Vol 2 No. 38 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
|25th Inf 3
|1/5 Photo 3
|1/27 Photo 8
|3/22 Photo 3
|2/14 Photos 4
|2/22 Photo 1
|2nd Bde 6
Troops Attack Slopes of Nui Ba Den
|WATCHING AND WAITING - Men of the 2nd Bn, 22d Inf, watch a B-57 streak towards its target as they wait for completion of the strike before assaulting enemy positions on Nui Ba Den north of Tay Ninh. The unit is taking part in Operation "Diamondhead." (Photo by SP4 Jack Maraz)
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
On us the burden falls to lead nations
Out of this frightful wilderness of steel;
On us depends the course of that which is
To come hereafter - whether freedom was
A stolen dream from Heaven, or is the truth
On which to found the future of mankind.
Russell W. Davenport
|1LT Dean H. Guynes, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
|SP4 Leroy Loudis, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
1LT Charles A. Linfante, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
1LT Douglas C. Colliander, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Phillip W. Childress, Co C, 4th BN (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT John R. Stephens, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
|SP5 Robert Harrison, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP5 John D. Jones, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Timothy Sheenan, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Richard M. Trovato, C Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
BRONZE STAR (MERIT)
LTC Dennis V. Gentry, HHC
MAJ Richard F. Aschettino, HHC, 3d Bde
CPT Allyn J. Palmer, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Walter L. Arrington, HO & Co A, 25th Med Bn
CPT William A. Kinsley, Co A, 125th Sig Bn
CPT Ludwig J. Scherer, HHC
CPT Jack Tyler, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
WO1 Harley M. Vincent, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
MSG John J. Ice, 25th Admin Co
PSG Eugene Barton, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG James E. Harris, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG Boyd V. Brock, HO & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
PSG Jack E. Holler, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SFC William L. Larson, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PSG George F. Lamothe. HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SFC Nelson T. Omero, HQ & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Carl E. Lacy, HQ & Co A. 25th Med Bn
SSG William R. Ochsner, HH&S Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Arty
SSG Robert T. Shimabukuro, HH&S Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Robert W. Summers, HO & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Elbert L. Baker, C Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Solomon Ball Jr., C Btry., 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Billy D. Jones, A Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Preston H. Barrs, HH&S Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
SP5 Jerry G. Geiger, HH&S Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SGT Niles V. Leonard, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT Thomas L. Pearson, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Earl C. Haupt III, B Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Richard E. Letelier, A Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT David A. Chiguina, C Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
SP5 Gabriel D. Yanez, HO & Co A, 25th Med Bn
SGT Alvarado Rodriguez, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Lynden E. Belin, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Milton Bennerman, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Peter M. Capozzoli, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf
SP4 Joseph Ciccimaro, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Edward Belisle, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Lloyd C. Boston, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Jerald J. Cable Jr., Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Paul F. Aucoin, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Ralph J. Beauvals, 25th Ml Det
SP4 James L. Danouvsky, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Daniel E. Holt, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (VALOR)
|CPT William E. Nolan, HH&S Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Arty
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (MERIT)
1LT William L. Michel, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Robert L. Newkirk, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Richard W. Saley, HHC, 3d Bde
1LT Richard Ringwald, Co A, 125th Sig Bn
SP5 Alvin B. Brown, 25th Admin Co
SP5 Richard A. Craig, HHC, 25th S&T Bn
SP5 John V. De Nicola, 25th Admin Co
SP5 Roy D. Williams, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP5 Anthony S. Bifano, A Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
|SGT James Newton, HO & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Moses L. Show, A Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 James H. Stadt, HO & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 William P. Cantwell, Co A, 125th Sig Bn
SP4 Douglas D. Santos, Co C, 725th Maint Bn
SP4 Dennis Higgins, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Roger D. Johnson, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SP4 Leon M. Nicholas, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
Know Your Enemy
NLF's Terror Campaign
Beginning in February 1964, the National Liberation Front (NLF) began a terror campaign against Americans in Vietnam. It probably did build morale among the terrorists; the bombing of the American Embassy on March 30, 1965, most certainly was for morale building purposes.
The killing of American civilians obviously advertised the Viet Cong in the United States. The terror also served to disorient Americans in Vietnam and create within them a sense of psychological isolation. Terror, however, was not used to the extent it might have been in eliminating American opposition. The American death rate, for example, could have been much higher in the 1960-1965 period than it was. The initial burst of violence stopped almost as suddenly as it began. Within a ten day period there were about two dozen major and minor terror attacks on Americans but the campaign suddenly ceased for reasons that were never clear.
By studying captured Viet Cong documents and questioning Viet Cong prisoners it is possible to assemble a fairly complete statement of the Viet Cong doctrinal approach to terror.
Viet Cong Cadres consider the proper use of terror as terror applied judiciously, selectively, and sparingly. They have found terror, turned on and off, paradoxically produces both pro-and anti-guerrilla feelings among villagers. On the other hand, of course, it engenders fear and hatred, with the first usually predominating over the second. But when relaxed after an area-wide terror campaign, an exaggerated sense of relief spreads through the villagers and they tend to regard the guerrillas as being not nearly as inhumane as they are capable of being.
Terror, the Viet Cong hold, is virtually useless against a dedicated opponent. In general, Viet Cong theoreticians consider terror to be the weapon and as control increases it should be used less.
They hold that from terror a guerrilla band gets rapid but quickly diminishing returns. And to judge from their terror acts, they believe that terror works better on friends than on enemies.
They believe that terror is most effective when the general population is sympathetic to the cause and least effective when it is against it.
|To us Americans much has been given; of us much is required. With all our faults and mistakes, it is our strength in support of the freedom our forefathers loved which has saved mankind from subjection to totalitarian power. Norman Thomas
Your Rights As A Prisoner
Saigon (MACV) - The MACV Command Information Division recently produced and distributed two pamphlets on the rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. These pamphlets, "Application of the Geneva Convention In Vietnam," and "Rights and Privileges of the Prisoner of War," were designed to inform servicemen in Vietnam of the standards of treatment to which prisoners are entitled.
The following quiz is designed to test your knowledge and understanding of the Geneva Convention from both the POW and captor's point of view.
Q.: Describe, briefly, the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
A.: International agreements which protect prisoners of war, sick and wounded military personnel, and civilians against inhumane treatment.
Q.: The fact that there has been no formal declaration of war in Vietnam nullifies application of the Geneva Conventions. True or False?
A.: False. Article 2 states that the Convention is fully applicable in any "armed conflict" even when there is no formal declaration of war.
Q.: Can you take a prisoner's metal helmet from him and keep it as a souvenir?
A.: No. The Geneva Prisoner of War convention (henceforth GPW) expressly forbids taking anything from a prisoner but "arms, horses, military equipment and military documents."
Q.: You may threaten a prisoner with physical harm, providing you do not carry out the threat, if you believe this will make him cooperate?
A.: No. The GPW specifically bans either physical or mental degradation or abuse.
Q.: An NCO in the U.S. Army may not remove or order the removal of money and valuables from a prisoner even if he issues a receipt. True or False?
A.: True. Only an officer has this authority.
Q.: Captured chaplains and medics are not considered prisoners of war. True or False?
A.: True. They are considered retained personnel by the detaining power and utilized in their normal duty capacity as ministers and medical personnel caring for the PWs.
Q.: How do PWs bring complaints to the representative of the detaining authorities?
A.: They have an appointed Prisoners' Representative who is permitted access to all PWs at any time to check on conditions and grievances. He in turn, may appoint assistant representatives.
|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.
Maj.Gen. F. K. Mearns . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
Maj. Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
1LT Larry Rottmann . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG Dave Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . . . Editor-in-Chief
PFC Dave Cushman . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
Destroyer Answers Call To Base Camp
DAU TIENG - If there's anybody that wants to talk direct to a destroyer off the coast of Vietnam, near the DMZ, just have them get in touch with the mechanized infantry of the 3d Bde, 25th Div.
Bravo Co, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf, was patrolling their area north of Tay Ninh City in War Zone C when their company commander, CPT James Bristol of Rochester, N.Y., decided to call back to base camp on his AN-PRC 25 radio. When an unknown station broke into the channel, Bristol challenged it.
After receiving cautious comments, such as "We're in the blue, we're an Uncle Sierra Sierra," and "we're a big boat," it was finally determined that the radio, with a normal range of 25-30 kms had picked up a destroyer more than 500 kms away near the DMZ.
The destroyer was supporting a Marine outfit ashore and was having trouble communicating with their forward observer. They asked Bristol if he could relay a message to the FO to direct the naval guns.
Security precautions prevented getting the name of the destroyer, but if you're ever monitoring a radio and hear "Palladium calling Allegheny," just break in and ask how the ocean is that day - if the atmospheric conditions are just right.
|DANGER ZONE - Infantrymen from the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, take cover after receiving sniper fire during a search and destroy operation seven kms south of Dau Tieng. (Photo by SP4 Jack Maraz)
Mech Mortar Platoon Has Speed, Flexibility
DAU TIENG - "Fire for effect!" Thump! Thump! The mortar men of the 2d Bn, 22d Inf, send another load of death screaming toward the enemy.
The 10-ton armored personnel carriers (APC's) of a mechanized unit are armed with a .50 cal. machine gun and carry an 11 man squad complete with ammunition and supplies. But some of these vehicles are modified to carry the 4.2 inch mortar, and are attached to battalion headquarters. The mechanized mortar platoon, which accompanies the men in the field, is directly under the command of the battalion commander and provides a flexibility and speed of operation not otherwise obtained with artillery and air strikes.
A mortar APC has from four to five people on it, such as the 1st squad of the "Triple Deuce" mortar platoon. SGT Henry R. Scott of Bandette, Minn., is the squad leader. "It only takes three men to operate the gun," says Scott. "SP4 Francis Covert and PFC Gene M. Gregston are my gunner and assistant gunner."
Requests for action are relayed to the Fire Direction Control unit where the radio message is plotted and changed to deflection and elevation settings for the gun. After clearing with the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div Arty, and air liaison, the crew cranks the setting in and prepares to fire.
Besides supporting the maneuver elements in the battalion and other units on call, another important mission is the nighttime harassment and interdiction (H&I) fires plotted to deny nighttime enemy movement along jungle trails and streams. All too often this H&I fire changes into a deadly duel with mortars when the cry "incoming" is heard. The battalion in the past has been mortared as much as five times in three days. Since the mortar tubes are always prepared to go, and the sound of enemy mortar firing is easily plotted, the mortar crews set up and begin firing minutes after the first enemy rounds explode.
"We usually don't see the results of our counter-mortar fire," says SGT Earnest Hopper of Paucah, Tex., "but occasionally our efforts are rewarded. One time on Operation Diamondhead we were stationed near the Cambodian border protecting a CIDG (Civilian Irregular Defense Group) camp while they rebuilt their camp defense. In one of the daily mortar attacks we got a good bearing on one of the Viet Cong positions," he added.
"Counter mortar fire stopped the fire from that direction early in the attack, and next day a CIDG patrol found numerous blood trails and equipment left behind in the area hit by the counter mortar fire," Hopper said.
October is "Travel Time" at the 25th Div's Ilikai East Service Club.
3 Viet Cong, 3 Rounds Left
CPT Larry Garlock had seen a lot of things in his four months as a 25th Inf Div company commander, but nothing like the situation he found himself in recently 35 kms northwest of Saigon.
The Cleveland, Tenn., officer, a member of the 2d Bde's 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," came face to face with three armed Viet Cong. He had only three rounds left in his M-16 rifle.
Garlock and his command group had followed behind as Alpha Co swept through a heavily overgrown field.
"They must have thought everyone was past," he said. "All of a sudden there were three VC with rifles standing up in front of me."
"The four of us just stood there for a few seconds surprised. Then we all made a move at the same time," Garlock said.
It was a short fight. Garlock dove to one side. The three rounds he fired killed one enemy soldier and wounded another who was detained. The third man fled. Garlock was unscratched.
Series of Firsts For 9th Inf GI
An operation in the Iron Triangle north of Saigon marked a series of firsts for PFC Daniel D. Rodrigues of Somerset, Mass.
The young rifleman, a member of Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, encountered his first hot landing zone in his first month in the field.
After the company had dug in for the night, Rodrigues was put on perimeter guard. Later that night he sighted three objects moving along the canal to his front. He fired one round at the center figure just as an illumination round lit up the area.
"Two of the targets had vanished and in place of the third was what looked like a mound of dirt," said Rodrigues. "I didn't fire again because we had orders to fire only at confirmed targets - and that didn't include anthills."
As the flare went out there was a gasp and then a splash as the "anthill" fell over into the canal and floated away face down.
A search the next morning revealed a blood-spattered tree trunk with one bullet lodged in it. It was another first for the 25th Div trooper with his first shot - his first Viet Cong killed.
People have been known to bathe in milk, perfumed oils and even beer, but the 25th Inf Div boasts of a soldier who bathes in Kool Aid.
The sticky situation began in the forward base camp of the 1st Bn, 5th Inf, where SP4 Richard Pawelko of Saddle River, N.J., mixed up a five-gallon G.I. can of assorted Kool Aid flavors for consumption the next day.
The next morning Pawelko decided to take a shower, and grabbed a five-gallon water can and poured it into the shower can.
"I was just about finished," said Pawelko smiling, "when some of the water got into my mouth. It was the sweetest water I had ever tasted."
Realizing his mistake, Pawelko refilled the shower with fresh water and rinsed himself off.
"I got rid of all the packages of Kool Aid that I've been carrying around for weeks," says Pawelko, "but I believe it would have tasted better out of a cup."
Camp Cu Chi 'Batch Plant' Pours It Out
Due to the increasing demand for concrete in the 25th Inf Div cantonment area, and the difficulty in hauling sand, rock and cement over muddy roads, a new plan was formulated.
All the sand, rock and cement has been hauled to one location and stockpiled and several cement mixers put on a line to produce the cement. This has allowed efficiency and production to increase.
This operation is called the "Batch Plant" and is located near Lightning Bowl.
With full operating capacity of the plant's four concrete mixers, as many as six, 20 by 48 foot concrete slabs can be produced in one day's operation.
|CLOSE ON THE SIDES - PFC Harold Cantoni (left) of Pennsgrove, N.J., and SP4 Milton Cook of Baltimore, keep soldiers of the 1st Bn, 5th Inf, looking neat with their mobile barber shop. (Photo by SP4 Roger Smith)
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
14th Inf Routes Cong from Lowlands
The canals and swamps in the lowlands 25 kms north of Saigon in Binh Duong
Province were the target for a recent search and destroy operation by the 2d Bn,
14th Inf "Golden Dragons."
The infantrymen were dropped by helicopter and started their sweep with the mission of searching out the Viet Cong, their fortifications and weapons caches.
Rubber rafts and small assaults were used when the Saigon River rose to high tide flooding the entire area.
All high ground was probed foot by foot for weapons and ammunition storage points. One such cache was found buried in a canal bank.
Photos by Bill Wermine
|A CROWDED RUBBER RAFT FERRIES COMBAT READY INFANTRYMEN ACROSS FLOODED LOWLANDS 25KMS NORTH OF SAIGON IN BINH DUONG PROVINCE IN SEARCH
|TROOPERS RUSH FORWARD TO WAITING HELICOPTERS TO BE MOVED TO A NEW LOCATION AND CONTINUE THE SEARCH.
|GOLDEN DRAGON TROOPERS OF THE 2D BN, 14TH INF, FIRE INTO THE WOODS AS THEY ADVANCE TO MEET THE ENEMY.
|ABANDONED BOAT SERVES AS HASTY BRIDGE.
|INFANTRYMEN EXAMINE RPG-7 ROUNDS DISCOVERED DURING THE SEARCH.
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
His First Ambush "Like It Should Be"
"This was my first ambush," said 2LT Jerry Yasher, "and I wasn't disappointed." Fifteen other new replacements out for the first time agreed.
Just after dusk the Greensburg, Pa., platoon leader led his ambush patrol out through the 1st Bn (Mech). 5th Inf, barbed wire.
They quietly set up the ambush along the Oriental River northwest of Saigon, long considered by 25th Inf Div officials to be a main Viet Cong night supply line.
"Everything was quiet for about thirty minutes when I thought I heard a lawn mower off in the distance," said radio operator SP4 Edison Atkins of Huntington, W.Va. The sound was the outboard motor of a twenty-four VC sampan cutting its way downstream.
"The moon was full," said Yasher, "and we could see them as plain as day. There were four of them with rifles."
"I waited until the last possible second to give the signal," he said. "When they were right in front of us we opened up with everything."
The river fell silent again after thirty seconds of fire. "Anything left alive out there was either an angel or bulletproof," said Yasher.
After resetting the ambush, the rest of the night passed silently.
As the sun rose, the men wound their way in through the barbed wire with a real combat story to tell about their first ambush.
Some Work Never Done
They say that an infantryman's work is never done - "Wolfhounds" of the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bde believe it.
After four months of continuous combat in the swamps and rice paddies of Hau Nghia Province, the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, recently returned to their Cu Chi base camp.
Anything but a break, the one week stay was spent firing, scrambling through the mud and patrolling in the unit's annual refresher training.
"The exercise was aimed at introducing new men to the challenges of Vietnam combat and refreshing the hard won skills of the oldtimers," said operations sergeant, MSG Jerry Mann of Leesville, La.
Much of the training was conducted in the vast Filhol rubber plantation east of the Div's base camp.
The training site was the scene of several fierce battles fought when the brigade first entered the area in January 1966.
The last night's exercise came to a crashing end with triggering of the battalion's total defensive fires.
Battalion Commander LTC David Hughes of Colorado Springs, Colo., called the "break" from combat operations a complete success.
"For the new men it was the closest thing to actual combat," he said, "and for the oldtimers it taught them new techniques and procedures."
Diamondhead Keeping Cong Off Balance
DAU TIENG - The 2d Bn, 12th Inf, 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, moving into the third month of Operation "Diamondhead" have constantly kept the Viet Cong of Tay Ninh Province on the move. Under the command of LTC James F. Greer, the troops of the 2d Bn, 12th Inf, have been conducting search and destroy missions throughout this area.
The 2/12 has become a swifter moving battalion with the support of the 188th Avn Co, which is based at Dau Tieng. The battalion over the past two weeks has carried out six airmobile assaults into the Tay Ninh area, thus making it impossible for "Charlie" to know where the "Warriors" will strike next.
The effectiveness of the swift moving Warriors has caused the VC in this area to be under constant pressure and has decreased the Viet Cong activities throughout Tay Ninh Province.
Since the beginning of Operation Diamondhead the battalion has destroyed 184 bunkers and seven military structures. It has also captured a total of four thousand pounds of polished rice, two hundred pounds of rock salt, twenty bicycles, sixty-eight grenades, twenty 82mm mortar rounds and a medical cache of three hundred bottles of penicillin and large quantities of antibiotics.
Commo Letter Helps Solve Talk Problems
Trouble with communications comes when people talk too much on it and not enough about it. That's the opinion of new 2d Bde communications officer, MAJ Raymond K. Howell.
His answer to the problem came recently with the publication of the first Warrior Commo Newsletter.
The weekly news sheet is aimed at solving everyday problems with commo equipment and encouraging proper maintenance.
"Response to the first letter was very favorable," says Howell. "This is the best way we know to let everyone in the brigade in on tips that can mean more dependable radio and telephone operation."
Included in the letter are sections on technical topics, personnel changes and even a joke column.
Job Changes Each Situation
A man never knows what he'll be doing next in the Army, as PFC David L. Ruggles of Flint, Mich., recently found out.
Ruggles was part of a two-man radio and forward observer team attached to the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, during a sweep through the Iron Triangle, 45 kms north of Saigon.
On landing in the area they were hit with sniper fire, and the two artillerymen had to perform as riflemen. That evening Ruggles' forward observer was wounded by a sniper and had to be evacuated. This left the young radio operator to do both his own job and his partner's.
"He did real well, especially for a first-timer," said Co B's SGT George E. Velez of Brooklyn, N.Y.
|SEEING DOUBLE - On the beach or elsewhere, Lisa Jak seems to be all GI could ask for. (Photo Courtesy 20th Century-Fox)
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
Page 7 contained "The Leading 1967 College Football Schedules...", which has not been reproduced for this online issue
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 25, 1967
Hot Food Forgotten In Bottle
It had been a long weary day for the 1st Bn, 5th Inf, soldiers. When they were told that they wouldn't be going back to camp for the evening meal, looks of disappointment crossed their faces, but even food was forgotten in the action that followed.
Had a Hunch
"We had been on a sweep during the day and we were tired," said 1LT Victor Larkins, recon platoon leader from Titusville, Fla. "I had a hunch that the Viet Cong was using the Oriental River during the little time that our activities were suspended in the evening. I received permission to check it out."
A seven man ambush team was placed in position along the river bank. Two of the APCs were hidden in the thick underbrush for rear security and the other three were returned to the forward base camp.
As the sun dropped below the horizon, the men heard a motorized sampan moving down the river towards their ambush.
"We could hear the VC in the boat, laughing and having a good time," said PSG Horst Adam of Honolulu. "At first, we thought there was only one, but as they moved past us, we spotted two more."
Adam triggered the ambush by firing a rocket at the lead sampan, which immediately sank. The second boat was hit by a rocket fired by Larkins.
"After that, all hell broke loose!" said SP4 David Seely, a machine gunner from New Orleans. "I opened up on the third boat with my M-60 machine gun and it was all over. We had M-79 grenade launchers and M-16 rifles supporting us."
A secondary explosion started a fire which sank the last ship. Eight VC were killed in the onslaught.
Returning to the forward base camp, the worn out soldiers discovered they hadn't been forgotten. Hot chow had been saved for them which completed the successful evening.
|A THING OF THE PAST - An inquisitive gunner from the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," has mounted his 90mm recoilless rifle on a Viet Cong oxcart wheel assembly just to see how it was done during the Revolutionary War. The Wolfhounds were on a 25th Div operation in Hau Nghia Province. (Photo by SP4 Bruce Dapprich)
Candy Bar Is A Good Trade
An ordinary chocolate candy bar proved itself an effective weapon against the Viet Cong during a 25th Div operation.
Co A of the 1st Bn, 5th Inf, had been providing security for a road building project by the 65th Cbt Engr Bn. As the armored personnel carriers moved into their positions near the small town of Loc Thanh, in Hau Nghia Province, a group of children converged on the vehicles.
"I was sitting on my APC when a small boy came up to me and wanted gum," said PFC John McCabe, a rifleman from Spring Lake, N.J. "I couldn't resist the look on his face, so I gave him a candy bar instead."
With the candy in his pocket, the boy and four of his friends motioned to McCabe to follow them. McCabe and several other men were led to a hedgerow about 50 meters from their position.
"When we got there," continued McCabe, "my little friends pointed out three butterfly bombs that were hooked up with trip wires and one 105mm artillery shell hidden in a hole."
A demolition charge was attached to the boobytraps and they were blown in place.
Late that afternoon, the little boys left for home each with chocolate on their hands, 100 piaster reward in their pockets, and looks of satisfaction on their faces.
A typist, an operations center radio operator, and a group of clerks recently joined together to form one of the most unusual security patrols in the history of the 25th Inf Div.
Named after their usual "weapons," the Remington Rangers were formed to provide security for a fire support base in Hau Nghia Province northwest of Saigon.
Their unit, the 1st Bn., 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," was involved in an overnight combat operation north of the base.
Led by 1LT Ronald Marsh of New Kensington, Pa., a staff officer with platoon leader experience, the men loaded up their gear, weapons and ammunition and took up posts just before dark.
"Everyone in the Army has infantry training," said Marsh, "but for most of them this was their first taste of field duty."
An all night monsoon rain and reports of enemy activity evidently convinced the Rangers that this was the real thing.
"It was the coldest night I have ever spent in Vietnam," said SP4 Robert Early, a clerk from Middletown, Ind. "I really gained a lot of respect for the infantryman who faces this every night."
SP4 Dana Howlett of South Bend, Ind., added, "I enjoyed it. After hearing everyone else's war stories for so long, I finally have one to tell."
According to Marsh, it was a one time operation but many of the men say they're ready to go at it again.
"Even though we didn't make enemy contact it was quite an experience," said Early.
One Letter Brings 50, But Writer Is Killed
Last March, PFC Jack Kuri decided that what his 25th Inf Div platoon needed was more mail from home.
His answer was a plan that created a 12,000 miles bridge of letters from his hometown of Washington, D.C., to Cu Chi, Vietnam.
The 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," soldier wrote a letter to a friend at the Library of Congress. "A letter in the field after a day's fighting means everything," he wrote, "maybe you can pass our address around the library."
The response was tremendous - 50 people wrote. They formed a Wolfhound Club, and the mail continued to flow.
"The whole front office typing pool, our section upstairs, the elevator operator, and lots more write regularly now," said Maryanna Fontanesi, an active club member in the Aerospace Technical Section.
"The letters are a tremendous morale booster," says PSG Louis Colon of Puerto Rico. "It makes all the difference in the world to a man to know the folks back home are thinking of him."
The combat hardened soldiers won't forget the great idea Kuri had when he wrote that first letter. He was killed on Operation "Manhattan," one month after he wrote it.
VC In Rush Pulls Boo Boo
"I saw a hat come out of a small tunnel with a Viet Cong under it," explained SSG Hai Lenam, an ARVN interpreter attached to Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds." "When he spotted us he started to run and I grabbed him."
The company, led by CPT Larry Garlock from Cleveland, Tenn., had his men on line with the command group as rear security recently on a search and destroy operation 40 kms northwest of Saigon.
The men were slowly passing the opening when the Viet Cong made his mistake.
During interrogation the detainee said he thought all the Americans had passed.
'Tomahawks' Go Airborne
The Tomahawk troopers of Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf, left their armored personnel carriers at home and went airborne during an operation west of Cu Chi in Hau Nhgia Province.
While eagle flights are frequent missions for infantry battalions, this was a "first" for the 1st Bde unit as they usually prefer tracks as their means of transportation. Despite being unaccustomed to helicopter operations, the campaign went off smoothly and successfully.
Enemy contact was negative when they came into the landing zone, but evidence that VC had been in the area was found in the form of numerous booby traps.
Jim Frost, 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified
©2008 25th Infantry Division Association. All rights reserved.