning mortarmen are not firing in direct support of the company during contact, they carry out other important fire missions.
   "Many times we fire into an area where there are suspected enemy before the line elements go in," said Specialist 4 Edward McKinney, a Bravo Company mortar squad leader from Kennett, Mo.  "At other times, as the company moves into its night defensive position, we fire at suspected, enemy avenues of approach and pre-plot distances and directions to various point type targets.  This enables us to put out counter mortar fire much quicker if we make contact during the night."
   The mortarmen, as with most support elements, take a little good-natured ribbing. Their buddies on line like to refer to them as the 81 "Mickey Mouse Mortarmen" or the "Mouseketeers"
   The mortarmen say this is not quite correct.  It should be the 81 "Mighty Mouse Mortarmen" or the "Mini-Maulers".
   When the mortarmen are unable to convince their friends they just yell, "short round" and that ends the conversation right there.  For the more persistent, the mortarmen have their chief computer walk over scratching his head and ask, "Which way did it go?"  That one never fails!

SP4 Tony Davis LAYING IN - SP4 Tony Davis, a mortarman, makes minor adjustments in the alignment of his aiming circle.
ALIGNING THY GUN - SP4 Victor Vecera, Bravo Company gunner, peers through sight as he aligns his gun with an aiming stake.  This will insure accurate indirect firing. SP4 Victor Vecera



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 2, 1970


A Look at the Eyes
   Manchus Give New Outlook

   CU CHI - In September, the 25th Division's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry's MEDCAP team initiated a program of eye examinations with the citizens of Binh-Duong Province.  This newly established program is believed to be the first of its kind.
   The Manchu medics, along with 1st Lieutenant James Smith, the civil affairs officer, and bilingual Sergeant Vince Fenequito, the civil affairs NCO, from Tucson, Ariz., have been examining more than 150 school children a day.
   At present, all of the children at the Binh-My school have been examined, along with school-aged children throughout the province.
   The students are examined for visual acuity, eye injuries, cataracts, infections and tropias, which is a defect in the muscular structure surrounding the eye.  Of those examined so far, said Specialist 5 John Stewart, a medic from Carrollston, Ga., 15 per cent have been found to have eye problems needing treatment.
   These patients are taken to the 25th Medical Optical Clinic where they undergo more extensive tests.  If these tests reveal a need for surgery for cataracts or trophia conditions, the patient is referred to the 12th Evacuation Hospital.
   If glasses are the solution, the child is transported by the Manchus to 3rd Field Hospital in Tan Son Nhut to be fitted for a new outlook on life.
   While the eye examinations are being conducted at the Binh-My school, Stewart performs a little doctoring.
   He dispenses cough medicine, hydrogen peroxide, bacitracin, which is a disinfectant, eye ointments and other hard-to-get antibiotics.
   According to Smith, who lives in Hobbs, N.M., "the main targets of the Medical Civic Actions Program are Vietnamese children."
   Throuh their friends in Binh-My and the five nurses at the Phu Hoa Dispensary, the MEDCAP team has been able to find and coordinate the surgical treatment of many young Vietnamese, said Smith.

1LT James Smith EYE EXAMINATION - First Lieutenant James Smith of Hobbs, N.M., presently serving with 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry examines one of many children from Binh-Duong Province.



Regulars Kill Three During Recent RIF

   OB LYNCH - "Regulars" of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, combining alertness and quick reactions, killed three enemy recently while on an operation near here.
   While on a RIF (reconnaissance-in-force), a recon platoon of Echo Company found a likely spot for a night ambush position.  A squad was sent out to set up mechanical ambushes near the main site, then everyone dug in and waited.
   "We figured the trail as a frequently-traveled supply route for Charlie's larger size forces," commented Sergeant Herman William of Rexburg, Idaho.
   Early the next morning, the squad went back out to disarm the mechanicals.  Suddenly a thunderous explosion rocked the air.  An unsuspecting NVA, as it turned out, had tripped one of the devices.
   "I quickly assembled my men and moved forward to reinforce the smaller squad," said 1st Lieutenant Richard Simmons of Chico, Calif..  "After a few minutes we began to sweep the area."
   As they were making the sweep, the sharp-eyed GIs spotted another Communist moving toward them.
   "We heard the pin of a grenade pop," said Private First Class William Cook of Statesville, N.C.  "We all hit the ground and opened up."
   The NVA never had time to get rid of the grenade as he was cut down quickly by the Regulars' fire.  The third Communist was seen while sweeping further down the trail."
   "We saw his hand reach out for his AK," said Private First Class James Sheets of Eldon, Iowa.  "But like the dude with the frag (grenade), he didn't get to use his weapon either."
   According to Simmons, the three were probably an advance team checking the area for a larger enemy force.
   "All I can say is that we must have rolled out on the right side of our poncho liners that morning," quipped Private First Class Phil Morris of Winston Salem, N.C.


Mobile Checkpoints Add Security

   CAM TAM - To a GI, an ID check usually accompanies the purchase of a money order at the APO.  But, recently, the men of the 25th Division's 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry turned the tables and did the asking, as an ID check was made on the rubber workers near Cam Tam village.
   The check was part of population, resource and traffic control program and was coordinated with the National Police of Xuan Loc District.
   In regards the program Bobcat Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Combs, Jr. said, "We can, through pacification, counteract VC tactics by securing the villages and promoting the concept of domestic growth which seeks to liberate the people from VC control."
   The mech unit started out early in the morning escorting the rubber workers from a National Police checkpoint to the rubber plantations.  The APCs have been called many names, but Mobile Checkpoints was a new one for even the oldest hands.
   Combs felt that the program is an effective method of stifling enemy resupply lines by weeding out the VC sympathizers among the rubber workers.
   Many of the Bobcats felt sorry for the innocent Vietnamese who were asked many times to produce an ID.


Priest Delivers Love
And Receives Smiles


   XUAN LOC - Father Jerome Taddy, a captain of the Army and a chaplain of the 25th Division, feels it is better to give than to receive.
   And so, he has given his heart to 300 youngsters at Ky Nhi Vien Orphanage north of this 2nd Brigade Camp.
   Taddy of Green Bay, Wis., along with his assistant, Specialist 4 Dick Anderson of Solway, Minn., have made numerous visits to the orphanage each time bringing food, candy and soap for the children.
   The kids have learned to recognize the chaplain and his assistant as bearers of gifts and squeals of delight have become common whenever they arrive at the orphanage.
   As Taddy and Anderson pass out candy and other items, the children sing Vietnamese songs for the Americans.  Each youngster's eyes brighten up when he receives his share of goodies.
   The nuns at the Roman Catholic Orphanage are very appreciative of the GIs' efforts and provide cold drinks and fruit for Taddy and the others that visit the orphanage.
   The nuns do not speak English, so Taddy is working with the Warrior brigade's S-5 Captain Mark W. Wong of Boston in setting up English classes for them.
   Taddy enjoys helping the children.  As Anderson says, "Father will give away anything if he thinks someone needs it.  I think he'd give away our jeep if I'd let him."

CANDY AND KIDS - A Roman Catholic nun watches as Specialist 4 Dick Anderson, 2nd Brigade chaplain's assistant from Solway, Minn., passes out candy to the children of an orphanage north of Xuan Loc. SP4 Dick Anderson and nun



Thanks to:
John Nowak, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 04-04-2009

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