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Vol 4 No. 48          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          December 1, 1969



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/8 Arty                     1 2/14 Photo             3 2/77 Arty Photo     6 4/23 Photo             3
1/27                          3 2/14                       8 2/77 Arty               6 7/11 Arty Photos    4
1/27                          8 2/14 Photo             8 25th Avn.               3 7/11 Arty                4
116 AHC                  1 2/22 Photo             1 3rd Bde PSYOPS  8 7/11 Arty Photos    4
2/12 Photo                8 2/27                       3 3/4 Cav                  1 75th Inf.                  1
2/14 Photo                2 2/27                       6 3/4 Cav                  3 New Christy Mnstrl 7
2/14                          3 2/27                       8 4/23                       3



Rangers Topple 10 Down by Riverside

   CU CHI - While conducting a night ambush southwest of Fire Support Base Jackson along the Oriental River, a combined force of six ARVN soldiers from the 25th ARVN Division's Reconnaissance Company and three Rangers from Tropic Lightning's Company F, 75th Infantry surprised and killed 10 enemy soldiers.
   "We knew that the enemy had been using the cover of darkness to cross the river, but didn't know where," said patrol leader Sergeant Robert Lawrence of Johnston City, Ill.  "While we moved along the river we noticed a sampan covered with trees and a path running to it, we decided we couldn't have picked a better place to set up our ambush."
   The patrol set up a linear ambush along the path placing an American on each flank and one in the middle.
   "As the night grew longer it started to rain and fog started to roll in from the river.  Soon we weren't able to see more than 19 feet to our front and had to depend almost entirely on our hearing," said Sergeant Joseph Snively of Lake Alfred, Fla., the assistant patrol leader.  "Soon we heard what sounded like 10 to 15 people sloshing through the rice paddies coming directly towards us."
   Specialist 4 Reynold Myers of Bear Lake, Mich., the M-60 machine gunner and left flank man said, "The footsteps became louder and louder until I could see one coming straight towards me about 10 feet to my front.  It was very tempting to open up on him as it must have been for the ARVNs, but the ambush had to be initiated by the patrol leader.  He couldn't have been more than five feet from me when all hell broke loose.  I killed the lead man and started to spray the whole area with everything I had."
   When illumination was called in and all firing had stopped, Snively and two of the ARVNs made a sweep of the area, finding 10 enemy bodies, one AK-47 rifle, two Chicom pistols and three rucksacks filled with medical supplies.


Ex-Foe, Cav Find The Deadly

   CU CHI - A hoi chanh (rallier) who told interpreters he was the last surviving member of his Viet Cong unit led elements of Alpha Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry to a large weapons cache 12 miles northwest of Cu Chi.
   The hoi chanh said the weapons had been buried in the same place for over a year, and were to have been used for replacements from the north who never came.
   Captain L. Kirkland Alford of Bristol, R.I., commander of Alpha Troop, said, "Upon reaching the area, the hoi chanh pointed to what appeared to be three fighting positions, approximately six feet apart, forming an L-shape.  He said the weapons were hidden under the area connecting the fighting positions."
   "We must have dug down six feet when we found the first traces of the cache," said Specialist 4 Lon Hastings of Lutesville, Mo., "I uncovered what appeared to be some kind of a wheeled mount.  As tired as I was from digging I wasn't about to get out of the hole then."
   "Once the first traces of the cache were found, it seemed as if everyone who could find a shovel started to dig," said Specialist 4 Richard Williams of Baltimore.  "I started digging at the other end and hit a box full of .30 caliber spent ammunition.  When I pulled it out I noticed some green plastic underneath it which just happened to be wrapped around a machinegun.  Every time I pulled something out there was something else under it."
   All of the weapons that were found, except for the wheeled mounts, were lubricated in grease and wrapped in plastic, all seemingly in perfect firing condition.
   After six hours of digging, the total haul of enemy weapons for the day included two complete 60mm mortars, 17 Chicom carbine rifles, five heavy machine guns, five lightweight machine guns, three German Mausers, seven wheel cartridges for heavy machine guns, 41 cases of .30 caliber spent ammunition and one unidentified rifle.


Remember the old days when the roads from Cu Chi to some fire support bases were really bad?  Those new hard-surfaced roads are great.  But that doesn't necessarily mean that the countryside around the roads is any safer when you're traveling by convoy.  You still need a steel pot, flak vest, weapon, protective mask and canteen.  Keep a sharp eye and take all your equipment when you're on a convoy.



Hornets, ARVN Trio Blast 17

   CU CHI - During day-long action, Tropic Lightning gunships and Air Force forward air controllers flying in support of ARVN troops helped rout an estimated enemy platoon, killing 17.
   One of the FACs spotted the enemy movement in the tall elephant grass near the Filhol rubber plantation six miles northwest of Cu Chi base camp.  Moving quickly, the FAC called in gunships from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company.
   The Hornet gunships, coordinating their actions with the ARVN unit in the area, flew in low trying to draw out the fire of the enemy platoon.  The enemy, trying to seek the adequate cover of the woods, spread out too thinly and soon found themselves in an air-ground cross fire.
   When the ARVNs moved in to sweep the area, the remaining enemy scattered and became targets once again for the hovering gunships.  The ARVN troops later discovered 17 enemy bodies.


2/22d Mech. night fire FIREWORKS - Specialist 4 Dan Young of Anaheim, Calif., covers his ears as an illumination round leaves the tube of a 4.2 inch track-mounted mortar.  Illumination was being provided for Alfa Company of the 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 22d Infantry.  (Photo by SP4 Dennis J. Bries)



Automatic Eighth: 1,000,000 Rounds in Vietnam

   CU CHI - Artillerymen of Tropic Lightning's 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery recently marked a major milestone in the history of their unit: they fired their one millionth round in Vietnam.
   The historic round, which was fired from the 2d Brigade's Fire Support Base Pershing on Veteran's Day, was dedicated by the Automatic Eighth to veterans of all the armed forces.  Brigadier General David S. Henderson, assistant division commander, pulled the lanyard.
   Giving the command to fire in the ceremony was Sergeant First Class Coy C. Crosby, chief of the firing battery for Bravo Battery.  Crosby holds the distinction of firing the first round for the division artillery in 1966 when the unit was supporting ARVN forces in War Zone D near Bien Hoa.
   WHEN THE 2d Brigade moved to Cu Chi to set up the division headquarters, it was again Crosby who fired the first round at the new location.
   The 41-year-old noncommissioned officer from Wilson, N.C., said "I am very proud to have been with the Automatic Eighth when they fired their first round and now again when they fired off their millionth.  I believe it is an honor to serve with this battalion, and I think the battalion has made innumerable contributions while firing support for South Vietnamese and 25th Infantry Division operations."
   The 1st Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Crowe, has been involved in numerous Tropic Lightning actions and operations while in the process of firing one million rounds.  Some of the war's fiercest actions involved Automatic Eighth artillerymen at Patrol Bases Diamond I, II and III in the spring of this year.
   ON FEB. 23, 1966, Alfa Battery sent two howitzers to Patrol Base Diamond I, which was under construction near the Cambodian border.  The artillerymen and infantrymen came under heavy mortar and ground attack in the early hours of Feb. 24.  The battalion fire direction control center coordinated three batteries which expended 1435 rounds on enemy positions.  More than 100 enemy bodies were found after the NVA forces withdrew.
   On April 4, 1969, Charlie Battery sent two of its 105mm howitzers to Diamond II, which was only two kilometers from the Cambodian border.  In the early morning hours of April 5, NVA elements launched a massive ground assault.  The cannoneers fired point blank into the massed enemy forces.  With four guns at Fire Support Base Jackson firing indirect support, Charlie Battery expended more than 900 high explosive rounds and 45 firecracker rounds, which contributed significantly to the total of 89 enemy killed.
   ON APRIL 15, two howitzers from Charlie Battery were at Diamond III when that base was hit with a coordinated heavy weapons and ground attack by three NVA battalions.  The enemy force shelled the outpost with 350 rocket-propelled grenades and 150 82mm mortar rounds while the two friendly guns fired 350 high explosive rounds and 12 beehive rounds.  The remainder of the battery fired over 500 high explosive and 40 firecracker rounds as indirect support of the base.  Enemy losses were placed at a staggering 228 NVA killed and an estimated 200 more wounded.
   IN FEB., 1966, only weeks after being deployed to Vietnam, the men of the Automatic Eighth participated in Operation Taro Leaf, which accounted for more than 40 enemy dead.  During Operation Attleboro in the fall of the same year, the battalion fired more than 22,300 rounds in less than three days.  The artillerymen were firing up to five hours straight, without stopping.
   In Jan., 1968, Alfa Battery was involved in the battle of Xom Rang, where an enemy human wave attack was turned back by the artillerymen and troops of the Fire Brigade's 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry.  The battery used effective direct fire with high explosive and beehive projectiles, making their contribution to the 108 enemy dead.
   A Valorous Unit Award was presented to the battalion for its efforts in helping to secure a base of operations for the 2d Brigade and the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi during the period January through April, 1966.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969



COL William J. Maddox Jr., HHC, 3d Bde
LTC James E. Coggins, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CW2 Thomas M. Dooling, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WOl Jackie E. Craig, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CSM Clarence White. HHC, 3d Bde
PFC Steven Kirkegard, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
LTC Carl M. Mott Jr., HHSB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
1LT Willie A. Pascal, HHSB, Div Arty
1LT Ray M. Thomann, HHC. 1st Bde
WO1 Curtis Edwards Jr., Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Kevin M. Foley, HHC, 2d Bde
WO1 Bobby J. Lawson, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 John M. Wilson, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 James L. Patton, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Michael E. Kuhn, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Jerry L. Cato, HHC, 2d Bde
SP4 Marvin G. Cottrill, HHC, 2d Bde
SP4 Douglas P. Odom, HHC, 2d Bde
LTC Frederick C. Delisle, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Ronald D. Hunter, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT Ronald J. Taylor, HHSB, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
1LT Robert L. Palmer, Co F, 75th Inf
1LT Earl A. Reimer, HHC, 2d Bde
SSM Ignacio Medina, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SFC Leslie L. Steadman, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PSG Terry J. Trobough, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG George F. Hillyard, Co A, 125th Sig
SSG Michael P. Landers, 66th Inf Plat
SSG Thomas C. Monahan, Co D, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Ronald D. Riskus, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SSG Charles P. Wilson, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP6 Gordon W. Finch, Co D, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP6 Antonio Luza, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Terry Gibson, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Kenneth D. Goodwin, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 John P. Herren, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Robert L. Naylor, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Larry D. Ramsey, Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
SP4 John H. Rasmussen. Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Mark J. Reader, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Jesse E. Whitten, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Stephen J. Colvey, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Danny R. Cornwell, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC James H. Cox, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Lawrence Difalco, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Stanley J. Egan, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Severin E. Erickson, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC David G. Garland, Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
PFC Lyle Johnson, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Wayne R. Luber, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf.
PFC Lester E. Mummert, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Domenic D. Pettoruto, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Charles Rutter, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Norman C. Tonjes, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Ronald H. Way, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf





Project Transition: A Chance

   Every year thousands of army personnel return to civilian life - all seeking different types of employment.  In 1968, a program known as Project Transition was established by the Department of Defense to provide these returnees with further education or skill training that could help them obtain meaningful employment.
   Project Transition is designed to assist servicemen who need more formal education or do not have civilian job skills.  The program provides counseling, academic and vocational instruction and job placement information.  On-the-Job training is also available under Project Transition.
   The values of Project Transition are many in that it:
   • Affords individuals an opportunity to examine the many educational and. vocational opportunities available to them.
   • Provides a means to adapt a soldier's in-service training to the immediate needs of the civilian community.
   • Eliminates social and economic adjustment problems for many Vietnam-era servicemen.
   Details on Project Transition are available at major Army education centers everywhere.


Mine detonator exposed BEFORE AND AFTER - A canteen shows size scale of a 60-pound anti-lank mine found five kilometers north of Fire Support Base Patton II by Alfa Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  At right, two Golden Dragons look on from a safe distance as the mine is blown in place.  The tiny detonator is hard to spot on mines like these.  Keep a sharp lookout for anything metallic, no matter how small.  (Photo by PFC Ray Byrne) 2/14th soldiers watch mine detonated



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 12
SP4 Charles William Jr., HHC 2/14 Inf, girl
PFC Terry L. Borland, HHT 3/4 Cav, girl

November 13
PFC Samuel Fulmer, A Btry 1/8 Arty, boy

November 15
SP4 Jimmie R. Roland, C Btry 3/13 Arty, girl

November 16
1LT Timothy P. Weltin, 595 Eng Bn, boy

November 17
SGT Issac C. Goodson, Co E 2/14 Inf, boy
November 17
SP5 Lavern E. Young, Co D 725 Mn Bn, girl
SP4 Patrick J. Healey, Co E 725 Mn Bn, boy

November 18
SGT Joseph A. Nepi, Co D, 1/27 Inf, boy

SGT John E. Potteriger, Co B 2/27 Inf, boy
PFC Andrew H. Rohen, C Btry, 2/77 Arty, boy

November 19
SP4 John C. Cary, 25 MP Co, boy

November 20
PFC Jerry W. Marshall, B Co 2/14 twin boys



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 Harris W. Hollis . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Warren J. Field . . . . . .  Information Officer
1LT John C. Burns . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP4 Harold O. Anderson  . .  Editor
PFC R. D. Silberblatt . . . . . .  Assistant Editor
SGT John Genitti  . . . . . . . . . Production Supervisor


SP4 Dennis Bries
SP4 Bill Frame
SGT Bill Obelholzer
PFC Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
SP4 Frank Ditto
PFC Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
SP4 Pat Morrison
SP5 Tony DeBiasio
PFC Rich Fitzpatrick
SP4 Jeff Hinman
SP4 Ken Fairman
PFC Doug Sainsbury
SGT Larry Goodson
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Tony Crawford
SP5 Pete Freeman
SP4 Craig Sampson
SP4 Richard Sears
SGT K.C. Cullen
SP4 Henry Zucowski
SP4 Brad Yaeger
PFC Frank Rezzonico
SGT Tony Camelio
PFC Ray Byrne



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969


Tomahawks Rummage in Rubber Rubble

   TAY NINH - There were lights in the rubber trees and movement had been spotted by Bravo Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry from its night laager position.  Less than a thousand meters north of the Michelin rubber factory was a suspected NVA base camp.
   "Intelligence reports told us that the Michelin rubber factory in Phu Khuong District was being used by local enemy and NVA forces as a staging and resupply area," said Captain Frederick Drew, commander of Bravo Company.
   The once prosperous and functional factory now a rubble-strewn area, has an intricate system of underground tunnels once used for the passage of heat from the huge furnaces.  These tunnels were being used by the enemy.  Clearing and checking out the tunnel maze was the task at hand.  Armed with flashlights and M-16s, Bravo Company carefully moved through the area.
   "My tunnel rat training came in handy," commented Private First Class Ted J. Corum of Tulsa, Okla.  "Many of the tunnels and caves were reinforced with concrete but usually veered off and ended as an unsuspecting spider hole," said Private First Class Larry W. Key of LaPuente, Calif.
   The area was an excellent area for the enemy to plant his deadly booby traps, so each doorway, crack and crevice was approached with extreme caution.  Several booby traps of various types were discovered and blown in place during the operation.
   Through combined operations, the Tomahawks have been working closely with Phu Khuong District local forces and civilians.
   "We have gained invaluable information pertaining to enemy activity, weapons, and ammunition caches," said Sergeant Robert F. Rembecke of Morrisville, Pa., the liaison between the Tomahawks and the South Vietnamese forces in Phu Khuong District.  "The Tomahawks are making an all-out effort to work with the South Vietnamese in extinguishing the enemy threat."


Regulars check buildings TWO TOMAHAWKS of Bravo Company carefully check for booby traps in the rubble-strewn area of the Michelin rubber factory.  The building shows the signs of recent fierce fighting in the area.  (Photo by SP4 John W. Frame)
THUMBS DOWN-Sergeant Eddie DeMary of St. Charles, La., checks out a tunnel during an operation with Bravo Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry Tomahawks in the Michelin Rubber Plantation.  (Photo by SP4 John W. Frame) Sgt. Eddie DeMary, tunnel rat



'Mini-Cav' Brings Maxi-Smoke on Foe

   CU CHI - Miniskirts revolutionized the art of girl-watching.  In time, perhaps, the mini-Cav will do same for the art of Charlie-finding.
   Major Eural E. Adams, Jr., commanding officer of Delta Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, said, "We noticed in the last few months that the enemy has been working in small groups, hitting and moving away quickly.  We've found that the best way to combat these small enemy forces is by using small units of our own, and this is where the idea of using the mini-Cav has proven so successful."
   Staff Sergeant Carl Hutchens of Houston, aero-rifle platoon sergeant, said, "The platoon was broken down into two smaller units of 15 men and two Kit Carson scouts apiece.  Being broken down into these smaller units offers the mini-Cav better control of the men and allows them to move in and out of an area quicker, thus enabling the Cav to go more places in an hour than if they employed a whole platoon."
   The mini-Cav is working.  During a recent month's period, the mini-Cav killed 18 enemy, detained 30 suspects, and confiscated 12 enemy rifles, four pistols, 50 RPG-7 rounds, 100 Chicom grenades, 500 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and medical supplies.


Little Ol' Lady Is A Dirty Ol' Man, Dragons Discover

   CU CHI - It was Saturday.  The little old lady had her shopping list made up, and she was on her way to the market.
   Unfortunately for the little old lady, the list she carried was of goods requested by nearby North Vietnamese soldiers.  Then she ran into the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry and its Vietnamese counterpart.
   "You should have seen some of the things she had on that list," said Specialist 4 James Remmel of Rochester, N.Y., "watches, batteries, cloth - a lot of things I couldn't get myself."
   The only thing she managed to get up to the point of her detention was some bagged rice.  She left the market place on a helicopter bound for Cu Chi base camp and interrogation.


Lifesaving Police Call

   CU CHI - A recent operation of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry's Reconnaissance Platoon turned out to be nothing more than a police call - policing up Charlie's booby traps.
   As they were sweeping along the banks of the Vam Co Dong River near the Sugar Mill, members of the mixed Vietnamese-American platoon discovered three booby trapped bangalore torpedoes embedded in the river bank.
   They were rigged to detonate upon contact with river craft used to insert allied troops in search of cache sites.
   The bangalore torpedoes were disarmed and taken back to the platoon's camp at the Sugar Mill.
   The battlefield police call continued as the platoon sloshed through mud and swamp to find and destroy seven other booby traps.  Four more were disarmed without injury to any of the platoon members.


Stars Above!  Generals Fly

   CU CHI - The 25th Aviation Battalion runs perhaps the world's most exclusive flight school - you must be a brigadier general or higher to attend.
   The school is run in conjunction with the General Officer's Rotary Wing Qualifying Course taught at Fort Rucker, Ala.  In the past five months two generals have successfully completed the school.  The student is required to complete 200 hours of flight time in order to graduate.  That 200 hours is divided between flights with the 25th Aviation Battalion and Fort Rucker.
   The school's students thus far have been Major General Ellis W. Williamson, former division commander who is now completing his flying time at Fort Rucker, and Brigadier General T. J. Camp, Jr., current assistant division commander who started his training Sept. 7.  Instructor for both generals was Chief Warrant Officer Jack C. Bryan.
   General Camp completed his training Nov. 7 and was awarded the wings of an army aviator.


25's A Crowd

   CU CHI - How many hootch maids will fit in the back of a deuce and a half?  Hopefully, no one will ever find out since serious hazards result from overcrowding vehicles.  The division preventive maintenance section has established the following guidelines for numbers of Vietnamese nationals being carried in Army vehicles (including driver):
   Three-quarter ton:  three in front, 12 in rear;  quarter ton: two in front, two in back;  two and a half ton: three in front, 24 in rear; half-ton pickup:  three in front.
   Passengers must be seated when riding in rear of vehicles.

2/14th secures landing zone
SECURE - Infantrymen from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry secure a landing zone for the remainder of Alfa Company on a sweep north of FSB Patton II.  (Photo by PFC Ray Byrne)


2 VC Trip on 'Bush During Night Stroll

   TRA CU - A Wolfhound rifleman from the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, on his second ambush patrol, ruined a night's activities for two Viet Cong near the Vam Co Dong River.
   The action took place with the first platoon of Delta Company while it was on a night ambush south of Tra Cu.
   After being inserted by Navy gunboats the platoon set up four-man positions along the bank of the river.
   The new man, Private First Class Leonard Bustamente of Encino, Calif., was on guard when he heard strange noises in the night.
   "I heard rustling noises in the brush to the left, along a berm which ran into our position," he said.  "The noises got closer, so I set off my claymore mine - there wasn't time to wake up anybody else."
   After the blast the other members of the squad were up fast and the squad leader, Sergeant Joe Padian of Baltimore, was the next to set off his claymore.
   Then the rest of the claymores were detonated and the men began to rake the area with fire from M-79s, M-16s and grenades.
   A check of the area in the morning revealed two dead enemy soldiers with their equipment.  An interesting find was a reed-filled poncho which the enemy had used to float across the river with a canoe paddle for propulsion.  Also found were an AK-47 with four loaded magazines, two sacks of rice, a mosquito net and two hammocks.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969


No time to waste in a fire mission; a gun crew works out.
With another round off in the background, a crew strains and waits.



In Support of Infantry
7/11 Cannoneers Put Steel on Target

   TAY NINH - The artillery is the most readily available support to which an infantry commander has access.  The field artillery is more mobile and versatile than ever before, and has never been more effectively employed than on the battlefields of Vietnam.
   The 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery supports Tropic Lightning infantrymen of the First Brigade operating all over Tay Ninh Province, from the northern woods of Thien Ngon to the southern tip of the Angel's Wing near the Cambodian border, and as far east as the Boi Loi Woods.
   Whether it is "prepping" an area for an eagle flight landing, firing directly or indirectly for ground troops in contact, pouring out counter-mortar and rocket fire, or firing point blank in defense of their own fire support base, guns of the 7/11 Artillery have always come through with fast, accurate fire.
   "On Time, On Target" is the battalion motto and it typifies the essence of the field artillery-speed and accuracy.  The 105mm howitzers of the 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery levelled their tubes in defense of Frontier City and again later at Fire Support Base Crook, two of the most lopsided allied victories of the war.
   The 7/11 artillery cannoneers know their jobs - putting steel on the target.


Photo Feature 
SP5 Pete Freeman



The fire support base is a sea of smoke during a battery contact fire mission.

Clouds of smoke rise as counter-mortar fire hits point blank targets just outside the wire.



Cannoneers of the 7/11 Artillery - On Time, On Target
A puff of smoke billows at the rear of the gun during a fire mission.



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969


DEAR SERGEANT CERTAIN:  We all know about the most popular medals, Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Air Medals, etc., but I'm interested in learning about some of the more obscure ones to make sure I get all the civil service points I have coming to me.
          SP4 M.T. "Bear" Chested

DEAR M.T.:  With complete disregard for my own sanity, I have investigated the situation, defying the holocaust of hostile comments rained upon me by the aggressor awards and decorations section.  Here are some of the more significant awards:  The C-Ration Medal with P-38 Device, for devotion to eating ham and lima beans and the crackers from the B-2 unit or for willingly giving up a can of peaches and a pound cake;  The AFVN Fanship Medal, for fearlessly exposing yourself to the Polka Hour for three or more consecutive Sundays;  The Friendly Trooper Award, for serving a complete tour without once cursing the army (this decoration has not been awarded since June 13, 1775 which was the day before the Army was organized);  The Hot Air Award, a special medal for Chinook pilots who knock down six or more men with the blast from their exhausts or overturn three bunkers at one time with prop wash;  The Base Camp Warrior Medal, for completing a tour without once falling off the reactionary force truck;  The KP Medal with Steel Wool Device, for maintaining strict discipline while overseeing the edible and inedible garbage cans;  the R&R Realism Medal, for anyone valorous enough to come back and say he didn't have a good time on R&R;  the Lackluster Service Cross (LSC), for anyone who doesn't get any other medals and has lost his Sharpshooter's Badge and National Defense Medal.

DEAR COMRADE CERTAIN:  First of all, I want to thank you for arranging my exchange R&R to Hawaii.  I had some trouble with MPs not wanting to accept my NVA ID card, but everything else went smoothly.  I'm sorry the GI who went on our R&R program to Siberia hasn't returned yet.  The success of the exchange, however, encourages me to suggest another program to Friendly-ize the war.  We have a service club called Hanoi Southwest that we'd be glad to open to Americans.  Our activities include a record library of speeches by Chairman Mao, books and magazines of Chairman Mao's writings, TV-watching with the "Chairman Mao Show," discussion groups of the thought of Chairman Mao, Chairman Mao coloring books, and Chairman Mao movies.  We also have something like Doughnut Dollies, only they're called "Mao-Lasses," serving Koolie-ade.  The club is open every. morning from two to four a.m., closed on Chairman Mao's birthday and during B-52 strikes.  What do you say?
          2d Guerilla Nguyen N. Nguyen

DEAR NGUYEN:  Nice to hear from you again. I'm glad you had a good time in Hawaii, but is it true that you went on a shopping spree and are now the only man in your unit who wears Keds instead of Ho Chi Minh sandals?  Anyway, about the service club:  we'd not only be glad to visit yours, we'll contribute to it a Monopoly game, a dozen copies of "Six Crises", and the collected recordings of Kate Smith.


PFC Fred Maul, CSM Charles Smith SIGN OF THE SEASON - Private First Class Fred Maul and Command Sergeant Major Charles Smith have been busy sorting Christmas gifts that have been rolling in since Maul initiated a project to help the children of Duc Hanh B.  (Photo by PFC Doug Sainsbury)



Santa Wears OD:
              Arty Spreads Xmas Cheer

   CU CHI - A Santa Claus dressed in green will visit the children of Duc Hanh B and other nearby hamlets this Christmas.
   He's not quite as plump as the white-whiskered December globe-trotter, but Private First Class Fred Maul of Los Angeles, 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery artist, will be lugging a huge sack crammed with clothes, toys, and candy for the kids.
   "He was painting road signs for school zones in Duc Hanh B," said Command Sergeant Major Charles L. Smith of Oakland, Calif.  "That's when he got the idea of initiating a Christmas program for the children."
   "I NOTICED that the kids didn't have much to play with, but they took good care of what toys they did have.  I thought it would be a good idea to try to get clothing such as shorts, tennis shoes and T-shirts in addition to toys," said Maul.
   It was at this point that Maul's imagination kicked into gear and the idea snowballed into a full-scale project.  He wrote to his wife and suggested the possibility of people back home sending articles to kids here for Christmas.
   "I also wrote to friends, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Dallas of Los Angeles.  They presented the idea to local newspapers and the papers ran a story asking people to donate new or used clothes and toys of all types," Maul said.
   "THE RESPONSE was great as many people brought things to the Dallas' pet shop, and they have been sending them to us.  They've paid all shipping costs," Maul said.
   As large packages loaded with toys, clothes and candy arrive at 2/77 Headquarters, Maul sorts them and prepares them for presentation.  He intends to put three or four toys and some candy in individual bags so that more kids will have presents at Christmas.
   "The larger toys will be given to Vietnamese province hospitals for the kids there," he said.  "Dolls and large trucks will be kept by the hospitals for the kids who are patients."
   The gifts will be presented to children as close to Christmas Day as possible.
   "IT IS A great idea for a young man to attempt to help these people in South Vietnam in his personal way.  In my three years in Vietnam I've never seen a young enlisted man who has had the initiative to promote a program of this nature.  He has the complete support of myself and Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Wright, our battalion commander," said Smith.
   "Packages of toys are still coming in and the response of the people of Los Angeles has been immediate and far better than I anticipated," Maul said.  "T h e program should help strengthen our pacification efforts in these same hamlets and villages."


3d Brigade NITECAPs Put VC Hopes to Bed

   LOC THANH - A new kind of pacification project designed to show Vietnamese villagers that the Viet Cong no longer rule the night was carried out here by the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds), 25th Infantry Division.
   The Night Time Civic Action Program (NITECAP) is a recent innovation whereby U.S. elements enter a village in late afternoon and stay on into the night treating the sick and providing the people with entertainment.
   At about 4:00 p.m., a small convoy made up of 2d Wolfhound's S-5 and medical staff along with a Home Entertainment Team (HET) from the 4th Group, 6th Psychological Operations Battalion left nearby Fire Support Jackson and headed for the village.
   A large supply of medicine had been brought in foot lockers enabling the medics to handle almost any situation that didn't require open surgery.  The aid station was set up on tables and ailing villagers waited in line to be treated.
   Before long, the medics had their hands full and were kept busy until 7:30 p.m. when it became too dark to continue.
   As the clinic was being disassembled and packed away, the HET prepared to show films.
   The movies featured a variety of subjects that mixed subtle propaganda with light entertainment.  There was singing, magical tricks, commentaries on life in the U.S.A. and a slapstick comedy about two bumbling Viet Cong who were reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.
   "We're not trying to hit these people with really hardline propaganda," said HET leader 2LT Charles H. Hochmuth of Washington, D.C.  "Our main purpose is to provide entertainment and the people really appreciate it."
   "Although this was the first time we've tried this kind of operation", said Captain William W. Curl III, Columbus, Ga., Wolfhound's S-5 officer, "it was a great success.  We'll be having more in the future."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969


Presenting . . . the New Christy Minstrels

      Seven young people playing guitars, banjos, tambourines, you-name-it.  A fantastic young singer named Sally Blair was with them.  The New Christy Minstrels came to Cu Chi, and for a couple of hours the Lightning Bowl seemed almost like an auditorium back in the world.


PFC Joe Loper



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           December 1, 1969


A Productive Citizen
          Rallier: Man with a Future

   BAO TRAI - A classic example of a hoi chanh is the man who tells of hearing PSYOPS broadcasts while he was at an enemy refuge inside Cambodia and made his way across the Plain of Reeds that night to turn himself in.
   "When he popped out of the bushes near Tra Cu with his hands up, there were three fifties mounted on a patrol boat aimed at him," said Major Cullen Allen of Wichita Falls, Tex., the 3d Brigade civil affairs officer.
   Another classic may be the co-village chiefs who rallied in late October.  "They had been communists since back in the forties," Allen said.  "When a 67year-old man decides to rally to the government, we feel as though the program is going pretty well."
   THE PROGRAM is the accelerated PSYOPS project that has been underway since the 3d Brigade undertook the mission of pacifying Hau Ngia province.  Allen said that more than 1,000 of the enemy have rallied in the past three months.  "That's more than 300 a month," he said.
   "More than half of the hoi chanhs at Tay Ninh come from Hau Nghia too," he said.  "They've been telling us the waiting lines at our receiving centers are too long.  We're trying to expand."
   "We're glad we didn't have to meet all of those people on the battlefield," he added.
   Many of the hoi chanhs were laborers - persons who were forced to work for the Viet Cong.  Others were part of the infrastructure.
   Still others are draft dodgers or deserters from the ARVN army.  They're the minority, according to Allen.
   "WE TRY TO make the hoi chanhs productive citizens," Allen said.  "They may become part of the successful Kit Carson scout program if they choose or they may seek training in a craft."
   Hoi chanhs are free to return to their homes after their training.  Men of draft age are exempt for six months.  After that they usually become productive members of a government military force, according to Allen.
   Those who return to their homes are well received by their communities because the people believe the hoi chanh has demonstrated his faith in the government by rallying in the first place, he said.
   "We consider them good risks after they go home," Allen said.  "The primary reason is that the communists, by their very nature, can never again rely upon a person who has forsaken the party."


Dragon MEDCAPs Fight Unseen Foe

   CU CHI - A Golden Dragon MEDCAP team is proving that the surgical syringe as well as the pen is mightier than the sword.
   Captain Howard Hanna Jr., surgeon for the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, and his band of medics and interpreters almost daily go into the hamlets of the unit's area of operations.
   "Because of the nature of this war," Hanna said, "many of the residents of these hamlets are related to the enemy still out in the rice paddies.  We could just let them be.  Let Hanoi worry about sending them their own doctors; but we can't.  We're out to win these people over and to keep them on our side."
   Each day a portion of the nearly 10,200 residents of Trung Lap and the New Life village come in droves to the impromptu aid station.  Beneath the shade of large rubber trees, the MEDCAP team administers medicine, vitamins, cold pills and cough syrup.  They also clean and dress the various scraped knees or stubbed toes of the children.
   "If we are unable to treat a patient on the spot, an appointment can be made in Cu Chi or Saigon," Hanna said.  "Of course, we supply the transportation."
   Precautions are also taken to insure that the medicine does not fall into enemy hands.
   "However, if it ever did," interpreter Nguyen Long said, "it would most likely work to our advantage.  The medicine being American and given to the people of South Vietnam might only make the VC decide to chieu hoi."


Day Training Aids Hounds

   CU CHI - Daytime weapons training has become part of the routine for Wolfhounds in Bravo company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry.
   During the hours the men spend inside the patrol bases they are learning and practicing the operation of M-60 machineguns, grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and even mortars.
   "The training greatly increases the combat effectiveness of the unit," First Lieutenant Richard D'Andrea of Chicopee, Mass., company executive officer, said.  "Some of the men had fired the LAW or the M-79 only a few times before coming to Vietnam."
   "We're trying to cross-train all of the men in all of the weapons.  It's building their skill and confidence," he said.


WALKING A TIGHTROPE?  Not quite, but this machine gunner with Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry does a nice balancing act while walking over unfamiliar terrain on a search operation south of Fire Support Base Pershing.  (Photo by PFC Jim Williams) 2/12th M-60 gunner



Recon Rifles 11 Rifles

   CU CHI - Elements of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry reconnaisance platoon along with their Vietnamese counterparts were recently led to an enemy cache which included 11 rifles.
   Through civil grievance channels, a Vietnamese villager reported knowing where the Viet Cong had buried some weapons and offered to lead allied soldiers to the site.  A combined operation was subsequently planned for the following day.
   The actual locating of the 11 assault rifles and three boxes of ammunitions found with the arms cache was not the easy job the guide had suggested.  The weapons were 500 meters from where they were originally thought to be.
   "As we started to dig down on that cache," said First Lieutenant Robert Vadnais of Arlington, Va., "we received sniper fire.  I'm sure it was to draw us out of the area."
   An element was sent out to locate the snipers, but the enemy fled before they could be pinpointed and followed.
   The captured weapons were given to the Vietnamese units as is the policy of the Wolfhound's recon platoon.


ALWAYS ON THE ALERT - Troopers from the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry keep a watchful eye out for anything that moves as they cautiously make their way through tall grass northwest of Cu Chi.  (Photo by PFC Ray Byrne) 2/14th soldier on alert



The Five-Dollar Conspiracy?

   CU CHI - It has been reported by normally reliable sources that a number of individuals have been running around every unit in the 25th Infantry Division shouting, "Get yer 1969 Tropic Lightning yearbook, right here.  Red Hot Love Scenes!  Naked Passion!  Lustful Embraces!  Only $5."  This blatant conspiracy has been declared fraudulent by the Provost Marshal who states that the yearbook contains no such passages.  It does, however, contain extensive coverage of all division units and the major battle actions of 1969.  Get order forms from your Tropic Lightning Association unit representative.




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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