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Vol 2 No. 47            TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS            November 27, 1967



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                           3 2/12                         8 2/77 Arty                 7 3/22 Photo              4
1/5                           3 2/14 Photo               1 2/77 Arty                 8 2/22                        7
1/5                           7 2/14 Photo               4 25th Inf Div              1 34 ARVN Ranger   7
1/8 Arty                   1 2/22 Photo               4 25th Band                8 65th Engr                1
1/27                         1 2/22                         7 25th MP                  8 65th Engr Photo      7
1/27                         3 2/27                         3 3rd Bde                   8 65th Engr                7
1/27 Photo               4 2/27                         3 3/4 Cav                   1 65th Engr                8
2nd Bde                   8 2/27 Photo               4 3/4 Cav                   6 Cu Chi Attack         1
2/12                         1 2/27 Photo               7 3/4 Cav                   7 Red Cross               8
2/12 Photo               3 2/77 Arty                 6 3/13 Arty                 6 Red Cross Photo     8
2/12 Photo               4      


Infantry, Artillery, Engineers Reinforce Airfield


Task Force Is Airlifted To Song Be

   Acting on less than 12 hours notice, a 2nd Bde task force recently staged one of the most massive airlifts of the year to reinforce the air strip at Song Be, 96 kms northeast of here.
   Alerted shortly before midnight, elements of two combat battalions and supporting units were on their way by dawn the next morning to Tan Son Nhut Air Base for airlift to the Song Be field.
  The airstrip, located atop a hill in Montagnard country near the Cambodian border, is only 37 kms east of Loc Ninh, where South Vietnamese and U.S. forces have engaged in heavy fighting during recent weeks.
   Less than 24 hours after the alert was sounded, one infantry battalion, an artillery battalion, an engineer platoon, brigade forward headquarters and more than 130,000 lbs. of equipment and supplies had been flown in to Song Be.
  Upon arrival, the brigade task force relieved two 1st Inf Div companies who had been guarding the post.
   First in to secure the base were the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, and the second platoon of Charlie Co, 65th Engr Bn.
   No contact was reported as elements of the brigade began search and destroy operations, as well as heliborne combat assaults, into suspected enemy locations throughout the Song Be area.  (See Photo Page 8)


Hawaii Still Calls 25th Their Own

   (Ed. Note: The following article recently appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.)
   Hawaii doesn't want men of the Army's 25th Inf Div to think Islanders have forgotten them.  The Star-Bulletin pointed out recently that the aloha spirit is missing from the ranks of the Tropic Lightning Division in Vietnam since most of its soldiers have never served here.
   But the Honolulu City Council is planning to pass a resolution that will reaffirm Hawaii's hope that the division is still "Hawaii's Own."
   And Kemoo Farm, the restaurant across the street from the main gate at Schofield Barracks, has shipped 5,000 cocktail napkins to the troops.
   The Chinese Chamber of Commerce presented a Hawaii state flag to officials at Ft. Shafter for delivery to the base camp at Cu Chi.
   Students at Farrington High School have decided to do something, and a massive letter is in the works for the soldiers to read, probably one of those 25-foot long things.

PFC Earl Hamilton, Sgt Dennis Ingram SGT DENNIS C. INGRAM, a squad leader in Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, crosses a stream during a 1st Bde operation in the HoBo Woods.  Following is Radio Operator PFC Earl Hamilton.  (Photo by John E. McDermott)



Medical Supplies Found By 2/12

   DAU TIENG - On a search and destroy mission a company of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, recently uncovered a Viet Cong base camp which contained a cache of both ammunition and medical supplies.
   The find was made by Delta Co, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, northeast of the 3rd Bde's base camp at Dau Tieng.
   The base camp consisted of a total of fourteen bunkers two of which were used for a small field hospital where the company uncovered fifty pounds of sheets and gauze, medical books and a number of antibiotics.


Cong's Aiming Stakes Fail As Cav Hits 2 VC Squads

   Bamboo aiming stakes failed to improve the Viet Cong's aim and dug-in firing positions did not protect them during a recent contact with Charlie Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
   The 25th Div's cavalry unit was sweeping southeast on Highway 1 toward the Hoc Mon Bridge.  The bridge is 16 kms northwest of Saigon.  At 10 p.m. the troop's 1st Plt made contact with two squads of Viet Cong firing from the south side of the road.  Five vehicles were hit by 10 RPG-2 rockets.  The enemy also fired some 200 rounds of small arms ammunition.
   The armored vehicles were lightly damaged.  There were only two U.S. soldiers wounded.
   The contact lasted five minutes.  The 2nd and 3rd platoons arrived as reinforcements minutes after the initial contact.  A flare ship and a gunship from Delta Trp (AIR) provided illumination and added firepower.  The combined elements returned fire with 90mm tank guns, small arms and automatic weapons.
   Immediately after the contact with the Viet Cong on the run, a reconnaissance of the area was made.  Blood trails were found strewn with bloody T-shirts and web gear.  The bamboo aiming stakes were found by members of the 1st Plt.  The stakes were alongside the road, set apart approximately the length of an armored personnel carrier.
   The following morning the troop found one dead Viet Cong still holding his RPG-2 rocket launcher.  He was carrying a green canvas packet with two RPG-2 rockets and three grenades.  An AK-47 assault rifle was also policed up.


Lighters May Be Boobytraps

   Cigarette lighters commonly sold throughout the Republic of Vietnam may be Viet Cong booby traps designed to maim or kill the unwary.
   The Viet Cong remove the lighter fluid absorbent (usually cotton) and substitute an explosive.  The detonator is placed in the lighter wick so that the lighter explodes when operated.
   To avoid injury, do not lend your lighter to strangers when on pass, or leave it in public places.  Place an identifying mark on your lighter so you will notice any substitution.
   When buying a lighter from a civilian vendor, inspect the lighter carefully before trying to light it.  If it has been visibly altered return it and notify the Military Police immediately.  If there are no visible alterations, disassemble the lighter and inspect the fluid compartment.  If there is no explosive in the fluid compartment, the lighter is probably safe.
   If you suspect a lighter is booby trapped, do not handle it or attempt to disarm it.  Notify the Military Police.


Camp Receives Seventh Attack

   The 25th Inf Div's Cu Chi base camp underwent its seventh and heaviest enemy mortar and recoilless rifle attack on Nov. 15. Five soldiers were killed and 26 others wounded.
   More than 125 rounds landed within the camp's perimeter during the 20 minute barrage which began at 7:35 p.m. Viet Cong firing positions were situated southeast of the camp.
   The enemy used 57mm and 75mm recoilless rifles and 82mm mortars in the sneak attack.
   Counter-mortar helicopters quickly called in heavy retaliatory fire, silencing the enemy positions.
   At 11:10 p.m. the same night three more mortar rounds were fired into the base camp.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967



Silver Star
PFC Gerald E. Picard, Co A, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd lnf  

Bronze Star Medal  (Valor)
PSG Santos F. Rodriguez, Co A, 2nd Bn, (Mech), 22nd lnf
SSG William T. Poston, Co B, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SP4 Oscar Jackson, Co B, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SP4 Richard E. Defreitas, Co B, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
PFC Ronnie G. Gandee, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf

Bronze Star Medal  (Merit)
LTC Alvin C. Hutchins, Jr., HH&S Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
MAJ Ronald L. Watts, HHC, 2nd Bde
MAJ Kulian E. Weisler 11, 25th Admin Co
CPT William W. Mendel, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd lnf
CPT Walter M. Smith, HHC, 2nd Bde
CPT Bernard Mc Ternan, Co C, 125th Sig Bn
CPT Walter Tucker, HHC, 2nd Bde
CPT James E. Bristol, HHC, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd lnf
CPT Kenneth W. Lucas, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
1LT Stewart T. Rynone, Co B, 25th S&T Bn
1LT John W. Bowen, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Michael A. Romano, HHC, 2nd Bn, (Mech), 22nd lnf
1SG Charles M. Ruthledge, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
1SG Henry A. Cenance, Co C, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf
SFC William R. lkner, HHC, 25th Inf Div
SSG David L. Stover, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG William J. Cotton, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
SSG Roy De Weese, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
SSG Lawrence E. Moore, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
SSG Joseph C. Frye, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
SSG Cecil J. Lam, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SSG Gary A. White, Co B, Ist Bn, (Mech), 5th lnf
SSG Lloyd R. Dixon, HHC, 1st Bde
SGT Dennis Mc Murray, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th lnf
SGT Pedro J. Rios, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th lnf
SGT Alfred Serna, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Roger W. Thompson, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Henry R. Scott, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SGT James D. Shulsky, Co D, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd lnf
SGT Vernon L. Kanell, Co C, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SGT John F. Murray, Co D, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SGT Kerry J. Russell, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th lnf
SP4 Joel W. Bucher, HHC, 25th lnf Div
SP4 Clinton E. Battle, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Malcm D. Cartee, Co A, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SP4 Richard J. Minadeo, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SP4 Edward M. Youngs, Co C, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
SP4 Heriberto Escamilla, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd lnf
SP4 Michael L. Fauser, HHC, 3rd Bde
SP4 Edward Gunderson, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th lnf
SP4 Larry Henderson, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th lnf

Army Commendation Medal (Valor)
SGT Richard A. Martin, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th inf
SP4 Ellis A. Dean, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th lnf
SP4 Mike C. Leyva, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 George A. Crisp, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Michael J. Gaudreau, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty

Army Commendation Medal  (Merit)
1LT Joseph M. Dailey, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SSG Joseph Oandasan, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SSG Scott E. Revell, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
SSG Mosley Rostice, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SP6 Walter T. Taira, 25th Ml Det,
SSG Samuel R. Murray, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SSG Charles Akers, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SSG Noe Garza, HO & Co A, 725th Maint Bn
SP5 Wendell J. Borne, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th lnf
SP5 James L. Butler, B Trp, 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav
SGT Claude B. Wray, Co B, 725th Maint Bn
SP5 Luis V. De Leon, HHC, 1st Bde
SP5 Peter J. Alexander, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd lnf
SP4 Raymond S. Baker, Co A, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd lnf
SP4 Richard W. Baker, Co C, 125th Sig Bn
SP4 Dale R. Du Vail, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th lnf
SP4 Anthony W. Dykstra, 25th MP Co
SP4 Rodney E. Grefe, HHC, 3rd Bde
SP4 John T. Hayes, HHC & Band, 25th lnf DISCOM
SP4 Kenneth R. Johnson, B Trp, 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Jeremiah Long, HHD, 125th Sig Bn
SP4 John D. Mc Kie, Co A, 125th Sig Bn
SP4 Richard Parker, HHT, 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Esteban Martinez-Ramirez, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th lnf
SP4 Michael L. Phillips, Co A, 25th S&T Bn



     Warrant Officers Needed

   The following information explains the general procedures for qualified personnel to participate in the Voluntary Active Duty Warrant Officers Program.  If you want to broaden your responsibilities and enhance your career this an excellent chance.
   Department of the Army Circular 601-13, AR 135-100, and USARV Regulation 135-100 contain criteria and procedures for submitting applications for the program.  The Army has shortages in 31 warrant officer MOS' and is trying to fill them with top notch NCO's and enlisted men.  The Army has modified its procurement program so that reserve warrant officers holding any MOS listed below may apply for active duty and enlisted personnel who possess required qualifications may apply for appointment to WO1 with concurrent call to active duty.
    Here are 22 MOS vacancies that can be filled by qualified applicants:

MOS Code MOS Title
201A Meteorology Technician
211A Field Artillery Radar Technician
214E Field Artillery Missile System Technician, Pershing
214F Field Artillery Missile System Technician, Sergeant
221B Air Defense Missile Assembly Technician, Nike
222B Air Defense Missile Fire Control Technician, Nike
223C Air Defense Missile System Technician, Hawk
241E Field Artillery Missile System Repair Technician, Sergeant
251E Field Artillery Missile System Repair Technician, Nike
251C Air Defense Missile System Repair Technician, Hawk
361A Fire Distribution Systems Repair Technician
521A Utilities Maintenance Technician
632A Automotive Repair Technician
711A Unit Personnel Technician
741B Data Processing Technician, EAM
761A Unit Supply Technician
811A Photomapping Technician
821A Survey Technician
831A Map Reproduction Technician
941A Food Service Technician
951A Criminal Investigator
971A Intelligence Technician


Listed below are 9 MOS's for which vacancies exist and eligibility criteria have been modified:

MOS Code MOS Title
062B Helicopter Pilot, Utility and Light Cargo Single Rotor
421A Armament Repair Technician
441A Ordnance Shop Technician
561A Master or Mate
562A Marine Engineering Technician
621A Engineer Equipment Repair Technician
631A Automotive Maintenance Technician
962A Image Interpretation Technician
972A Area Intelligence Technician


   To be eligible for consideration in any one of these 9 MOS's the applicant must have scored 105 or higher on the Army Aptitude Area GT.
   As a further exception, applications for MOS 561A and 562A submitted by any member of the Armed Forces regardless of score obtained on Aptitude Area SGT or equivalent will be forwarded to DA.
   For more details on this program see your unit personnel officer.



       Safe Investments For Everyone

   BACK in the old days of Tin Pan Alley, songwriters and lyricists made frequent observations that the happiness or success for which most people were looking was "Just Around The Corner" or "Back In Your Own Backyard."
   The same can often be said of investments, those elusive and important things we all seek in order to improve our financial status.
   Some investments, although they do make money in varying amounts at one time or another, involve either some risk or the chance of losing it all.
   However, there are safe, sound investments requiring a minimum of initial capital, yet which still offer a guaranteed return.
Savings Bonds   Fortunately, such investments are immediately available to us.  They're U. S. Savings Bonds, Freedom Shares and the Uniformed Services Savings Deposit Program - opportunities familiar to all of us.  They are, in fact, so familiar to us that we may be inclined to overlook their value in terms of thrift and sound investment.
   That pot of gold "Over The Rainbow" is a nice dream, but the likelihood of getting "Pennies From Heaven" is very remote.  The returns from small, sound investments are less spectacular than those offered by many get-rich-quick schemes, but they are certainly more reliable.
   The 4.15 per cent interest paid by U. S. Savings Bonds doesn't sound like much until you convert it to dollars and cents.  For example, the $50 Savings Bond you paid $37.50 for in January 1945 was worth $74.56 in March 1967.  And also remember that it's not only the financial return that is important, but the security of your investment as well.
   Freedom Shares work the same way except they pay 4.74 per cent interest in only 4% years.  As for security, they are just as secure as our Nation.
   The Uniformed Services Savings Deposit Program is reserved for military personnel serving overseas and pays you back $10 for every $100 you invest, a guaranteed return you seldom find in any investment.
   Remember, "Wishing Won't Make It So," but safe, sound investment of your money in solid savings programs can, and you don't have to look very far to find them.  (AFPS)


'Mail From Home' Project Begins

   Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 855, of Bethlehem, Pa., have undertaken a project to promote "Mail From Home" for members of the Armed Forces.
   Military personnel stationed in Southeast Asia, as well as those in hospitals at home and abroad who desire letters and packages, should send their names and complete addresses to:
   "Mail From Home"
   Bethlehem Post 855, VFW
   Bethlehem, Pa. 18017
A brief description of the individual and his interests should also be included.
   "Mail From Home" is similar to a project undertaken by Wilbur F.H. Raidline during the Korean War.  Working alone, his efforts generated 35,000 letters and 560 packages for Americans serving in Korea.  Raidline is now commander of the Bethlehem Post.


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  . . . . . . . . . . .  NCOIC
SP4 Dave Cushman . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP5 Terry Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967


Soldier Discovers Large Cache

Cache at end of tunnel   With nothing but guts, a length of rope and a gulp of air, a 25th Div infantryman uncovered a large cache of enemy explosives.
   Alpha Co of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," was on a search and destroy operation when they uncovered a large Viet Cong base camp, just north of the Iron Triangle, 56 kms northwest of Saigon.
   PFC. Richard Porter from Council Bluffs, Iowa, discovered a tunnel entrance, and along with 1LT Donald DeCasper from Canton, Ohio, volunteered to search it.
   Deep inside, Porter found a well filled almost to the level of the tunnel floor.  Lowering himself into the water, he felt around the slimy sides and found the opening of a second tunnel.
   A request was sent to the surface for permission to enter the submerged tunnel.  He was told to wait for the arrival of diving equipment.  After a short wait, word was sent down to the tunnel for Porter to go ahead with his search.  The necessary gear would be delayed in delivery.
   Tying a rope around his ankle, Porter again lowered himself into the well.  Taking a deep breath, he swam through the submerged tunnel with scant inches to spare.
   "I was worried that there might not be an exit," DeCasper said later, "because there wasn't enough room for Porter to turn around."
   In the pitch black of the tunnel, Porter was almost out of breath when he burst to the surface into another tunnel above the water level.
   Crawling out, he continued along the passageway and discovered a large room which contained five anti-tank mines and 20 butterfly bombs.  Taking turns Porter and DeCasper carried out the explosives which were later destroyed by a demolition team.
   "I really wasn't too worried," Porter remarked rather coolly, "because I couldn't imagine such a cleverly concealed tunnel leading nowhere."


Cong Is Captured By Cops

   Cops and robbers and a bit of the Old West entered the chase recently for a man fleeing from 25th Inf Div troops.
   It all started when LTC Walter E. Adams of Washington, D.C., commander of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," spotted a man running from his command helicopter.
   Elements of the battalion's Alpha Co gave chase.
   The man jumped on a bicycle and began darting among the hedgerows and through nearby hamlets.
   Men of the first and second platoons followed suit by jumping aboard a host of bicycles nearby and pedaling in hot pursuit.
   When the man apparently saw the troops catching up he deserted his bicycle and in the finest traditions of the Old West leaped on a nearby horse.
   It was too late.  By that time the U.S. soldiers were on him, pulled him off the horse and detained him for questioning.
   "Gosharootie, it was exciting!" said PFC James A. Duke of Nashville, Tenn., a member of the 2nd Bde posse.
   "From the air it looked just like the Keystone Cops," said Adams as he described the chase to brigade officials.


Weapons Discovered

   A former Viet Cong guerrilla recently led 25th Inf Div soldiers to an enemy weapons cache that in turn resulted in detaining a Viet Cong suspect.
   The 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, was making use of the extensive knowledge a Viet Cong rallier had of his former area of operations.
   The unit and their guide moved out early in the morning with the Vietnamese leading the way.
   "We traveled about 2,000 meters from our base camp and came to a heavily wooded area," said MSG Milford Pearce, an intelligence sergeant from Greenville, S.C.
   There the rallier pointed out a number of concealed spider holes.  One contained two Chinese carbines, a U.S. carbine and assorted field gear and ammunition.
   Excited by the discovery, the former guerrilla quickly led the men to another spider hole nearby and motioned for caution.
   The 2nd Bde soldiers surrounded the hole and their Vietnamese interpreter shouted a challenge.
   Slowly the camouflage cover swung open and a man emerged.  He volunteered to lead the soldiers to still another spider hole.
   "He led us to a hedgerow and pointed to a clearing several meters beyond," said Pearce.  As the men broke through the thicket enemy small arms fire broke out from the far side of the clearing.
   The U.S. soldiers returned fire and the Viet Cong fled leaving behind the spider hole filled with medical supplies.


Viet Cong Gets Caught Exfiltrating Night Position

   A 25th Inf Div sergeant, checking his defensive positions at night recently found himself in a free-for-all with a Viet Cong suspect exfiltrating the perimeter.
   SGT Joe Silva of Bisbee, Ariz., a member of Bravo Co, 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," left his position momentarily to check out the rest of his sector.
   Thinking he saw movement, the 2nd Bde soldier halted, then reasoned it must be an animal.  Just then, an aerial flare illuminated the area, and the movement stopped.
   When the flare went out, the movement resumed.  Looking closer he saw the figure crawling for the outer rim of the company perimeter.  Half crouching, Silva approached and saw a man lying on his stomach.
   "I was really surprised when I went up to him.  He rolled over on his back with no fight, at least at first," said Silva.
   "I guess I just stood and looked amazed for a few seconds," he said, "then the VC jumped up and tried to run.  I hit him with the butt of my weapon.
   "When he went down I jumped on him and we got in a tremendous fight.  I called for 'Bull' to come help me."
   "Bull" was SP4 Albert Alvardo of New York City, the other man on Silva's position that night.
   "Bull came running over and the VC was fighting harder than ever, but when Bull got into the fight it didn't last long.
   "Old Bull started growling and nearly scared that VC to death."
   The pair detained the man who was armed with a new American .45 cal. pistol.


New XO At 2nd Bde

   LTC James R. Mason, a native of Columbia, S.C., has become the new executive officer of the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde.
   He fills the place vacated when LTC Fremont Hodson was named commander of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
   "I'm extremely proud to become a member of the 'Warrior Brigade'," he said soon after arriving.  "I'm well aware of the outstanding combat record of the `Wolfhounds' and the `Bobcats'."
   Mason's last assignment was as ceremonies officer of the Headquarters Military District of Washington, D.C.  In this capacity he was responsible for all Army and joint service ceremonies held in the nation's capital.
   He is a 1951 graduate of the University of South Carolina and received a direct commission and assignment to Fort Benning, Ga., upon graduation.

AMMUNITION FOUND - Cache of large and small ammunition uncovered in a Viet Cong base camp by the 2nd Bn, 12th lnf, while on a search and destroy mission northeast of Dau Tieng.  (Photo by SP4 Joseph Hetterman) Weapons cache



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967


'Tropic Lightning Troopers'




Across the swamp





Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967


Leaping From Helicopters,
Aero Rifles Kill 4 Viet Cong

   Leaping from their helicopters and assaulting through 500 meters of brush, the lightning-fast Aero Rifle Platoon killed four Viet Cong and detained two suspects near the village of Duong Long in Tay Ninh Province, 56 kms northwest of Saigon.
   The quick reaction platoon, from the 25th Div's 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, dropped into the landing zone after helicopters had sighted movement in the thick hedgerows.
   It was the same area where intelligence sources indicated the presence of an enemy concentration.
   "We were alerted over the radio of the activity," said 1LT William Mosenthal, the platoon leader from Norwich, Vt.  "We charged at full speed to the hedgerows," he added.
   Fanning out, the Aero Rifles received small arms fire from the hedgerows.  Fire was returned, until two Viet Cong came into the open with their hands in the air.  PSG James Price of Onaway, Mich., and his elements found the body of a third Viet Cong.  Two carbines were seized.
   The helicopters of Delta Trp spotted more movement in hedgerows to the southwest.  Two more helicopter loads of Aero Rifles were flown in, as the 2nd Plt of Bravo Trp rushed up in their armored personnel carriers, dismounted and helped beat the brush.
   During the sweep, Price saw fresh footprints around a well checked earlier by the platoon.  As one of the men peered down the well, he was shot at, from a tunnel dug into its side.
   "We moved out of the angle of fire and began digging," Price explained.  "Our equipment was pretty modern. . . a couple of bayonets and some bamboo stakes," Price said jokingly.  After the digging and fighting was over, the Aero Rifles had added three more Viet Cong to the day's list of KIAs.
   Before the tunnel was destroyed, the platoon found a RPG-2 rocket launcher and six rockets, a CHICOM sub-machinegun and small arms ammunition in the tunnel.
   The Delta Trp Aero Rifles suffered no casualties during the contact.  "Except one; I got sunburned," lamented Price.


Infantry Is Aided

   In a recent six day mission Btry C of the 3rd Bn, 13th Arty, fired 2,713 rounds at elements of the 271st Viet Cong Regt from a fire support base located near Bao Don.  The self-propelled 155mm howitzer battery made a night march from Tay Ninh to support the 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 25th Inf Div.
   Charlie Btry kept the howitzer "tubes" glowing as they expended an average of 45,000 pounds of explosives per day in support of Operation Kolekole and Operation Diamond Head.
   Over 800 shells were earmarked for the night Harassment and Interdiction program which was continued despite the heavy fire mission load.


Radar Watches Sky At Dau Tieng

   DAU TIENG - When the cry "Incoming" echoes throughout the Dau Tieng base camp of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, the men of the radar section of the 2nd Bn, 77th Arty, go to work.
   Scanning the sky for the incoming rounds, the radar set quickly picks up the enemy shells while in flight.  Permitting two radar beams, the incoming rounds are represented by two blips on the radar screen.
   Based on the path of the trajectory to the ground, a computer automatically determines the coordinates of the enemy mortar site.  This location is quickly radioed to the artillery positions and within minutes, a deadly rain of high explosives blankets the enemy's position.
   Capable of moving to the field with the 105s, the radar unit proved its worth while set up at a forward fire support base at Prek Klok, a Special Forces camp in the heart of War Zone C where mortar attacks are normal occurrences.
   Within minutes after hostile rounds began to fall, the radar had the location pinpointed and counter-mortar fire was blazing to the enemy positions.
   The next morning, a patrol from Prek Klok found numerous blood trails around the Viet Cong mortar site.



   "A salute looks pretty sharp, doesn't it?  It seems to me that I've noticed a lot of you walking around with your hands in your pockets or turning your head when you should be saluting.  A civilian greets someone with a big hello, but as soldiers you can accomplish the same bit of courtesy with a real smart salute.  So men, let's get with the program, and make saluting a habit ... like waiting for mail call."



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967


Re-building Trang Bang-Boa Tri road
THE NORTH TO SOUTH LINK - Engineers fill in the deep craters on the Trang Bang to Boa Tri road before resurfacing.  This road is vital to the economic survival of the villagers in the district.  (Photo by James O'Neil)


Engrs, Inf, ARVNs Use Combined Effort
SP4 James O'Neil

   U.S. Army engineers and infantrymen with Vietnamese forces have combined to destroy a 10-year Viet Cong reign of terror in the Trang Bang district, 47 kms northwest of Saigon.
   Last July, Alpha Co of the 65th Cbt Engr Bn began the reconstruction of a 12,000 meter road from Bao Trai to Trang Bang.  A road vital to the economic survival of the villages in the district.  This is Phase II of the road construction project to connect the markets in Saigon through Duc Hoa and Bao Tri to Trang Bang.
   Initially constructed by the French in the early 1900s, destroyed and rebuilt by the Japanese during World War II, and partially closed by Viet Minh forces in 1952, the road was completely closed to all traffic in 1958 by Viet Cong.  Deep trenches, crude anti-personnel and anti-tank mines forcibly kept villagers near their homes.
   This prevented the villagers from getting their produce to the Saigon market, thus leaving entire harvests for the Viet Cong.
   Monsoon rains, constant Viet Cong terrorism and hard-to-get laterite hampered the engineer effort, according to Captain Carl Toisi, Alpha Co commander from Tucson, Ariz.
   "Heavy rains caused graders and trucks to bog down, and our operation came to a standstill several times."
   Viet Cong activity necessitated a daily sweep of the entire stretch of road.  "We alleviated much of the work by rigging up a homemade, mobile mine detonator mounted on the front of personnel carriers from the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf.
   "The high water table even flooded our main laterite pit so we had to use water pumps pumping some 1,100 gallons of water per minute."
   While providing job site security for the engineers, other elements from the mechanized battalion made sweeps into the villages, driving off the VC and reestablishing village chiefs.
   To prevent the reoccupation of the area by Viet Cong forces after the engineers and infantrymen had completed their mission, elements of the 34th ARVN Rangers were brought in to establish a permanent base camp and strategically placed outposts.
   As the road work progressed;
   Medical Civic Action Programs were held by infantry and engineer elements.
   PSYOPS personnel conducted daily leaflet drops advertising the new road, welcoming the 34th ARVN forces and encouraging the Chieu Hoi program.
   Entering the final phase the engineers ran into another problem - dust.
   "We covered the road with 100 barrels of an asphaltic material and 5,000 gallons of diesel each day," said 1LT Rodger Renzulii, platoon leader from Orlando, Fla.  "The coating eliminated dust hazards, put a waterseal on the road and made any attempt to emplace mines very obvious."
   Toisi is convinced that the 25th Div mission is a success.


Boy's Leg Saved By No. 1 'Bac Si'

   DAU TIENG - "Bac Si (Doctor) make number one," were the words uttered by Young, a Vietnamese child from Dau Tieng, as he pointed to the leg he could very possibly have lost, if it wasn't for the alert eyes of the 2nd Bn, 77th Arty, medics.
   Recently during one of the 3rd Bde, 25th Div, MEDCAPs, Young and his mother requested medical aid for his infected knee.  At first sight it appeared just to be another minor infection, but "Doc," CPT Robin L. Wulffson of Los Angeles, noted the seriousness of the condition.
   The following examination was extremely painful - Young gritted his teeth, and tightened his grip on the chair.  Tears welled in his eyes, but still he refused to cry as the Doc checked the wound; pressing around it, looking into it, and carefully bending the injured leg.
   It was apparent that several days of treatment would be demanded to cure the injury.  After five days Young was able to run with his friends and was showing them the scar of what once was an ugly infection.


"Baby Scouts" Net 2

   Two "Baby Scouts" (OH 23s) from Delta Trp (AIR), 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav, found three men hiding in a rice paddy between Trung Lap and Trang Bang recently.
   Flying the daily "last light" patrol, WO Mackie Webb of Ware Shoals, S.C., spotted the men just north of Highway 1.  He pushed the stick on his "Baby Scout" and plummeted in for a closer look.
   Two armed men started running across a paddy.  Webb called back to base camp for permission to fire.  Permission granted, his doorgunner placed effective suppressive fire behind the fleeing figures.
   WO Daryl Gunn, St Louis, Mo., flying security several hundred feet above swooped down for a better look and a chance to join in.
   A third man suspect was spotted near all the action.  He came into the open with his hands in the air.
   Both scouts landed and Webb and his doorgunner looked for the two men in the paddy.  He found one body but the other man had disappeared into the water of the rice paddy and could not be found.
   The detainee was brought back to the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi.
   "We have had about 75 per cent of our contacts in this area," Gunn said.


Bunkers Blown

   DAU TIENG - A large Viet Cong base camp was found recently by 3rd Bde, 25th Div, soldiers while sweeping the upper HoBo Woods 61 Kms northwest of Saigon.
   Most of the bunkers showed signs of recent occupancy when the tracks of the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, moved into the complex which contained over 60 bunkers and military structures.
   The bunkers were all freshly constructed and had log reinforced overhead cover from 1 to 3 feet in thickness.  Two kitchens, one with a 25-foot chimney, and a 45 foot well completed the complex.


VC Fall For Trap

   DAU TIENG - Four Viet Cong walked into a fiery funnel-shaped ambush southeast of here recently which accounted for one VC killed.
   The ambush was part of a series of actions designed to contain the 271st Main Force Viet Cong Regiment by the 3rd Bde, 25th lnf Div.
   The 2nd Plt, Bravo Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, had been set up in a clearing for most of the night when four well-armed Viet Cong approached the ambush site a few hours before dawn.
   "I saw them coming at us and gave the command to open fire," explained the platoon leader, 2LT Steven A. Wilder of Hollis Center, Maine.  "They (Viet Cong) threw a couple of grenades at us, but we killed one of them right there."
   Two AK-47 rifles were recovered by the platoon.

A GRAVE SITUATION - Infantrymen from the 25th Div are finding Viet Cong bunkers in some very unusual places.  This grave and headstone were found by the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, during a sweep 45 kms northwest of Saigon.  The bunker entrance can be seen through the archway.  (Photo by SP4 Joe Carey) Tunnel entrance



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 27, 1967


Sports And Games On Celebration Day

   DAU TIENG - Sports, games, festivities and the 25th Div Band helped mark Vietnam's National Celebration Day in the District of Tri Tam recently.
   Flags and bunting gaily decorated the village of Dau Tieng (district headquarters) on the holiday, which commemorates the overthrow of the Diem regime which once ruled South Vietnam.  Hundreds of villagers were on hand for the events of the day, which were staged by District officials and the S-5, 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
   The holiday commenced with music as CWO Darrel Blumm struck up the 25th Inf Band in a medley of tunes.  This occasion was the first time that a United States Army band had played in the village of Dau Tieng, and the reaction received was enthusiastic.
   At the conclusion of the hour-long concert, the children of Dau Tieng participated in a series of athletic events, including a 3-lap bicycle race through the village streets, ping pong and badminton tournaments and a 1,500 meter foot race.
   Soccer and U.S. style football highlighted the afternoon at the newly renovated Dau Tieng soccer field.  Seven-man teams representing D Co, 65th Engr Bn and the 3rd Plt, 25th Military Police, played a 15 minute exhibition game of touch football to a 6 to 6 deadlock.
   Later in the day, three Vietnamese soccer teams representing the military, the Dau Tieng marketplace and outlying hamlets competed for cups donated by the 3rd Bde and the District of Tri Tam.


Waiting to move
WAITING SHIPMENT - Stockpiles of equipment and ammunition wait to be distributed while a giant Air Force cargo plane begins to taxi down the Song Be runway.  (See Story Page 1)



Memorial Slated For Soldiers

   Plans for a fifty-state memorial to the hundreds of Americans in the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde who have given their lives in Vietnam were revealed recently by the Chaplain (CPT) Thomas McInnes.
   First elements of the brigade landed in Vietnam late in 1965 to spearhead the division's drive into heavily Viet Cong controlled Hau Nghia Province.
   Since then the three thousand man unit has freed large areas of the province and conducted massive civic action programs.
   The memorial to the men who lost their lives in the battle with communist insurgents will be a mall in front of the brigade's chapel at Cu Chi.
   Plans call for the flags of every state to be flown there to symbolize the heroic actions of "Fire Brigade" soldiers from all fifty states.
   The chaplain, who is from Warren, Pa., reports that he has already received the colors of 24 states and territories.
   Only one eastern state has refused to send a flag, while many others have written that theirs will be sent when a supply is available.
   One state, South Dakota, included an official certificate with theirs stating the enclosed flag had been flown above the state capitol at Pierre.
   The letter accompanying Alabama's colors was signed by both the governor, the Honorable Lurleen Wallace, and her husband, and wished McInnes good luck with his project.
   "One of the surprising things," says McInnes, "is how well the small territories have responded."  He proudly shows the flags from the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.
   "All we have to do is receive response like that from all the states," says the chaplain.
   "As one governor said," explains McInnes, "there could be no prouder or more fitting place for the flag of his state to fly, than over the heads of the men fighting for her freedom."


'Friendship Kits'
      Gifts Donated By Children

   DAU TIENG - Seven hundred "Friendship Kits" donated by the American Red Cross Youth were given to the children of the RF-PF forces defending the village of Dau Tieng recently.
   The gaily colored bags of goodies contained small toys, whistles, soap, crayons, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other small items.
   Each bag was given to the children personally by Red Cross Field Director Al Beardsley and Jim Loomis of San Diego, Calif.  Beardsley, a hulk of a man had to really bend down low to present the gifts to the tiny Vietnamese children, some, just barely walking.
   Before the presentations, CPT Tuan, Vietnamese District Chief, explained the gifts were from the children of America to the children of Vietnam.


Viet Cong Steal The 2nd Act

   DAU TIENG - It was an unscheduled double performance for some 3rd Bde soldiers recently when they were first entertained by the Korean Silver Lock Show and later the recipients of a local Viet Cong firepower demonstration.
   Songs and pretty lasses entertained the GIs of H&S Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty, for about one hour in the early evening with such songs as: Cotton Fields, Kansas City, Danny Boy, and the GI favorite - I Want to Go Home.
   After the applause ceased, the men returned to their work or to their hootches to praise the performance.
   Less than thirty minutes later the Viet Cong began the second act.
   According to SP4 Robert Van Norton of Johnson City, N.Y., "We were sitting in our hootch talking when the first round hit.  I have never been in a mortar attack before, so I didn't recognize the sound.  The four or five of us looked at each other.  Then the second round hit.  I knew what was happening then.  That's a sound I'll never forget."
   After the approximate sixty mortar, RPG, and recoilless rifle rounds slammed into the base camp, damage was listed as light.
   "I'm glad that Charlie had the politeness to wait until after the first show was over," said VanNorton.


Escape Fails, 2 Cong Caught

   DAU TIENG - "We were clearing out some of the brush when we found two of the VC under a tree," related PFC James Gadbois of Boston, Mass.  "They must have been there all night."
   The night before, the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, forward base camp northeast of Loc Ninh had been attacked by a reinforced company of Viet Cong.
   "There were three VC that were running around inside the perimeter last night," continued Gadbois.  "We were firing at them but thought they had escaped."
   "This morning we found two of them in a hole no more than 20 feet from the perimeter," he said.

HAPPY YOUNGSTER - Carrying a "Friendship Kit" which is almost bigger than he is, this little Vietnamese boy is one of 700 children in Dau Tieng who recently received the kits donated by the American Red Cross Youth.  (Photo by 1LT Ralph F. Campbell) Gift packs bring happiness



Thanks to:
Joe Carey, 25th Admin. Co., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 08-23-2005

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