Vol 3 No. 23 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1st Bde 3||2/14 8||3/17 Air Cav 3||4/9 7|
|1st Bde Photo 3||2/22 6||3/17 Air Cav 7||4/9 Photo 7|
|1st Bde CRIP 6||2/22 8||3/17 Air Cav 7||4/23 1|
|1/5 3||2/22 Photo 8||3/17 Air Cav 8||4/23 3|
|1/8 Arty 6||2/34 Armor 3||3/22 1||4/23 7|
|1/27 1||2/34 Armor 7||3/22 6||4/23 7|
|1/27 3||25th Avn Bn 7||4/9 1||50th LRRP 3|
|11th Armored Cav 3||3rd Bde 7||4/9 Photo 1||6/77 Arty 6|
|116th AHC 6||3/13 Arty 1||4/9 3||65th Engr 1|
|2/12 6||3/17 Air Cav 1||4/9 Photo 3||65th Engr 4|
|2/12 8||3/17 Air Cav 1||4/9 3||65th Engr Photos 4|
|2/14 6||3/17 Air Cav 1||4/9 6||7/11 Arty 1|
VC Ground Attack Turned Back
1ST BDE - While securing a fire support base 14 kms south of Cu Chi, 25th Inf Div forces repelled a determined enemy ground attack. It was through the sheer courage and the combined efforts of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, three batteries from the 7th Bn, 11th Arty, and a battery from the 3rd Bn, 13th Arty, that the fire support base was saved.
Just shortly after midnight the fire support base began receiving a heavy volume of enemy mortars. Within 30 minutes trip flares were illuminating sectors of the perimeter and everyone realized that a ground attack was in the making.
With the mortars still dropping, now at a heavier rate, the "Tomahawks" still remained on line and countered with a heavy volume of fire. The 50 calibers on the armored personnel carriers glowed in the night along with muzzle flashes from the other weapons, a shield of lead was established with interlocking fire.
MAJ Jeff M. Tuten, the Tomahawk XO, realizing the precarious situation of the fire support base, directed artillery pieces to be put on line where the enemy concentration was the greatest. With their tubes lowered to point blank range, rounds were fired at the charging enemy.
The fierce fighting of the enemy forced the perimeter to be altered. At this point, Tuten radioed Bravo Co and a troop from the 3rd Sgdn, 17th Air Cav to come from their temporary night location to reinforce the perimeter.
At one time there were six gunships and four F-105's on station. But the enemy was determined to overrun the fire support base and kept pressing his attack.
When Bravo Co arrived at the besieged fire support base, they came under heavy automatic weapons and RPG fire. Realizing how badly they were needed inside the perimeter, Cpt James P. Hales organized the company on line and charged through a hail of fire over the enemy positions into the perimeter.
The gunships still peppering the area around the perimeter, Bravo and the Cav element were deployed within the perimeter and slowly but surely the enemy began to retreat. Finally at dawn the enemy broke contact and the fire support base was saved.
A morning sweep of the area outside the perimeter revealed nine enemy bodies but speculation was that many more were killed because of the blood-stained ropes that were found outside the perimeter. These ropes were fashioned in such a way that they were probably used to drag away the dead. In addition to the many blood trails, numerous RPG and expended recoilless rifle rounds were found.
Manchus Patrol Rivers, Canals
1ST BDE - A unit of the 25th Inf has traded its flak jackets for life preservers.
The 3rd Pit of Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", has been assigned to patrol the Oriental River south of Duc Hoa in small patrol craft.
"We patrol the canals and the Oriental River in small patrol boats that are operated by members of the 65th Engs," said 2LT Fenley Stafford, platoon leader of the river force.
"Our duties are to stop and check the river traffic for Viet Cong supplies. Also we provide support for the main force of the Manchus while they sweep the area around the river. When necessary we ferry the main force across large canals or the river," explained Stafford of North Augusta, S.C.
The river force has stifled the flow of VC traffic and supplies in the area. During these river operations the 3rd Plt also found and destroyed numerous bunkers along the river.
|PINEAPPLES - Members of the river patrol of Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, search a sampan full of pineapples for Viet Cong supplies. The river force patrols the canals and the Oriental River while the rest of the Bn operates nearby on the land south of Duc Hoa. (Photo By SP4 Steven Graves)|
NV Artillery Wrecked
2ND BDE - Operation Toan Thang infantrymen of the 25th Inf Div chopped up an enemy artillery battalion that had poised within striking distance of the Saigon-Tan Son Nhut area, 20 kms west of Saigon.
Two companies and the reconnaissance platoon of the 2nd Bde's 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds", and helicopter gunships killed 66 enemy in a battle that started during an airmobile operation.
The action began about 3 p.m. when helicopters of the 3rd Sqn, 17th Air Cav spotted movement in a suspected rocket site. Soon after the helicopters began exchanging fire with the enemy troops, the Wolfhounds recon platoon airlifted into the battleground to secure an observation chopper downed in the fight.
As the platoon closed in on the fallen helicopter, North Vietnamese gunners opened fire with automatic weapons and rocket launchers. 1LT Frank F. Calvin, 26, of Southeast Mableton, Ga., swung his platoon into an assault line and attacked the enemy positions.
Two more units, Cos A and B, joined the fight and with the help of supporting gunships swept over the enemy fortifications.
Inside the base camp, they discovered three complete, new 122mm rocket launchers, six AK-47 assault rifles, an RPG-2 rocket launcher and numerous documents.
The Wolfhounds also detained three North Vietnamese who later said they belonged to the 208th NVA Rocket Regiment.
According to SP4 Joel D. Goodwin, 18. of Texarkana, Tex., many of the enemy "just lay there playing dead" during the waning moments of the fight.
At one point, recounted SP4 Sherman E. Piggott, 21, "I noticed something waving in a tree." The Williamsburg, Va., rifleman flipped his weapon on automatic and shot a sniper out of the tree.
PFC Dan V. Lindholm, 19, of Lindsborg, Kan., also saw his share of enemy playing dead. "I saw one NVA officer lying in the bushes. I noticed he had a pistol belt and holster, but no pistol. Just then he turned over and I shot him. He had that pistol pointed right at me."
Air Cav Slays 48 In Two Fights
CU CHI - Two troops of the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, flying in support of the 25th Inf Div, killed a total of forty-eight Viet Cong in two separate engagements late in the afternoon of the same day. The "Red Horse" troopers, flying armed, aerial reconnaissance southwest of the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi, utilized rockets, miniguns, artillery and tactical air strikes to assault the enemy positions.
The discovery of Viet Cong anti-aircraft positions by a "Hunter-Killer" team of B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, resulted in the destruction of four .50 caliber machine guns, a 12.7mm antiaircraft gun and body count of 25 VC in two hours of heavy contact.
The action started when an OH-6A Cayuse, piloted by 1LT James "Pop" Ingrahani of Madison, Ind., was flying at tree top level along the Oriental River between Duc Hoa and the 25th Inf Div's base camp at Cu Chi.
"I was flying recon toward a tree line when I saw a .50 caliber barrel poking out of the undergrowth," Ingraham related. "There was something about that 'stick' that didn't look right. When I realized what it was I started looking for Charlies but didn't see any at the time," he added.
"The VC anti-aircraft positions look almost like doughnuts from the air," Ingraham explained. "Charlie digs a circular trench and mounts a machinegun on a dirt pedestal in the center. That way," he continued, "Charlie can walk around the trench and fire the machinegun in a 360 degree arc."
Under the command of CPT James J. Mills of Lavale, Md., the three gunships arrived on station and Ingraham explained the situation while his observer marked the area with yellow smoke.
As the gunships prepared to make their run the Cayuse sprayed the area with mini-gun fire and as Ingraham pulled the ship out he received fire from automatic weapons but escaped undamaged.
Mills made a run on the target and fired rockets and machineguns into the positions without receiving fire but from then on as Mills described it, "Things got pretty rough."
Emerging from concealment, Viet Cong gunners manned the anti-aircraft weapons and opened up as the gunships started another run.
"We dove straight into those guns," said Mills. "There were fifty caliber slugs snapping by on both sides. I couldn't ziz-zag. We had to go straight in to fire the rockets and just a few feet to either side and the slugs would have cut my ship in half," he observed. "Those tracers looked as big as footballs as they came up at us.
(Continued on Back Page)
BLOCKADE PAYS OFF
3RD BDE - A carefully planned blockade ambush south of Cu Chi paid off with three Viet Cong body count for a unit of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
"The company was spread out in platoon sized ambush patrols running parallel to Route 1, the main highway leading to Saigon," explained CPT Gerald R. Campbell, Alpha Co CO from Cherokee, Iowa.
Shortly after midnight the Viet Cong opened fire on a nearby ARVN outpost, alerting the "Regulars" that the communist troops were indeed attempting to infiltrate into the deserted village near the highway.
"They came out of the huts and through our ambush site too fast for us to blow our claymores," added Campbell.
Although the onrushing enemy wounded two Americans, the fourth platoon's deadly machinegun fire brought down three Viet Cong.
At dawn the Regulars recovered from the bodies a diary listing local VC, one AK47 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, and an M-16 rifle.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
SP4 Larry R. Williams, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
2LT Charles S. Stewart, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Michael A. Englert, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT Russell L. Wiggs, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Philip J. Hallisy, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Wayne J. Lang, HHC, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor
PFC Joe E. Carter, HHC, 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf
SGT Glen Amis, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Peter M. Holt, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Carroll Lambert, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Hugh D. Keith, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Heimut Klees, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Jerry L. Byess, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Lloyd R. Marshall, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT John F. Queen, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Grover R. Hicks, HHC, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC Joseph A. Mena, Co A, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
2LT Stewart J. Eidem, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Kenneth Carroll, Co D, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Charles D. Boyum, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
MAJ Lynn Steverson, HHC, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
CPT Harry N. Joyner, HHC, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
CPT James L. Jaap, Co A, 25th Avn Bn, 25th Inf Div
CPT Raymond N. Maddox, Btry A, 6th Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Charles L. Johnson, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM)
SP4 James T. Roberts, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 John Mayo, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Robert E'. Nelson Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Robert Ortiz, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC John Prpich, HHC, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Frank J. Kistler, A Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Kenneth J. Stewart, HHB, 2nd Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 Melvin L. Hadfield, HHT, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Edward N. Fisher, Jr., Co B, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Franklin P. Branham, HHC, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC Ronald D. Chittick, Co B, 65th Engr Bn
MAJ Lawrence M. Hamberlin, HHC, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Douglas W. Higgins, HHC, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SGT John W. Crowther, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT John A. Anderson, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Walter G. Wilson, Co D, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William C. Smith, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SSG Jackie Polk, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Larry D. Green, Co B, 65th Engr Bn
SP4 Thomas L. Cadman, HHC, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
PFC John V. Mascara, Jr., Co B, 65th Engr Bn
PFC Everett C. Mahl, Co B, 65th Engr Bn
PFC Lawrence M. Richter, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Leon C. Carr, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 George W. Heaxt, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT Ruben Barkley, Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Earl Frazier, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Preston W. Warlitner, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jose L. Mojica, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Donald E. Rice, Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
1LT Jerome R. Yasher, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Louis Sturbois, III, HHT, 3rd Sgdn, 4th Cav
SGT Wal E. Barton, Co B, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 John F. Johnson, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Eddie F. Hall, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Stephen L. Treacy, Co A, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Henry A. Harriel, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Jerry Green, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Gerry S. Schooler, Co A, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Frank J. Oder, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT John W. Crowther, Jr., Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
CSM Donald Peroddy, HQ 2nd Bde
SP4 Gerald T. Douglass, Jr., Co D, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SSG German Ortiz-Vega, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Angelo L. Anselmo, HHC, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (HEROISM)
SP4 Alan R. Binatena, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 William E. Rabbit, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Marcus R. Burk, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Clifford Johnson, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 John L. Miller, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Michael L. Ransom, HHC, 3rd Bde
SP4 Wayne A. Wolf, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Charlie A. Bush, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 James L. Jackson, HHC, 3rd Bde
SP4 Raymond F. Schneider, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Larry D. Piggee, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Edward McCorvey, Jr., Co A, 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf
SP4 Bobby D. Gayton, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Richard C. Spencer, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Richard T. Fricke, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Roberto Alanis, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 James E. Hampton, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Richard Jacobsen, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 David L. Henry, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 William E. Barmore, Co A, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Interested In Investments?
Freedom Shares Aid America
New benefits for GI's who are saving Series E bonds have appeared. They are called Freedom Shares, and they earn interest just like Savings Bonds. Here are a few facts you should know before taking advantage of this new plan.
Freedom Shares are savings notes which are now available for purchase along with Series E Savings Bonds.
They are available only to those who buy bonds on a regular, formal plan. This means that if you purchase bonds monthly or quarterly through a class "V" or "VI" allotment, you are eligible for the extra benefit.
Freedom Shares are bought just like bonds. They pay interest, because they are purchased at a discount. Interest will average up to 4.74 per cent when held for four and a half years to maturity. But they may be redeemed after holding them for one year.
What do they cost? Freedom Shares are issued in face-value amounts of $25, $50, $75, and $100, with corresponding purchase prices of $20.25, $40.50, $60.75, and $81. In other words, they cost 80 per cent of face value.
True, Bonds cost a little less; 75 per cent of face value. But remember that Freedom Shares mature in four and a half years. Bonds take seven years to mature.
You may purchase the Shares only on regular plan-just like bonds. They must be bought in conjunction with bonds of the same or larger amounts. For example, a twenty-five dollar Freedom Share may be bought with each twenty-five dollar Series E bond when on a regular plan. The total price would be thirty-nine dollars; $20.25 for the Freedom Share and $18.75 for the bond.
GENEROUS GIs BAD FOR KIDS
One of the traits the U.S. soldier displays, generosity, is one for which he has been noted throughout military history.
The same trait has come to the foreground here in Vietnam, where soldiers shower Vietnamese tykes with candies, C-rations, cookies and other sweets.
Travel anywhere in South Vietnam where American servicemen have been stationed and you will see long rows of youngsters lining the roadways, hands outstretched. "Gimmie" is shouted as you drive past.
So, we're generous. That's good, right?
Wrong! To understand why, here's an American example.
Parents raise the youngsters, using firm discipline and love to mold them into good citizens. Then the son gets married and has children of his own to raise.
Insisting on discipline and obedience as they were brought up to adhere to, he and his wife do fine until grandmother and grandfather ruin it by insisting kids stay up past nap time or come in loaded with sweets.
This ruins schedules and appetites at the supper table, and establishes a discipline problem. The motives of the grandparents above are just as good as those of the soldier's, but the practice of giving candy, gum or coins to children quickly creates a habit of begging.
This is resented both by the Vietnamese, who see their children "degraded" and by the Vietnamese to whom the children address their "Gimmie" appeals.
According to a recent survey, citizens of Vietnam resent the effects created by the American impulse to over-respond to the friendliness of Vietnamese children. Abundance haphazardly distributed to these children, builds an attitude of dependence and the habitual expectation of something for nothing.
This overgiving may lessen the close-knit family structure and cause the parents to "lose face" in their children's eyes because of their lack of ability to equal the abundance.
It also causes the children to fall in the estimation of their parents.
Thus, indiscriminate gift giving can destroy the dignity of those we fight to save. It can cause havoc in the value systems of the youngsters who are exposed to a conflict in customs and who therefore suffer harmful results despite noble intentions.
Plan gifts and services in cooperation with respected leaders and village elders. This generates self-respect, personal esteem and prestige for parents and lawful superiors.
That piece of candy can win not only the heart and mind of the youngster, but that of the parent.
Dental Hygiene Indiv. Problem
There are more than 80 dental treatment facilities in South Vietnam. They are dispersed over fifty-thousand square miles.
Many areas have more than one clinic. In most cases it is up to the individual to seek out the clinic servicing his unit. This should be done early in your tour.
Since many soldiers spend a lot of time in the field, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. This will help prevent tooth and gum disease from setting in.
This may sound trite, but it is very important: Don't forget your toothbrush when you go to the field.
If you loose your toothbrush while away from camp, there are a few tips to remember.
Swish a mouthful of water vigorously around your teeth after each meal. If water is scarce, swallow it after swishing.
A small branch, such as a bamboo stick, can be shred at one end and rubbed across the teeth. By removing the bark from a small twig and sharpening one end, you can make yourself a toothpick. Use this to remove soft debris from the teeth.
Dip your handkerchief in water and wrap it around your finger. Rub the teeth and gums clean.
Remember, preventing dental disease is up to you!
FED PROGRAM AIDS VN VETS
A new federal program which provides employment in civil service grades one through five for "qualified" Vietnam veterans has been instituted by the Civil Service Commission.
The program ties employment opportunity to continued education, providing for transitional appointments without competitive examination for Vietnam veterans who:
1-Have completed less than one year of education beyond high school;
2-Served on active duty in the armed forces on or after Aug. 5, 1964;
3-Meet all other civil service requirements, and
4-Agree to pursue a full or part-time educational program under the GI bill.
It's against Army policy to use office safes for securing cash for individuals.
To overcome this Administrative violation an individual can purchase money orders at Army Finance Center and these MO's may be kept in the unit safe thus avoiding a violation.
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
MG F. K. Mearns . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Andrew J. Sullivan . . Information Officer
2LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Terry Richard . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Don Brown . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
MEDCAP Engages Different Foe In Vietnam
1ST BDE - In a war that has as many different aspects as the one in Vietnam, there are many non-combat battles to be fought. One of the biggest battles is for the faith, respect and confidence of the Vietnamese people. Two programs instituted by the U.S. Army to accomplish this task are MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) and Civic Action Programs.
CPT Francis L. Fly, Jr., from Nashville, Tenn., 1st Bde Civil Affairs officer, heads these programs in Tay Ninh province. We have had very favorable reactions from the people," says Fly. "We've been asked to return soon to every place we visit.
"We really have outstanding relations with the people in the villages, and in many cases they have furnished us with excellent information concerning Viet Cong activity in the area."
For the month of March, the Civic Action Program was focused on aiding refugees from the Tet offensive. Phuc Tan, located west of Tay Ninh, had been hit pretty hard and needed a lot of assistance to rebuild their village. Fly arranged to have building materials, including 1,300 bags of cement, flown to the village by Chinook.
"During the month of April, the emphasis was placed on health standards. We had 68 MEDCAPs in April, and were accompanied on many of those by Miss Deborah Hyland, a nurse provided by the Vietnamese Health Service. Miss Hyland, from Boston, Mass., was a great help on these visits," recalls Fly.
Doctor Arthur E. Lewis, 1st Bde Surgeon, from Buena Vista, Calif., stated, "We could really see a great improvement in the personal hygiene of the people."
"The children were the ones who gave us the most satisfaction," said Fly. "They really went wild. Many times little kids of six or seven years old would bring their smaller brothers and sisters in to be treated. You know, we treated 9,839 patients during the month of April. That's almost 300 per day," quipped Fly. "Next month we're going to concentrate on getting the schools in the area up to par."
|OPEN WIDE - CPT Arthur E. Lewis, 1st Bde surgeon, from Buena Vista, Calif., examines the throat of a patient during one of the 68 MEDCAPs performed in April throughout Tay Ninh province by the 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde.|
Back Up NVA Battalion,
To Swamp, Capture Cache
CU CHI - More than 350 enemy soldiers were killed in three days of heavy fighting when elements of four 25th Inf Div battalions and one troop of the 11th Armored Cav Regt supported by helicopter gunships, artillery, and tactical aircraft drove a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) battalion against a swamp.
The enemy force, believed to be the Delta 267 NVA Battalion, was first spotted by helicopter crews from the 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, as they flew armed aerial reconnaissance over the area eight kms southwest of the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi.
At 10:00 a.m. the crews saw an estimated 200 enemy soldiers wearing green uniforms and pith helmets and carrying AK-47 assault rifles.
CWO Sterling Holbrook, pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse, said, "I went along one tree line and saw about 20 VC below me. I banked around and followed the treeline on the other side of the rice paddy and saw about 25 more."
"I decided that there was a whole slew of them in there," he said, adding that he promptly radioed for additional gunships and artillery support.
As the gunships and artillery began devastating the enemy, a multi-battalion task force consisting of elements of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf; 2nd Bn, 34th Armor; 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf; and 11th Armored Cav Regt moved into a semi-circular blocking position pinning an estimated 500 enemy soldiers against a large open swamp.
Throughout the night a barrage of 5,000 rounds of artillery and four tactical air strikes pounded the illuminated enemy positions as helicopter gunships patrolled the swamp to prevent the enemy's escape.
The next day, the ground forces began an aggressive drive closing in on the enemy. The NVA battalion was entrenched in fortified bunkers in a massive hedgerow complex several hundred meters in depth.
According to 1LT John LaRoche, S-3 air operation officer for the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, "Once he left his bunkers, Charlie could only run into our blocking force or out into the swamp."
By the end of the third day, the U.S. soldiers had pushed through the enemy stronghold finding additional bodies and bringing the toll to over 350.
|WEAPONS CACHE - The 25th Inf Div's 4th Bn, 9th Inf, captured these enemy weapons and munitions among others during a three day fight with an NVA battalion eight kms southwest of Cu Chi. (Photo By SP4 Stephen A. Graves)|
Manchus & ARVN'S Kill 47 VC
1ST BDE - Soldiers from the 25th Inf Div, working with an ARVN company, trapped a Viet Cong unit in a wooded area near Tan Son Nhut. After air strikes and artillery pounded the area, 47 dead enemy soldiers were found.
Contact began as Bravo Co, 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", and the 198th RF Co were sweeping across a rice paddy. A Vietnamese soldier spotted movement to their front.
Both companies took cover behind a rice paddy dike and LTC Richard Simpson, battalion CO, moved three other Manchu companies into blocking positions.
Later, the Manchus swept through the area and encountered only light resistance. They found 47 dead Viet Cong and several automatic weapons and RPG rounds.
A Noisy Woman Tips Off Recon Patrol; Sampan Hit
CU CHI - "If it hadn't been for that noisy woman, the VC might have slipped right through our ambush patrol," remarked SGT Rodney D. Tavares, of Co F, 50th Inf, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), 25th Inf Div.
The assistant team leader of the recent night ambush patrol established his position along a canal junction in the Hobo Woods, where Viet Cong movement had been spotted earlier.
Fog rising off the swampy water made visibility very poor. "About 10:30 we heard a woman's voice chattering from an approaching sampan," continued Tavares. "When the boat got to the center of our kill zone we opened up with automatic weapons and hand grenades."
The sampan was destroyed.
An hour later the ambush patrol engaged five more enemy sampans, destroying one. The following morning a search of the area uncovered two 100-pound bags of rice, various personal enemy equipment, and debris from the destroyed sampans.
"Guess maybe Charlie will think twice about sending a woman out on night maneuvers," smiled Tavares.
|NEW VOICE IN TOWN - Marine PFC Jan Gifford will soon be heard on radio stations throughout the country and over the Armed Forces Radio network with her new program "All Kinds of Music." The pert blonde will provide the voice for the 15-minute show highlighting current hit tunes in the "Top 40" format. She is assigned to the Division of Information at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D. C.|
VC STRUCK NEAR HOME
2ND BDE - A "Wolfhound" patrol killed at least one of four enemy who apparently were attempting to return to a village that 25th Inf Div troops had swept through the day before.
The second platoon, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, patrol ambushed the four Viet Cong along a canal dike 8 kms west of Saigon.
1LT James R. Brown, 24, of Hinsdale, Ill., said his men found one enemy body and a large blood trail after the brief action.
The day before, the battalion's Co A reported finding a quantity of enemy clothing and supplies during a sweep through the village.
Soldiers Urged To Save
Benefit Selves, Country
WASHINGTON (ANF) - Attention is focused this month on two ways for U.S. servicemen to save some of their pay and at the same time help their country.
May is the month of the annual person to person canvass to encourage federal employees to participate in the payroll savings plan for the purchase of United State Savings Bonds and Freedom Shares.
Also this month, the Army is beginning a new plan to promote participation of soldiers stationed overseas in the savings deposit program, which now will be called the "BIG TEN" program.
The program's attractive interest rate - 10 percent compounded quarterly - offers substantial benefits that are not available in the United States. At the same time, the program offers an excellent means of reducing dollar expenditures in foreign markets, thus helping the country's balance of payments.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
On The Spot Support - 65th Engineers
CU CHI - In the scenes of the war in Vietnam
stand many often unnoticed but always appreciated units providing on the spot
support for the infantrymen "on the line." Their support is essential
in accomplishing the mission of the 25th Inf Div.
The 65th Engr Bn is one such unit. Platoons from Co A, B, C and E combined efforts to get the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, across the Trang Bang River two miles west of Trang Bang because mechanized armored personnel carriers (APC's) were too wide and too heavy to cross the Eiffel-type bridge at the site.
The engineers built then another bridge - in less than a day.
Co 'E' of the 65th Engr Bn inflated and assembled the floats at Cu Chi Base Camp to check for possible defects. The pontoons were then deflated, disassembled and shipped to Trang Bang by convoy. Upon arrival in Trang Bang, the floats were again inflated and reassembled by Co B.
Using Chinook helicopters, the assembled and inflated floats were airlifted to the bridge site. When the materials were landed at the site, the engineers employed two 27 foot power boats to maneuver the floats into position.
Then Co C began the strenuous task of interlocking each float into place with 150 pound pieces of metal balk. With the approaching dusk, the last pieces of balk were laid into place.
The bridge measured 244 feet in length and would support 60 tons.
Two days later, after the mechanized unit had moved across the bridge, Co A dismantled the structure. The balk of the decking was loaded on five-ton bridge trucks.
Chinooks are normally used to transport the floats but can carry only one pontoon at a time. This time a CH-54 Skycrane, which has greater lift capability, was used.
The Skycrane made it possible to extract two floats coupled together each trip. It was the first time the 273d Aslt Heli Co (Heavy) had air-lifted double float assemblies.
The time saved in moving the bridge was essential for the next day, men from A and C Companies moved out on a rafting operation for the 199th Light Inf Bde.
|TIGHT SQUEEZE - APC's couldn't cross the Trang Bang River on the Eiffle-type bridge at the site; a new bridge had to be built.|
|JIGSAW PUZZLE - There's a place for every piece and every piece must be in its place. The 65th Engrs know how it's done.|
|MUSCLE POWER - Machines are used when possible, but at times there's just no substitute for man's muscle.|
|READY TO GO - The new bridge spans the river, ready for the APC's. At left is the Eiffle-type that couldn't be used.|
|SHAPING UP - The new bridge begins to take form as men from the 65th Engr Bn put the pieces in place.|
|UP, UP AND AWAY - Everyone is across and the mission is complete as a CH-54 Skycrane removes the floats.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
VC Platoon Slashed; Base Camp is Ruined
3RD BDE - Members of a Viet Cong reinforced platoon were killed as they attempted to effect a delaying action 13 kms northeast of Dau Tieng.
The day-long action, in a jungle area of War Zone C, took place in an enemy base camp which was destroyed by Co D, 2nd Bn, 12th Inf.
The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div force, commanded by CAPT Edwin Bethea of Panama City, Fla., was air assaulted into a landing zone less than 300 meters from the enemy base camp and were greeted by fire from enemy RPG rockets, automatic weapons and small arms.
Air and gunship strikes helped reduce the enemy stronghold, but Bethea was of the opinion that the main force in the enemy base camp escaped.
The delaying force "was well armed and very persistent in keeping us from moving forward, although they took a heavy loss in doing so," he said.
After an all night vigil near the area of contact the "White Warriors" swept the base camp and finished its destruction.
|THE PAUSE THAT REFRESHES - T/Sgt Clayton T. Rummelt of 1876th Communications Squadron, Telecommunications Section at Tan San Nhut offers a cool drink to SP4 Alvin Owens of Little Elm, Texas.|
Cong Ground Attack a Failure
Support Base Pike Kills 85 Foe
CU CHI - An estimated force of 200 to 300 Viet Cong recently launched an intensive ground attack on Fire Support Base Pike, 10 kms west of Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
The Viet Cong hung on grimly for an hour and a half before retreating.
Leaving 85 Dead Behind
The battle began at approximately 1:30 am with a barrage of mortars, recoilless rifle rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and 122mm rockets. Approximately eighty per cent of the more than 200 rounds fell on the southwest portion of the perimeter which was guarded by one company of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus".
The infantry, however, was well dug in, preventing the rounds from claiming any lives inside the perimeter.
After 10 minutes of steady bombardment, the VC moved in for the kill - or so they thought. The main ground attack came from the southwest with a small supporting attack from the southeast. Listening posts from one company bore the brunt of the assault.
Showing no heed for personal security, the men of the listening posts refused to give ground. Surrounded on three sides, they unleashed such devastating fire power that not one Viet Cong broke through. This enabled batteries of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty and the 6th Bn, 77th Arty to fire.
Two tactical craft were on station for a nearby battle. The airstrikes were diverted by Manchu CO LTC Richard Simpson and directed to the new battle area.
A flareship illuminated the battlefield as the high-performance jets brought their wrath to bear on the enemy. Anti-aircraft machine guns tried in vain to fend off the swift jets.
Gunships from the 116th Assault Helicopter Co sounded the final notes of the fight as they peppered the battle area with their miniguns and rockets.
When asked about the battle, Simpson stated that the valor and courage shown by the men in the listening posts was the key factor in the decisive win.
The final toll at Fire Support Base Pike was 85 communists killed by the infantry, artillery, and tactical airstrikes.
FOOD FOUND BY PATIENCE
1ST BDE - Careful examination of enemy campgrounds led to the discovery of 6,600 pounds of polished rice by elements of the 25th Inf Div during operation Toan Thang.
Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, captured the rice in two separate caches along the banks of the Saigon River 30 kms northwest of Saigon.
SGT Melvin L. Jackson of New Orleans and PFC Gerald W. Smith of Hesperia, Mich., were credited with the two discoveries.
"Naturally, on a sweep we try to examine any suspicious area, but 'Charlie' really thought he had us fooled with his camouflaged covering. For some reason I just didn't think Mother Nature had placed those bushes, used to cover the tunnel entrance, like they were. I was curious and took a closer look," Jackson related.
"Jackson called me over and sure enough, it was one of Charlie's hideouts all right," remarked PFC Gary W. Ludwig, a tunnel rat from Edmonds, Wash.
Smith was walking point for his platoon about 200 meters away from the first cache. "I guess curiosity becomes a part of us legmen, because Charlie tried to camouflage the tunnel we found too," stated Smith.
The 100-pound bags of polished rice were evacuated by helicopters and distributed to local civilians.
VC Mail Box?
1ST BDE - A mail box at the Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Platoon (CRIP), located in Tay Ninh City, recently caused quite a stir.
The 25th Inf Div's 1st Bde force of American and Vietnamese had captured three red and blue Viet Cong flags in an action. "Everyone was interested in the flags and we valued them as fine war trophies," stated SSG Walter Crutchfield of Langdale, Ala.
"On that same day the Americans had just finished building a mail box outside the mess hall and as a finishing touch, painted it with traditional colors - red and blue," explained 1LT John Scherban of Winchester, Mass.
Shortly, WO Nguyen Hong Chau, leader of the Vietnamese contingent of the CRIP and a group of his men came to Scherban's, CRIP leader for the Americans, quarters and confronted the lieutenant with a complaint.
"It sounded funny to us, but it was serious business to them," said Scherban. "They wanted to know why we put a Viet Cong mail box in front of the mess hall. It took a little explaining but we finally put them at ease."
"We promised not to let any VC use our mail box," smiled Scherban.
VC Ambush A Big Mistake
3RD BDE - With characteristic lightning speed, units of the 3rd Bde routed an infiltrating Viet Cong force in a furious battle south of Cu Chi.
After occupying a deserted local village, the VC opened fire on the morning resupply convoy of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, which was headed back to Cu Chi on the main highway.
"Attempting to blockade the roads before he was dug in was Victor Charlie's fatal mistake," commented CPT Gerald J. White, Delta Co CO from Fresno, Calif.
Delta, already patrolling in the area, moved into the village and engaged the VC.
"Although we suffered casualties by Charlie's automatic weapons fire, the VC hadn't established strong defensive positions," related White.
After an element of the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, has evacuated the wounded "Regulars", the American forces launched a three pronged attack consisting of gunships, armored personnel carriers, and infantry.
Enemy RPG rockets forced the tracks to slow their advance so the regulars, followed by the "Triple Deuce," moved cautiously forward through the village, driving out the confused enemy in house-to-house fighting.
By evening, Charlie Co had advanced up on the other side of the highway even with Delta. The American forces set up a solid front at dark and waited for further fire from the enemy but none came.
The next morning Alpha and Bravo Co, who had relieved their sister companies during the Night, made an intensive search of the entire village and found ten VC bodies and a lrage supply of munitions, including 15 RPG-7 rockets, two RPG-7 launchers, 3000 rounds of AK47 ammunition, four AK47 assault rifles, 40 hand grenades and several enemy documents.
Thought For The Day
The American Writer, William Woodward, said: "The turning point of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved."
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
With Drier Days Gone By Troops View The Monsoon
1ST BDE - With the departure of the hot, dry season, men of the 25th Inf Div were questioned with respect to the oncoming monsoon season.
The men of Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, were asked the following question, "What is your opinion of the monsoon season?" All of the men interviewed were veterans of one monsoon season.
"The monsoon season is better than the dry season because it definitely slows Charlie down. Furthermore, it's easier for a soldier to keep clean; all he needs is a bar of soap, nature furnishes the water," explained SSG Jerry Smart of Cincinnati, Ohio.
SP4 Rox A. Goodwine of San Marcos, Tex., remarked, "Personally, I prefer the monsoon season. For one thing, in the dry season the ground is so hard that one needs a pick in order to dig a foxhole while in the monsoon season a foxhole can be built in half the time with less effort because the earth is so much softer."
Others preferred the dry season. For example SP4 Chris Elfers of Queens, N.Y., recalled, "At night when we went out on an ambush we had to lay just about completely submerged in water. When we returned we were in mud up to our waist."
"From the day the monsoons started," stated SGT Joe G. Pecina of San Antonio, Tex., "Our bunkers looked more like indoor swimming pools. We had to eat chow in the rain and it was very rare that we slept dry. To me the dry season is better, because I'd rather eat dust than wade in mud and water."
SGT Bruce H. Desrosier of Norwich, Conn., recalled, "While in the Hobo Woods, when we went to chow we had to walk in sandbags in order to keep the mud off our boots and legs."
The opinions were quite varied but all the Tomahawks agreed that they would prefer mud, water and dust to hot lead.
|HELPING HAND - A 25th Inf Div soldier gives SGT Eugene Weems of Alpha Co, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, a hand to help him cross a ditch. The "Manchus" were on a reconnaissance in force mission south of Duc Hoa. The Manchus destroyed numerous bunkers but the enemy had left the area.|
Colonel's Chopper Hits Fleeing VC; Kills Five
3RD BDE - In a blazing exchange of gunfire, the gunners on the command helicopter of COL Leonard R. Daems Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, killed five Viet Cong fleeing across a rice paddy.
The five VC killed were credited to SP4 Louis R. Beam, Jr. of Lufkin, Tex. and SP4 Tony Grosso of Derby, Pa.
The 20 minute engagement with an estimated force of 50 VC took place 30 kms northwest of Saigon. It was part of a day long action by elements of Task Force Daems, which netted 183 enemy bodies.
The task force consisted of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf; and the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor.
On a reconnaissance flight near the village of Bao Tre, COL Daems and crew members of his command ship spotted the enemy force. The door gunners of the "Little Bear" chopper of Co A, 25th Avn Bn, opened fire on the enemy, as the pilot, WO Clay Maxwell of Midland, Mich. and aircraft commander WO Alan E. Gould of Stroudsburg, Pa., maneuvered the ship into position.
The VC answered with volleys of small arms fire and RPG rockets, while racing toward jungle cover nearby. Numerous tracers whizzed by the command chopper.
While the enemy force fled in the direction of the jungle, COL Daems called in a cut-off force from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23th Inf, in an effort to head off the VC.
A Good Look Sends Chills Into Scout
CU CHI - While operating 32 kms north of Saigon, PFC Francis Danielson of Idaho Falls, Idaho, a scout observer for Trp B, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, did something he hopes not to have to do again.
While riding in an OH-6A Cayuse with CWO Robert Holbrook of Newnam, Ga., their ship took fire from a small bunker. After making several mini-gun passes, Holbrook went in for a closer look and noted five bodies around the bunker. Holbrook and Danielson talked it over and decided to go down for a closer look.
It was a closer look alright because they set the helicopter on the ground beside the five bodies. Danielson jumped out and began to police up the Viet Cong weapons when one of the Viet Cong stood up in front of him.
Danielson commented, "I was scared to begin with and when that fellow stood up, I just cut loose with my M-16. Then I grabbed the equipment and made it back to the helicopter."
While on his "insertion", Danielson did manage to get his hands on an AK-47 assault rifle as a souvenir of his exciting day.
R AND R ?
Need another R and R? A second Rest and Relaxation leave is now available to those who extend their tours of duty from 90 to 179 days. Those interested in a second R and R should see their CO.
3/17 Air Cav Nets 110 KIAs
CU CHI - Air Cavalrymen of B Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, recently chalked up an impressive score of 110 enemy kills in six days of aerial combat against VC forces 24 kms west of Saigon.
The troop, under the command of MAJ James T. McManus of Roanoak, Va., was conducting armed aerial reconnaissance flights for the 25th Inf Div when air cavalrymen made contact with several small Viet Cong forces.
Typical of the action that took a heavy toll of enemy soldiers that day is an incident recalled by CWO Denver Jewel of Lubbock, Tex.
"During the early evening a 'hunter-killer' team, consisting of a Cayuse light observation helicopter and myself in a Huey gunship, were reconning a small woodline when the Cayuse pilot spotted a Viet Cong rolled up in a poncho."
The Cayuse marked the area with smoke and Jewel's gunship rolled in with rockets and mini-guns, killing the armed Viet Cong.
"The Cayuse went back to check the area and spotted 15 VC in bunkers and open trench lines," explained Jewel.
A second hunter-killer' team was dispatched to the area and the combined force began strafing the area with rockets, miniguns and M-60 machineguns. The heavy gunship firepower caused three tremendous secondary explosions.
The Cayuse circled the area to assess the damages and counted eleven Viet Cong bodies along with nine hooches, three bunkers and one mortar tube destroyed.
OFFICER FINDS EASE IN FINDING CACHES
CU CHI - A 25th Inf Div Arty officer reportedly shows signs of having a green thumb for finding enemy hideouts during operation Toan Thang.
2LT William M. Turk, a forward artillery observer assigned to Bravo Co, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, has been responsible for the discovery of two large ammunition caches within a recent three day period.
The Decatur, Ala., officer was walking in the right file of the company when he spotted the first caches. "Half of our file had already passed by the camouflaged entrance to the tunnel when Turk spotted it," said SP4 Clifton E. Atkins.
"He called my attention to the tunnel and we took a closer look. There were 114 RPG-2 rockets neatly boxed up inside the tunnel," replied the El Dorado, Ark., soldier.
Two days later Co B commander's two radio-telephone operators were hunting for a shady place to rest when they came upon a suspicious looking depression in the ground. SGT James C. Hendricks of Oakland, Calif., and PFC Bobby L. Hopson of Greenville. Tenn., paid little attention to the tunnel. But their "green thumbed" artillery friend went to investigate.
Turk carefully removed the camouflaged covering and spotted the cache. "LT Turk called me over and I went into the tunnel," stated PFC James F. Miller. "There were 79 82mm mortar rounds this time and was LT Turk surprised," added the Alhambra, Calif., soldier.
In each case the enemy ammunition was destroyed in place, leaving the members of Co B in continued amazement about their "green thumbed" forward observer.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
Bn, 14th Inf
Dragons Show Off Impressive History
"To the right of the line, the 14th has always been to the front of battle and deserves the place of honor." These were the words of Gen George G. Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, when asked where the 14th should be placed in the grand review at the close of the Civil War.
During its long and colorful history, the "Golden Dragons" have consistently been to the right of the line. Such men as CPT "Paddy" O'Connel, who commanded the 14th Reg during most of the Civil War, said, "I would take the 14th to the very gates of hell, but I want the chance to whip the devil when I get there."
Also exemplifying this tradition is Medal of Honor winner, Calvin A. Titus, who was the first to scale the Peking Wall during the Boxer Rebellion.
The Golden Dragons have as their heritage' such battles as Manassas, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Little Big Horn, Manila and Peking. They participated in the campaigns of the Rhineland, the UN summer-fall offensive and the third Korean Winter.
The 14th received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation with a streamer embroidered MUNSAN-NI, referring to a battle where the Golden Dragons gallantly fought.
In Vietnam, the 14th continues to add to this rich tradition. During Operation Manhattan, Alpha Co, 2nd, 14th Inf, found one of the largest weapons caches so far in the war. During Operation Barking Sands the 14th cleared large areas formerly controlled by the VC.
Since then the Golden Dragons have participated in Operation Uniontown, Yellowstone, Quyet Thang and the present operation, Toan Thang.
Labor Pains Call For Medics" Help
3RD BDE - While infantrymen diverted a force of nearby Viet Cong, medics of the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, delivered three babies at a village in the Michelin Rubber Plantation.
The 3rd Bde unit was stalking a VC element during a reconnaissance in force 72 kms northwest of Saigon when several women from the village approached.
GIs, please come to help," one of the women asked. Battalion medics responded and entered the village known as Ap 13, where they were confronted with a makeshift maternity ward. Inside, three women were experiencing labor pains.
While the "White Warriors" kept the Viet Cong at bay despite occasional sniper fire, senior medic SP4 James M. Caulley of Eugene, Ore., and three other medics set to the task at hand. They worked all night to bring the trio of new Vietnamese youngsters into the world.
Afterwards, Caulley, a novice at the science of obstetrics, said he thought that the deliveries had gone "reasonably well."
"I really don't have any previous experience to compare it to," he explained.
Caulley and his assistants, SP4 Gary Green of Moline, Ill.; SP4 Andrew Wahrenbork of Covina, Calif., and PFC Jamie Ceballos of San Bernardino, Calif., remained in the village for an additional day to render other medical service.
Laughter Of Kids Heard Above The Sound Of War
3RD BDE - Above the sounds of war, children are heard laughing and playing. on a renovated playground at the Dau Tieng Elementary School.
The playground, revitalized and improved by men of the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, includes a new jungle gym and volleyball court.
The previous dilapidated condition of the playground struck the attention of CPT Donald C. Cass of Helena, Mont., "Triple Deuce" civil affairs officer, who planned the improvements.
Members of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div unit's civil affairs office gathered lumber, paint, rope and an old rubber tire before setting forth on the rebuilding mission.
In addition to the new items, the infantrymen repaired swings and see-saws at the school and repainted the equipment.
The improvements received an enthusiastic reception at the hands of village youngsters.
Air Cav Slays 48
(Continued From Page 1)
After several more gunship passes, Ingraham went down to assess the damage and counted 15 enemy bodies in the tree line and around the destroyed machineguns. The 3.75-inch gunship rockets also destroyed a 1.27mm gun that was disassembled and concealed in the tree line.
When darkness fell it became impossible to spot any movement on the ground so the Red Horse troopers returned to base while the 25th Div Arty and tactical air strikes pounded the area late into the night, bringing the final body count to 25.
A "Hunter-Killer" team supported by a light fire element of C Tp, 3rd Sqdn, 17th Air Cav, supported by artillery and tactical aircraft, engaged an enemy force estimated at 60 Viet Cong and killed 23 VC before darkness and bad weather forced the UH-1C gunships to break contact.
The "Hunter-Killer" team, operating from the 25th Div's base camp at Cu Chi, was searching a suspected VC supply route 48 kms northwest of Saigon when one of the pilots, CWO Joseph Koch of Mineral Wells, Tex., spotted movement.
"I was flying my Cayuse about 25 feet above the ground when I saw two VC; one was ducking into a camouflaged bunker and the other one just crouched down at the edge of a rice paddy hoping that I wouldn't spot him," recalled Koch.
Things started happening fast after the first sighting and for the next hour and a half the OH-6A Cayuse and gunship team observed over 60 VC around bunkers and fighting positions.
A Forward Air Controller (FAC) for the Vietnamese Air Force was operating in the area and according to Koch the Bird Dog and the Cayuse made an effective team.
After all the positions were recorded, the FAC called in Vietnamese air strikes while Koch scrambled a light fire team from Cu Chi to attack the enemy forces.
Led by MAJ Steenson of Columbus, Ga., the gunships rolled in for a run along a tree line pointed out by Koch. The gunships strafed the VC position with rocket and machinegun fire killing several Viet Cong.
While the Cayuse returned to Cu Chi to refuel, the FAC called in the waiting Vietnamese Al-E Sky Raiders for a bombing run.
"Those pilots really did an outstanding job," observed Koch when he returned to the battle area. "They dropped their ordnance right on target."
"As I flew back to the area the FAC directed me towards a small clump of brush that he saw eight VC run into," said Koch. "I spotted the one he was describing and sent in the gunships," he added.
"We made a run from north to south," Steenson recalled. "I dumped eight rockets right into the area and no Charlies ever came back out of those bushes," he emphasized.
As darkness fell a total of 23 enemy bodies had been counted before the Red Horse cavalrymen returned to home base.
From the Cu Chi base camp Btry C of "The Clan" pounded the enemy bunkers through the night with more than 150 rounds of 155mm howitzer shells.
President Opens Hall Of Heroes
President Johnson awarded the Medal of Honor to a member of each of the four military services May 14 during ceremonies marking the dedication of the "Hall of Heroes" in the Pentagon.
It was the first time that representatives from Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force received the award in a single ceremony.
The hall is a memorial to all who have earned the Medal of Honor with an individual nameplate for each one, including those of the 25th Infantry Division.
|All it takes is a little push to get started. Providing the push is SSG James Floyd of Columbus, Ga., to a Vietnamese youngster at the Dau Tieng Elementary School playground which had just been rebuilt by the civil affairs section of the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf.|
Allan Azary, 1st Bn. (Mechanized), 5th Inf. for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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