TLN.JPG (37996 bytes)

Vol 4 No. 36          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          September 8, 1969



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                            1 2/12                       3 2/14                       6 4/23                       6
1/5                            3 2/12                       6 2/14                       8 4/23 Photo             6
1/5                            7 2/12                       8 2/14 Sketch            8 4/9 Photo               2
1/5 Photo                  7 2/14                       1 2/22                       6 4/9 Photo               3
1/5 Photo                  7 2/14 Photo             1 2/27                       6 4/9 Photo               3
2d Bde                      3 2/14 Photo             1 2/34                       2 4/9                         8
25th Avn                   6 2/14                       3 3/22                       7 65th Engr               6
2/12                          1 2/14                       3 3/22                       8 7/11                       7
2/12                          3 2/14 Photo             6 44th Med               2 7/11 Photo             7


Delta Company, 2/14th crosses streamFiery Dragons Bring Smoke on NVA
48 Enemy Slain In Ambush Try

   FSB PATTON - The North Vietnamese Army has learned a new lesson:  he who bothers dragons capable of breathing fire should not he surprised when smoke is brought on him.
   It was late afternoon, Aug 26, and a tired company of Fire Brigade soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons was beginning to think it had wrapped up a heliborne operation in the Ho Bo Woods.
   Just then a large NVA force led them into a fire fight that ended with 48 enemy dead.
   The Delta Company Golden Dragons had completed a long, grueling sweep and had returned to the pickup zone.  The company was given instructions to pull back from the PZ and wait for helicopters.
   As the troops sat down and prepared to take a break, one of the flank men spotted an NVA soldier crawling about 20 meters away.  The enemy soldier was headed for his fighting position, but the Golden Dragons cut him off with a volley of fire from their M-60 machine guns and M-16 rifles.
   While the commanding officer, Captain Thomas Waldera, Algona, Iowa, radioed for a situation report, a squad of seven GIs moved out to check the NVA soldier for weapons.
   When the advancing troops closed on the enemy body, they received fire from other NVA soldiers.
   "We were receiving AK-47 rounds, rocket-propelled grenade (continued on Back Page)

AMPHIBIANS - (Above) Probably wondering if they don't spend as much time in the water these days as they do out of it, two troopers from Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, slosh through a paddy near Fire Support Base Patton II.  (PHOTO BY SP4 FRANK DITTO)

FAMILIAR SIGHT - While Vietnamese farmers work, apparently not noticing the passing soldiers, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons continue a sweep.  (PHOTO BY SP4 FRANK DITTO) 2/14th on sweep

Bobcats Put Bite on VC Platoon

   CU CHI - The report said the remains of a Viet Cong company were operating in the area north of Fire Support Base Devins.
   The order came for the reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry to be sent to find the estimated 20 enemy soldiers.
   The unit found the enemy tunneled-in only 1500 meters from the base.  The 1/5th Bobcats then put the bite on the enemy unit, killing 13.
   According to reconnaissance platoon leader First Lieutenant Thomas Ward of New York City, the platoon's Kit Carson Scout (a former VC who has rallied to the government) found the first evidence of the enemy.  The scout located a tunnel with a trap door.
   He dropped a hand grenade down the hole and was greeted with a Chicom grenade coming back out at him.  The platoon of Bobcats pulled back, and the Viet Cong tried running from the hole.  Accurate small arms fire brought him down.
   First one, then three more enemy were spotted moving through the brush.  The Tropic Lightning soldiers fired LAW's, grenades, and M-60 machine guns into the area.  The enemy kept coming.
   "We had only 13 men to put on the ground and we didn't know how many enemy were facing, so we called for some assistance," explained Ward.
   Help came in the form of air strikes, artillery barrages, and the 1/5th's Charlie Company.  The company commander, Captain Joseph Root of Bristol, R.I., commented, "We got there about five o'clock, after the scout platoon had been in the area since noon.  We combined forces and put our tracked vehicles on line.  The men dismounted and we assaulted."
   "It didn't take long before we spotted spider holes.  The first one we dropped a grenade into.  The exploding grenade blew the trap door off, and when the smoke cleared, a VC soldier popped out and opened up on us with a machine gun," said Root.
   "At about the same time," reported Private Robert Knickerbocker of Wadsworth, Ohio, "another VC shot a rocket-propelled grenade and hit one of our tracks.  It burst into flame and we began receiving heavy AK fire from across a small stream bed to our front.  So we could do nothing but draw back."
   More artillery and air strikes were called in the area.  Then the ground troops swept again.  The Bobcats met with only sporadic AK fire from up the creek bed as the surviving VC fled.
   The sweep located 13 Viet Cong bodies.  The troops also captured five AK-47 assault rifles and two pounds of enemy documents.


You can't really blame that Vietnamese farmer for not looking too happy as your unit goes tromping through his fields.  It is most likely all he has.  Everything you damage, however accidentally you do it, takes food out of the mouths of his family.  So go out of your way to avoid unnecessary destruction of his property.  Maybe even smile at him.  Say "good morning."  Chances are very good that he is not a Viet Cong.  If you are careless and destructive enough, though, you could make him one.  And he could be the one who kills you.  DEROS.  Do it the safe way.


Taxmen's Return Checked

   CU CHI - The Viet Cong must be wondering just whom they can trust.
   Trusting the wrong men recently put two VC tax collectors out of business.
   The wrong men, however, were the right ones for the 2d Brigade's 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Warriors.  They were the Kit Carson Scouts and interpreters for Delta Company.
THE STORY BEGAN when the scouts discovered that a Viet Cong tax collector was working in the Warrior' area of operations.  The Kit Carson took their information and a plan of action to the battalion intelligence officer.
   Their scheme was to pose as Viet Cong and move into the suspected village at night, hoping that the unknowing tax collector would show himself.  The plan was coordinated and immediately put into action.
   The masquerading scouts, dressed in black pajamas, "Ho Chi Minh sandals" and carrying AK-47 rifles, moved close to the village with an ambush patrol from Company D.  During the night, the four scouts left the AP and moved into the village.
THE HOAX WORKED perfectly; and sure enough, the real Viet Cong tried to collaborate with the "Warrior VC."  Two authentic enemy were captured by the scouts.
   On behalf of the four Kit Carson Scouts, Delta Company First Sergeant Billy Muir said, "They are really on the ball.  They have proved themselves time after time and this is just one example of their dedication and hard work."
   During their months of service with Delta Company, the scouts have each been awarded Army Commendation Medals for heroism.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969




SP4 Peter R. Perez, D Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav


CPT Charles E. Campbell, HHC, 1st Bde
CPT William H. Correia, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Herbert L. Herod, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Michael A. Di Benedetto, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Peter A. Foreman, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Michael T. Opie, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
2LT Douglas A. Faircloth, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1SG William G. Horton, Co 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Carl W. Grissom, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Francis L. McIntosh, Co E, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP6 Raymond Farias, 1st Bde
SGT Steven Stubblefield, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT John W. Knight, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Carl A. Cavaiani, 25th MI Det
SGT Paul D. Boggs, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Edward K. Strickland, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT James A. Rogers, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Bernard E. Ely, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Donald J. La Faive, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Dale J. Marshall, HHC, 1st Bde
SP5 Melvin Lewis, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Ben J. Von Allmen, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SP4 Balatzar E. Alvarado Jr., Co B, 1st 5th Inf

SP4 Harry D. Mills, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
SP4 Everett J. Myrick, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Ellis M. Cousins, Co E, 65th Engr Bn
SP4 Wayne W. Weil, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 William S. Palmer, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Jerry Jenkins, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Ronald Carey, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Thomas Graves, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Luis Diaz, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Clark Tanner, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Steve Hall, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James Lee,  2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Garcia Quinones, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Thomas Barker, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Douglas Snider, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 James O'keefe, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Tim Brown, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Jack Fancher, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Billy Johnson, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 William Gresham, Co D, 2d Bn. 12th Inf
SP4 John Powell, HHC, 1st Bde, 25th Inf
SP4 Robert S Spears, Co A, 2d Bn 14th Inf
PFC Sam Maslousky, Co D, 2d Bn 12th Inf



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:

Aug. 18 
Michael Collins, Btry. D 3d Bn 13th Arty, a boy
Aug. 20
Guadalupe Lopez, Co A 2d Bn, 22d Inf, boy
Aug. 21
David Ault, Co E 725th Maint, a girl
Tarlon Overley, Co E 725th Maint, a girl
Aug. 22
Robert Loeb, 40th Med. Det, a girl
Edward Gomez, Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty, a boy
Aug. 23
William Muskevitsch, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
Andrew Jagiello, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf, a boy
Richard Smith, 25th MP, a boy
Aug. 24
Melvin Calvin, Co B, 25th S&T Bn, a boy
Aug. 25
Robert Whisted, 94th Maint, a girl
Rodney Smith, Co C, 125th Sig, a boy
David Walker, Co B, 2d Bn, 34th Armor, a girl
Garold Shelton, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, a boy
Dwayne Hampton, HHC 2d Bn, 34th Armor, twin girls
Albert Staut, HHB 1st Bn, 8th Arty, a girl
Aug. 26
Joseph Tutak, HHC, 25th Med Bn, a boy
Frank Bonfiglio, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, a girl
Robert Shimp, 25th Div. Vet, a boy
Aug. 27
Charles Blair, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, a boy



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 John C. Fairbank . . . . .  Information Officer
1LT John C. Burns . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP5 Charles Witrow. . . . . . .  Editor
SP5 Ralph Novak . . . . . . . . .  Editor
SGT John Genitti . . . . . . . . .  Assistant Editor
SP4 David DeMauro. . . . . . . Production Supervisor


SGT Jon Anderson
PFC John Frame
PFC Sam Dixon
SP4 K.C. Culen
PFC Larry Goodson
PFC Jim Williams
SP4 Pete Freeman
PFC Richard Sears
SP4 Carl Detrick
PFC Frankie Ditto
PFC Greg Stanmar
PFC Victor Allison
PFC Phil Jackson
PFC Craig Sampson
SP4 Pat Morrison

If You're Not Stuck You May Be Stuck

   Avoiding harassment and making sure you can leave Vietnam on schedule for your DEROS or R&R are reasons enough to keep your shot records up to date.
   But there are other equally good reasons why the smart GI keeps up with his shots, according to 44th Medical Brigade physicians.
   The first is that the chief means of staying healthy in Vietnam is by practicing personal preventive medicine.  Shots won't make you bulletproof, it's true, but remember that diseases account for more than half of all hospital admissions here in Vietnam.
   Its only logical that if you avoid getting sick during your tour here, you stand your best chance of staying out of the hospital.
4/9th Manchus line up for shots   What are the requirements for immunizations?  To begin with, all US military personnel must receive the following immunizations at the indicated intervals:  Plague and cholera must be taken every six months; smallpox once a year; typhoid and typhus every three years and yellow fever every ten years.
   Gamma globulin is not a requirement, but may be given as a preventive measure against hepatitis in accordance with local regulations.
   So when going on R&R, TDY or making that long-awaited return to the world, all service members should check through their local dispensaries at least a week prior to departure to make certain their shot records are up to date.  And it doesn't hurt to stay on top of the situation all the time.

STUCK WITH IT - (Above, right) These 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Manchus stoically line up to catch up on their immunizations, operating perhaps on the theory that it's better to be stuck with the needle than to be stuck in Vietnam when you're supposed to leave on R&R or DEROS.

    Combat Honor Roll

   First Lieutenant Edward Bruton of the Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor is the latest addition to the Tropic Lighting Honor Roll.
   Bruton distinguished himself June 23 while on a roving night patrol with the Recon Platoon.  The platoon came across a sleeping enemy soldier and during the initial interrogation the insurgent agreed to lead the Allied soldiers to an enemy camp.  As the patrol neared the stronghold, they encountered enemy fire from well-entrenched positions.
   Immediately, Bruton deployed his man and directed their fire.  Spotting an enemy bunker blocking his patrol's advance, Bruton assaulted the emplacement and destroyed it with hand grenades and small arms fire.  He then rallied his men and led them on an assault that routed the enemy from their positions.
   For his valorous actions, Bruton was awarded the Silver Star (First Oak Leaf Cluster) by Lieutenant Colonel T.G. Smith, 2/34 commanding officer, July 13, 1969.  Awards of this nature are not uncommon for Bruton.  During the month of July, he was awarded the Silver Star, Silver Star (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldiers medal, Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman's Badge.

General Sees Military Win

   Retired Army General Bruce C. Clarke is one man who does not have any doubts about how the war in Vietnam is going.
   After visiting parts of the 25th Division operations area here in early August, General Clarke asked that the following message, part of a letter of his published in ARMY magazine's August issue, be conveyed to the division's men.
   Recalling his own experience during World War II as commander of Combat Command B of the 7th Armored Division, which played a decisive role in preventing the success of the German Army's desperate, last-gasp Battle of the Bulge offensive, he wrote:
   "We of the 7th Armored Division suffered heavy losses and had to retreat.  However, we accomplished our mission and spoiled the enemy's plans.  To me that was military victory.
   "Recently, a member of the U.S. Senate stated that we had lost the war in Vietnam.  Having had three sons in Vietnam, and one there a second time, and having been privileged to visit the troops in the field during the Tet offensive of 1968, I violently object to such a statement if it refers to our armed forces in Vietnam.  I do not consider that 'we' includes them.
   "I am generally familiar with the conditions and missions that faced Gen. William C. Westmoreland in 1965 and later, and the conditions and missions facing Gen. Creighton W. Abrams since he took command; I can state that they have accomplished the military mission given them and have prevented the enemy from completing his.  This, to me, is a military victory.
   "It is time we let our armed forces in Vietnam know that we appreciate their military victories.
   "We may have not won other types of victories, but that is not primarily the responsibility of the military."

Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969

Warriors Uproot Enemy HQ
        No Place Like Home for VC

   CU CHI - The 2d Brigade's 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry White Warriors scored another impressive victory over the Viet Cong's 268th Main Force Regiment, blowing the enemy's headquarters out from under him.
   The Regimental Headquarters was discovered and destroyed by Companies A and D, and the Fire Brigade later found ammunitions, medical supplies and other assorted equipment in addition to seven enemy bodies.
DELTA COMPANY Commanding Officer, Captain Herbert L. Herod of Chicago, Ill., described the action as meeting with "absolutely no resistance."
   Eagle flighting to landing zones located in the southern Boi Loi Woods, the two Warrior companies co-operated in a reconnaissance-in-force effort to seek out any enemy in the area.
   Company A made the initial discovery of a complex bunker system that later proved to be the headquarters of the battered VC regiment.
   Delta Company altered its original course and progressed to the site of the discovery.  Tension mounted as the combined forces of the two Warrior companies began an on-line sweep of the complex system of bunkers, tunnels, and spider-hole fighting positions.
RECONNING BY M-79 fire, the infantrymen moved deep into the enemy's lair.  Freshly cooked rice and fish still simmered near a cook stove; the VC hadn't been gone long, if they were gone at all.
   They weren't, not all of them.  Although most of the obviously surprised communists had chosen to run rather than face the inevitable onslaught, seven of the enemy were discovered and killed in their underground hiding place.
   Sergeant Terry Bechtle of Marion, Ohio, described the incident:  "Myself and our Kit Carson Scout were checking out bunkers when he spotted a trap door and opened up with his M-16.  He moved up and dropped a grenade in the hole.  After the explosion we could still hear voices from inside, so it went another grenade."
PFC Richard Townley, 4/9th with 90mm recoilless rifle  
SMALL ARMS fire rattled into the tunnel before the Kit Carson Scout, armed with a .45 caliber pistol, lowered himself into the tiny channel.  More shots sounded from inside the tunnel before the scout emerged.  Seven enemy bodies were pulled from the tunnel, along with various medical supplies.
   Private First Class Charles P. Humphrey remarked, "It's hard to believe that they can actually move through a tunnel as small as that one was.  I don't think I could have gotten both of my feet in that hole."
   The operation ended without a single shot being fired in opposition.  The bunker complex was totally destroyed, along with four AK-47's and assorted ammunition that included two RPG rounds, 300 M-60 rounds, and 230 AK-47 rounds.
EIGHT NVA ponchos, 15 pounds of clothing, two NVA tents, one 55-gallon drum of rice and two pounds of documents were also confiscated or destroyed.  Captured medical supplies included syringes, and 30 vials of penicillin.
   Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Burton J. Walrath said, "It was the aggressive action taken by the Warriors that resulted in the destruction of this well-hidden camp, which was in the final stages of preparation.
   "I feel," Walrath added, "that we denied to the enemy any ability to support a major unit action that was evidently being planned in the area of the Citadel."

BUSINESS END - (Above) PFC Richard Townley of Alameda, Calif., shows the business end of a 90mm recoilless rifle as the enemy sees it.  Townley is with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, Manchus.  (PHOTO BY PFC RICHARD SEARS)

49th ARVN Regt. Ignites Fire Brigade's Respect for Allies

   TRUNG LAP - After nearly a month of active cooperation with the Fire Brigade, the 2d Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment continues to impress its Tropic Lightning allies.
   Support has been provided the skilled group by two battalions of the 2d Brigade.  The first unit to aid the Vietnamese was the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry.
"I'VE WORKED WITH lots of Regional Force, Popular Force and other Vietnamese units, but this one seems more aggressive than any of the others.  They are really interested in killing VC," said Bobcat Liaison Officer james T. Carter, Columbus, Ga.  "They follow the Americans operations closely, and are especially interested in body count."
   The Golden Dragons of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry are currently coordinating activities with the ARVN Battalion.  They voice the same kind of praise for the Vietnamese, as do staff members at brigade level.
   "In their first week here, they were able to get more VC to "Chieu Hoi" than the Mech had in five or sic months," Carter said.
THE REGIMENT IS no stranger to operating with American forces.  ARVN Colonel Chuyen, regimental commander, speaks proudly of his unit's record.
   "Since January 1 we have had more than 150 combined operations with the Americans," Chuyen says, "we like very much to work with your people."
   Though his troops had been working to the south, Colonel Chuyen feels they have adapted well to the new terrain.  "My men can fight anywhere," he said.
   The 2d Battalion seems to be backing up his contention, and at the same time winning the admiration of American troops they work with.

Dragons' Help Makes Village Swing

   CU CHI - The village of Trung An is now a swinging place for Vietnamese children, thanks to a combined effort of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragons and local Regional and Popular Force soldiers.
   A pacification program anchored on frequent ambush patrols set up by the Dragons' Alpha Company and RF and PF troops took one more village off the Viet Cong's tax rolls.
WITH THAT OUTSIDE influence squashed, the village chief called a village meeting.  Knowing what they did about the Viet Cong, the population decided in short order to actively support Government of Vietnam activities in the area.
   The chief then contacted Captain Gary E. Roth of Tacoma, Wash., the Dragon's civic action officer, requesting additional aid.
   The Tropic Lighting unit responded immediately with a truckload of clothes and a swing set provided by the 2d Brigade.  The swings were placed in the village schoolyard while the children, puzzled at the new contraption, looked on.
IT DIDN'T TAKE them long to catch on to the youthful art of swinging.  "The children are really outstanding," Roth said.  "They wait their turn in line to have a chance to swing, and they are very respectful towards each other."
   From the start of the pacification program to the installation of the swings, only three weeks elapsed, and that time included a bulldozer operation that leveled a VC bunker complex and several bamboo hedgerows that provided potential enemy hiding places.
   "I was happy we were able to help these people so quickly," Roth said.  "When we shoed up with the clothes and the swings the day after they'd been requested, we showed the people we are really interested in helping them and backing up the work of the local troops."

Warriors Withdraw Caches From VC Supply Account

   CU CHI - In two days of operations less than 2000 meters south-southwest of Fire Support Base Pershing, the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Warriors unearthed seven separate enemy caches containing large quantities of ammunition, weapons and other equipment.
   The Tropic Lightning soldiers were led to the cache site by two former Viet Cong who recently rallied to the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.
   On the first day of search, three separate caches were discovered approximately 75 meters apart.  Two of the hidden stockpiles were buried in 55-gallon drums, and the third was also underground, protected by plastic sheets.
   One day later, the Warriors found four different hiding places where the enemy had stashed his gear underground.  Two of the sites were a very short distance from Pershing.
   The remaining two caches were discovered within 1000 meters of the fire support base.  The equipment was removed from well-concealed tunnel complexes.

Air Force supports 4/9th infantrymen Air strike supports 4/9th infantrymen

- When Manchus from the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry called for air strikes recently, they didn't have long to wait before powerful help was on hand - and on target.  An Air Force jet roared in to score a solid hit on an enemy bunker complex that had been giving the infantrymen a hard time.  (PHOTOS BY 1LT DON BRADLEY)


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969





It means radio-telephone operator, and you spell it v-i-t-a-l, too.  This is a man who carries a large share of an infantry unit's load, physically and mentally.  This is also a many who knows the real meaning of the word responsibility.

Photos by
 J.N. Black
Phil Jackson
Karl Karlgaard
Craig Sampson
Roger Welt
R.B. Williams




Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969

CSM Returns From Reunion

   CU CHI - Command Sergeant Major Charles M. Rutledge, Lawton, Okla., from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, recently returned to Vietnam after representing active 25th Division soldiers at the annual 25th Division soldiers at the annual 25th Infantry Division Association reunion at Mt. Airy Lodge, Pocono, Pa.
CSM Charles Rutledge, 2/14th   The Association is made up of former Tropic Lightning soldiers and civilians attached to the division.
   Approximately 250 division veterans attended the dinner, where Rutledge gave an up-to-date briefing on present activities in Vietnam.  He also presented a slide show of division-wide activities and a three-minute motion picture about the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry's Patrol Base Diamond.
   "The reunion was a tremendous success,: said Rutledge.  "The banquet and other planned events went off smoothly.  The veterans were very cordial and anxious to know what the 25th is presently doing in Vietnam."
   Rutledge was selected to represent the active 25th because he has spent nine years with the division in two different combat zones.  He has served with the 25th from the beginning of the Korean War, and he has now served three years with the Tropic Lightning in Vietnam.

CHECKING IN - Command Sergeant Major Charles Rutledge of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, steps into division headquarters at Cu Chi on his way back from representing the division at the annual Tropic Lightning Association reunion in Pennsylvania.


Resor Visits Tomahawks

   TAY NINH - Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor recently visited the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry at their Fire Support Base Rawlins, three miles east of Tay Ninh City.
   Resor  received a briefing from the Tomahawk commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel G.E. Taylor on the activities of his battalion.  One day before the Secretary's visit the Tomahawks were involved in a battle near the base of Nui Ba Den mountain, where 4/23d soldiers killed 41 North Vietnamese soldiers.
   During the Secretary's visit, Taylor presented him with a bayonet from an AK-47 automatic rifle captured the day before.
   The visit to FSB Rawlins and the 4/23d Tomahawks was one of the highlights on Resor's inspection tour of the installations in South Vietnam.  He said he was impressed with living conditions and high state of morale of the troops throughout the 25th Division.
   In addition to his visit to Rawlins, Resor also toured the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry's Fire Support Base Wood and was briefed on combined operations in the first Brigade.  Resor was accompanied on his inspection by Major General Ellis Williamson, Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division.

Secretary of Army Stanley Resor briefed by 4/23 LTC G.E. Taylor

TOMAHAWK BRIEFING - Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor (left} receives a briefing from Lieutenant Colonel G.E. Taylor, commanding officer of the 4th Battalion 23d Infantry Tomahawks on the activities of his battalion.  The day before Resor visited Fire Support Base Rawlins the Tomahawks were engaged in a battle where 41 North Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives.  Resor was impressed with the living conditions and high state of morale of the troops throughout the 25th Division.  (PHOTO BY PFC BILL FRAME)

Engineers Plant Outpost On Often-Mined Route

   CU CHI - Vietnamese farmers weren't the only ones working in rice paddies outside Cu Chi base camp recently as elements from the 65th Engineer Battalion and 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry found themselves knee-deep in mud constructing a fortified outpost between the village of Bau Dieu and Fire Support Base Patton II.
   The four elevated platforms they built will provide infantry units with a dry surveillance post along a route which has been heavily mined by the enemy in the past.
   Under the leadership of First Lieutenant Larry M. Nichols of Lynnhaven, Fla., and Platoon Sergeant Steven Shannon of Indianapolis, Ind., the first platoon of Charlie Company, 65th Engineer Battalion and the third platoon of Bravo Company, 2/12, completed the fortified elevated outpost in the middle of a rice paddy.
   Standing about five feet over the paddy, the observation posts resembled piers from the roadway.
   But the four elevated platforms will soon support four bunkers, providing overhead cover for one platoon.  In the center of the four platforms a 20-foot tower has been erected to provide adequate observation for the important resupply route.
   "A small tracked vehicle was the project's workhorse," said Nichols. "The vehicle and trailer hauled most of the matting barrels and dirt from the dry roadway to the submerged construction site.  The official name for the post is Venice East, but I call it Barrel City."
   More than 100 55-gallon oil drums filled with red clay-packed soil support the timber that is the superstructure for each platform.  The deck of the platform itself is matting, which is also used for the foundation for the barrels.
   Engineers from Charlie Company hopefully won't be finding as many mines on the resupply route now that there is an observation post keeping a 24-hour watch.

Hounds Thank 25th Aviation

   CU CHI - Wolfhounds of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry have awarded B Company of the 25th Aviation Battalion with a captured AK-47 rifle as a gesture of appreciation for aerial support during a fierce firefight Aug. 12.
   Diamondhead fire teams 26 and 36 were called in when the Wolfhounds hit a hot landing zone on the southeast tip of the Angel s Wing, 18 miles west of Cu Chi.
   Meanwhile other choppers were working on resupply, medevac and smoke screening missions to help the infantry unit battle out of the ambush.
   Wolfhound commander Lieutenant Colonel Richard D. Moore made the formal presentation of the AK-47 to Diamondhead Company Commander Major Robert P. Greene.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969

Cpt. Thomas McMillan treats young patientUP A LITTLE DOC - (Right) Captain Thomas McMillan, Indio, Calif. treats a young Vietnamese patient as part of Operation Madcap.  Since its start three months ago "Madcap" has been a success as people flock to see the bac si (doctor) during office hours held daily outside the wire at the 1/5th Infantry's Fire Support Base Devins.  Many of the young patients who are frequent visitors to Madcap help McMillan treat the elderly villagers.

Medcap With New Twist - It's Operation 'Madcap'

   CU CHI - "Operation Madcap" is what it's called.
   It is a variation of the usual medical civie action program (MEDCAP) - or better yet, an extension of it.
"Madcap" began about three months ago when Captain Thomas McMillan of lndio, Calif., a doctor serving with the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, decided that MEDCAPs were not enough.
   He felt that he wasn't reaching all the people who needed medical aid.  So he put a big sign in front of Fire Support Base Devins, five miles northwest of here reading:  "Office hours from 8 to 9 a.m. six days a week".
   RESULTS HAVE been gratifying for the Madcap medics.  As many as 60 people at one time have surrounded the Bobcat medics.
   McMillan saw at once that so many people could not be allowed inside the perimeter of the base, so he loaded a truck with supplies and set up a mobile "drugstore" and aid station just outside the perimeter wire.
   A genuine cross section of the Vietnamese people turn out to receive aid as young and old alike find that "bac si" (doctor) can cure their discomforts.
 Cpt. Thomas McMillan at 1/5th aid station  Some of the younger residents have become regular visitors to the operation and have learned the importance of good health.  These younger "medics" have begun treating the other villagers themselves so McMillan can be concerned with the more serious cases.
   THE COMMUNICATIONS gap is bridged by an ARVN interpreter-medic who also aids in treatment.  An hour each morning is not enough time to treat all the patients, but the session must be cut short because after office hours, "house calls" must be made.  The truck is reloaded and McMillan and his aides head off to one of the local aid stations where more Vietnamese wait for treatment.

SICK CALL - (Above) Captain McMillan, a doctor serving with the 1/5th Infantry, works out of a jeep treating Vietnamese patients as part of Operation Madcap.  McMillan holds "office hours" one hour each morning before making his regular rounds to aid stations manned by Bobcat personnel.  The mobile "drugstore" services as many as 60 people a session.

US, ARVN Join Forces In Artillery Program

   TAY NINH - With the push to involve more Vietnamese soldiers in combat operations, more and more elements of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam have been combining efforts with elements of the 1st Brigade, based at Tay Ninh.
   The combined operations have not been confined to infantry units.  ARVN artillery units have also joined their U.S. counterparts to support their infantrymen operating with American infantrymen.
IN A RECENT combined U.S.-ARVN operation, infantrymen from Tropic Lightning's 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry and the ARVN Airborne Division worked together near Fire Support Base Crook, six and one-half miles northwest of Tay Ninh base camp.  In order to provide direct artillery support for the two ARVN Airborne companies, ARVN Airborne artillerymen of A-2 Battery, 2d Artillery Battalion set up a temporary patrol base next to Crook.
   Tropic Lightning's cannoneers of Alpha Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, based at Crook, took time out from their heavy firing schedule to instruct the ARVN's in some of the finer points of modern artillery.
ON THEIR FIRST day, Alpha Battery, commanded by Captain Dick Neal of San Antonio, Tex, held a class for the ARVN's on different types of artillery rounds and fusing devices, and how each round can be employed to achieve maximum effectiveness.
   The battery then put on a firepower demonstration so that the ARVN's could get a good idea of how to perform artillery firing as a battery.
   A-2 Battery picked up some valuable experience at Fire Support Base Crook, aiming for the day when ARVN cannoneers will be the sole supporters of all ground operations in Vietnam.

PERSONAL STUDY - Captain Nyguen Ngoc Trieu, ARVN A-2 artillery battery commander, points out some differences in his new M102 Howitzer to Captain Dick Neal of San Antonio, Tex., Alpha Battery Commander, 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery and the Artillery Advisor for the A-2 Battery, First Lieutenant James Stacy, Red Oak, Iowa.  The joint artillery efforts will help provide greater support to both US and ARVN infantrymen.

Cpt Dick Neal, 7/11th, Cpt. Nyguen Ngoc Trieu, 1Lt James Stacy

Leaving 'Nam?  May Need MTA

   Division personnel leaving Vietnam for ETS, permanent change of station or special leave are reminded they will need a DD Form 1482 (Military Transportation Authorization).  Unnecessary delays in leaving the country can be avoided by obtaining the form at the AG outprocessing unit in Cu Chi.


Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           September 8, 1969

Rookie Walks Point, Learns Job Fast

   TAY NINH - What's it like to walk point and get into a fire fight after only one week in the field?  Private First Class Mike Bowman of Philadelphia, Pa., of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry can tell you.
   Bravo Company Manchus had been helilifted to a northern area of the Boi Loi Woods and no sooner had Bowman stretched out his legs when the company received hostile fire from a nearby woodline.  The company hit the ground and Bowman heard his platoon sergeant ask him if he had seen where the shots came from.  He said he had, so he low-crawled to a clump of bamboo near the suspected position.
   "I made my way to the position through the tall grass and when I got there I spread the bamboo and found that I was looking straight into an NVA bunker," Bowman said.  "Then out of nowhere Charlie jumped up right in front of me.  I kept looking at him, not believing what I saw.  I could almost reach out and touch him."
THE ENEMY SOLDIER reacted and raised his rifle and Bowman quickly decided to leave.  He let the bamboo go and watched it hit the enemy in the face.  He then scrambled back toward his platoon to report.
   On his way back he heard the AK fire and bullets flying all around him, but the tall grass prevented the enemy from taking accurate aim.
   "I stopped crawling when I heard a grenade land.  When it went off I moved faster than I ever thought I could," Bowman said.
   He then realized he had crawled right out of his pistol belt leaving himself without grenades.  The platoon sergeant was shouting to see if Bowman was all right, but he couldn't answer because the enemy soldier would have heard him.
IN THE MEANTIME, the rest of the platoon had spotted the bunker and put heavy fire into it, killing the enemy rifleman.  When the Manchus located Bowman they found a pretty shook-up and exhausted individual.
   After gathering his equipment, Bowman rode back to the fire support base with a faint smile on his lips.
   "So that's what a fire fight is like in Vietnam," he said.


SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY - A young Vietnamese boy gets his first look through a camera just outside of Trang Bang.  Army correspondent Specialist 4 Karl Karlgaard of Fergus Falls, Minn., was in the area photographing a 2nd Brigade medical civic action program and turned his camera around for the curious youngster.  (PHOTO BY SP4 JOHN HAYDOCK) SP4 Karl Karlgaard, TLN Correspondent

Warriors Cramping VC Style in Citadel

   CU CHI - Twelve Viet Cong died during two days of skirmishes with men of the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, in the Citadel six miles northwest of Cu Chi.
   Weapons and ammunition confiscated or destroyed by the 2/12th Warriors during the action included over 600 rounds of small arms ammo, four AK-47 rifles, one carbine and one K-54 pistol.
   CONTACT was made with several groups of one to four Viet Cong, most of which were trying to evade the searching Tropic Lightning troops.
   One skirmish was described by Charlie Company's Private First Class James Stewart of St. Louis, Mo.:  "The second and third platoons were checking out a couple of hootches.  We'd been there about an hour and had started to move out when the shooting started."
   "They really poured it on us," Stewart said, "but when everyone got down and began returning fire, they stopped in a hurry."
   A SEARCH OF the area led to the discovery of two enemy bodies.
   "The battalion is applying continuous pressure on the main force and local force VC elements within the Citadel," said battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Burton J. Walrath, Jr. of San Francisco, Calif.  "We react quickly and positively to every indication that Viet Cong are moving in the area.
   "We are denying the enemy the ability to move at will or mass troops for large-scale assault," he added.

Enemy Supply Route Slashed By National Police, Regulars

   TAY NINH - Denying the enemy supplies and intelligence information from the civilian populace is just one step toward the defeat of enemy forces in Vietnam.
   Resources control achieves this mission through road checkpoints where thorough searches of vehicles and personnel for excess food, medicines and contraband war material are conducted.
   There are three major north-south infiltration routes that lead out of Tay Ninh City to secret NVA-VC staging areas deep in the jungles of Tay Ninh Province.
ONE OF THESE routes passes close to Fire Support Base Washington, manned by the 3d Battalion, 22nd Infantry.  Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson K. Rogers of Aurora, Colo., Commanding Officer of the Regulars, saw an opportunity to take advantage of existing strategic control points of the Vietnamese National Police near the support base to institute a natural resources check point.
   Working with the National Police, Rogers got the ball rolling by having men of his battalion erect a shelter at the road junction for the increased number of police utilized.  Three National Policemen conduct the search of the people, carts and Lambrettas, with two men from the Regulars and an interpreter standing by to assist if necessary.
   While control of materials is the major aim of the project, secondary results are gained as well.  Intelligence data is gained by talking to the people, and when put together with information from other sources, the Regulars may get leads to enemy activity in the area.
WITH THE VIETNAMESE flag flown in front of the small post and all inspections carried out by GVN personnel, the people of the outlying districts are put into contact with government people daily.
   Working with the Battalion S-5, Regulars also make full use of signs, leaflets and personal contact to inform the people of medcaps, rural development teams, government projects, benefits of rallying to the government and obtaining payment for turning in enemy weapons and explosive devices.
   The success of the project is obvious, as the flow of confiscated items has subsided thanks to a joint effort between National Police and the 3/22d Regulars.

GI Bill Helps Vet Get Federal Job

   One of the benefits of the GI bill is its guarantee of an advantage to veterans applying for federal employment.
   Veterans automatically receive a five-point bonus on the competitive civil service examinations used to award jobs, and when a veteran and non-veteran are equally qualified, and have equal exam scores, the veteran is automatically given preference.


(Continued From Page 1)  and 60mm mortar rounds from a hedgerow about 20 meters to our front.  Because of the high grass we were in, the NVA didn't know for sure where we were so their rounds were off target," said Sergeant Joe Tobin, Chicago, Ill
   "But we were cut off from the rest of our platoon," Tobin added.  "As the NVA maneuvered from one position to another, we would pick them off.  We continued to fight for about three hours before we were able to regroup with the rest of our platoon."
   At that time, the 2d Platoon about 200 meters away on the other side of the PZ, started to receive fire from another direction.  They fought back with a heavy volume of M-60, M-79 and M-16 fire and managed to pin the enemy down until gunships came in to take up the fight.
   As the gunships engaged the enemy, the company was able to draw back and get resupplied by helicopter.
   "The gunships hit the NVA in a hedgerow for about 30 minutes," said Private First Class James Polokoff, Costa Mesa Calif., "then we brought in another helicopter to help out.  Later an air strike was called in and by this time they weren't firing at us anymore."
   A sweep of the area produced 48 NVA bodies; one AK-47 was captured, and 21 of the communist assault rifles were destroyed.


CONCEALED POSITION - 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry soldiers stay low in the grass concealed from enemy fire.  The Golden Dragons were waiting to be lifted off their PZ when enemy movement was spotted touching off a three-hour battle in which 48 NVA were killed.  (SKETCH BY PFC DENNIS HAMLIN) Sketch by PFC Dennis Hamlin of 2/14th in field



Thanks to
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn., for locating and mailing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 8-12-2004

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