Vol 1 No. 9 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 29, 1966
|25th Div Arty 3
|Chief of staff Photo 1
|25th Div Arty Photo 3
|Cu Chi 3
|1/35 Photo 2
|25th Supt Command 1
|Defense Medal 1
|3rd Bde 4
|Helping Hand 3
|1/5 Photo 4
|175th Avn. 2
|41st Civil Affairs 4
|Helping Hand Photo 3
|1/8 Arty 2
|69th Armor 2
|Promotion Criteria 1
|25th Admin 3
|Chief of staff 1
|25th Avn Bn 2
[The photographs in this issue of Tropic Lightning News were so dark it was difficult to improve them. They have been included only to give a sense of the activities in the Division.]
Two Men Receive Silver Star Medals
Staff Sergeant Hachiro Imae and Specialist Four Keith R. Morris have been awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action while on military operations with the division in Vietnam.
General Harold K. Johnson, Army chief of staff, last week presented the two men with the nation's third highest award for valor at ceremonies at the division base camp.
Imae, a member of Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was lauded for his actions of February 18. He was serving as the leader of a reinforced ambush patrol when the unit became encircled by a Viet Cong company near Cu Chi. Although pinned down by intense machine gun and small arms fire, Imae continuously exposed himself to hostile fire while directing the return fire of his men.
In the midst of the action he was wounded, but refused medical aid and continued directing his patrol. Because of his leadership, the patrol was successful in breaking contact with the Viet Cong, who had the division force outnumbered.
On April 5, Morris was the radio-telephone operator for an artillery forward observer team supporting another company near Trung Lap. During a pre-dawn attack by an estimated battalion of hard core Viet Cong, Morris, was wounded, but repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to direct artillery fire against the attacking communists.
When his team leader was seriously wounded and lost consciousness, Morris assumed the position of team leader and continued to call in artillery fire in support of the company.
According to the citation, "His adjustments of artillery fire were so accurate and devastating that the final assault of the Viet Cong was broken and cost the hostile force numerous casualties."
Army Chief of Staff Visits
General Harold K. Johnson. Army chief of staff, last week visited division base camp facilities and saw "Tropic Lightning" soldiers in action as part of an extensive tour of Army facilities in Vietnam.
Greeted by Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commanding general, the chief of staff was briefed on current division operations. He was then taken by helicopter to Trung Lap, about five miles northwest of Cu Chi, for briefings on Operation Kahala, a search-and-clear operation involving infantry, armored, artillery, cavalry and engineer elements from 2nd Brigade.
The general, upon returning to the division's base camp for a tour of the area, spoke to Tropic Lightning officers and noncommissioned officers explaining the nation's pride in the Army and the Army's pride in the achievements of soldiers serving in Vietnam.
He cited the advances being made in equipment, in getting supplies to the field quickly and in providing the materials essential to Army elements serving here.
|General Harold K. Johnson, Army chief of staff, walks with Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commanding general, upon his arrival at the division base camp last week.
Defense Medal Okayed For New Issue
Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara has directed award of the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) to armed forces personnel for honorable active service performed anytime after Dec. 31, 1960.
An amended Department of. Defense (DoD) directive has been issued, furnishing guidance to service secretaries. Each service will prescribe regulations following DoD guidance.
Persons ineligible are short-tour Reserve component members fulfilling training obligations under an inactive duty training program; anyone on temporary duty to serve on boards, courts, etc.; those on active duty solely for physical examination; or anyone on active duty for other than extended active duty.
An official said this does not bar awarding the medal to any Reserve component member who, during the eligibility period, earns the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Service Medal.
Such persons will be considered to be performing active service, he said.
The NDSM was previously authorized for honorable active service after June 26, 1950 and before July 28, 1954. No cutoff date has been announced under the new policy. (AFNB)
DA Revises E2, 3 and 5 Hike Criteria
Liberal, new enlisted-promotion criteria have been adopted by the Army. They precede planned amendments to AR 600-200, which details the Army's standardized promotion criteria for enlisted men.
Now in effect, the changes - mostly reductions in the time-in-grade and service requirements - make it easier for outstanding young soldiers to assert themselves and be recognized by the Army.
Under the first change, up to 35 per cent of basic combat training graduates may be given immediate promotions to E-2 for their outstanding records. The previous ceiling was 20 per cent.
Also, up to one-half the time-in-grade for promotion to E-3 may now be waived, permitting an outstanding soldier to move from E-1 to E-3 in just four months.
Finally, time-in-service requirements for promotion to E-5 have been reduced to two years, and six months of that reduced figure may be waived. (ANF)
Form 41 Doubly Important In Vietnam, Combat Areas
One of the most important forms filled out by servicemen is the Emergency Data Card, DA Form 41.
Containing the address of next-of-kin and beneficiaries of commercial insurance policies, the form should be updated when there is a change, and verified by the person making the changes.
Changes can be made at the personnel support team servicing an individual's records.
Spt. Cmd. Lauded For V-N Deployment Role
The 25th Infantry Division Support Commend recently was awarded the Division Certificate of Achievement by Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander.
Colonel Herbert S. Lowe, commander of Support Command, accepted the award from General Weyand in ceremonies at Cu Chi.
Colonel Lowe accepted the award on behalf of all the members of Support Command for meritorious performance of duties during the period of Dec. 1, 1965, to March 31, 1966.
Support Commend includes the soldiers of Headquarters and Band, 725th Maintenance Battalion, 25th Supply and Transport Battalion, 25th Medical Battalion and 25th Administration Company. General Weyand cited these units for exemplifying the division's motto of "Ready to Strike - Anywhere, Anytime."
The period referred to in the certificate encompasses the movement of most of the division from Schofield Barracks to Vietnam. During this period Support Command shouldered a great responsibility and responded with exemplary devotion to duty. The certificate read in part: "This unique performance, unstinting in individual and unit time and effort, has brought credit to your command and this division."
Division Gets Trees From Hawaii Group
Candy, magazines, cigarettes, soap, books and magazines make up the bulk of gifts sent to men of the division from well-wishers in the United States.
In a recent presentation by the Wahiawa Outdoor Circle, Wahiawa, Hawaii, the division became probably the first combat unit to receive gifts of three native Hawaiian trees - in absentia, at that.
Two poinciana trees and one golden shower were given to Mrs. Fred C. Weyand, wife of the "Tropic Lightning" commanding general, and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Tarpley, commander of the 25th Infantry Division Rear Detachment at Schofield Barracks. Mrs. Weyand and Col. Tarpley accepted the trees for the division in General Weyand's absence.
In a letter to the general, Mrs. James Young, president of the Outdoor Circle, said, "The Wahiawa Branch of the Outdoor Circle would like to express their thanks to the division for its many years of cooperation and support of our work in the community.
"Soldiers of the 25th have helped to clear highways of litter during statewide clean-up campaigns, officers of the 25th time and again have supported Outdoor Circle special projects and division wives - including your own - have helped in supporting our annual fundraising plant sales.
"Today we are presenting to Mrs. Weyand and Col. Tarpley, in your absence, two poinciana and one golden shower tree as our salute to the division.
"These trees are to be planted near the commanding general's quarters and we hope one day they will bloom gloriously in the division's colors.
"Mahalo and aloha to the men of the 25th, wherever they may serve."
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 29, 1966
Clean Water Is Vietnam Must
An empty canteen in the middle of a parched Vietnam field or steaming jungle can spell serious trouble within 12 to 16 hours for its owner.
Here, where temperatures habitually soar near and above the 100 mark, water is a precious commodity. But in a country where water tables are mere feet - sometimes inches - below the earth's surface, it is easy to get.
Unfortunately, that pool of "fresh" running water in Vietnam is a far cry from the fresh water that babbles through mountain highlands in the United States.
It is the shallow water tables - plus poor sanitary conditions - which can make water almost as much of an enemy as a friend. Raw sewage and refuse dumped into open bodies of water quickly contaminate surface supplies, while flooding streams soak through the ground to carry pollution to wells and other underground sources.
Dysentery and the very serious cholera, both of which attack the gastrointestinal system, and hepatitis, a sometimes fatal inflammation off the liver, are just three of the diseases which can result from drinking unsafe water. Schistomsomiasis, which attacks the liver, intestinal tract and the spleen, and the infectious leptospirosis, another digestive disease, can be contracted merely by wading in infected water.
In United States military installations, water clearly labeled "potable" has been treated beforehand to kill harmful organisms. All other water should be considered suspect, notably shower water, which is almost invariably unpurified.
Inoculations provided by the dispensary are excellent preventatives but even they need your cooperation to be 100 per cent effective. Your own care is your best protection.
3rd Brigade Fetes Montagnards
Bearing gifts of soap and candy, members of 3rd Brigade recently moved into Dak Ri Lang, a remote Montagnard village about 65 miles northwest of Pleiku, to show the villagers there how Americans battle the "other war."
Based five miles east of the village on operation Longfellow, the reconnaissance platoon from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, mounted their gun jeeps for the trip.
Other jeeps from the battalion carried not guns but supplies for the villagers. One bore the cases of soap and candies contributed by Zonta International Club, of Meriden, Conn., while another was laden with medical supplies.
After a 20-minute ride, the group pulled up outside the village. Security guards moved into position and Captain John F. Field, battalion intelligence officer, from Cromwell, Conn., entered the village.
Battalion Surgeon Captain Jack P. Baldwin and his assistants immediately set up shop. Through interpreters they explained they were there to help the sick and diseased villagers. In an hour, the medics had treated more than 30 villagers, who were suffering with anything from infected sores to mild pneumonia. Treatment ranged from swabbing with soap solution to massive doses of penicillin.
PFC Joseph H. Peavey, of Bangor, Me., and Specialist Five Alford B. Childres, whose family is living in Korea during his tour in Vietnam, handed out vitamin pills to the crowd.
Meanwhile, Capt. Fielding asked his interpreters to have the village chiefs gather the rest of the more than 350 Montagnards in the village square, where he distributed gifts of soap and candy to the assembled villagers.
According to Capt. Baldwin, the disease and infection rate in the village would be halved if the people had soap available and used it regularly.
|Captain Jack P. Baldwin, Battalion surgeon, 1st. Battalion, 35th Infantry, examines a young Montagnard in the village of Dak Ri Lang, 65 miles northwest of Pleiku.
General Cowan Tours Division's Cu Chi Base
Brigadier General Alvin J. Cowan visited the division base camp at Cu Chi this week. Brigadier General Edward H. De Saussure, assistant division commander/support, greeted General Cowan at the division helipad.
General Cowan, director designate of Joint Research and Test Activity (JRATA), toured several "Tropic Lightning" units. He was accompanied by Division Chief of Staff Colonel Thomas W. Mellen. The general's party included the present director of JRATA, Brigadier General John D. Boles, Jr.; Colonel Merrill G. Hatch, chief of the Army Concept Team in Vietnam; and Colonel Franklin L. Fisher, Air Force Test Unit chief.
General Cowan toured 69th Armor, where he was briefed by Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel R.J. Fairfield, Jr. The party then toured 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Walker.
General Cowan also was given a briefing and a firsthand view of the Cu Chi tunnel complexes by Lieutenant Colonel Boyd T. Bashore, commander of 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry.
DA Lifts Allotment Limits
Department of the Army has announced the lifting of certain restrictions of allotment of pay and allowances.
Personnel may now allot, in addition to base pay and quarters allowance, hostile fire (combat) pay, foreign duty (overseas) pay and proficiency pay, less any known deductions.
Allotments available to all servicemen are: Class B and BI for savings bonds; Class C for Combined Federal Campaign; Class D for U.S. Government Life Insurance premiums; Class E for savings support and commercial life insurance; Class Q for dependency allotments for personnel in grade E-4, with less than four years service, and all lower grades; and Class N for National Service Life Insurance premiums.
The new allotment authorizations will be made as Class E allotments.
175th Aviation Company Arrives From Benning
The 175th Aviation Company ("Little Bear") soon will become A Company, 25th Aviation Battalion. Commanded by Major Ernest Elliott, of Jacksonville, Fla., the 196-man company will begin airlifting division troops into battle next week.
Twenty five volunteer "shot-gunners" will provide protection for the UH-1 helicopters during heliborne operations.
The 175th arrived at Cu Chi on April 12 from Ft. Benning, Ga., where they were trained for Vietnam airmobile maneuvers.
The men of the battalion's previous A Company are being relocated individually in other aviation elements.
"C and C" Makes New Use of Hueys
Helicopters have many uses on the Vietnam battlefield. They carry troops to combat assaults, evacuate the wounded, fly aerial resupply and furnish aerial observation.
Now, however, there's a new twist added to aerial observation - the command and control helicopter. From this ship, especially rigged with air-to-ground radios, the unit commander can direct the movement of troops on the ground, communicate with all support units, plan and execute tactical moves and, most important, keep a second-by-second surveillance of the entire battle area.
Early one morning recently, the command and control - "C and C" - ship for operation Kahuku took off from the base camp of 2nd Brigade. Units of 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, and 69th Armor were moving to a wooded location about three miles east of the Cu Chi base camp area. They were planning to move around the woods and sweep back toward the headquarters in an operation expected to take about four hours.
Commanding operation Kahuku was Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Greer of Gainesville, Fla, commander of 115th. He was seated on the left of the UH1D aircraft. Next to him, in contact with division artillery, was Captain John Scattergood of Westminster, Md., the first support coordinator from the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery.
Flying over the area at 2,500 feet, Col. Greer was able to watch the entire movement. As the ship constantly circled to the left, he directed the progress, closed holes between armored personnel carriers, and plotted the course of the vehicles on his map.
At one point, seeing that a stream was blocking a mechanized platoon, he redirected an entire APC company, at the same time trapping nine Viet Cong.
Then came the information turning operation Kahuku into a major effort. A Viet Cong responding to the 'Chieu hoi' - open arms - program reported a company of 110 VC in the immediate area. The informer told ground troops that the company was equipped with three machine guns, nine Browning automatic rifles and one 60mm mortar.
In addition, Col. Green received word that the VC had instructions to go into tunnels if they were overrun.
And overrun them the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers did. Directing his APC's to close off the area, the colonel ordered the men to go into the tunnels after the enemy.
About two hours into the operation, the colonel called the brigade to request additional ground units. A company of Wolfhounds from the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, was dispatched to aid in the tunnel search.
Meanwhile, Capt. Scattergood was checking the colonel's map against his own and directing artillery fire in front of the enemy. The plan, he related, was to trap the VC between the advancing infantry and the exploding artillery shells.
The plan worked. Twelve weapons, including one East German 7.94mm machine gun, quantities of ammunition, rice and one 250-pound bomb were captured.
The entire operation was directed from an airborne command post.. Said one officer, "This use of an airborne tactical operations center is new to the battlefield. And it's only right that it was developed in Vietnam."
|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.1 Forces 96225. Army News Features, Army Photo Features and Armed
Forces Press Service material are used. Views and opinions expressed are
not necessarily those of the Department of the Army. Printed in Saigon,
Vietnam, by Dai Doan Ket Publishing Company.
Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand . . . . Commanding General
Maj. William C. Shepard . . . . . Information Officer
Sp5 Dale P. Kemery . . . . . . . . . Editor
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 29, 1966
Big Hand Helps Vietnamese
The widows of Vietnamese soldiers who have lost their lives on the battlefield against the Viet Cong were beaming with smiles one day last week in Cu Chi.
Until recently, there wasn't much time for smiling. The women wore the strains of war on wrinkled faces, calloused hands and slim figures. But the burden they carried today was bundles of clothing, cans of juices and salad oil and boxes of rolled wheat.
Each of the women was called one at a time to accept items which might relieve the strain of the coming weeks. The bundles were passed out at the headquarters building of the Tan An Hoi village chief near the division's base camp.
The donations were among the first to be passed on to the people of South Vietnam under the division's "Operation Helping Hand." The "Helping Hand" project originated in Hawaii in January and, by the end of February, citizens throughout the Aloha State had contributed thousands of dollars worth of materials to assist the Vietnamese people in Hoa Nghia and Pleiku Provinces.
Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Busby Jr., executive officer of Division Artillery, made the presentations to Tran Ngoc Quan, district chief of Cu Chi, and Ngo Xuan Truong, Tan An Hoi village chief.
Before passing on the donations, Col. Busby explained that the people of Hawaii had contributed the items to extend their aloha spirit to the people of South Vietnam. He emphasized the widespread feeling of friendship generated toward the people of Vietnam during the "Helping Hands" campaign.
|Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Busby, executive officer, Division Artillery, passes out bundles of clothing and canned goods to Vietnamese widow during civic action program in Cu Chi.
Cu Chi Becomes Storehouse
Boxes of clothing, health. and sanitary goods, canned foods, toys, and educational materials and hand tools, donated by the people of Hawaii, are now being stored in the "Helping Hand" Operations Center at the division's Cu Chi base camp.
The goods, donated during a statewide campaign in the Aloha State last February, will be distributed to "Tropic Lightning" units conducting civic action programs in the areas where division elements are located.
These units, in turn, will distribute the donations personally to the Vietnamese people. Many of the "Helping Hand" items have already reached the hands of the Vietnamese people through. recent civic action programs.
In distributing the material in the villages and hamlets of Vietnam, division civic action personnel analyze the individual needs of the villagers to determine the appropriate type of assistance to provide.
The goods on hand in the "Helping Hand" warehouse at Cu Chi were shipped here aboard the same vessel which carried "Tropic Lightning" soldiers to Vietnam.
In addition to the Civic action programs to be conducted throughout the areas where the division is operating, plans are underway to provide medical aid, utilizing many of the contributions made to "Operation Helping Hand."
"Helping Hand" programs already conducted have been helpful in bringing the villagers and American soldiers closer to one another in the struggle to wipe out the terror and harassment of the Viet Cong here.
Lady Cong Fight Too
In the United States Army, the role of women is limited largely to clerical and nursing positions. Not so simple a part awaits the woman who serves in the Viet Cong guerrilla forces in Vietnam.
For instance, men of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, recently killed four black pajama clad VC in operation Kahala near Boi Loi Woods. One figure drew the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers' attention when they noticed the squad leader had an unusual length of hair.
Further investigation proved the squad leader was a woman. No gentle miss this one, she was carrying a 7.92 Mauser rifle.
One night the middle of this month, the 3rd platoon, Company B, 1/27th, operating 200 yards from their base camp, had set up an ambush to be sprung on 10 enemy soldiers. The advancing VC moved within range of a Claymore mine. The subsequent explosion struck approximately hall a dozen of the enemy.
The following morning, a search of the area discovered the squad leader of the ambushed force was a fresh, sweet, all Viet Cong - girl.
|General Harold K. Johnson, Army chief of staff (right), and Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Hicks, division G-5, check donations from Hawaii now stored in the "Operation Helping Hand" warehouse.
Another War, Same People
"It's a small world," says Specialist Six Frank Murry, of Seattle, Wash.
Murry didn't learn just how small until he arrived in Vietnam with 25th Administration Company. He was in the NCO Club at Camp Bravo, Tan Son Nhut, when a Korean staff sergeant from the Tiger Division walked up to him.
"What's with the stripes, Murry?" the Korean asked.
"That's specialist six," Murry replied.
"Yes, I know, but you used to be a sergeant."
Taken aback, Murry asked, "How did you know that?"
"Don't you know me? So High? 73rd Truck Transportation NCO Club in Korea?"
Then, the pieces fell into place. In 1955-56, Murry was the manager of the transportation company's NCO club at South Post, Seoul, Yong San Compound. The 73rd had adopted a Korean orphan, given him stripes and promoted him up to a master sergeant.
Because of the small stature of the orphan, he was called "So High" since he was always just "so high" or "so big."
For a large orange soda, So High would sweep out the club. Eventually though, he was reduced from master sergeant to corporal by the first sergeant.
For Murry, this is the first such acquaintance he has met through his assignments to Korea, Japan, Germany, Hawaii, the State of Washington, and Ft. Carson, Colo.
He has one other distinction. He is one of the few in the Army with a seven-digit service number.
Good Eating Free, Thanks To Hapless VC
"Here, have some yucca."
"This would be good with salt and pepper."
Division soldiers in the field are finding that Viet Cong farm land can provide them with appetizers and desserts to supplement their standard C-rations.
Most houses outside rural areas have gardens cultivated in nearby rice paddies. When units leave Cu Chi for search-and-destroy operations in VC territory, they encounter many empty huts with a bounty of fruits and vegetables in the vicinity.
On a recent operation, men of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, found a watermelon patch within the perimeter of the night's bivouac. The melons, smaller and rounder than the U. S. variety, turned out to be every bit as tasty.
Wolfhounds of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, exercised their culinary talents on a batch of pumpkin and yucca root. Yucca is a vegetable similar to the yam but is white and stringy, more like a tree root. A few minutes in boiling water and they are ready to be devoured.
It anybody likes squash, a couple can always be plucked from the vines. Peanuts are found with rice caches, many times by the handful. There's plenty of sugar cane and other edible items. And when the VC are away, it's all on the house.
ACES HIGH KNOCK VC LOW
The officers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, have more than a mere ace up their sleeves. To be exact, they each carry 12 aces - all spades.
A newspaper column they read mentioned that the Viet Cong, normally superstitious, were especially leary of the ace of spades. The men quickly decided to launch their own campaign of psychological warfare.
Wherever the men hit, they leave behind them several ace of spades tacked up in a prominent place.
The company was quick to take to their new symbol. The only problem was where to get enough of the playing cards so each man would have an adequate supply. A letter sent to the president of a major playing card company in the States soon resulted in a shipment of a thousand black aces being hustled off to Vietnam.
Each man now wears an ace of spades on each side of his helmet, and they are planning to have an ace of spades stencil made for the butts of their weapons.
No VC were available for comment on the company's new symbol. They were last seen headed away from a jungle trail of aces of spades.
Page 4 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 29, 1966
3rd Bde. Completes Hospital
With the help of ten former Viet Cong, members of 3rd Brigade are putting the finishing touches on a new, 100-bed hospital for the people of Pleiku.
Fashioned from a former Vietnamese Special Forces billeting area, the hospital replaces a rude dispensary which had served the area from a quonset hut.
When the Pleiku Province chief gave the buildings to the villagers, they were in need of repair and painting to make them usable.
Captain Thomas Lyerly, brigade civil affairs officer, began the task of reconditioning the complex but soon found himself out of a job when Lieutenant Larry Castagneto, a member of the 41st Civil Affairs Team, took over the project in early February.
With five enlisted men from the brigade and ten ex-Viet Cong who had surrendered under the Vietnamese government's chieu hoi (open arms) program, Lt. Castagneto set about making a barracks a hospital.
The men plastered holes in the concrete block walls, put in screening and installed electrical wiring for the 15 kilowatt generator that will provide electric power for the three wards and office buildings, cooking facilities, lavatories and library.
The first 24-bed ward opened two weeks ago, although the opening of the other two was delayed because of unexpected medical demands in the town of Pleiku.
Costing more than 150,000$VN (US $1,270) to renovate, the hospital will be staffed by Vietnamese medical personnel and four officers and five enlisted men of the Military Provincial Hospital Assistance Program.
For the finishing touch, the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office has contributed funds to build a library and buy books to fill the shelves.
|Dilapidated quonset hut served as Pleiku Province hospital until members of 3rd Brigade got to work to produce...
|...this sparkling structure from an old Vietnamese Special Forces barracks donated to Pleiku villagers by the province chief.
Kids, Bikes, Dogs Fill Personnel Carriers
When the doors of the armored personnel carrier (APC) opened, out came six Vietnamese youngsters, four women carrying infants, and one man.
The civilians had hitched a ride with the APC's 10-man squad when the men of Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, began searching the area.
APCs are built to carry ten men and the driver, but the soldiers of 1/5th Inf., conducting search-and-clear operations outside the division's base camp, are doubling up to allow more passengers to evacuate the combat zone.
Specialist Four Tom Northrop, of Newton, Kans., juggled one of the youngsters from his APC. Another followed, and then another.
"You'd never think so many people could cram into such a small hole, but we manage," Northrop said. "Sometimes members of the squad ride on top to give women and children a space inside, where they can't falloff or won't be hit by sniper fire. All of our passengers are evacuated and screened immediately to seek out the Viet Cong and to protect the friendly villagers," Northrop explained.
Evacuation becomes more difficult when the villagers insist on taking with them their most valuable possessions. On board one of the tracks arriving at the collection point were 15 villagers, four bicycles, five hand bags, a set of earthen jars and one dog, not to mention the ten-man squad clinging to the hand-holds on the carrier.
The problems of evacuation are being solved quickly, however, according to Northrop. For example, to eliminate the whimper and whine of youngsters packed in the APCs, the men in the squad pass out chewing gum.
"Since we can't speak Vietnamese, and they can't speak English, the gum somehow melts the language barrier," Northrop explained. It's also a good way to make friends," he winked.
The trip from the search-and-destroy area to the collection point is a "crowded jaunt over rough ground," according to members of the squad, but the innocent are protected while military operations continue unhampered.
|Civilians are offloaded from an armored personnel carrier after evacuation from a combat zone by Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, during operation Kahala.
G-4 Promoted To Lt. Col.
Lieutenant Colonel William E. Davis, assistant chief of staff, G-4 (logistics), was promoted to his present rank during ceremonies at Cr Chi last week.
Col. Davis has served with the division since December 1965. He came to the Republic of Vietnam early this year and has served since at the Cu Chi base camp.
A native of Elliott City, Md., Col. Davis was graduated from Western Maryland College in 1951.
Army Seeks 350 For Prep School
The Army has announced its effort to fill 350 student positions for the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at Ft. Belvoir, Va.
Being conducted in the division under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel David Bryant, division staff judge advocate and West Point recruiting adviser, the drive is an attempt to prepare students for entrance into the United States Military Academy.
The one year course will begin in August.
Entrance requirements stipulate that the individual must have reached his 17th but not his 22nd birthday by July 1, 1967. He must be a United States citizen and may never have been married. The applicant also should be of high moral character, show a potential for leadership and display a sincere interest in becoming a career Army officer.
The deadline for applying is June 30, and since the number of positions is limited, the earliest applicants naturally have the best chance for acceptance.
Unit commanders can supply further details.
Jim Anderson, 35th Inf. Div. for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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