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Vol 1 No. 1                     Saigon, Vietnam                     March 4, 1966


Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                  3 1/8 Arty                         4 25th Inf Info                 2 3/4 Cav                          4
1/5                                  4 1/27                                3 3d Bde                           4 65th Engr                      4
1/5                                  4 2/32 Arty                       4 3/4 Cav                          1 Helping Hand               1
1/8 Arty                         1 23d Inf. ARVN              4 3/4 Cav                          1


This first issue of Tropic Lightning News published in Vietnam was mimeographed on  letter-size 8½ x 11 paper.  Articles that were continued from one page to another in the original have been put together in this on-line version.


First Helping Hand Goods Arrive

   The hostility of villagers in Hau Nghia Province melted into smiles February 24 when the trucks f rom the 2nd Bde, rumbled into the hamlet of Bac Ha, laden with clothing, reading material and other supplies from the people of Hawaii.
   The shipment is the first in a massive effort throughout the entire "Aloha State" to help the Vietnamese people in the 25th Inf . Div.-conceived program TROPIC LIGHTNING HELPING HAND.
   The soap, school supplies, sewing materials and clothing were delivered to the children of Minh-Tan School, which is in Bac Ha, a small relocation village for refugees from North Vietnam.
   In accepting the materials for his men from the newly arrived A Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., Col. Lynnwood M. Johnson, Jr., 2nd Bde. commander, said, "With these items and our medical aid program, we will be able to really convince the people of our sincere thanks and aloha to the residents of Hawaii for furnishing supplies that will greatly benefit the Vietnamese families."
   HELPING HAND was launched over a month ago under a program conceived by Tropic Lightning commander Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, who recently informed Hawaii residents that their contributions will be carried along with ammunition and rations and will be personally given to the South Vietnamese people.
   An estimated nine tons of materials have been shipped from Hawaii as a result of the efforts of the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
   Father Tran U Phan, Minh-Tan principal, and his assistant, Father Dao Nguyen Thong, directed the distribution of materials to the school's children, who range in age from six to 18.
   Bac Ha., a small Catholic village formed in the shape of a triangle, borders the 2nd Bde's perimeter.  Until two weeks ago, the Viet Cong, who have long considered the Hau Nghia area a sanctuary, had been using the Minh-Tan church as a meeting place twice weekly.


Raiders Join Brigades

   Nearly 400 men of two troops of 3rd Sqdn. 4th Cav., have arrived in Vietnam to boost division strength to nearly 9,000 men.
   C Trp., under the command of Capt. Will E. Duffer, of Beth Page, Tenn., began arriving at Pleiku in mid-afternoon, February 20, after debarking from a Navy LST at Qui Nhon.  Within 45 minutes, the cavalrymen had positioned their M-48A3 tanks around the perimeter of the 3rd Bde.
   A Trp., meanwhile, unloaded its armored personnel carriers (APC) and tanks at Saigon Harbor February 21, after a seven-day voyage by LST from Okinawa.  Commanded by Capt. Joseph R. Monihan, of Newburgh, N.Y., A Trp. joined 2nd Bde at Cu Chi.
   Both cavalry reconnaissance troops departed from Hawaii in early January aboard the USNS SULTAN.
   Prior to arriving in Vietnam, the two troops spent four weeks at Okinawa's Camp Hansen, where they received and processed nearly 30 new APCs and a number of new M-48A3 tanks.


Arty Hit V.C.

   Two unidentified Viet Cong have surrendered to the 2nd Bde., complaining they were tired of constant artillery bombardment of their area of operations in Hau Nghia Province.
   The two, who were part of a quartermaster support platoon, walked into the base camp at Cu Chi with small arms and a full load of ammunition.
   The men explained they were on a resupply mission not far from the brigade's northwest perimeter when heavy artillery from the 1st Bn., 8th Arty., pelted the area with 105mm howitzers.  The barrage killed eight of the defectors' comrades.
   Their center of operations had been in a sector that was under regular artillery attack from "Tropic Lightning" firepower and the only way the two guerrillas could escape was to surrender to the Americans.  Both men are natives of province outside of Hau Nghia.
   Second Bde. spokesmen said their captives willingly cooperated in pointing out enemy emplacements in the area.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 4, 1966


"Tropic" Back In News

   As elements of the 25th Inf. "Tropic Lightning" Div. enter the fighting in the Republic of Vietnam, the Command Information newspaper takes on a new look.  No longer will the Hawaii Lightning news be the official publication of the 25th Inf. Div.
   No doubt you noticed the change on the "flag" of this newspaper.
   With over 8,000 troops. from the division in-country, it is only fitting that the TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS be reborn.  It was a familiar mainstay of the fighting men with the division in Korea and, with new surroundings, the word "tropic" replaces "Hawaii" and the LIGHTNING NEWS continues.
   A limited staff dictates that the first four issues be mimeographed.  During April 1966, a four-page printed paper will replace the mimeo sheet, and will be expanded into eight pages when the volume of news warrants it.
   This is your newspaper.  Items you desire to be printed should be submitted to the information team in your brigade area.


Piasters to $

The following table is a breakdown of Vietnamese piastres and their equivalent in American dollars.

5 .04 65 .55 708 6.00
6 .05 71 .60 826 7.00
10 .08 77 .65 944 8.00
12 .10 83 .70 1062 9.00
18 .15 89 .75 1180 10.00
20 .17 94 .80 1298 11.00
24 .20 100 .85 1416 12.00
30 .25 106 .90 1534 13.00
35 .30 112 .95 1652 14.00
41 .35 118 1.00 1770 15.00
47 .40 236 2.00 1888 16.00
50 .42 354 3.00 2006 17.00
53 .45 472 4.00 2124 18.00
59 .50 590 5.00 2360 20.00



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 U.S. Forces, 96225.  with a circulation of 1,000.  Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army.

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand . . . . Commanding General
Maj. William C. Shepard . . . . . . Information Officer
Sp5 Dale P. Kemery . . . . . . . . . Editor



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 4, 1966


Photog-Reporter Among Losses

   A motion picture photographer for Department of the Army's Special Photographic Team and a reporter for the 25th Inf. Div.. were fatally wounded recently while on operational missions with 2nd Bde.
   Sp4 Kirmit H. Yoho, of Moundsville, W. Va. was with Company C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., on a search-and-clear mission February 10, when he was hit by an exploding grenade.
   The incident occurred seven days before he was scheduled to return to Hawaii upon completion of his last 90-day assignment in Vietnam.  He had been in-country on several other occasions to record action for Department of the Army historical records.  He would have been 21 years old the following week.
   A photographer with the Moundsville Echo, a daily West Virginia newspaper, before entering the Army, Yoho attended the Army Photographic School at Ft. Monmouth, N. J.   He had planned to join one of the television networks as a motion picture photographer and resume coverage of the war after being separated from the Army.
   He has been awarded the Purple Heart and the Vietnam Service Medal.  Additional posthumous awards are still pending.
   Pfc. Terry J. Reed, 19, was on a similar search-and-clear mission with A Company, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf., on Valentine's Day when he and a freelance civilian photographer were struck by fragments from a Claymore mine.
   Reed, the father of one child, had been married slightly over a year when he was sent to Vietnam with the 2nd Bde. in early January.  His wife had returned to their home in Iowa from Hawaii shortly after his departure for Vietnam.
   He had been a writer for the Division Information Office since his arrival in Hawaii last May.
   Well respected in journalism circles, Reed was a graduate of the Army Information School at Ft. Slocum, N. Y.
   Only days before, he came under attack by small arms fire in the same action in which Specialist Yoho lost his life.
   Reed has been given posthumous awards of the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.


Page 4                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 4, 1966


2D BDE Operations

   In four battalion-size operations and miscellaneous actions around Cu Chi, the 2nd Bde. has recorded 163 Viet Cong killed and 356 possible enemy dead.
   The brigade encountered moderate to heavy resistance in Hau Nghia Province from its first day there and has conducted four search-and-clear operations (Taro Leaf, Search Out, Clean Sweep, Kolchak I) in an effort to rid the area of enemy infiltration.
   The brigade has worked on a seven-day-a-week schedule to eliminate a vast tunnel network around the brigade area.  Brigade officials said, "Hundreds of tunnels have been neutralized since work began."
   Some of the tunnel systems contain three levels or more.  A four-room underground hospital was discovered in one chamber.
   The Viet Cong, entrenched in spider holes, trees and in the tunnels, have offered heavy resistance, spraying the area with small arms and automatic weapons fire.
   Enemy minefields, often laid just before advancing brigade elements pushed through, gave B and C Companies, 65th Engr. Bn., stiff workouts until the armored Personnel carriers and tanks from 5th Inf. and A Trp., 3/4 Cav., were used to clear paths in front of the infantrymen.
   The 105mm howitzers of 1/8th Arty., reinforced by the eight-inch and 175mm firepower of 2/32nd Arty., have pummeled the area on a 24-hour-a-day basis to soften Viet Cong strongholds before ground probing action was made.
   The brigade's maneuver elements have captured large stores of rice and razed a number of buildings being used by the VC.
   Throughout the period, heavy air support has been supplied from raiding Air Force jets and armed Army helicopters.



   Combined elements of the 3rd Bde. and the 23rd Infantry Division ( ARVN ) killed two Viet Cong detained 18 suspects and captured 40 tons of rice, corn and peanuts in operation Garfield, a search-and-clear mission in northern Dar-lac Province.
   The units also seized six 1903 Springfield rifles, one shotgun, 80 cooking pots and assorted field equipment.
   The foodstuffs were distributed by the district chief to friendly villagers in the area where the units are presently operating.


Hero Buried

   Sp4 Daniel Fernandez, C Company, 1st Bn. (Mech.), 5th Inf., was given a hero's burial this week in Roman Catholic ceremonies in his hometown of Los Lunas, N. M.
   The 21-year-old automatic rifleman was killed when he threw himself on a Viet Cong hand grenade to save the lives of five other men, who were part of an ambushing force near Cu Chi.
   Flags were flown at half staff throughout New Mexico to honor Fernandez, whose action has been lauded in his home state and around the world.



   The TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS is distributed on the basis of one copy for each eight individuals.  Designed to provide information of activities in Vietnam, it will serve its purpose only if you share it.


Thanks to:
The 25th Infantry Division Museum for sharing the 1966 volume,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Battalion for getting and mailing the book,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 08-12-2004

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