Vol 3 No. 27 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
|2/34 Armor 8
|4/23 Photo 6
|25th Inf Photo 1
|587th Signal 3
|2/12 Photo 8
|269th Avn Bn 3
|587th Signal Photo 3
|3/13 Arty 6
|725th Maint 7
|2/12 Photo 8
|3/13 Arty 7
|725th Maint Photos 7
|2/27 Photo 1
|Brig.Gen. Preer 1
|2/27 Photo 3
INDEPENDENCE - Still Is Worth The Fight
Two centuries ago, when men wore powdered wigs
and ladies never showed a bit of ankle, life was very different from what it is
today. As a matter of fact, very little of that society has been carried
over to today's way of life. We have today, however, one remnant of that
society - an impressive document that is as alive and important today as it was
on July 4, 1776 - the Declaration of Independence.
Back in 1776, after years of discontent with the rule of England's George III, a group of colonists - members of the Continental Congress - wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. Although little more than a sheet of paper, this document set a precedent for many of the nations of the world. The Declaration stated that when a government failed to protect the rights of its people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, "it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it." The United States became the first colony of a major power in that day to break away from colonial rule and declare independence.
Here, half a world away from home, we are helping the South Vietnamese to solve a different, although parallel, problem. The people of this country are living under a government which they themselves elected. The people of South Vietnam are not trying to overthrow their government; they are trying to insure that their government is not overthrown by a foreign power whose idea of rule is dictatorial and tyrannical.
The spirit of '76 is still alive today. Here in Vietnam we are demonstrating to the world that we still believe freedom and liberty to be more than mere words found in the dictionary; we believe them to be precious commodities well worth fighting and dying for.
Fashions may change, but ideals do not. And while the powdered wigs have disappeared and ladies' ankles have appeared the Declaration of Independence beats on as the heart of our nation. (Army Press File)
Wolfhounds Thwart Attack By NVA Force
2D BDE - 25th Div infantrymen beat back an estimated NVA battalion killing 71 following a predawn attack on their night position 11 kms northwest of Saigon.
At 2:50 a.m., NVA soldiers attacked the 2d Bn, 27th Inf Wolfhounds. Charging the barbed wire emplacements, they poured in 82 mm mortars and .50 caliber machine gun and RPG fire.
Fierce fighting, supported by artillery, helicopter gunships and an Air Force AC-47 "Spooky," continued until 5:30 a.m. when the North Vietnamese withdrew, leaving 71 dead soldiers behind. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and 32 were wounded, mostly minor, in the battle.
One of the positions hardest hit was B Co, where the Tropic Lightning soldiers were hard-pressed keeping their position from being overrun.
Twenty-one year old SGT Willie Jones, who just extended for six months to stay with his unit, won the thanks of his buddies for scrambling from bunker to bunker keeping them supplied with ammunition during the fast-moving battle.
SP4 Yancy Kimberlin fired over 200 rounds from his shotgun at close range. "He took it upon himself to kick every one of them out of our perimeter," said his platoon leader 1LT Vince Okamoto.
Describing the action, Okamoto of Gardina, Calif., pointed to craters just outside the perimeter saying, "some of them are from our artillery. It was awfully close, but we loved every minute of it."
"I don't know how I'm still here," acting SGT Douglas E. Helm, told M.G. F.K. Mearns, 25th Div Commanding General.
"You're still here because you were better than they were," GEN Mearns told him, pointing to the enemy dead outside the perimeter.
Co B 1SG Loring Q. Balowin of Rommey, W. Va., said some of the North Vietnamese were wearing steel helmets and camouflage uniforms. "I could see about 15 of them under the light from the flares," he recalled. Air Force "Spookys" provided the illumination for the soldiers during the fight.
Later in the morning, NVA soldiers' bodies were strewn all along the perimeter, mingled with unexploded hand grenades and RPG rounds. Occasional sniper fire cracked over the heads of the 2d Bn, 27th Inf Wolfhounds, as they searched the treeline outside their perimeter.
|"YOU'RE STILL HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE BETTER THAN THEY WERE" - MG F.K. Mearns, Commanding General of the 25th Inf Div, reassures Acting SGT Douglas E. Helm of Shippenberg, Pa., as he surveys the site of an attack by an NVA battalion on a 2d Bn, 27th Inf, night perimeter less than three hours after the enemy withdrew. LTC W.G. Skelton, Bn Co, listens in the background. The attack took place at 2:50 a.m. 11 kms northwest of Saigon. (Photo By MAJ A.J. Sullivan)
BG Preer Is New Asst Div Cmdr
Brigadier General Carleton Preer, Jr., has arrived in Vietnam to assume duties as the 25th Infantry Division's Assistant Division Commander for support.
GEN Preer will succeed Brigadier General William T. Gleason, who is scheduled for reassignment in the near future. GEN Gleason has served with the division since August, 1967.
GEN Preer comes to the Tropic Lightning Division from the headquarters of the U.S. Continental Army Command (CONARC) at Fort Monroe, Va., where he was assistant deputy chief of staff for individual training.
Born March 27, 1917, in Tallassee, Alabama, Carleton Preer, Jr., was graduated from high school in Mariana, Florida in 1935 and from Auburn University in 1939 as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery Reserve.
General Preer's World War II service includes a tour of duty as Executive Officer and Commander of the 83d Armored Field Arty Bn, participating with the 3d Armored (Spearhead) Div in Northern France, Normandy, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. Upon his return to the United States, he served for a year on the faculty of the Arty School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
He was commissioned in the Regular Army as a first lieutenant of Cavalry in June, 1947. He attended the Advanced Armor Officer's Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, graduating with the Class of 1948. In August he joined General Headquarters, Far East Command (later United Nations Command) where he served until July, 1951 as Executive Officer to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations.
Upon his return to the United States, he attended Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and served for three years on the faculty.
In June, 1955, he joined the 11th Airborne Div at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and assumed command of the 76th Tank Bn. After completing the Airborne Course, he participated in the "Gyroscope" movement of that Div to Germany. After serving 22 months as Bn CO, he joined Headquarters, Seventh Army where he served until July 1958 as Chief of Training Division, G3 section.
Upon his return to the United States, he attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, graduating with the class of 1958. He then was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Department of the Army, where he served with the Joint War Plans Branch.
After attending the Advanced Management Course at the University of Pittsburgh, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for duty with the U.S. Element to the NATO Military Committee and Standing Group.
He departed for Germany in June, 1963 to serve as the 50th Regimental Commander of the Second Armored Cavalry. In the following summer, he became Chief of Staff of the 4th Armored Div, and in July, 1965, he was assigned to Headquarters, United States Army, Europe, where he became Chief, Plans and Force Development Branch, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.
Upon his return to the United States in June, 1966, he joined the faculty of the Army War College and served as Course Director, U.S. National Strategy and Military Program.
The new ADC has earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with V, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Parachutist's Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge and Army General Staff Identification Badge.
The General was married to the former Virginia Price of Lawton, Oklahoma on June 28, 1942, and is the father of two sons and one daughter.
Buddies Play Lifeguard For A Sinking Soldier
1ST BDE - SGT Robert J. Schmokel of Prior Lake, Minn., saved the life of a drowning 25th Inf Div soldier when he fell into a canal with all his field gear and a 20 pound mortar base plate strapped to his back.
The infantrymen of Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, were ferrying across a canal in rubber rafts when one of the rafts capsized in middle of the canal.
PFC John F. Canning of Brooklyn, N.Y. grasped for life as he found his normal field gear and a 20 pound mortar base plate strapped to his back was too much to cope with.
"When I first hit the water, I figured I could make it to the shore, but my load was just too heavy for me to stay afloat," recalled Canning.
Recognizing that his comrade was overtaken by his heavy load in the deep canal, Schmokel swam to the aid of his distressed pal. With an across-chest carrying position, the squad leader pulled the trooper to shore.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
|PSG George M. Bush, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
|SGT Leland E. Barnes, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM)
1LT Daniel Bartolomei, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
1LT Wayne T. Johnson, Co B, 1st, 27th Inf
1LT Dennis R. Adkins, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT Michael Donnelly, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
2LT David R. Lunn, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
2LT Joseph H. Harrison, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
W02 Miner D. Cobb, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
WO1 Wesley W. Sherrard, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
MSG Charles E. Board, HHC, 2d Bde, 25th Inf Div
PSG Isidro T. Cepeda, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PSG Arnold K. Fleming, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Billy R. Williams, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Perry Rowe, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Billy W. Beard, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP6 Gerald L. Marshall, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Denneth W. Robinson, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Jimmy R. Vickers, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Cecil. A. Du Cote, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Phillip B. Clark, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Richard L. Wolcott, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Charles T. Lowery, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Lyle Albright, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Donald J. Manlief, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Joseph J. Holmes, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Ronald E. Parton, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Richard C. Rayta Jr., Co B, 65th Engr Bn
SGT David W. Glass, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP5 Lloyd A. Coombs, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Joseph V. Vasseur, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Collis A. Wright, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Miquel Hernandez, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Ronald Reedl Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Harry McKennie Jr., Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Richard W. Anderson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Jay A. Byington, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Waynne K. Petty, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Donald D. Meis, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Roger L. Childress, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Harry D. Arnold, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 James A. McClean, Co A, 25th S&T Bn
SP4 Buane A. Jacobsen, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Michael C. Wittevrongel, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Thomas J. Prop, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Ronald E. Horton, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Roy L. Raye, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Bennie V. Livingston, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Peter J. Novosel, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
5P4 Joseph E. Ayers, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Loydell Anderson, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Anthony M. Vitiello, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Charles A. Akin, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Jeffery L. Fidher, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Roy R. Roach, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Willie F. Caston, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Victor L. Rivera, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 John H. Tviet, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Earnest Williams Jr. Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 John C. White, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Michael J. Haenke, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Stanley Sidock, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Julio L. Perez-Cruz, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Loren G. Luth, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Millard Levi, C Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Richard F. Green, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Donald R. Hamilton, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Thomas Martin, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Robert L. Young, Co D, 3d En, 22d Inf
PFC George L. Mundy, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Tommie L. Webb, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Harry Jordan Jr. Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC John E. Lesniak, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Clifford E. Johnson, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Lawrence Neville, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Jerry C. Taylor, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
MAJ Stephen R. Pawlik, HHC 2d Bde
1LT Robert U. Rourke, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PSG Leonard I. Evans, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SFC Elacy-Junious, A Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
Friendship Designed Division Association
"Organization" is the name of the game. It holds true throughout one's life. Starting in the family, it carries on to school days and the "in crowd".
Now, as military men, we really see how a closely-knit organization comprises a team. In combat it is a tough team, a hard-core team, a winning team.
And teamwork means men working together as an effective unit. The men in the military never really separate; for a bonding friendship is welded within the horrors of war.
The 25th Inf Div Association is an organization which keeps Tropic Lightning soldiers in touch with one another, after their tours of duty.
Life-long friendships are made in the service. Keep in touch with your buddies. Anyone can join the Association by sending your name and home address to: The 25th Infantry Division Association, PO Box 101, Arlington, Virginia 22210
Dues are four dollars per year.
If you plan to attend college after your tour, your Association makes it possible to win a one thousand dollar scholarship towards the completion of your education.
Arty To Be Two Fields
The Department of the Army recently announced the formation of two separate career fields for artillery officers.
Artillery officers below the grade of COL will be managed as either Air Defense Artillery or Field Artillery officers by their respective career branches. Field Artillery officers will remain in the present branch.
A separate office for the career management of Air Defense Artillery officers will be established. Artillery Colonels will continue to be managed by the Colonel's Division, Office of Personnel Operations because of requirements of officers of this grade and length of service.
The doctrines, missions, equipment and techniques of Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery have created two widely separate fields causing a need for separate concentration of skills and efforts.
Two career branches will provide a tailored response to the dual missions assigned and to the anticipated professional requirements of future weapons systems.
Army artillery officers whose previous branch experience has been solely Air Defense or Field Artillery will remain in that particular career fields. Those who have had assignments in both fields will be tentatively assigned to the career field for which they appear best qualified. They will be encouraged to submit a preference. Such preferences will be reviewed and considered in light of career branch requirements.
Newly commissioned officers will continue to be given a choice within limits established by worldwide military requirements. The assignment policies for enlisted men are not affected by this program.
Insignia for the new branch of Air Defense Artillery and the current artillery branch are under review. During this interim period, the current artillery branch insignia remains the authorized insignia for wear.
Test New Uniforms
Two new U.S. Army work uniforms, one for aviation crewmen and one for armored vehicle personnel, are being tested in the humid tropics at the U.S. Army Tropic Test Center at Fort Clayton, Canal Zone.
The air crewman uniform, made from a new material which offers superior fire protection, includes a shirt with three pockets, trousers with five pockets, gloves, belt and a jacket. The shirt back, trousers and sleeves are made of two layers of fabric.
The armored vehicle crewman uniform is a one piece, lightweight garment, flame resistent, with protection for 95 percent of the wearer's body. Armored vehicle crewmen in the Southern Command will test the uniforms for a year by wearing them during all field and garrison activities. (ANF)
MOS Restrictions Eased For Promotion Of EM
The Department of the Army has announced that restrictions against promoting soldiers in over-strength military occupational specialties (MOS) were suspended on June 1, 1968.
The decision has been made to permit promotions in all MOS's for an eight month period. During this time, the Office of Personnel Operations will study the policy of freezing promotions in over-strength MOS's to see if the restriction is necessary.
The status of all skills will be monitored and if a freeze becomes necessary, it will be reinstated. Tests have already indicated this is not necessary, however.
All other criteria for promotion will remain unchanged.
The R&R Detachment in Bangkok has on hand a quantity of cameras that were left in various places in Bangkok by servicemen who were on R&R.
Individuals who have lost a camera in that country may write direct to OIC, USMAC-THAI/JUSMAGTHAI R&R Detachment, APO 96346 giving a complete description of the lost property.
Cameras not claimed after a period of 90 days will be disposed of in accordance with current regulations.
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
SP4 Stephen Lochen . . . . . . Editor
SP4 Bill Berger . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
Viet Cong Cover Fails To Fool
Sharp-Eyed Lightning Troops
1ST BDE - Sharp-eyed soldiers of the 25th Inf Div's 2d Bn, 14th Inf, saw through Charlie's camouflage and captured two significant caches of weapons and rockets on the same day 50 kms northwest of Saigon.
PFC William S. Murphy of Decatur, Ill., was credited with discovering Co A's cache of 62 weapons. "I was walking along and saw a concrete slab covered with bamboo leaves. I lifted it and saw a pistol grip at the bottom of the hole," Murphy recalled.
The company then set up all-around security and began a thorough search of the area. Another entrance was found, and investigation of the complex revealed the large cache deep underground.
"Murphy was down in the hole passing up weapons, and I thought he would never quit," remarked PFC Jack Calfee of Miami, Fla.
Included in the Viet Cong storehouse were: 15 submachine guns, a .30 caliber 1917 Browning water-cooled machine gun with tripod, two light machine guns, 22 CHICOM carbines, and 15 German Mauser rifles.
Close by, Co C was waiting for Co A to evacuate their cache when they discovered four 107mm rockets, numerous documents containing Viet Cong artillery data, and a quadrangle used in plotting artillery fire.
"We were moving carefully through the brush when we came upon a lot of spider holes," said SGT Roscoe G. Brown of Pompano Beach, Fla. "We knew then there had to be something important in the area."
A search of the area revealed several tunnels and bunkers, some of which appeared to have been occupied recently.
"I was ready to go down into a tunnel," recalled a grenadier, "when I saw a camouflaged 105 round lying next to the entrance. We had our demo men blow the round in place and we continued the search."
Along with the rockets and documents, the infantrymen of Co C also found several plastic rain coats. "The rain coats will sure come in handy during the rainy season," joked SP4 William Johnson of San Augustine, Tex.
|WEAPONS CACHE - A 1917 Browning water-cooled machine gun and eight .45 caliber submachine guns were among 62 weapons captured by the 2d Bn, 14th Inf, 50 kms northwest of Saigon during Operation Toan Thang. (Photo by SP4 Larry Weist)
50 Calls, 1 Nite
MARS SETS RECORD
3D BDE - An overnight record total of 50 radiotelephone calls were completed to the United States by the MARS (Military Affiliated Radio System) station of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div.
The skein of two-score-and-ten calls, a record for the Dau Tieng station, is believed to be a record for a two-radio hookup transmitting only 1250 watts power. The record was set during the night of May 27 to 28.
Enabling 50 infantrymen to talk with families and loved ones were the four member staff of Station AB8AAC of the 587th Sig Co, headed by SP5 Michael L. Jackson of Memphis, Tenn.
Jackson credited "unusually good atmospheric conditions" with making it possible for the calls to go through. Receiving the radio transmissions stateside and relaying them to the soldiers' homes were signalmen at The Presidio, Calif., and Forts Belvoir, Virginia, and Bragg, North Carolina.
"We actually ran out of customers for a brief time," Jackson said. A few quick requests to units around the base camp quickly solved that problem, however, as numerous volunteers eagerly agreed to call the folks back home.
According to Jackson, the calls are beamed over the North Pole, except for attempted contacts through Hawaii. Costs for the five minute calls are charged only from the stateside military post relaying the radio transmission to the stateside phone receiving the call.
"Usually it only costs about two bucks, and sometimes less," Jackson said.
|COME IN! - Tuning up his record-setting transmitter for another morale-boosting call to the United States, SP4 William Frakes of the 587th Sig Co adjusts frequency. (Photo by SP4 Bill Sluis)
2/12 Rolls Bike Riders
3D BDE - Infantrymen of Charlie Company, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, ambushed and killed two enemy soldiers 6,000 meters east of Dau Tieng.
Members of the 3d Bde., 25th Inf Div force reported that the action occurred about two a.m. when the two VC were seen passing about 25 meters away.
"They were riding double on a bicycle. One of them was carrying a weapon" recounted PFC Robert Wilkes of Staten Island, New York.
Split second timing in triggering an antipersonnel mine and an accurately thrown grenade made small arms fire unnecessary.
In addition to the weapon, an AK47, eight magazines of ammunition and a number of documents were captured and returned to Dau Tieng for translation.
Celebration Cut Short By Scramble
1ST BDE - No! It couldn't happen! Could it? Well it did happen to the 187th Aslt Heli Co located in Tay Ninh.
The company, part of the 269th Avn Bn Black Barons, OPCON to the 25th Inf Div, was celebrating a redesignation ceremony of their new name, Crusaders, and its first in-country anniversary when the scramble came.
Every member of the company was standing tall in starched fatigues and spit shined boots; the 25th Div band lending glamour to the pomp and ceremony.
COL Nicholas Psaki, 12th Avn Grp CO, LTC Edgar Todd, CO of the 269th Cbt Avn Bn and LTC William Bauman, former 187th commander were present at the historic and sober occasion.
After a large awards ceremony and in the middle of MAJ Russell J. Folta, Commanding Officer's, speech, an alert for the entire company to respond to a combat assault mission near Phouc Vinh was received.
Instantly the field cleared, pomp and ceremony forgotten. The mission lasted into the hours of darkness.
Later that night, starched fatigues soaked with perspiration and dark with dirt, the spirit of the Crusaders never waned as they calmly joined their astounded guest for a steak dinner and entertainment.
Tax Collector Collects Taxes,
Dragons Collect Collectors
1ST BDE - A 25th Inf Div rifle platoon put an end to a Viet Cong officer's tax collecting during a night ambush 7 kms southwest of Saigon.
Soldiers of the 1st Plt of A Co, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, killed the officer as he led a squad of Viet Cong guerrillas past the platoon.
"We had received word that the local guerrillas were collecting taxes during the daylight hours and withdrawing from Saigon by night," said SGT Kelly Adams of Ft. Worth, Tex. "The intelligence information paid off because 'Charlie' came walking out of the village around midnight."
The 25th Div soldiers opened up with automatic weapons and small arms as the VC squad crept across the rice paddies. The surprised enemy immediately took cover behind the dikes.
"The rest of the squad got away but I could see one of them fall as we opened up," stated SP4 James H. Cook of Troutman, N.C. "We got their leader and he was sure holding the goods."
After the enemy fled, Adams and Cook made a careful search of the area and found the dead officer. The documents, weapons and money he was carrying were returned to base camp for further investigation.
"Documents containing a list of persons the group collected taxes from, 18,000 piasters, as well as an identification card found on the officer confirmed the soldier's identity and purpose in the area," concluded CPT Harry Joyner of Wichita Falls, Tex., the Dragon intelligence officer.
In addition to the documents and money, a set of web gear and two pistols were captured.
|Vote - For Freedom
|FIGHTING THE ELEMENTS - 25th Inf Div soldiers of Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, struggle to free PFC Donald E. Rummel, 20, of Candor, N.Y., who became the prisoner of another type of Vietnam enemy - monsoon mud. With the aid of a rope Rummel's squad got him to dry land after a 45 minute battle. The Wolfhound trooper sank in the quicksand-like mud as his company was maneuvering through rice paddies northwest of Saigon. (Photo by SP4 Bill Clevenge)
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
Unit of The Week - Arty;
With 155s And 8-Inchers
The 3d Bn, 13th Arty is the direct descendent of Btry C, 3d Bn, 13th Field Arty Regt activated at Camp Stewart, El Paso, Texas on June 1, 1917.
Then a battery of 4.7 inch horse-drawn howitzers, C battery moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, with the 4th Inf Div in December of 1917. Authorized motorized howtzers in 1918, the unit was sent to France where it was issued French 155mm howitzers. It participated in five major campaigns during World War I and saw occupation duty in Germany at cessation of hostilities.
The battery arrived in Hawaii in October of 1920, and remained for 21 years, testing 75mm pack howitzers for use in mountain terrain and winning the Knox Trophy as outstanding battery in the U.S. Army.
In August of 1941, the 24th and 25th Inf Divs were formed, C Btry being assigned to the 24th division in Oahu. In 1944, the division was sent to Australia for training. Then for the remainder of the war, the 13th Arty participated in four major campaigns and earned the arrowhead on three of four campaign ribbons.
After occupation duty in Japan for five years, the 13th was transferred to Korea where it saw a majority of the worst fighting. It participated in eight major campaigns, and was twice awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, received the Distinguished Unit Citation in the name of President Truman and then began occupation duty in Korea.
In January, 1966, the battalion was redesignated a self-propelled battery and all howtizers replaced with the new M-109 self-propelled howitzers. The battalion left for Vietnam on March 17, 1966.
Since then "The Clan" has participated in several major operations, including Lihue, Wahiawa, Attleboro, Junction City, Quyet Thang and presently, Toan Thang.
Members of "The Clan" will never forget the battle of Soui Tres during operation Junction City when a 105mm howitzer battery came under repeated human wave assaults and B Btry poured thousands of pounds of high explosive shells at the enemy, saving the other battery and killing 357 enemy soldiers.
The nickname "The Clan" was officially designated in August of 1966 after the battalion had unofficially been using it since World War II. In the Korean War, "Q-Clan" was the only printed words on 13th Artillery vehicles, a throwback to when the 13th Arty played an athletic contest with the 27th Inf Reg in 1940 and when a fight broke out, the entire 13th Arty stormed out of the bleachers en masse to mop up the field. Every member then denied the event.
The close knit unity prevails in Vietnam today as the 3d Bn, 13th Arty lives up to its motto, "Without Fear, Favor or in Hope of Reward."
|FIELD EXPEDIENT BATHTUB? - A Tomahawk soldier from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf, takes a break from it all with a refreshing bath in a shallow well one mile north of Saigon during Operation Toan Thang. (Photo by SP4 Walt Chaikivsky)
Ambush Stops Short
3D BDE - Elements of three platoons of Charlie Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf engaged a small force of enemy troops, killing two of the VC, east of Dau Tieng.
The 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, force was enroute to night ambush sites when the rear elements of the group made contact with an estimated force of six to eight Viet Cong.
The Americans had halted for a short time to begin breaking into individual platoons to move into their night positions.
"We had just begun to move again when the shooting started," stated 1LT R. W. McDaniel of Kinston, N.C.
The last man in the formation, PFC Frank Ybarra of Merced, Calif., recalled, "I was the first person they saw. I'd say they were about ten meters away."
PFC Michael L. Hahn of Morton, Wash., opened fire as six VC bolted for cover along the woodline and returned small arms and RPG rocket fire.
Two enemy were killed as the rest of the enemy force fled a fierce barrage of M-16 rifle fire and M-79 grenades laid down by the G.I.s.
RECON PLT GETS VC CYCLE GANG
3D BDE - Investigation of a 13-man Vietnamese motorcycle pack enabled the Recon Plt of the 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf, to detain a Viet Cong resupply group.
The platoon was sweeping a road between Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh when the pack of twelve motorcycles and a bicycle thundered up.
The "Triple Deuce" platoon leader, 1LT Donald Skrove of Alexandria, Minn., suspicious of the fact that each of the 13 vehicles carried three 100 pound sacks of rice, ordered the group to halt.
A check of identification cards revealed that five of the motorcyclists possessed no documents, while several of the others had altered I.D.s.
Two of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div armored personnel carriers, led by SP4 David A. Reese of Philadelphia, Pa., were dispatched to shepherd the group back to Dau Tieng for questioning. But herding the pack proved to be quite a problem.
"The Vietnamese gave us all sorts of trouble. They pretended to have motor trouble and would stop their bikes right in front of the APC's. At one point, one of the 13 tried to escape into a village, but he was quickly recaptured," Reese said.
At Dau Tieng the 13 Vietnamese were taken into custody by military police, whose investigation revealed that they were part of the local Viet Cong supply system.
Dragons Blast VC Base Camp
1ST BDE - In 13 hours of fierce fighting with a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) company that recently arrived in South Vietnam, a 25th Inf Div rifle company killed seven enemy soldiers.
The Operation Toan Thang action occurred on a Co D, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, reconnaissance in force sweep 5 kms southwest of Saigon.
"We came under heavy small arms fire from our right flank, and we immediately returned fire," said SGT Harold H. Massey of Grove Spring, Missouri.
Enemy positions were confirmed and a series of on line assaults supported by artillery and air strikes were aimed against the hostile forces throughout the day-long battle.
"Charlie was in well-fortified positions within a treeline and he sure had his stuff together," stated SGT Peter H. Hall of Benton, Arkansas. "We took cover and let the big shells take over."
A total of three on line assaults were made before the men of Delta made a final advance into the enemy base camp finding seven dead enemy and various supplies and weapons.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
GIs Stuck In Mud Need Recovery Team
CU CHI - The tank was up to its headlights in mud, and to the crew, it looked hopeless. But, to the recovery team from the 725th Maint Bn, getting the more than 50 tons of metal to dry ground was a routine mission that had begun early that morning.
SGT Stephan H. Frazier of Rose Hill, Va., jumped on the driver's seat, stepped on the starter and drew a loud bellow and a cloud of exhaust smoke from the M88 track recovery vehicle.
The track commander, CWO Thomas R. Parker of Huntsville, Ala., yelled some commands to his men to make sure that all the equipment was secure. The four-man, Co C recovery team was on its way to Trang Bang.
Following the slow, caterpillar crawl of the convoy, the team arrived on the scene two hours later. Parker jumped off and surveyed the rice paddies for some high and hard ground where the tank retriever could start pulling.
The boom was raised; the 1¼ -inch thick cables were thrown down; the 'shackles were connected; and the long haul of dragging the cables through 400 meters of knee-deep mud began.
The first cable was connected to the buried tank, and the men went back to connect two more. Finally, the pull began, and the tank was inched to dry land.
Before the recovery team left Trang Bang, they pulled two more tanks from the mire and destroyed a Viet Cong bunker with the eight-foot wide blade on the front of the M-88. And, on the trip back to base camp, they came under a barrage of enemy mortar fire.
This was just one of many such recovery missions. The 725th Maint Bn teams risk their lives daily to keep the men on the line moving. Often, the teams must stay in the field for several days to complete the mission.
But, it's not a thankless job. Most of the armored personnel carrier and tank crew watch the recovery, speechless. Then they walk up to the recovery team with an extended hand and "Thanks a lot buddy."
Story And Photos
|STUCK - A 52-ton tank sinks in the mud as the crew awaits a recovery team from the 725th Maint Bn.
|BAILING OUT - While waiting for help, a tanker tries to keep his home dry.
|HOOKING UP - With the help of the tank crew, the recovery team connects the cables from the M-88 to the tank.
|MISSION COMPLETE - The tank retriever slowly pulls the 52-ton tank from the mire to dry land.
|RECOVERY TEAM - Aboard their M-88 track recovery vehicle, the recovery team from the 725th Maint Bn moves out on a mission. From left: CWO Thomas R. Parker of Huntsville, Ala., SGT Stephen H. Frazier of Rose Hill, Va., SP4 Billy R. Meeker of Georgetown, III. and SP4 Linwood A. Johnson of Providence Forge, Va.
Clan Combines To Blast 71 Cong
CU CHI - The Clan finally got together for the first time since the 3d Bn, 13 Arty arrived in Vietnam. The fires of all four batteries were recently concentrated on one target simultaneously.
Always before, the clan's four batteries were too far apart for them all to fire on the same target at the same time, and massed fires were accomplished with less than the complete battalion.
However, with Btry C near Trung Lap, Btry B at a fire support base near Hoc Mon, and Btrys A and D in Cu Chi Base Camp, the four-battalion firing on a reported enemy position was finally possible.
LTC Homer W. Kiefer, Jr., Bn CO, advised the Fire Direction Center from his helicopter as the intense barrage of 155 millimeter and eight-inch howitzer shells pounded the enemy position.
The battalion is now working to perfect the massed fire technique using all weapons within firing range, including the giant 175 millimeter gun.
A Wrestling Match Detains VC Officer
1ST BDE - In hand to hand combat that ended up in a canal, a 25th Inf Div soldier recently detained an enemy suspect that turned out to be the executive officer of a Viet Cong unit.
SP4 Curtis Folmnsbee from Bridgeport, Ill., of Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf "Manchus", was covering a trail with SP4 Roger Tao from Watsonville, Calif., and SP4 Donald Balderson of Richmond, Va., when the incident occurred in the Go Vap area north of Saigon just a few hours after sunset.
"I was laying on the side of the trail with my head in such a position that I had good vision to my front," recalled Folmnsbee.
"Tao and Balderson were also laying down but they were behind me. I saw soldiers walking down the trail; the first one looked like one of the guys in my platoon, so I didn't pay much attention to them," Folmnsbee added.
"They both walked up on us and the first one stepped on my leg. Both of them looked down at us and we looked up at them.
"The one in the back screamed and ran down the trail. Then all hell broke loose. I jumped up and grabbed the Viet Cong that was standing over me. I wrestled with him trying to keep him from shooting me with his pistol," recalled Folmnsbee.
"We fell, and in the struggle for the possession of the pistol we both rolled in the canal next to the road. Balderson jumped in and gave me a hand.
"The Viet Cong calmed down after he had swallowed a couple of gallons of water. Tao, in the meantime, was firing a M-79 grenade launcher at the fleeing Viet Cong. I took the pistol away from the VC and we took him to the captain," related Folmnsbee.
Later, the detainee was determined to be the executive officer of the Viet Cong unit that the Manchus were fighting.
The Viet Cong officer proved to be a valuable find, as he related the position, strength and mission of his unit in the area.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
VC Paymaster Is Slain,
|COLD CACHE - Sharing the wealth, temporarily, members of the 3d Plt, Delta Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, pose with more than 100,000 piasters seized in a night ambush. The 3d Bde, 25th inf Div, unit killed four enemy and captured several pistols and enemy award citations in the raid. (Photo By SP4 Charles Haughey)
3D BDE - An ambush triggered by infantrymen of Delta Co, 2d
12th Inf, brought a rich harvest of documents and arms, and more than 100,000
piasters of enemy military funds.
The money was taken from an apparent Viet Cong paymaster who was among four enemy killed in the pre-dawn trap.
The 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div ambush patrol was moving in single file enroute to a night ambush site three kms southwest of Dau Tieng when they heard shouting.
The 17 member patrol, led by 1LT Walter L. Kreeger of Stockton, Calif., positioned in a hasty ambush.
"I saw a light approaching along the road from the right. It moved to a point directly in front of us and went out," said SGT James A. Ming of Lomita, Calif.
Four men appeared riding on two bicycles. "I waited until the bikes reached the place I'd seen the light go out, which I figure had been a signal man. Then the five of us opened up," said Ming.
The VC ran for the far side of the road, where they were hit immediately by the force waiting with Kreeger.
At dawn a reconnaissance of the area turned up the four enemy dead.
ARMOR SURPRISES VC
1ST BDE - While moving to set up a night ambush recently, the 2d Bn, 34th Armor's Recon Plt, upset the plans of a Viet Cong probing force and repulsed the enemy near the 25th Inf Div's base camp.
"We had just left the camp and headed northeast to our position," said SSG James L. Lawrence, patrol leader from Syracuse, N.Y., "when our point man spotted a couple of VC."
"They were moving at a pretty good pace," pointman SP4 James Boucard of Clarkston, Mich., added, "and they were headed right for the perimeter.'
Lawrence continued, "We were only about 100 meters out, so we decided to lay low and see what they were up to. About five minutes later a squad size force followed. They were moving from north to south, then all of a sudden they turned and headed east.
"The first two in the squad, about 50 meters in front of us, walked right past us, but the third spotted us and was pointing at us. I grabbed my M-16 and we opened up. They all hit the ground and we heard moans so we knew we had hit them. I guess we must have really surprised them because they didn't even return fire," Lawrence said.
After the skirmish the patrol moved up to the enemy's position to check out the area. They found two dead VC, an AK-47 with 135 rounds of ammo and three Chicom grenades.
|HIGH WIRE ACT - High above the Saigon River at Dau Tieng, two members of the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, work to repair communications lines damaged during a rainstorm. From left are SP5 Wade E. Lasister of Hqs, 2d Bn, 12th Inf and PFC Adam A. Locke of brigade headquarters. (Photo by SP4 Charles Haughey)
Enemy Cycle-Rider Too Slow For Speedy White Warriors
3D BDE - Fast action by members of the 2d Plt, B Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, resulted in the death of one Viet Cong on the outskirts of a suspected VC village in a recent action northeast of Dau Tieng.
The mission, a reconnaissance in force by the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, troopers was nearing completion when the action occurred. The 2d Plt had just left the village after completing a search and was positioned in an adjoining woodline awaiting the withdrawal of the company command group led by CPT Patrick McCarthy of Yakima, Wash.
Suddenly an enemy soldier was spotted riding into the village on a bicycle directly at the Command Group.
"I aimed my pistol at him and shouted for him to stop," McCarthy stated. "He just barrelled right through us. I had to move to avoid being hit." McCarthy explained that he couldn't fire because of civilians behind the rider.
Once through the village, the VC left his bicycle and ran for the woods.
The 2d Plt members spotted him and yelled for him to stop but the VC only threw a bag down and continued running.
"He was about 50 meters away when we opened fire," stated SGT Robert F. Pate of Louisville, Kentucky, a squad leader with the 2d Plt.
When the infantrymen checked out the VC and the bag he had thrown away they found some documents and supplies commonly carried by VC and NVA soldiers.
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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