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Vol 3 No. 18          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          April 29, 1968



Unit                                Page Unit                                Page Unit                                Page Unit                                Page
1/5                  6 2/14                 1 2/27 Photo           1 3/22                 8
1/5                  8 2/14 Photos          4 2/27                 8 4/9                  1
1/5 Photo            8 2/22                 1 25th MP              7 4/9                  8
1/27                 7 2/22 Photo           1 25th MP Photos       7 4/23                 1
187 AHC              1 2/22 Photos          6 269th CAB            7 Manila R&R           3
2nd Bde              7 2/27                 1 3/17 Air Cav         6 PX Snack Bar         6


Two Platoons Kill 137 VC In Tay Ninh

   3RD BDE - In a blistering four hour battle within the limits of Tay Ninh City, two infantry platoons, 1st Plt, A Co, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, and 2nd Plt, C Co, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, virtually destroyed a Viet Cong main force battalion, killing 137 of the enemy while losing only four of their own.
   The two units of the 25th Inf Div's 1st and 3rd Bdes were on a reconnaissance in force through the eastern portion of Tay Ninh searching for an enemy battalion reported to be somewhere inside the city.  They reached the southeastern corner of the Cao Dai Temple and turned west parallel to the temple wall when suddenly the Viet Cong opened up on them from within the temple grounds.
   The initial enemy RPG and automatic weapons fire pinned them down, but, quickly, the men, led by A Co CO, CPT Allan R. Wetzel, brought the "Triple Deuce" armored personnel carriers onto line and attacked the enemy positions.  The tracks and infantrymen, led by 1LT Robert Hutcheson, burst through the wall and knocked out several enemy bunkers until the intense enemy fire forced them back through the wall.
   Although at this point only eight Americans remained unwounded, they continued to keep the enemy engaged while the more seriously wounded were carried to the rear.
   A second attack on the VC positions was made by a lone track and ten men, six dismounted and four mounted.  Four men fell at the wall but the attack pressed on.  Six VC fell to the blast of a recoilless rifle while an RPG gunner was cut down by an M-16.
   Then the track was struck by an RPG, wounding all the men on it.  The driver of the vehicle leapt clear of the track and carried one man to safety.  The track was struck a second time.
   SP4 Richard Bosworth, a mechanic who had been wounded while driving a track in the first attack, and who, despite his wounds, had gone with the vehicle that made the second attack, bailed out of the track.  Despite severe wounds from the second RPG blast, Bosworth carried another wounded man to safety behind the wall.  He then picked up a weapon and charged the VC bunkers, killing half a dozen before the intense fire cut him down.
   For a while, CPT Wetzel was the only man at the wall.  For several tense minutes until two more tracks came up to help him, he held off an attempted counterattack through the wall by the enemy.  After the counterattack had been broken up, impending darkness compelled the American force to disengage.
   The crews of the vehicles, along with Wetzel, made numerous trips under heavy fire to and through the wall to collect the wounded and put them on the tracks.  By sunset, all the men were on the vehicles and they moved to disengage.  On the way out the tracks were sniped at by VC tied in trees, but the snipers were silenced by automatic weapons fire.
   When the battle was over, the American force of just over 50 men had virtually destroyed an enemy force almost eight times their size, killing 137 of the VC Bn while losing four of their own men.  Their performance prompted one senior South Vietnamese officer who witnessed the battle from the air to call them "The Palace Guards of Tay Ninh."

Pvt Richard Morraro with LAWs MINI RESUPPLY - A LAW in each hand, PVT Richard Morraro, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, races to his position as elements of the Recon Plt of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, unit encountered a VC force.  (Photo By SP4 Robert Rossow)



Crusaders Hit Charlie

   CU CHI - The "Crusaders" of the 187th Aslt Heli Co, 269th Cbt Avn Bit, accounted for four Viet Cong killed, nine destroyed enemy structures, and seven sampans sunk in a "vise-like" operation several miles west of Go Dau Ha.
   The Crusaders, under the direction of air mission commander, CPT Ronald Cody of Champaign, Ill., inserted two companies of 25th Inf Div troops into landing zones at two separate locations west of Go Dau Ha.
   As the two companies swept toward each other, enemy elements were trapped in the open, as the "Rat Pack" gunships of the 187th rolled in to kill four of the VC soldiers.


Base Contains Big Cache

   1ST BDE - Elements of the 25th Inf Div on Operation Quyet Thang uncovered an enemy base camp with a cache of three and one-half tons of food 18 kms northwest of Cu Chi.
   While sweeping deep in the Ho Bo Woods, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, discovered what is believed to be a major resupply point for the Viet Cong higher echelon in this area.
   The second platoon of "Bravo Battalion" found three 100 pound sacks of rice which were very poorly camouflaged.  CPT James P. Hales, III, of the Bronx, N.Y., summed it up, "We probed with bayonets and kept striking wooden cases.  We thought that these cases were boxed ammunition, and where there is ammunition there is a weapon, a genuine war trophy.  We were all a bit disappointed when we opened a case and found canned pork and beef stew."
   In addition to 35 cases of Chinese pork and beef stew "Bravo Battalion" uncovered canned tuna fish, 100 pounds of powdered eggs, cans of evaporated milk, 500 pounds of green peas, 1,200 pounds of peanuts, rice, brown and white sugar.
   "With such a variety of 'appetizing' food, surely this must have been Charlie's R&R center," joked PFC Glenn Pennington of Dublin, Va.
   In addition to the three and one-half tons of food uncovered, three tunnels were found in the immediate vicinity.  1LT James Pollard of Salem, Ala., a "Tomahawk" platoon leader checked out the tunnels and discovered two nine mm sub machine guns, a new Russian anti-tank mine and a 40-pound Chicom claymore mine.
   The bunker complex surrounding the cache was also thoroughly searched and as a result two 60mm mortar rounds, a booster for an RPG-7, first aid kits, Chinese gas masks, documents, uniforms, tables, chairs and a shower were found.
   By late afternoon the Tomahawks had loaded all the food, ordnance and miscellaneous materiel on their armored personnel carriers and were preparing to return to their night location when Hales halted the column and tacked a sign on a tree which when translated in English read, "Sorry about that Charlie, signed Bravo Battalion."


Help Her People
VN Nurse Valuable Asset

   2ND BDE - A young Vietnamese girl who once worked as a laborer at the American's Cu Chi base camp will soon become a skilled nurse, thanks to a 25th Inf Div medic. 
   Under the instruction of SP6 Marvin W. Cole of Charlotte, N.C., senior aid man for the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf., Nguyen Thi Njhiem, known to her teachers as "Nim", has already become a valuable asset on several medical civic action (MEDCAP) programs in Hau Nghia and Gia Dinh Provinces.
   Cole, who started the project, first noticed Nim as she worked around the aid station on various chores.
   "I had been thinking how helpful it would be to have a girl on MEDCAP's.  We needed someone who knew something about medicine and had a fairly good knowledge of the English language," said Cole.
   "After I saw and talked to Nim, I knew I had the ideal girl, not only because of her mastery of English, but also because she seemed very intelligent."
   Nim, who suffered several of her family killed during the recent Tet fighting, had learned fluent English in high school.
   "She seemed very eager to learn nursing when she saw an opportunity to help her people and country," Cole explained.
   After clearing the project with the battalion civil affairs section, Cole and Nim began to work.  Part of Nim's training since then has taken place at the aid station, and the rest on MEDCAP's in the field.
   CPT Lonnie L. Wall, battalion civil affairs officer, said the project could lead to similar programs throughout the division.
   "We look on this project as a vanguard, and if it is as successful as we think it will be, we hope to continue it on a larger scale."
   "We've found that most of our patients on MEDCAP's are women and children, and basically quite shy.  We get a much better turnout with a woman along, especially if she is Vietnamese," Wall continued.
   When asked how Nim was coming along, Cole stated, "We are very pleased with her progress.  To date, she is a very diligent worker and very quick to learn.
   "Who knows," he added, "maybe we have a Vietnamese 'Florence Nightingale' on our hands."

Undergoing training by 25th Inf Div medics, Njhiem examines a Vietnamese baby during a MEDCAP.  (Photo By SP4 Michael Kribbs)





   1ST BDE - The Evangelical Church of Tay Ninh now proudly displays a new lighting system that was donated by the 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus".
   The Protestant chaplain, (CPT) Donald L. Crowley, of Stillwater, Okla., organized the project.  Chaplain Crowley bought the necessary equipment for lighting in Tay Ninh city with the funds from the Manchu Chapel.  The Manchu communication section volunteered to install the lighting.
   The Vietnamese and the Manchus worked together until the project was completed.
   "I knew the lighting would greatly aid the church and the Manchus were happy to lend a helping hand," said Chaplain Crowley.
   The Vietnamese showed their appreciation by inviting the Manchumen for dinner.  Mrs. Thanh, the pastor's wife, prepared the meal.
   The Manchus returned to base camp with a full stomach and a warm feeling in their hearts.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968



MAJ George A. Dean, HQ, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
CPT Hartwell B. Stephenson Jr., Co C, 2nd Bn 34th Armor
CPT William C. Pendleton, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Michael E. Wikan, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
CPT William C. Allison, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
CPT Robert W. Kesler, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Lance C. Warner, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1LT William Mosenthal, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Michael Whiles, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
1LT John C. Gregg Jr., Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Leland H. Burgess, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Stephen M. Beckett, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
2LT Vernon H. Sorgee, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Michael D. Balser, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Joseph S. Alexander, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Steven A. Wilder, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Robert F. Cappel, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
WO1 Walter D. Cooke Jr., D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1SG Joseph A. Leone, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SFC Joe B. Rodriquez, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SFC Robert L. Lockart, A Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SFC Kenneth E. G. Perry, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Michael J. Duffy, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Franklin D. Key, HHC, 25th Inf Div.
SSG Acle Horton, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SSG Victor E. Medina, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SSG John W. Hoffman, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Stephen G. Roberts, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Claude Swaringer, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT John W. Kearns, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Gilbeit Johnson, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Richard G. Schultz, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th 'Inf
SP5 George E. Sims III, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 John Wimberly Jr., D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Ulysses Stewart, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert Spuehler, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Richard J. Kearney, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Robert Rossow III, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Sam J. Favata, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Lloyd D. White, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC Eugene W. Buhr, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Irwin F. Pearson, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Joseph P. Taylor, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SP4 John J. Bergeron, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Elmo Overton, Co A, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SP4 Vade Gordon, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 David Kissinger, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SP4 Edwin A. Crandell, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SP4 Robert J. Fitzgerald, A Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Collis A. Wright, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th lnf
SP4 James E. Burke, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 John C. Moore, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Daniel J. Sheehan, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Harvey L. Pacheco, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Larry R. Davis, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd lnf
SP4 Lloyd R. Marshall, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Aubrey G. Corley, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Robert J. Forrest, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Samuel Burrola, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Danny B. Anderson, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Daniel A. O'Dermann, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Bobby L. Arrington, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Howard E. Johnson, A Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SP4 David E. Morehead, A Btry, 3rd Bn, 13th Arty
SP4 Robert L. Jameson, Co A, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Walter L. Cox, A Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Hugh E. L. Davis, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Donald W. Holmstrom, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
1LT Joseph H. Bridges, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Lawrence R. Berry, Co A. 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Mark Y. Hiroshima, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Lawrence W. McCabe, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Terry Williamson, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
SP5 Daniel F. Farren, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Donald G. Stanley, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Jaces E. Taylor, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Ellis W. Jones, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav




You Can Help

   GOLD, that elusive, precious metal, has been a newsmaker for years.  It was in the 1800s and still is today. It may seem unusual that you, as an American serviceman, could be associated with these headlines, but you are, especially if you are serving or about to serve overseas.
   In today's news the gold markets of the world are affected and that means Uncle Sam, too.  That's where you come in, and here's how it happens:
   Traditionally gold has been the ultimate means of settling accounts among trading nations.  Since 1934 it has been the policy of our Government to buy gold from, and sell gold to, foreign governments, central banks, and other official institutions at $35 an ounce.
   Because we have honored this policy, the American dollar over the years has earned the reputation of being "as good as gold."
   The confidence placed in the dollar by foreign businessmen and governments is demonstrated by the fact that dollars are often used to pay for goods and services sold between two foreign countries as well as between our own country and a trading partner.
   As more U.S. dollars have been paid to foreigners by Uncle Sam, some of the foreign holders of dollars have accumulated what they consider to be more dollars than they need.
   In turn, they have been selling them to their central banks in exchange for their own currencies.  Some of these central banks have been exchanging these dollars for U.S. gold.  As a result Uncle Sam's gold reserves have been dropping since 1957.
   And here is where you, the American serviceman, enter the picture.  When serving abroad your purchasing power is the American dollar.  The more dollars you spend in a foreign economy, the more it hurts Uncle Sam - your people back home.
   There is a solution.  You can help stem our Government's gold drain by purchasing American-made products and enrolling in a savings plan.  Remember, the Uniformed Services Savings Deposit Program pays 10 percent interest overseas.
   As President Johnson said: "The time has now come for decisive action designed to bring our balance of payments to - or close to - equilibrium in the year ahead.  The need is a national and international responsibility of the highest priority."
   Do your part-buy American and save American dollars. (AFPS)


New Regs On Wearing Uniforms

   WASHINGTON (ANF) - Army personnel services officials have summarized current regulations on wear of summer uniforms.
   Department of the Army Message 855497 states that the wear-out period has been extended indefinitely for the present shirt and trouser uniform in all currently authorized fabrics - those generally referred to as "tropical worsted," "Army tan" or "gabardine."
   Wearout date for the Army tan coat remains as previously announced, through the normal summer wear period of 1968, but no later than Dec. 31.
   The DA Message restates the requirement that officers and enlisted men must own the lightweight Army green uniform (AG344) by this July 1.
   Thus the Army's family of summer uniforms will include the AG 344 lightweight greens, the short-sleeve Army Khaki uniforms and shirt-and-trouser combinations in the fabrics listed above.  In addition, a new fabric has been authorized for optional wear by officers and enlisted men.
   This is a polyester/rayon, durable press material approved for a tan shirt-and-trouser optional uniform.  Drill sergeants will test the uniform this summer.  If tests are favorable, it is expected that the polyester/rayon uniform will be declared Standard A for issue to drill sergeants only, while continuing as an optional item for all other male personnel.
   The wearout period for Army beige for female officers and enlisted women remains as previously announced, through the normal summer wear period of 1968. Also, the mandatory ownership date for lightweight Army green uniforms for female officers and enlisted women is July 1.


RVN Volunteers
Tops 175,000
50,000 Extend

   More than 175,000 members of the Army and Navy have volunteered for service in Vietnam since 1965, according to statistics released March 15 by the Department of Defense.
   Additionally, during the period Nov. 2, 1966, through Dec. 31, 1967, more than 50,000 service personnel extended their tours for an additional six months in the combat zone.
   In the Army more than 135,000 personnel have volunteered for duty in Vietnam in the past three and a half years.




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 F. K. Mearns  . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
CPT Michael H. Clark  . . . . .  Information Officer
21LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Terry Richard  . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Don Brown  . . . . . . . . . .  Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


Manila - Sightseeing, Nightlife


Nets are loaded for the day's fishing at the south end of Dewey Boulevard.
A Philippine family waves from the plank porch of their home near jetties.
     A little Spanish mixed with a little Asian equals a lot to see and do it you choose Manila for your R&R.  The sightseeing is beautiful and the nightlife is fabulous.  What more could you want for a great R&R?
Manila Bay offers fun in the sun at the relaxing pace of the boat above.
As is true with many of the Asian countries, the old and new often merge and create striking contrasts.  One example is a Calisa and Mercedes.



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


Dig 'em out - Move Out


Photos By
SP4 Marty Caldwell









Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


Mech MEDCAPs In Ben Cui

   3RD BDE - The inherent mobility of a mechanized unit has enabled the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, to project the Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) into isolated areas.
   Over the past month, the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, unit's Med Plt, led by Civil Affairs Officer CPT Donald C. Cass, Helena, Mont., and medical service officer 1LT Albert Vogel, Pittsburgh, Penn., have held seven MEDCAP's near Dau Tieng and the Ben Cui rubber plantation.
   Working in coordination with the Bn's daily operations, the MEDCAP's brought medical attention to several villages that had not been visited before.
   During the month, over 850 Vietnamese civilians were treated by the MEDCAP's.  Through the combination of mobility and security provided by the Bn's mechanized capabilities, American good will was extended to Vietnamese people in the more remote regions of War Zone C.

Harold Neff on the .50 Cal.
(Left) SP4 Harold Neff, sits by the .50 calibre machinegun to provide security for a MEDCAP.  (Right) A medic from the Bn Aid Station treats an injured Vietnamese.  (Photo by SP4 Robert Rossow)



Air Cav Donates to Homeless Interpreter

   TAY NINH - During a ceremony held at the 25th Inf Div's base camp in Tay Ninh the men of Bravo Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, presented their Vietnamese interpreter with a gift of 25,700 piasters.
   The gift was presented to Vietnamese SSG Duong Diem by the troop commander, MAJ J.T. McManus, of Roanoke, Va., to help him rebuild his home which was destroyed by the Viet Cong.
   According to SP4 Harry W. Schropp of Takoma Park, Md., "Diem went home to his wife and two children for the Tet lunar New Year on a leave.  When he returned after the holidays he seemed very unhappy and I finally got him to tell me what was wrong."
   "The story he told me really brought home the tragedy of war," Schropp related.  "It seems that during the Viet Cong Tet offensive Charlie entered his village and dug in for a fight.  Diem heard of the VC's approach and managed to flee with his family just in time," Schropp, who is a close friend of Diem, continued.
   "According to Diem, the Popular Forces of the Vietnamese Army counterattacked three days later and drove the communists back.  As the VC retreated," said Schropp, "they burned everything in their wake and Diem's house was completely destroyed."
   Schropp talked over the plight of his friend with some fellow troopers and later mentioned to his commander that some of the men wanted to take up a collection to help Diem rebuild his home.
   McManus approved of the idea and contributions started pouring in.  According to McManus the entire troop assembled for the ceremony and the money was officially presented to Diem "In gratitude for the faithful service he has rendered this troop in his capacity as interpreter and from the soldiers of one nation to a well respected comrade of another."
   "After the presentation he came into my office and just sat there looking at the money with tears in his eyes," concluded McManus.



   CU CHI - Officials of the 25th Inf Div Post Exchange have set an opening date of May first for a Snack Bar to be located next to the main PX in Cu Chi.
   The snack bar will have a basic menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, cold drinks, donuts and coffee.  According to a PX spokesman this will probably be augmented by fried chicken and other short order dishes.
   The building will have a seating capacity of approximately 400 and will be equipped with stereo music.  The snack bar, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.


SGT and VC Can't Seem To Get Together

   2ND BDE - A 25th Inf Div sergeant finally made contact with the Viet Cong on an ambush patrol.  It only took him 100 tries to do it.
   SSG Howard Craig Jr. of Mesa, Ariz., a section leader with the reconnaissance platoon, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, had set out 99 times before to ambush the Viet Cong.
   Leaving his base camp 8 kms west of Saigon late in the afternoon, he moved until dark.   1LT Harold V. Metzger Jr. of Bellevue, Wash., ordered the platoon to set up in a rice paddy near a road junction.
   Craig settled down for another long night.  Only hours later the patrol received word that South Vietnamese gunners had mortared an enemy squad heading toward the ambush site.
   Soon afterward, Craig spotted Viet Cong moving down the road.  The section leader triggered the ambush.
   "I detonated two Claymore mines, then we opened up with M-16s." he said.  "I looked over and Schade was throwing hand grenades."
   Nearby, SP4 Jan H. Schade of Fernlay, Nev., was lobbing grenades into the enemy file close to his front.
   The ambush netted the "Bobcats" soldiers six Viet Cong killed, one detained and three weapons captured.


SAUCY ONE - Movie star Yvonne Craig models a beach towel.  On her it's nice!


Yvonne Craig



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


269th Pilot Holds DFC, SS, PH, CIB

   CU CHI - Picture a flyer with more than 50 oak leaf clusters to the Air Medal, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star for Valor, and two Purple Hearts.  Imagine someone so dedicated to getting the best from his flying machine that he volunteers to trudge the fields with the infantrymen he supports so he can learn more about how they operate.
   Eddie Rickenbacker?  Baron von Richthofen?  No, those are pilots of a war fought long ago on the other side of the world.
   The 269th Cmbt Avn Bn has its own flying legend in the person of CPT Michael H. Adkinson of Ozark, Ala.  Adkinson is a gunship plt leader with the 116th Aslt Heli Co and has been serving with the "Stingers" since Dec. of 1966.
   Known as "Stinger 96," Adkinson extended his tour of duty in Vietnam to remain with his men and has amassed over 1,600 hours of actual combat assault flying time, mostly in support of the 25th Inf Div.
   Adkinson spent 45 days on temporary duty with the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", to gain a broader knowledge of ground operations and techniques.  While with this ground unit he participated in many operations and his knowledge of gunship capabilities helped the ground commanders better use the mobile fire support of helicopters.
   Summarizing his experiences he explained, "I learned a lot about the things that gunships can do to better aid the ground troops.  Also, I was able to give the infantry commanders some idea of the capabilities of gunships and the best way to utilize them."
   Already wearing airborne wings and a Ranger tab, Adkinson was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for his liaison tour with the Wolfhounds.
   Since becoming a member of the Stingers, Adkinson has been in the thick of fighting.
   Adkinson summed up the beliefs that he flies by: "The effectiveness of the Stingers is based on the fundamental spirit of unity that binds them into one team, as well as the lasting cooperation that exist between the Stingers and the 25th Inf Div."


VN-MP Partnership
Teams Check, Search

   1ST BDE - Stopping the flow of black market goods and war materials, picking up Viet Cong suspects, and working in partnership with Vietnamese National Police, is the continuing task of the 25th Military Police's Resource Patrol.
   A resource patrol is a team of Vietnamese National Police and a gun jeep team from the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde Mil Police stationed at Tay Ninh.
   Working side by side, the teams stop traffic at points throughout Tay Ninh Province, searching for contraband, checking identification cards and looking for Viet Cong suspects.
   According to team leader, SP4 Buzz Abbott, of San Diego, "We are liable to find ourselves anywhere on these check points.  One day we'll be at the base of Nui Ba Den Mountain and the next we'll find ourselves close to the Cambodian border."
   PFC Ralph Ward, the machine gunner for the team, from Tarboro, N.C., explains the working relationship between his team and their Vietnamese counter-parts, "Actually we don't have very much power as far as stopping and searching people, so we have to go along with what the National Police choose to do.  We have worked together quite a bit and they like us, which makes our job a lot easier."
   Abbott explained that everyone detained by the team is questioned thoroughly.  The resource patrol team detained 93 suspects for questioning from Nov. through Jan. and 65 were detained as confirmed Viet Cong.
   Working closely with the Vietnamese Police from early morning till late at night the MP's have really tasted the local culture and customs of the people.

The 25th Military Police Team ferries across the Vam Co Dong River with Vietnamese National Police
The team checks passengers unloading from the ferry.  (Photos By SP4 Rick Adams)



Scary Last Two Weeks

   2ND BDE - For SGT Jerry L. Byess, of Jasper, Ga., it was a scary last two weeks in Vietnam.
   The reconnaissance platoon squad leader was participating in a sweep by the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," when his unit ran into heavy contact.
   "We were sweeping a hedgerow," he recounted, "when a VC ran out of the brush and shot up at a helicopter.  We were behind him, and he started to turn around.
   "We got him, his carbine and his ammunition."
   Continuing on, Byess' squad moved down a trench and spotted a second Viet Cong: another enemy killed, another carbine captured.
   Almost simultaneously, someone spotted a third Viet Cong duck into some brush.  The squad opened fire with rifles and grenades, finding later a bloodied AK-47 assault rifle but no Viet Cong.
   Minutes later, the Wolfhounds saw two men running across a rice paddy.  They opened fire with a machine gun, downing both enemy.
   "Just then I heard a shot and I was knocked backwards," said Byess.  "I looked down and saw my grenade lying on the ground, and holes through my web gear, ammo pouch and magazine.
   "I didn't have a scratch on me, though," he added.
   "As we pulled back, we must have chased three Viet Cong towards Co B.  The VC ran right into them.  We killed three more there."
   "This was one of my more interesting days," said Byess, who is scheduled to return soon to the U.S.  "And one of my luckier," he noted.


2nd BDE CA Treats 13,300 In MEDCAPs

   2ND BDE - Medical and civic action personnel of the 25th Inf Div's 2nd Bde treated a record breaking 13,324 Vietnamese during Medical Civic Action Programs (MEDCAPs) in Hau Nghia and Gia Dinh Provinces in March.
   MAJ Robert Stecker of Iowa City, Iowa, said the total number of patients treated during the 48 MEDCAPs set a new Div record.
   Stecker said the largest MEDCAP took place in Ap Binh Tien, a village near the military and commercial center of Duc Hoa, 24, kms west of Saigon.  Medics of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", treated 603 patients there during an all-day MEDCAP March 20.




Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 29, 1968


Fifth In Army History
Triple Combat Medic

   2ND BDE - A 25th Inf Div sergeant who came out of retirement to serve in Vietnam became the fifth man in Army history to win a triple combat medic's badge.
   SFC Wayne Slagel of Hq Co, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", received the award from LTC W.G. Skelton Jr., Bn CO, in ceremonies at Cu Chi.
   For Slagel, it was the high point of a military career that spans 26 years and three wars in the Pacific theatre.
  He earned his first combat medic's badge in Oct 1942.  Serving with the 31st Inf Div, Slagel took part in campaigns on New Guinea, the East Indies, and the Philippines.
   During the fighting on Mindanao, Slagel earned a Bronze Star for heroism in action.
   After the war, Slagel remained in the Philippines, where he instituted his own "helping hand" program.  Gathering as many books as he could find, the Army medic distributed literature to Filipinos wherever he went.
   "The people of the Philippines at that time were starved for knowledge," he recounted.  "They seemed very grateful to receive those books."
   Just how grateful became evident when, after five years of his private educational campaign, citizens throughout the islands began to honor him.
   Slagel holds the titles of honorary captain on the Manila police force, honorary lieutenant on the Angelesc police force, and a native son of Cebu.  There also was a library erected and named in his honor.
   Slagel began his first tour with the 27th Inf Wolfhounds during the Korean War, where he served with them on Heartbreak Ridge and through other bitter campaigns.
   At the same time the 27th Inf won a Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action, Slagel received his second combat medic's badge.
   When the war ended in 1953, Slagel remained in Seoul, where he eventually married a Korean girl, Hyo Ja, and had two sons.  In 1963, he was discharged from the Army, but stayed on in Korea to work on rodent control programs with U.S. and Korean engineers.
   For outstanding work in entomology, Slagel received a letter of appreciation from the governor of Kyonggi-Do Province, and became an honorary colonel in the Korean National Police Force.
   In June 1967, Slagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam to fill Army needs for trained medical personnel.  Early this year, he returned to the Wolfhounds as non-commissioned officer in charge of the battalion aid station.
   "I was glad to be back with the Wolfhounds again.  I fought with them in Korea, and I don't believe there's a finer fighting unit in the world," Slagel commented.
   During a recent mortar attack on Cu Chi, Slagel was wounded after he left his bunker to treat men injured during the initial attack.
   Now returned to duty, he was awarded the Purple Heart in the same ceremonies in which he won his third combat medic's badge.


LT Almost Buffaloed, But All Came Out Well

   2ND BDE - It was simply a matter of taking a bull by the horns.
   1LT Robert C. Dehlinger, a plt leader with the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, had reported in for a post-ambush debriefing.
   CPT Patrick E. Stankowitz of Green Bay, Wise., Co B CO, told him to get back down to his platoon "and find out what all the commotion is about."
   When Dehlinger arrived at the battalion's perimeter, he couldn't believe his eyes.
   A 700 pound water buffalo had lost its fight with another buffalo by falling backwards down a yard-wide well.
   "There was a crowd of Vietnamese kids around, and one of them was crying.  The interpreter explained it was the child's buffalo.  I told him to go get his father," Dehlinger recalled.
   "Meanwhile, the kid's grandmother came trotting down the rice paddy to see what was happening.  She looked at the buffalo, then gave us one of those 'What are you going to do now?' looks."
   While the platoon interpreter was explaining it was not the American's fault the animal had dropped down the hole, Dehlinger called for a tank recovery vehicle from the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, which had been working with the infantry battalion.
   Within minutes, the Vietnamese family, some passersby from a nearby village, and the tank recovery vehicle had arrived.
   "The armor people got a cable hooked up with all good intentions of wrapping it around the poor beast's neck.  Well, the buffalo's owner nearly had a heart attack - he thought we were going to strangle his animal," Dehlinger said.
   "To complicate matters, old Papa-san wasn't too eager to slip the noose around his own animal's neck.
   "We had to do it all.  You, being a complete stranger, ever tried to slip a noose around a water buffalo's neck, all 700 pounds of him sneering at you and trying to stick you with one of those horns?
   "We pulled real slowly, but the animal almost died of asphyxiation.  We had to plan another method.  Someone suggested we put the noose around his horns.
   "Again we fumbled with the cable, but eventually we got it around the animal's horns. We raised it slowly, but its neck began to stretch.  Up he came, slowly, this time taking everything in stride like a good buffalo should.
   "The tank people did a superb job, and finally got the buffalo out.  His legs were a little wobbly and sore, and he wasn't feeling too kindly about Americans or Vietnamese or anybody, but he was all right.
   "The whole family of Vietnamese thanked us and took the buffalo away.
   "After it was all over, I couldn't help wondering, 'Would the folks back home really believe this?'"

A WELL FULL OF BULL - What did 25th lnf Div soldiers do when a 700-pound water buffalo fell backwards into a yard-wide well?  Get a tank recovery vehicle and take the startled bull by the horns, of course.  (Photo By SP4 Jake Southwick)




Sweep Nets VC, Weapons

   3RD BDE - A hard fought battle against a fortified Viet Cong bunker complex netted Delta Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, two VC body count and an assortment of weapons.
   The Americans encountered intense enemy fire from a large bunker complex.
   Several hours later, the VC broke contact and fled through their hidden tunnels.  They left behind two dead, a RPG-2 launcher, a Chicom machinegun, and two AK-47 rifles.

CHOW TIME - A soldier of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, eats his C-rations while on a reconnaissance in force mission 16 kms east of Tay Minh.  (Photo By SP4 Steven Graves).



Thanks to:
Robert Doty, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 05-05-2009

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