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Vol 1 No. 3                     Saigon, Vietnam                     March 18, 1966


Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                   4 2nd Bde                         1 25th MI Det                  1 41st Civil Affairs         4
1/27                                 4 2/35                                3 25th MI Det                  3 65th Engr                      4
15th PIO                         1 25th Admin                   1 25th MP                        1 725th Maint                  4
15th PIO                         2 25th HHC                      1 25th MP                        1 Helping Hand               3
125th Sig Bn                  1 25th Inf                         3 3d Bde                           1 Operation Honolulu    4
125th Sig Bn                  3 25th Med Bn                2 3d Bde                           3 Operation Garfield       1


This third issue of Tropic Lightning News published in Vietnam was mimeographed on  legal-size 8½ x 14 paper.

1200 MORE

   More than 1,200 division soldiers landed on the beach at Vung Tau this week from the USNS POPE.
   They comprise the remainder of 125th Sig. Bn., commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas Ferguson; 25th Admin. Co., commanded by Capt. Ralph M. Wilkerson; HHC, 25th Inf. Div., commanded by Capt. William D. White, Jr.; 25th MP Co., under the command of Capt. Courtney Fritz; and 25th M. I. Detachment.
   Most of the troops were airlifted from Vung Tau to Tan Son Nhut by Air Force C-130 aircraft.  The rear elements of five support units, the troops left Hawaii February 28.



   The first Army information team to be dispatched into a combat area since World War II has joined 2d Bde. at Cu Chi.
   The 15th Public Information Detachment, consisting of two officers and three enlisted men, was sent to Vietnam from Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Ind., under orders from Department of the Army.
   Designed to augment existing public information personnel in the brigades, the team will supply extensive combat coverage, write feature material, assist civilian correspondents in reporting war news and write news releases for hometown newspapers.  The 15th P. I. Detachment is the first of several of this type of unit slated for assignment both to the Division and other organizations in Vietnam.
   Each member of the detachment has received extensive training for the assignment, either in Army school or
(Cont'd on Page 2)



   On two successive days this week, 3d Bde. ran into stiff resistance in operation Garfield in Darlac Province, recording 56 dead Viet Cong Tuesday and Wednesday.
   Tuesday, the brigade encountered a reinforced Viet Cong platoon about 35 miles north of Ban Me Thuot.  Twenty VC were killed in the action.  That morning, in the same general area, an unknown size enemy force lost three when brigade elements engaged in a 20-minute firefight.  The Viet Cong broke contact.
   The following day another 33 VC were killed when they met advancing infantrymen in platoon size.  By mid-afternoon, the VC began grouping and enemy strength was raised to the size of a reinforced rifle company.  The enemy  (Cont'd on Page 4)



   The man who came to dinner, so the story goes, at least came alone.  The man who came to dinner at the "home" of Capt. William D. White, Jr., brought 277 friends - and it looks as if they'll be around for quite awhile.
   White, commander of HHC, 2d Bde., had a nice, quiet dinner table spread for his 122-man family a few months ago.  The family began developing acute growing pains, however, when the brigade began preparing to depart for Vietnam from Hawaii.
   A platoon from 25th MP Co. was the first group of callers, added to the company for security and convoy 
(Cont'd on Page 3)   


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 18, 1966



   This is the place where lives which hang in the balance get a new lease.  It's not a pretty place but to the wounded of the 2d Bde., it is close to paradise.
   The admission and disposition (A&D) tent, the nerve center of the brigade's emergency medical treatment, is where the helicopters arrive with wounded from the fighting and where the ambulances from battalion medical aid station take their seriously injured.
   Set up along the lines of a big city emergency room, A&D has the capability of treating eight men at one time; from a bandage and an encouraging word to minor and emergency surgery.
   Dr. (Capt.) Spencer B. King, III, commanding officer of A Co., 25th Med., Bn., runs the A&D tent and is equipped to treat the seriously wounded with such immediate-help devices as resuscitators and a laryngoscope in the front of the tent.  The minor wounds and the walking wounded are routed toward the rear of the tent for less immediate aid.
   Even functioning under difficult conditions, Dr. King and the four doctors who work for him frequently labor against seemingly insurmountable odds to save a life.
   Take for instance, the case of the wounded soldier who was brought in with a bullet hole through both lungs.  The air entering his chest cavity had collapsed them.  To make matters worse, his heart had stopped.
   Working against time and under less than sterile conditions and without the sophisticated hospital equipment needed at such a time, the doctors, drawing upon all their skill and experience removed the air from the cavity and massaged the heart until it began functioning.  No fairy story this.  That man will live and be productive again, thanks to the courage of the men of the Army's Medical Corps.
   Usually, four of the doctors and eight medical corpsmen are available to give treatment.  Once a doctor makes his diagnosis, the corpsmen take over to apply treatment, excepting the extreme cases where a doctor's knowledge is required.
   The A&D men spend from five to 20 minutes on each patient before he is evacuated to one of three hospitals for major medical aid or surgery.  The walking wounded and others with minor wounds are treated last.  They are kept in the wards and treated until they can return to duty.
   These men, in short, offer a wounded man enough immediate treatment to get him safely to more complete facilities.  Their goal is basic:  keep a man alive.


(from Page 1)

through civilian experience or schooling.
   The detachment's' commanding officer , 1Lt. Jack Carollo, of Chicago, Ill., was information officer at Ft. Benjamin Harrison for a year and a half before being sent to Vietnam.
   Each member of the detachment has received extensive training for the assignment, either in Army schools or through civilian experience or schooling.
   Second Lieutenant James Gebbie, of Hawarden, Ia., was press Officer for 5th Army Hq. in Chicago.  Executive officer for the detachment, he is a journalism graduate of the University of Iowa.  Both officers are graduates off the Defense Information School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison.
   Sergeant Michael Hirsh, of Chicago, was a reporter for CBS News in Los Angeles before entering the Army.  Formerly, he was editor of the post newspaper at Ft. Sheridan, Ill.
   Pfc Edward Rooney, also of Chicago, was circulation manager for a suburban weekly newspaper before he became the unit's clerk typist and administrative assistant.
   Private David Kleinberg, of San Francisco, Calif., was a sports writer f or the San Francisco Chronicle before he entered the Army for duty with the post newspaper at Ft . Benjamin Harrison.


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.  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 18, 1966



   Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division CG, has announced that final tallies of goods and materials donated in Hawaii to Tropic Lightning Helping Hand reached an estimated $800,000.
   Of this total, more than $50,000 worth of goods has been shipped to South Vietnam for distribution by Tropic Lightning soldiers to the villagers in Hau Nghia and Pleiku Provinces.
   The donations on the way to South Vietnam include health and sanitary supplies, clothing, children's items and miscellaneous goods.
   In addition to the contributions of clothing, hand tools, soap and cleansers, Helping Hand cash donations have gone over the $4,400 mark.
   The climax to the statewide Helping Hand campaign came march 5 at Fort DeRussy when General Weyand, on behalf of 17,000 Tropic Lightning soldiers, presented a plaque, in the shape of the Division's "Taro Leaf" insignia reaffirming the kinship of Hawaii's own 25th Infantry Division to the "Aloha State."
   The presentation was made to Governor John A. Burns during Helping Hand Appreciation day ceremonies attended by some 1,500 Hawaii residents and civilian and military leaders of the state and nation.
   In conjunction with Tropic Lightning Helping Hand, the state senate and house of representatives passed separate resolutions congratulating General Weyand, the division, Sandy Holck, Chairman of the Oahu Community Participation Committee; and the people of Hawaii for the success of the campaign.


(From Page 1)

control.  Then came the men from 25th MI Det.
   Next, 125th Sig. Bn. sent a platoon of radar and radio operators and repairmen.
   For good measure, a public information team of three men quickly appeared, followed by a legal section and one representative from the American Red Cross.
   The growing pains began to let up a little as the last possible day for more attachments neared, but someone left the door open and a 21-man finance team moved in on departure day.
   1/Sgt Francis L. Holmes sighed, took a deep breath, looked across his orderly room and said, "Freed, we have 21 more to add to the morning report."
   And Sp4 Richard D. Freed, the company clerk, peering from behind his pile of personnel reports, grumped, "Yeah, sure.  Okay, Sarge."
   Then for two weeks at sea aboard the USNS GENERAL WALKER there were no new additions.  But, after the brigade landed in Vietnam, a new staff section - civil affairs - was added and two more men joined the company.
   And then, out of the clear, blue sky, the U.S. Air Force came roaring in with four officers and ten enlisted men to make up the forward air controller section.
   With the company now a multi-service unit, the story should end.  But it doesn't.
   The company has gone international now by adding one officer and 14 enlisted men from the Army, Republic of Vietnam.
   That ends the story at the moment, but the spirit lingers and the first sergeant's wounded howl still echoes from the orderly room:  "Bring on the Navy and the Marine Corps!"



   General John K. Waters, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific, on a tour of many Army Installations in Vietnam, visited 3d Bde, Monday to inspect the brigade's facilities and living area.
   Greeted by Co. Everette A. Stoutner, brigade CO, General Waters visited the Broncos' tactical operations center, where the Army's top commander in the Pacific was briefed on the brigade activities which have occurred since the unit arrived in Vietnam last December.
   The general cut the ribbon (a piece of engineer tape) to mark the opening of "Victor's Haven," the newly constructed support platoon's NCO Club.
   Inside, General Waters opened the club with a toast to the brigade's men, most of whom were still in Darlac Province in operation Garfield.
   General Waters, in visiting A Co., 2/35th, viewed the unit's fire direction control and ammunition storage bunkers.  He also inspected the brigade's perimeter.


Page 4                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 18, 1966



   While most of 3d Bde. was engaged in operation Garfield, the force left at the Pleiku base camp was busy making a field a home.
   D Co., 65th Engr. Bn., under the supervision of 1Lt. Len Gregor, was paving the camp's road network, a job which began before the brigade arrived in late December.  It has proceeded from dirt tracks plowed through scrub brush to the present network of graded, oiled roads.
   The work now has moved into the gravel and sand phase.  Lieutenant Gregor and his crew are hauling rough, unsorted gravel from an abandoned quarry about four miles from the base camp.  The dump trucks and heavy equipment, operating on a 12-hour-a-day schedule, quarry the gravel and haul it to the road, where it is dumped, graded and smoothed.
   The main supply route to Pleiku airport is close to completion.  Once the gravel is down, a mixture of sand, oil and asphalt is applied, giving the "Broncos" a highway that will hold up well in the coming monsoon season.
   After the main road has been paved, work will continue on the rest of the base camp road system.
   Meanwhile, the engineers have been supervising Vietnamese engineers and construction workers in the installation of a 100 kw. electric generator for the base camp.  The new generator will provide power for brigade headquarters, hospital and other units on "the hill."
   D Co., 725th Maint. Bn., was keeping busy with a communications modernization program.  Taking advantage of the lull afforded by a nearly empty camp, the maintenance men were installing new transistorized radios in all of the brigade vehicles.
   Eighteen conex containers full of radios were received by the brigade just a few days before Garfield began.
   Ezra Huston, a civilian electronics specialist from Department of the Army, was present to instruct the installation crews on proper techniques and to give classes on maintenance and operation of the new units.
   Before Garfield began, the portable radios were distributed to all units and installation of vehicle-mounted radios began.
   Once work was completed at base camp, the installation crews packed up the remaining new radios and were airlifted to the brigade forward command post near Ban Me Thuot, where the rest of the brigade's new radios were installed.
   Elsewhere at the base camp, 41st Civil Affairs Team, attached to the brigade, was busy conducting daily sick calls in local villages and working on completion of a new hospital in Pleiku.
   When the operation Garfield soldiers return to their base camp, they will find their home in the wilds more of a home and less wild.


(From Page 1)

tried to withdraw to the south to break contact.
   Air and artillery support was being used.  Three UH-1D helicopters were downed by enemy ground fire, but all were later extracted.
   Enemy dead for the operation now stands at 67.
   Meanwhile, 2nd Bde moved from Cu Chi to Sao Trai, a small village 25 miles north of Saigon, to begin operation Honolulu this week.  First day action found 1/5th (Mech.) moved in their armored personnel carriers while 1/27th was airlifted to their objective area by helicopter.
   Early contact on Tuesday uncovered a Viet Cong main force estimated to be of battalion strength.  The VC quickly began to fragment their forces, however, to avoid being pinned between advancing brigade soldiers and the Oriental River.
   Extensive weapons and ammunition had been captured in the first three days of action including a number of Chinese weapons, grenades and anti-tank rockets.
   By yesterday (Thursday), eight Viet Cong had been killed, with another 20 possibles.



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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