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Vol 3 No. 50          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          December 9, 1968



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                7 2/14 Photo         1 2/27               3 3/17 Air Cav       1
1/5 Photo          7 2/14               2 2/27 Photo         3 3/22               1
1/8 Arty           8 2/14 Photo         4 2/27 Photos        4 4/9 Photo          3
1/27 Photo         6 2/14               8 25th MP            7 4/9                3
187th AHC Photo    4 2/14 Photo         8 25th MP Photo      7 65th Engr Photo    7
2/12 Photos        4 2/22               8 25th Rep Det       6 65th Engr Photo    8
2/12               6 2/22               8 25th S&T           8 65th Engr Photo    8
2/14 Photo         1      


Daring Cobra Pickup; Killer Rescues Hunter
By SP4 Jim Brayer

   CU CHI - The crew members of a Cobra gunship performed an unusual rescue when they picked up the three-man crew, one of them wounded, of a crippled light observation helicopter (LOH) about three miles north of Cu Chi.
   During a 'hunter-killer' visual reconnaissance mission involving the low flight of the observation Cayuse and the high cover of the Cobra, the team from C Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, was just north of the 'mushroom' in the Saigon River.
   An estimated ten enemy opened fire on the LOH, which had been flying about 50 feet high at 40 knots.
   First Lieutenant Clyde Johnson, 23, of Louisville, Ky., pilot of the small chopper, was hit in his left leg by an AK-47 round.
   "I was a little excited; I thought I'd had it," Johnson recalled later.  As the round hit him, he let go of the controls, but observer Staff Sergeant Ronnie Newman, of Perry, Fla., immediately took over the ship.
   Newman, uninjured, said he looked around after he heard the enemy fire and noticed that Johnson had given up the controls.  He automatically took over the stick, and resumed the flight toward the safety of Cu Chi.
   Crew chief and door gunner Jorge Nieves, of Lawton, Okla., was also uninjured, although the ship took six enemy rounds.
   About eight kilometers north of base camp, the little helicopter experienced an engine failure, forcing an autorotation landing in the middle of a large wet rice paddy 1,200 feet below.
   Newman quickly helped his wounded pilot out of the aircraft before radioing their predicament to their Cobra counterpart.
   Warrant Officer Stephen Jackson, of Price, Utah, who was in command of the Cobra gunship, described the incident from his vantage point.
   Jackson, age 20, explained that the mission had been out for about one hour and 20 minutes that morning when he and his pilot, Second Lieutenant Larry D. Schmidt, of Great Falls, Mont., received the distress call.
   "We received a series of "I've been hit...I've been hit..." from down below," said Jackson.
   The Cobra came into the vicinity and "we punched off several rockets into the area of his red smoke, which he (Johnson) had popped when he was receiving fire."
   The gunship's mini-guns and 40mm guns failed to operate, so Jackson poured more rockets into the red-smoke area.  Schmidt noticed they were receiving fire from the ground, and the ship pulled a 360-degree route around the area, pumping in another pair of rockets.
   All this time the observation chopper was still airborne and on its way back to Cu Chi.  The Cobra crew pursued the small craft when, about four miles from the enemy site, another distress call came over the air.
   This time the message was engine failure, torque down to zero.
   Johnson's craft made an autorotation landing, splashing in the wet rice paddy.  The Cobra followed it in to about 100 feet altitude, making a circle around the area, checking for enemy.
   Jackson said, "We saw the three men get out, and we know they were relatively OK."  He then called for a scramble unit from operations to get the Cayuse team out and secure the craft.
   Newman, realizing his pilot was in pain and rapidly losing blood, radioed the Cobra again, this time requesting Johnson's immediate evacuation.
   "I rogered that transmission, checked the tree line for enemy, and came in light on the skids," Jackson remembered.
   There is room for only two passengers inside a Cobra, but in emergency situations, others may ride on the ammo bay doors on either side of the gunship.
   Since Johnson was "extremely pale from the loss of blood and close to a state of shock," Schmidt vacated his pilot's seat for Johnson.  Schmidt rode on the right ammo bay door while Newman and Nieves rode the other.
   "It was a bit nose-heavy, but the torque looked all right, so we took off," said Jackson.
   The three men weathered the eight-minute flight back to Cu Chi entirely outside the aircraft, their feet on the skids.
   There are several methods of performing an emergency evacuation with a Cobra, but the 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cav. has trained with the tried and true ammo-bay-door method for such emergencies.
   Jackson called ahead to the 12th Evacuation Hospital, which had an emergency crew ready for Johnson upon arrival.
   Jackson and Schmidt returned to the site of the lone Cayuse to help secure it, but another gunship was already there.  Later inspection revealed no enemy hits to the rescue Cobra.
   Johnson was given immediate treatment, and the next day he commented on his condition.  "I feel pretty good now.  People over here have been taking real good care of me."


SP4 Jerry Forguhar OK, DRY SEASON - Specialist 4 Jerry Forguhar of Lincoln, Neb., from Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, doesn't seem convinced that the wet season is almost over.  (PHOTO BY SP4 E. R. JAMES)



MEDCAP Flies To War's Edge

   TAY NINH - The 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry MEDCAP team took off from Tay Ninh base camp in a huey helicopter enroute to Phouc Tan, a war torn hamlet west of Tay Ninh City and only 1,000 meters from the Cambodian border.
   As the chopper hovered over the triangular ARVN outpost guarding the main approach to the hamlet, Captain Alden Sweatman, the battalion surgeon, could see the dense jungle surrounding the hamlet and the ARVN troops providing security for the MEDCAP team.
   "Frankly, we were a little concerned that we might run into a little hostility in the area," said Sweatman.  "All of us thought there might be a possibility of trouble, since the hamlet is so close to Cambodia, but the security was excellent, and everything went smoothly."
   "As we approached the village, I could tell that the people just couldn't believe that we were really there," said Captain Hartmut Schuler, the S-5 officer.
   "Once we started to work, however, they came at us from all sides."
   "An ARVN medic worked alongside us and was a big help," continued Sweatman.  "He enabled us to treat more than 150 patients in the short time we were there.  Most of the cases involved one type of infection or another, and our medics were sure busy giving penicillin shots," said Sweatman.
   "We distributed leaflets, kites and rubber balls for the kids, as well as sewing kits, fish hooks, tobacco and soap for all the villagers," said Schuler.
   When the MEDCAP was in its later stages, the copter appeared on the scene with orders to lift the MEDCAP team out of the area as soon as possible.  "We policed up our 300 pounds of equipment and gathered everyone together and dashed for the copter " said Sweatman.  "We could have stayed a little longer, but hopefully we will return soon to help our border town friends."


Be sure to listen to 'Lightning 25' on AFVN Radio every Sunday at 1245 hours.  The show features the men and units of the 25th Infantry Division on location in the field and in base camp.  News and features of interest to you, and facts about the operations that keep Lightning on the move in Vietnam are the backbone of 'Lightning 25'.  Don't miss it!



Putting down smoke
SMOKEY - A smoke ship lays down a heavy screen of smoke as 2d Brigade soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, air assault into an area near Duc Hoa.  (PHOTO BY SP4 E. R. JAMES)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968



COL Gordon Sumner, Jr., HQ, 25th Inf Div Arty
LTC Thomas C. Nunn, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
LTC Clifford C. Neilson, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
MAJ Marvin Layfield, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
MAJ George Nelson, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Jerry J. Boyington, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Richard R. Teipel, HHD, 25th Avn Bn
CPL Timothy C. Frandsen, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Barry Lambert, A Co, 25th Avn On
WO1 Brian P. Johnson, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Robert J. Amiot, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
CPT Bruce A. Powell, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
1LT George G. Reese, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
1LT Kenneth Griffith, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
1LT William G. Cirincione, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
CW2 Michael Siegel, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
CW2 George A. Grinnell, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
CW2 Samuel M. Shute, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
CW2 Carl Muckie, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO2 Edward L. Behne, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
2LT Neil M. Weems, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 James D. Skelton, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Robert J. Spitler, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Clay Maxwell, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Hector H. Castro, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 David A. Minkowich, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Charles Mitchell, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 George Conger, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Robert Brodrick, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Laurence McCabe, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Howard Rice, D Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
WO1 David Stock, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Marcis Terauds, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Clay Maxwell, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Ted A. Pitcher, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP5 Guy D. Miller, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Thomas L. Bowers, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Daniel Farren, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Marvin Epstein, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Frank Austin, A Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Gonzalo Salazar, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Ronnie G. Leonard, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Leonard M. Morris, A Co 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Wiffiam T. Linebaugh, B eo, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Richard Rodriguez, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Jack Mosley, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Robert Bell, B Co, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Louis R. Beam, Jr., Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 James D. Flaherty, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Richard P. Garcia, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Donald Westergren, D Co, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP5 James Watkins, D Co, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Terry Weigold, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Roy Branstutter, A Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Lawrence McCormick, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Robert Sechser, B Co, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Larry Nelson, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Douglas Learned, C Co, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Thomas Cook, HHB, 25th Div Arty
SP4 Thomas Fanlon, C Co, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 William Williams, C Co, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Terrel Bartlett, D Co, 65th Engr Bn
SP4 Simon Contreras, A Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Arty



Christmas Is Special For Servicemen

   Christmas is quite often a different sort of holiday for those of us in the armed forces.  For those of us fortunate enough to be assigned in an area where we can be with our families during the holiday season, the difference is not too apparent.  But for those serving alone in distant overseas assignments or even in remote areas of the U.S., the holiday takes on a certain aspect of loneliness, perhaps even sadness.
   To be sure, there is evidence of the joyous holiday season to be found in every military unit.  Mail call brings Christmas closer to us, with the mail sacks overflowing with Christmas wishes and gifts from those we love.
   Then, on Christmas Day, there will be the gigantic holiday feast that has become traditional in even the smallest military mess hall.
   For some, there will be a gala holiday USO show, performed by tireless entertainers who also have given up being with their families so that we might have a little more joy in our holiday.
   But with all the special festive activities of Christmas, it still won't be quite the same for those of us serving in the steaming heat of Vietnam or in a cold, gray warship on the high seas.  We'll miss the snow, holly, mistletoe and gaily-decorated trees.
   But there is perhaps one more thing we can do to help fill any empty feeling we may have at Christmas.
   Think about the family gathering back home on Christmas Day.  One of the things they're enjoying most is the feeling of "Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Man."  Of course, peace does not reign throughout the world and good will toward man is often forgotten.
   But citizens of the United States are closer to that ideal than most people in the world.
   Those of us in the military are the vanguard of our nation, protecting that feeling of "Peace on Earth," and insuring that our families will continue to enjoy it in Christmases to come.
   If the true joy of Christmas is in the giving rather than in the receiving, we can count ourselves among the happiest people in the world.  Our "gift" -  the peace our countrymen enjoy - is one of the greatest that can be given.  (AFPS)




vStork.jpg (2787 bytes)Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division – As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
Born To:

November 16

SFC and Mrs. Jose Gorospe, Co. B, 2d Bn., 27th Inf., a son
SGT and Mrs. Craig E. Hacker, Co. C, 2d Bn., 27th Inf., a son

November 18

SP4 and Mrs. Charles E. Bernhardt, Hq and A Co., 725th Maint. Bn., a son
SP4 and Mrs. Michael W. Tilley, 20th Trans. Co., a daughter

November 19

CPT and Mrs. John R. Walch, HHC 554th Engr. Bn., a daughter
PVT and Mrs. Jose S. Valdez, Co. B, 2d Bn., 12th Inf., a daughter
November 20

SP4 Wayne E. Cameron, Co. D, 2d Bn., 34th Armor, a son

November 22

PFC and Mrs. Robert W. Mason, 25th Admin. Co., a son

November 23

PFC and Mrs. Christopher L. Walz, Hq Troop, 3d Sqdn., 4th Cav., a daughter

November 24

PFC and Mrs. Jackie G. DeMint, 25th MP Co., a son



Air Force Plays Santa

   U.S. Air Force members in Alaska will again conduct their annual "letters from Santa Claus" program for the children of military and civilian members of all the U.S. services.
   During the past 13 Christmas seasons, members of the USAF Air Weather Service's Detachment 5, 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing at Eielson AFB, Alaska, have mailed nearly 93,000 letters postmarked "Santa Claus House, North Pole."
   You write a letter to your child, signing it Santa Claus.  Address the letter to your youngster and affix proper return airmail postage from Alaska.  Place the letter in a larger envelope addressed to Santa's Mail Bag c/o Detachment 5, 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing, APO Seattle 98737.  Air mail this letter.
   The Air Force weathermen, who have volunteered their free time for the project, will get the letter and remail it from this post office.
   Your child will receive the letter from Santa in a few days, complete with authentic postmark.  Letters must be mailed to the unit by Dec. 15 to permit receipt of remailed letters by Christmas Day.


SGT John J. DoranTropic Lightning
                Combat Honor Roll

   Added to this week's Combat Honor Roll Is Sergeant John J. Doran, of Company A, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  Doran distinguished himself by heroic actions on October 3, 1968 while serving as a squad leader.
   While securing a fire support base, his company came under a massive mortar, rocket and ground attack.
   During the initial contact, Doran left the relative security of his bunker and moved to the besieged perimeter where he began placing devastating fire on the assaulting insurgents.
   When the friendly positions began to run low on ammunition, Doran fearlessly exposed himself to a holocaust of exploding projectiles as he moved across the area and secured the desperately needed ammunition.
   He returned to the besieged perimeter and distributed the ammunition among his comrades.
   Sergeant Doran's personal bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division and the United States Army.


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 Stephen Lochen  . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Robert C. Imler  . . . . . . .  Assistant Editor
SP4 Tom Quinn . . . . . . . . . . . Production Supervisor



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968


Manchu Patrol Gets VC Leader

PFC Kenneth Bacon, SGT Larry Miller A SPECIAL BREED - A special search team from Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Manchus takes a breather after recent action in which an enemy platoon leader was killed.  The 2d Brigade soldiers are, left to right, Private First Class Kenneth I. Bacon, machine gunner, and Sergeant Larry T. Miller, platoon sergeant.  (PHOTO BY PFC H. J. TSCHIRNER)
   On a recent ambush patrol near Trung Lap, Second Brigade soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry killed one enemy soldier and captured documents concerning enemy activity.
   Shortly after the Delta Company Manchus had set up their ambush, Private First Class John E. Manker, an assistant machine gunner from Bellbrook, Ohio, spotted an approaching figure.  By the time the entire patrol was alerted, the lone enemy soldier had moved to the center of the ambush.  He turned back after apparently spotting a claymore.
   As he crossed in front of the end position a second time machine gunner Private First Class Kenneth I. Bacon, Valentine, Neb. opened up.
   A search led by Sergeant Larry T. Miller, Union Town, Pennsylvania, revealed documents identifying the victim as an enemy Sampan Platoon Leader, intelligence information, and a .32 caliber Chicom pistol.



Fire Bde., PF's Harass VC

   CU CHI - Recently the combined efforts of 2d Brigade soldiers and local Popular Forces resulted in the killing of five enemy and the rallying of one under the Chieu Hoi program.
   Two days of sweeping in the same location caught enemy soldiers by surprise.  The first day Company C, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, Wolfhounds air-assaulted into an area and began sweeping along a canal.
   As they searched the bank they came across a bowl of rice still warm on a kerosene stove.
   Sergeant Larry Coulter, a squad leader in the company's 3d Platoon later reported "once we found that hot rice we knew they were still in the area because the Popular Forces had cordoned the area early that morning."
   "We crossed the canal and started across about eight-hundred meters of open rice paddy toward the PF blocking force."
   "One of my men spotted an enemy in the paddy directly in front of him.  We called for him to Chieu Hoi but were answered by a burst of AK fire," the Cleveland, Ohio, soldier continued.
   "When we got closer we engaged two more hiding in the high grass."
   The following day Bravo Company Wolfhounds combat assaulted in the same area but sweeping in the other direction.
   One of the Fire Brigade soldiers spotted someone hiding in the weeds.  The Wolfhounds again tried to get the soldier to Chieu Hoi and again were answered by AK rounds.  A short firefight ensued.
   As the Tropic Lightning troopers swept through the area, a Vietnamese appeared with hands raised, eager to take advantage of the Chieu Hoi program.  The Wolfhounds then uncovered two more bodies.


Early Release Set For Xmas

   WASHINGTON (ANF) - The Department of the Army has announced an early release policy for the 1968 Christmas Holiday season.
   With certain exceptions, non-regular officers, non-regular warrant officers and all enlisted personnel who would normally be separated or released from Dec. 21, 1968, through Jan. 12, 1969, will be released or separated during the period Dec. 16 through Dec. 20.
   This policy applies to personnel stationed in the continental United States or in their area of permanent residence outside CONUS.  It also includes personnel who have returned from oversea commands for transshipment to their area of permanent residence.
   Department of the Army Message 886383 states, "Every action will be taken to expedite movement of such personnel who are eligible for separation" or release in their home areas.


Manchus Uncover 2 Caches

   CU CHI - During a reconnaissance-in-force, Manchus of Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry discovered two weapons caches containing a variety of enemy armament and equipment.
   While engaged in an early morning sweep the 2d Brigade soldiers discovered tracks which led them to a hidden cache containing eight Chinese Communist grenades, eight M-79 HE rounds and various items of clothing.


HURRY UP DRY SEASON - To the men of 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, water poses no problem or hardship.  The average Wolfhound spends much of his tour in Vietnam wading through water.  (PHOTO BY SP4 ROBERT O'HARE) Wet season





Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968


The Beat Goes On...


SP4 Lou M. Baylor, Jr. searches banks A WET BUSINESS - Specialist 4 Lou M. Baylor, Jr., searches the banks of one of the many canals in the vicinity of Tropic Lightning Fire Support Base Crockett.  (PHOTO BY SP4 ROBERT O'HARE)
ASSAULT - As Wolfhounds push through chest-high elephant grass, 'Crusader' helicopters of the 187th Assault Helicopter Company lift away from a landing zone near the Michelin rubber plantation, 45 miles northwest of Saigon.  The 3rd Brigade troops were conducting a clover-leaf sweep in search of enemy bunkers.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HECTOR NADAL) Landing zone
1LT Allen M. Waterson watches MOVE OUT - First Lieutenant Allen M. Waterson company D, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, watches as his men set out on a sweep and clear mission several miles west of Fire Support Base Crockett. Waterson is from Jacksonville, Fla.  (PHOTO BY SP4 BILL CLEVELAND)


Moving into hedgerows
GIVING INSTRUCTIONS - A squad leader from Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, directs a fire team to move into a thick hedgerow eight miles northwest of Cu Chi.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY)


NOW HEAR THIS - Captain William Phelps of Denton, Md., holds a list of names of suspected VC as his interpreter, Staff Sergeant Nguyen Anh Tuan, attempts to persuade them to Chieu Hoi.  The 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, Golden Dragons used the portable loudspeakers near Duc Hoa.  (PHOTO BY PFC E. R. JAMES) CPT William Phelps, SSG Nguyen Anh Tuan
CPT Harry Ikner WET WORK - No one is spared the rigors of the Vietnamese terrain.  Captain Harry Ikner, of West Frankfort, Ill., wades through waist-deep water as 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry soldiers conduct sweep operations near Cu Chi.  (PHOTO BY SP4 ROBERT O'HARE)
WARRIORS - A 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry machine gun team brings fire on enemy positions during an assault, part of two days of fighting during which 147 enemy were killed.  (PHOTO BY SP4 CHARLES HAUGHEY) Machine-gunners
SP4 James Leonard ROLLED OATS - During a MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) in the hamlet of Thanh An, 37 miles southwest of Saigon, infantrymen of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry dispense food to villagers.  Handing out rolled oats with a tin can measuring device is First Lieutenant James R. Brov? [not legible] of Hinsdale, Ill., while Specialist 4 James Leonard of Yakima, Wash., opens cans of milk.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HECTOR NADAL)



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968


SNIPER SEARCH - Sergeant First Class Harry F. Mullins surveys the tree line for snipers after receiving fire while on a reconnaissance-in-force mission.  Mullins is the acting First Sergeant of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.  (PHOTO BY SGT ROSS ROSSLER) SFC Harry F. Mullins



Warrior CO Guest Of District Chief

   CU CHI - The commanding officer of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. Dreisenstok, Washington, D. C., was the guest of honor at a Vietnamese 'National Day' celebration at an ARVN outpost near the village of Trang Bang, 12 miles northwest of Cu Chi.
   "The day of celebration, November 1, marked the first anniversary of the Second Republic," Dreisenstok said.
   The Battalion Commander was invited to attend the ceremony by Trang Bang district chief Major Tran Trung Al, who emphasized the necessity of U.S. and Vietnamese cooperation in achieving the three national objectives stated one year ago.  "We must build democracy, solve war and improve society," he said.
   During the ceremony the Warrior commander presented award's to Vietnamese soldiers.
   "It was an honor and a privilege to participate in the activities and an excellent opportunity to emphasize the co-operation between ARVN and American forces," he commented.
   Combined 25th Division and ARVN military operations in the battalion's area of operation have been directly responsible for the killing of over forty enemy during the past month.
   National police and civic co-operation with the Fire Brigade unit have made possible some twenty MEDCAPs, which have treated nearly a thousand Vietnamese civilians.




The Paper Life Of A GI;  Records Make The Man
By SP4 Paul Ditman

   CU CHI - Swooping down the Cu Chi runway, an Air Force Caribou brought its load of 21 replacements to the Eighth Aerial Port.  In a few minutes a deuce and a half from the 25th Replacement Detachment delivered them to the place where they would complete their final in-country processing.
   From those 21 replacements, let's pick one imaginary GI, Private Fred E. Glibtx, and see how the AG Personnel Service Division (PSD) took care of his records during his tour in Vietnam.
   Just out of AIT with an MOS of 76A10 (Supply Clerk), Glibtx could have been used virtually anywhere in the 25th Division.
   After arriving at the Replacement Detachment, his records were collected and processing began by the PSD.  Glibtx's personnel records, his 201 file and his Form 20 were screened.  Since Glibtx's records indicated there had been no disciplinary action taken against him in basic or AIT, he was automatically promoted to Private First Class.
   The records of the replacements were then separated by MOS and grade and checked against shortage rosters.
   On the very day of his arrival, Glibtx had an assignment, and orders were cut on him that night.  On the following day, Glibtx completed his initial processing and had the opportunity to review his own records to catch any errors.
   A welcoming letter by the commanding general was sent to his family informing them of his safe arrival, as well as his new duty assignment.
   Working around the clock, PSD promoted Glibtx one grade and assigned him to his new unit, all within 24 hours of his arrival in Cu Chi.  Finally, his records were given to the records team leader who had them filed and assumed the responsibility for maintaining them for the year.
   That afternoon, Glibtx was picked up by his new unit, the 125th Signal Battalion, and billeted as a member of Charlie Company.  On the day following he processed his medical and dental records.  He was then ready for five days of replacement training.
   After he finished his training period and joined his unit permanently, Glibtx promptly assumed responsibilities in the supply system of his unit.  For a while, his supply sergeant was in the hospital recuperating from an illness.  Glihtx acted in his place and performed his duties well.  He did such a fine job that within four months he was promoted to Specialist 4.
   When an enemy offensive was launched, Glibtx had to help supply the men in his unit while the base camp was continually on alert status.  Again he distinguished himself by performing his duties efficiently.
   Upon the recommendation of his company commander, SP4 Glibtx's name was submitted for the Army Commendation Medal.  The recommendation reached PSD where it was checked for correctness.  Having received the paper work before the 1800 hours deadline Friday, action was then taken by the awards committee on Sunday at 1000 hours.  Glibtx's award was considered by the committee and approved.
   After the record of the board's proceedings were approved by the commanding general, orders were cut, and citations and certificates were prepared by the PSD.  Fourteen days after the recommendation, Glibtx was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
   Feeling the urge to be with the action, Glibtx submitted a request on DA Form 2496 to be reassigned as a tanker in 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor.  After his company clerk typed the form, it was approved by his CO and forwarded through the chain of command to PSD.
   Checking the request and finding it in order, AG Personnel Services Division sent the request on to the 2/34th Armor.  Since the armor unit could use the man, the request was approved and endorsed.  PSD then notified Charlie Company of the 125th Signal Battalion of the approval.  In a few days orders were cut and sent down.  Glibtx cleared his unit.
   After 60 days, the new unit requested an MOS change for Glibtx from 76R20 to 11E20.  PSD checked to make certain the man had a minimum of 60 days on-the-job training before making the change.  Subsequently, orders were cut.
   The unit now wished to make Glibtx a tank commander, but since he lacked sufficient time in grade for promotion they cut unit orders making him an acting sergeant.
   As soon as Glibtx was eligible for promotion the necessary paper work was handled by PSD.  After he had been in-country eight months, Glibtx was promoted to sergeant with a new MOS, 11E40.
   The year was passing much faster than he had expected.  After only six months, the wheels started turning to prepare for his return stateside.  Glibtx requested 1st Army area duty on his "dream sheet."
   DA relayed to USARV that Glibtx was to be assigned to Ft. Dix, N.J., upon his return.  USARV notified the 25th Infantry Division of the assignment approximately two months prior to his DEROS.  The PSD then cut orders and forwarded them to his First Sergeant.
   Usually within seven or eight days of a man's DEROS the PSD's Enlisted Personnel Branch has a man booked on a homebound flight.  A transportation adjustment or so-called "drop" is given in the port call instructions so that the individual can meet his scheduled flight.
   When the port call instructions were given, Glibtx began clearing his unit, his battalion, and the post.  On the port call date, usually three or four days prior to the DEROS date, Glibtx picked up his records and got his plane ticket, - ready to begin his trip home.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968


Eliminate Sniper Fire;  Lower A New Bridge
Story, Photos By SP4 Don Mosseau

   DAU TIENG - Faced with an assignment to sweep south of Dau Tieng into an area near the Iron Triangle, Bobcats of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, needed a 30 foot bridge emplaced across a swollen tributary of the Saigon River.
   An earlier bridge had been destroyed months ago by the Viet Cong.
   In the accompanying photos, the new span takes shape as members of Delta Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, establish the replacement link in Highway 14.
   Assisted by a Chinook helicopter airlift, the entire operation took little more than an hour, during which several enemy snipers directed harassing fire into the area.  One enemy was killed as the infantrymen retaliated.
   The new bridge serves as the connector between Dau Tieng base camp, home of the 3d Brigade, and the area near Thanh An, where Bobcats and Wolfhounds of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, established a new fire support base.
   Fire Support Base Mahone, which is the temporary home of Charlie Battery of the "Up Tight" 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, is in the Trapezoid, about nine miles southeast of Dau Tieng.
   An important side benefit of the new span is the reopening of Route 14, which connects villages east of the Saigon River with Dau Tieng, headquarters of Tri Tam district.

WET JOB - Engineers add cross members to support the roadbed.  The river was chest deep in places, and sniper fire harassed the men.  Nevertheless, they completed the span in about an hour. Building foundation
Crossing bridge NEW LINK COMPLETED - A track of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, pushes across the recently completed bridge enroute to its mission in the Trapezoid, nine miles southeast of Dau Tieng.
SPLASH - A Chinook drops the prefabricated framework for a bridge in place as men of the 65th Engineer Battalion prepare to complete the structure.  The bridge will aid civilians traveling from east of the Saigon River to Dau Tieng. Bridge arrives



Two Lucky MP's Thank Their Stars For Lawn Chair That Didn't Go Off

   DAU TIENG - Three military policemen took turns relaxing in a 'death chair' which had been booby-trapped by Viet Cong, but fortunately escaped injury.
   The trio of law enforcers from the 3d platoon, 25th Military Police Company, reported at dawn to a checkpoint at the edge of the Michelin rubber plantation, 45 miles northwest of Saigon.
   "I knew the VC had been there during the night," said Specialist 4 William D. Caton of Fort Worth, Tex.  "We found quite a few propaganda leaflets - apparently they were feeling their oats."
   Alert to the possibility of booby traps, Caton and the other 3d Brigade MPs conducted a thorough search of the checkpoint area.  They found nothing that looked dangerous.
   Satisfied, Private First Class John Phillips of Birmingham, Mich., sat down inside a protective bunker while Caton and Private First Class Vince Iannotti of Highland Park, Mich., kept a lookout for suspicious characters leaving the rubber plantation.
   As the morning wore on, the three MPs swapped places inside the bunker.
   Almost four hours passed.  Iannotti took a seat across from Phillips as Caton continued to watch.  Suddenly Iannotti's eyes riveted on the chair where Phillips was relaxing.
   "John, don't move!" Iannotti cried.
   He moved slowly toward the chair to get a closer inspection of a U.S. M-26 hand grenade which was attached to the woven surface of the underside of the seat.  The pin had been pulled and a short piece of sewing needle held the delay fuze by less than one-sixteenth of an inch.  Any slight movement might set off the deadly fragmentation device.
   While Iannotti watched to assure that the grenade didn't move Phillips inched toward the door of the bunker.  They warned Caton, who reported the device to engineers of Delta Company, 65th Engineer Battalion.
   Within minutes the engineers arrived at the checkpoint, less than a half mile east of Dau Tieng base camp, and destroyed the grenade.  The chair went up with it.
   "We definitely lost a chair, but I'm glad that's all," said First Lieutenant Robert Simes of Los Angeles, Calif.  "We can thank God that this incident didn't end in tragedy."

1LT Robert Simes, SP4 William Caton CHARRED REMAINS of a 'death chair' which was boobytrapped by Viet Cong are examined by First Lieutenant Robert Simes (left), platoon leader of the 25th Military Police Company at Dau Tieng, and Specialist 4 William Caton. Caton and two other 3d Brigade military policemen took turns sitting in the chair for almost four hours, but were spared from almost certain death when a hand grenade attached to the seat failed to detonate.  (PHOTO BY SP5 BILL SLUIS)



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 9, 1968


COL J R Brownell Jr, MG Ellis Williamson, LTC J W Atwell
LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. W. Atwell addresses troops as he takes command of DISCOM.  Formerly commander of the 65th Engineer Battalion, Atwell replaced Colonel J. R. Brownell Jr.  Major General Ellis W. Williamson, 25th Infantry Division commander (center) took part in the ceremonies.  (PHOTO BY SP4 LARRY WEIST)



Supply & Transportation Ups Standard Of Living In Field

   CU CHI - Life in the field has been considerably improved for 2d Brigade soldiers of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, because of the services of the 25th Supply and Transportation Battalion.
   After discovering a well at Fire Support Base Keene III, where the Golden Dragons secure Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery, they submitted a request to the 25th S&T for the necessary equipment and personnel to construct and operate a shower point.
   "We pump the well water through a purification system and into a 3,000 gallon storage tank before it is used in the shower set up," commented Corporal Tom L. Miranda, Los Angeles, Calif., who is in charge of the operation.
   From eight to nine o'clock and again from three to five o'clock the water is released through a pressure hose and into eight shower heads thus making it possible for anyone to scrub at least once a day.
   "Everyone who has used the shower pint claims it is the best thing since soap," Miranda quipped.

SATISFIED CUSTOMERS - Second Brigade soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry shower at Fire Support Base Keene III using facilities operated by the 25th S&T Battalion.  (PHOTO BY SP4 E. R. JAMES) Showers



Triple Deuce Traps Fifteen Viet Cong

   DAU TIENG, (IO) - Fifteen enemy soldiers were killed as they became trapped between two companies of the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry.
   The initial contact came shortly after Alpha Company of the 3d Brigade battalion was air assaulted into a thickly vegetated section of the Boi Loi Woods, 30 miles northwest of Saigon.
   Working with Regional Forces (RF) soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), the "Triple Deuce" soldiers came under intense machinegun fire shortly after the RF elements spotted four enemy troops.
   When two "Tropic Lightning" soldiers, a point man and a scout dog handler, were wounded, the company returned fire.  They called in artillery support and acted to maneuver against the enemy and to recover the wounded.
   As the enemy force withdrew, they walked into the armored personnel carriers of Bravo Company, which was pulling in as a blocking force from a nearby road.
   The APCs opened up with .50 caliber machinegun fire.  The enemy force scattered, leaving behind three RPG rocket grenade launchers.


CHECKING FOR MINES - A mine sweeping team from A Company, 65th Engineers, clears an area on the bank of the Soui Tri Bi River in preparation for the construction of an armored vehicle launching bridge.  (PHOTO BY SP4 HERB BURDETT) Sweep for mines



Infantry, PSYOPS Treat 192

   DAU TIENG - Working in conjunction with a Psychological Operations (PSYOPs) team, infantrymen of the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry, treated 192 patients in two MEDCAPS (Medical Civic Action Programs).
   The "Triple Deuce" soldiers of the 3d Brigade looked after a multitude of ills, ranging from cuts and bruises to skin infections and head colds.
   Meanwhile the PSYOPs team brought out pamphlets stressing Chieu Hoi benefits, rewards for information about enemy activities and the need to report enemy tax collectors and supply agents.  Also distributed were various government newspapers and magazines.
   Villagers of Xom Bo, near the Boi Loi Woods 38 miles northwest of Saigon, also received kits of farm and carpentry tools provided by CARE.
   The MEDCAP team, headed by First Lieutenant Mike Andrews of Jacksonville, N.C., included Specialists 4 James Parr of Edna, Tex., and Charles Goldberg of New York City.
   Xom Bo youngsters received more than a score of red and yellow T-shirts patterned after the Vietnamese flag, as well as toys and candy that were handed out by the PSYOPs team, headed by First Lieutenant Raymond Calore of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and including Sergeant Richard F. Reed of Flint, Mich.




Thanks to:
Mike Mayes, 2nd., 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 02-09-2008

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