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Vol 1 No. 29                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                September 9, 1966



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/8 Arty                  6 2/27                        1 25th Inf Photo         6 3rd Bde                   7
1/27                        1 2/27                        1 25th Inf Photo         8 4/9                          6
1/27 Photos            4 2/27                        3 25th Inf Artists        6 4/9                          7
1/69 Armor Photo   8 2/27                        6 25th Avn Bn            1 7/11 Arty Photo      1
1/69 Armor             8 2/27                        7 25th Avn Bn            8 7/11 Arty                1
2nd Bde                  3 2/35                        1 25th Band Photos    4 Chieu Hoi Photo      7
2/9 Arty Photo        8 2/35                        3 25th Boxing Photo   6 GI Bill                     2
2/9 Arty                  8 2/35                        6 25th MP                  7 Rabies                     2
2/14 Photo              7 2/35                        7 25th MP                  8 Red Cross Photos    3
2/27                        1 25th Inf Div             1 3rd Bde                   3 R&R - Hawaii          3

[Many of the photographs in this issue of Tropic Lightning News were too dark or blurry to reproduce clearly.  They have been included only to give a sense of the activities in the Division.]



2/27th and ARVNs Smash Enemy HQ
By Sp4 Bill Becker

   Two companies of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., and 50 Army, Republic of Vietnam, (ARVN) soldiers combined forces six miles southwest of here recently to destroy a Viet Cong district headquarters, killing nine VC and capturing 22.
   Working on the basis of intelligence reports, Companies B and C of the battalion and ARVN troops under the command of their sector intelligence officer were airlifted to the hamlet of Han Hoa in Bao Trai District.
   Information indicated that three key district officials, two female secretaries and 26 armed personnel worked at the headquarters.
   Catching the Viet Cong by surprise, the ARVN and Company B elements swept through the area and captured nine VC without resistance while Co. C provided a blocking force.
   After flushing residents from buildings and checking their credentials, the combined force turned its attention to a heavily wooded area at one end of the hamlet.  Signs warning "Danger" in Vietnamese had aroused the soldiers curiosity.
   In the first few feet of the woods, infantrymen of Co. B discovered an ammunition box containing five grenades, a pile of metal punji spikes mounted in concrete and seven booby-traps.
   Keeping their eyes peeled for trip-wires, the Vietnamese took the position of pointmen to search the area for spider holes.  The Americans spread into a tight rank behind them.
   A thorough search of the woods found them riddled with spider holes.  At most of the holes groups of two, three and four Viet Cong gave up without resisting.  In some cases, the cornered VC refused to surrender.  One such refusal came from six Viet Cong crowded into one of the small holes.
   Capt. David A. Pabst, battalion intelligence officer, from Rockville, Md., and Capt. Hector Sorrentini, assistant officer from San Juan, P.R., who were flanking the hole, opened up immediately with M-16 and 12-guage shotgun fire to down the VC.
   Among the items captured during the sweep were 10 weapons, 11 grenades, 210 rounds of small arms ammunition and miscellaneous documents and equipment.
   "We consider this mission very successful," said Capt. James R. Paschall, Co. B commander from Barnet, Tex.  "This headquarters was, of course, the center of all VC activity on Bao Trai District.  Wiping it out was comparable to cutting the head of a rattlesnake.  The snake cannot bite anymore."


Terror Ring Is Crushed

   A Viet Cong terrorist squad, operating south of the division's base camp at Cu Chi, was stunned and smashed recently in a lightning assault by Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., and an Army, Republic of Vietnam, (ARVN) intelligence squad.
   The Wolfhounds and ARVNs caught the surprised Viet Cong during an early-morning meeting and killed eight and captured 13.
   Using a tip supplied by a captured Viet Cong assassin, the two units were air lifted into the landing zone at 9:45 a.m., just 15 minutes before the Viet Cong meeting was to take place.
   The Viet Cong tried to disperse when they saw the division choppers moving in, but it was too late.  The captured VC pointed out hiding places his ex-comrades were using.  Those that were not shown to them the "Wolfhounds" found.
   The joint U.S.-ARVN team picked up members of the ring in groups of one, two and three - some dead, others alive.  Co. C moved so swiftly that the fleeing VC had no place to turn.
   The surprise party also netted nine captured weapons and several documents.


Lt. Col. William Brown, BG Kwak Choel meet GREETS - Brig. Gen. Kwak Choel Jung (r), commander of the Republic of Korea Army, 25th Infantry Division, is greeted by 7th Bn., 11th Arty., commander, Lt. Col. William D. Brown, during his visit at the unit's field position.  (Photo by Sp4 James Pardue)



Korean 25th Div. CO Visits Cu Chi

   The commanding general of the Republic of Korea's 25th Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Kwak Choel Jung, toured the facilities of his American counterparts during a visit to Cu Chi recently.
   After being greeted by 25th commander, Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, Gen. Kwak began his two-day itinerary at a "Fraternity for Freedom" ceremony hosted at the Division headquarters.
   During the ceremony, conducted by representatives of the 25th (U.S.), 25th (ROKA) and 25th (ARVN) Infantry Divisions, the Korean general was presented a plaque stating the common purpose of the three divisions in the "struggle against oppression and tyranny."
   Following the ceremony Gen. Kwak rounded out his day's activities in tours of the 25th Div. Arty., 2nd Brigade, Lightning Ambush Academy and Helping Hand Operation Center.
   The tour also included visits to Btry. C., 7th Bn., 11th Arty., and Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.  On the second day, Gen. Kwak traveled to division field positions of the 1st Brigade.
   Members of the general's party included Col. Shin Ui Yung, commander of the ROKA 70th Infantry Regiment, Lt. Col. Kim Sung, G-1 officer of ROKA 25th, and Capt Kim Yung Gil, assistant ROKA 25th Division commander.


Gen. H.H. Howze Tours Division

   Gen. H.H. Howze (retired), vice president of an American helicopter company, recently visited Cu Chi.  Gen. Howze made stops at the 25th Avn. Bn. and 725th Maint. Bn., where he was briefed on helicopter maintenance and air operations.
   The retired general is touring Vietnam to discuss operational and logistical prob1ems associated with the UH-1 and UH-23 helicopters.


1/27th Gets Its Share Of VC Too

   The 1st Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds" recently captured 16 Viet Cong on an airmobile sweep 35 miles northwest of Saigon shortly after receiving a tip that a squad of VC were operating in the area.
   The Wolfhounds drop came after two VC turned themselves in to the Trang Bang district and volunteered the information.
   "Tropic Lightning" soldiers apprehended their first suspect almost immediately.  The suspect said ten Viet Cong were seen in the area that morning.
   The "Wolfhounds" began searching the area and turned up 76 suspects, 16 of whom were confirmed as Viet Cong.  Thirty more were held for questioning by American and Vietnamese intelligence officials.
   The prisoners were found in small hamlets near their homes, both alone and in small groups.  Two of them were found with "Chicu Hoi" (Open Arms) pamphlets in their possession and gave information that led to the arrest of other prisoners.
   The Wolfhounds met light energy resistance on the operation.


2/35th Squad Kills 7 NVA Near Pleiku

   A squad from Co. C, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf,, killed seven North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers in a bloody three-hour fire fight recently near Pleiku.
   The squad from the third platoon was on a search-and-destroy mission on Highway 19 when contact was made with an estimated NVA platoon.
   The NVA were emplaced on the north side of the highway in concealed positions for the mid-afternoon attack.
   The point man of the unit spotted one NVA soldier alongside the road and fired at him.  The enemy withdrew to the west.  Immediately, the remainder of the third platoon moved up and joined the squad as it swept the area.
   When contact was reestablished, Capt. Bob Ord, company commander, moved his other two platoons up to join the fight.  Air strikes and artillery were called in along with two platoons from Co. B, 1st Bn., 69th Armor.
   The 69th Armor provided firepower while the company swept the enemy positions.
   After three hours of fighting, seven enemy were found dead with heavy blood trails In the area.  Friendly casualties were light.
   The action was far from over, however.
   The dead NVA bodies were left in the area as Co. A, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf., waited in ambush for the enemy to return.
   The following night, an NVA reinforced platoon reentered the area.  Five NVA were killed in the initial contact.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966



SSgt. Harry M. Kitchens, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SSgt. Michael J. Mummel, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Lamond Jackson, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Alton D. Price, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Jose A. Rivera, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC John Roeckl, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
1st Lt. Lorenzo W. Phillips Jr., Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sgt. Theodore C. Belcher, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
Sgt. Wilbert E. Brooks, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sgt. Charles H. Crane, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sp4 Jose C. Gosse, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sp4 Morris L. Fleshman, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Kenneth M. Branaman, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Thomas K. Ingersoll, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Allan Jelinack, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Robert W. Ruhl, Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Capt. Michael J. Brokovich, HHB, 25th Inf. Div. Arty.
Capt. Delmer H. Livengood, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Capt., James C. Tanksley, HHB, 25th Inf. Div. Arty.
1st Lt. James M. Gass, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
1st Lt. John S. Gleason, HHB, 25th Inf. Div. Arty.
2nd Lt. Benjamin R. Crabtree, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
WO Thomas C. Hutchins, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Sp4 Thomas D. McCracken, Co. E, 725th Maint. Bn.
Sp4 Terry R. Shely, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
SSgt. Paul W. Fabre, B Trp., 3rd Sgdn,, 4th Cav.
SSgt. Virgil C. New, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
Sp4 Thomas E. Fagan, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
Sp4 John B. McCallum, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Raymond, R. Brown, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Ronald S. Fink, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Robert O. Hall, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Robert D. Johnson, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Vernon L. Keane, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th.Inf.
PFC Stanley P. Welch, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Andrew F. Williams, B Trp., 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.



The Benefits
     G. I. Bill And You

   (Editor's note: This is the second in a series on the Cold War GI Benefits Program.)

   The home loan and farm loan provisions of this act are patterned closely after those of the Korean GI Bill.  Lenders making a home loan or farm loan to veterans are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration against loss of up to 60 percent of the loan, with a maximum guarantee of $7500.
   Direct loans for homes or farms are also provided for.  These would apply in areas where private financing is not available.  The VA itself makes this loan.  Maximum amount of such a loan is $17,500 - up from the previous maximum.
   Maximum interest rates payable for either a guaranteed loan or direct loan will be determined by the VA Administrator, and will be comparable to the rate under the loan program of the National Housing Act.  An interest rate of 5 1/2 percent was announced March 3.  Any entitlement to loans derived for service during WW II or the Korean conflict is cancelled by entitlement under the new act - while the entitlement under the new act will be reduced by the amount already used.
          Federal Employment Preference
   Veterans having more than 180 days' consecutive service after January 31, 1955, are now eligible for a five-point preference in applying for Federal employment.  This preference formerly was limited to wartime veterans.  A five-point preference means that if a veteran applies for Federal employment and makes a score of 80, for example, on the job examination, five points will be added to that score - an action that puts a person higher on the register of eligible applicants.  Disabled veterans, whether wartime or peacetime, have long rated a ten-point preference.
   Other aspects of Federal veterans preference include retention rights during a reduction in force; waiver of age, height, and weight requirements (in most instances); and review of an agency's reason for passing over a veteran on the register of job eligibles and selecting a non veteran to fill a job.


   Take Advantage Of New Interest Rate

   Thrift has always been considered one of the worthwhile virtues, but for servicemen overseas, President Johnson has just enhanced that worthiness more than two-fold.
   With his signing of Public Law 89-538 and Executive Order 11298, servicemen overseas are afforded an opportunity to receive an unprecedented return on their investment dollar.
   The President authorized a 10 per cent interest rate on Uniformed Services Deposits for all servicemen, including officers, who are stationed overseas.
   Think of it!  That's a return of 10 cents on every dollar for every year that you remain overseas.  Few people, other than stock market speculators, have ever received such return on their money, and certainly no one has ever obtained it with such high degree of safety in their investment.
   Most of us, while overseas, have spent idle moments dreaming about things we'd like to do when "we get back home."
   Most of these things, you'll recall, cost money.  Now those dreams can come true much faster with the increased interest rates.
   As an added bonus, you can be helping your country become stronger while fattening up your own pocketbook.  Each dollar you save will be a dollar that won't be spent overseas; thereby lowering our nation's balance-of-payments deficit.
   So, you save and your country benefits as well.  Who could ask for a more pleasant prospect?  Why not check into the Uniformed Services Deposits program today?  Ask your finance officer about it.  (AFNB)


Rabies Rate High In V.N.

   Rabies, an increasing medical problem in Vietnam, is an acute virus disease of the nervous system of warm blooded animals. This virus is found in the saliva and transmitted from a rabid animal to another animal through a bite.  Rabies is especially serious and may be fatal if untreated.
   In Vietnam, human cases of rabies occur frequently and the main source for the disease is from the large dog population.  Although the majority of rabies infections come from dogs, this disease may also be transmitted from cats, monkeys, and bears, all of which may be found in Vietnam.
   Rabies in dogs is classified as either furious or dumb, depending on the symptoms.  Furious rabies is more frequent than the dumb variety and the rabid animal appears to be highly irritable and may attack viciously.  A dog infected with the dumb variety of rabies shows no open tendency toward irritability or viciousness.
   Anyone bitten or scratched by any animal should report immediately to a medical officer and furnish him with pertinent information relating to when, where, and under what circumstances the bite or scratch was incurred.  It is most important that the animal should not be killed but apprehended and impounded for necessary observation.  Remember that rabies is a very serious and possibly fatal disease that may be carried by any animal.


Daily Vietnamese

   For the many American servicemen presently serving in the Republic of Vietnam the Tropic Lightning News presents a few useful words and phrases essential to their everyday conversation.

English Vietnamese Phonetic
Halt Dung Lai Dung lie
Stop Ngung Lai Nung lie
Hands Up Gio Tay Len Yo tie len
Come Here Lai Day Lie die
Lie Down Nam Xuong Nam shoe



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.  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 The Saigon Daily News.

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand . . . . Commanding General
Maj. William C. Shepard . . . . . . Information Officer
1st Lt. William H. Seely III  . . . . Officer-in-Charge
Sp4 David L. Kleinberg . . . . . . . Editor
Sp4 Adrian E. Wecer  . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966


Total Agreement
     Hawaii - Great for R & R

   The recent addition of Hawaii as a Rest and Recreation (R & R) site has been extremely well received by the thousands of men of the 25th.
   During August, nearly 70 "Tropic Lightning" soldiers returned to the Aloha state.  Another 1523 men have listed Hawaii as their first choice for R & R.
   R & R quotas for Hawaii began two months ago and for many the trip meant more than just a mere rest from work and war.  It meant being able to see friends and relatives once more before returning to Vietnam to finish their tour of duty - an added attraction which other R & R centers could hardly ever hope to match.
   Among the first division men to take advantage of the Hawaii R & R were 2nd Lt. Robert D. Duffie of Garden City, Mich., and PSgt. John W. Rivera of Pearl City, Hawaii.
   Lt. Duffie of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., "Wolf hounds" had his wife fly from Michigan to meet him in Hawaii.  They met at Hawaii's International Airport after seven months of separation.
   Lieutenant and Mrs. Duffie had been married only eight weeks prior to his deployment to Vietnam.  "We had a sort of second honeymoon in those five days," the lieutenant explained.  "We had breakfast in Waikiki, went swimming, took in a night club, and just had a marvelous time."
   Sgt. Rivera, also with the Wolfhounds, told how he was welcomed on his arrival at the airport by Gen. John A. Waters (retired) and by Gov. John A. Burns of Hawaii.
   "The people welcomed us too," added the sergeant.  "On the sides of the buses awaiting us at the airport were signs reading 'ALOHA R & R' . . . It was nostalgic to he home again."
   Sgt. Rivera said that he had the opportunity of seeing his family, relatives and friends, and added that he even had time to take a long awaited "steaming shower."
   Another R & R traveler to Hawaii was PSgt. Mamoru Arishiro, of Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii.  Sgt. Arishiro, a member of the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., said:  "My wife and children met me at Fort DeRussy and presented me with the traditional welcoming leis and kisses.  Later, we all went to church to thank God for keeping me safe and for giving me this great opportunity to come home again, if only for a brief time."

No AR on Panthers
By Sgt. Mike Horowitz

   It started out as a routine night ambush.  Three men from Co. A, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. - SSgt. Levandar McKoy of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Sgt. Lawson Knight of Lancaster, S.C.; and PFC Phillip Keile of St. Maries, Idaho - were on one flank of the ambush and getting set for the long night's vigil.
   They had been there for about half an hour, and it was beginning to get dark.  Suddenly they heard a rustle in the bushes, and readied themselves for contact with the enemy.
   What they then saw, however, was not a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldier but a large black form and two green eyes staring at them.
   While the American fighting man in Vietnam is conditioned to expect an encounter with the enemy, he doesn't expect to come face to face with a panther.  They radioed their platoon leader, Lt. Gary Starcher, and said, "We've got a panther here, what do we do with it?"
   The surprised officer, not recalling any AR that dealt with care and feeding of panthers while on a night ambush, said, "Just leave it there."
   The panther himself couldn't have been less interested.  He sniffed around the three soldiers, then found a nice spot on the ground near them and went to sleep.  When morning came he got up, and without as much as a goodbye, went his merry way.
   Returning to their unit the three men could he heard to say;  "Would you believe...?"


Closer to Home

Pat, Vickie Make Debut at Tay Ninh

   Two members of the division's Red Cross Chapter visited the 196th Light Infantry Brigade's base camp at Tay Ninh last week giving the "Chargers" the first break from combat routine since their arrival in Vietnam a month ago.
   Miss Pat McDaniel and Miss Vickie Olson arrived by helicopter and spent the afternoon demonstrating their mobile recreation unit's ability to make a soldier feel closer to home.  The day's activities included handwriting analysis, various quizzes and contests.
   The girls are part of the 63 Red Cross women presently working in Vietnam.  Four are stationed at the division's base camp at Cu Chi.

Quizzes and Contests



3rd Bde. Passes 6-Million Mark In 'paper War' Over Pleiku

   The Third Brigade Task Force pushed on in its "paper war" by recently passing the six-million mark in leaflets dropped over enemy-infested territory near Pleiku.
   As a result, more than 42 enemy soldiers have surrendered during Operation "Paul Revere" as part of the "Chieu Hoi" (Open Arms) program.
   There are 25 varying messages but the theme is a request that the men defect from their unit.  There are even leaflets directed to the particular North Vietnamese Army units which are known to be operating in the area.
   It is not always possible to reach the enemy through written material.  Then, planes with loud speakers are sent out to play a tape recording usually made by a Chieu Hoi from that specific unit.
   It apparently is successful.  Some defected soldiers said they were sitting around their regimental headquarters area when papers started flying all over.  Their unit commanders came by and told them not to read the pamphlets.
   Although they weren't permitted to read them, there was nothing to stop them from listening to the North Vietnamese voice coming to them over a plane's loudspeaker.
   The voice told them to run to an open field and wave their shirts and their hands in order to he picked up as Chieu Hois.  Two days ago they did just that.
   Psychological warfare operations are the responsibility of the civil affairs staff section, headed by Capt. Al Morrow.
   "Forty-two men who could have killed many Americans have surrendered as a result of this program," Capt. Morrow said.  "And all it cost us is the price of a piece of paper."


Tank Mine Blows Chopper From Sky
By Capt. William R. Goodrich

   The mid-morning sun warmed the rice paddies surrounding Trung Lap while the pilot warmed the engine of his OH-23 helicopter.
   As the small three-seat observation chopper lifted off an explosion rocked the quiet of the day, "Menehune Four" had found trouble again.
   "Menehunes," nickname of the Aviation Section's 2nd Bde., consisted of four pilots and four helicopters until that recent morning.
   The section still has its four pilots but WO Thomas A. Carlson of Arlington, Va., doesn't have a helicopter anymore.
   The first time Menehune Four found trouble, the helicopter came through in fine shape, but WO Carlson ended up in the hospital with a large hole in his leg.
   "We were flying about 80 knots when Charlie fired up through a tree," recalled the pilot of Menehune Four.  "The shot was so loud that I thought he was right in the tree top.  As the aircraft veered off to the left, I realized that I couldn't move my right leg."
   A few seconds later, after regaining control of his aircraft, he reached the field command post of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.  Much to the relief of his passenger, the battalion sergeant major, he managed to make a near perfect, though sudden, landing.  For this action, WO Carlson was awarded the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
   Trouble on the quiet morning at Trung Lap took a different, more deadly form . . . especially for Menehune Four's chopper.  Buried not far from where WO Carlson had set his chopper down was a Viet Cong anti-tank mine.
   As he revved up the aircraft and took off, the mine went off.  He had reached an altitude of about ten feet when the blast from the helicopter's rotors activated the mine's pressure fuse.
   "All of a sudden there was this horrible roar and the plexiglass bubble of the chopper disintegrated," explained WO Carlson.  "My helmet and glasses were blown off.  I couldn't see anything because of the smoke and dust flying around.  I just tried to hold what I had.  I didn't know which way was up."
   He soon found out, though, when the rotor blade hit the ground and snapped off.  Finally, the helicopter came to rest on its side.  Climbing out through the front where the bubble had been, WO Carlson turned to assist his passengers in getting out.  Lt. Col. Victor D. Diaz of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., the commander of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., had taken a small piece of metal in his leg and required hospitalization.  The second passenger, the 5th Mech civil affairs officer, Maj. Herman Jordan of Honolulu, had received superficial scalp wounds only.
   After a few stitches in his thumb and upper lip, WO Carlson was ready to fly again, but his helicopter would only make one more trip.  Slung under the belly of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, the battered OH-23 was retired to to the division's scrap pile.
   The day following the crash, WO Carlson visited his old chopper in the metal bone yard.  "She was a good old bird," he reflected, "she was the only Menehune to be forced down, but both times she got me down safely... what more could you ask?"


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966


[This issue of Tropic Lightning News was scanned from a bound library volume provided by the 25th Infantry Division Museum.  Portions of the photographs and stories on pages 4 and 5 are missing.  They were printed across the center of the 2-page-wide sheet and were hidden from sight because of the way the paper is bound into the book - the book could not be safely opened wide enough to see that part of the page.]


Strike Up The Band - Win a War


   In addition to fighting a war and advising our allies in the prosecution of that war, American troops carry out a third program - a series of humanitarian operations known officially as "civic action."
   The program itself relies heavily on the voluntary contribution of the American servicemen's time, effort and money.
   The objective of these contributions rest in such Vietnamese causes as the construction of orphanages, hospitals, temples, schools . . . (one column of text in the center fold of bound newspaper is hidden here) . . . objective is that of trying to understand the character and customs of the Vietnamese people while trying to make them understand ours as well.
   And what better way is there to accomplish this purpose than with a greeting, a smile, some words, a bit of music, a picnic and gaity.
   Shown in these photos are the men of various "Tropic Lightning" units enjoying themselves with local Vietnamese villagers and making the only profit to be had by the civic action program - a people's trust and friendship.


25th Division Band
CELEBRATE - While the division band plays favorite songs, on the ground, the villagers and school children of Bac Ha I join with the members of the division's Support Command to celebrate the 4th of July at Cu Chi.  (Photo by Sp4 John Dix)


Tuba TUBA - A tuba player from the division band is the center of attraction at a concert given for the Minh Tan School children in Bac Ha I, just outside the division base camp.  (Photo by Sp5 Jose Finklea)
SMILES - Mother and child smile at Minh Tan School concert given by the 25th Infantry Division Band.  Their faces reflect the happiness of the occasion.  (Photo by Sp5 Jose Finklea) Enjoying the music


SINGERS- Vietnamese join in on the singing at a concert at Ab Hoc Hoa during a "County Fair" sponsored by the 1st Bn., 27th Inf.  (Photo by PFC Leland Earl)


2nd Brigade Band members FAIR MUSIC - Members of the 2nd Brigade band play Vietnamese and American music during a a County Fair the 1st Bn., 27th Inf., sponsored for the people of Ab Hoc Hoa.  (Photo by PFC Leland Earl)
SMALL LOVE - Love for small children knows no national boundary as these soldiers from the Support Command prove at a concert given the children of the Minh Tan School by the division band.  (Photo by Sp5 Jose Finklea)



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966


Picture of War From a Shallow Ditch
By Sp4 Bill Becker

   Sgt. Sammie N. Womack hopped from an idling helicopter and ran for a shallow ditch a few yards from the thick hedgegrove on his right.
   A Viet Cong informer had said that at least 18 terrorists held daily meeting at this place, and Sgt. Womack was taking no chances.
   The informer had been right.  As Sgt. Womack approached the ditch, an armed terrorist broke from the hedges and ran for a woodline 100 yards away.
   Sgt. Womack was firing before he hit the bottom of the ditch.  Four more VC interrupted him, popping out of the hedges in a place that allowed them a perfect shot.
   "I got one," Sgt. Womack breathed as he chambered the first round of the new magazine.  "I don't know why they didn't shoot me.  They had me right where they wanted me and they didn't shoot."
   Sgt. Womack could hear the rest of his squad, a unit of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., firing behind him.  They had been the first of the company airlifted to the area.
   In another few minutes, the choppers came back to empty more of Co. C into the fight.  Another squad of the 1st Plt., headed by SSgt. James A. Powe, tumbled into the ditch beside Sgt. Womack.
   Rounds later, a report from the radio man said the 2nd and reconnaissance platoons were going to sweep toward Sgt. Womack through the woods and paddies.
   The squad could hear the sweepers yelling commands to each other as they beat the bushes.  "Easy, take it easy," warned Sgt. Powe.  "Make sure you see your target before you start shooting.  Let him get well into the open and then nail him."
   Sgt. Womack lit a cigarette and flipped it away at the first short machine gun burst out in the woods.
   No one tried to escape from the bushes.  The members of the squad waited through a heavy rainfall and until they could see that the sweep had broken out of the woods.
   Dogs and handlers searched the area for tunnels while other elements of the company began policing up bodies and weapons.
   The success of the assault became evident as infantrymen hauled small groups of dead and captured to a collection point.  Enemy losses totaled eight Viet Cong killed and 13 more captured.  Nine weapons and several documents were piled at the point.


Enlisted Men
    25th Div. Seeks Volunteers For New Combat Artist Program

   The 25th has begun a combat artists program, according to Maj. George J. Martin, commander of the 18th Military History Det. here.
   Maj. Martin says the program is designed for enlisted men to record the 25th in action, using oils, watercolors, ink, charcoal and pencil.
   Funded by a $1000 grant, the program is already under way with a shipment of art supplies expected soon.
   Maj. Martin's detachment presently has a full-time and two part-time, artists but plans call for a full-time staff of at least three and as many other talented part-timers as facilities permit.
   Products of the program become the property of the division museum at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, but the major expects some of the work to decorate buildings here.  Maj. Martin hopes eventually to make an Army exhibition of the best efforts.
   Assisting the major is the 25th's American Red Cross field director, Sig Reichenberg.  Mr. Reichenberg has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Ill., where he served as a professor of fine arts for two years.
   Mr. Reichenberg said the combat artist is not new, but now has a new challenge to portray the multi-faceted war in Vietnam.
   He said that during World War II, Italian army units practically forced whatever artists they had to go forth, brush in band, and capture the essence of war on canvas.
   Maj. Martin and Mr. Reichenberg view the combat artist as a supplement to the combat photographer.  Mr. Reichenberg said, "Art can be much more expressive and interpretive than a photograph - it conveys a feeling; but the photograph is superior in recording a particular set of circumstances in a detailed situation."
   Under fire, artists use the speed sketching technique, capturing the basic scene in three minutes, saving the sketch for more detailed work in base camp.
   Maj. Martin asks volunteers to call either himself or Sgt. John C. Stevens at Lightning 88 for an interview.  An appointment will be arranged and the aspiring artist should bring samples of his work with him.


Clarence Boone, Garnett Allen WAR -Clarence Boone (l), representing the 2nd Brigade, retreats from a right hook thrown by Garnett Allen of the 1st Brigade during the last round of the last bout of the evening on opening night of the boxing tournament held by the division Special Services.



4/9th Finds Small Cache on Perimeter

   Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th. Inf., discovered a small Viet Cong cache recently during a routine perimeter clearing assignment.
   Co. B furnished security for several bulldozers in the area north of the division's perimeter.  Its third platoon encountered several booby traps when it moved into the center of the area.
   The men spread out and searched the area.  A total of 16 homemade grenades, 287 small arms rounds, one poncho and one Viet Cong entrenching tool were found.
   The grenades were reported to be filled with small pieces of metal in clumsy, homemade casing with a powerful explosive.


MG Fred Weyand, Lt. Col. Nhuyen Van Nhu, Col. Thomas Turpley
PLAQUE - Lt. Col. Nguyen Van Nhu (c), former commander of the ARVN 25th Infantry Division, 69th Regiment, presents a plaque commenorating U.S. - Vietnamese cooperation to Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand as Col. Thomas M. Turpley, 2nd Brigade Brigade commander, looks on.  Col. Nhu is presently the chief of Long An Province.



Sp4 Scott Holds on To Precious Ponco

   Ponchos are a useful item in Vietnam, especially during the monsoon season, and it's not too hard to understand a soldier's reluctance to give his up.
   Sp4 Benjamin Scott of Co. A., 2nd Bn., 35th Inf., is a particularly determined man when it comes to holding on to his equipment.  Recently he was on a two-man security team, part of an ambush, and almost didn't see his poncho again.
   One man slept while the other kept watch.  Specialist Scott was sleeping underneath his poncho when suddenly he awoke as someone attempted to pull it off him.
   The someone turned out to be an enemy soldier who was searching the area for the bodies of dead North Vietnamese.  Thinking that a dead NVA might be under the poncho, he started to remove it.
   Both of them let out a scream and Specialist Scott, unable to reach his weapon, jumped up and grabbed the enemy soldier.  Several moments of hand-to-hand combat followed until the other American came up and shot the NVA.
   The enemy force in the area was an estimated reinforced platoon, and it was soon in a fire fight with the ambush.  Patrol.  During the action, Specialist Scott held on to his poncho.


'Automatic 8th' Adds Two More To Kill Record

   The 1st Bn., 8th Arty., added two more Viet Cong killed to its totals recently when an exploding artillery round produced a secondary explosion.
   The battalion was supporting an infantry unit west of Trang Bang when the forward observer called in a fire mission.  The crews of an armed helicopter reported seeing the secondary explosion and two riddled bodies on the ground.
   The pilots also saw several Viet Cong moving across a clearing when an artillery round came in right on top of them.  When the smoke cleared, the VC had disappeared.
   The "Automatic Eights" has expended more than 100,000 rounds since its arrival in Vietnam last January.  The battalion is credited with 163 Viet Cong killed.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966


C-Rations A-1 Postcards
By PFC Richard Calvo

   "A postcard made out of a C-ration box top?  It'll never go through the mail," thought the men of the 4th Bn., 9th Inf.  But they were wrong.
   "We had no envelopes.  And I knew if my family didn't get word from me soon, they'd start to worry.  So I had to make my own postcards," said PFC Alfred Ophung of Brooklyn, N.Y., a member of the "Manchu" reconnaissance platoon.
   And make his own postcards he did.  Out of C-ration box tops he cut 2 ½ by 6-inch strips, and by writing "Postcard" on the upper right-hand corner and his return address on the reverse side, he invented the rarest form of mail ever to go through any Army post office.
   Instead of the scenic views that usually appear on the everyday postcard, Pvt. Ophung's original had the words "Meal, Combat, Individual - Meat Balls with Beans In Tomato Sauce" printed on its face in bold, black print.  Beneath this print, he wrote "Sunny Vietnam" and on the reverse side, a short note of reassurance to his family.
   "I wasn't sure that the postcard would ever go through, so I asked Lt. Scott to see what he thought," Pvt. Ophung said.
   First Lt. Charles R. Scott of Rockford, Ill., the platoon leader, didn't know either.
   "All I can say is try it.  It sounds like a good idea," the lieutenant suggested.
   So Pvt. Ophung tried it.  During those 23 days out in the field, Pvt. Ophung mailed seven such postcards, never knowing if they were reaching their destinations.  All he knew was that there was a chance and that his family would worry if they didn't hear from him.
   Days went by as he waited for the wail, and finally on returning to base camp he received a package.
   It was a medium sized box, wrapped in brown paper with all the familiar makings of home.
   "Food!" thought Pvt. Ophung.  "Cookies!...  Good old mom!"  But as he unwrapped his little treasure he found the note.
   "Got your postcards.  Thought you'd like some stationery."

Long Time Passing
   Where Have All the VC Gone

   American folksingers aren't the only balladeers who have drawn upon the Vietnamese conflict for subject matter.
   A former Viet Cong recently turned himself in to units of the 3rd Brigade Task Force after spending one year serenading local villagers with tunes from the Ho Chi Minh Song Book.
   He told of having been recruited by the enemy to visit Montagnard villages in the central highlands to spread propaganda via his folk songs.  After a year of exercising his vocal cords and seeing the situation as it really existed, he decided that this was not the life for him.
   Word of the "Chieu Hoi" (Open Arms) program came to him through the loudspeaker of an American plane in his area.  The voice instructed him to bring a chicken to an open field, then hold it by its legs to make it scream.
   After doing this he found himself surrounded by the American unit.  With a large smile on his face, he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a safe conduct pass.
   He was accepted as a Chieu Hoi, but hasn't given up his singing.  After his experiences, however, he now has a different tune.



Lightning Radio Schedule

   Tropic Lightning Radio, the division's Armed Forces Radio affiliate, is broadcasting the following schedule weekly, at 1330kc on the AM band.
   Monday through Saturday... 2105-2110.  Local News.
   Sunday ...1355-1400 and 2105-2115 ... Local News and interviews.
   The radio facility, located in the 125th. Sig. Bn., rebroadcasts the AFRS radio from Saigon during the remainder of the day.
   With the addition of more broadcasting equipment in the near future, Tropic Lightning Radio will be expanding its schedule of local programming to include a half-hour show on Saturday nights and daily 15-minute shows in addition to the present programs.
   The local programming is produced and broadcast by Sgt. Mike Hirsh of Chicago and PFC Don McLean of Minneapolis, Minn., both of the division Information Office staff.


QCs, MPs Live, Work Together

   Six members of Saigon's elite "Quan Canh" (QC) battalion are now living and working with the 25th division's military police at Cu Chi.  Quan Canh means military police.
   The QCs came to the 25th in mid-August and are scheduled to rotate to another assignment in mid-September.  They will be replaced by six more QCs.
   The QCs eat, live, sleep and work with division MPs and are integrated into the platoons of the company.
   Lt. Col. George S. Black of Augusta, Ga., the division's provost marshal, said recently, "The QCs are highly trained professional military policemen.  They have no trouble integrating themselves with our military police."
   QC's accompany the MPs on operations to act as a liaison between U.S. forces and local National Police.


Chieu Hoi's
OPEN ARMS - The Hau Nghia Province "Chieu Hoi" program director, members of two former VC families and Capt. Guy E. Wood, 1st Brigade assistant civil affairs officer, assemble around a table full of provisions provided by the 25th for the ralliers to the government.  Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) is the name of the program under which disillusioned Viet Cong return to the side of the government.  (Photo by PFC Vern Shibla)



Evicted Python Has Orderly New Home

   "Charlie," a member of HHC, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf., is so happy to see people come into his orderly room that he could just squeeze them to death.
   And he is just the one who could do it because "Charlie" is an eight-foot, 30-pound python.  He was purchased by one of the men in the company as a pet but the other men made sure both were homeless.
   There just wasn't room enough in one hootch for Charlie and the other men so Charlie and his master were elected to go.
   When 1st Sgt. William W. Jones heard that he had a man without a home and a wayward snake to boot, he came up with an idea to kill two birds with one snake.
   If Sgt. Jones took the snake, the owner could go back to living in his old dwelling, and Sgt. Jones could put Charlie in his overcrowded orderly room, thus keeping the flow of traffic down.
   Now all three are happy.  The former snake owner is back in his hootch, the first sergeant has a quiet orderly room, and Charlie has a home.


Maj. W.C. Barott New 2/27th CO

   Maj. William C. Barott of Fayetteville, N.Y., recently assumed command of the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds" at division headquarters.
   Maj. Barott assumed command from Lt. Col. Boyd T. Bashore of Washington, D.C., who has assumed a post as special advisor on area pacification to Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander.
   Maj. Barott was last assigned to the 100th Advisory Team.  He has been awarded a Bronze Star with first Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Army Commendation Medal and the Master Parachutist's Badge.
   Col. Bashore, the former commander, had served as a Wolfhound commander since February of this year,


SUPPLY LINE - PFC William Donovon of Springing, Mass., HHC, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., attaches a load of concertina wire to hovering chopper while working at Tay Ninh to help the newly arrived 196th Light Infantry Brigade build its perimeter.  (Photo by PFC Vern Shibla) PFC William Donovon attaches cable



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 9, 1966


2-Day Visit
   25th MP Co. Hosts Korean Honor Guard

   During the recent Fraternity for Freedom celebration at the division's base camp, the 25th MP Co. played host to the honor guard representing the Republic of Korea's (ROK) 25th Infantry Division.  The honor guard, assigned to the security battalion of the ROK Construction Support Group at Di An, spent two days with the MP Co.
   The unit was met at Di An by 1st Lt. Michael E. Gersten and Sp4 William Rivera, both assigned to the 25th MP's.  Specialist Rivera, who speaks fluent Korean, was the constant companion of the Korean soldiers.  The group arrived at Cu Chi after a short helicopter ride and was welcomed to the division by Capt. C. H. Fritts, commanding officer of the MP Co.
   The honor guard spent its first day at Cu Chi at rehearsal and touring the base camp.
   After supper, the Americans and Koreans played volleyball, followed by an MP party in honor of the Koreans at the company beer hall.
   Following next day's ceremony, the Koreans attended an MP banquet given at the Ilikai East for all three honor guard units.
   The banquet was directed by 1st Lt. Alan K. Underwood, MP Co., and included the labors of division cooks.  SFC Charles L. Dale, MP Co., SSgt. Larry M. Iwamuro, Btry. D, 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., SSgt Moses S. Wallace, Btry. C, 7th Bn., 11th Arty. and SSgt. Melchor Buan, HHB, 25th Div. Arty., prepared the feast.  Included in the menu was Kim Chi, the national Korean dish.
   Also attending the banquet were the sergeants major of the three participating divisions and two of the newly arrived Red Cross hostesses.


LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT - "This is Little Bear flight leader.  All right you girls, can't you do anything right?  When you're on an assault with me you do things the way I say.  And when I say get those rotor blades in step, I mean in step - WITH ME.  Why is it I always draw the oddballs.  Little Bear flight leader, out."  Four UH-ID helicopters are on their way to the landing zone during a combat assault on a recent division operation.  (Photo by 1st Lt. William H. Seely III)



Plenty of Knowhow

   The 25th Avn. Bn. recently needed a mortar-proof command bunker.  Normally this wouldn't have created a problem, but in Vietnam engineers are overloaded with priority assignments.  The bunker would either have to wait or they would have to build it themselves.  The 25th Avn. Bn. chose the latter.
   The division engineers supplied the building materials and members of the battalion volunteered to do the labor.  The problem was the lack of building equipment.
   They needed a dump truck and compact equipment to haul, dump, level and pack the laterite which would be used to build up a base for the bunker.  With nothing to start with, they improvised.
   SSgt. Brinson P. Wilson of Thomasville, Ga., who was assigned as job foreman, borrowed a wrecker and a 2 1/2-ton truck.  He and his crew had the engineers fill the truck, then returned to the building site.
   They hooked the wrecker cable to the front bumper of the truck and as the front of the truck went up, the laterite spilled out behind.  Would you believe a dump truck?  The truck was then driven over the load to level and pack it.


Lt. Col. Bruce Holbrook and R.J. Fairfield, Jr. BRIEFING - Lt. Col. R.J. Fairfield Jr. (r), commanding officer, 1st Bn., 69th Armor, and Lt. Col. Bruce Holbrook (1), commanding officer, 2nd Bn., 9th Arty., arrive in an armored personnel carrier for nightly briefing at the 3rd Brigade task Force forward command post.



Mud Hazards Keep Colonels Rolling

   Lt. Col. R. J. Fairfield Jr., commander of the 1st Bn., 69th Armor, at Pleiku, hasn't missed a briefing yet.
   He arrives by armored personnel carrier (APC).
   The soft, slimy mud that is churned up by heavy traffic here halts much of the movement by wheeled vehicle.  Col. Fairfield figures the best way to keep his appointments, such as nightly briefings, is to travel by tracked vehicle.
   Another battalion commander, Lt. Col. Bruce Holbrook, of the 2nd Bn., 9th Arty., has taken advantage of the free service.
  While trucks and jeeps try to cope with the mud problem - many times having to call a wrecker to pull them out of hip-deep holes - Col. Fairfield and Col. Holbrook just keep rolling along.


REUP - MSgt. J. J. Ice is the career counselor for the division's Support Command.  Sgt. Ice, a veteran of Korea and World War II, served in the recruiting service in Spokane, Wash., before joining the division. MSgt. J. J. Ice



Thanks to:
The 25th Infantry Division Museum for providing the volume of 1966 Tropic Lightning News,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Battalion for finding and mailing them,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 11-22-2007

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