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Vol 1 No. 44                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                December 23, 1966



Unit                     Page Unit                    Page Unit                    Page Unit                      Page
1/5                3 196th Inf          9 2/35               2 3/4 Cav            3
1/5 Photo          3 196th Inf         10 25th Inf Div       1 4/31               3
1/14               2 196th Inf         12 25th Inf Photo     3 4/31              10
1/14 Photo         2 2/1               10 25th Inf Photo     4 4/31              12
1/14 Photo        10 2/1               11 25th Inf           5 65th Engr Photo    5
1/35 Photo         2 2/9 Arty Photo    10 25th Inf Photos    6 725th Maint        8
125th Signal       9 2/14               9 25th Avn Bn        9 725th Maint Photos 8
196th Inf          5 2/27               3 25th HHC           9 Gen Harold Johnson12
196th Inf          8 2/27 Photo         3 25th S&T Photo    11 MG Fred Weyand     1
196th Inf          8 2/31               5 25th S&T          11 Stanley Resor     12
196th Inf          9 2/35               2 3rd Bde Photo      2  


25th Readies to Observe Silent Night


48-Hour Cease Fire Marks Yule

   The 25th Infantry Division readies to observe the blessings of Christmas 1966 with turkey, carols and prayer.
   At Cu Chi, Pleiku, Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh, men who have fought for a year will put down their weapons to lift up prayer books at the beginning of the 48-hour cease fire.
   The Christmas cease fire will begin at 7 a.m. tomorrow and end at 7 a.m. December 26.
   During the short respite from the war the men will celebrate the birth of Christ in song and prayer.
   At Cu Chi, the 25th Division Band and Artillery Chorus has scheduled five "Christmas in Song" programs for Christmas Eve.
   The program begins at 6:30 p.m. at 25th Div Arty Hqs, 7:30 p.m. at 2nd Bn., 27th Inf., chapel area; 8:30 p.m. at the 65th Engr. Bn. Chapel; 9:30 p.m. at the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf. theater, and 10:30 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel at division headquarters.  The program will be heard over Tropic Lightning Radio, 1330 on your dial, at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
   At midnight, masses will be held at the Memorial Chapel; 7th Surgical Hospital, nurses lounge; Div Arty Hospital, 4/23rd battalion area; and at the 2nd Brigade headquarters area.
   Santa Claus has already done his job.
   In the last few weeks, Santa and his little APO helper; have been hustling to deliver all the gifts from America.  There isn't an office without a tree or a tree without a present.  And there's candy enough to fill even Charlie's stocking.
   But that's not the only food.
   Christmas Day, according to the Division Food Service office, will feature a meal of shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce and crackers, snowflaked potato; 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.
   It may not be a White Christmas, but it will be as good as you and I and all the rest of the "Tropic Lightning" and "Charger" soldiers know how to make it.


Don't we wish.



Santa Awarded DFC For Battle With VC

   Santa Claus, a well-known veteran of many campaigns, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross recently for bravery in connection with military operations against a hostile force in Vietnam.
   Santa, the commanding officer of the 8th Aerial Reindeer Troop, was participating on a mission to land supplies at Dau Tieng, Pleiku, Tay Ninh and Cu Chi on or about December 25.
   As his sleigh, which is armed with M-60 machine guns and grenade launchers, moved over Boi Loi Woods, Viet Cong opened up with automatic weapons and recoilless rifles.
   Rudolph, a red-nosed reindeer, spotted the Viet Cong positions, and Santa's Little Helpers, his Elves, opened up with a withering line of fire.
   Elf casualties were reported as light.
   With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Santa maneuvered his sleigh into a position where fire could he directed toward the enemy.
   Through his efforts men of the 25th Division were able to receive their Christmas presents on time.
   Santa Claus' actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Christmas service and reflect great credit upon himself, motherhood, apple pie and at least a billion of the world's children.

1966 Christmas Message

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand

Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand


   For the men of the 25th Infantry Division this Christmas will be spent thousands of miles from family and loved ones.  It will he spent amid a battle-torn land - made so by the oppressive forces of communism.  It will not be perhaps a truly joyous holiday yet it shall remind us of our true goal of "peace on earth, good will toward men."
   Our armed forces and the 25th Division alone have fought in many battles on many fronts to secure peace.  Our nation readily answers the call where freedom and liberty, our basic rights, are in danger of being lost.  For nearly 200 years since the founding of our United States, we have fought enemies who would seek to destroy the principles upon which our way of life is based.  Today we are in Vietnam with the same cause - to help people who believe as we in freedom and peace for all men.
   In the true spirit of Christmas I ask that we remember our comrades who have given their blood and their lives for this cause and those native to this troubled land who are less fortunate than we.  Let our prayers be for them and for a future of peace in all lands.

Major General, USA



Latest Reports
Through December 27

Operation Province Began FC KIA VCC VCS
Lanikai Long An Sept. 15 L 47 9 58
Paul Rev. IV Pleiku Oct. 18 L 964 87 104
Ala Moana Hau Nghia Dec. 1 L 27 2 83



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


Grenades Do It
   NVA Bunker Blasted

   "It's miraculous, nobody's hit."  That was Lt. Frank White's answer to his company commander after the lieutenant and two men from his platoon had been pinned down for 50 minutes only 15 feet from a North Vietnamese Army machine gun firing from a bunker.
   Lt. While, 23, Bronx, N.Y., is platoon leader of Co B, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf.  Along with his radio-telephone operator PFC Edward Crawford, 19, of Shelton, Wash., and PFC Alva Wilson of Lake City, S.C., a rifleman, Lt. White had gone some 30 yards in front of the platoon to check out the bunker.
   The trio was only 15 feet from the emplacement when the machine gun opened up on them and they were unable to turn back.
   During the 50 minutes that they were pinned down about one thousand rounds were fired at them.  The rounds landed all around them but miraculously no one was hit.
   The company commander called Lt. White and asked him where he wanted air strikes to hit.  The platoon leader replied, "About 65 yards from where I am."  Four jets came in but the air strike failed to knock out the enemy bunker.  PFC Wilson's grenade launcher wouldn't effectively demolish the bunker either.
   Lt. White told the two men to cover him so that he could hit the bunker.  PFC Wilson said. "No, I'll get it with a grenade," and charged the bunker under protective fire from the other two men.  He hurled two hand grenades into the bunker, knocking it out."


Gallant 1/14th Col. Given Silver Star

   The Silver Star, the nation's third highest award for valor, was presented to Lt. Col. Gilbert Proctor Jr., commander of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf "Golden Dragons," part of the 3rd Brigade Task Force.
   The presentation was made by Lt. Gen. Stanley R. Larsen, I Field Force, Vietnam, commander.
   Col. Proctor was cited for his gallant actions and inspiring leadership against two battalions of the North Vietnamese Army November 19 in the central highlands of Vietnam.
   As soon as it became clear that his battalion was engaged in a fierce fire fight, he landed by helicopter in the rear of the engaged forces.  He then learned that two company commanders involved in the action were casualties and immediately reconstituted the chain of command of each company.
   He supervised the coordination of the artillery air support and the extraction of the seriously wounded.  In the morning, he swept the area surrounding the battle site with his forces and ordered a well-organized movement to secure the area.
   On the following day, Col. Proctor led his men straight back into the area of this fierce battle to reengage the enemy and continue the fight.
   The result of the battle was 166 North Vietnamese soldiers killed.
   Throughout the engagement Col. Proctor remained extremely calm and commanded his battalion in an orderly, thoughtful manner, always maintaining a determined force by his personal example of confidence and determination.


Summertime, But...

1/35th Inf soldiers fishing


THE LIVING AIN'T EASY - Men of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, "Cacti Green" take time out during a lull in the fighting to get some fishing done from an improvised bridge near Pleiku.  (Photo by Sgt. Michael N. Horowitz)



Charlie Snubs Sergeant;  Sergeant Snubs Charlie

   In Vietnam, you expect the unexpected.  Sgt. Larry Styden, 20, of Gurnee, Ill., therefore, was ready for anything as his squad and the rest of the 3rd Platoon from Co B, 2nd Bn, 35th Inf, was moving on line through suspected enemy territory.
   After taking ten steps through the dense vegetation he found himself about six feet from two North Vietnamese Army (NVA) soldiers and proceeded to end their Army career with a 20-round blast from his rifle.  Then he dove behind a tree.
   When he was behind the tree he stuck his head out and yelled, "Charlie, Charlie, you still have a chance to surrender."
   Almost before he finished speaking a 40-round burst from an NVA machine gun hit the tree.  Several splinters hit Sgt. Styden, but that was the extent of his injuries.
   As soon as Sgt. Styden had pulled back to the line, Sp4 Thomas Coleman, 20, of Scottsburg, Va., moved over to the platoon leader and waited for the command to fire his machine gun.
   When he was ready to fire he raised himself off the ground and called out "Charlie don't start no stuff and there won't be no stuff."  Then a machine gun burst hit three inches above his head.  He dropped down and fired a 250-round burst killing one NVA.
   The fire fight went on for three more hours before the enemy broke contact.  Both Sgt. Styden and Sp4 Coleman decided after the encounter that they weren't going to be on speaking terms with "Charlie" anymore.


Ky Awards Two Commanders at Pleiku

Premier Ky, Col. James Shanahan Premier Ky, Lt. Col. Gilbert Proctor

A Day for the Broncos
Premier Ky pins Vietnam's highest award on. Col. James G. Shanahan (l), and Lt. Col. Gilbert Proctor (r).


   Col. James G. Shanahan, commander of the division's 3rd Brigade, received the Gallantry Cross with Palm, Vietnamese National Order 5th Class, the highest award presented by the South Vietnamese government to a foreign soldier.
   Also presented the award was Lt. Col. Gilbert Proctor Jr., commander of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf., Golden Dragons, serving in the 3rd Brigade Task Force.
   Premier Nguyen Cao Ky presented the two awards to Col. Shanahan and Col. Proctor in a formal ceremony at the division's 3rd Brigade Task Force forward command post.  The awards were given for their outstanding command and control of their respective units and their gallant service and significant contribution to South Vietnamese success against the North Vietnamese Army in the central highlands during Operation "Paul Revere IV".
   Speaking as a fighter and not as a politician, Premier Ky said that with his halting English, he could never express his gratitude to the American soldiers for their tremendous sacrifice.
   "I want to meet soldiers from all allied nations fighting this war more often," he said.  "It is a great thing you are doing for the Vietnamese people, for America, and for history," he concluded.


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


PFC Stops Track Fire, Saves Govt. 30Gs

   PFC Wilfred C. Grajales of Bacamon, Puerto Rico, recently saved the Army more than $30,000 while on a 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf., action during Operation "Ala Moana" , in the famed Boi Loi Woods.
   PFC Grajales, a 25-year-old from Hq and Hq Co's 4.2 mortar platoon, was riding atop his armored personnel carrier (APC) when a tremendous explosion rocked the track to his rear.
   "We were following 15 tracks around the edge of a rice paddy when we hit a mine," explained Sgt. Russell E. Richardson, the driver of the damaged vehicle.  "At first I thought it was a 57mm (recoilless rifle) because so many tracks had gone over the same path ahead of us without setting it off.
   "I released my seat and dropped to check my men and the condition of the track," continued the sergeant.  "But by the time I turned all the men had jumped to safety.  Then I saw the smoke billowing from the track and abandoned the vehicle myself."
   At the rear of the mortar carrier, flames engulfed 4.2 mortar cannisters, threatening to blow the track at any moment.  Powder charges flared from the steel shelves which contained over 90 explosives.  The track seemed certainly doomed.
   Fifty yards to the front of the crippled track, PFC Grajales was yelling to his driver to stop his vehicle.  Then, jumping from its top, ran to aid the burning vehicle's crew.
   "I checked to see if there was anyone left inside the track but everybody had cleared out," related the private.  "I grabbed the fire extinguisher and started spraying the shelves.  But the extinguisher couldn't put out the fire, so I started pulling out the ammo cannisters."
   Flaming cannisters were hurled out and disarmed as the fire inside kept increasing.  Rocket propellant began going off but fortunately the fire had not reached the explosive element.
   "I knew I was working against time and I had to get that fire out or a lot of people in the area would've gotten hurt," sputtered PFC Grajales.
   More flaming cannisters were hurled out and soon all that was quickly cut and blown away by the wind.  The vehicle was saved.
   Because of PFC Grajales bravery, armored mortar carrier Number 74 was back in the fight against the Viet Cong 24 hours after the action.


RIDE 'EM - A command track from Hq Co of the 1st Bn, 5th Inf., takes advantage of a dike while skirting around the edge of the Boi Loi Woods.  The 5th infantrymen are operating in the woods during Operation "Ala Moana."  (Photo by Sp5 Robert E. Williams)



PFC Duels in Dark Tunnel, Kills One Baggy Cong PJ

   Being a "tunnel rat," one has to move cautiously and be ready for anything when searching for the VC in his underground sanctuary.
   PFC Richard P. Magnusson of Wochester, Mass., was just that, and perhaps a bit hasty.
   PFC Magnusson was on a patrol with Co A, 4th Bn, 31st Inf, when a tunnel was discovered in a Viet Cong village.  The Infantryman was sent clown to investigate the hole.
   He want straight down three feet and then started ahead, crawling about four feet when be discovered the tunnel was L-shaped.  Cautiously, with a strong grip on his.45 caliber pistol and flashlight, PFC Magnusson crept toward the re-routed hole.
   "I pointed my flashlight around the corner and caught a quick glimpse of what looked like a figure crawling away.  I fired a shot and hurried back to the surface to report my find," said PFC Magnusson.
   Climbing out of the tunnel, PFC Magnusson approached his platoon leader and excitedly told of how he had shot a Viet Cong in the lower back side of his anatomy.
   PFC Magnusson again entered the tunnel with a little anxiety to see the results of his actions.
   Minutes later, PFC Magnusson reappeared from the tunnel with a disheartened expression.  He  was carrying a bundle of medical supplies wrapped in a bulging pair of black pajamas.
   Over the laughter of his fellow soldiers, PFC Magnusson simply muttered, "What can I say?"


LRRP Action Ends in 4 VC KIA, One Distinguished Flying Cross

   Routine patrol by members of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), 3rd Sqd, 4th Cav, resulted in the death of four Viet Cong and the second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to a "Tropic Lightning" aviator involved in the action.
   The recent skirmish took place 15 miles north of the Cu Chi base camp.
   "The term had moved about 200 meters west of a river bank when it spotted four Viet Cong," said 1st Lt. Gerald D. Traxler, 22, of Fresno, Calif.
   Lt. Traxler, who is the executive officer of LRRP, was observing the action from a command control helicopter overhead.
   After observing the four enemy for some time, the team called for extraction.  As it marked the landing zone, the team received heavy automatic weapons fire from the north, south and east.  Returning the fire the LRRP team killed four VC to the front.
   Two of the enemy were downed with one shot from an M-16.  As the hostile machine gun fire became more intense it was evident that to save the patrol members, the extraction ship would have to set down in the lead-infested landing zone.  This task was assigned to Maj. Myron E. Squires, 33, of St. Petersburg, Fla.
   As aircraft commander, Maj. Squires landed his ship, which had became a target of the hostile fire, and enabled the safe extraction of the patrol.
   For his daring actions, which were completed without loss of personnel or equipment, Maj. Squires received the Distinguished Flying Cross.


Col. Herbert S. Lowe DECORATIONS - Col. Herbert S. Lowe, Support Command commander, judges decorations made for the holiday by Catholic children in the Cu Chi area at the village's Catholic School.  Chaplain (Maj) Maurice J. Errico, a division chaplain (sitting, background), and a Vietnamese priest at the school look on.



Former Platoon Leader Gets SS For Gallantry in Boi Loi Woods

   1st Lt. Michael J. Kowalchik, the assistant commandant of the 25th Division's Lightning Ambush Academy, was awarded the Silver Star recently for gallantry in action during a fierce battle in the Boi Loi Woods last May 19.
   Lt. Kowalchik, then a platoon leader with the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf., "Wolfhounds," was on a multi-battalion operation in the Viet Cong jungle haven 30 miles northwest of Saigon.  Suddenly, the company was hit with several automatic weapons from well fortified bunkers to its front.
   During the opening minutes of the 2-1/2 hour battle heavy fire pinned the Wolfhounds down.  During this time Lt. Kowalchik moved from position to position encouraging the men and extracting the wounded.  While doing this, the lieutenant was wounded twice in the chest and once in the shoulder.  Despite his wounds, he kept maneuvering to help the men while pouring fire into the enemy bunkers from different locations in order to confuse them.
   "They hit us hard right from the beginning," said the lieutenant.  "It took a few moments to realize what was happening and by then we had taken some casualties.  The first part of the battle was the roughest but after that, we turned the tide on them."


CHECKING IT OUT - Infantrymen from the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, check out a trench they discovered in a small clearing deep in the Boi Loi Woods.



Page 4                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966



SSgt. Edward A. Collick, Co B, 2nd Bn, 1st Inf. Sgt. William Minchew Jr, Trp A, 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav.
1st Lt. Lewis L. Barger Jr, Trp D, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav. Sgt. James R. Pearson, Trp D, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav. (Posthumously)
1st Lt. Charles H. Burghardt, HHB, 25th Div Arty.
1st Lt. Billy D. Powers, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf.
2nd Lt. William A. Santerini, Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty.
SSgt. John C. Ardis, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf. (Posthumously)
SSgt. Marion Jordan, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
SSgt. James E. Joslyn, Trp A, 3rd Sqdn. 4th Cav. (Posthumously)
SSgt. Konelio Sagiao. Trp A, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
SFC Ralph C. Trembly, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sp4 Jimmy H. Jackson, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sp4 Kenneth E. Shrum, Trp A, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav. (Posthumously)
Sgt. Michael McGonagle, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 John DeBarber, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 William W. English, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 Jerry W. Hauf. Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 Keith E. Hix, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Billy Lee, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf.
Sp4 Larry Van Clief, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
Sp4 Johnny W, Wright, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
PFC Efrain Carreras, Co A, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC Hubert L. Lee Jr, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
PFC Thomas J. Ontiveros, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
PFC Ralph G. Till, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf.
1st Lt. Richard M. Healy, Co A, 25th Avn Bn.
1st Lt. Walter R. Mace, Co A, 25th Avn Bn.
Sgt. Eugene L. Bowen, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp5 John Strange, Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
Sp4 Leo G. Milham, Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
Sp4 Rexel D. Mize, Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
Sp4 Gary L. Taylor, Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
SSgt. Daniel M. Java, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf.
Sp4 Edward Ortiz, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC Tirgil E. Clark, Co B. 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC Leonard Niles, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC Daniel A. Ness, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.
PFC Douglas W. Sidnt, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf.



Knowledge of Customs Laws May Save Your Hard Earnings

   (Editor's Note: The following article, the first in a series of three, is reprinted from the November 1966 issue of the Army Digest. It was authored by Capt. F. W. Keenan, JAGC, U.S. Army.  Capt. Keenan is assigned to the Legal Assistance Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Department of the Army.)
   Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so it is to the service man's own benefit to know the ins and outs of customs laws.  The many useful and exotic items that can be purchased overseas - cameras, tape recorders, articles of clothing or souvenirs can become a source of major difficulty to the serviceman sending them to friends and relatives as gifts or importing them through U.S. Customs upon return to the states.
   Any person in the United States may receive gifts from the serviceman stationed anywhere overseas free of customs duty provided the total value of all gift shipments received by the addressee in one day does not exceed ten dollars.  Each package sent should be clearly marked "gift enclosed" on the outside with the value indicated.  Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not included in this exemption, nor are perfumes valued at more than one dollar.
   Recent changes in the Customs Law now permit a serviceman serving in Vietnam to ship home $50 worth of merchandise duty free if the articles were purchased as gifts in a military exchange.
   Any servicemen returning to the United States under government orders following extended duty overseas is allowed free entry of his personal and household effects including automobiles.
   Articles taken with him from the United States do not need to be declared to customs.
   If an article taken from the U.S. has been repaired in a foreign country, the cost of repairs should be listed on the declaration.
   If the repaired or altered article is changed sufficiently to become a different article, it must he declared, at its full valve.
   All articles acquired abroad must be listed together with the actual prices paid on a baggage declaration form.  If you acquired articles other than by purchase, such as gifts, you should list their fair market value.



   Christmas - 1966

   Christmas means different things to different people.  A lot depends on where we are.  Many of us are fortunate this Christmastide to be with family and friends.  Many of us are far away from home on this, the happiest of holidays.
   But there's one thing about Christmas - its spirit is so infectious no one except a modern-day Scrooge can hide from it.
   Under normal conditions we know Christmas as a day for carolers, holly, poinsettia and mistletoe.  We know it as a family day of feasting and exchange of gifts.
   More important, however, we know it as the day hearts are gladdened and spirits lifted by the story of Christ's birth.
   We need not be in the comfort of our home to be filled with the spirit of Christmas.  It happens everywhere, to everyone.
   Sure, it would be great if the Christmas spirit could engulf all men and change the world.  No more envy, fighting, bickering for power.  Just peace to all men.
   Unfortunately there are some nations, and men, in the world today who don't see it that way.  They would enslave free men.
   That is why some of us cannot be home for Christmas - 1966.


BG Bernard Rogers, Col. Robert Offley, Capt. Roy Gemberling VISIT - Brig. Gen. Bernard E. Rogers, the newly assigned Assistant Division Commander for the 1st Inf. Div, visits the 25th Division's base camp.  The general is being escorted by Col. Robert H. Offley Jr., the II Field Force Escort Officer, and Capt. Roy D. Gemberling, the division's Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Staff.  (Photo by Sp5 Edward Rooney)



Free Mail Now Includes Tapes

   President Johnson has signed into law H.R. 13448 extending free mail privileges for servicemen to include recorded messages in addition to letters and cards.
   "This means that our men in Vietnam can send home, postage-free, the sound of their own voices - and in some small way help ease the burden of being apart through words of love and reassurance," the President said.
   He noted that the bill "will help bridge the distance between our servicemen in Vietnam and their families at home."
   The President pointed out the new law will also help speed newspapers and magazines "to our men in Vietnam by available airlift at lower surface mail.  We are speeding their mail - more than two-million pounds every month."
   la another area regarding servicemen in Vietnam, President Johnson said, "They are receiving the fastest and most modern medical care in the world, the remarkable care that saves the lives of almost 90 percent of those wounded."


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 23, 1966


'I Say There, Chap, A Jolly Good Show'
By PFC Andy Jensen

   A unit of the 25th Division operating southwest of Saigon often hears a strange voice over the radio.
   The voice is that of an Australian Forward Air Controller (FAC) pilot.  He is in the Republic of Vietnam learning FAC operations American style.
   Sometime in the early morning hours the radio in the unit's Tactical Operation Center (TOC) crackles and a voice is heard to say:
   "I say there Tiger 41 this is Hopper 35.  Good morning".
   This is not the proper opening to a radio conversation, but to the Australians it is the way it should be done.  One morning the greeting came along with a request for targets.
   "Tiger 41, this is Hopper 35.  Have you boys got anything that you want looked over from up here?"
   "Hopper 35, this is Tiger 41.  Take a look at grid square 21, over."
   "Right oh, 41.  We'll have a go at it."
   Moments later, "I say, 41, this is Hopper 35.  I do believe I've got something for you old chap.  Why don't you have a look at it."
   "Hopper 35, this is Tiger 41.  Will send gunships.  Identify target, over."
   "Hello 41, looks like four blighters running for the bush.  Mind if I stay and watch the fun?"
   "This is Tiger 41.  Stay in the area and mark for gunships, over."
   "I say, 41, they are here and putting on a jolly good show, they are.  You should be here to see it, 41.  Quite good aren't they?"
   "This is Tiger 41.  That's a Roger.  Advise when action is through and results, over."
   "It's all over now, old boy, and looks like he got them all.  Good shooting, what?"
   "This is Tiger 41.  That's a Roger.  Thanks much, over."
   "Quite all right you know, any time to be of service.  See you tomorrow, toodle-oo, or as you boys say it, over and out."
   The man called Tiger 41 stared at the radio and then thumbed through an Army communications manual.  With a smile and a sigh of relief, he commented, "They would never believe it, never in a million years."




By Sgt. Bill Becker

   DEEP IN GERMANY'S Southern Bavaria, in the land of the Hofbrauhaus, the Alps and passable imitations of both, Christmas is different than it is here in Vietnam.
   There is snow, of course, and modest decorations.  There are occasional carolers and Christmas trees cut for tradition's sake from oceans of evergreen forests.  And, although Christmas finds itself nearly lost in the sandwich of two giant holidays - the Octoberfest and Fasching - Yuletide in Germany still brings to mind the mysteries behind the genesis of things.
   So, if I may pick up the fumbled forte of columnist Bill Barringer, I will introduce a new sidelight called "GENESIS" - a feature, in the words of the famous orator and columnist Frank Patrick, "which will undoubtedly be abandoned in the near future."
          In the Beginning
   GENESIS OF A RICE PADDY: Long ago, about two centuries after the birth of Vietnam in fact, two small children, a boy and a girl, padded through the watery wastelands of this country in hot pursuit of a brilliant and multi-bladed star.
   The two had been sleeping in their humble hut of mud and elephant grass and had awakened to find the light of the star pinpointed in their doorway.  Awed by the spectacle, the children arose and looked out.  An apparition greeted them, an apparition of a massive dragon breathing fire and a tiny maiden breathing sweetness.  The maiden motioned for them to follow.
          Purse of Rice
   THE CHILDREN could not resist.  They stumbled from under the roof of the hut and came upon a small leather purse full of rice.  Knowing that the purse was part of the miracle, the children picked it up and hurried along behind the dragon, the maiden and the moving star.
   With the simple practicality of youth, the two saw their hut drawing from sight and realized that the star might not lead them back home.  They poured a path of rice from the purse as they went.
   As the children followed, the dragon, maiden and star pulled from them.  They could not keep up and finally the star disappeared over the horizon and somewhere into the east.  The dragon and maiden followed, but before fading from sight, turned, breathed sighs of fire and sweetness, and then they too were gone.
          Miracle of Rice
   THE CHILDREN resigned themselves to their disappointment and turned to go home.  But their path had also disappeared and become waves of growing grain.
   Frightened and not knowing what to do, the two sat down and huddled together against the darkness.
   When the sun rose the next morning, the children were gone and only the paddies of rice remained in evidence to the miracle of the star, the dragon and the maiden.
   AND THAT'S GENESIS for this week.  It would be silly, I suppose, to offer Christmas wishes - I imagine everyone has enough of his own.
   So, I will settle for saying that next week, "There's a War Going On" will continue with a lighter version of GENESIS.  The topic: one of the Army's oldest and most useful friends, the C-ration.



Too Close for Comfort
   Steel Pot Saves Medic

   A steel pot might not impress a man as being much protection against a bullet.  But it has its moments.  Sp4 John Fezi, a medic with the 2nd platoon of Co C, 2nd Bn, 31st Inf., agrees.
   The platoon was on a night patrol in an area of dried-out rice paddies when it was ambushed by an estimated VC platoon, equipped with automatic weapons and mortars.  The three flank men were hit immediately and the platoon moved back to a better position.
   Specialist Fezi had just gone over one of the dikes and was dropping to a prone position when a bullet tore into his helmet.
   "At first I didn't know what hit me," he recalled.  "I thought a piece of shrapnel from the mortars had knocked off my helmet.  It was dusk, and when my helmet fell off it knocked my glasses off, too, so I couldn't see much.  I found my glasses and put them on, then found my helmet.  When I felt the bullet hole in it, and the blood on my head believe me I was shocked.  I had no idea how bad I was hit."
   The bullet entered the right front of his helmet and was deflected along the side toward the back.  It creased the pot from the inside and tore the liner.  Instead of exiting, it bulged out the steel and ricocheted straight down, where it passed through his right shoulder pad harness and embedded itself in his flak vest.  Specialist Fezi received only a slight laceration on his forehead, just below the hair line.  The medic is now a confirmed believer in the value of a steel helmet, but feels one performance test such as the last is enough for anyone.


PFC Mickey Stout SAFETY CHECK - PFC Mickey Stout of the 65th Engr Bn uses a portable mine detecting set to sweep portions of a road.  Checks are made to insure safe passage for convoys traveling between Cu Chi and Tay Ninh.



PFC Gets Okay From Peace Corps

   PFC Dennis E. Stutz, 196th Lt Inf. Bde., had always wanted to become a member of the Peace Corps.  He was impressed by the many good things that the organization does for the underprivileged people of the world.
   He took the Peace Corps membership test a year ago, passed it, and was qualified.  A few days after qualifying he was informed that at that moment, the Peace Corps couldn't find a position for his type of experience.  They did tell him, however, that they would keep his application  under consideration.
   Now exactly one year and one month later, they have reconsidered PFC Shutz.  They sent him a letter all the way to Vietnam to inform him of his acceptance.  Naturally, this Dayton, Ohio, native was overjoyed.  At last he could become a member of the Peace Corps and his dream would be fulfilled.  But he was already a soldier with a year and a half still to serve.
   PFC Shutz completed the application sent to him and notified the Peace Corps that he would be available in 1970.  Following his discharge from the service he plans to finish college education.  He hopes the Peace Corps will wait.


Page 6-7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


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


Yes, Virginia, There Is A Christmas in Vietnam


Photos by PFCs Ron Nelson, Jerry Collins


Dreaming of A Night Christmas


Cheer for the Bed-Ridden

Lightning Santa A-Go-Go

Christmas With a Reminder

25th Admin Soldier Checks Tree

25th Med Bn Has a Reminder, Too



Page A                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966




Silent Night

Silent night!  Holy night!  All is calm,
All is bright.  Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night!  Holy night!  Shepherds quake
At the sight, Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing "Alleluia,"
Christ the Saviour is born,
Christ the Saviour is born.

Silent night!  Holy night!  Son of God,
Love's pure Light, Radiant beam from
Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming Grace,
Christ the Saviour is born,
Christ the Saviour is born.

Silent night!  Holy night, Wondrous Star,
Lend thy light; With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King,
Christ the Saviour is born,
Christ the Saviour is born, Amen.

Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane snow is glistening.
A beautiful sight we are happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is the new bird,
He sings a love song as we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown,
He'll say are you married and we'll say no man,
but you can do the job if you're in town.

Later on we we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire,
To face unafraid the plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

White Christmas

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree-tops glisten
And the children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.
O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.
Yet in the dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary;
And gathered all above.
While mortals sleep the angels keep
Their wondering watch of love.
0 morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in, Amen.

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old;
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven's all gracious King;
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats,
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

We Three Kings of Orient Are

We three kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Followings yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to they perfect light.



Page B                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966




Joy to the World

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world the Saviour reigns,
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods,
Rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the around;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

You better watch out
You better not shout
You better not cry
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He's making a list
He's checking it twice
Going to find out who's naughty and nice,
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake.

The First Noel

The first noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east, beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

O Come All Ye Faithful

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him, born the king of angels;
Oh come, let us adore Him,
Oh come, let us adore Him,      
Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation.
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above
Glory to God,
Glory in the highest.
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

Hark, the herald angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinner, reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
To the earth from heaven's home;
Veiled in flesh the God-head see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as men with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emanuel.


Rudolph the red nose reindeer
Had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw him
You would say it even glows.

All of the other reindeer
Use to laugh and call him names
They never let poor Rudolph
Join is any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas eve
Santa came to say
Rudolph with you nose so bright.
won't you guide my sleigh tonight.

Then how the reindeer loved him
And they shouted out with glee
Rudolph the red nose reindeer
you'll go down in history.,

Jingle Bells

Dashing through tie snow
In a one-horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the Way;

Bells on bobtails ring,
Making spirits bright;
What fun it is to ride and sang
A sleighing song tonight

Jingle bells!  Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

God rest ye merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day;

To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


Tight Situation - Lambast Comes Through
By Sp4 Lou Cullen

   Lambast is a puppy dog, not much more than a month old.  One day recently he wandered into the signal section of Co C, 725th Maint Bn.  Since his arrival in the area, Lambast has become a pretty important figure of the operations of the section.
   Lambast unofficially designated a wire specialist by the men in the "Tropic Lightning" signal section has the occupation specialty of running (literally) wire through the long narrow culverts which serve to drain heavy rain water from the streets of the battalion area.
   SSgt. Charles E. Hughs, 28, of Remlap, Ala., section chief, confided that it was apparent from the start that the duty MOS (military occupation specialty) of the newly acquired canine should be that of a wire stringer.
   Actually the operation of feeding the wire through the 9 to 11-inch diameter pipes in the division's base camp is a two-man-one-dog operation.  Sgt. Hughes positions himself and the dog at one end of the 20-foot culvert and ties a single or double strand of communication wire around the belly of the dog.  Sometimes Lambast is so eager to race to the other end of the culvert that it is difficult to secure the wire while he is squirming.
   When Sgt. Hughes is satisfied that the wire is securely attached, he releases the puppy who scampers to the other end of the tube.  This is where the second man (third member) of the team comes into the picture.  His job is to regulate the movement of the "wire stringer."  In other words if Lambast were to see another attractive dog... well in any case, it would take some time to retrieve all of the wire that he may carry with him.  Also sometimes on the first run in the morning Lambast is a little shy and momentarily hesitates midway in the pipe.
   SSgt. Larry E. Henry, 24, of Irvine, Ky., the incumbent section chief waiting for rotation, has a very persuasive voice and has coaxed Lambast out of many a tight situation.

SSgt. Chartes E. Hughes readying Lambast for wire run

SSG Charles E. Hughs and Lambast
SSG Charles E. Hughs prepares Lambast An eager Lambast moves out into the tunnel.



29 Letters of Cheer For Major Include One From His Own Son

   A letter from home to a soldier in a combat zone can often mean the difference between peace of mind and sleepless nights of anxiety.  So it is completely understandable why every soldier patiently waits for "mail call" and at least that one letter from someone special back home.
   But when Maj. Lincoln F. Brigham of Hollis, N. H., provost marshal of the 196th Lt lnf Bde, received one large envelope containing 29 letters from the first grade students of his hometown Hollis Elementary School, that was a thrill of which few soldiers can ever hope to boast.
   The letters, probing every subject from natural curiosities that dwell in the minds of the young to extolling the major's bravery for serving in a war-infested country, expressed each child's gratitude to the major and to the thousands like him serving in Vietnam.
   A few notable quotes from the many letters include;
   "You are so brave to fight our enemies in the war."
   "On Veterans Day... we are going to stop what we are doing for a minute and pray for the soldiers that are fighting the war."
   "I'm glad that you are fighting for our freedom, you must be very brave."
   "I thank you for our freedom."
   One of the letters shocked the major when he read: "I would like to give you two dollars, but I can't because I don't have any more money.  Mom is going to visit you, did you know that?"  He was much relieved when he discovered the letter was written by his seven-year-old son, Forbes, also a member of the class.
   It is hard to express the gratitude and sentiments that engulf a man under such circumstances.  Yet, the major expressed it well when he commented, "I am very touched.  With certain groups of people raging for us to get out of Vietnam, it's a little refreshing and gives one a breath of fresh air to know we do have such sincere support.  Although they are very young the unsolicited and mature way in which they expressed themselves, considering their varied backgrounds, is amazing."


Brothers Meet at 196th Base Camp

   Rank probably didn't make much difference to two men at Tay Ninh recently.  They were brothers, volunteers for Vietnam, who are serving 65 miles apart.
   Air Force Maj. John S. Roosma Jr., the older of the two is stationed at Tan Son Nhut with the flight section of Hq, 7th Air Force.  He happens to "drop in" to visit his brother every once in a while in Tay Ninh.
   Capt. William A. Roosma, assistant S-3 for the 196th Lt Inf Bde, has been in country five months while his brother is now in his second month,
   The two Verona, N.J. brothers were long influenced with the military by their father, a retired Army colonel.


Christmas at Cu Chi
By Capt. Peter J. Barrett

Twas the night before Christmas and all around the camp
Parachute flares lit the sky like a lamp
Sandbags were laid in a neat little stack
Prepared for possible mortar attack

While out in the "Hobo's" the soldiers patrolled
To flush out the nightly perimeter probe
Each separate battalion was having a party
But the ladies were all in the Club at DivArty

The camp was secure and the guards were all posted
At the officers' party the President was toasted
And just as I lay down, the air filled with shouts
So I ran to see what all the fuss was about

Outside the ground was a-glow with the light
Or the many bright rockets that lit up the night
And off in the distance on final approach
To the unimproved runaway I saw a strange coach

It looked like a sampan... and bundled inside
Was a bulbous red figure enjoying the ride
In front of that sampan (the sight made me whistle low)
Was harnessed a team of eight gray water buffalo

The dinghy suspended below on a sling
Was packed full of presents and candy and things
And that lively old driver!  I knew right away
It was Santa Claus using a boat for a sleigh

He called to his team as he guided them skillfully
Through hostile ground fire amid our friendly artillery
The sling load he dropped over Warrior pad
Then landed his rig at the Three quarter Cav

All over Lightning and back to DivArty
He made it a point to crash each Christmas party
Distributing gifts and some words of good cheer
From people back home who support the boys here

And then, before long, he was back at his boat
Packing that sack on his back that he totes
His work here was done, he made ready to truck
There were still two battalions to see at Ben Luc

As he mounted his sampan he called to his team
(I still think this whole eerie tale was a dream)
Into the sky Santa flew like a missile
To quote an old phrase, "Like the down of a thistle"

And as long as I'm quoting, well, why not continue
You may recall this if the merry's still in you
And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night"


Page 9                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966




25th Avn Bn
Lt. Col. E. Davis, CO
Maj. D. Winters, IO
"Little Bears"

   "Stateside comfort" seems to be setting the pace with the battalion's Co B.  In the past three months, the buildings and facilities have begun to take on a more permanent look.  To undertake the difficult tasks, the 65th Engr Bn helped out the "Diamondheads".  Supervising at the new double-wing mess hall was CWO's Ronald B. White and Curtis Hayter and WO Gary Eddy.   Under their leadership, tables, chairs and serving counters were built, and electrical wiring for florescent lights and overhead fans was installed.
   Sp5 Oliver Kamaliele and his crew began working on tent kits, soon after the mess hall was done.  Metal roofing was installed as Specialist Kamahele's men averaged one tent kit per two days.  In addition, the height of the sides was increased about two feet and occupants are already commenting about the difference in temperature inside.  Completion of the remaining kits is scheduled for late this month.
   At the same time living conditions were being improved a mess hall annex was also under construction.  Raised on a 16 x 30-foot concrete floor this building will serve as a storage area, office and wash rack.  In addition to Specialist Kamahele, unit 1st Sgt. T. C. Merideth and company commander, Maj. Ray Huntington and Maj. Pete Vines, executive officer, all pitched in a needed hand to complete the job.
   At the Annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington last month a reception was held for soldiers wounded in Vietnam.
   Among the honored was Cpl. Howard Deane, formerly of Co A.  Capt. Deane was wounded in a combat assault on July 19 when his helicopter was disabled by enemy fire in a landing zone.  He and his crew were forced to evacuate the ship under intense enemy fire and were rescued by another Little Bear.  At the time it was doubtful that Capt. Deane would regain the use of his right foot, but we are happy to report, that after treatment and recuperation at Walter Reed Army Hospital he is almost fully recovered and able to get about quite nicely.  Capt. Deane holds the Distinguished Flying Cross.

125th Sig Bn
Lt. Col. T. Ferguson, CO
Capt. D. Demchuck, IO

   Sp4 Dan Owen will have a stateside Christmas this year even in Vietnam.  His wife sent him a real Christmas tree through the mail.
   Specialist Owen, a radio teletype operator with Co C, said his wife, Pat, and he planned the whole operation out for months.  She mailed it from their home in Redwood City, Calif., and the postal department delivered it in perfect condition to Cu Chi six days later.  Along with the tree came enough decorations to make the tree glimmer and glow with the spirit of the yuletide season.
   But that isn't all.  He said his mother is sending him a Christmas tree too.  This one will go up in the orderly room for the men to enjoy.

Lt. Col. W. Davis, CO
Capt. D. Moore, IO
"Battle Dragons"

   Congratulations to 1st Lt. Gary K. Balzer of HHC who was promoted to captain.
   Sgt. Omar A. Armstrong of Co C will have to turn in his rifle for a box of diaper pins when he departs the unit.  He was recently told by the Red Cross that he is the father of a 9 1/2 pound baby girl.  Sgt. Armstrong is from Seaside, Calif.
   There's a bunch of new staff sergeants in the "Battle Dragon" unit.  These are Robert Brown, Francisco Rodriguez and Richard Trevino of HHC; Willie J. Williams, James L. Taylor and David Armenta of Co A; Thomas L. David, Jackie J. Guilt, Lonnie D. Grice and David S. Collins of Co B and Mathew Williams, George G. Santes Jr., and Arthur Boddie Jr.

HHC - 1st Bde
Capt. K. Cilman, CO

   Capt. Kenneth E. Gilman, formerly assistant brigade S-l, has now taken over as boss of the company.  He succeeds Capt. Samual A. Waliniski who is now the Special Services officer.
   The new mess hall has been completed.  SSgt. Herbert K. Shigemura and Sp4's Jolin Baxter and Jerry Franzin, known as "Shigie's Slavers," added the final touches including a new house at the rear of the mess hall.
   Sp5 Bob Clark has just completed showing his 200th movie.  Specialist Clark has been showing movies at lst Bde for over eight months now with only one or two nights off.  But he doesn't complain for he just says, "Old projectionists never die, they just flicker away."

196th Lt Inf Bde
Brig. Gen. R. Knowles, CG
Capt. M. Randall, IO

   Brig, Gen. Daniel A. Raymond, MACV Director of Construction, paid a recent visit to the "Charger" Brigade base camp.  Gen. Raymond came to personally view engineer facilities and installations.
   Congratulations to Cedric L. Blackwell Jr. who recently was promoted major.  He is the S-2 for the "Charger" Brigade.
   The Clara Ward Singers put on a recent "terrific performance" according to several enthusiastic listeners.  The group, famed for their spiritual vocal performances, entertained the men at the "Rice Bowl."  Led by director-singer Clara Ward, the singers included Sammie Colbert, Mildred Means, Marilyn Simpson, Madeline Thomson and pianist Alton Williams.


Troop F Gets Bugle;
Makes Hit With KING

   What's a cavalry troop without a bugle?
   That's what used to be the problem at Troop F, 196th Lt Inf Bde.  But the newest addition to the misty relics of "Ft. Courage," the home of Troop F at the brigade's base camp, is a bugle from the listeners of radio station KING in Seattle, Wash.
   The idea originated when Mrs. Lucille Kachelmyer, wife of SSgt. William E. Kachelmyer of Troop F, was listening to the station.  At that time KING was playing a popular recording album, "Themes from TV Comedies."  Among the selections played was the theme to the popular television series, "F Troop."  Mrs. Kachelmyer decided she wanted a copy of the song and called the radio station.
   Talking live over the air to announcer Bob Swanson, she mentioned that there really was an F Troop and that it was stationed in Vietnam.  She further explained that her husband was serving with the unit and that the men had even adopted the TV show, naming their two mascot dogs, Sgt. O'Rourke and Cpl. Agar.  The sergeant's wife then added several exploits of Troop F in Vietnam.
   Following the conversation Swanson appealed to his listeners to send in a bugle, having learned that Troop F was without one.
   A few days later, Mrs. Kachelmyer received a letter from the disc jockey.  "Thanks for your call of about a week ago," he wrote.  "I've had a lot of fun with this on the air.  I'm sending you the album and the bugle.  ...couldn't come up with any feathers."


CHRISTMAS IN FLORIDA - At Pensacola Beach on Florida's "miracle strip" summer remains year round.  Susan Price agrees with the climate. Susan Price





Page 10                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


Former 2/1 CO Named XO of 196th Brigade

   Lt. Col. Charles E. Weddle, former commanding officer of the 196th Lt Inf Bde s 2nd Bn, 1st Inf, "Guardians," is the new executive officer of the brigade.
   It was while under Col. Weddle's command that the Guardians in Operation "Attleboro" found one of the biggest rice caches of the war and touched off a running battle that eventually involved two U.S. infantry divisions and claimed the lives or more than a thousand Viet Cong.  Col. Weddle's unit was also responsible for the rescue of the 25th Div's 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, "Wolfhounds," which had been trapped by the VC at one point in battle.
   Col. Weddle assumed command of the Guardians on Sept. 28, 1965, when the 196th was being formed at Fort Devens, Mass.  Prior to that he served a three year tour in Verona, Italy, as Chief, Special Weapons Branch, LAND-SOUTH.  He was well qualified for the assignment having studied Italian at the Army's Language School and having attended the Italian War College at Civitavecehia, Italy.
   Col. Weddle was commissioned an infantry officer in 1945 upon completion of Infantry Officer Candidate School in Brisbane, Australia.  Before attending OCS, he was first sergeant of 1st Bn, 187th Glider Regt, 11th Airborne Div.  He rejoined the unit after receiving his commission.
   Col. Weddle has also attended Murray College in Hurray, Ky., and the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kans.  He studied journalism at Murray and worked as a reporter for the Newark Evening News, Newark. N.J., and the Asbury Park, Asbury Park, N.J.
   The colonel is a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and now, the Vietnam War.  In the Korean war he served as a company commander and battalion operations officer with the 187th Glider Regt.
   Col. Weddle, a senior parachutist, holds the Bronze Star Medal (second award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Distinguished Unit Citation, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge (third award).


THIS IS THE WAY WE - Sgt David G. Mann, 19., of Hinton, W. Va., a member of Btry A, 2nd Bn, 9th Arty washes his personal equipment in a stream near the battery's fire base during Operation "Paul Revere" currently being conducted by the 25th Division's 3rd Bde in the central highlands of Vietnam.  (Photo by Sgt. Michael N. Horowitz) Sgt. David G. Mann washes clothes



School Kids Snow Capt. With Yuletide Greetings

   "1 hope you don't get hurt... be careful." "Do you like bubble gum?  I hope so." "I want you to win the war." "We play Army under our tree house."
   Would you believe Christmas greetings?
   Capt. Glenn G. Givens. of Akron, Ohio, an Air Force forward air controller (FAC) attached to the 196th Lt Inf Bde, believes it.
   The quotes are from 55 handmade, individually designed Christmas cards the captain received from three classes of elementary school students of F. H. Bode School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
   Made from brightly colored construction paper dressed up by an assortment of crayons and containing hand drawn Christmas trees, and Santa Claus pictures cut from old Christmas cards, each card conveyed a personal "Merry Christmas."
   Delightfully surprised, carefully reading each child's message, Capt. Givens repeatedly commented "This is great!  Real interesting.  I had no caught me by surprise."
   In a letter which accompanied the cards Mrs. Sharon Smith, a teacher at the school, and her class, told Capt. Givens, "Our school project - filling Christmas packages for you in Vietnam - has caused many to stop and think.  We tend to become so wrapped up in our own activities at times, that we forget to fully appreciate what you are doing for us.  Please accept our best holiday greetings and our sincere thank you.  Our prayers are certainly with all of you."
   All of the cards were of standard size, except one.  This special greeting was printed on two sheets of paper, each 36 inches long and 24 inches wide.  Not only did it wish the captain a "Merry Christmas," but in the extra space, an accurate account was given of the classes activities.  This card was five-year-old Greg Givens (the Captain's son) way of wishing a very special "Merry Christmas" to his dad, who's helping to win the war in Vietnam.


PHILCAGV, U.S. Doctors Save Life of Vietnamese Baby Boy

   One Filipino and two American doctors pooled their resources to save the life of a tiny Vietnamese baby.
   The baby boy, Nguyen Thi My, was born with a rare condition known as "imper orate anus."  He had already reached the critical stage when his mother brought him to the Tay Ninh Province hospital and pleaded hysterically with Dr. Manual Reyes to save her dying child.
   Dr. Reyes, a member of the 1st PHILCAGV medical team stationed at Tay Ninh hospital, knew that time could not be spared in getting the child to Saigon.
   Instead, he placed a hurried call to the PHILCAGV base camp a short distance away, hoping to find the proper equipment to operate on the child.  The equipment was not available.  A second call was placed, this time to the 45th Surgical located at the 196th Lt Inf Bde base camp which adjoins the PHILCAGV camp.
   Capt. William C. Elston of Spartenbung, S.C:, chief of surgery at the hospital, had seen similar cases of this rare condition during his school days at St. Luis University and residency at the University of Mississippi.  He, too, realized the immediate necessity of operating if the child were to survive.  He informed Dr. Reyes to rush the child to the 45th Hospital where facilities could be improvised.
   When it was over, young Nguyen was placed in a incubator improvised by the hospital staff.


 'An Honor' Says Col. As New 4/31st Comdr.

   "The greatest honor bestowed upon a person of my rank is the command of an infantry battalion."  These are the sentiments of Lt. Col. James P. Coley, new commanding officer of the 196th Lt Inf Bde's 4th Bn, 31st lnf, "Polar Bears."
   Since Col. Coley's arrival the 196th Brigade at the beginning of November, he has taken a firm grasp on his first combat command, which has quickly earned him the respect of the men and officers of the battalion.  "To, command troops in Vietnam, is a great honor," said the colonel with a beaming expression on his face that mirrored the pride he felt in his new position.
   Col. Coley arrived in Vietnam in September 1966 and was assigned to MACV.  Prior to his present assignment, he had been with G-3, USARV.  He began his Army career in June 1951 after graduating from Virginia Military Institute.  Since that time, Col. Coley has served in Germany with the 4th Inf Div and a company commander with the 1st Inf, and 101st Airborne Div, served in a MAAG assignment with the Saudi Arabian Army, attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and has spent three years in ROTC duties at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
   Col. Coley had heard of the exploits of the 196th Lt Inf Bde, and especially about the 4th Bn, 31st Inf, upon his arrival in South Vietnam.  When he learned he was to command the Polar Bears he felt "it was the finest moment of my career."  It is the colonel's opinion that the men and officers of the 4th Bn, 31st Inf are among the finest fighting men in the Armed Forces.  Said Col. Coley, "It will be an honor and privilege to serve on this team."


Playing cards
AND I'LL RAISE YOU ONE MORE - Members of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf, relax during a lull in the war.  The "Golden Dragons" are part of the 3rd Bde Task Force, 25th Division, currently conducting Operation "Paul Revere" in the Central Highlands.  (Photo by Sgt. Michael N. Horowitz)



Page 11                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 23, 1966


Class 1 yard at the Cu Chi base camp


Part 4: Class 1 Yard
   Know Your Division
By Sp5 Wayne Brendt

   Supply and Transportation of the 25th Division has what it considers the largest drive-thru supermarket in the area.
   What started out as an empty corner of the gas storage area is now the Cu Chi base camp's ration supply and distribution area.  Everything is everywhere there.  Boxes of canned goods, flour, sugar sacks and every other A, B and C ration issued to troop messes is scattered to the four corners of the storage area.  Yet, as Sgt. James H. Roseman, NCOIC of the Class I section, says, "It may not be fancy but it is effective."
   The 33-year-old sergeant from Chicago said the whole thing came about because of rising water and lack of space.
   Originally the rations were stored and issued in what is now called the "Lower Yard."  There the materials began to pile up and when the monsoon rains came the entire yard almost went under water.  Rations could not be kept safely so a new area was requested and the "Upper Yard" came into existence.
   All the rations in the lower section were hurriedly transferred and reconstruction began on the old area.  Important lessons are being learned during the repair work that will serve as examples to other transportation terminals being set up on this type of terrain.  What was once mud and swamp is turning into high-dry ground where warehouses will someday stand.  S&T is happy just to settle for the dry ground and a chance to rearrange their supplies into some kind of order.
   Right now in the yard, personnel reporting to draw rations are met by Sgt. Roseman and the ration breakdown NCO, Sgt. Robert A. Thomas from Washington, D.C.  Sgt. Thomas and his men know right where everything is, be it canned meats or pork and beans.
   Of course there are problems in storing rations outside, and one of these is heat.  According to Sgt. Roseman, tomatoes and chili-con-carne are some items that must be covered and issued as rapidly as possible.  When these items stand too long in the hot sun the cans swell up and spoil, some even explode.  Evaporated milk must be turned over each day to avoid spoilage.
   Sgt. Roseman gave his opinion of the supermarket by saying, "It makes it harder with all the rations spread out this way but I like the challenge.  I think this place would he a challenge to any ration NCO.  Also when you can see a place like this start to shape up you know you are doing your job."
   Soon the supermarket will be no more.  It will go back to being a vacant lot and a new gleaming rations complex will serve the troops from the lower yard.  The largest drive-thru supermarket and all its problems will be memories.


2/1 Adopts Orphanage At Co Ninh Vien Village

   The 2nd Bn, 1st Inf, "Guardians" 196th Lt Inf Bde, scored first in Operation "Attleboro" when they uncovered huge stores of Viet Cong supplies.  In keeping with their tradition they have scored another first - they have recently adopted 59 Vietnamese children of the Co Ninh Vien Orphanage in Tay Ninh, the first unit of the brigade to make an adoption.
   Maj. Lawrence Lavato suggested to Lt. Col. Charles E. Weddle, former battalion commander, that they consider the possibility of adopting an orphanage, after he arrived in Tay Ninh.  Col. Weddle was enthusiastic over the idea and plans were immediately taken into consideration.  Later when Maj. Stephen E. Nichols assumed command, the idea was introduced to him and he also was all for the idea.
   Undertaking the problem of finding an orphanage, the local U.S. Aid office recommended the Co Ninh Vien Orphanage.  Many visits followed and the men were pleased at the response of the children at the orphanage.
   Maj. Lavato, accompanied by 1st Lt. Howard Wiley, civil affairs officer, Capt. C. Keith Grant Jr., and others, continued to visit the home and make plans.
   Finally a ceremony was held at the orphanage, marking its official adoption by the battalion.  The children in turn, presented the guardians with a program of Vietnamese songs and dances.
   A band from the 1st Philippine Civic Action group, Vietnam, entertained the Vietnamese and Americans after the ceremony ended.  Playing instruments and singing, the children soon joined in on the singing.
   Lt. Miley said that future plans for the orphanage will call for contributions from the men of the battalion.


Radio And TV
FRIDAY - Dec. 23

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
Sound of Christmas
2:00 Tell It On Mt. 8:00 Disney Presents
2:30 Hazel 9:00 The Messiah
3:00 Town and Country 10:00 Bell Hour
  Swingin' Country 11:00 Gary Moore
  Beverly Hillbillies    
  Andy Griffith    

SUNDAY - Dec 25

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 Directions
2:30 Roger Miller 9:00 Bonanza
3:00 Sunday Matinee (Movie) 10:00 Hollywood Palace
4:15 Sports Scoreboard 11:00 Men of Good Will

MONDAY - Dec 26

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

TUESDAY - Dec 27

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 Frank Sinatra


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.
  G.E. Bowl 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 Cu Chi Yule Special
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 23, 1966


Season's Greeting for 1966

   By tradition, the holiday season in the United States is a period in which we review our ties with family and friends and take strength in all the blessings of our rich life.  This year the growing presence of American fighting men in Vietnam serves to sharpen our focus on the sacrifices which we all must make to preserve our American traditions and to perpetuate our concept of freedom.
   The frontiers on which we must conduct the defense of freedom and tradition have not diminished in number or size.  American soldiers continue to man those frontiers in many diverse areas of the world.  In some areas, the emphasis is on vigilence and the soldiers there must he watchful for the encroachments of those who would destroy our way of life.  Other areas demand the exercise of nulilary skills in preparing friendly nations to develop and defend themselves.  Here our soldiers must devote themselves to advice and friendly persuasion.  In Vietnam, the United States Army has been called upon to perform its basic mission - combat with an armed enemy.  In every area, the job is being done with the spirit, courage, and devotion that are hallmarks of the American soldier.
   To all members of the Army Family I send my best wishes for a Blessed Christmas and a rewarding New Year.

Secretary of the Army
While the sacred Christmas season is a time of rejoicing, it is also a time to reflect on our purposes as voiced in the angelic proclamation "... on earth peace, good will toward men".
   Throughout the history of our Nation, we have worked toward a lasting peace in which men can live together in friendship and brotherhood.
   This Christmas season finds many of you away from your homes and loved ones.  Some will observe the birthday of the Christ Child at lonely and remote outposts.
   But all, and specially those of you in Vietnam, can take pride in the knowledge that your service to the Nation is helping to preserve liberty and to restore or maintain peace.
   Wherever you may be serving, as soldier or civilian, Mrs. Johnson and I hope that this holiday season will bring joy and satisfaction to you and your families and that through your efforts the new year will bring permanent peace and good will - the true gift of Christmas.



United States Army
Chief of Staff



Christmas in Vietnam - What's It Like?
By Pvt. McLightning

   What's Christmas going to be like this year in Vietnam?  Gee, I don't know.  I've never been here for Christmas before.
   But I do know one thing:  There will be a Christmas.  Mainly because I guess it is really a state of mind rather than a place.  By that I mean you really don't need snow to have a Christmas.
   I work in the Information Office of the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi.  You can really tell it's Yule Season around here.  Up on the house top, Santa is already climbing down a red brick chimney.  Really!!!  You can see him and his sleigh there on the roof.  And if you look through the front door, there is a six-foot tree with decorations and lights and everything.  The packages from home, all gaily wrapped, are starting to build up around the base of the tree.
   Why, when you walk in the office it really gets you - Christmas cards are everywhere.  There are already five fully decorated trees scattered about.  The "Old Man" even has a two-footer on his coffee table and the words MERRY CHRISTMAS hanging from the operations map.  Six little snowmen dangle from the letters with one hanging very close to the Cambodian border.
   Yesterday a soldier walked by the shop and spied Santa on the roof.  It was as if he had been paralyzed.  He just stared.  You could tell by the look on his face that his thoughts had carried him thousands of miles away to his family and friends.  After about ten minutes, be shook his head to clear his thoughts and walked away.
   Last night, the lights were turned on.  The colored ones framed the door and the tree, just inside, inspired the shutter bugs to try their luck with exposures.  A small spotlight is trained right on Santa and from 50 feet away, you just can't help thinking it looks like the neighbor's display you saw last year, back at home.
   And when they turned on the tape recorder and "Silent Night, Holy Night" drifted out to me standing there, well, it takes a better man than I to keep tears back.
   Oh yes, we're going to have our Christmas at Cu Chi.  It won't be like the best we've had, but the fact that all of us are here now is our guarantee that we can continue believing in Christmas and celebrating it - in the years to come.


Merry Yule for 4/31, Thanks to the Sarge

   The men of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade's Co D, 4th Bn, 31st Inf, are going to have a joyous Christmas this year, thanks to a letter written by their first sergeant.
   The company's top soldier, 1st Sgt. James Bobbins of Jenkins, Ky., got an early Christmas spirit and wrote to nine different companies back in the states requesting the prices of Christmas decorations and the cost of mailing.
   It wasn't long before he received a reply from all nine companies.  One reply, from a company in California, carried with it a surprise the sergeant had not expected.
   He received free of charge from Hinshaw's Department Store in Whittier, Calif., "well over $300 worth of Christmas decorations" and a Santa Claus suit.  The company had even paid the cost of mailing the items.
   "I was so surprised," said the sergeant, "that I ran around showing the decorations to everyone in the battalion."
   The decorations included three artificial trees, 15 boxes of tree ornaments, nine sets of tree lights, wall decorations, angel hair, and artificial snow.
   "It makes me feel good to have companies like this in the states.  I plan to have everyone in the "Delta Devils" Company sign a letter of thanks and when I get back in the states, I'll personally go to the firm and thank them."
   In a letter to Sgt. Robbins, the company said, "This is our way of saying Merry Christmas - and hurry home.


Xmas Card is Joy for PFC

   "A wish for peace and joy at Christmas and always" read a Christmas card sent to PFC Samuel L. Benavides of Trp F, 17th Cav, 196th Light Infantry Brigade.
   The sixth-grade pupils of Waukesha, Wis., sent PFC Benavides the card to let him know he was not being forgotten back home.
   "We, the sixth grade students of St. Joseph's School, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," the card read.
   The project started after students read a letter written to the priests and nuns of St. Joseph's from a soldier stationed in Vietnam.  The children wanted to send "something to the soldier, but then enlarged their project, sending gifts and Christmas cards to U.S. servicemen in Vietnam.


Westy Lauds Viet Troops

   Gen. Westmoreland lauds the performance of Vietnamese force as demonstrating 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."
   He also added that the ratio of men killed in battle is becoming more favorable to our side.


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 01-20-2008

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