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Vol 3 No. 44          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          October 28, 1968


Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                    6 2/22                                  8 25th Avn Bn                  1 3/4 Cav Photo                1
2/12 Photo                      6 2/27                                  4 25th Avn Bn                  8 3/22                                 6
2/14                                  6 2/27 Photo                      4 25th DIVARTY             6 4/23                                 6
2/14 Photo                      7 2/27 Photo                      7 25th DIVARTY             8 588th Engr                     6
2/14 Photo                      7 2/27 Photo                      7 3/4 Cav                           1 7/11 Arty                        6
2/22                                  1 25th Inf Photo               8


Fill Out & Return Absentee Ballot!


Chopper Crew Chief An Everyday Hero

By WO1 Donald Mattingly
   CU CHI - Out of the war in Vietnam have come many heroes.  The single heroic acts of soldiers are recognized with medals and praise.  But, the day-to-day heroism of men doing dangerous but necessary jobs often goes unnoticed by most.
   One such everyday hero is perhaps the helicopter crew chief.  Warrant Officer Donald M. Mattingly, a chopper pilot with Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion, knows the crew chief well and depends on his competence.  He has this to say:
   "As each and every infantryman will tell you, the chopper is his lifeblood.  It delivers his supplies, takes out his wounded, and extracts his fellow soldier in time of imminent danger.
   "The man on the ground watches as the Huey comes in; piloted by, I am sure, the equivalent of the daring men of World War I who flew against the 'Red Baron.'  With enemy tracers streaking by the chopper, the crew defies all to bring needed supplies to the ground unit.
   "As the Hueys head for home, the infantryman says a quiet thanks to the pilot.
   "And yet, there is another man, less known and even less glorified who should be included, for without this man, all the money and all the aircraft available would be useless.  This man is the crew chief.
   "The crew chief is the man responsible for the aircraft being operational.  He sits in the left gunner's seat and shares the dangers of each mission with the pilots.
   "We call him a man but in reality he is an 18- to 20-year-old boy fresh out of Advanced Individual Training (AIT).  He is a boy who, for the first time in his life is away from home.  He is a boy who is on the aircraft an hour before the pilot, insuring that all is well; the same boy who rides shotgun on the M-60 machine gun when flying; the same boy who continues to work on the aircraft when the mission is completed.
   "And after he has finished work on the aircraft, this same boy pulls guard duty, K.P., and does additional work in maintenance.  It is a misnomer to call this individual a boy because he matures fast and leaves as a man.
   "As a pilot who depends on the competence and judgment of the crew chief, I wish to say to them: Thank you for a job well done."


NVA Meet 3/4 Cav On Tay Ninh MSR

By PFC Robinson Truitt
   CU CHI - Shortly before dawn, an armored cavalry platoon of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry's A Troop engaged a reinforced company of North Vietnamese regulars in a brief but fierce battle that left 21 enemy dead.
   In addition, three enemy suspects were held by the cavalrymen in the action 500 yards west of Phuoc My on an isolated section of the main supply route to Tay Ninh.
   After making a night move into the area, the armored personnel carriers and a tank set themselves up in a herring-bone formation with each vehicle pointing alternately to the left and right sides of the road.  Rice paddies bordered both sides.
   Sergeant First Class William R. Yingling of Clarksville, Tenn. radioed a negative situation report at 3:30 a.m.  Ten minutes later, small arms and rocket fire opened up on the column from behind rice paddy dikes on both sides of the road.
   Specialist 4 Minter A. Garvin of Macon, Ga. immediately fired an illumination flare and continued firing them from his mortar track until the end of the engagement.  "If it hadn't been for Garvin," explained Yingling, "we wouldn't have been able to see anything.  We would have been sitting ducks."
   At one point, an RPG hit the upper right and corner of the loading ramp of Yingling's APC and blew the hatch cover off, knocking the radio out temporarily and throwing Yingling to the ground.  No irrepairable damage was done, however.
   Around 4:00 a.m. helicopter gunships from the 3/4 Cav's D Troop arrived and together with artillery fire from four different Tropic Lightning batteries, provided support to the ground troops who were firing everything they had into the rice paddies.
   The battle raged for an hour and fifteen minutes with sporadic small arms fire continuing until 5:30 a.m.
   A sweep of the area after the battle revealed 21 enemy dead.  There was indication that the enemy had carried off several wounded.  Three detainees and several RPG launchers with ammunition, AK-47 assault rifles, 60mm mortars, rifle grenades, demolition charges and miscellaneous equipment were captured.
   The suspects were found in water-filled spider holes, some as deep as five feet, dug into the rice paddy dikes.  They had been completely submerged in the water throughout the night and had remained undetected by breathing through straws.

SSG Francisco Salas, SFC Alvia Cooper NVA WEAPONS captured by the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, are inspected by Staff Sergeant Francisco A. Salas (standing) of Laurel, Md., and Sergeant First Class Alvia M. Cooper of Sandersville, Ga.  (PHOTO BY PFC ROBINSON TRUITT)



Triple Deuce, Airpower Rip Cong

   CU CHI - Two days after returning from deployment near Saigon, the 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 22d Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Samon of Springfield, Va., was involved in a late afternoon battle two miles north of Go Dau Ha.  Fifteen enemy were killed by the Triple Deuce Infantrymen.
   The action started when one squad found 'Charlie.'  Fighting eventually involved two Triple Deuce companies and the battalion's scout platoon.
   A squad from Company C was reconning a road when they were pinned down by heavy enemy fire.  First Lieutenant William B. Canion, 1st Platoon leader from San Antonio, Tex., moved up the remainder of the platoon to support his engaged squad.
   Then, Captain James Curry, C Company commander from Columbia, S.C., deployed the remainder of his company against the entrenched enemy.
   As the 2d Platoon, led by First Lieutenant Michael Andrews of Jacksonville, N.C., advanced along the road, they received heavy fire from their left flank and turned to face the enemy.  Meanwhile, the 3d Platoon, under First Lieutenant Stephen A. Worrell, from Atlanta, Ga., swung around to the right side and came up behind the 1st Platoon.
   Loss of a radio early in the battle hampered the 2d Platoon, until a soldier from the 3d Platoon low crawled 150 meters under heavy enemy fire to bring up the badly needed radio.
   By this time tactical air support and helicopter gunships were on station over the battle area.  Worrell was in the best position to observe the enemy and took tactical control of the aircraft.  He directed their fire at the fortified positions from which the enemy were firing heavy machine guns at the Triple Deuce soldiers.
   While C Company engaged the enemy, Company A, led by Captain Harvey Holten from Chicago, Ill., and the battalion Scout Platoon, led by First Lieutenant John Weldon moved into blocking positions.
   As dismounted troops from A Company advanced, they came under heavy enemy fire.
   Sergeant John M. Bradley from Mobile, Ala., ran out to bring back a wounded medic.  While he was in front of the enemy positions, an enemy bullet drilled his canteen.  For the remainder of the action, Bradley, in addition to directing his squad, filled in as a medic.
   When the dismounted elements made contact, the armored personnel carriers of the Scout Platoon and A Company rumbled up to support the engaged soldiers.  Blazing away with their machine guns and rifles the Triple Deuce infantrymen forced the enemy to flee just before dusk.
   During the engagement fifteen enemy soldiers were killed.  A sweep of the battle area the following day revealed an extensive bunker complex which was destroyed.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968



2LT Dennis J. Swenie, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Roger Hardemen, Co D, 65th Engr Bn
SSG Robert E. Nelson, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Dale W. Porter, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Floyd C. Mc Mahan, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Paul L. Steinhilber, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SGT Jack Hannula, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP5 William M. Stumpp, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SP5 Robert J. Fitzgerald, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Edward W. Nygren, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Johnny L. Howard, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 J.E. Thompson, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Herbert Bellamy, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Edwin A. Jiminez, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th.Inf
SP4 Larry E. Wisecarver, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Everett Myers, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Gerald P. Coffey, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William Tunstall, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Gilbert Ca,laf, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Paul L. Lawson, Co A, 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SP4 Perry A. Sheridan, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 John J. Michlitsch, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Syl D. Dew, HHT, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Danny R. Alvis, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Dennis Mueffleman, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Ranny Stephens, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Edwin J. Paprccki, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Edward L. Ostdick, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Tyrone Smith, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Joseph J. Demeo, Hq & Co A, 25th Med Bn
SP4 Richard A. Dibacco, HHC, 3d Bde
SP4 David H. Hansen, 25th MP Co
SP4 John J. Haisch, Co B, 25th Sup & Trans
SP4 Edwin D. Johnston, HHC, 3d Bde
SP4 Steven Kedaj, A Btry, 2d En, 77th Arty
SP4 Gary W. Oliver, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Lester W. Brown Jr., Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James M. Williams, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Thomas M. Smith, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Darrel H. Smith, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Johan K. Paige, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Willie J. Maull, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Earl D. Joyner, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Roger Van Rensselaer, Co F, 50th Inf
SP4 Ronald D. Landes, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Donald A. Klug, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Kenneth J. Phillips, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Michael F. Koppinger, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John C. Jurgilas, HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
PFC John R. French, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Karl Kaiden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC William R. Tarkington, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Bobby W. Lamb, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Alonzo L. Norwood, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Roger P. Rost, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Barry L. Aumiller, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Joseph Summers, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Willie Hackett, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Richard Devins, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Richard J. Stoner, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jorge S. Torres, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Larry Tillman, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Richard L. Buddemeyer, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC William C. Mullee, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Paul E. Rechin, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Antonio D. Martinez, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC William T. Baiorek, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Kenneth F. Blakely, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Ronald Hedrick, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Thomas W. Burrell, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Thomas R.'Broughton, Co D, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Frederick J. Jolly, Jr., Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Ronald J. Wicks, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James Marshall, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John W. Manner, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John Tackett, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Julius Johnson, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Carroll E. Richard, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Russell A. Gardner, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Buddy Edwards, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Gary L. Pherson, Co Am 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John H. G. Rose, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PFC Danny L. Rallens, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PFC Clifford R. Roberts, Co D, 2d En, 27th Inf
PFC Fernando V. Garza, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Francis L. Corbin, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Harold L. Portwood, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James L. Harris, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Clarence S. Smith, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Robert Rubio, Recon, 4th Bn, 23d Inf



Vote - You Fight For It!  Return Ballots Now



   As one of you, I want to emphasize the importance of voting in the forthcoming national election - wherever you may be.  All of us regard voting as a right.  Too few realize that it is also a duty.
   In these difficult times, the Nation and its Government need the guidance of its citizens.  The proper and most effective way for all of us to be heard is through the ballot box.  That is where our convictions must be registered.
   Your vote will help determine who our leaders will be.  It will affect the future course of our country.
   I urge you not to fail to exercise your right to vote.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


   Every one of you as a member of the Armed Forces is serving our country in a special way.  You are keeping America safe and secure.
   One could hardly ask you to do more than that.
   But I'm going to anyway.
   As a former soldier, and as a former Commander-in-Chief, but most of all, as just a private American citizen, I'm going to ask you to carry out a special duty.
   That is to vote in next month's national elections.  It doesn't matter where you are stationed, if you wear an American uniform you have the right and the obligation to cast your ballot.  There are a lot of countries where a citizen can't vote.  Or, if he can vote, it really doesn't mean anything.
   That's isn't true of America.  We must never let it become true in America.
   The way to keep it from happening is for you and me and all of us to vote.  I'm asking you to do just that.

Harry S. Truman



Federal Surcharge May Mean Higher Payments For Soldiers

   U.S. Army finance officials have pointed out that federal income tax deductions from the monthly paychecks of Army members may not be enough to cover a soldier's total annual federal tax liability.
   This situation means, in effect, that a soldier may be faced with a larger than usual federal income tax payment due when he files his 1968 income tax return after the end of this year.  It is a result of the new surcharge on individual federal income taxes.
   The U.S. Army Finance Center suggests that Army personnel may wish to increase voluntarily the amount of money withheld monthly, for federal taxes.  This will decrease the amount they will owe when they file their 1968 tax returns.
   To increase the amount of tax withheld during the year, the taxpayer has the option of claiming fewer exemptions or authorizing additional amounts to be deducted from his pay.
   The new surcharge is what is commonly called the 10 per cent federal surcharge on individual income taxes.  Actually, for most taxpayers the surcharge will amount to 7.5 per cent for 1968, because the tax did not take effect until April 1.  In the lower brackets, the surcharge ranges from zero to 7.5 per cent.
   The additional tax was established by "The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968."  The same law also prescribes new rates of withholding tax and does not permit the employer to exercise any discretion in determining the amount to be withheld.
   Finance officials point out two problems with respect to satisfying the income tax liability through the prescribed withholding tax structure:
   • The increased withholding rates began July 1, although the surcharge took effect three months earlier.
   • The withholding tax tables are constructed so that in the higher income brackets the amount of withholding is not sufficient to satisfy the income tax liability.  This problem, which has existed as long as there has been a withholding tax, was further aggravated by the surcharge.  (ANF)


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

MG Ellis W. Williamson . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Andrew J. Sullivan . . .  Information Officer
2LT Don A. Eriksson . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP4 Bill Berger  . . . . . . . . . . .  Production Supervisor
SP4 Stephen Lochen  . . . . . . Editor
SP4 Tom Quinn . . . . . . . . . . . Asst. Editor


Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968


              - Benefits Are Waiting

Your Schooling From GI Bill

   THE EDUCATIONAL features of the peacetime GI Bill are approaching World War II and Korea enrollment figures in popularity among veterans.
   Significantly, 22,000 active duty members are benefiting from the 359,800 GI Bill allowances being paid as of January 31, according to Veterans Administration officials.  The 22,000 active duty members and 337,800 veterans are drawing the funds to finance education in the field of pilot training or to pursue high school and college courses on a full and part-time basis.  And, according to VA, a greater interest in flight training has been shown by active duty personnel than veterans.
   Since the peacetime GI Bill became law on June 1, 1966, nearly 671,000 veterans of service since Jan. 31, 1955, have entered training.  Right now. the Veterans Administration estimates it is helping 360,000 men and women.
   The VA reached its peak enrollment for the World War II GI Bill in November, 1947, when 2.5 million were enrolled in education and training programs.  The peak for Korea GI Bill benefits was reached in March, 1957, with a 764,000 training enrollment.
   From these two peaks, GI Bill enrollment dropped to 8798 beneficiaries in January, 1965 - the last month in which wartime GI Bill benefits were paid until Congress enacted the peacetime GI Bill in early 1966.
   President Johnson has proposed re-opening GI Bill education benefits to veterans with lapsed World War II or Korea GI Bill eligibility who volunteer to teach in ghetto and rural areas.
   For every month they agree to serve, the government would permit then to draw GI Bill allowances at the post-Korea rates.
   In addition, the Presidential request would permit veterans - wartime and peacetime veterans - who stay in public work beyond two years to build-up additional GI Bill eligibility.  They wouid be permitted to build-up an additional 36 months school aid at the rate of one day's school aid for each day of employment.
   Also, the Administration is pushing for a change in the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation program to permit veterans to pursue studies on a part-time as well as a full-time basis.
   The word "school" in the GI Bill refers not only to universities and colleges, but also includes reputable public and private business and trade schools, professional and technical institutes, flying schools, and home study schools with the exception of flight training.
   Active duty personnel, however, are not eligible for other education and training provisions such as job training and farm cooperative courses.
   The increase in the number of veterans pursuing below college studies is attributed to recent changes in law which permits "educationally disadvantaged" veterans to take high school or refresher courses without loss of GI Bill entitlement.  GI Bill eligibility is not counted until a veteran enters post-high school training.
   A single veteran enrolled full time in an approved course can draw $130 per month under the GI Bill.  If he has one dependent, his allowance is $155.  With two dependents, he can receive $175.  The allowance is increased $10 for each additional dependent.
   The formula for figuring GI Bill entitlement is simple: One month's educational assistance for each month spent on active duty up to 36 months of aid.  This means, a serviceman must remain on active duty for three years to build-up maximum entitlement.  The services - particularly the Army - are finding this requirement a valuable gimmick in getting draftees in the "hard-skills" (aircraft mechanics, signal specialists) to volunteer for an extra year of active duty.
   A serviceman is eligible for GI Bill educational assistance while on active duty if he has had two continuous years of service.  The serviceman, however, is not eligible for any additional allowance for his dependents like the veteran student.  He can draw up to $130 monthly towards payment of tuition costs.
   The allowance for a correspondence course is based upon the cost of tuition and fees, prorated by the number of lessons completed by the student and processed by the school.  A directory of accredited home study schools and listings of the wide variety of subjects they teach can be obtained on request from the National Home Study Council, 1601, 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.
   Some veterans prefer to hold a job and go to school part time.  Allowances are scaled proportionately for these students.  For instance, a man attending college half time can draw $60 a month under the GI Bill if he is single; $75 if he has one dependent; $85 if he has two; and $5 more for each additional child.
   Veterans also can earn while they learn through approved apprentice or on-the-job training.  They receive practical training for specific job objectives, as well as supplemental related instruction.  Job training may be taken only on a full-time basis.  In addition to the wages he earns, the veteran receives an education allowance.
   During his first six months of job training he can draw $80 monthly if he is single; $90 with one dependent; or $100 with two dependents.  No additional allowances are made for more than two dependents.  The allowances are reduced proportionately for succeeding six-month training periods.
   Allowances for flight training are now possible under the GI Bill, but they are not just for the man who thinks it would be fun to learn to fly.  The would-be pilot is cautioned to check carefully into his eligibility before he commits himself to flight lessons.
   Flight school courses must be approved by the FAA and appropriate state authority.
   Farm cooperative courses are being set up under the GI Bill for veterans serious about a career in some branch of agriculture.  The student spends 12 hours a week attending courses that relate to the kind of agricultural work in which he is engaged.
   He must be employed on a farm or ranch on a year-round basis.  Seasonal crop work will not qualify for this cooperative training.
   Applicants for GI Bill education benefits must have served on active duty continuously for at least 181 days, some of them after Jan. 31, 1955.  Veterans who were released or discharged for a service-connected disability before they served 181 days also can qualify for assistance.
   Broken periods of service cannot be combined to meet the 181-day requirement.  The basic period must be continuous.
   Time spent in active duty for training in the Reserves or National Guard does not count in the 181-days.  This includes enlistees in the so-called six-month Reserve program.  Nor can a veteran count time spent as a cadet or midshipman in a service academy, or taking full-time courses at a civilian school at government expense.
   Active duty personnel are eligible for GI Bill benefits if they meet the 181-day and discharge requirements applying to veterans.  The discharge requirement is waived, however, if a serviceman has two or more years of active duty behind him.  In such cases, broken periods of service totaling 730 days may be combined.
   Forms for applying for GI Bill benefits can be obtained from base education offices, schools, VA offices and from representatives of veteran's organizations.  (Army Times)


Veteran Has Edge On Civil Service

   President Johnson has ordered the Civil Service Commission to provide Vietnam veterans with employment under "transitional appointments" in grades 1 through 5 without taking a competitive examination.
   Under an executive order signed Feb. 9, "qualified" Vietnam veterans who have completed less than one year of education beyond high school, meet all other civil service requirements and served on active duty in the armed forces on or after Aug. 5, 1964, will be eligible to enter federal employment provided they agree to pursue a fulltime or part-time educational program under the GI Bill.
   "For those with the necessary initiative and ability, this new program - together with the GI Bill - offers a chance for both further education and better jobs," the President said.
   According to the executive order, those who apply for an appointment and are hired will be subject to:
   (1) The satisfactory performance of assigned duties;
   (2) The satisfactory completion, within a reasonable time set by the Civil Service Commission, of not less than one year of a full-time approved educational or training program, the equivalent thereof, or two years of full-time approved education or training when an employee has not completed high school or its equivalent.
   Personnel eligible for appointment must be hired within one year after separation from the armed forces, a year following release from hospitalization or treatment immediately following separation from the armed forces, or a year after the effective date of the executive order, whichever is later.


One Stop Veteran Centers Give You Advice And Aid

   WASHINGTON - By mid-March, the Veterans Administration expects to have 20 "one-stop" service centers in operation giving personal attention and counsel on all benefits to returning service men.
   The first 10 Veterans Assistance Centers were scheduled to be in operation on February 19.  These cities are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston and Atlanta.
   Veterans Centers are scheduled to be in operation shortly thereafter in the following 10 cities -Baltimore, Milwaukee, Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Newark.
   Based on the experience gained in these 20 pilot locations, the VA may establish Veterans Centers in other cities.
   "Personalized attention" will be the motto in the Centers, officials told Army Times.
   Under one roof, a veteran will be able to receive personal attention and advice on all the benefits the law provides him - from housing to health, from education to employment.
   Each Veterans Center will be headed by a VA contact officer and be permanently staffed by representatives of the Civil Service Commission, the Labor Department's Veterans Reemployment Office, and the local veterans employment office.
   In addition to the permanent staff, assistance will be available to returning veterans who request it from the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Justice Department, Small Business Administration, Health, Education and Welfare, and the Department of Housing Urban Development.
   The VA is also seeking participation in these cities by agencies engaged in helping veterans, such as the veterans' groups.
   The VA plans to personally contact each returning veteran, informing him of the many services available at the Veterans Assistance Centers.  In addition, VA staffers plan to personally call on veterans who are unable to come to an Assistance Center because of disability or who have a particular need.  (Army Times)


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968


Four Deuce Mortar Team Tackles Trouble

   CU CHI - Specialist 4 Terry Wimberly, better known as Wimpy, was sitting on top of his bunker singing 'Little Green Apples.'  He is a great fan of Roger Miller.
   Private First Class John Tollel had just finished humping rounds to replenish what the four-deuce mortar team had used the night before.  He started to take a swig of water from his canteen when the cry 'FIRE MISSION' came from someone in the fire direction center (FDC).
   Sergeant Clinton Perkins, 27, of Louisiana, Mo., carefully but rapidly put down Short Round, the team's little puppy, and charged toward the phone.
   Mac - Specialist 4 Kenneth McFarland, 21, of Big Lake, Tex.- was cleaning the Wolfhound crest on his bush hat and thinking that his 10 months with the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, had been pretty good.  Sure, things had been rough at times, but they could have been worse.  He threw his hat down and moved out.
   Less than five seconds after the cry from the FDC rang out, Wimpy had his shoulder against the tube ready to move it into position when Perkins gave the deflection and elevation.  As assistant gunner he helps Mac, who had slapped on the sight and had his eye glued to it.
   Tollel, 22, had quit thinking about his wife in London, Ohio, and had two rounds out of the black canisters.  He was ready to cut the right charges as soon as Perkins hollered.
   The four soldiers were tired.  They had fired illumination rounds for a total of four hours the night before, and that along with the 105mm howitzers 50 feet away didn't allow for much sleep.  They didn't know if they were firing on spotted enemy troops or giving direct support to a Wolfhound patrol, but they were ready.
   For some reason there was a long wait for Perkins to sound off.  Wimpy stood up to relax and that's when it came.
   "Deflection 2375! Elevation 415! Charge 25!"
   Mac and Wimpy put their weight together to move the 300-plus pound tube.  Then they made the precision alignment necessary.  In three seconds it was aimed.  Tollel had ripped off the charges, that look like slabs of Swiss cheese, to get down to charge 25.  They can fire from charge seven up to forty-one.  The ammo bearer has to work fast and accurately.  Tollel had been in country only two months but had plenty of experience in that time.  The team fires an average of 2,500 rounds per month.
   It seemed as if he hadn't even finished cutting the second charge when he had both rounds in his hands and was headed for the tube.
   Wimpy took the rounds and put one on his left shoulder and wrapped his right hand tightly around the other.
   When Perkins sang out 'hang it,' Wimpy lifted the round up so the firing pin was just inside the tube.
   Mac and Perkins plugged their ears while Tollel tried to plug his and cut the charges on two more rounds at the same time.
   Wimpy's arm started to quiver a little as the command to fire was long in coming.  The four-deuce heavy explosive round weighs about 40 pounds.
   They waited for the command.  They had waited thousands of times before.  One night in late August this team fired more than 200 rounds of illumination for a Wolfhound patrol during an eight-hour fight.  During Tet they fired 450 rounds of heavy explosive during the course of one night.
   "FIRE" yelled Perkins.  In a flash, Wimpy, the 22-year-old assistant gunner from Phoenix, Ariz., dropped the round down the tube, squatted down to plug his ears then popped back up to hang the next round.
   Nine more rounds were fired, and the fire mission was over.
   This one was a simple mission.  Some of them are rough.  When enemy rockets and mortars start crashing into the area, the team doesn't head for the bunker - they head for the gun to start firing counter mortar.  And they are effective at it.
   Sometimes there is a misfire - the round is dropped into the tube but fails to fire.  Then things get tense.  Either the round is stuck part way or has hit bottom and failed to fire.
   Mac first kicks the tube to try to dislodge the stuck round.  If the round again fails to fire, the tube is quickly broken down and the dud round is dumped out.  Speed is essential for men's lives may depend on it.
   When they are firing large charges the tube is literally driven into the ground.  Then it has to be dug out and realigned.  Again it must be done quickly - even in the middle of a fight.
   Everyone in the team is cross-trained to do all of the jobs.  Tollel knows as much about sighting the tube as Mac does.
   Wimpy, Mac, Tollel and Perkins - a closely knit, extremely efficient four-deuce mortar team that is proud of its work.  These men are the artillery of infantry, a hard working team that can pull their buddies in the battalion out of scrapes.

Story And Photos By
SP5 Terry Richard


PFC John Tollel, Sgt. Clinton Perkins, SP4 Kenneth McFarland, SP4 Terry Wimberly "FIRE MISSION" - When those two words are yelled everybody moves - and fast.  From left: Private First Class John Tollel, Sergeant Clinton Perkins (partially hidden), Specialist 4 Kenneth McFarland, and Specialist 4 Terry Wimberly.
LIFE OR DEATH ACCURACY - Specialist 4 Kenneth McFarland of Big Lake, Tex., critically sights in the gun as Wimpy moves the 300-plus pound tube.  Even if it is chow time when a mission comes in, everything is dropped and the team rushes to their firing positions. SP4 Kenneth McFarland, Wimpy
SP4 Terry Wimberly, SP4 McFarland HANG IT - Specialist 4 Terry Wimberly "hangs" a round waiting for the command to fire as Specialist 4 McFarland, the team gunner, plugs his ears in anticipation of the blast.
DEFLECTION 2375! - Sergeant Clinton Perkins of Louisiana, Mo., the squad leader of the team, passes on the firing information from the fire direction center. Sgt. Clinton Perkins
SP4 Wimberly KEEPING IT CLEAN - Specialist Wimberly, the assistant gunner from Phoenix, Ariz., cleans the bore of the four-deuce tube.  The 4.2 inch mortar team is part of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.
TOTING A LOAD - Carrying four rounds, weighing 40 pounds each, Private First Class John Tollel from London, Ohio, resupplies the tube after a fire mission. PFC John Tollel


Deadly Team -
Four Deuce
Four Men



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968


DIVARTY Team Work, Timing Route Out NVA Battalion

   TAY NINH - The coordination of all the elements of Division Artillery resulted in the routing of an estimated battalion-sized NVA force eight miles southeast of Tay Ninh on Highway 26.
   Warrant Officer Mark D. Mitchell piloted an OH-23 light observation helicopter from DIVARTY Aviation as Lieutenant Colonel Forest E. Pierce, commander of the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, and Sergeant Major William Clevenger directed helicopter gunships, Air Force Super Sabre jets and devastating artillery barrages on the enemy.
   During eight hours in the air, the trio also make numerous low-level passes firing their M-16's at the enemy.
   The DIVARTY ship was enroute to a contact involving elements of the 4th Battalion, (Mechanized) 23d Infantry when Mitchell, from La Puente, Calif., spotted what he believed to be an enemy 12.7mm anti-aircraft site.
   After several low-level passes, the sighting of the gun was confirmed.  It was set in a crater and heavily camouflaged with twigs and foliage.
   The trio marked the area with smoke, and Huey Cobra gunships peppered the area with rockets and minigun fire.  Pierce, from Leavenworth, Kans., called in 105mm artillery fire from Battery C, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery commanded by Captain Harry K. Jowers.
   The artillery fire from Fire Support Base Rawlins along with the gunships tore up the area causing several NVA to scatter into the open.
   Pierce and Clevenger then passed through at tree-top level firing clip after clip from their M-16's.  Although receiving contact small arms fire and a heavy blanket of automatic weapons fire, the two, with the aid of Mitchell's adroit maneuvering of the 'bubble' aircraft, kept the enemy scattering through the woodline.
   Coordinating with the artillery forward observer, First Lieutenant James Q. Turner, of Huntington, N.Y., who was on the ground with the infantry unit, the trio called in air strikes on the fleeing enemy.
   At the same time, a convoy secured by the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was moving up Highway 26 from Dau Tieng to Tay Ninh when the NVA suddenly opened up on them with machine gun, RPG and small arms fire.
   Pierce and the battalion sergeant major again placed suppressive artillery fire from the unit at Rawlins on the enemy positions.
   Heavy anti-aircraft fire from additional enemy positions that had been heavily camouflaged began flying at the chopper.  Pierce adjusted artillery into the immediate area, firing pinpoint, danger-close fires on the enemy.
   As round after round of 105mm shells rained in, the enemy broke contact and fled into the temporary security of a nearby rubber plantation.  A sweep of the area the following day disclosed 40 NVA bodies.

RAINSOAKED AND WEARY - An infantryman rests during a break in a combat sweep by units of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry.  Specialist 4 Vincent Dimarzo of Bayshore, Long Island, N.Y., was taking part in an operation with the 3d Brigade unit several miles northwest of Saigon. SP4 Vincent Dimarzo



588th Expects To Cash In On Civilian Reward Program

   TAY NINH - Efforts by the 588th Engineer Battalion to keep the road net around Tay Ninh cleared of enemy mines and booby-traps are being aided by a recently initiated civilian cash reward program.  The program is expected to pay big dividends in lives and eouipment saved.
   On a recent trip along Highway 26, part of the Tay Ninh to Dau Tieng military supply route (MSR), First Lieutenant Kenneth M. Snead, 21, the 588th's intelligence officer, distributed leaflets to the local civilians who live and work along the road.  The leaflets tell of rewards given for enemy weapons turned in or for information leading to the location of weapons.  In addition, rewards are given for information on the location of mines or booby-traps.
   Accompanying Snead of Dunedin Beach, Fla., was the 588th's interpreter, ARVN Sergeant My Lam, who helped hand out the leaflets and explained their meaning to those who couldn't read.
   One old farmer, working his field with two water buffalo, took a leaflet and started to move off.  He was asked if he could read and said no, but he would take it home and have his daughter read it.
   Lam said that "farmers like him are in an ideal situation for giving information on mines and booby-traps; they work their fields next to the road each day and can easily tell if the VC have installed mines there."
   As Snead handed the leaflets to a group of children, he remarked, "We actually tend to have more luck with the children.  They don't have the inhibitions of their parents, and don't seem to fear the VC the way their elders do.  And being kids, they naturally will get around a lot and will be very likely to find an arms cache while playing."
   On the way back into Tay Ninh base camp after the day on the MSR, Snead said: "If just one of the thousands of leaflets we have passed out results in saving the life of one American soldier, then all the efforts that we have put into this program will have been worthwhile, and we can call the program a success."


PFC Gets Deer John From 4-Legged Friend

   TAY NINH - A 400-pound deer with fire in his eyes and vines hanging from its antlers crashed through a woodline, made a sharp 45 degree turn and knocked Private First Class Daniel Bennett of Memphis, Tenn., out of action, but not for long.
   Bennett was on a 1st Brigade reconnaissance-in-force mission near the Cambodian border northwest of Tay Ninh city with the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry.
   "We had just started into the woodline when our point man on the right flank seemed to stir up something," said Captain George Featherston, of Houston, Tex.  "All of a sudden there he was - the biggest deer I've seen - and he was charging straight at Bennett.
   "We were all so stunned that we couldn't react in time.  He knocked Bennett into an artillery crafter, and then tripped in himself," continued Featherston, commander of Company B.
   "I was the sixth man in the file, and I just didn't know what hit me," recalled Bennett.  "They tell me that the deer just barely missed me when he fell in the crater, but by that time I was out cold and didn't know what was happening."
   The deer climbed out of the crater and continued on its merry way.  Bennett was dusted off for treatment.
   "This was the weirdest thing that ever happened to me," said Bennett.  "Other people get hit with AK rounds or water buffalo, but me, I get run over by a deer.  Everyone was laughing so hard at the hospital back in Tay Ninh that they had a hard time treating me."
   "As you can see, I'm back on the job none the worse for wear," said Bennett, "but I'm keeping my eyes peeled for deer."


Rice Galore

   CU CHI - One of the largest rice caches uncovered in the Cu Chi area to date was found by Company A, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  Some 25,000 pounds of rice, apparently stored for VC and NVA use, was discovered in Duc Hoa district.
   The 12 ½  tons of rice was raw, partially bagged and stockpiled in four hootches in the area.
   A guard was put on the area by the Golden Dragon unit until Vietnamese National Police arrived and ordered the VC provisions turned over to the refugee center in Duc Hoa.
   Captain John Mader, Alpha Company commander, reported that the area has been under surveillance as a principal VC trail for some time.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968


SP4 Willie Sher
TUNNEL RAT - Specialist 4 Willie J. Sher of Indianapolis, Ind., inspects an enemy tunnel in the Iron Triangle.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HECTOR NADAL)
SP4 Morales Roosevelt
SEARCH EVERY HEDGEROW - Specialist 4 Morales Roosevelt leaves no leaf unturned as he looks for signs of the enemy five miles east of Cu Chi.  Roosevelt is of Houston, Texas, and is with the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  (PHOTO BY SP4 LARRY WEIST)
SP4 Gerald Charles
SURE FOOTED - lugging a machine gun, Specialist 4 Gerald Charles of Company A, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, moves cautiously as he descends a hill during a sweep near Cu Chi.  (PHOTO BY SP4 LARRY WEIST)
Photo Highlite -
         The Infantryman
2/27th Wolfhounds
FLUSHING OUT CHARLIE - Infantrymen of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds move through a stream to flush out the enemy.  The 2d Brigade soldiers were on a sweep operation northwest of Saigon.  (PHOTO BY SP4 BILL CLEVENGER)


Sgt. Anthony Strasavich
LISTENING FOR COMMANDS - Sergeant Anthony J. Strasavich, 21, from Sykesville, Pa., a squad leader with Company A, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds listens for commands from his platoon leader as the 2d Brigade company engages snipers in the Iron Triangle northwest of Saigon.  (PHOTO BY SGT ROSS ROESSLER)



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           October 28, 1968


Lt. Gen. Mildren's Visit

Lt. Gen. Frank Mildren, with officers
LIEUTENANT GENERAL FRANK T. MILDREN, deputy commanding general, USARV, talks to Major General Ellis W. Williamson, commanding general, 25th Infantry Division, at Fire Support Base Pershing with First Lieutenant John J. Farley, XO, B Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery and Colonel Eugene M. Lynch, CO 2d Brigade.  The battery fired direct fire missions during General Mildren's visit.  (PHOTO BY MAJOR A. J. SULLIVAN)



DIVARTY Civic Action Boasts Big Progress

   CU CHI - Despite increased enemy activity in the Trang Bang district, significant progress was made during September by Civic Action teams from Division Artillery.
   Noteworthy self-help projects completed by local residents in cooperation with First Lieutenant Hansel H. Kipe, with MACV Advisory Team 43, included the repair of damages to primary schools caused by enemy action; the repair of a badly needled latrine facility at the Loc Du primary school, which has several hundred students and the completion of a bunker for maternity patients in the local hospital.
   In addition, repairs were made on the roof of a hospital which had been damaged by enemy terrorist activity.  A project begun early in August was completed in September also - the rebuilding of the Trang Bang district civic action headquarters.


2-22 Fights VC Squad

   CU CHI - In a short but sharp afternoon clash with an estimated enemy squad, Company B, 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 22d Infantry, killed two Viet tong and captured one AK-47 assault rifle.
   The 3d Brigade unit was on a reconnaissance in force through wooded terrain three miles east of Go Dau Ha when it came under enemy sniper fire.  Immediately, Captain Malcolm Waitt, B Company commander from Montgomery, Ala., turned the guns of his armored personnel carriers loose on the enemy positions, flushing out ten Viet Cong.
   While the enemy fled, two were cut down by the riflemen.  Cobra gunships from the 25th Aviation Battalion's Diamondhead Company then arrived on the scene, pasting the enemy area with rocket and minigun fire.
   The Triple Deuce company pushed into the area and uncovered an enemy base camp of more than 30 bunkers.  The riflemen also recovered the weapon and web gear from the enemy dead.
   Two days later, Triple Deuce along with two companies of Vietnamese Marines swept back into the base camp to destroy the enemy positions and in the process captured stockpiled enemy equipment, food, and ammunition.


The bottom half of page 8 contained an advertisement and order form for the 1967-68 Division Yearbook




Thanks to
Allan Azary, 1st Bn. (Mechanized), 5th Inf. for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 8-12-2004

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