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Vol 3 No. 21          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          May 20, 1968



Unit                                Page Unit                                Page Unit                                Page Unit                                Page
1st Bde S-5          1 1/27 Photo           6 25th Avn             6 4/9                  8
1/5 Photo            3 2/12                 1 25th Inf             1 4/9 Photo            8
1/5                  3 2/12                 6 25th Med             4 4/23                 4
1/5                  3 2/14                 3 3/22                 3 Customs Rules        2
1/5                  6 2/22                 6 4/9                  3 M-16                 7
1/8 Arty Photo       6 2/27                 1 4/9                  3 Malaria Pills        2
1/27 Photo           1 2/27 Photo           1 4/9                  7 MARS                 1
1/27                 6 2/27                 8 4/9 Photo            7 Memorial Day         7


       Two Wolfhounds Win Medal Of Honor

   Two former 25th Inf Div soldiers were presented the nation's highest award for heroism by President Johnson in ceremonies at the White House May 1.
   CPT Robert Franklin Foley, 26, and SGT John Franklin Baker, 22, received Medals of Honor for a single combat action when both were assigned to Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf (Wolfhounds).
   The action occurred November 5, 1966 when Co A came upon a Viet Cong force in well-fortified positions, just south of Dau Tieng.
   During the ensuing battle Foley and Baker, then a PFC, moved to the head of the company and, despite a hail of enemy sniper and automatic weapons fire, fought to turn the siege away from the hard-hit unit.
   Foley led his men in continuous assaults on the enemy positions.  Knocked down and badly wounded by an enemy grenade, Foley refused medical aid and by the end of the battle had been credited with single-handedly destroying three enemy bunkers.
   Meanwhile, Private Baker repeatedly entered the enemy field of fire to drag out American casualties.  Also knocked off his feet by an enemy grenade, Baker succeeded in relieving most of the sniper fire, killing seven snipers, and destroying four enemy bunkers.
   Johnson said Foley and Baker "fought because their nation believed that only by honoring its commitments, and denying aggression its conquest, could the conditions of peace be created in Southeast Asia."
   Foley, of Newton, Mass., is now stationed at Ft. Belvoir, Va., and Baker, of Moline, Ill. is based at Fort Jackson, S.C.

NATION'S HIGHEST - Two "Wolfhounds" receive the Medal of Honor from President Johnson in a White House ceremony.  At left is CPT Robert Foley.  SGT John Baker is being decorated.  (AP Wirephoto)



White Warriors Whip VC; Capture Stronghold

   3RD BDE - Seizure of more than 800 pounds of rice and a confirmed body count of 28 marked a recent overnight operation near the Cambodian border by members of the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf.
   The "White Warriors" of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div came upon a fortified enemy base camp which stretched for 40 kms of dense jungle northwest of Tay Ninh.
   Greeted by a hail of automatic weapons fire, two companies of the battalion were pinned down for three hours before pulling back to call in artillery and air support.
   As night fell, the battalion established a perimeter about 1,000 meters from the enemy stronghold, absorbing a twilight barrage of enemy mortars and RPG rocket rounds.  This was answered with new air and artillery strikes.
   A dawn assault by the Warriors reduced the enemy fortress, driving out a Viet Cong rearguard.  The fortified base camp revealed a network of tunnels, well-camouflaged spider holes with overhead cover, a swimming hole, four wells and what appeared to be a mess hall.
   The enemy camp also included ten adobe hutches and a rice storage hutch, in which was found the huge cache of the enemy staple.  More reinforced bunkers, connected to the camp by tunnels, were subsequently found in surrounding jungle.
   The entire complex was destroyed by demolition engineers with assistance from the Warriors.


TV To Salute Armed Forces

   A special television salute to the Armed Forces will be included in the varied public and military festivities that will mark Armed Forces Day around the nation this year.
   May 18, the third Saturday this month, is set aside annually by presidential proclamation to recognize the role of the individual serviceman and to promote understanding of the military services.
   This year "The Mike Douglas Television Show," a nationally televised daytime variety show will be devoted entirely to the military service during Armed Forces Week.


Food For Thought

   President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "In the final choice, a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains."

Canal Crossing - Members of Co D, 1st Bn, 27th "Wolfhounds", cross a small canal during a reconnaissance in force sweep 10 kms west of Saigon.  (Photo by SGT Ross Roessler)



Sgt Has Love Affair By Air

   "Honey, I've got a real important question to ask you," said a young 25th Inf Div sergeant stationed at Cu Chi, Vietnam, to his sweetheart in Georgia, "and I want a truthful answer, over."
   "Go ahead and ask me the question, over," she replied via MARS hookup.
   "Take your time but you have 30 seconds from the time I say over . . . Will you marry me, over?"
   It only took five seconds for the answer.  "Yes, yes, yes, yes, over."
   SSG Billie Joe Anderson was a happy man.
   He finished his 18 month tour in Vietnam, but had an additional surprise in store when he arrived home.
   The 25th Div coordinated Anderson's DEROS date with the deadline for the television show "To Tell The Truth" viewed May 1 by millions of stateside viewers.
   He was flown to New York City, arriving April 26 at the Ed Sullivan Theatre where his fiance was appearing on the TV game show.  She had absolutely no knowledge of his arrival or scheduled appearance.
   At the conclusion of the segment, Anderson was introduced and the audience went wild as the couple raced to each other's arms.  They had not seen each other in over 6 months.
   But that was not the only surprise.  The show's master of ceremonies, Bud Collyer, was presented a bound certificate from the 25th Inf Div, stating that due to his sincere concern for the romantic pursuits of one of their own, he was made an Honorary Member of the 25th Inf Div.  It was signed by MG F. K. Mearns, Division Commander.
   The love affair which spanned more than 12,000 miles and ended on a New York television state was assisted by the Military Affiliate Radio System which consists of military and civilian ham radio operators.
   The more than 22,000 civilian MARS members in the United States handle most of the traffic in the new "phone patch" system allowing GIs in Vietnam to make 5 minute person to person calls home.
   Any short wave radio turned to the MARS frequency can pick up the radio portion of the "phone patch" conversation like the one Anderson spoke over.
   The type of messages transmitted speak for themselves.
   One of the members said, "sure, the calls involve a great deal of time but it's the least I can do for the boys, considering what they are doing for me."

SSG Anderson presents to Bud Collyer a bound certificate, making him an honorary member of the 25th Inf Div after being reunited with his fiance on TV.  (USA Photo)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968



PFC Thomas Champa, Co C;, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Fred V. Jurado, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Robert L. Puckett, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Leslie A. Carmen, Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Mark T. Welling, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Robert N. Lee, Hq and Svc Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Paul Rivera, A Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Charles E. Powell, Hq & Svc Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Thomas S. Oldcorn, B Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
PFC Anthony W. Mojica, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Darrell D. Rodgers, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Delwin W. Ritter, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
LTC Alan M. R. Dean, HHB, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
CPT Fred F. Marty, Svc Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
CPT Phillip A. Blackwell, 9th Cml Det
CPT Gordon D. Bacon, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1LT John J. Langan, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT Kenneth W. Simpson, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
1LT William C. Ruha, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT Charles Q. Weatherford, A Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
1LT James H. Hughes, A Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
1LT James E. Moore, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Frank S. Owne Jr., Co B, 25th Avn Bn
1LT Charles W. Lykins, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
1LT William R. Rice, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1LT Douglas P. Ryan, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
2LT Gary J. Stevens, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
WO1 Ferenc J. Szerzo, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 James P. Barry, Jr., Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Joe F. Shipes, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Patrick J. Bilyk, HHC, 3rd Bde
MSG Morris E. Cash, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SFC Ivan E. Taylor, Hq, H&S Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SFC Louis Reising, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SSG Frank R. Haithcox, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Robert E. Block, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SSG Wilford Thomas, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG William L. Holmes, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Anthony Ruffin, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Harold C. Byrd, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Larry D. Hurley, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Royce Rainwater, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Walter D. Dula, Jr., Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Leroy Brown, HHC, 725th Maint Bn
SP4 Richard D. Fox, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Donald Haines, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Alvin L. Tucker, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 John R. Bulka, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Terrance W. Dew, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Phillip T. Hamrick, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Lyn R. Dunlap, HHC, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 James P. Cahee, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Glenn Raye, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Kenneth Y. Fowler, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Ruben S. Castaneda, Co B, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 John M. Summer, HHC, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Francis E. Sigmon, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Hugh D. Keith, Co A, 2nd Bn, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Omar C. Lockridge Jr., Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Douglas D. Lawrence, HHC, 2nd Bde
SP4 Sammy G. Forrester, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Ronald R. Mathis, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Andrew J. Bruecker, Co C, 3rd Bn, 2nd Inf
SP4 Douglas E. Olsen, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Stuart M. Rounds, Co C, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SP4 Carl F. Davis Jr., Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Lawrence W. Bower, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP5 Wayne I. Parker, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP5 Jerry D. Guy, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Ronald Detmer, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Robert H. Gurley, HHB, 25th Inf Div Arty
CPL James E. Devor, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
CPL Roosevelt Spencer, A Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
CPL Larry D. Edwards, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
CPL Richard F. Patterson, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
CPL Douglas T. Carroll, C Btry, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Delbert Smith, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James E. Owens, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Larry D. King, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Verlon I. Phillips, Co B, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 David W. Garrod, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Melvin Nelson Jr., B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 James B. Baxter, B Btry, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Pete R. Canales, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Worley T. Minor, B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Peter A. Karl, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Russell L. Wiggs, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Lon L. Zimmerman, Co B, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf



   Sending a gift home?

   There are some important things you should know about customs rules.

   There are two different customs exemptions for bona fide gifts you mail from Vietnam.  One, the $10.00 exemption, applies to members of the Armed Forces of the United States and authorized users of the Armed Forces Postal Service.  It pertains to PX purchased items or items on the economy.
   The second, a $50.00 exemption which only applies to servicemen serving in Vietnam or other combat zones designated by the President, is applicable only to items purchased through the PX.
   Only bona fide gifts not exceeding $10.00 in value will be discussed here in detail.
   These items that are not otherwise prohibited or restricted for import to the U.S. are exempt from duty.  Items worth anything more than $10.00 are subject to duty on the entire amount.  For example, a $15.00 item would be subject to duty on the whole $15.00.
   No perfume containing alcohol (except where the total value of all merchandise in the shipment is not over $1.00) or tobacco products are exempt from duty.
   The total combined value of articles received by one person on one day and exempted from payment of duty cannot exceed $10.00.  If it does exceed this, the Post Office at home may be required to collect duty.
   Gifts for several persons may be combined in one package and addressed to one person, but each individual package must be separately wrapped and addressed.  Each must be endorsed "Bona Fide gift not exceeding $10.00."
   The customs declaration form is addressed to the person shown on the larger parcel and the contents will be itemized on the customs declaration form to show the individual recipient of each gift enclosed in the large parcel.
   If you prefer not to list the contents on the outside of this, or any other package, you may affix the upper part of POD Form 2976, a small, green sticker, to the outside and include the list inside on POD Form 2976-A.  This requires payment of first class postage.
   When only POD Form 2976 is used and sufficient space is not available, itemize the contents on the parcel and refer to this on the declaration itself.  A POD Form 2966, a tag, may be used and then contents are itemized on the list of contents side.
   Any gift that is a set (sugar and creamer etc) may not be split to qualify as individual gifts.
   It is not necessary to list the actual purchase price of bona fide gifts which do not exceed $10.00.  The above mentioned endorsement will be placed on the declaration in lieu of the value.  When the POD Form 2976 is used, the endorsement will be on the parcel close to the form



   CU CHI - Have you noticed there are more mosquitoes in the air these nights?  Have you been planning to acquire more repellent?  Do you know how to protect yourself, or have you forgotten?
   With the arrival of the wet season, there has been an obvious rise in the mosquito population.  Several species of Anopheles have been caught on Cu Chi base camp in increasing numbers.
   There has been a slight upward trend in the incidence of malaria, several cases reported in the last two weeks.  They got it admittedly because they were not adhering to malaria discipline.
   ROLL your sleeves down an hour before dusk and do not roll them up until an hour after sunrise.
   Insect repellent should be used as directed in the evening or any time you feel you will be in contact with a large mosquito population.  You know where that might be.  Remember all that training you've had?
   The large, orange C-P pill should be taken by everyone, every Monday unless there is a written medical exception in each case.  You didn't take it?  Here's what to do.  Take the pill as soon as possible after you missed the dose, BUT NO CLOSER THAN FOUR DAYS APART.
   This pill is taken weekly for eight weeks after leaving RVN.
   The Dapsene tablet, a small white tablet, is taken by certain units daily while in an endemic area, and for 28 days after leaving the area.  Current division policy is for units operating north of the 60th grid line and the field units out of Dau Tieng and area to take the pill.
   This is especially important in suppressing the more serious falciparum infestation.
   USE your mosquito bar at night, especially in field situations.
          SPRAY AREAS
   SPRAY sleeping area at night before retiring using individual cans of insecticide.
   Unit measures are very important in the control of malaria.  PA&E sprays each of the three base camps, but this does not absolve the individual units of the responsibility of taking steps toward malaria prevention in each unit.
   Utilize the field sanitation team.
   Why all the fuss?  Malaria is a dangerous, potentially fatal, disease, but it can be prevented.
   There is no single method of eliminating the disease, but a combination of drug prophylaxis, individual malaria discipline and unit control measures can dramatically lower the incidence of the disease.


'Parachute Owners' Get Wings Clipped

   GI's have found that parachutes are multi-purpose.  They float to the ground and they do a fine job of providing shade from the sun.  For all lucky chute owners, the heat is on.
   If you are one of the fortunate few, you better have it cleared through the property disposal channels.  This means having a valid DA Form 1150-1, Request for Issue and Turn-In.
   To keep things cool for yourself and your unit, have those parachute sunshades authorized.


The TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS is an authorized publication of the 25th Infantry Division.  It is published weekly for all division units in the Republic of Vietnam by the Information Office, 25th Infantry Division, APO U.S. Forces 96225.  Army News Features, Army Photo Features, Armed Forces Press Service and Armed Forces News Bureau material are used.  Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army.  Printed in Tokyo, Japan, by Pacific Stars and Stripes.

MG F. K. Mearns  . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Andrew J. Sullivan  . . . Information Officer
21LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Terry Richard  . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Don Brown  . . . . . . . . . .  Editorial Assistant


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968


MEDCAP - SP4 Herbert Crandall, of Angwin, Calif., a medic with the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, treats a Vietnamese child with a head cut during a MEDCAP 10 kms west of Saigon.  (Photo by SP4 Jake Southwick)



Fuel, Engines Found During Jungle Sweep

   3RD BDE - An apparent Viet Cong boat landing and storage depot were recently found by a unit of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf, while on a jungle sweep northwest of Dau Tieng.
   Patrolling near a small river, Delta Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, came upon what at first appeared to be a deserted enemy base camp.  Careful probing around the six abandoned bunkers, however, met with surprising results.
   The "Regulars" troops unearth two gasoline powered engines and two 55 gallon drums full of gasoline, all buried in separate caches.
   "This place looks like a stopping off place for enemy boats," remarked CPT Gerald J. White, company commander from Fresno, Calif.  "But those engines could have been used for any number of things."



   2ND BDE - Two ambush patrols from a 25th Inf Div company killed five Viet Cong in separate actions on the outskirts of Saigon.
   CPT Robert S. Hoop of Lubbock, Tex., commander of Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, said his unit wiped out a three-man enemy patrol and captured most of the equipment of a Viet Cong demolition team in the two actions.
   Hoop ordered the patrol to open fire when the lead Viet Cong came within 15 feet of the ambush site.  Within a minute, the patrol had killed all three enemy and captured three AK-47 assault rifles.
   In the second ambush three days later, the company commander reported his men killed two of seven well-dispersed Viet Cong who filed by their position.
   The next morning, the operation Toan Thang soldiers located 500 rounds of small arms ammunition, three sets of combat web gear, a dozen hand grenades, and 25 pounds of high explosives and other demolition equipment.
   Hoop added that numerous blood trails indicated several other Viet Cong had been wounded but managed to escape the brief fight.


Item Of Interest

   The Vietnamese people worship ancestors, venerate elders, hold families as the keystone of society.  They are quieter, less excitable than Westerners, place high value on harmony, good manners and tradition.


Troops of 25th Help ARVN Win Race With Rains

   2ND BDE - Troops of the 25th Inf Div helped a South Vietnamese rifle company stationed near Saigon win a race with the monsoon.
   Elements of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, had been working with the 198th Regional Force Co. at Vinh Loc, several kms west of Saigon.
   The Vietnamese troop had assisted the Americans in several cordon and search operations and in detaining enemy suspects and infiltrators attempting to enter the capital.
   After several weeks of joint operations, LTC Thomas C. Lodge of DeLand, Fla., learned the allied unit was conducting what appeared to be a losing race to rebuild it compound before the monsoon set in.
   Lodge ordered a bulldozer from the Div's 65th Engineers to aid the ARVN unit.  In a day's work, the bulldozer cleared most of the land the Vietnamese troops would have had to level by hand, Lodge reported.
   In addition, the battalion commander sent a team of communications specialists to revamp the compound's communications system


Manchus, 37 for 14

   1ST BDE - Soldiers of the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde engaged local Viet Cong communists; killing 37 during 14 days of fighting.  The 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was on a reconnaissance in force mission around Trang Sang where the action occurred.
   "We combined daily sweeps of the area with night ambush patrols to stifle VC activity in the area," said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Simpson, battalion commander, of Westminster, S.C.
   The VC avoided contact when possible.  The "Manchus" constant aggressiveness and determined efforts was the catalyst that forced the action with the VC.


Sprained Ankle Saves Soldier From Snipers

   1ST BDE - Patrolling three miles west of Trang Bang, a 4th Bn, 9th Inf, soldier luckily fell and sprained his ankle, as he came under enemy sniper fire.
   SP4 Thomas McDermott, a squad leader for the 3rd Plt recalled the story of painful good luck.
   "Three men and I were going to check out a hedgerow about 75 meters to the front of my platoon," recalled McDermott.  "I looked back and I saw that PFC Kevin Sullivan was behind, so I waited for him to catch up while the other two men continued."
   "When Sullivan was parallel to me, we moved on.  As soon as we were in front of an opening in the hedgerow a Viet Cong opened up on the two of us with an AK-50, firing all tracer rounds."
   "Both of us hit the dirt on the first burst.  Sullivan crouched low and started to run for cover when he tripped and fell to the sounds of a second enemy burst.  I could see the bullets miss Sullivan's head by inches as he fell," continued McDermott.
   McDermott and Sullivan crawled to safety as the other two men ahead of them raked the VC position with small arms fire.



   1ST BDE - The capturing of a 25 foot motorized sampan netted the members of a 25th Inf Div rifle platoon several enemy weapons and supplies during a recent ambush 35 kms northwest of Saigon.
   Members of the 3rd Plt of Charlie Co, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, captured an enemy sampan after ambushing two North Vietnamese soldiers from positions along the bank of the Saigon River.
   "We spotted two 'Charlies' in the boat as it came by a couple hours earlier, but we couldn't get a clear shot," said SGT Danny C. Hatmaker.
   "It had been pouring down rain and we were waist deep in water but we knew that sampan was coming back and we were going to be ready," added Hatmaker of Welch, W. Va.
   "We called for illumination from our heavy mortar platoon and we could see that the sampan had jammed against the bank of the river, we felt that the motor had probably choked out as it crashed," remarked SGT Charles J. Behm.  "We stopped firing and kept a close watch on the sampan till dawn."
   As soon as daylight came, all the platoon of Charlie Co joined the 3rd Plt and Hatmaker and Behm volunteered to swim across the 100 meter river and retrieve the boat.
   Two new AK-50 assault rifles, two sets of web gear with ammunition loaded magazines, 15 NVA ponchos, 10 pounds of rice and various supplies were found in the hole filled sampan.
   "Blood stains on the web gear indicated that we probably hit the VC, but I guess we will have to be satisfied with his equipment this time," concluded Behm of Marion, Ohio.




Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968




   1ST BDE - With American help the farming village of Phouc Tan, two kms from the Cambodian border, is rebuilding after being caught in the devastation of war.
   The Viet Cong had attacked the small village and overrun its defenses.  After the communists were driven from the village, only half the town's buildings remained unscarred from the shelling and fighting.
   The people could rebuild their homes and barns, but materials were needed to complete their task.  Tay Ninh Province could provide the cement and tin roofing needed, but because of the remoteness of the village, transportation of the supplies seemed monumental.
   The 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde S-5 section offered its help in getting the cement and tin roofing to the isolated province town.  MAJ Arthur Seabrock and CPT F. L. Fly of the Brigade's S-5 section arranged for US Army Chinook helicopters to transport the building materials from the Tay Ninh East Airstrip to Phouc Tan.
   The brigade's civil affairs team, with members of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf Support Plt, gathered cargo nets and packed up the cement for airlift to Phouc Tan.  A MEDCAP team from the 25th Med Det at Tay Ninh base camp, rode with the first lift into the village and instantly set up a station to treat the local residents.
   The airlift of 1300 bags of cement was planned for a three day phase.  The first and third days of flying would bring in 8 flights by the Army helicopters.  The second phase would fly in six separate loads.
   The whole village turned out to watch the large Chinooks hover over a field close to the town and drop its cargo of cement.  The load was packed in piles and when the young children weren't climbing on the bags of cement or talking to the Americans unloading it, the people were handed their products for a new start.


Story And Photos By SP4 Rick Adams


A destroyed home at Phouc Tan is a challenge taken by villagers.
SP4 Larry Haggard inspects a model airplane given to him by children at Phouc Tan.
The people of Phouc Tan pick up the cement to begin the task of rebuilding.
At the Tay Ninh Airstrip, the cement is prepared for airlift to Phouc Tan.
A Chinook from Tay Ninh brings in another load of building materials near Cambodia.



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968


25th Avn Saves Patrol

   CU CHI - With the helicopter's belly crushing down the tree tops and the men hoisting themselves up on the landing skids of the chopper, the 25th Inf Div's 25th Avn Bn plucked a patrol trapped by heavy enemy fire from a densely wooded area north of Cu Chi.
   CPT James Jaap, Co A "Little Bear" operations officer, received word that a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) was in contact with a much larger enemy force.
   Jaap immediately diverted 25th Avn choppers from other operations to extract the besieged patrol.  Two Little Bear troop-carrying choppers and two helicopter light fire teams and a helicopter "smoke ship" from Co B "Diamondheads" rushed to the scene.
   The helicopter gunships began suppressing the enemy fire with their rockets and machine guns as the smoke ship laid a heavy screen of smoke to cover the landing of the two "slicks" that would pick up the patrol.
   The first chopper made it OK.
   But the second chopper couldn't land; the trees were too tall and too dense.
   The pilot brought his Little Bear chopper to a hover, then lowered it until its belly crushed and forced down the trees, the rotor barely clearing the tree tops.  He held his craft in position despite enemy fire as the remaining members of the patrol got aboard.
   One man leaped up, grabbed the helicopter's landing skid, and hoisted himself into the chopper.  Then, leaning out on the skid, he and the crew chief pulled the remaining soldiers up.
   They were all safely aboard just as the "Diamondhead" gunships made their last pass at the enemy's positions with only ammunition for their door guns left to fire.

ARTILLERY - A 105mm howitzer of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, fires in support of the 2nd Bde, 25th Inf Div, troops during Operation Toan Thang, 15 kms north of Saigon.  (Photo By SGT Ross Roessler)



FO Pitches No Hitter Against VC

   3RD BDE - A forward observer for Alpha Co, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, had to bring to bear some hand-hurled artillery during a reconnaissance in force some 10 kms west of Saigon.
   The "White Warriors" of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, ran up against a "U" shaped complex of Viet Cong tunnels and reinforced bunkers.  Enemy forces were well dug in and opened up on the company gaining fire superiority.
   Commanding his men to draw back, the company commander requested that immediate artillery fire support be ordered by his forward observer 1LT Martin Beach.
   Beach found himself unable to comply with the request, however, because his radio-telephone operator was pinned down by enemy small arms fire.
   Seizing an armload of grenades, Beach charged the enemy complex, scattering fragmentation devices into the Viet Cong spider holes, bunkers and tunnels.  Lending fire support to the lieutenant's charge were SSG Nat Taylor and 1LT Charles Mohr of Glenview, Ill.
   At the conclusion of the action, the unit had been successful in blotting out the enemy stronghold, with a confirmed body count of 18.  In the action the company captured three AK_50 and five AK-47 assault rifles and a 175mm recoilless rifle.
   Asked what had happened to his artillery, Beach replied, "It was all the artillery I had, Sir."



   3RD BDE - Caution paid off for an ambush patrol from Co B, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, as it moved from the company's night perimeter to its ambush site.
   The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, patrol, led by SGT Gerald Graham, Los Angeles, California, set out at dusk from the company perimeter in the Crescent to set up an ambush some 800 meters away on the south side of the Dau Tieng-Tay Ninh highway.
   The patrol had broken out of the jungle and was walking along a rice paddy dike when two shots in the jungle rang out.  Instantly the men took cover behind the dike.
   A quick radio check informed them that the shots had not been fired by any friendly elements.  The shots hadn't been fired at them but they weren't very far away.
   They seemed to have been some sort of warning.  Being cautious, Graham directed his men to crawl from their position to a better concealed position 25 meters closer to the road, rather than proceeding on their original path.  Then they waited.
   Suddenly a man stepped out of the jungle, looked around, and stepped back into the trees.
   A few minutes later he reappeared and started walking along a rice dike parallel to the patrol some fifty meters away.  Then came a second man, and a third, and so on until 13 Viet Cong had emerged from the jungle.
   The Triple Deuce patrol opened up, and saw several of the enemy fall as tracers stitched through the night.  All at once the patrol received heavy automatic weapons fire from their left flank, the area they would have walked had they continued on their original path.
   Later, reflecting on the action, one member of the patrol said, "You know, Charlie was waiting for us.  If he hadn't fired those two shots, we'd have walked right into his ambush."



   2ND BDE - A man who hours before had been selling ice to 25th Inf Div soldiers was killed when he attempted to probe their night location near Saigon.  The 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, reported killing the vendor and capturing two automatic weapons and a rocket launcher in a night attack on his position.



   2ND BDE - A trio of North Vietnamese soldiers walked into a 25th Inf Div ambush near Saigon recently when they decided to follow the wire of a Claymore mine.
   Members of Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, killed one enemy and detained another.  The third managed to escape when the Americans opened fire.
   PFC Allen B. Woodard, 20, of Delevan, Wisc., noticed the three enemy walking toward him through an open area.
   The "Wolfhound" alerted the rest of the patrol, then watched as the North Vietnamese followed the Claymore wire leading to his position.
   When the lead enemy came within ten feet, Woodard opened fire with his M-16 rifle.  Other members of the ambush patrol threw hand grenades at the enemy.
   A search the next morning revealed the dead North Vietnamese, one enemy who the patrol detained, and three automatic weapons.
   Documents identified the enemy as belonging to the 7th NVA Div.

TOAN THANG - "Wolfhounds" of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf, 25th Inf Div, file through a village 10 kms north of Saigon during a reconnaissance in force mission.  (Photo by SGT Ross Roessler)



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968


M-16 Answers VC Question

   1ST BDE - A 25th Inf Div Kit Carson scout had a conversation with two Viet Cong; his parting remarks were spoken by his M-16 which resulted in one dead VC and one detainee.
   Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was on a night ambush patrol near Trang Bang when the action occurred.
   Son Nguyen Van, a Kit Carson Scout for Alpha Co, was walking flank security on the way to the ambush site.
   Son relates that he saw somebody off to his left about ten meters walking parallel to him.  He spoke out in Vietnamese and asked, "Who are you?"  The Viet Cong replied, "Let's go.  You and I are same.  We are VC."  Son answered with a long burst of fire from his M-16, killing the VC.
   Heavy machine gun fire was placed in that direction wounding the other Viet Cong.  Two AK-47's were found and the Viet Cong detainee was taken back to a fire support base to be given medical attention and interrogated.
   "The two Viet Cong were sent out to make contact with another Viet Cong force that was moving into the area," said CPT Elcie Adams of Columbus, Ga., commanding officer of Alpha Co.
   "I guess that the VC mistook us for that force, when Son spoke to them in Vietnamese," said Robert McDaniels of Indianapolis, Ind.
   "Yes, but there was no misunderstanding that M-16," stated Adams.  Son smiled, and nodded his agreement.


Future Expansion Seen In M-16 Rifle Production

   Department of the Army is selecting two additional sources to produce the M-16 rifle presently used by United States armed forces, mostly in Southeast Asia.
   In a March 30 statement, the Department of Defense said, "The rifles will more quickly meet the increasing needs of Free World Military Assistance Forces in Southeast Asia and U.S. logistics and administrative troops."
   Army has requested the present M016 manufacturers, Colt's Industries, to expand production from 30,000 to 50,000 rifles per month.  Increased production is expected to begin in May.
   Selection of the additional sources for the M-16 production will be made primarily on the basis of production capability, together with a high level of confidence in the producer's ability to meet an accelerated schedule and maintain quality.

CAPTURED VC WEAPON - Son Nguyen Van, a Kit Carson scout for Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, displays the AK-47 he took off the VC he killed while on a night ambush patrol.  PFC Oliver Kissling of Roosevelt, Utah, looks over the weapon.  (Photo By SP4 Steve Graves)




   "...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind;  And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
   On Memorial Day, the bell tolls for us all.  It tolls for those who live and those who hear that sound no more.  It tolls because we are diminished by those who have died in our wars.  Our loss is personal.  Those who died at Appomattox, at San Juan Hill and Meuse-Argonne, at Anzio or Pork Chop Hill, those who are dying in Vietnam - they are our fathers, brothers, husbands, sweethearts and sons.  And their sacrifice was and is personal too.
   Those we honor today were much involved in mankind.  They were committed to its preservation, to its freedom, to its dignity.  They know that when freedom dies in one place, it is diminished throughout the world.  That when there is a travesty on human dignity in one spot, human dignity suffers everywhere.  They have seen it in Vietnam.  And they who saw so much were so very young.
   Soldiering is a young man's job.  They were young men who marched in the armies of ancient times.  They were young men in the conquering forces of Sparta . . . in the legions of Rome.  They were young who fought and died, and are fighting and dying in our own wars.
   At Arlington, at Shiloh, at Gettysburg, you see the white marble crosses or headstones.  But if you look closer, you also see the dates on those stones.  They were so young.  They still had so much to give, yet they gave so much.
   As the soldier is young, so he fights for the young.  He fights for their future.  He dies that they might live.  For a soldier cannot die for a superficial world that is not of his making.  He dies, instead, for the future.
   He dies, as he lived with a hope - a hope expressed during the dark days of World War II by Marine Corporal Vin Cassidy, who wrote:
   I fight and pray
   That wars shall cease;
   That his shall be
   A world at peace;
   His dreams, my dreams
   And all his plans.
   His name - my son,
   And every man's.

   We set aside one day to honor such men - men who died so young that the young might have a future.  Men, like Roger Young.  Roger Young was a World War II sergeant, a platoon leader and a good man, but his eyesight was bad.  Worried about the effect this would have on his leadership and fearing that his difficulty in seeing might bring harm to his men, Roger Young asked to be reduced to a private.  No longer a leader by rank, he was still one by example.  And, in spite of his eyesight, Roger Young won the Medal of Honor posthumously for courage in battle above and beyond the call of duty.
   How then do we honor the Roger Young's and the faceless thousands who have sacrificed so much for their country?  How do we remember what they knew, what they saw, what they did?
   For peace has come to Shiloh and Manassas.  The water runs clear through Antietam.
   Only in Vietnam can we see the grim realities of war - the sucking, sloshing mud, the rain soaked jungles, the closely fought battles, the dead and dying.  And yet Vietnam is a 6 p.m. serial, remote from reality, something we can't or won't accept in its total horror - unless we have been there to see, and touch and smell the war.
   How, then, can we remember the battlefield - when so few have seen and touched and smelled?  Here, where horror is common place, the common place is but a passing dream.  Here, in this province of poverty, wealth is measured in bullets and bread - prestige in courage.  It is a world known but to the few.  For it is a world apart.
   But all of us remember the hustle and bustle of war.  We remember the legions marching - the bands playing.  We remember the songs of the "Blue and The Gray," "Dixie," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Bonnie Blue Flag," and "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground," - songs of the innocent setting forth to battle.
   We remember the songs of the "Great War."  Our boys sang of their buddies and the beautiful women of France.  They gave their regards to Broadway.
   They told the enemy that the Yanks were coming and that they wouldn't come back 'til it was over, over there.
   Now, there are no more battle cries, no more slogans, no more innocent songs sending young men off to war.  There is no joyous victory in :"These Boots Are Made for Walking," no commitment to war in "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."  And while the old songs still stir our hearts, they no longer fit the harsh realities of war.  Our songs of glory on the battlefield were muted in the dark jungles of Bataan, on the snow-covered hills of Korea, in the steamy rice paddies of Vietnam.
   How, then, do we remember when our memories are so few, and those we have hold little meaning for today?  We remember, first of all, with honor.  And this is the whole tradition of Memorial Day.  Honor paid to those who have so absolutely honored their country.  It began with the honoring of Civil War dead in several places throughout the country.
   One of the most famous of these incidents took place in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1867.  Several women had gone to the cemetery to decorate the graves of the sons and husbands of the South who had died fighting for the Confederacy.  When they had finished placing the flowers, they looked across to the graves of the Union soldiers - unattended, drab, and forgotten.  Touched by the sight, they couldn't bring themselves to ignore those graves where Northern men lay.  Carefully, they decorated those graves until there was nothing to distinguish them from those of the Confederates.  Thus honor went to those who had died honorably.
   This and similar incidents, touched the hearts of the Nation, giving hope that a country torn asunder by civil war might once again be united in spirit.  In response, the Union's veteran organization inaugurated May 30 as Decoration Day.  Ceremonies were sponsored throughout the North, while similar rites were held independently in the South.
   In the early 1800's, Decoration Day became Memorial Day to describe more fully the sentiment of the occasion.  And with the passing years, Memorial Day has become a salute to the military dead, not only of the Civil War, but of all of our wars.
   Thus today, we remember through honoring.  We join together to commemorate all those who have served the nation in uniform, who faced the armed enemies of the United States.  And especially, we honor those who fell in battle.  Those, mostly young, whose lives were cut short - those who, but for the chances of war, might have lived to build the future rather than providing its foundation.
   But honor can be a shallow cup from which to bring remembrance.   Our Memorial Day must be more than sad eulogies and nicely turned phrases of praise.
   President Lincoln used the phrase "so that these honored dead shall not have died in vain."  But how could they have died in vain?  If our Nation had lost its wars, rendered its freedom naught, these dead would have sacrificed all for but a passing vision of glory.  But our wars were won, our freedom preserved.
   Perhaps, however, this is not all that Lincoln had in mind.  Perhaps he also meant that our honored defenders would have died in if we had let them die in battle while we lived on in peace - safe, secure and untouched by their sacrifice.  They will have died in vain if we neglect their vision - their American Dream.  They will have died in vain if we confine our respect for their memory to strewing flowers on their graves on Memorial Day.  Moreover, they will have died in vain if we forget their involvement in mankind, if we refuse to take up their commitment to the future.
   Memorial Day, then, is a time for dedication to the future.  It is a day when we show publicly our awareness that we did not build this Nation by ourselves, that it was forged nearly 200 years ago by brilliant and selfless men, and that the building process had continued ever since by many generations of enlightened, hard-working Americans.  We were their future to whom they dedicated themselves.  Likewise we must commit ourselves to our future.
   And in today's troubled world, there is much that requires commitment.  There is the awesome presence of nuclear weapons.  There is the whole web of complexities spun by the struggle for civil rights - a struggle that oscillates between the rational and the emotional, and sums up in itself all those frailties of human prejudice.  There is the traumatic birth of new nations - some coming to term in violence; others born peacefully, but faced with severe pains of growth.  There is the specter of hunger hanging over half the human race; the grim presence of disease; the paralysis of human poverty that saps ambition and drains away hope.  There are all these problems and more.  It is a future that will require much dedication.
   There are many avenues for this dedication - many useful ways to serve one's community of fellow men.  Those we honor here today committed themselves on the battlefield.  But building toward the American dream requires brains as well as brawn.  It demands wisdom and moral courage as well as physical courage.  It takes steadfastness in dark hours, as well as elation in the glory of success.
   Some day, if men become wiser, nations may learn to settle their disputes by employing reason, not violence.  The tragedies of poverty, ignorance and disease may no longer dominate the world state.  And young fathers, as well as their sons, may live out their dreams.  That is our commitment.  That is our remembrance of those we honor on Memorial Day.
   In this cause, we must look toward the future, toward a better world.  We must build on the past, not in it.  We must continue to produce those fine young men who are willing to do a bit extra, to commit themselves, to strive for what is needed, not only by ourselves, but by the whole American community, and by those who, like us, would be free.  It is by virtue of the gallant sacrifices of such men that we remain free to pursue the American vision of a still greater America and a world in which all men are free to determine their destinies.
   And so, on Memorial Day, we pay tribute to our war dead - to those who have died for the future - our future, and that of our children and our children's children.  And those men have not died in vain.  Not so long as we honor them in deeds as well as words.  Not so long as we shoulder the commitment for which they so dearly paid.  No, they have not died in vain.  Not so long as we remember that we, too, are involved in mankind.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 20, 1968


Hoc Mon Link Guarded By Wolfhounds

   2ND BDE - Acting on the possibility of a second offensive in the Saigon area by the Viet Cong and NVA forces, elements of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", have been assigned the task of protecting the vital Hoc Mon bridge, situated on Highway 1, between Cu Chi and the village of Hoc Mon.
   The bridge, which is the main route for 25th Inf Div convoys to and from Saigon, is a reinforced concrete structure, and has been recently rebuilt.  The original bridge was destroyed during the recent 'Tet' offensive by Viet Cong 'Sappers.'
   Co C, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, charged with protection of the bridge and is in the process of building fortified bunkers and fighting positions in the vicinity of the bridge.
   "So far the enemy has not tried any overt aggressive activity here at the bridge," said CPT Walter Everheart, Charlie Co, "but the battalion has had some contact in this area and our own patrols have seen signs of him," the Atlanta, Ga., officer continued.
   According to SSG Richard Schultz of Pocatello, Idaho, "This bridge would be vital for the displacement of troops and supplies to the Saigon area, in the event of another offensive there by the Viet Cong."
   Along with the protection of the bridge itself, the Wolfhounds have the job of denying access of the bridge to Viet Cong infiltrators attempting to smuggle arms and equipment into Saigon.  Vehicles and individuals are searched day and night, making it impossible for the Viet Cong to use the bridge as a means of getting to Saigon.


Write A Letter; Win $

   How well can you write?  Can you write a good letter?
   Well, here's a chance to win some decent prized for your views in the Freedoms Foundation contest going on now until the deadline, November 1st.
   Subject matter is "A free ballot - a free Country".  Letters must not exceed 500 words.
   First prize for active duty personnel is $1,000 with second place awards to 50 persons at $100 each and 50 third place awards of $50.  Separate figures of the same amount hold for reserve components.
   In addition, the top active duty winner in each of the five military services will be invited to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 1969.
   The awards for other active duty and reserve component winners will be forwarded through channels for presentation at local ceremonies.
   The Freedoms Foundation is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to building an understanding of the spirit and philosophy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to inspiring love and freedom and to supporting the spiritual unity born of the belief that man is a dignified human being.
   It is not affiliated with any sectarian religious group or political party.  Those letters selected by the independent jury are spotlighted, distributed and published, providing "more ammunition in the struggle of free men for personal liberty and dignity against every totalitarian . . . force."
   The creed, "A free ballot - a free Country" has permeated American thought and literature since the arrival of the first colonists in their new land.  During the more than 300 years since, it has been expressed in many ways and by many of the country's leaders.
   Now it is your turn, based upon your many new experiences and new outlook on life through your tour in Vietnam.  Your ideas are wanted and will be listened to.
   More detailed information can be obtained from the Awards administration at Freedoms Foundation.
   Mail entries to:  Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge, Pa. 19481 U.S.A.



   1ST BDE - An element of the 25th Inf Div took the Viet Cong by surprise killing six while detaining three VC.  They also captured 5,000 pounds of rice, 2,000 pounds of powdered milk and six mines.
   The 3rd Plt of Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was attached to Co A of the 2nd Bn, (Mech) 22nd Inf, when the action unfolded in the Boi Loi Woods.
   "We swept down to the Saigon River and then started down the side of one bank when we came upon VC bunkers," recalled SGT Gregory Smith of Greenwood, W. Va., first squad leader.
   Smith relates that his point man, PFC Samuel Rodgers of Dallas, Tex., came back telling of enemy positions up front.  Smith quietly moved his squad forward taking the Viet Cong completely by surprise.
   "I saw the VC, who were wearing blue uniforms, sitting around their bunkers.  I took aim and hit one in the shoulder and then the rest of the platoon opened up.  The enemy ran to the river and I shot another as he tried to swim away," related Smith.
   Three detainees were found, one a woman who was thought to be a nurse.

ON LINE - Members of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, prepare to enter a wood line while on a reconnaissance in force mission 80 kms northwest of Saigon on Operation Toan Thang.  (Photo By SP4 Steve Graves)



Thanks to:
Dwight Davis, 4th Bn., 9th Inf "Manchus", for sharing this issue,
Butch Sincock, Past President, 25th Infantry Division Association for scanning and processing the issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 06-17-2011

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