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Vol 1 No. 41                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                December 2, 1966



Unit                     Page Unit                    Page Unit                    Page Unit                      Page
1/5               10 125th Signal       5 2/27              12 25th Inf Photos   10
1/8 Arty           1 196th Inf          5 25th Admin         2 25th Inf Div      10
1/8 Arty           9 196th Inf          5 25th Admin Photo   2 25th Med Bn        9
1/8 Arty          12 196th Inf          9 25th Avn Photo     1 3/4 Cav            8
1/14               1 196th Inf         10 25th Avn Bn        1 3/4 Cav Photo     11
1/14               2 196th Inf         10 25th Avn Bn        3 4/9               11
1/27               3 2/14               1 25th Avn Bn        5 4/31               1
1/27               3 2/14              12 25th Avn Photo     5 4/31               2
1/27 Photo        12 2/27               2 25th Avn Bn        9 65th Engr Photos   6
1/35               2 2/27 Photo         3 25th Awards       11 7/11 Arty          9
12th Evac          9 2/27               9 25th CID           5 725th Maint Photos 8
116th Avn          1 2/27 Photo        11 25th DivArty      10 Attleboro          1


'Attleboro' Comes To A Quiet Close,
But Action Flexes For Third Brigade

Operation Nets 1100 Cong Dead
By Sgt. Bill Becker

   The largest operation of the Vietnam war, Operation "Attleboro," ended quietly last Friday after more than nine weeks of combing through Viet Cong sanctuaries in War Zone C.
   The multi-brigade operation, which began on September 14, involved 10,000 American soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division and the 196th Lt Inf Bde.
   The 25th and the 196th killed 254 Viet Cong during the operation and captured enough supplies to sustain an enemy division for at least six months.
   Total American forces accounted for more than 1100 Viet Cong dead for the operation.
   Operation Attleboro also surpassed all records for close air support and air strikes flown by the Seventh Air Force.
   Early this week Attleboro had accounted for 1333 tactical strike sorties and 2284 cargo-troop airlift sorties.  B-52s at one point flew bombing raids in 13 out of 14 days in support of the operation.
   Action in the operation began when the 196th Brigade's 2nd Bn, 1st Inf, uncovered more than 1000 tons of rice in an area near Dau Tieng, about 12 miles east of their Tay Ninh base.
   As Chinook helicopters lifted the rice from a cluster of caches, the 25th Division's 1st Bn., 27th Inf., was moved in from Cu Chi to provide security.
   Viet Cong harassment became bothersome during the extraction or destruction of the rice and the "Wolfhounds" battalion was shifted into a blocking position while elements of the 196th swept through to frighten VC in the area away.
   On November 4, the 1st Bn made heavy contact with an estimated Viet Cong regiment.  An intense, continual battle raged for three days, with elements of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, and the 1st Infantry Division, called in for support.
   Joined by 25th Division's 1st, Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the combined multi-brigade task force began digging through the area to discover everything from base camps to processing mills.
   Among the items found during Operation "Attleboro" by the 25th Division and 196th Brigade units were: A total of 1614 rounds of small arms ammunition, 1130 tons of rice and 3340 pounds of cement.


VC Waves Hit 1/14th In Kontum

   Pleiku based 3rd Brigade Task Force elements of the "Tropic Lightning" division participating in Operation Paul Revere IV engaged two battalion size units of North Vietnamese regulars in a fiery 7 1/2-hour long battle in the central highland province of Kontum last week.
   The battle, which saw communist human wave assaults once again employed against American troops, took place approximately 14 miles east of the Plei Djereng Special Forces Camp and one mile from the Cambodian frontier.
   A search of the area in the aftermath of the battle yielded a total of 116 enemy bodies.  Friendly casualties were reported as moderate.
   The fighting erupted shortly after noon when a company of the Vietnamese Civilian Irregulars Defense Group (CIDG), searching for a North Vietnamese regimental headquarters, came under heavy enemy fire.
   A company of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf, was called in to offer additional support to the pinned down CIDG company.  Soon after their arrival, the communist forces opened up with heavy mortar and automatic weapons fire.
   Early next morning, Air Force B-52 bombers, flying in support of Operation "Paul Revere IV" struck an enemy rest and staging area 17 miles west of Plei Djereng.
   The operation continues.


Little Bears
AIR DELIVERY - Helicopters from the 25th Avn Bn "Little Bears" drop "Tropic Lightning" infantrymen into battle.  A record number of sorties were flown in one day on Operation "Attleboro".



One-Day Mark for Copter Sorties Set During Operation Attleboro

   A record number of sorties were flown in a one-day period by four aviation helicopter companies during Operation "Attleboro."
   The record statistics for the four aviation companies totaled 350 combat sorties, 100 resupply missions and 2400 combat troops transported.
   Four Chinooks from the 178th Avn Bn moved two artillery batteries and flew 30 resupply missions which totaled more than 75 tons of ammunition and supplies.
   The "Little Bears" of the 25th Avn Bn and the "Thunderbirds" of the 118th Avn Co completed the first mission of the day by transporting the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf., to a forward support base.
   Btry C, 1st Bn, 8th Arty, was also lifted, this time by four CH-47 Chinooks.
   Soon every chopper that was flyable was airborne.
   The 116th Avn. Bn "Hornets" lifted elements of the 4th Bn., 31st Inf, and the 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, both of the 196th Lt Inf Bde.  The 175th Avn Bn "Outlaws" hauled supplies to the 2nd Brigade forward command post, not to mention an additional three forward bases.
   With the missions mounting and more choppers increased, the 127th Avn Bn "Mustangs" flew to the rescue.  The four aviation companies, which had been placed under the operational control of the 145th Avn Bn lifted the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" into action.
   Shortly after noon, the Thunderbirds and Hornets extracted the 2/14th and its supporting artillery.  At the same time, the Wolfhounds asked to be extracted.  They were lifted back to their forward base by the joint effort of the four aviation companies.
   The busy helicopters spent the remainder of the day extracting the still unsettled 2/14th to the Tay Ninh base camp and resupplying five 25th division forward battalions.


TLN Grows To 12 Pages

   The Tropic Lightning News made its humble debut in Vietnam on March 4 with a small four-pane mimeographed sheet.
   The headlines on that page one, neatly stenciled in, read, "First Helping Hand Goods Arrive" and "3/4 Cav Joins Brigade."
   The division has grown quite a bit since that time and so has the TLN.  On April 1 we got off the typewriter with a four-page tabloid and graduated to eight pages on May 6.
   Now we are just slightly proud to announce that with today's issue the TLN begins a weekly 12 page edition, a four-page advancement over that old skinny paper.
   With the addition of four extra pages, the TLN offers many new, exciting features, and there'll be more in the future.  We start off this week with unit crests for Tropic Flashes on Page 9 and the complete weekly Armed Forces Radio and TV schedule on page 11.
   Our circulation, which, began at a little more than 1000, increased gradually to 8000.
   If the TLN has arrived late occasionally it is usually the result of some of the weird things that go on in the dark rooms of the Saigon print shops.
   Occasionally an electrical power failure just happens to hit the district 10 minutes before press time, pictures are lost at the the last minute (a picture once cracked in the middle of a press run) and once in a while the printers get angry at the publisher and refuse to work.
   Most of these problems are hammered out, some at the last moment, and the "Little Bear" choppers of the 25th Avn Bn wing the TLN out to Cu Chi for distribution.

The Editor



Latest Reports
Through December 7

Operation Province Began FC KIA VCC VCS
Lanikai Long An Sept. 15 L 32 9 36
Paul Rev. IV Pleiku Oct. 18 L 879 75 66



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


West of Pleiku
   1/35 in 2-Hr. Fight

   Nine North Vietnam Army (NVA) soldiers killed and three tons of rice destroyed was the result of a clash with the enemy in the central highlands, 50 miles west of Pleiku, by members of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, "Cacti Green".
   In a two-hour battle the North Vietnam regulars were routed from a long-time NVA supply depot in the mountainous jungle area, and when the fighting ended, a devastating blow had been dealt their supply line by the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade.
   On November 3 a captured NVA soldier was brought to the campsites of the Reconnaissance Platoon.  After extensive questioning the prisoner promised to lead the unit to a rice cache which he said was guarded by 13 NVA soldiers.  The Recon Platoon immediately began what he described as only a short walk to the rice to check out the prisoner's story.
   After being enroute for several hours it was clearly evident that the destination was more than a short walk.  The prisoner was questioned again.  This time he changed his story and said there was a rice cache all right, but only 200 yards from it was a 40-man NVA fortification.
   The 2nd Platoon of Alpha Company was called in to reinforce the Recon Platoon.  After their arrival the combined force moved in on the position.  The NVA guards spotted their approach and opened fire.
   With the NVA fortification definitely located, artillery was called in on the position.  At the same time the Co A element moved around to the left of the position, and elements of the Recon Platoon moved to the rice cache and destroyed the estimated three tons of rice.


Medics help wounded AID - Four men of the 3rd Brigade Task Force rush a wounded comrade to medical facilities at the brigade's forward command post.  The soldier was wounded in the field only 12 minutes before the photo was taken, attesting to the speed and efficiency of helicopter medical evacuation.



4/31st Walks Through 'Two Hours of Hell'

   1st Lt. James B. Reynolds of New Rochelle, N.Y., took his platoon from Co C, 4th Bn, 31st Inf, on a probing mission but wound up spending "two hours in hell."
   Lt. Reynolds and his platoon went 150 yards up the impregnable Nui Ba Den mountain, a long-known Viet Cong stronghold that rises 3232 feet high and is located seven miles from the 196th Light Infantry Brigade's base camp at Tay Ninh.
   "Then the world opened up on us," recalled Lt. Reynolds.  "Automatic fire was coming in on us from all directions."
   There were calls for the medic that would never come - for he was mortally wounded.  A hail of bullets rained in on anyone that tried to move from what little concealment the elephant grass provided.  No enemy or muzzle flashes could be seen, just the sounds of reality.
   "As soon as the artillery fire began to hammer at the enemy positions, the sniper fire decreased, but the automatic fire increased," said Lt. Reynolds.
   "We began to move back.  I was moving along on my back firing toward the VC positions guessing where to shoot effectively, for I still could not see the positions."
   It was about an hour before the darkness of night would conceal the platoon, enough time to join up with the rest of the company.


PFC Kling, Pleiku's Rocking Record Man

   PFC William R. Kling of the 25th Admin Co has been in the records business since he was 16 years old.
   PFC Kling now works in the records section for the 3rd Brigade.  However, the records business he was in before entering the Army was a different kind.
   Before Vietnam, he worked with such records as "Twistin' USA," "Tambourine Man," and "Tomb Stone Blues" to name a few.  PFC Kling sings and plays the guitar and has made his living at this with such groups as Danny and the Juniors, The Ripchords and King Curtis.  He has performed in the United States and England.
   Each night PFC Kling entertains the men in his tent by playing and singing old and new favorites.  He also makes up a few about the happenings in the 3rd Brigade and Vietnam.
   The men say that he's great for morale and has a tremendous sense of humor.

PFC William R. Kling SHEARED DELIGHT - On the left is PFC William R. Kling.  On the right is civilian Kling as  he appeared as an entertainer.



Deeds Win Sergeant Silver Star

   Sgt. Lester Armstrong of Molden, Mo., has recently been awarded the Silver Star Medal for heroism under fire during Operation "Attleboro."
   Elements of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" were pinned down by an estimated battalion-size enemy force, somewhere in the jungles north of Tay Ninh Province.  Reinforcements were needed quickly.
   The 196th Light Infantry Brigade's Co C, 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, was sent in for the rescue.
   Sgt. Armstrong's platoon was soon pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a bunker to their front.
   The dense jungle undergrowth made movement almost impossible.  In the maze of vines and roots Sgt. Armstrong's machine gunner became entangled and could not move forward with the rest of the platoon.  Realizing the importance of the weapon for protection, Sgt. Armstrong rushed through enemy fire toward the soldier, picked up the gun and, with another member of his platoon, assaulted the bunker.
   Hit in the arm and leg by burning grenade fragments, the sergeant increased his fire and wiped out six VC as they scurried for cover.  Then concentrating his fire on the machine gun bunker he quickly knocked out the three VC in that position.  Sgt. Armstrong's brave, instinctive action allowed the forward movement of his platoon to continue.


1/14th Capt. Tells Of VC Attacks
By Capt. Ora L. Boss

   (Editor's Note : On November 13, Co A, 1st Bn, 14th Inf, 3rd Brigade Task Force, was involved in a fierce fight in the central highlands.  Col. James G. Shanahan, brigade commander and a veteran of World War II and Korea, said "I have never seen a unit hit as hard as this company was hit and yet maintain its command control."  The company commander, Capt. Ora L. Boss of Green Forest. Ark., tells the story.)
   "We started out approximately 0730 hours on what apparently was to be a normal everyday-type search and destroy patrol.
   "After we had traveled about 2500 meters through the extremely thick secondary growth, we came under fire.
   "We had a helluva good fire fight there!  It lasted for about 30 minutes.  At the time we were fighting what I estimated to be a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) company-size unit, we received six to eight 60mm mortar rounds on our position.
   "As soon as the mortars started dropping in on us, I called for artillery and air strikes and the mortars stopped coming.  Nine enemy bodies were found in the area where the VC had abandoned them.
   "After our own wounded had been evacuated early that afternoon, we moved out.  As we were heading for high ground, the patrol's lead element made contact with what again was estimated to be an NVA company.
   "The thick undergrowth made it nearly impossible to maneuver, and the last element of the company had just cleared the Landing Zone (LZ) when contact was made.  Therefore, I gave the order to pull back to the LZ so we could maneuver to the north flank of the enemy's position.
   "As soon as the rear element re-entered the LZ, it came under extremely heavy small arms and machine gun fire.  I realized then that we were being attacked from both the north and the west.  I called Lt. Joseph Grant (company executive officer) and told him to start putting the platoons into a company perimeter defensive position as they re-entered the LZ.
   "As the rear platoons were re-entering the LZ they came under a human wave attack from the north side.  Lt. Grant took charge of the two platoons that had repelled the enemy's assault.
   "We only received human wave assaults from the north, but we could hear and see a mass of people gathering on the east and west, and if it hadn't been for the artillery and the air strikes hitting right on top of them, I am sure we would have been human waved from three directions.
   "I couldn't call for artillery on the north where the major attack was coming from because Company D had been operating to the northeast and as soon as we made contact the second time Company C had been ordered by Lt. Col. Gilbert Procter, the battalion commander, to close in with "Alpha Army" and I didn't want to take the chance of hitting friendly troops."


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


Attleboro Hurts VC Economy


Stock in Cong Goes Down, Down
By PFC Doug Kearney

   Unemployment among the Viet Cong in War Zone C should drop to a record low this winter if the 25th Division has its way.
   Aside from the number of VC given free trips to visit their ancestors the division has been systematically confiscating all the rice caches discovered to date.
   Economic experts predict this will have an unsettling effect on the jungle labor market causing all those who had planned to migrate to War Zone C to make new plans.
   Those who are left in the zone are already pressed to find food because of American actions.  The 1st Bn, 27th Inf, for example, was making a routine survey of damage caused by a B-52 raid when it ran across two damaged structures.  The unusual thing was that these two structures each contained 10 tons of polished white rice.
   Realizing that food in the middle of the jungle would draw all kinds of animals, the battalion sought in vain to determine the ownership of the rice.  The only possible solution then was to confiscate the rice.
   Actions of this sort are creating work for the VC who have labored diligently for months to store the rice in what they considered a safe area.  However, they didn't count on the economic planners changing the picture.
   The War Zone C Office of Employment Security reports the charts already show a definite improvement in the situation: the available labor pool has shrunk by some 15 per cent, no new labor has immigrated in the last two weeks, and all available workers are now working up to 16 hours a day.
   With results like that, it's easy to see why we must continue to confiscate the VC's rice.


Wolfhound mortar platoon
FIRE MISSION! - A 4.2 mortar of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" fires at a Viet Cong position on Operation "Attleboro" from the forward command post of the 2nd Bde.  (Photo by Sp5 Robert E. Williams)



PFC Walks Right by VC

   PFC Mike Valesco, 19, a radio-telephone operator from Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolf hounds" walked through a fortified Viet Cong position recently.
   It was dusk when the young soldier from Los Angeles helped a wounded buddy to the chopper pad.  By the time he could return to his unit it was dark.
   He asked some men along the way where Co A was, and they told him up ahead, so he kept following the path.
   "After a while, someone said, 'who's there ?'  I just said, Me and kept walking," said PFC Valesco.
   "Then I asked and found out that I was with Co C, of 2/27th.  I'd walked right through the VC concentrations!"
   "I saw the VC but I didn't pay any attention to them," continued PFC Valesco.  "They had steel pots and all.  They must have thought I was one of them and I thought they were our troops."
   PFC Valesco rejoined his company later.  "It sure felt good to get back," he said, "just like going home."


3000 Sorties
   Big Copter Support

   Helicopters supporting the 25th on Operation "Attleboro" flew more than 3000 combat support sorties in a one-week period, November 13-20.
   The cloudy skies were constantly dotted with choppers from the 25th Avn Bn and several helicopter units from the 1st Avn Bde.
   The helicopter units commuted between the division forward command post at Tay Ninh and the multi-battalion force of infantrymen under the control of the 2nd Brigade.
   Total amount of cargo shipped to and from the forward areas during the one-week period amounted to more than 340 tons, and a total of 4191 men were shuttled back and forth.
   Specific units involved in the massive airlifts were the "Little Bears" and "Diamond Heads" of the 25th Avn Bn, the 145th Avn Bn and the 170th Avn Co "Pockets," 175th Avn Co "Outlaws," the 116th Avn Co "Hornets" and the 118th Avn Co "Thirds," all of the 1st Avn Bde.
   The 25 Avn Bn was primarily responsible for directing resupply activity to the battalion and brigade forward areas.  The 145th directed all troop lifts.


Cu Chi APO Moves Out

   APO San Francisco 96225, the 25th Infantry Division APO at Cu Chi, has moved into a new, permanent building on Taro Road, adjacent to the Ilikai East Service Club.
   Capt. Richard R. Page, division postal officer, said the new spacious building will ease most of the difficulties now encountered in operating the postal service.
   Parking facilities will be available on the lot between the service club and the new building.



ONE OF MANY - A resupply helicopter touches down on a landing zone prepared by 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.  (Photo by Sp5 Robert Williams)



A Whoozit, Whatzit And Big GAZOP !
By Sp5 Wayne Brendt

   The American soldier has long been known for his ability to take a whoozit, combine it with a whatzit and end up with a whatcha-macallit.  At Cu Chi, the best example of a whateverthatwordis is found resting near every unit.  It is the water holder for the shower.
   You name it and someone at Cu Chi has it for a water holder.  It may be sitting up right, sideways or in series and on occasion it may even be decorated.  One enterprising group of people made theirs into a shark, complete with wood fins and shiny paint job.
   The two most common devices for holding water are expended aircraft wing tanks and containers for the shipment of aircraft engines.  Lately, the soldiers have gone a step further and have cut their wing tanks up in sections, glued them together and now have a wing tank sausage affair that looks weird beyond description.
   In housing, energetic young lads have added a recreation room to their hooches.  With a section of wire, a few ammunition boxes and some salvaged canvas, the room begins to take shape.  A dab of paint, a door that magically comes out of nowhere and the rec room appears.
   With the outside complete the men buy tables and chairs in Cu Chi.  The Post Exchange supplies the television (the men chip in), the reading material, the decks of cards, the cooler, and cases of sodas.  Toss in a floor mat or two and the room is livable.
   Last but not least is the GAZOP.  It can he found most anywhere and to this day, no one knows who made the first one.
   A GAZOP is a home made, super-duper can crusher.  It is made from two hunks of timber (4x4), a length of steel plate, two large bolts, two smaller chucks of wood and a piece of tin.
   Once this can-traption is hooked up, a can (preferably not aluminum) is placed in the proper position (on end) and a small amount of force is required to push the chunks of timber together, squashing the can with a loud GAZOP.
   End of can.


Page 4                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966



SSgt. Freddie M. Smith, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
SSgt. Stephen W. Wedding, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC John C. Scanlan, Btry A, 3rd Bn, 87th Arty.
Lt. Col. Edward F. Callanan, HHC, 3rd Bde.
Maj. Myron E. Squires, Trp D, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.

Capt. Leroy Felde, HHC, 1st Bde.
Capt. David A. Pabst, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Capt. Hector Sorrentini, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
1st Lt. Richard A. Gradwohl, Co C, 4th Bn. 23rd Inf.
1st Lt. William C. Herndon, Btry C, 7th Bn, 11th Arty.
SMaj. Michael V. Termi, HHC, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
MSgt. Daniel Longoria, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sgt. Thomas Baker, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sgt. Randall T. Facemire, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sgt. Gaylord M. Lankford, HHC, 1st Bde.

Sgt. Augustine D. Russe, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
Sp4 Jerry A. Myers, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PFC Clarence Bishop, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Paul J. Edwards, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Charles R. Fleming, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf. (Posthumously)
PFC Lynn E. Hutchins, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Robert D. Johnson, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Vernon L. Keane, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Gary J. Libke, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Richard C. Moreno, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.

Capt. Santon L. Curbow, HHC, 25th Inf Div.
Sgt. John W. Atkinson, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
Sgt. Leon Black, Trp A, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
Sgt. Albert Clemonts, Co A. 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 Billy R. Johnson, Trp A, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
Sp4 Loren E. Vander Kooi, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Anthony P. Martin, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Robert D. Robinson, Co D, 2nd Bd, 1st Inf.
PFC Richard D. Farrar, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC Jesse E. Shull, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
PFC John A. Todi, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PVT Richard A. Wehe, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.



Gains of Free Word Forces Reflect Power Decline of VC

   (Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of three articles concerning the work of the Free World Forces and what they are accomplishing in Vietnam.)
   There are several military indicators which attest to the increasing effectiveness of the Vietnamese armed forces and of their allies, and to the declining effectiveness of the enemy despite the increase in the flow of invaders from the north.
   The ratio of men killed in battle is becoming more favorable to our side.  From a little better than two to one last January, this ratio has climbed to more than six to one in September.
   In January, there were more friendly troops missing in action than there were enemy captured.  By September, this ratio had changed and was nearly seven to one in favor of our side.  For the first nine months of 1966, this favorable ratio is more than three to one.
   The number of enemy soldiers who surrender in battle has also increased.  The number of casualties he leaves on the field of combat, rather than carrying them off is rising.  The stream of refugees choosing government security over Viet Cong domination grow.  The flow of information about the enemy from people in the countryside increases weekly.  All these are signs of growing government strength on the battlefield and in the populated areas.
   But the war of assassination and terror continues.  Following the successful election of September 11 when the security forces of Vietnam nullified the Viet Cong efforts to disrupt this democratic process, the insurgent enemy struck back with a vengeance.  From the election until October 20 there have been 33 assassinations of government officials or civilians cooperating with the government, 50 kidnappings, and 122 other acts of terrorism.
   For many people, the only noteworthy parts of the war in Vietnam are the major battles.  The fact is, however, that all of the military power which we can bring to bear can achieve only one thing: a state of security in which the people of South Vietnam can develop their institutions of government, their natural resources, and their potential for production.
   The Revolutionary Development Program of the Government of Vietnam is designed to build the country from the hamlet up.  The military. support of the Revolutionary Development Program is substantial.  All military forces in Vietnam, both Vietnamese and the free world, are turning to this task with mounting energy.  The reasons for this state of mind are clear.  It is more satisfying to create than to destroy.  It is more pleasant to make friends than to deal with enemies.  It is so easy to understand the importance of helping people.
   The military units and the individuals of all of the countries represented in South Vietnam have turned with enthusiasm to what we call civic action.  As an example, in June of this year, free world forces in Vietnam completed 85 construction projects ranging from schools to orphanages.  In August, they completed 234 such projects.  In June, these forces gave more than 239,000 medical treatments, including general medicine, dental work, surgery and emergency evacuation, and in August, this figure rose to more than 348,000.

Next week: Accomplishments


Maj. Gen. Arthur L. West visits VISIT - Maj. Gen. Arthur L. West, chief of mechanized armor combat operations in Vietnam, departs the 25th Division's airfield at Cu Chi for a briefing at the "Tropic Lightning" Headquarters.  Gen. West visited the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, and the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, both mechanized units of the division.



'Honest John' and You

   The rush is on to "Honest John's" where the vaults are bulging with greenbacks awaiting free-spenders.
   The takers are more common during the Christmas buying spree period, with both young and old getting caught in the cleaver.
   Think!  Are you prepared to face the damages incurred during the Holiday Season from financial scars?
   Buying on credit is an everyday American custom to meet a necessity.  But, we also have an obligation to ourselves.
   Don't get bound in the struggle between good credit and embarrassment.
   Shop around before making the crucial decision.
   Here are some words of wisdom:
   If you don't understand contents of a contract, consult your legal assistance officer.
   Never sign a contract with spaces left blank - even if the salesman says the typist has left for the day and won't be back until tomorrow.  In such a case, tomorrow may prove disastrous for you, the buyer.
   If you're borrowing money, know how much cash you get, the annual rate, and when and to whom you make the payments.
   Watch the interest.
   Unwise use of credit is a pitfall that cannot be redeemed.  Don't buy over your head.  You be the master, not the servant.  (AFNB)




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, Armed Forces Press Service and Armed Forces News Bureau 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 5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


CID Tracks Robbers Like Rats
By PFC Andy Jensen

   It was noon November 17 and the men of the 25th Infantry Division Criminal Investigation Detachment (CID) were preparing to leave for lunch.  Suddenly the phone rang.
   Investigator Clark was the first to the phone.  It was a call from an officer's club on post reporting a robbery.  Investigators Clark and Eltis were assigned to the case and moved into action.
   The two investigators arrived on the scene and began the investigation.  More than $7 had been taken from a drawer under the club's bar but there were no signs of breaking and entering.  Clark and Eltis made a full investigation but were unable to find a clue to the missing funds.  Suspects were questioned but with no results and the case was at a standstill.
   On November 18 at 8 a.m. a call came reporting another robbery on the same premises.  The two investigators went back to the club and began a further search for clues.  Clark and Eltis could find no sign pointing to a theft.  The drawer containing the cash box had been locked the night before and the lock was untouched yet $37 was missing.
   The case looked hopeless until one of the investigators discovered something of great interest.  On the bar was a glass containing tip money which had not been touched and a further search of the bar uncovered several dollars in different locations on the bar, also untouched.
   Why did the thief take only the money that was in the bar drawer and leave that which was more easily available?
   The two investigators were almost at a loss when they found the clue to break the case.  Two or three bills had been left by the thief in a trail marking the route of his retreat.  The two agents followed the trail to the bottom of the bar and pried open the door to the hiding place.
   This was the end of the road for the culprit, the game was up.  Clark and Eltis found the money along with several wet bar napkins made into a hideout with six of the gang still in it.  The agents gave the mob no chance to escape and quickly eliminated them all.  The missing money had been made into a nest and six baby rats were living there.
   But the big boss, the mother who had done all the stealing, was still at large.


25th Avn Bn Finally Finds a Little Bear

   The "Little Bears", of Co A, 25th Avn Bn, have been searching for an appropriate mascot since arriving in Vietnam.
   Throughout the division the Little Bears a have gained the reputation for reliable and effective air support, and of course, sought a small bear for a pet to compliment their name and fame.
   Although the idea of a bear for a mascot was accepted by the men, most felt it was a near impossible project since it was believed that bears just didn't exist in Vietnam.  And so a bevy of substitutes was tried.
   Chickens were too unpredictable - and ornery.  Puppies grew into shoddy mongrels who wouldn't give you a tumble unless you had a morsel of food with which to reward their haughty attention.  Monkeys were too mischievous and somewhat unclean.  The search continued for six months.
   One day in early October, while waiting for a passenger at the Special Forces Airstrip at Tay Ninh, 1st Lt. Robert McWilliams, 21, of Jonesboro. Ark., and WO Jon Jensen, 21, of Seattle were approached by a burly sergeant.
   "You gentlemen part of the Little Bears?" he asked.  As they gave an affirmative reply, the sergeant offered to provide the company with a mascot - a 12-pound bouncing baby bear.
   The search was over.  Seizing the opportunity, the two pilots quickly bartered for the prize, loaded the small black Honey bear on their UH-ID chopper and flew home to Cu Chi with the cutest bundle of beastly beauty they had ever seen.


Coatimundi Finds Home At 125th

   His tiny bright eyes glowed in the night as he stalked his prey.  Then, with a quick leap, "The Animal" struck.
   Actually "The Animal" is a harmless "Coatimundi" and the most he does is take a nip out of someone's ear.  But, on occasion, someone leaves his bed within reach of this playful cousin to the Raccoon and the game begins.
   "The Animal" by nature sleeps during the day and prowls at night.  As he is always tied down both day and night except when exercised, he wants his fun when everyone else is asleep.  This doesn't faze him.  He plays by himself and goes to the end of his rope.
   The men of Co B, 125th Sig Bn look on the animal as their mascot.  They acquired him while on an operation with another 25th Infantry Division unit near Trang Bang.


Capt. Walter R. Hays, Sp4 Terry G. Bell, Short Timer
DOG'S HONOR - PFC Short Timer, the 25th Med Bn's mascot, was recently awarded the Purple Heart and promoted to his present rank.  Capt. Walter R. Hays, H and Co A commander, pins on the medal with Sp4 Terry G. Bell assisting.  (Photo by Sp4 Todd Darch)


Unofficial Honor
   Short Timer Wins Purple Heart

   PFC Short Timer, the pride of the 25th Med Bn, received dual honors recently during award ceremonies at the Cu Chi base camp.
   PFC Timer was presented the Purple Heart for an injury suffered in Tay Ninh Province, about 65 miles northwest of Saigon, and was promoted to his present rank.  Making the presentation was Capt Walter R. Hays, commander of the battalion's Hq and Co A.
   The citation honoring the company's canine mascot read:
   "On or about August 20, while on an operation against a hostile force, Pvt. Short Timer was wounded while performing duties as a mascot and morale booster.  Having been on guard the previous night, Pvt. Short Timer was sleeping in her bunk, next to the ice cooler when sudden and violent artillery vibration caused a large block of ice to fall on Pvt. Short Timer's back, inflicting serious wounds.
   In spite of her serious condition, Pvt. Short Timer's will to live, coupled with excellent medical care and speedy medical evacuation by the 57th Air Ambulance Detachment, insured Pvt. Short Timer's return to her duties as Hq and Co A mascot."


VC Buffalo Refuses To Work for 25th

   PSgt. Dennis Collins, Co B, 2nd Bn, 1st Inf, 196th Lt Inf Bde, obviously appreciates irony.
   Recently he attempted to use a captured Viet Cong cart, complete with water buffaloes, to haul the platoon's mortars back to the command post.
   Leading the buffaloes like a farmer, the sergeant from Copperas Cove, Texas, had the situation well in hand until he approached the mortars.  Then his platoon started cheering him on with yells of "Ride 'em, Cowboy!"
   In Vietnamese, this might have gotten by, but the buffaloes panicked at the foreign language and headed off at full gallop, into the sunset.
   Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the platoon members carried the mortars themselves.



Monkeying Around

   Hunger pains tore at his stomach.  The charcoal broiled steaks sizzling on the fire teased the air.  Thinking the coast was clear, he sneaked close to the grill.
   PFC John W. DePew of Philadelphia, Pa., a cook with Trp F, 17th Cav, 196th Lt Inf Bde, spotted the culprit.  Grabbing an old shirt, he threw it over the intruder's head and pinned him against the side of the mess tent.
   After a brief struggle, the suspect succumbed to his captor and was taken to the orderly room for interrogation by Trp F Commander, Capt. Clyde W. Roan, who surmised that the captive was merely hungry and out to do no real harm.
   The prisoner was given a medical check, and it was decided to let him go free.  He was driven to the main gate and set free.
   The unfettered meddler sat on a bunker for a minute, looking at his captors, then the foot and a half high brown monkey scampered off into the jungle.


Page 6-7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


[This issue of Tropic Lightning News was scanned from a bound library volume provided by the 25th Infantry Division Museum.  Two of the photographs and one full column of text on pages 6 and 7 were printed across the center of the 2-page-wide sheet and are partially hidden from sight - the book could not be safely opened wide enough to see that part of the page.]




[The first two paragraphs were hidden in the center fold of the page]
...more comfortable environment for the men working there.
   Only a week old is the new Army Post Office, located behind the "Ilikai East" Service Club.  A new dental clinic, near Ward 4 at the 25th Med Bn, has also just been completed by the Engineers.  Current projects include the "Lightning Memorial Chapel" now under construction across from division headquarters.

Photos by Sp4 Todd C. Darch


Concrete For Floor


A Push For Progress


Local Civilians Help Out


Concrete For Floor


Men, Music and Machines


Better Water Drainage



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


725th Aids Units With 'Fix-It' Shop

   "Who needs the yellow pages when we have the 725th?"
   That's what the men of the "Tropic Lightning" division are saying about their 725th Maint Bn.  The 725th can replace or repair just about anything, be it the seat cushion in a jeep or the tube on a 175mm gun.
   In the fuel and electric shop parts from all the division's combat and combat support vehicle's fuel and electrical systems are repaired.  By keeping extra parts on hand, a mechanic can turn in a worn part and get a new one at the same time.  Vehicles are never out of service for long.
   Canvas repair is another big job.  Specially constructed cutting tables and heavy duty sewing machines are housed in a separate shop to facilitate tent repairs of all kinds.  In another shop new canvas covers replace the old on the seat of the division vehicles.
   A modern Army unit depends a lot on modern business machines to speed up its clerical work.  Like all machines, these typewriters, adding machines and calculators break down.  The specialist in the office machine repair shop car repair any kind of mechanical failure as well as handle the great increase in routine cleaning jobs caused by Vietnam's excessive dust.

SHARP EYES - One of the specialties of the 725th Maint Bn armament repair section is the subsection that services binoculars, sights and other optical equipment.  Here lenses are replaced and a new prism is fitted.  (Photo by PFC Ron Nelson)
SKILLED - Repairmen in the fuel and electric shop of the 725th Maint Bn work on carburetors and hydrovacs.  All repairable parts from the fuel and electric systems of the division's combat and support vehicles are brought to the shop for repairs.  (Photo By PFC Ron Nelson)


NEW SEAT COVER - Vietnam's weather and combat conditions can be rough on seat cushions.  Here a specialist in the 725th Maint Bn canvas repair shop prepares a new seat cover for sewing on one of the shop's heavy duty machines.  The men in the shop turn out about 50 cushions a day to be used by the division.  (Photo by PFC Ron Nelson)



42 Men
   New Mexico Family Adopts Division's Aero Rifle Platoon
By Sp4 Todd Darch

   Receiving letters from home at evening mail call is often said to be the best part of a soldier's day.  This is especially true for the American fighting man in Vietnam who is thousands of miles from home.  Even a short note containing bits of news and a few words of encouragement is a great help.
   Aware of this, the family of Mrs. Iva Jo Parratt of Carlsbad, N.M., decided to do something to let the men in Vietnam know that someone was thinking of them.
   Mrs. Parratt began by writing a blind letter to anyone in Vietnam who could supply her with the address of a platoon that she could not only write, but also adopt.  Knowing the best way to gain quick results was to start at the top, she addressed the letter to any major general in Vietnam.
   The letter was brought to the attention of Col. Robert J. Coakley, information officer for U.S. Army, Vietnam.  Col. Coakly thanked Mrs. Parratt for her voluntary offer to assist our fighting men a with this new and admirable method of correspondence."  He added that she would soon hear from a platoon.
   Her letter was forwarded to the "Tropic Lightning" Division.
   Once the letter arrived at Cu Chi, the Aero Rifle Platoon, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav was selected as the platoon to be adopted by the Parratts.
   Filled with enthusiasm after hearing from Col. Coakley, Mrs. Parratt did not wait to hear from the platoon.  She wrote directly to them using the partial address she had received from the colonel.
   In her first letter she introduced her family and explained why it wanted to adopt a unit in Vietnam.  She wrote, "I know letters from home are a help to the fighting men in Vietnam.  I love to write letters, so why shouldn't I help in the way I can?"
   She went on to describe each of her four children, "We have just purchased a new home," she added, "with an acre of land ..."  In closing, Mrs. Parratt confessed she didn't ever know many men were in a platoon but her family was anxiously waiting to hear from them.
   The letter was answered by the platoon leader, 1st Lt. John Alto, 24, of Seaside, Ore.  He thanked the Parratts for their thoughtful offer and then explained that they had just adopted 42 infantrymen.  He expressed hope that the Parratts would find the platoon and D Troop as interesting as she hoped.  Lt. Alto stated that the family's interest in the platoon was a great morale booster.
   In her return letter, Mrs. Parratt did not seem at all shocked by the adoption of 42 men, but was enthused with the project.  She wrote that since she was a Cub Scout den mother, Lt. Alto's information about the platoon was a great help to her.  She said that all of the children were very interested in what was happening in Vietnam.
   The platoon recently received a box of fudge from the Parratt family as well as the weekly letter.  The men of the Aero Rifle Platoon write as often as possible.


MAIL CALL - Mail never comes often enough for an American soldier in Vietnam.  Mail offers a brief escape from the war to the things at home, the things we are fighting for.  No matter how long a soldier has been in Vietnam, mail call is a welcomed sound.  A soldier of the 25th stops what he is doing to read the news from the home front.



Page 9                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966




25th Med Bn

   Congratulations go out to Capt. and Mrs. Albert G. Hennessy on the recent birth of their 8-pound baby boy.  Born early last week in Peeksville, NY., they have named their new son Timothy Michael.
   Timothy's father is commander of Co C.

25th Avn Bn
"Little Bears"

   Maj. Keith Rynott and 1st Lt. Charles Keadall have both returned from "compassionate" leave in the U.S.  Both of these "Little Bears" have come back, smiling, from a short honeymoon.
   The pilots were married this month, and the battalion extends hearty congratulations to these two ex-bachelors.
   Maj. Rynott, along with Capt. Terry Mix, have temporarily moved to II Field Forces headquarters.  They have been assigned as pilots to Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, division commander, who is presently serving as acting II Field Force commander.
   Meanwhile, Capt. James "Grace" Kelly and 1st Lt. Bob "Dancing Bear" McWilliams have taken over the flying chores for the "Tropic Lightning" commanding staff.

1/8th Arty
"Automatic Eight"

   SSgt. George N. Doll, 24, Mandon, N.D., and the men of Btry A, undoubtedly had their problems on Thanksgiving Day, trying to carve their hard-won turkey.
   To increase aid to the elementary school at Hiep Hoa, a battalion contest was started, the prize being a 35-pound turkey to the unit donating the most money.
   Sgt. Doll offered to double the highest donation in his unit, which turned out to be $20.  When he did, he put his battery in the winner's circle with a total unit donation of $160.  So the good sergeant had the turkey and the problem of slicing it among all the men in his battery.
   The men of Btry A may have eaten turkey all right, but they had to carve it into 102 equal pieces.

7/11th Arty
"On Time"

   Laurence C. Baxter and Steven D. Oulman were among the men of Btry C who were recently boosted into a higher income bracket.  Both of these men were promoted to first lieutenant.  Newly promoted SFC Nathan E. Hilliard received his advancement shortly before leaving the unit to join the 65th Engr Bn.  New sergeants in the "On Time" battalion include Leo L. Abram and Billy J. Hughley.
   The men of Btry C haven't gotten much chance to leave their weapons to visit some of the recreational facilities of the division.  So, they have constructed their own.
   A combination bar, game room, library and barber shop, the "rec hall" has a hexagon shape with three wings running from its sides.
   The hexagon itself is the main room which includes a bar with tables.  One wing is the game room, featuring bumper pool, ping pong and darts.  The second wing, known as the reading and writing room, has many books and magazines supplied by Special Services.  A unit barber shop is located in the third wing.
   Built entirely by the artillerymen, it is located just outside the base camp perimeter.
   Capt. Kenneth H. Cullman, battalion S-1, just missed perfect timing, birthday wise.  He  celebrated his birthday on November 9 with his fingers crossed.  But it wasn't till two days later that he became the father of Douglas Neil, born South Bend, Ind.


2nd Brigade Nears End Of 1st Year at Cu Chi;
Wolfhound Tells Views

   Within two months the 2nd Bde completes a year in Vietnam.
   As the "Fire Brigade's" men look back on their tour most have mixed emotions.  Sp4 Charles Dean, from Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds," tells of his 10 months.
   "I came over here from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, with the Wolfhounds.  Being with a unit as rough as them, I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  But I'm proud of them and was willing to go through the tour as one," said the 23-year old rifleman from New Washington, Ind.
   "The first three months were probably the roughest because we had to set up the Cu Chi base camp after fighting our way in.  But all the work made time go fast, and I don't think any part of the tour went as quickly as that.  When the rest of the division joined us, the "Wolfhounds" were kept busy clearing larger areas farther away.
   "As far as fear is concerned. I don't think anyone in the infantry puts it out of his head very long and now that I'm almost home, it seems a little worse.  But lots of faith, especially in yourself and your buddies, evens it out.  I'm not afraid now although it's hard when you think of the guys who came here with me but aren't going home with me.  That brings a little fear."
   "About the fourth month, supplies were easier to get, and we began seeing more soda and other snacks.  Then came the Enlisted Men's Club and Post Exchange and I think they helped morale a lot.  I think the biggest morale booster was mail though.
   "Operations scared me at first but as I got used to them I wasn't so jittery.  The more I saw of them, the more I realized how important it was that I be here.  They were hot and long but time went by fast in the field so I didn't mind too much.
   "I feel bad now that I'm leaving then but I can't wait to get home.


12th Evac Opens

   The 12th Evacuation Hospital officially opened yesterday at the Cu Chi base camp.
   Now considered in operation, the new facility, however, will not become fully operational until January 15, according to Lt. Col. J. L. Hannon, 12th Evac commander.
   At present the hospital has a 120-bed capacity.  Plans call for an additional 30 beds to be added by January 1.


196th Soldier Has Famed Cousin;
Related to Movie Actress Annette Funicello

   PFC Francis A. Funicello, 156th Sig. Platoon, 196th Light Infantry Bde, is sometimes known as "The Celebrity."  He's a third cousin of actress Annette Funicello of "Mickey mouse" fame.
   Asked if being cousin to the lovely actress hindered him in any way Funicello shyly remarked, "At times people come up to me and ask me to do something for them.  Being related to Annette they expect me to do it more efficiently and no questions asked."
   "Of course, my relation to Annette helps in many ways.  Wherever I go, soldiers ask the same question, Are you related to Annette?  This helps me to know many people."
   "Funny," as PFC Funicello is sometimes called, was born in Utica, N.Y.  Annette was also born in Utica, N.Y.
   He has done some acting in high school and college although his friends tell him he'll never make it.  They say he hasn't the figure.
   He keeps in touch with his cousin from time to time.  Annette invited him and his family to her wedding, but 12,000 miles is a long way to drive.
   After his tour in Vietnam PFC Funicello eventually plans to become an English teacher.  He also commented that he would like to do some acting.




Page 10                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


SP5 Andrew Piimauna SFC Ernest Ortiz SSG Emiliano, Sgt. Antonio Tolentino
CHOW DOWN - There's nothing like a luau, even if it is in Vietnam.  Native Hawaiians from the 25th gathered at the Iliaki East Service Club for the big cookout.  Left, Sp5 Andrew Piimauna prepares "kalua pig", center, SFC Ernest Ortiz stirs the rice, while, right, SSgt. Emiliano Temblor and Sgt. Antonio Tolentino cook steaks over charcoal to supplement the "kalua pig."  A pretty good supplement.



196th Honors Two

   A captain from the 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, and a lieutenant from the 2nd Bn, 1st. Inf, of the 196th Lt Inf Bde were awarded the Silver Star Medal in ceremonies recently.
   Capt. Russell De Vries of Wayland, Mass., Co. B 3/21 and Lt. Caleb R. Mills of Medina, Tenn., Co B, 2/1, were honored for action during Operation "Attleboro."
   Capt. De Vries was leading his men closely behind Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, when the Viet Cong opened up with automatic weapons, rifle grenades and small arms fire.  The estimated battalion of Viet Cong were well positioned and inflicted heavy casualties upon Co A.
   Capt. De Vries maneuvered his company left and came up on line with the pinned-down company.
   Running and crawling approximately 100 yards, within 35 yards of the VC under a mass barrage of bullets and thick undergrowth, Capt. De Vries personally maneuvered with his third platoon into a position to return fire.
   During the next five hours the captain controlled and inspired his men to continue the fire.
   Lt. Mills, the first platoon leader, received the nation's third highest award for valor for action November 5.
   The platoon was occupying a defensive perimeter when it was attacked and pinned down by heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire.
   As Lt. Mills directed his platoon's defense, an enemy mortar round landed in his command post, wounding him, his platoon sergeant and his radio-telephone operator.  Though suffering from severe neck wounds, Lt. Mills assisted in giving others medical treatment.  After he had evacuated the wounded men, he continued to command his platoon and help in evacuating casualties from adjacent units.
   The lieutenant stayed in command of his platoon until ordered to report to the rear for medical care.


A Letter From Osaka


Holy Family Home
Yamasaka Cho
Osaka, Japan

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand
Commanding Officer
25th Infantry Division

Dear Maj. Gen. Weyand
   You certainly have every reason to be proud of and pleased with the Division's "The 25th's 25th... in Combat."  Please know that we here at Holy Family, the children and sisters, are just as proud and pleased to not only have our own personal copy but to be worthy of such "priority" treatment.  The children do love the soldiers and feel very possessive about them all.
   They also think that Julie Andrews or "Maria" as they always call her is very special.
   Now that they appear along side of both the men and Maria you can be sure that their "Hang ga takaku natta," the Japanese expression "high nose," expresses a very self-satisfied attitude as a foreigner's big nose is a very enviable thing for the Japanese.
   Thank you so very much for sending us this wonderful book which will be an even more constant reminder for all of us to keep all the gallant, generous men in our grateful thoughts and prayers.
   Please accept the sympathy and prayers of the children and sisters for the many good, brave men, who recently paid the supreme price for the freedom of the world.  Just yesterday a letter from former "Wolfhound," Hugh O'Reilly, brought us the shocking and sad news of the deaths of the Commander of the Second Battalion of the 27th Inf, and 1st Sgt. Charles Solomon.  The letter stated that the price of defeat for the enemy meant heavy losses.
   This morning the children sang a Requiem Mass for the happy repose of their souls.  1st Sgt. Solomon captured their hearts when he was here just so short a time ago.  We lost a good and true friend.  May God grant him eternal rest.  He had told us that when he retired from the Army, he was going to enter the Peace Corps.  God thought it better to give him a "Peace" which no man can taketh away.
   God bless and protect you and all the men under your command.

Sister Margaret,
Sisters and children



Whistle - 1/5th Mech Drops All, Moves Out

   Far in the jungles of Tay Ninh Province, men of the 25th were battling an enemy force estimated at three times their size.  Reinforcements were desperately needed to turn the tide of battle.  Who would be called in for the rescue?
   The men of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, relaxed at their Cu Chi base camp after a difficult three-day problem.  Noncommissioned officers and enlisted men sat at their individual clubs and discussed their three-day experience; other men sat quietly enjoying an evening movie; still others washed off the accumulation of dirt they had picked up during their recent operation.
   Sounds of laughter and singing rang out from hootches, as men partied, wrote letters home to their families, and unpacked their field gear.  Everyone was happy to be back to their "Trojan City" of Cu Chi, but the enjoyment was not long to last.  There was work to be done in Tay Ninh, and soon a whistle's shrill sound could be heard.
   Men scrambled from their clubs, from the outdoor movie, men stopped singing and laughing, letters were left uncompleted, and field gear was thrown back into order, as the men prepared to move out again.
   Within a half hour the battalion's armored personnel carriers were loaded up and on the move to aid the other division troops in Tay Ninh.
   A few hours later the joint "Tropic Lightning" forces were pushing the enemy back from their dug-in position.


Xmas Tree Appears

   Capt. Charles B. Griffiths, the 8th Support Battalion's S-1 officer has scored a first.
   Capt. Griffiths, of Manassas, Va., can boast that he has received the first Christmas tree in the 196th Lt Inf Bde.
   The artificial tree, about eight feet high, was sent by Capt Griffith's wife, Mary, and his two children.  The children told their mother that "if we are going to have a Christmas tree, so is Daddy," said Capt. Griffiths.
   Along with the tree, the traditional ornaments were sent to Capt. Griffiths.
   "I plan to set the tree up in the battalion area.  There will be a trimming ceremony on the 24th of December," Capt. Griffiths said jokingly.


No Rest for Weary Viet Cong

   There is no rest for the weary and that includes the Viet Cong.
   Recently three Viet Cong tried to take a break from the war and found that there is no escape from the 25th artillery.  The three VC had taken a peanut break when artillery shells from a battery of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, broke up the party.
   The three were sitting in a little circle, relaxing and eating peanuts where they were observed by a patrol of infantrymen who decided to let the artillery end the sitting.
   A fire request was initiated, the guns roared, and right in the middle of the first course the party was over.  All that was left for the infantrymen to do was collect the scattered peanuts and express their regrets at being party crashers.


Cynthia Hickey SWEATER QUEEN - Cynthia Hickey was named Connecticut Sweater Queen at Palisades Amusement Park, N.J.  She will now represent her state in the National Sweater Queen Contest.



Page 11                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


Lt. Col. Webb at 3/4 Cav.
   Changes of Command

   Lt. Col. George Stanley Webb Jr recently assumed command of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.  Col. Webb is replacing Lt. Col. John R. Hendry, the new Chief of Analysis and Organization with II Field Force Vietnam, at Long Binh.
   Col. Webb, a graduate of the Military Academy, received his commission in the summer of 1946.  During the next year the colonel attended the Officers Basic Armor Course at Fort Knox, Ky.
   In 1947 Col. Webb was assigned to a cavalry regiment in Austria.  Then in 1949, he was transferred to the 63rd Heavy Tank Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division in Europe.  One year later he was with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Meade, Md.
   From 1951 to 1957, Col. Webb studied in the advanced Armor Officers Course; received his masters degree at Tulane University's Graduate School; and then was assigned to the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, N.C.  Col. Webb served the next three years with the intelligence (G-2) Section of the 8th Army Headquarters in Korea; with the 15th Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas; and in Mexico City serving as Assistant Military Attache and instructor in Mexico's War College.
   Then in 1964, he served with the 2nd Bn, 67th Armor, once more at Fort Hoed, and in early 1966, he was sent to Vietnam.
   It is from there that he has recently been transferred to the "Tropic Lightning" Division.

Lt. Col. George Webb
Some Words to The Men
Lt. Col. George Webb



Col. Shelton 2/27th Cmdr.

   Lt. Col. Henry R. Shelton, 36, of Stamardsville, Va., has assumed command of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
   Col. Shelton was formerly the operations officer for the divisions 1st Brigade.  With his new assignment came a promotion to lieutenant colonel.
   The colonel has served in Korea and Japan on overseas duty and stateside, he served at Camp Breckinridge, Ky.; Fort Benning, Ga., where he attended the Infantry School; and Ohio University, where he was assistant professor of military science.
   From 1963 to 1964 Col. Shelton attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  Following that duty he was assigned to the 25th at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he remained until the division moved to Vietnam.

Lt. Col. Henry Shelton Lt. Col. Henry Shelton



Lt. Col. Hyatt Takes 4/9th

   Lt. Col. Robert A. Hyatt has assumed command of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, "Manchu," replacing Lt. Col. Shepard A. Booth Jr.
   The ceremony was conducted in front of the assembled battalion with Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand, acting commander II Field Force, Vietnam, and 1st Brigade commanders from the 25th present.
   Col. Hyatt formerly served with the 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile as 1st Brigade (S-1 ) officer.  Prior to this, he attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
   The colonel was a member of the "Tropic Lightning" Division, as the 3rd Brigade operations (S-3) officer in Hawaii.
   Starting as a Naval seaman in World War II, Col. Hyatt attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1951.  His overseas tours of duty included service in Europe and Saudi Arabia.  He has attended the 82nd Airborne Division School, Infantry School, Language School and Special Warfare School.  The colonel was awarded a Senior Parachutist's badge during his assignment with the 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, N.C.
   Lt. Col. Booth leaves the Manchus for the Plans Office, Operations (G-3) Section, II Field Force, Vietnam.  He became battalion commander in January 1966 and headed the battalion's last field operation, "Lanikai," a joint American Vietnamese venture in Long An Province, now under operational control of the 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.


Know Your Division - Part One
By Spy Wayne Brendt

   (Editor's Note:  This is the first in a series of articles about organizations within the Division which serve you.)
   A person has only to visit and study the work of the Division's Awards and Decorations Branch to see how much work and research is done before a person receives an award or decoration.
   Of the more than 6500 awards that have been processed since the "Tropic Lightning" Division arrived in Vietnam, every one went through the A&D office and each followed the proper course to its approval.  The commanders of every company involved must approve.
   Capt. Plunket noted that the morale of any unit is tied directly to the A&D set-up.  He stated, "I think this section is a very important part of the division's morale.  The timely processing of awards contributes greatly to unit espirit de corps."
   The captain noted that it is the responsibility and privilege of every soldier to make a recommendation for an award.  Usually the commanding officer of the company makes the actual recommendation based on eye-witness statements.
   A proud note is the awards policy of the Division's commander in regards to deceased unit personnel.  It is his desire to award a decoration to every man who is killed in action.  The decoration goes to the Department of the Army for disposition and presentation to the next of kill.  This presentation is made by an officer or senior noncommissioned officer normally from the post nearest the home of the deceased's next of kin.

Capt. William Plunket Capt. William Plunket



Radio And TV
FRIDAY - Dec. 2

6:30 News Headlines
Information Please
8:00 Gunsmoke
7:00 Addams Family 9:00 Danny Kaye
7:30 News 10:00 The Tonight Show


1:30 News Headlines
Social Security
Football Game
Sportsmans Holliday
2:00 M-Squad 8:00 Ringling Bros. Circus
2:30 Candid Camera 9:00 Hollywood Palace
3:00 Town and Country 10:00 Late Show (Movie)
  Swingin' Country    
  Beverly Hillbillies    
  Andy Griffith    

SUNDAY - Dec 4

1:30 News Headlines 4:30 Football Game
  The Christophers 7:00 20th Century
  Sacred Heart 7:30 News
2:00 Silver Wings 8:00 Dick Van Dyke Show
2:30 Roger Miller 8:30 Joey Bishop Show
3:00 Sunday Matinee (Movie) 9:00 Bonanza
4:15 Sports Scoreboard 10:00 John Gary Show

MONDAY - Dec 5

6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 Combat
  National Education 9:00 Bewitched
7:00 The Flintstones 9:30 Third Man
7:30 News 10:00 Dean Martin


6:30 News - Headlines 7:30 News
  What's My Line 8:00 Rawhide
7:00 My Favorite Martial 9:00 12 O'Clock High
    10:00 To Be Announced


6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 Perry Mason
  Information Feature 9:00 Micky Finn's
7:00 Batman (Part 1) 9:30 Channel 11 (Movie)
7:30 News    


6:30 News - Headlines 8:00 The F.B.I.
  Wonders of the World 9:00 Hazel
7:00 Batman (Part 2) 9:30 Have Gun Will Travel
7:30 News 10:00 Milton Berle

Saigon 540ke                          1330ke Cu Chi

0005 Be Still and Know 1220 USO Show
0007 Sign Off/On 1305 Feature Report
0015 Night Train 1330 Cu Chi Special
0305 Small World 1405 Country Music
0405 Bill Stewart Show 1505 Afternoon Break
0505 Country Corner 1705 Monitor
0600 Expanded News (10) 1800 News and Sports (30)
0610 Meditations 1830 Music By Candlelight
0615 Dawnbuster 1905 Swinging 60's
0705 Morning Meditations 2005 Jazz Concert
0710 Dawnbuster 2030 Night Beat
0830 Cu Chi Special 2105 Aussie News
0905 Bill Stewart Show 2110 Night Beat
1005 Destination Noon 2200 News and Sports (30)
1200 News & Sports 2230 Night Beat


0005 Be Still and Know 1330 Cu Chi Special
0007 Sign Off/On 1355 Point of Law
0015 Jazz Show Case 1400 Country Music
0105 Night Train 1455 News (5)
0505 Jim Peters 1500 Football
0600 News (10) 1705 Bolero Time
0610 Meditations 1800 News & Sports (30)
0615 Dawnbuster 1839 Candlelight Music
0705 Mediatations 1905 Sammy Davis Show
0710 Dawnbuster 2005 Grand Ole Opry
0905 Polka Party 2105 Aussie News
1005 Saturday Swing 2110 Night Beat
1200 News and Sports (30) 2200 News and Sports (30)
1230 Navy Hour 2230 Night Beat
1255 World of Money 2305 Patty Show
1305 Feature Report    


0005 Be Still and Know 1305 Panorama
0007 Sign Off/On 1455 News (5)
0015 Night Train 1500 Football
0505 Jim Ameche 1705 Afternoon Music
0600 News (10) 1800 News & Sports (30)
0610 Morning Music 1830 Candlelight Music
0805 Tabernacle 1905 Roger Carroll
0830 Protestant Hour 2005 Footlights, Soundtracks
0905 Message of Israel 2105 Aussie News
0930 Hour of the Crucified 2115 Night Beat
1005 Morning Music 2200 News & Sports (30)
1200 News and Sports (30) 2230 Night Beat
1230 Army Hour 2305 Night Life
1255 World of Money    



Page 12                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 2, 1966


Medal Winner
   Experience Is Artist's Guide

   John A. Fekete, a combat artist at Cu Chi, is the type that anybody who has been out in the field more than once takes pleasure in joking about the relatively "soft" job he holds.
   The mild and quiet features that define his character, single him out as a newly arrived, green and altogether impressionable person - the kind of guy you'd like to tell a war story to.
   PFC Fekete has quite a story himself.  Before being assigned to the Combat Artist's Group, PFC Fekete was a member of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" where he served as a rifleman for a period of six months.
PFC John A. Fekete   On August 24, 1966, shortly before being recalled from field duty to assist the then newly forming Combat Artist's Group, PFC Fekete was part of a daylight ambush patrol conducting a routine mission northwest of the division's base camp.
   The patrol had just reached its objective and was securing its position when it came under intense fire from enemy troops hidden by the dense jungle foliage.
   The numerically superior enemy force employing recoilless rifles, several machine guns, numerous automatic and other small arms weapons in addition to supporting 60mm mortars, threatened to overrun the patrol.
   In an effort to confuse the Viet Cong and attract attention away from his pinned down companions, PFC Fekete engaged the attackers while exposing himself to the vicious onslaught of fire along his own perimeter.
   Hampered by a serious loss of blood from a wound received during the initial attack, PFC Fekete refused medical assistance and continued to fight.
   On several occasions during the frantic battle, PFC Fekete single-handedly repelled enemy assaults on his position.
   It was not until much later, when the Viet Cong finally broke contact and fled, that he allowed himself to be treated by the company medics.
   As a result of his deeds during this particular action, PFC Fekete was awarded the nation's fourth highest honor for valor, the Bronze Star Medal with "V"device and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster.
   PFC John A. Fekete, creator of Cu Chi Charlie, the friendly VC.  A gentle and quiet type and altogether impressionable - the kind of guy you'd like to tell a war story to.


Lt. Crafton Speaks On Infantry OCS

   "You've got to have the desire and determination to develop leadership ability in order to graduate from Officer Candidate School," said 1st Lt. Dale R. Crafton, a 1965 graduate of Infantry OCS.
   Lt. Crafton, recon platoon leader, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, said that candidates must have the desire to become a leader and determination to complete the course to graduate today; you do not merely have to qualify and enroll to graduate.
   The 20-year-old lieutenant is a career soldier.  Explaining why he decided to attend OCS he said, "I feel I can serve the Army better as a commissioned officer than as an NCO."
   Lt. Crafton points out that you learn a lot about yourself at OCS.  "You find out fast if you've got what it takes to 'make it' in later life.  A lot of responsibility suddenly falls on your shoulders," he said.
   Harassment was the most difficult part of OCS, according to the Indiana native.  But he explained that the constant harassment conditions your mental strain - the same strain you'll face under combat conditions.
   OCS instructors agree, if you can demonstrate leadership under the mental strain at OCS, you'll be a capable leader during trying combat situations.
   Among the many benefits gained by OCS graduates, Lt. Crafton singles out self-confidence as the most important.  Also, graduating from OCS as a 2nd lieutenant your pay is sizably increased.  For example, a graduate with less than two years service will make $303.90 plus applicable allowances.

Lt. Dale Crafton Lt. Dale Crafton



1/8th Fires 150,000th

   The 1st Bn, 8th Arty, commanded by Lt. Col. James W. Cannon, fired its 150,000th round at a Viet Cong position in War Zone C, recently.
   The 8th Artillery went over the 150,000th mark on Operation "Attleboro," firing more than 22,300 rounds in less than 12 days.
   The artillerymen were providing constant support for 25th Division Inf. units, sometimes firing up to five hours without a rest.  In addition to the constant fire, the men of the "Automatic 8th" moved their fire bases several times to lend support to the moving infantry units.
   The artillerymen were credited with 27 enemy dead and a number of enemy wounded while firing at enemy targets.


PRAISE - Gen. W. C. Westmoreland praises the men of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds" at Tay Ninh after their heroic performance during the battle of Dau Tieng in War Zone C.  (Photo by PFC Doug Kearney) Gen. W. C. Westmoreland



Specials on Cu Chi Radio

   Armed Forces Radio, Cu Chi, (1330kc) yesterday began broadcasting two half-hour local specials.
   Called the "Cu Chi Special" the two half hour daily segments will be heard from 3:30 to 9 a.m. and from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1:30 to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
   The show will feature News about the 25th Division, plus music and special features.


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 01-26-2008

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