Vol 2 No. 28 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
|1/8 Arty 4
|161 Avn 8
|2/14 Photo 8
|3rd Bde 2
|1/8 Arty Photos 4
|196 Inf LRRP 8
|3/13 Arty 3
|2nd Bde 1
|2/27 Photo 1
|3/13 Arty 8
|25th Inf Photo 1
|12th Evac 6
|2/14 Photo 7
|25th Inf 7
|65th Engr 8
|15th Air Sqdn 3
|25th S&T 7
|720th MP Photo 3
|15th Air Photo 3
|2/14 Photo 7
|269th Avn 8
|Lightning 25th Radio 6
2nd Brigade Wolfhounds Net 66 VC
1st Battalion Chases VC
The Viet Cong threw down their weapons and fled in a real running battle with "Wolfhounds" of the 2nd Bde west of Duc Hoa.
The 1st Bn, 27th Inf, reacted immediately to an intelligence report received at the brigade command post at Duc Hoa. It said that a platoon sized Viet Cong unit was operating in the area.
Shortly after noon, assault helicopters of Co B led by CPT Thomas Mannix of Dayton, Ohio, swept into the designated landing zones. They met no enemy resistance.
Minutes later, Battalion Commander LTC Edward Peter spotted 30 Viet Cong running from the landing zone. He ordered Co A and Co C into blocking positions ahead of the enemy.
Soon after touching down in the knee deep swamp area, the two companies began sweeping inward. The first to make contact was the 2nd Plt of Co A. As they burst through a thick hedgerow they came face to face with five VC. All five were killed in the brief firefight that followed.
The remainder of the company spotted 20 VC 100 meters to their front and began the chase. "We chased them for almost 800 meters," said squad leader SGT Gerald Hudson. "We killed a few as they turned to fire back, and then ran on after the others."
Co A killed a total of 12 enemy soldiers in the running fight and captured five rifles. Gunships supporting the battalion accounted for an additional nine VC. Co C killed one.
Many of the enemy soldiers threw their weapons into canals as they ran. Captured documents indicated that they were members of a local Viet Cong guerrilla unit.
In a separate action in the area, the Wolfhounds killed 27 Viet Cong. The estimated platoon sized force was fighting from bunkers.
Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," were airlifted into a planned landing zone soon after noon. As they charged out of their helicopters they were met by heavy enemy fire.
CPT Leonard Marcum, Co A commander, led an assault against the enemy positions.
Battalion Commander LTC Harvey Perritt ordered Co B into the air to reinforce the embattled company. The ships touched down in the midst of the fighting.
"Firing was coming from two well protected bunkers to our front," said CPT Larry Garlock. "It was well timed and tremendously accurate." Within minutes, Co B was also pinned down.
According to soldiers in the company, Garlock raced across the front encouraging the men to fire. He drew fire continually as he ran but managed to build up return fire.
The firing drove many of the Viet Cong soldiers back, but the two bunkers continued to hold down the two companies even though several men had worked their way to the rear of the position.
CPT Roger Taylor, Wolfhounds headquarters company commander, who was "just along for the ride," waited until fire was built up from the right, and charged the bunker from the left. He fired into one of the portholes killing a Viet Cong gunner.
Both companies then swept over the positions. In the fighting, eight enemy soldiers were killed without a US casualty.
The routed VC platoon fled into an open field in an attempt to escape. The supporting helicopter gunships killed 14. The 2nd Bde command ship killed an additional four with its door guns.
The action took place as part of a series of continuing air assaults by 2nd Bde units designed to maintain pressure on Viet Cong units in the Operation "Kolekole" area.
2nd Battalion Blocks Enemy
A heliborne blocking force of the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde brought a Viet Cong escape attempt to a dead halt recently southwest of the division's Cu Chi base camp.
The action began when Co C of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," swept into planned landing zones west of Duc Hoa. As the ships touched down an estimated Viet Cong platoon opened up. Co C returned fire and drove the Viet Cong into a running retreat.
The blocking force made up of Co A and Co B of the battalion were airlifted into positions in front of the enemy.
Viet Cong snipers began firing into Co B as soon as they landed. The unit returned fire and assaulted, killing two enemy soldiers.
Sweeping ahead, they killed two more and captured an automatic rifle. Snipers once again began firing. This time two VC were killed in the assault that followed and a carbine rifle was captured.
The enemy refused to quit as another sniper opened up when the company began its move back to the landing zone. In a maneuver they were familiar with by then, the unit assaulted and killed the sniper, taking his M-1 rifle.
Meanwhile, Co C had killed two Viet Cong, and captured one new RPG-2 anti-tank rocket launcher. In the fight one man was killed as he attempted to silence a VC automatic rifle, and two men were wounded.
Adding to the total for the day, Co A accounted for one VC and supporting gunships killed two.
|CPT Riley Pitts, commander of Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, and two RTO's walk through the water in a flooded rice paddy in the early morning as the company moves out during Operation "Kolekole." The "Wolfhounds" are operating west of Duc Hoa. (Photo by PFC Bruce Dapprich)
Two Major Commands Changed
COL Leonard R. Deams Jr., has replaced COL Edwin W. Emerson as the head of Support Command. COL Emerson has taken over as head of the 2nd Bde, replacing COL Marvin D. Fuller who is assigned to G-3, II Field Force.
Deams of Butte, Mont., was previously chief of staff of Headquarters Detachment, United States Army Signal Corps, Cam Ranh Bay.
During his military career, Deams has served in Luzon and in the Korean War. Among his awards are the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, and Combat Infantry Badge. COL Deams received his bachelor of science degree from Montana State University. He has also attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, Kan., and the Air University at Maxwell AFB, Fla.
Former commander of Support Command, COL Emerson, of Deland, Fla., was assigned prior to his coming to Vietnam to the Chief Tactical Operations Center at Ft Benning, Ga. He has also served in Leyte, Okinawa, and in Korea during World War II, with three additional tours in Korea since 1947.
His awards include the Bronze Star for Valor with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge.
Emerson is a graduate of Montana State University and George Washington University. He has attended the Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College, both at Ft Leavenworth, Kan.
Three hours after assuming command, COL Emerson was credited with killing four Communist guerrillas from his helicopter while flying over the brigade's operational area near Duc Hoa.
Army's Chief of Staff has approved a tropical full-brim combat hat for Southeast Asia replacing the "baseball cap."
The new hat, which provides increased sun and rain protection, will start coming off production lines sometime after August.
|The presentation of the colors and color guard to GEN Tillson and GEN Palmer of July 4th ceremonies at division quadrangle. (Photo by SFC Roy Doupe)
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
LTC Stephen E. Nichols, HHC, 2nd Bn, 1st Inf, 196 Lt Inf
LTC Harvey H. Perritt, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Thomas B. Mannix, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Leonard G. Marcum, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Leon R. Mayer, Co B, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Jerry 0. Parrish, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT John C. Trammell, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
1LT Charles R. Blackburn, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
PSF Wade A. Durham, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Robert H. Blackwell, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Heinz G. Janthor, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Richard C. Johnson, Co C, 2nd Bn, lst Inf, 196 Lt Inf Bde
SSG Jessie J. Robinson, B Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 Norman L. Ballance III HHB, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 Willie H. Brown, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Gary L. Hipp, Co A, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Harry W. Rinker, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Gary L. Nott, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Michael D. Woods, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Daniel A. Rouseau, HHC 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PVT Edward M Beasley, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
MAJ Donald L. Galgano, HH&S Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
CPT David E. Cooper, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Don L. Holland, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23 Inf
SSG Sammy D. Kay Jr, Co C, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf
SGT Jesus M. Garcia, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Kenneth A. Gore, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Aubrey L. Hewitt, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Clarence L. Jones, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert L. Lawson, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Lawrence E. Pollock, B Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Arthur W. Price, Co B, 3d Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Joseph D. Prince Jr., HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Edward Cibulski Jr., Co B, 3d Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Larry W. Gephart, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Richard E. Potter, HHC 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
BRONZE STAR (MERIT))
LTC Ralph W. Julian, HHC, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf
LTC John W. Vessey Jr., HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
MAJ Danny L. Romig, Co A, 25th Avn Bn, 25th Inf Div
CPT John P. Fortner, 25th Admin Co, 25th Inf Div
CPT Paul M Pugh, HHC, 25th Inf Div
1LT Douglas H. Hudson, 25th Admin Co, 25th Inf Div
1LT Jimmy L. Jones, HHC, 1st Bde, 25th Inf Div
1LT George P. Rogers, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Freddie L. Miller, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Guillermo Gomez, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP6 Rom Worley, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Antanasio Espinosa Jr., Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Vincent R. Steinhart, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Everdene Baker Jr., Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Stephen L. Colopy, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Thomas M. Curley, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Harris V. Davis, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Kenneth A. Gore, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Aubrey L. Hewitt, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Gary W. Fox, 38th Inf Plt (Sct Dog), 25th Inf Div
SP4 Thomas Leatrice, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 James F. McGoey, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Teddy W. Steelmarp, HHC, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf
PFC William L. Evans, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
PFC Donald L. Patterson, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
An American Tradition
"A free society devoted to achieving the natural rights of its citizens can be maintained and tyranny prevented only if the people in general are well educated." - Thomas Jefferson.
Millions of young Americans have completed another school year. Many of them have entered the world of business or industry to apply the knowledge they have absorbed during their years in school. The remainder will return to their respective schools in the fall.
Whatever the case may be, these millions have reaped the benefits of a tradition that is a vital part of our priceless heritage - the opportunity for every American to obtain an education.
The United States has one of the most comprehensive public education systems in the world. Our public schools, colleges and universities, coupled with the thousands of private educational institutions, have helped to produce an articulate and knowledgeable population.
The awareness of the value of an educated populace is no accident. For more than 300 years education has been considered essential in America. As early as 1642, civil authority required compulsory education of children.
Throughout our history, as our nation has progressed so has our educational system. It has sought to provide the youth of our nation with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive and complicated society.
The methods and curricula within our educational system are continually changing in order to meet the growing demands of our modern world. Its ultimate goal, however, is an educated, intelligent population which can preserve and advance our democratic society.
Yes . . but how? How can you or I receive an education, especially if there is a shortage of funds. For the serviceman, there is the GI Bill. There is always the possibility of a scholarship which should be investigated carefully before complaining about lack of funds. A small scholarship, or a part-time job coupled with the benefits of the GI Bill put a college education within everyone's reach.
Frankly, one of the most tangible aspects of a college education is a better job with higher pay, more earning power. The days of self-made and self-educated men are not gone, but a good education is a certain shortcut to success.
COL Shanahan Leaves 3rd
DUC PHO - COL James G. Shanahan, commanding officer of the 3rd Bde Task Force, 25th Inf Div, said farewell to the officers and men of the command in a ceremony at the Bde's Tactical Command Post recently at Duc Pho.
Shanahan has commanded the "Bronco" brigade since Oct. 20, 1966 and is leaving to assume the duties of deputy chief of staff of personnel at the Pentagon.
The Legion of Merit (first oak leaf cluster) and the Silver Star (first oak leaf cluster) were presented to Shanahan by MG William R. Peers, 4th Inf Div commander.
Speaking to representatives of units within the Brigade, COL Shanahan praised the Broncos on the enviable record they have established.
COL Shanahan is far from a stranger to the "Tropic Lightning" Division. Twice before he has commanded units of the 25th Inf Div in combat. In July of 1944 he was assigned to the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, serving first as a rifle platoon leader and later a company commander.
In Korea, Shanahan commanded the 1st Bn, 38th Inf, and participated in the Korean Summer-Fall, the 3rd Korean Winter and the Korean Summer 1953 Campaigns.
COL Shanahan's other assignments include one year as chief of the Royal Arabian Guard in Saudi Arabia; three years as operations and training staff officer for the U.S. Continental Army Command with the Marines at the Marine Corps School, Quantico, Va.; three years as instructor at the Infantry School in the Leadership and Tactics Departments; and three years in the Strategic Operations Division, J-3, Joint Chief of Staff, Washington, D.C.
In July 1966, COL Shanahan became the deputy chief of staff of I Field Forces, Vietnam. In September he was assigned to the Bde as the deputy commander until taking over command on Oct. 20.
He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College.
His other decorations include: two Bronze Stars for Valor, four Bronze Stars for Merit, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Air Medal with eight clusters, Combat Infantryman's Badge with two stars, the Vietnamese National Order of Valor and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses.
COL Shanahan's wife Patricia, their daughter Kathleen, and five sons, James, David, Mark, Edward and John, reside in Alexandria, Va.
Reserve Rules Relaxed
The Pentagon announced recently that military reservists who have served two years' active duty generally will be exempt from the weekly drills in the Ready Reserve.
"In no event," announced the Pentagon, "shall a man who has served in Vietnam be involuntarily assigned to a Ready Reserve unit for purposes of weekly drills."
The new policy may mean the release of thousands of men currently required to attend weekly meetings of the Active Reserve or National Guard Units.
The Army estimated that there are 25,000 men mandatorily attached to Ready Reserve units who will be eligible for release, if they so desire, by Dec. 1. Unspecified numbers of Navy and Air Force Reservists are also involved.
Normally, after a man completes his two or three years' active duty, depending on whether he was drafted or volunteered for the Army, he spends three years in the Active Reserve or National Guard, then sits out one year of stand-by Reserve.
This announced policy is not a blanket exemption. The Pentagon said that some Reservists may be held in Ready Reserve units, if "after diligent recruiting, it is determined that a vacancy cannot be otherwise filled."
At the same time, the Pentagon said, the new policy does not mean that men exempt from making weekly drills will not be required to attend the usual two-week summer active duty camps.
The policy was laid down in a memorandum to the services by Deputy Secretary of Defense, Cyrus Vance.
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 San Francisco 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 Tokyo, Japan, by Pacific Stars and Stripes.
MG John C. F. Tillson III . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
CPT John P. Fortner . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . NCOIC
SP4 Terry S. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . Editor
SP4 John R. Dittmann . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
Artillery Harasses Local Viet Cong
Once the Viet Cong were masters of the night. The tables are now turning and the VC are beginning to have as much to fear in the darkness as they have to fear in the day. The object of their fears is the Harassment and Interdiction (H&I) program carried on by the heavy artillery units of the 25th Inf Div.
Briefly stated, this program allows the artillery units to control vast amounts of jungle and forests that would take more than three times as many men as are now involved. By nightly shelling of these areas the Viet Cong are seriously hampered in their operations.
A typical unit involved in this program is Delta Btry of the 3rd Bn, 13th Arty. The heavy guns of Delta can hurl hundreds of pounds of hot steel a mnute at the enemy. Each of the four self propelled eight inch howitzers fire a two hundred pound projectile with a large killing radius.
The range of the eight-inch guns is further enhanced by the high degree of mobility afforded by their tracked carriages. On a year round basis Delta can take to the field and be supplied by truck or helicopter with ammunition. Often a platoon is sent to one fire support base while the remaining two guns are deployed in another firing area or stay in base camp.
Since the arrival of Delta in Vietnam in April 1966, they have participated in seventeen operations. Among them are such noted names as: "Attleboro, Cedar Falls, Junction City," and "Manhattan."
During these field operations they have fired direct support during the day while continuing the H&I program at night. This provides a heavy work load as evidenced by the nearly 6,000,000 pounds of high explosives fired during only fifteen months of operation in Vietnam.
Cannoneer Dale M. Gerber remembers many times when the battery has fired 400 rounds in a night's work. The gun crews pull twenty-four hour shifts and as Gerber from Hoven, South Dakota, said; "I sure get tired during those twenty-four hours, but if it kills Charlie I'm happy."
The Harassment and Interdiction program has a twofold purpose, stated Delta's commanding officer CPT Curtis L. Lamm.
"With the artillery we can maintain enough control over the free fire zones to prevent the Viet Cong from setting up any permanent bases for operations," Lamm of Parkersburg, W.Va. explained.
The second, and most important phase of the operation is aimed at the psychological effects produced by an artillery shell exploding in the dead of night. The howitzers fire at known jungle trails with the hope of hitting a Communist patrol but more important it keeps the enemy in fear of being hit when he least expects it. Interrogation of Hoi Chanh shows that this program is meeting with a good measure of success.
One Hoi Chanh stated about the effects of artillery: "the members of my platoon are very much afraid of the artillery fire, even more than they fear the B52 raids," he further emphasized.
Another returnee complained, "the fire disrupted us quite often at night so that we had to sleep in foxholes."
Most captured VC tell of the constant terror caused by the shells howling overhead and exploding with a tremendous roar. They are afraid to walk the jungle trails at night and must split up into small groups and travel long and arduous routes to reach their objective yet stay out of range of the "Thundering Death".
Most of the "Red Legs" favor the program because as PFC Thomas J. Fath of Markleville, Ind., said, "It keeps Charlie away from base camp and I'm all in favor of that."
'The Other War'
The tiny plane circled overhead while Viet Cong guerrillas crouched under cover in the mud along the Oriental River. An eerie Vietnamese voice floated down to the men from powerful speakers aboard the aircraft.
It told them of 34 of their fellow soldiers who had died two days before and the 47 who had rallied to the Government side. Then the sky was filled with white as thousands of leaflets floated to earth with maps and directions telling the men how they too could again live a free and safe life under the "Chieu Hoi" program.
The plane was flying the mission for the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde after "Wolfhounds" of the 27th Inf had nearly destroyed a local VC unit without taking a single friendly casualty.
Aboard the plane crowded with boxes or leaflets, high-powered amplifiers and huge speakers rode the pilot, MAJ Robert Harper of the 15th Air Commando Squadron at Bien Hoa, and 2LT James Jones of the Bde Civil Affairs section.
As Harper threw the plane into a slight bank to the left to aim the speakers downward, Jones flipped on the specially recorded Vietnamese language tape. Then he twisted around in the tight seat and began stuffing leaflets down the drop chute. "The loudspeaker operation is all automatic," said Jones, "and, after you throw 150,000 leaflets down the pipe, you begin wishing the leaflet system were automatic too."
With a speaker that can be heard clearly on the ground from 3000 feet, it must be deafening in the cockpit. "Not at all," said Jones, "the speakers are very directional, and the roar of the engines covers up most of the sound."
Four hours later, the ship touched down at Cu Chi with its tapes, four large empty boxes, and one very tired lieutenant in the passenger seat. The mission had covered the entire Oriental River area from west of Duc Hoa to Hiep Hoa.
|MAJ Harper and 2LT Jones set up the Vietnamese language tape in the cockpit before taking off from Cu Chi. This plane flew over an area along the Oriental River where the "Wolfhounds" killed 34 Viet Cong recently. (Photo by 1LT A. R. Karel)
|THE CHUTE - More than 150,000 leaflets are stuffed through this specially constructed hatch during an average flight. The leaflets are maps showing the location of Chieu Hoi collecting points and "safe conduct"
Luck is with Ambush Patrol On Rice Paddy Duty
CHU LAI - "I could see them coming toward our position and was glad to know the rest of the men had also seen them." These were the words of PFC James H. Lee of Greencastle, Ind. after a night ambush that accounted for three dead Viet Cong.
"To us, this was just another ambush," remembers Lee, a member of Alpha company, 3rd Bn, 21st Inf, 196th Lt Inf Bde. "We didn't expect much excitement that night, but we sure got it.
"The patrol was all saddled up and ready to start moving to our position by dark. Much of the movement was through rice paddies. Rice paddies don't offer much protection, but luck was with us. Although moving would be much harder, I was glad when we reached the woodline.
"I had not been in my position on the left flank long when I saw five VC coming toward our right. The fireworks started when a mine was triggered. After that the entire patrol started firing.
"The squad leader, SGT Lloyd Jones of Oakland City, Ind., ordered us to cease fire, thinking it was all over. But only a few seconds passed before five grenades flew into our position.
"Two of our men had received shrapnel from the grenades, so we pulled back to a valley and bandaged them up."
The next morning a reinforced squad searched the area and found three dead VC and a sub-machine gun. They also found about 150 rounds of ammunition and two bangalore torpedos.
Running Water For VC
DUC PHO - While on a search and destroy mission, Co A, 1st Bn, 35th Inf, 3rd Bde Task Force, 25th Inf Div, spotted what appeared to be two camouflaged huts on the side of a hill. A closer investigation revealed a large tunnel complex.
The complex was very well equipped including a bathing area, mess hall and sleeping quarters for a company-size force.
The bathing area had running water which was piped down from the mountains in bamboo troughs.
A unique alarm system had been constructed which could signal intrusion from any direction. Tiny wires running to points on the perimeter would sound a gong if tripped.
As one soldier stated, "The place must have been an R&R center for VC."
Key To Opportunity
Education is the key that opens the door of opportunity. See your education officer and take advantage of military education programs.
|ARMOR BORNE MILITARY POLICE - One of three newly acquired V-100 Commando armored reconnaissance vehicles, driven by personnel of the 720th Mil Police Bn, leads a 25th Inf Div convoy through the village of Cu Chi, and from there, the MPs have the additional assistance of armored personnel carriers from the 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav, the rest of the way to Tay Ninh. (Photo by SSG Raymond Levine)
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
Artillery - Precise, Controlled Destruction
Artillery has been a standard fixture of
armies since men first started conducting their wars in cohesive formations.
In the pre-gunpowders era, Greek and Roman artillerists used catapults and other
crude devices to bombard their enemies with large stones, incendiary materials
and, on occasion, relatives of the men fighting on the other side.
That they were effective is evidenced by the fact that damage wrought by Roman artillery in the siege of the Palestinian fortress of Masada is visible to this day.
With the invention of gunpowder, purportedly by a mad Bavarian monk named Schwartz, the range, combat power and versatility of this arm came into its own. In the Thirty Years War and the later battles of the Napoleonic Era, Gustavus Adolphus (who was always a bit ahead of his time) and Napoleon Bonaparte were the first to grasp the advantages inherent in mobile artillery. Under their guidance, light, horse-drawn and easily serviced weapons replaced the slow, cumbersome siege bombards that had spelled the end of the Feudal Era in earlier decades. The results achieved were astounding. For the first time sheer long range firepower played a decisive role in land combat.
The apogee of pre-atomic firepower was reached by the German Wehrmacht in its battles on the Eastern Front in the Second World War. In the siege of the Russian fortress of Sevastopol in late 1942, they employed the "karl." This magnificent weapon, having a bore 31 and a half inches in diameter, fired a concrete and steel piercing shell weighing nearly five tons. Reports indicate that one round from this monster penetrated 100 feet of earth, concrete and steel to destroy a Russian underground ammunition dump.
In its battles in the jungles and paddy fields of Vietnam, the U.S. Army artillery is adding new dimensions to the effective utilization of artillery. Fighting in a "War without Lines," our artillery has overcome the obstacles of space and time through the use of heavily defended Fire Support Bases and heli-mobile, sling loaded batteries.
The men depicted in the photographs below, the men of Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty, of the 25th "Tropic Lightning" Inf Div, are carrying on as their ancestors did before them and in the same tradition, helping to write a new chapter in the long history of artillery close combat support.
|WE'VE GOT A MISSION - The nine man artillery section charges from their bunker to man the gun. Fast reactions are needed; even in this war where the artillerymen are not always close to the action.
|'CHARGE FOUR' - The section chief relays instructions to his gunners while holding unused charges.
|NERVE CENTER - The fire direction officer checks firing data with a mechanized computer while the horizontal chart operator plots the impact point of the shells.
|JUST A SLIGHT TWIST - A cannoneer sets the fuze timer on a 105 mm HE shell.
|SHOT OUT - The finished product goes screaming out to support maneuver elements of the division in contact with the enemy. This is the payoff, as it has been down through the ages.
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
"He went thataway" is a statement Petty Officer Greg Frimel, Cleveland, Ohio, got awfully tired of hearing. On leave from his job as refrigeration maintenance officer at the Naval Support Command in Da Nang, Greg was trying to locate his younger brother SP4 George Frimel, a recent in-country arrival assigned as a medic in the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf.
Arriving at the 25th Inf Div's base camp, Greg was told that his brother had just left for the field. As he sat exchanging conversation with the medics, a man returned from the helicopter pad and mentioned that George was still there waiting for his ride. Greg rushed to the pad just in time to wave to his brother as the chopper flew off.
Not to be discouraged, Greg went back to the aid station and spent the night in his brother's bed. The next morning he was able to catch a resupply helicopter going forward. After waiting nearly five hours at an artillery position, he caught another chopper ride which took him to his brother's unit. George who was waiting for him at the landing zone, said "I knew Greg would make it up to see me, and something told me that he'd be on that helicopter."
The brothers, who hadn't seen each other for over a year, spent the rest of the day reminiscing. George plans to visit Greg on his in-country leave. Both men agree they will make more complete plans, in advance, for that visit.
Gratitude Shown By Vietnamese
The gratitude and appreciation of 200,000 villagers from Hau Nghia Province was demonstrated recently when representatives visited wounded 25th Inf Div soldiers at the 12th Evac Hospital.
Eighty citizens, including Province Chief Nguhen Vinh, brought a bouquet of flowers to each ward of the hospital. The villagers passed out "thank you" notes to the soldiers that read in part, ". . . I wish to express our sincere gratitude for the sacrifice you have made in the struggle against the Communists to preserve our national integrity."
Each note was signed by one of the 80 visitors.
WASHINGTON (ANF) - The Department of Defense has requested the Selective Service System to provide 29,000 inductees to the U.S. Army in August 1967.
This request, the highest call during 1967, supports previously planned and announced force levels and will assure a timely flow of replacements for men completing their terms of service.
The August draft call is 9,100 above the July request, which was the previous monthly high for 1967.
SP4 with 196th Saves 5
CHU LAI - SP4 Russell J. Dynas, of Darien, N.Y., of the 1st Bn, 14th Inf, attached to the 196th Lt Inf Bde, saved the lives of at least five members of his squad recently when he heroically picked up a hand grenade thrown into the midst of his squad and threw it back at the would-be ambusher.
Dynas was with his squad from Co C, moving through dense jungle in mountainous terrain, when he saw the grenade in flight, thrown by a concealed VC approximately 20 meters away. Without hesitation Dynas threw his M-16 rifle to the ground and picked up the grenade that had landed about five feet to his front. The 21-year-old southpaw rifleman then hurled the grenade in the direction from which it had been thrown. Seconds later the grenade exploded. He then picked up his rifle and saturated the area with small arms fire. The squad searched the area, finding the dead VC with additional grenades attached to his equipment.
The "Golden Dragon" soldier from "Chargin' Charlie" company, who was awarded the Purple Heart Medal only a month ago for wounds received from enemy mortar fragments, modestly summed up his heroic feat by saying, "I had no choice. When I saw it (the grenade) coming I knew five or six of my buddies would be injured or killed. I had to do something. The only thing I could think about was my buddies and getting rid of it before it exploded."
1LT Edward F. Lesko, Franklin, Pa., company executive officer, and platoon leader of Dynas and the "Trail Blaze" platoon before assuming his present duties, described Dynas as "the kind of guy that would just naturally do that kind of a thing. He's really a team man."
The six-foot elephant grass and towering bamboo which surrounded Dynas and his squad could have been the cause of the VC kill. There was only one direction in which he could throw the grenade - the direction from which it came.
The Armed Forces Radio show that informs the men of Vietnam of the latest accomplishments by the "Tropic Lightning" 25th Infantry Division.
The fifteen minute radio show is hosted by Army Specialist Mike Halloran and is heard each and every Monday morning at 11:45.
Mike not only lets the rest of the country know what the men of the 25th have done recently, but he also entertains with the latest popular music. Once in a while an interview is thrown in to add a little more diversity to the Vietnam version of Paul Harvey.
Monday mornings at fifteen minutes before noon have your radio set on Armed Forces Radio and be listening for Mike Halloran with Lightning Two-five.
|ONE YEAR OLD - Last week was the first anniversary of "Old Glory" flying on the Division's flagpole in front of headquarters. (US Army Photo)
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
VC Monkey Shines
Monkey business was literally the order of the day for an ambush patrol from the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, on an operation in Binh Dong Province, 19 kms east of Cu Chi.
As the patrol moved through a rice paddy, they spotted a big monkey watching them from the woodline. The patrol moved on and the monkey soon appeared again, this time close enough that a frayed rope could be seen hanging from its neck.
With tongue in cheek, the squad leader radioed his headquarters that a monkey was following the patrol, diligently keeping it under observation. After a short pause, the patrol received instructions to watch the monkey closely because he might be a Viet Cong monkey trained to gather information.
The patrol continued, closely shadowed by the conscientious monkey.
After a while however, the monkey began to get on the men's nerves, and they threw rocks and fired a few rounds to scare it off. Apparently they succeeded for the monkey faded back into the undergrowth.
Two hours later, the patrol set up ambush positions, and began their wait for any unsuspecting VC. Suddenly the monkey reappeared, and dropped into a foxhole next to a startled soldier. He lunged for the monkey, but just missed, and the monkey fled through the treetops never to be seen again.
|A FALLEN COMRADE - Medics carrying a wounded soldier through a rain-soaked rice paddy to a waiting helicopter minutes after his unit, the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, made contact with an enemy force along the Saigon River in Binh Duong Province, during the 25th Div Operation "Barking Sands". (Photo by PFC Bill Wermine)
25th S&T-Million Mile Mark
Co B dispatchers of the 25th S&T Bn recently announced that their drivers had logged over 1,000,000 miles on their trucks.
It all started over a year ago when the unit arrived in Vietnam with the 25th Inf Div. Since then the "Cu Chi Express" trucks have been a daily feature on the convoys transferring the tons of supplies from Long Bien and Saigon to the Cu Chi base camp.
Truck driving is a job which starts early in the morning and ends only when the trucks are ready for the next day. While on the road there is always danger involved from the possibility of hitting a mine, receiving sniper fire, or having a grenade tossed into the truck.
Driving in Saigon traffic also adds to the hazards of the occupation, so out of necessity the men have developed a unique but unnerving talent for getting through the embroiling free-for-all.
Though there is some danger, the routes they travel are relatively secure. But, driving those routes requires a high degree of skill and an exacting knowledge of the city. Their driving skill accounts for the extremely low rate of accidents among S&T's drivers as compared to similar units driving under comparably stressing conditions.
For these men there is little chance for glory. They must measure their success by the success of the front line soldier.
With this in mind they realize the urgency of their mission and pursue it in accord with the motto of S&T, "Without Delay."
Sing Along Hoi Chanh
DUC PHO - It's sing-along time as the Quang Ngai cultural-drama team makes its appearance in the Duc Pho area.
Sponsored by JUSPAO (Joint United States Public Affairs Office), the troupe travels about the countryside of Quang Ngai Province singing folk songs of happy Hoi Chanh.
The songs tell of former Viet Cong soldiers who have returned to the government of Vietnam and are now reunited with their families and enjoying peaceful and productive lives.
Working closely with American and Vietnamese fighting units, the cultural-drama team moved into areas known to be VC-infested. They teach the people their songs and conduct sing-alongs in an effort to win over the families of VC who in turn will influence Communists hiding in the area.
In addition to stories about former Hoi Chanh, the songs also include instructions on how to return to the government and the advantages, such as training programs, available to those who return.
Squad Alerted by Torch
A woman carrying a torch alerted a squad from the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, to the position of several Viet Cong.
The Co A squad was walking down a trail at night when the woman was spotted. The men immediately alerted and continued to move cautiously along the trail.
After advancing 50 meters, SP4 Michael W. Young of Seattle, Wash., noticed movement in the brush ahead. He gave the alarm for the squad to take cover.
Young carefully advanced toward the brush. When he split the foliage, a VC jumped out. Quickly Young squeezed the trigger on his M-79 and fired a round at the surprised enemy.
Other VC concealed in the area opened up with claymore mines, grenades, and automatic weapons.
The Americans returned the fire and the fight went on for about 30 minutes. Finally the Viet Cong fled into the darkness. One dead VC was found and five more were seen to have dropped during the battle.
Of Man Reads TLN?
"The first thing I look at when I get my TLN is the pretty girl," joked SP4 Frank Tomek of Houston, Tex.
Frank is an RTO from Co. A, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf. "My job is to keep the platoon leader informed while we are moving. Without this information we would have no idea of what the rest of the company was doing. If they were a distance away and came under fire, we would not know where to go to support them".
This job requires constant attention and dedication. "I have to do two things at once. Watch for VC and monitor the radio."
Although Frank has only been in Vietnam for three months, he is a combat veteran. At first he was a rifleman. "I was just standing there and the platoon leader came up and asked me if I would like to be RTO. At first I had trouble getting used to the extra 28 pounds - when I crossed through the soft mud of the rice paddies I would bog down like a lead weight. Now I don't even think about it."
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 17, 1967
|A WAITING GAME - Men from the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, use the protection of a berm in a flooded rice paddy, while an airstrike pounds an enemy position to their front. The contact was made along the Saigon River in Binh Duong Province, 28 Kms north of Saigon, during Operation "Barking Sands." (Photo by PFC Bill Wermine)
LRRP Has Long Sleepless Night
CHU LAI - SGT Michael W. Daniels, Fairfax, Va., of the 196th Lt Bde's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) recently led his team on a three-day recon mission which almost ended the first night.
Daniels and his LRRP team were heliborne to a hill northwest of Chu Lai to set up a three-day observation post. As the team began the 72 hours of cautious watching, they heard shots from across the ridge. Another LRRP team, headed by CPL William Davis of Nitro, W.Va., was on a hill on the other side of the ridge, and Daniels thought they were trying to signal him.
He had his men fire some rounds in the air to acknowledge the signal, and then heard more shooting from the other hill. This time it didn't sound like M-16 rifle fire, and when the men heard M-79, machine gun and carbine fire join in the chorus, they realized that Davis' team was under attack.
After several minutes of anxious listening, Daniels and his men saw the other LRRP team being extracted from their hilltop position by helicopter, and they breathed a little easier. Daniels' team was on a hilltop and there was very little cover anywhere. The 1st Bn, 14th Inf, attached to the 196th, had previously undertaken a search and destroy operation in the area, and it was known to be heavily populated by Viet Cong.
Daniels' observation team depended for their lives on remaining hidden from the VC, and they wondered if they had given their position away by signalling Davis on the other hill. There was nothing to do but sit it out and hope the Cong attacking Davis had not noticed Daniels' fire.
Soon, though, the worst began to happen. Sniper rounds started zinging into Daniels' exposed position, from a hillside about 800 meters away. The multi-talented LRRP team quickly called in artillery on the sniper, and the first rounds were on target.
Knowing that they were in for a long night, the team placed out trip flares and claymore mines around their defensive position. At about 9:15 that night they observed two flashlights bobbing around where their insertion chopper had landed, and soon the men with the flashlights began following the trail Daniels and the team had taken to reach their OP position, about 500 meters away. "We just watched and held our breath," recalled Daniels. "We didn't want to make contact and could only hope they wouldn't see us in the dark."
The "no contact" rule went out the window in the next few minutes when PFC Mark Brennan of Burtis Landing, Conn., heard men moving towards him from less than 50 meters away. Brennan, figuring they had already been given away and not wanting to risk being seen first, shot off a hand illumination flare which exposed two VC, who had remained at the bottom of the hill, opened up on the LRRP with carbines and automatic weapons.
"It sounded like World War III," said Daniels, "but they were too close to our position for us to get help from the artillery."
A group of VC was sneaking up a draw to the hilltop, but were spotted by the team's machine gunners, PFC William Conner of Rahway, N.J., who ran 50 meters through criss-crossing tracers and blasted the maneuvering enemy with his M-60. Another element was coming up the other side of the hill, and the rest of the LRRP men concentrated on that group.
Daniels, meanwhile, was calling for helicopter gunships from Task Force Oregon, and he soon got help. Two "Firebirds" from the 161st Avn company answered the call with machine guns and blazing rockets, working over the sides and bottom of the hill on repeated passes. The VC weren't giving up, as became evident when ground fire hit a machine gun on one of the choppers. Knocked half off its mount, the gun went wild and sprayed a stream of tracers over the hilltop and into the LRRP's position. None of Daniels' men were hit.
The now-retreating VC received a parting shot when Daniels called in artillery. Illumination rounds from the guns enabled the LRRP team to direct the deadly high explosives on the enemy, which split into small groups of two or three and made frantically for the woods.
The LRRP team quickly moved to another side of the hilltop, hoping to confuse any more probes by "Victor Charlie". It was a good move. Later in the night the men heard whispered talk on the hillside and, soon after, on the hilltop itself. Not wanting another encounter with the large force, each man held his breath and lay completely silent.
Their silence payed off, and the probing element finally decided the Americans must have left. The VC finally did the same, but none of the recondos got any sleep that night.
Arty Has Celebration
A pig and 155mm howitzer shells each in their own way provided C Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty, with a lively Fourth of July celebration.
The men of Charlie Btry had spent long months in the field and vowed to have a celebration when they finally returned to their base camp at Cu Chi. They hoped to be back from the field by Independence Day and set tentative plans to hold a Bar-B-Q on the fourth.
On the 15th of May a piglet was bought in Cu Chi by 2LT William J. Long of Las Cruces, N.M. The artillerymen intended to fatten him up and roast him over a slow fire to provide a superb meal reminiscent of feasts held during Revolutionary War times.
The shoat was given the rather dubious name of Oscar and as he grew, so grew a vexing problem. What do you do with a pig in the Army?
"The first problem of where to keep him was solved by carrying him in the back of a five ton truck," said SP4 Richard M. Snyder of Grandhaven, Michigan. "He went darn near every place we did!" laughed Snyder. So Oscar, the pet porker, became a familiar sight in many fire bases as he squealed, squawled and generally caused havoc in the battery area.
SSG Thomas McIntyre of Morgantown, W. Va., recalled one time when Oscar took to running around a little airstrip at Go Dau Ha, driving many pilots and officers to distraction with his antics. Suggestions and threats flew thick and fast that the pig be shot, stabbed, or blown up, but the cannoneers zealously protected Oscar and taught him to stay away from strange men with bayonets.
One of the most difficult problems encountered was locating a source of food for the pig but with typical Army ingenuity a suitable menu was arranged.
"We fed him on a diet of beer and corn flakes" stated Long. "One time we returned from a road march with some rusty cans of beer that nobody wanted to drink, so we mixed eight cans of beer with his corn flakes that day. Poor Oscar was so smashed he could hardly move," chuckled Long.
Oscar was beginning to become a pet but that was only temporary because he had a very obnoxious attitude if he wasn't fed on time. His habit of sneaking into the tents and nuzzling sleepy soldiers with his moist snout "endeared" him to everyone.
On the day of the Bar-B-Q Oscar was roasted for an evening meal while the Red Legs feasted throughout the day on charcoal broiled steaks, pizza, and shishkabob. The high point of the celebration was the roast pork which had a wonderful flavor.
As if to complete the day, several Viet Cong were spotted by helicopter and a radio message was called into Charlie Btry asking for artillery. The resulting fire mission netted seven possible VC killed and an explosive end to the festivities.
The official records in the Department of the Army show that the Headquarters and Headquarters detachment of the 269th Cbt Avn Bn was first placed on the rolls of the Army on the 7th of April 1966. The battalion wasn't activated until July 1, 1966. The new unit formed at Ft Bragg, N.C., for deployment to Vietnam.
On Jan. 6, 1967, the "Black Barons" departed for Vietnam. At the end of January, the unit saw its "New Home" for the first time.
The designation Black Barons was selected in honor of LTC Roger Waterbury, the battalion operations officer upon its arrival in Vietnam, and the first battle casualty suffered by the battalion headquarters.
The unit's history is a proud one. In combat support of allied ground forces in Vietnam, the battalion's helicopters have flown 64,477 sorties in 26,256 flying hours. Since the Black Barons became operational on March 19, 1966, they have carried 110,727 passengers and 4371 tons of cargo. The Barons have killed 210 enemy, detained 22 suspects, and destroyed 108 structures.
Under its current commander, LTC James H. Merryman, of Arlington, Va., the battalion has three helicopter companies and one Bird-Dog company. On the occasion of its anniversary in July, LTC Merryman said: "The Black Barons have established an enviable record of progress in the concept of U.S. Army air mobility."
VC Tunnels Uncovered
First Sergeant O.N. Davisson, 25th Aviation Bn. for sharing this issue,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn. for locating and mailing the issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 8-12-2004
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