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Vol 1 No. 40                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                November 25, 1966



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                          1 196th Bde               7 25th Inf Div             8 4/9                           3
1/5                          1 196th Bde PX         6 25th Med Bn           8 4/31                         3
1/14 Photo              3 2/9 Arty Photo        6 25th S&T                3 Air Force                6
1/14 Photo              6 2/9 Arty                  6 3rd Bde                   4 Attleboro                1
1/35                        7 2/27                        3 3rd Bde Photos       4 Medal of Honor      1
17th Cav                 7 2/35 Photo              7 3/13 Arty                 8 Red Cross              6
196th Bde               1 2/35                        7 3/21                         6 Thanksgiving           1
196th Bde               3 25th HHC Photo     2 377th MP                2 Thanksgiving           8
196th Bde               6      

[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.]


Highest Honor To Fernandez
   Sp4 Daniel Fernandez, who this week was posthumously awarded the nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor, was one of those rare young men who was admired and respected by his contemporaries.
   He was quiet, competent, unselfish. cheerful, the type they choose as president of the senior class.
   When he died on February 18 this year, he was a rifleman for C. Co, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., and everyone who had known him, mourned him.
   He was not a career soldier.  He used to joke with his friends that he was in the Army for three years because he had flipped a coin with his draft board, and lost.  Actually he, had enlisted for three years.
   While he was in the Army he wanted to be a good soldier.  He spent hours at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, pouring over infantry handbooks.
SP4 Daniel Fernandez - A posthumous honor   His platoon leader, Lt. Joseph V. Dorso of Norwalk, Conn., called him "the type of guy I could always count on no matter the situation."  SSgt. David M. Thompson of Belair N.Y., who used to go sky diving with him in Hawaii, said simply, "Danny was my best man."
   The members of his squad, a tight little group of 15 men, one subsection of a huge division, looked upon him as a father confessor.  Even those who were older than he called him "Uncle Dan" and went to him with their troubles and their complaints.
   Specialist Fernandez had been in VN once before as a volunteer machine gunner on an Army helicopter.  So it was not surprising that he was one of 16 men who volunteered for an ambush patrol that was sent out from Cu Chi just after midnight on February 18, 1966.
   About 7 a.m., as the patrol lay in wait in a jungle clearing for the Viet Cong, Sgt. Joseph T. Benton of Hetford, N.C., spotted seven VC in the woods behind a burned out hut.  He began firing his machine gun, and then reached for a hand grenade.
   Before he could pull the pin out, a Communist sniper killed him.  Specialist Fernandez crawled to one side of the hut to cover the right flank, and Sp4 James P. McKeown of Willingsboro, N.J., moved into place on the other side.  Behind the hut PFC David B. Masingale of Fresno, Calif., the platoon's 18-year-old medic, bent over Specialist Benton.
   A moment later, the Viet Cong opened up with machine guns, and a bullet smashed into the leg of Sgt. Ray E. Sue, knocking him to the ground.  Sp4 George E. Snodgrass of Pompton Lakes, N.J., who had come up with Sgt. Sue to try to get Specialist Benton out, hit the dirt.
   Now all five men were pinned down in an area no bigger than a living room.  PFC Masingale treated Sgt. Sue; two flank men riddled the bushes and Specialist Snodgrass fired behind Specialist Benton's body.
   At that instant, a grenade fired from a rifle by one of the guerrillas landed by Specialist Fernandez' leg.  He got up on all fours, trying to escape, but he hit the grenade with his ankle, knocking it to within three feet of the group around Specialist Benton and Sgt. Sue.
   Without hesitation, so quickly that PFC Masingale is sure he didn't have time to consider the consequences of his action, Specialist Fernandez shouted, "Move Out!" and threw himself onto the grenade.
   When the others reached him after the explosion he was still conscious.  Specialist Snodgrass helped to make a litter from three shirts and bamboo pole and dragged Specialist Fernandez towards an open area where a helicopter could land.
   "It hurts," the wounded man said, "I can't breathe."
   Specialist Snodgrass, a devoted Roman Catholic who often went to mass with Specialist Fernandez told him to a "make a good act of contrition" because no priest was present.
   "I will," Specialist Fernandez said, and shortly after died.
   For this action, his last, Daniel Fernandez was awarded the Medal of Honor.
   Specialist Fernandez' parents live at Los Luns, N.M.


'Attleboro' Passes 2 Marks

   Operation "Attleboro II," the largest operation of the VN war, passed two milestones this week as the Viet Cong death count topped 1000 and enemy rice captured climbed over the 3,000,000 pound mark.
   More than 10,000 American troops, including elements of the 25th division, have been roaming the dense jungles of Tay Ninh province since the first week of November when fiery battles broke out between units of the 27th Infantry and an estimated VC battalion.
   Units of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, shined for the 25th this week as they destroyed an enemy meeting area after the location had been softened by B-52 strikes.
   The Air Force bombers cut a path through the war zone's thick jungle some 75 miles northwest of Saigon.  The 5th Mech came across 20 camouflaged huts equipped with sleeping, eating and meeting facilities.  Most of the huts had been crushed under jungle trees felled by the air strike.  Buildings, bunkers and air raid shelters were destroyed.
   Later, the  5th Mech discovered a Viet Cong rice processing mill and destroyed it.
   Moving on a sweep one mile from its tactical command post, Co A of 1/5th dismounted its armored personnel carriers and searched through the thick jungle.
   The company's first platoon came upon a large building.  Inside was a wooden mill.  Its wheels were equipped with louvers and a spout into which raw rice was poured.
   On the floor of the building were 20 huskers - round, hollowed out concrete blocks into which rice from the mill stone was poured.  Another wooden wheel placed into the huskers and turned back and forth over the rice by a rope pulley completed the VC mill.
   The Mech discovered some 5000 pounds of rice in the area.


In the field, in base camp, a Happy "Tropic Lightning" Thanksgiving, 1966. Turkey on tap



   In the midst of war it may seem difficult to offer the gratitude traditional of Thanksgiving Day.  But although there is little that is traditional about this day for us in Vietnam, there is much to be thankful for.
   Our very presence in Vietnam is an indication of the strength of our nation; a nation that was founded by people fighting oppression.  We should be thankful that we have the means to help others in throwing off the shackles of those who would force then to adopt an unwanted way of life.
   Concerning our own circumstances in this war we also have much for which to give thanks.  The basics of military life - clothing, food, weapons and medical care - which we take for granted are available in quantity and quality never before deemed possible and only to the free world forces.
   And finally, as you eat the traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, albeit for many of you it will be eaten in a bunker, you can be thankful that your loved ones are secure in the greatest nation on earth - a land to which you will return shortly, proud and thankful that you had the opportunity to serve here.

Brig. Gen., USA
Acting Commander




Through November 22

Operation Province Began FC KIA VCC VCS
Attleboro Tay Ninh Sept. 14 L 570 68 61
Lanikai Long An Sept. 15 L 22 6 96
Paul Rev. IV Pleiku Oct. 18 L 1068 42 83



Gen. Knowles Commands 196th;
2nd Assistant Div. CO Named

   Brig. Gen. Richard T. Knowles, former II Field Force Chief of Staff, assumed command of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade at Tay Ninh, and Col. Donnelly P. Bolton has become the second assistant Division Commander of the 25th Infantry Division.
   In taking over one of the Army's newest combat units, General Knowles replaced Brig. Gen. Edward H. deSaussure Jr., who has been reassigned to I Field Force.
   Gen. Knowles is a graduate of the Artillery School's basic and advanced courses, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.  He completed airborne training in 1962.
   This was his third time in combat.  During World War II he served with the 16th Tank Destroyer Group in Europe and commanded the 96th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea.
   During his military career, the general has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, Purple Heart Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation.
   Col. Bolton was assigned to Headquarters, I Field Force, Vietnam, in January 1966.




Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1966



1st. Lt. Michael J. Kowalchik, Co. B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf,
SSgt.Wayne A. Frizielle, Co. A, 1st Bn. 27th Inf.

PFC Raymond R. Brown, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Ronald S. Fink, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.

Capt. Ardeen R. Foss, HHC, 25th Inf Div.
Capt. Robert P. Garrett, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
Capt. Lowell J. Mayone, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
2nd Lt. George E. O'Neill, C Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty.
SSgt, Howard Garrett, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sgt. Richard A. Hale, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sgt. Augustine Russo, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sp4 Franklin Gore, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Clarence Bishop, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC John A. Fekete, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Thomas Holloman Jr, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Robert D. Johnson, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Adolph Rios, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
1st Lt. Jack R. Carollo, 15th PI Det.
SFC Ray D. Lynch, C Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty.
Sgt. Thaddeus Jones, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sgt. Donald Payne, Co C, 1st Bn ('.Meth), 5th Inf.
Sp4 Carl F. Buckmaster, Co C, 1st. Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.

Sp4 Patrick J. Devereaux, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sp4 Jack W. Hensel, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sp4 Robert E. Johnson, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sp4 Michael M. Northcutt, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf.

Capt. Calvin F. Kennedy, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty.
Sgt. Larry Estep, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sgt. William Moon, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
Sgt. William E. Provost, HHC. 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 George K. Newman, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Larry Page, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Felix Prus Jr, Co A, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC James A. Owens, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.



Free World Forces Work Hard Toward Freedom of Vietnam

   (Editor's Note: This is the first in a series three of articles concerning the work of the Free World Forces and what they are accomplishing in the Republic of Vietnam.)
   The 370,000 free world military assistance troops in Vietnam are there to support the armed forces and the people of Vietnam in their struggle against communist aggression.  The commanders and troops of the several nations are working together in coordination and harmony that is unprecedented in history.  Their successes on the battlefield attest to their morale, fighting spirit, and professionalism.
Pilgrims   But, with our interest in this international effort, there may be a tendency to lose sight of the fact that the major burden of war is still being borne by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam.  The Vietnamese regular and para-military forces and police are fighting daily against the insurgent enemy and aggressors.  They fight to provide security for their people and protection for installations so important to the life of a nation, any of which may be the next target for enemy attack or sabotage.
   These are the forces which fight the forgotten war day after day.  They have been fighting for over a decade.  They will continue to fight until the people of their country can be free to work for themselves and their children.
   Month in and month out, the Republic of Vietnam armed forces exact a greater toll from the enemy than do their allies - and they pay a higher price.  During the first nine months of this year, the Republic of Vietnam forces conducted several tines as many battalion-sized or major operations than did the other free world forces.  The cost to the Republic of Vietnam was 11,400 killed in action or missing, while her allies lost 4000.
   The performance of the Vietnamese forces demonstrates growing professionalism and spirit.  The casualties reflect the fact that the Republic of Vietnam armed forces today are fighting more aggressively and in more difficult areas than ever before.
      Next Week : Govt. Gain


Our Blessings

   Do Americans place too much emphasis on Thanksgiving Day?  We think not.  Americans traditionally observe this holiday for a number of reasons - and very good ones.  They have many things to be thankful for.
   Among these are modern housing, sleek cars, television sets, a wonderland of household appliances and comforts.  We are thankful for these blessings and the free competitive society that puts such miracles within our reach.
   But there is more.  Our heritage is really our wealth.  We give thanks not alone for the good life but for our way of life - a free society.  Millions of people on earth do not have these blessings.  We wish freedom for all people.  That is why we are here at Cu Chi, Pleiku and Tay Ninh fighting to preserve freedom.  We don't think Thanksgiving Day is overstressed.  We are registering thanks for our bountiful blessings.
   Our forefathers first gave thanks for their good fortune at Plymouth, Mass., in 1621.  We are still doing it today as citizens of a prosperous, thriving United States of America that is free.


WINNER - Brig. Gen. George G. O'Connor, ADC, prevents a volleyball trophy to 1st. Sgt. George Dizon, Div HHC. The "Tropic Lightning" volleyball team, the "Kanakas," played Vietnamese and French teams in Saigon, finishing in second place. BG George G. O'Connor, 1SG George Dizon



Hey, Soldier, Get Your Gun

   Less than forty days remain to claim privately owned weapons now in custody of the 377th Air Police Squadron, Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base.
   The weapons must be claimed by the owners or their designated representatives.  Representatives must have written authority to obtain the weapon.  This should be a letter from the representative and carrying the owner's signature as it appears on the weapon receipt.
   The weapon will be released on presentation of such identification.  The owner then must re-register it with his organization headquarters where it will be secured in a unit arms room.
   Weapons not claimed by the December 21 deadline will be considered as abandoned property.
   Weapons can be claimed at Building 19, Cantonment 1, Tan Son Nhut AFB.


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 Vietnam Guardian.

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
Sp5 Jimmy Edwards  . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Sp4 Adrian E. Wecer  . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1966


Tale of Horror
Viet Boy Flees V.C.
By PFC Vern Shibla

   A small, tired Vietnamese boy of 13, wet and muddy from swimming across the river that runs along the southwest portion of the division's base camp at Cu Chi, and carrying the only things he had left in the world, five simple, worn shirts, wandered into the perimeter of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, "Manchu" recently.
   Shaking and cold, he was brought to the Manchu's headquarters where he told this story to the Vietnamese interpreter from the lst Bde, SSgt. Nguyen Tuan.
   His name was Soan, and he had been playing near his home.  His parents, rice farmers, had just returned from a long day working the rice when five Viet Cong came to their house.  The young lad was frightened and hid in a large water urn.  He didn't know why the VC were there or what they wanted; he only knew he was scared.
   After what seemed like an eternity to this young boy, the Viet Cong left.  He cautiously climbed out of the water urn and walked around to the front of his house to find his parents.  As he reached the front he saw a sight that sent him into shock.  His parents, both mother and father, were lying dead in a pool of blood.  The Viet Cong had cut their throats with a machete.
   Soan had no one to turn to.  He didn't know where his brothers and sisters were.  Perhaps the Viet Cong had killed them too.  Fearing the VC would return and find him there, he took one dong from his mother's mutilated body and fled to the jungle.
   Remembering an uncle who lived near Saigon, Soan began walking in that direction.  He wasn't sure of the address, but it was his only hope.  One day went by, than another.  Soan became weary from walking..  He had little to eat and slept in the jungle at night because he was afraid the Viet Cong would find him.
   On the third day of his ordeal, Soan came to a huge clearing in the jungle - the 25th's base camp at Cu Chi.  Too tired to be scared and too hungry to be cautious, Soan swam the river and began walking toward the many tents he saw in the distance.  As he approached the barbed wire that runs across the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, perimeter he was picked up by a man on bunker guard and brought to the "Manchu" headquarters.
   After Soan finished his story, he drank a soda and laid his wet clothes on sand bags to dry and fell asleep on a wooden bench, feeling secure that at last he had found someone to help him.


2/27th Point Man Acclaimed 'Best'

   It's not an easy job to be a point man.  To be a good one is rougher yet.  The men of the second platoon of "Charlie" Company, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" claim Sp4 Vince Robbins is the best point man in the division.
   Once when the Wolfhounds were caught by surprise, Specialist Robbins did his share to eliminate the VC advantage.  "We were on a patrol in the Hobo Woods," said Robbins, "and were suddenly pinned down by automatic weapons in a concealed bunker to our front.  Someone had to sneak around the bunker and surprise the VC from the rear so Specialist Robbins and four friends volunteered.
   "When we had the bunker flanked, I asked the rest of the platoon to stay where they were and cover me while I went around to throw a grenade in.  By the time I thought I'd crawled a mile and had finally reached the bunker, I realized I was out of hand grenades.  So I threw a smoke grenade in to flush the VC out.  As soon as they crawled through the opening, the rest of the platoon cut them down.  We killed the three-man crew," he concluded.


FRIEND - SSgt. Billy R. Stinnett (r) of Co A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf, offers one captured North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldier a cup of water.  The 16-year-old, khaki-clad VNA was left behind by his regiment when he could no longer walk.  (Photo by PFC John Newman) SSG Billy R. Stinnett gives water to NVA soldier



Double Doubles At 196th

   It's not too unusual to find two brothers serving together in Vietnam.  But it is unusual to find two pairs of brothers one pair of which is a set of twins serving in the same unit.
   The four soldiers, all inducted into the Army in September 1965, are assigned to the 196th Lt Inf Bde's Co A, 4th Bn, 31st Inf, at Tay Ninh.
   The twins are Sp4 Dennis McGown and PFC Glennis McGown of Romulus, Mich.
   "Back at Fort Devens," said brother Dennis, "people had trouble getting us straight.  Now after arriving in Vietnam to join the division we're pretty well known."
   Dennis, 22 is a truck driver in the company.  Glennis, who is a half-hour older, is a radio-telephone operator.
   The two other brothers serving in the "Go-Go" Company have an easier means of being identified.  One is known as "big boat" and the other as "little boat."
   "Big boat" is Sp4 Charles W. Bolton, 23 and "Little boat" is Johnny Bolton of Brandywine, W. Va.  Both are acting squad leaders.

Mud Makes Job For S&T Motor Pool

Disabled vehicles More disabled vehicles

Rush repairs for...

...More repairs

   Mud, miles and missions make misery for mechanics.  This sums up the woes expressed by the men of division's Supply and Transportation (S&T) battalion motor pool.
   "Our trucks have logged more than 583,000 miles since arriving in Vietnam last January,"  explained Sp4 Robert C. Pietras, 23, of Hicksville, N.Y., battalion dispatcher.  They travel over many roads but the most frequently used is the 23-mile stretch between Saigon and the "Tropic Lightning" base camp at Cu Chi.
   "The Division has been primarily responsible for transporting its own supplies and rations and thus far some 42,000 vehicles have made the run," one transportation officer pointed out.  Of this number the S&T Bn accounted for more than 60 percent of the resupply tonnage moved.
   Sp4 Clyde C. Floyd, 23, of Naples, Fla., a mechanic for the battalion, speaking of the problems that arise with the trucks, said, "The heat and stop-and-go traffic really raises cane with the cooling systems and brakes of the vehicles.  It is sometimes necessary to change brakes on a truck as often as every two weeks.
   "When the wheels are submerged in mud, a certain amount seeps through into the brake drums.  When the water runs out or dries up, the sand that remains becomes an abrasive that quickly grinds down the lining on the brake shoes.  Often the hydraulic wheel cylinders are damaged in the process."
   Lining brake shoes and rebuilding or replacing wheel cylinders is a long and exacting process.  It is the responsibility of the mechanic to see that the truck is fully safe, not only for the driver and passengers that will be riding in the vehicle, but also for every member of the convoy who will be affected by that truck's performance.  It is also necessary to complete repairs as quickly as possible since the vehicle is rendered inoperative by brake failure.
   "Not much can be done about the rains," says one of the other mechanics, but soon the monsoon-season will be over and we will have only the heat and dust to contend with."


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 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 far enough to see that part of the page.]


Combat Course Greets Replacements

   Newly arrived replacements are undergoing the orientation training to become familiar with the new environment and the types of weapons that are used in the Pleiku area.
   Replacements are processed through a five-day cycle, covering a different phase of training each day, and utilizing both classroom and and practical work.
   The first day covers a wide variety of orientations on the history of the 3rd Brigade Task Force, the local facilities of the base camp and the town of Pleiku, judge advocate general and Red Cross functions, and lastly, a class on personal hygiene and field sanitation.
   After a lunch break, the men return to the classroom for mechanical training with the M-16 rifle and M-79 grenade launcher.  They also receive a short session on the PRC-25 radio (the most common used by brigade infantry units on patrols), grenades and airmobile operations using helicopters.
   On the second day, new arrivals are familiarized with the claymore mine and the M-72 light anti-tank weapon.  That afternoon the use and availability of fire support is discussed.  Following are briefings on demolitions, mines, booby traps and North Vietnamese Army tactics and weapons.
   The next day finds the soldiers firing their individual weapons.     [The rest of this story is hidden in the bound fold of the page...]

Photos by SP4 Dale V. Sutphin


ANYBODY HOME - Students check out a Montangnard house while on a training mission near Pleiku.  The students, all newly arrived replacements, now undergo a week-long orientation on Vietnam combat.
SP4 Milton Rayburn MILESTONE - Sp4 Milton R. Rayburn, the 100th trainee at the Replacement Training Center, prepares to throw a hand grenade.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME - Newly arrived replacements wade through knee-deep water during a week-long orientation at the 3rd Brigade Task Force training center.
WIND UP - SSgt. Roy L. Greenfeather, grenade throwing instructor, observes a student's form.
HELPING HAND - A trainee from the 3rd Brigade Task Force replacement center helps a fellow soldier up a muddy bank while on a training mission east of Pleiku.



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1966


Bird Dogs Spot Targets for Jet
By Sp4 Richard Calvo

   A high-wing plane circles at 2000 feet and soon three vapor trails are seen cutting the sky above.  An amazing air show is about to begin with "Bird Dogs" calling the shots.
   "Bird Dogs" are Air Force O1E light single engine aircraft used for Forward Air Control (FAC).  The pilot's duties consist of finding and marking targets and assisting fighter bombers to destroy enemy positions.
   "Fighter bombers fly too fast to spot enemy movements or positions," explained Maj. Ramon L. Koenig of Windsor, Colo., an Air Force FAC pilot, so it becomes our job to lead them to their targets."
   After circling and recircling the FAC pilot radios the bombers to watch for his smoke.  Then by decreasing the speed of his engine and pushing his stick forward, he puts the small aircraft into a steep dive.  The plane quietly starts downward at a stomach-bubbling rate of descent.  Then with a pull of a triggering device, rockets pop from beneath its wings and toward their target.
   White smoke billows from the enemy position, as the "Bird Dog" pulls out of its dive and quickly gains attitude to give the now diving fighter bombers room to begin their runs.
   "Twenty meters north of smoke," radios the FAC pilot as he watches the first set of bombs fall short of their mark.  Then banking with wings almost perpendicular to the earth below the pilot watches the next set of bombs shatter their target.
   "Good hit!" blurts out the radio as the FAC pilot flies his craft high to carefully observe the surrounding area for fleeing VC.
   At the end of the mission the FAC pilot returns to the Cu Chi Airfield.
   Since the "Tropic Lightning" Division arrived in Vietnam in early February, FAC pilots have flown over 2000 missions in the Cu Chi area without suffering a single loss.


FATHER AND SON - Sp4 Howard D. Pittman of Btry D, 2nd Bn, 9th Arty, chats with his visiting father, Builder 2nd Class Perry H. Pittman, who is newly assigned to the Naval Support Activity at Da Nang.  (Photo by Sp4 Dale Sutphin)


Father, Son Re-Unite at 2/9th

   Builder 2nd Class Perry H. Pittman's first question at his new station at Da Nang, was, "Can I get a three-day pass to see my son in Pleiku?"
   The detachment commander of the Naval Support Activity gave his approval and the Seabee hopped on an airplane.  He checked the 90th Replacement Bn. locator at Long Binh and learned his son was assigned to the 2nd Bn., 9th Arty.
   Spending the night at Long Binh he was looking forward to the next day when he would see his only son again.
   At 1:30 a.m., Pittman heard some explosions off in the distance, "Long Binh is being mortared," cried a soldier.  But the attack didn't last long and the Seabee was soon on a plane bound for Pleiku.
   "when I got to the 3rd Brigade's base camp, I found the 9th Artillery's area and asked them, "Where's my son?"  Specialist Pittman was undergoing training at the brigade's Replacement Training Center.
   "As I was firing an M-16 rifle at the range, someone called out my name and told me to report to my unit," the specialist said.  "I didn't know what was going on."
   "When I got to the orderly room, I saw my dad.  Boy, was I surprised!"
   The Seabee said his wife, Geraldine, doesn't particularly like the idea of both being in Vietnam, but he told her, "Somebody has to be over here to look after the boy."
   Pittman later said, "We figure that by staying here (Vietnam) at the same time, we at least get to see each other every so often.  The only thing I would like better during this tour would be to be attached to the 3rd Brigade and serve right here with Howard."


RC Girl Departs Cu Chi

   One of the founders of the Cu Chi Red Cross Clubmobile has begun her long journey back to the United States after serving her 12-month tour overseas.
   Miss Vicky Olson, 24, of Rochester, Minn., arrived at Cu Chi in early September after serving with the Red Cross USO in Korea.  As program director, Miss Olson conducted the well-known Saturday morning "coffee call" with her traditional Red Cross hospitality.
   Prior to her departure, a small ceremony was given in her honor at Division Headquarters.   During the ceremony, Col. Thowas W. Mellen, the Chief of Staff, presented Miss Olson with a letter of appreciation from the men of the "Tropic Lightning" Division.
   Miss Olson plans to return home to her family and "just relax for a while."


Re-Up Sgt. Talks Bonus

   "If you need money, don't gamble.  You may be eligible for a $6000 reenlistment bonus."
   SFC Don E. Cunningham, 196th Lt Inf Bde reenlistment NCO, works with this in mind daily.  In one month he reenlisted seven out of eight eligible reenlistees.
   The month before, he signed up four out of four eligibles.


Lt. Col. Gilbert Proctor, Cpt. Ora Boss CAPTURED FLAG - Lt. Col. Gilbert Procter (l), commander of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf, and Capt. Ora L. Boss, Co A, 1/14th commander, display a captured Vietcong Flag.  Co A captured the flag from North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces on a recent mission near Pleiku.



196th PX Making Big Gains

   "Count 'em up and move 'em out..."  These are familiar words heard by men of the 196th Lt Inf Bde as they pass by the brigade post exchange.
   The "Charger" team has made remarkable progress in its first five weeks of operation.  During this time 10 branch PX's with a $217,000 inventory were established for the units of the brigade.
   The PX staff is headed by Capt. Carter Brantner of Atlanta, Ga., and Lt.Andy Lazarchick of Rahway N,J., both of whom work 14 hours a day, seven days a week with the other men of their 14-man team.
   The team relies mainly on military convoy, and civilian trucking firms to convoy the few luxury items needed daily.
   As Capt. Brantner has stated, "Although we are able to get in some items to keep the troops taken care of, we actually haven't started receiving quantities to support them the way we would like to.
   "The situation should improve when we open our central store," promised Capt. Brantner.  "Then we will be able to stock the real luxury items like cameras, tape recorders, TVs, and radios."
   The light brigadesmen will patiently wait knowing that their PX team is on the job day and night to make things a little better for the men at Tay Ninh.


PFC's Ingenuity And a Dollar Result in Improved Speaker

   Know-how, ingenuity, and a dollar's worth of radio components were all PFC Leonard Williams of Detroit, Mich., needed to build his own field radio speaker system.
   PFC Williams, of Co A, 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, is a radio telephone operator (RTO).
   Thinking that the size and weight of the Army's standard radio-telephone speaker could be improved for field operations he decided to build a replacement for it.  In a small C-Ration can he installed a three-ounce speaker.
   The result?  His new speaker weighs some 15 ounces less and has a higher volume than the conventional Army speaker.  It uses a transistorized amplification system.
   Thus far, the RTO has baptized his invention through three operations.  "lt's very handy in the field," he says.  "It's pocket held, doesn't get tangled up in the jungle, and makes it possible for me to perform other jobs while monitoring the radio."
   Capt. Emil Gregg, Co A commander and for whom PFC Williams is RTO, also has a high regard for the gadget.  "lt has such a great volume that the RTO doesn't have to be close to me and I can still hear the transmission.  Even during a rainstorm, you can hear clearly any communications from higher headquarters."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1966


1/35th Finds Cong Food, Aid Supplies

   Co B, 1st Bn, 35th Inf, deprived the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) of large amounts of medical and food supplies during a recent four-day mission.
   While on patrol during the first day, elements of the "Cacti Green" came upon a Vietnamese hut.  The 3rd platoon moved in to search and secure the area.  In the process, they were confronted by two NVA soldiers.  A firefight resulted in which both enemy were killed.
   After the action, the platoon made a thorough search of the area.  The infantrymen discovered a cave containing nine cases of medical supplies (595 bottles of penicillin, 2000cc of dried blood plasma, and two bottles of morphine) 400 pounds of salt and various enemy documents.
   Two days later part of the 1st platoon was patrolling the perimeter of their base case camp while the remainder moved ahead.  Minutes after they had taken cover, two NVA soldiers came down the path.
   Shots rang out, fatally wounding one while the other escaped.
   Hearing the shots, the rest of the platoon rushed to the scene.  They checked the dead enemy and found two weapons and two packs of rice.
   The reconnaissance platoon of HHC, working in the same area, joined with the 1st platoon and the units went after the escaping soldiers.
   A 400-yard sweep of the area was made before the escapee could be found.  Although he was still armed with two grenades he was apprehended, disarmed and questioned.
   The prisoner stated that there were seven other NVA troopers in his group.  After the first contact was made they had separated.


Policy Changes on Long Tour Drops

   The policy on an early release of enlisted overseas returnees from Long tour areas has been changed from a maximum of 90 days to 30 days.  This is due to shortages in certain enlisted grades and critical military occupational specialties and to insure the maximum use of trained enlisted resources.  (ANF)


Medic Brings Good News

   Sp6 Warren Raney has what he calls the "most gratifying job a medic could have."  He is the division's liaison NCO to any hospital where "Tropic Lightning" soldiers are patients.
   "I do everything from making up rosters to taking messages for these guys," explained the specialist.  "I let them know how their units are doing and the latest sports news.  If there's something I can't answer, I find the answer and let them know as soon as possible."


HOT MEAL - Sp4 Glen Stucky, a cook for HHC, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf,, prepares a tasty meal for the men of his unit. SP4 Glen Stucky


Sweden-Trained Chef Adds Talents to Pleiku Unit Chow

   Of all the gripes soldiers make, probably none is heard more often than the complaint about Army chow.  The man usually on the receiving end is the cook, who other members of the unit seem to think got his training in a cement factory.
   This is not the case, however with Hq. Co, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf.  Their cook Sp4 Glen Stucky has been in the Army for two years but has been cooking for ten.
   He received his training at the Culinary School of Fine Art in Stockholm, Sweden.  The school's nine-month course counts among its alumni many of the world's fine chefs.
   Before entering the Army, Specialist Stucky used his talents at the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City and the Brown Palace, Denver.
   Specialist Stucky tries to bring out the highlights in the food he prepares by using whatever seasoning and spices he can find.  He admits that he doesn't have the same ingredients to work with here in Vietnam, but thinks the Army does a good job with what it has.
   Considering the fact that this is Vietnam, the specialist is amazed that the troops are getting such good meals.  Even out in the field they get one hot meal a day and most of the men in the battalion get eggs and bacon for breakfast every morning.
   Specialist Stucky wouldn't want to be doing anything other than cooking, even with huge Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to prepare.


Jeep Shows 'War Paint'

   Of the many jeeps in the F Trp, 17th Cav, motor pool one in particular stands out from the rest: On its side are painted the silhouettes of four little men.
   These paintings represent four Viet Cong recently killed by the crew of the 166mm recoilless rifle mounted jeep.
   It happened while F Troop was on an operation near a VC stronghold area near Nui Ba Den in the Tay Ninh Province.  The cavalry unit's recoilless rifles were to support around the bottom of the mountain.  SSgt. Dennis E..Bird of Hot Springs, Va., was in command of the jeep.
   Moving along the base of Nui Ba Den as part of a motorized column they were ambushed by heavy machine gun fire from the mountainside.
   A claymore mine was set oft and the jeep driver, Sp4 David E. Sartore wasted no time getting the vehicle out of the zone.
   At that moment a VC recoilless rifle opened up, narrowly missing the jeep but shaking up its crew.
   Specialist Sartore raced the jeep into a concealed firing position.  From there, Sp4 Ralph Ordway of Providence, R.I., the gunner, spotted the cave from where the VC were firing.
   He fired two spotting rounds, then cut loose with the "big gun."  Four VC and their recoilless rifle were silenced,



   EDITOR'S NOTE: Tropic Flashes needs support!  We need unit news of local interest, such as birth announcements, promotions or any unusual or significant happenings.  News items can be submitted via message center to the Information Office.

196th Lt Inf Bde

   Thanks to the Viet Cong, PFC Alan Miller of Versailles, Ohio, now has a new pair of pants.
   PFC Miller, a radio-telephone operator with the operation section, literally walked out of his pants recently.  It happened while he was on an operation, moving through some heavy undergrowth.  The unit was moving with good speed, despite the thick, dense brush.  In his haste PFC Miller caught his trousers in the undergrowth and they were ripped from his body.
   The unit moved on and he moved with them minus his pants.  But luckily the unit found a cache of VC clothes and the first thing PFC Miller did was go hunting for a pair of pants.  He found some.



   Snowball is the smallest member of Battery B.  She is the mascot of one of the howitzer sections.  As she poses for the camera, the men say Snowball is ready for any mission.





Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 25, 1966



Div Plans Turkey For All
By Sp4 Lou Cullen

   One of the most important menus of the year is again with us.  Therefore it is time for food service personnel to be thinking, talking and planning what has to be done.  It is a large job requiring the full cooperation of everyone...
   The above was taken from a special food service bulletin for Thanksgiving published by the 25th Infantry Division Food Advisers Office.  The large job that the bulletin referred to was the preparation of today's Thanksgiving dinner for every soldier in the 25th Division.
   One might say, "Well, they all get their dinner every other day of the year, don't they?  So, what's so special about Thanksgiving?"  This fact cannot be denied.  However, for the infantryman on a sweep, dinner might mean a box of "C" rations eaten on the move.  For the men guarding the perimeters of the base camp, it may be just a sandwich brought to them by buddies.
   "Not so on Thanksgiving," reports CWO Donald P. Masters, foods service advisor to the Cu Chi based division.  "Every effort will be made to see that every soldier will have the opportunity to eat a hot turkey dinner and to sample some pumpkin meat pie."
   A big job indeed.
   More than five tons of turkey alone will be requisitioned, transported to two base camps, cooked and eaten by the largest combat force in Vietnam.
   Basically there are three ways in which "Operation Hot Turkey" will be carried out.  For men in the base camp, the meal will be prepared in the base camp and eaten in the mess halls.  Men on bunker guard will be rotated so that they too will have the opportunity to eat in the mess hall.
   For those in the field with adequate facilities, the meal will be prepared and eaten right in the field, supplies being brought in by chopper and refrigerated vans.  And, for those in the field whose locations and activities are not conducive to feast preparations, the meal will be prepared in the base camp, kept warm by thermal containers, and served to them in the field.
   There is only one problem which "Tropic Lightning" Division food service officials see with no apparent solution and that is the shortage of wishbones.

Big Meal

   Shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce and crackers.
   Roast Tom Turkey with Giblet Gravy; Poultry Dressing; Snow-flaked Potatoes; Glazed Sweet Potatoes; Cranberry Sauce; Buttered Peas and Corn; Crisp Relish Tray; Parkerhouse Rolls and Butter.
   Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream; Mincemeat Pie; Old Fashioned Fruit Cake; Fresh Chilled Fruit; Mixed Nuts, and Assorted Candy.
   Tea, Coffee and Milk.



OCS Grad. Says Key Is Determination

   (This is the second in a series of interviews with OCS graduates.)
   "A candidate must have determination to finish, regardless of how difficult the course becomes," said Capt. Ralph E. Rockwell, as he spoke recently on qualifications necessary to graduate from Officer Candidate School.
Cpt. Ralph E. Rockwell   Capt. Rockwell, presently the assistant S-3 of the 3rd Bn., 13th Arty, is a 1961 graduate of Artillery OCS at Ft. Sill, Okla.
   The captain pointed out that the course is tough and demanding.  "Yeu always have more to do than time allows," he explained, "As a lower classman you got only four hours each week (free time) that you can call your own.  But the mid classmen always made sure that your time was utilized with work."
   In addition Capt. Rockwell said good physical shape is a must to make it through the course.
   Six sub-courses make up the basic curriculum at Artillery OCS.  Of them all, the captain emphasized gunnery as the most important subject.  Also taught are surveying, communication, transportation, tactics and combined arms, and normal officer candidate training that is true of all OC Schools.
   Capt. Rockwell recommends OCS for two reasons.  First, every career soldier should perform as well as he can, both for himself and the Army.  Second, graduates who soon return to civilian life will benefit from the experience of having been a leader as a commissioned officer.


Dental Clinic Has Moved

   The 40th Med Det (Dental) has moved its facilities to a new location in the division base camp.  The complete dental service is located in a modified quonset building adjacent to Ward 4 of the 25th Med Bn and has its entrance on Oahu Road.
   The new building will contain 13 dental chairs, modern high speed dental drills, complete X-ray facilities, including a dark room for film processing, and a spacious and comfortable waiting room and reception area.
   Beside the quonset there is a similar but smaller building which will serve as the operational area for prosthetic dentistry dental supply area and administrative offices.  Both of the buildings were constructed by Co A, 65th Engr Bn.
   The detachment commander, Lt. Col. George Kuttas, 39, of Cornwall, N.Y., pointed out that the new facilities will lessen the delay in obtaining an appointment and also make treatment more comfortable for dentists and patients alike.  "Our aim is to keep our standard of treatment equal to that of a stateside post," commented Colonel Kuttas.
   Since arriving at the Division's Cu Chi base camp the 40th Med Det has treated 11,000 patients by extracting, filling, or with artificial appliances.


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 08-12-2007

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