TLN.JPG (37996 bytes)

Vol 5 No. 7          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          February 16, 1970



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5 Photo                                 2 2/14 Photo                               1 2/27 Photo                               1 25th Inf                                   3
1/10 ARVN Cav                      1 2/14                                           1 2/27                                           3 25th Med Bn                          8
1/49 ARVN                              1 2/14                                           1 2/27 Photo                               3 3rd Bde                                   8
116 AHC Photo                      1 2/14                                           3 2/27                                           3 3/4 Cav                                    1
2/12                                          4 2/14                                           6 2/27                                           3 3/13 Arty                                 3
2/12 Photos                            4 2/22                                           1 2/27 Photo                               3 3/13 Arty                                 3
2/12                                          7 2/22 Photo                               2 2/77 Arty                                 6 4/23                                           3
2/12 Photos                            7 2/22                                           1 25th Inf                                    1 4/23                                           8
2/12                                          8 2/27                                           1    


Combined Forces Press On
  Enemy Hiding As Supplies Dwindle

   CU CHI - Enemy units operating in the 25th Infantry Division's area of operations are everyday becoming more and more aware of two important factors according to a recent division staff report.  First, and due mainly to increased combined operations between ARVN soldiers and American troops, the enemy has learned that it just doesn't pay to make contact.
   Since the action on the slopes of Nui Ba Den in early January, during which 156 of the enemy were killed, the enemy has avoided contact with ARVN/US forces, fighting only when he must one officer said.
   He said it should now be apparent to the enemy that the supplies he has for so long hidden in tunnels and caves throughout the area are no longer safe.  Decreased contact with the enemy has led to a substantial increase in the number of arms and supplies caches found by combined Allied forces, he said.
   The report bears this out.  During the month of January alone, ARVN/US troops uncovered 407,322 rounds of small arms ammunition.  Also uncovered in January were 415 hand grenades; 1,327 60-, 82-and 120mm mortar rounds; 167 rifle grenades; 339 rocket-propelled grenade rounds; 158 57mm recoilless rifle rounds; 119 bangalore torpedoes and 124 107 and 122mm rockets.
   Ammunition isn't the only thing that enemy troops keep buried, hoping one day to dig up and use against friendly forces.  ARVN units working with elements of the 25th Division also uncovered 159 small arms; eight rocket-propelled grenade launchers; 14 crew-served M9 weapons; 12 60-and 82mm mortar tubes; 134 anti-tank mines and 298 booby traps of various types and sizes last month.
   IN ADDITION TO arms and ammunition caches uncovered, Allied forces located 301 pounds of TNT, 24,375 pounds of rice and 10,000 piasters.
   Such disastrous contacts for the enemy as that of January 4-11, and the great loss of war materiel and supplies is certainly hitting the enemy where it hurts another officer said.

Hiding in the brush THE UPS AND DOWNS OF IT - A Stinger gunship of the 116th Assault Helicopter Company flies in support of the Golden Dragons of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, making living hazardous for the enemy.  A Golden Dragon is partially hidden in the thick brush of the Ho Bo Woods below.  (Photo by PFC Ray Bryne)



Clearing Woods
    ARVN Units Eliminate Twenty

   CU CHI - Two ARVN units working in the second Brigade's area of operation turned in impressive performances last month by eliminating 20 enemy in two separate engagements.
   Early last month the 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 49th ARVN Infantry, working with the Golden Dragons of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, in operations to clear the Ho Bo Woods located a large, enemy-held tunnel complex.
   Inside the tunnels were seven enemy, who refused a chance to Chieu Hoi.  Their resistance was short-lived however, and when the smoke cleared the seven enemy were dead and their five AK-47's were in the hands of the ARVN's.
   Continuing the patrol that afternoon the ARVN's came under fire of an estimated platoon-size enemy force.  However, the ARVN's quickly turned the tables with their withering fire.  The hasty retreat of the enemy was evidenced in the four dead that they left behind.
   Later in the month, it was an element of the 1st Squadron, 10th ARVN Cavalry, who turned in another impressive performance by eliminating nine enemy in a one day operation in the Boi Loi Woods.
   During a morning sweep the 10th Cav located a tunnel with five stubborn enemy inside who refused to come out.  Well-placed smoke grenades, however, quickly forced the enemy out and netted the ARVN's five POW's.
   The afternoon half of the operation was equally successful as the ARVN's stopped four more of the enemy.
   "We spotted an enemy element moving toward us," said First Lieutenant Calbraith Riley, of Brentwood, Mo., the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, advisor to the 10th ARVN Cavalry.  "There was sure a lot of firepower suddenly going out in the direction of the enemy."
   The ARVN force caught the enemy flat-footed and a quick sweep of the area following the contact revealed four dead.
   "I was really impressed with the quick reaction of the men," Riley said.  "But then I have learned to expect nothing but the best from these guys."


Sweep Turns Up Two Caches

   FB DIXON - Two separate munitions caches were found within 100 meters of each other by two companies on two consecutive days in the An Ninh Corridor about three miles west of here.  Charlie Company Triple Deuce, and Alfa Company 2/27 Wolfhounds unearthed the caches during a sweep behind the plows of a land clearing operation.
   In the first find, Alfa Company 2/27 working with the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry uncovered the following items from a tangle of vines in the bottom of a well: four Chicom claymores, 85 60mm mortar rounds, 108 rifle grenades, 15 3 lb blocks of C-4, 10 RPG-7 rounds with boosters, one case of 60mm mortar fuses, one case of AK ammo, a 20 foot roll of det cord, two shovels and a can of oil.
   The next day Charlie Company 2/27 recovered the following enemy munitions from a tunnel nearby: 15 B40 rockets, six 82mm mortar rounds, 10 cans of detonators, 7 RPG charges, 24 Chicom grenades and one AK 47.
   Rome plows were clearing woodlines and hedgerows in the corridor to permit easier aerial reconnaissance of infiltration through the area.

PFC Jerry Raymond, 2/27th TAKING A LOOK-SEE - at a new hay stack for enemy hiding places is PFC Jerry Raymond from Lansing, Mich.  Raymond is with the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds working with the Triple Deuce when two separate caches were found in the An Ninh Corridor.  (Photo by SP4 Dennis Bries)



VC Returns Camera
    Finders Not Keepers

   CU CHI - Tony Schultz "loaned" his $80 camera to a Viet Cong but he got it back.
   Specialist 4 Stanley (Tony) Schutz, St. Petersburg, Fla., was on a mission last April with the Golden Dragons.  He had his newly-purchased camera along with him.
   "It was in an ammo bag and dropped when we had to head for cover," said Schutz.  "I figured it was gone forever."
   Recently, however, he was notified that a camera, found on a VC after a minor battle, had been traced to him.
   "It looked good on the outside," said Tony, "but the inside had seen too many rice paddies.  "I was going to send it in to the camera company and complain about it as a joke.  But I decided it makes a good souvenir."
   Tony bought another camera to replace the damaged one.  But, he said, "If the VC want another camera they're just going to have to buy one.  I'm going home in two weeks."


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970



LTC James E. Coggins, HHC, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
CPT Byron W. White, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Marvin L. Tieman, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT Henry J. Dauphinee Jr., Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Russel A. Steindam, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT Robert Sees, Co C, 2d Bn (M), 22d Inf
1LT Melvin A. Miller, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Kevin A. Higginson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
2LT Robert K. Cutright, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
WO1 Gary Center, Trp D, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CSM Willie H. Hickey, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CSM William M. Rommal, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1SG Clarence D. Anderson, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1SG Julius Denning, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PSG John Park, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Robert T. Cleveland, Co C, 2d Bn (M), 22d Inf
SSG Joseph M. Evangelista, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SSG Lauren R. Boeckenhauer, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SSG Fred S. Jenkins, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SSG Rodney K. Namauu, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Rickey D. Jones. Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SGT George G. Little, Co D, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Walter G. Hiscox, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SGT Thomas J. Francis, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT John M. Andescavage, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Steve Leapley, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Gerron C. Morgan, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT John G. Radvansky, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Dennis Sanderson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT James Overbey, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT William G. Strickland, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Eddie J. Demary Jr., Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SGT Gary C. Eagleton, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SGT Michael H. Ikegami, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Bobby Keeton, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SP4 William H. Kline, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Kenneth J. Marsh, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Grant W. Newton, Co A, 3d Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Rex Petri, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Joe D. Posey, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Leonard Wheeler Jr., Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Campos Vincete, Co A, 3d 22d Inf
SP4 Robert L. Jones, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 James F. Gessner, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Arlinn Gushee, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 David A. Barbareita, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 Ben T. Bilbrey, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Delmar P. L'Hoste, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 James L. Mechel, Co C, 2d Bn (M), 33d Inf
SP4 Steven Farrell, Co C, 2d Bn (M), 22d Inf
SP4 David C. Finzel, Trp B, Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Duane S. Bellish, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Michael Campor, Trp -B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Arlis L. High, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 James Byers, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Lawrence McDougald, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Leroy Ace, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Willie L. Wilson, Co B, 4th Bn (M), 23d Inf
SP4 Teddy S. Wolfe, Co E, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Robert S. Ryken, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf



Get Away From It All
    Bored?  Try Special Services

   If you think there's nothing to do here in Cu Chi or Tay Ninh, you're right.  That's why Special Services exists - to provide you with facilities where you can find something to do.
   Take the swimming pools for instance.  Waikiki East and Kona East in Cu Chi and the Holiday Inn swimming pool in Tay Ninh were all built to help Division troopers get away from it all.  They also provide a place for short timers to catch up on getting that nice over-all tan.
   Special Services libraries offer a wide selection of books for your enjoyment.  The air-conditioned libraries have a quiet atmosphere which allows you to sit down with a good book in peace and quiet.
   The tape center is a new and welcome addition to the Cu Chi library.  With 18 Wollensak tape recorders and nine sets of headphones, you can sit down with that blank tape you bought at the PX and try your hand at recording.  You will find that you have a selection of almost 90 prerecorded, 1800 foot tapes from which to choose.  This includes popular, country and western, acid rock, Christmas, and classical music.
   An exercise room and a miniature golf course are also available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at Cu Chi.  The exercise room, which is run by a trooper who specializes in gymnastics, has wrestling mats, parallel bars, and enough weights to keep the most enthusiastic weight lifter busy for a long time.  The miniature golf course, which has just been equipped with lighting for use after dark, is a good place for enthusiasts to practice their hand at putting, too.
   Of course, the Ilikai East and the Free World Service Clubs are always ready to entertain weary soldiers.  The pool tables seem to be the big attraction there, but there is more.  A reading room provides one with air-conditioned comfort in which to read and a bookcase full of paperback books are free for the taking.
   Persons who have home movies or color slides to view may check out movie and slide projectors, making use of the projection room.  And of course the Service Club girls always have something planned, too.  Musical instruments may be checked out from the desk if you need some practice or if you would like to get into a jam session.
   A new photo craft shop will also open at Cu Chi in the near future.  And, Golfing enthusiasts going on R&R who would like to see if they can still play a good game, may check out a full set of golf clubs from special services to carry with them.
   So the next time you think there is nothing to do, think again.  Think of Special Services.

Lt. Col. Ted G. Westerman Lieutenant Colonel Ted G. Westerman assumed command of the 1st Battalion, (Mechanized) 5th Infantry recently.  Westerman, of Chicago, Ill., succeeds Lieutenant Colonel Frederick DeLisle, now serving in Hawaii.  Prior to coming to the Division, Westerman served as G-1 LISARV.



W-2 Form:  A Taxing Subject

   You say you're making all kinds of money here in Vietnam?  If you want to know just how much money you have made in the last year pick up a W-2 form so you don't get your finances confused.
   You may pick it up at the finance office in Cu Chi any afternoon.
   Vietnam veterans have 180 days following departure from Vietnam to file Federal income tax forms.  The forms are available at the Judge Advocate Office in Cu Chi.


Sgt. Phillip Dennis                    Combat Honor Roll

   Sergeant Phillip Dennis has been added to the Tropic Lightning Honor Roll.
   Sergeant Dennis distinguished himself by heroic actions on 18 and 19 December while serving as a squad leader with Company A, 2d Battalion 22d Infantry.  While on a reconnaissance operation, elements of Alfa Company came in contact with a large enemy force in well concealed emplacements.
   During the initial contact, one man was wounded and pinned down by hostile fire.  Immediately Sergeant Dennis led his squad through the area to reinforce the company element under fire.  Arriving in the contact area, Sergeant Dennis deployed his men into strategic positions and directed their fire on the enemy.
   Sergeant Dennis spotted an enemy soldier and engaged him with small arms fire.  Simultaneously he came under fire from another hostile position, and immediately silenced the position with a hand grenade.
   As the battle progressed, Sergeant Dennis exposed himself to enemy fire as he provided cover fire for the evacuation of the injured soldier.
   On the following day his company was conducting a search of the area when they came under intense fire from an enemy bunker.  Sergeant Dennis' accurate fire quickly silenced the position.
   For these two days of action Sergeant Dennis was also awarded the Silver Star.


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:

Jan. 27
SGT James Bledsee, Co D, 2d Bn, 34th Armor, boy

Jan. 29
SP4 Dennis Montra, Co C, 125th Sig Bn, girl

Jan. 30
SP4 Arturo Molina, Co A, 25th Avn Bn, boy
Jan. 31
SP4 Joseph Swayne, 25th Admin Co
PFC Larry D. Tudor, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl
PFC Willis Smith, Trp B, 3 Sqdn, 4th Cav, girl

Feb. 1
SSG Garland Brandon, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf, boy

Feb. 3
PFC Robert Stinnett, Btry B, 3d Bn, 13th Arty, girl



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 Caspari . . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SGT John Geritti . . . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Charles C. Self . . . . . . .   Assistant Editor
SSG Jack Anderson . . .  . . .  Production Supervisor


SP4 Dennis Bries
SP4 Bill Frame
SGT Bill Obelholzer
SP4 Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
PFC Andy Trevers
SP4 Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
SP4 Pat Morrison
SP5 Tony DeBiasio
PFC Rich Fitzpatrick
SP4 Jeff Hinman
SP4 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Tony Crawford
SP4 Greg Duncan
SP4 Richard Sears
SGT K.C. Cullen
SP4 Dan Neff
SP4 Henry Zukowski
SP4 Brad Yaeger
SP4 Frank Rezzonico
SP4 Joe O'Rourke
PFC Ray Byrne
SP4 Robert Caplin
SGT William E. Zarrett



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970


Wolfhounds Warn VC
   Don't Go Near the Water

   FSB JACKSON - Don't go near the water - at least if you're a Viet Cong planning on stashing away a munitions cache from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry.
   "The canals running off the Vam Co Dong River have provided the enemy with a labyrinth of avenues," said Bravo Company Commander Captain Frank Smith of Columbus, Ga.  "So, what we are concerned with is to deny him the use of the waterways for transporting men and materials."
   Bravo Company of the 2d Wolfhounds, working out of Fire Support Base Jackson, has improvised a navy of sampans to check enemy movement on the canals in the Wolfhound area of operation.
   The sampans were captured from the enemy.  Equipped with mine detectors and underwater metal detectors borrowed from the Navy, the Wolfhounds are able to easily check the canals for hidden caches.
   "On the first day out we found 23 new and neatly packed mackerel can grenades hidden underwater along a canal bank," said Sergeant Edward Striedl, Brooklyn, N.Y.
   "That metal detector that we borrowed from the Navy sure worked like a charm," said Striedl.  "We also found in the same location a few Russian heat grenades and what appeared to be a large booby trap," said platoon leader Second Lieutenant Richard Spencer, San Antonio, Texas, "so we blew it in place."

Wolfhounds join the Navy ARMY NAVY - Part of the Wolfhound navy moves down a narrow canal with Bangalore torpedoes to blow a boobytrap near the Vam Co Dong River.  (Photo by SP4 Phil Jackson)



Tomahawks Kill Six On Ambush Patrol

   TAY NINH - The element of surprise paid off recently for the third platoon of Charlie Company 4th Bn 23rd Inf (mechanized).
   While on a night ambush patrol near FSB Hunter the Tomahawks surprised and killed six NVA soldiers and captured one enemy weapon.
   It was 1900 hours when PFC. James Ashley Jr. of Daytona Beach, Fla., first noticed movement in the woodline to his front.  The platoon had not had a chance to set up their Claymore mines yet so Second Lieutenant Robert Szabo of Richmond Heights, Ohio, the platoon leader, decided to let SP4 Jerry Campbell of St. Elizabethton, Tenn, have a shot at the approaching enemy.  As Campbell took aim, Ashley noticed several NVA soldiers only 25 meters away.
   "I knew they were on Campbell's blind side" said Ashley "so I opened up on them with my M-60 machinegun."  The remainder of the platoon also opened fire on the enemy force which was now only 20 meters to their front.
   "I'll never forget the look of surprise on their faces when I opened up with my M-60," said PFC. Purcell Daniels of Philadelphia, Pa.
   "The NVA put up a fight for about 20 minutes but when it got dark they took off," recalled PFC Steven Lee of Kenyon, Minn.
   A sweep of the kill zone revealed six NVA dead and an AK-47 Rifle.


Slows Communist Supply
  Bangalores Blow VC Paths

   PHUOC LUU - Triple Deuce tracks and men equipped with high explosives are blowing holes into enemy infiltration routes and resupply channels in the 3d Brigade area.
   Men of Bravo Company 2nd Battalion (Mech.), 22nd Infantry along with members of the 2/27 Wolfhounds are using thousands of Bangalore Torpedoes to remove hedgerows and woodlines that hid enemy troops and supplies near the Cambodian border.
   SP4 Roger Heard of Bainbridge, Ga., said, "At first I began to get a little nervous at the thought of blowing the Bangalores, but once we began it was interesting."
   Armored personnel carriers from the Triple Deuce are used to haul the boxed torpedoes from the local Vietnamese compound in Phuoc Luu to the designated area to be blown.  Torpedo sections are linked together and laid among the bamboo and brush in the hedgerow to be destroyed.  After the charge is properly set everybody moves back for the big boom.
   SP4 Robert Garrard of Olive Hill, Tenn., said, "I get a bang out of watching those hedgerows going up in smoke.  Those torpedoes do a job!"
   As the hedgerows are destroyed the cleared land can be used by the farmer for more food productivity.  Numerous booby-traps are harmlessly detonated preventing any danger to the men working in the area.  Also many small caches of food, arms, and ammunition, have been discovered.
   Staff Sergeant John Lawinger of Mineral Point, Wis., said, "It's easier to destroy potential hiding places before the enemy gets dug into them than to dig him out of the hedgerows later."


Clan Fires 800,000th Arty Round

   CU CHI - "STAND BY!" called 25th Division Assistant Commander Brigadier General Thomas Camp Jr.  A second later a 3rd Bn., 13th Field Artillery's 800,000th artillery round was hissing toward a target near the Cambodian border.
   The ceremony for the firing of the Clan's 800,000 round took place recently at FSB Hampton, the home base of The Clan's firing Battery D.
   The first round fired by 3/13 in Vietnam came on April 4, 1966, just two days after the Clan arrived at Vung Tau. Round 700,000 was fired Sept. 3, 1969.


Players Score With 'Hounds

   FSB JACKSON - Six professional football players, on a whirlwind hand-shaking tour across Vietnam, paid a visit to the fire support bases of the 2nd Wolfhounds recently.
   The players, who all volunteered to come to Vietnam, included Norm Snead of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Hamburger of the Washington Redskins, Len Rhode of the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Nance of the Boston Patriots, Dan Conners of the Oakland Raiders and Gary Garrison of the San Diego Chargers.
   Asked why they volunteered to come to Vietnam, Rhode said, "We all felt that in order to know what it was really like over here and what the guys were going through, we had to see for ourselves firsthand."
   Although they were more than happy to answer the many questions that were given them about their football experiences, all the players were interested in the men and the job they were doing and had quite a few questions themselves.
   After visiting three hardspots the players returned to Fire Support Base Jackson for lunch and a ceremony where the Battalion Commander, LTC George A. Custer, from DuPont, Wash., made them honorary Wolfhounds by presenting each one of them a cigarette lighter with the Wolfhound crest engraved on the front.

FOOTBALL PATRIOT - Jim Nance of the Boston Patriots tackles questions from members of Delta company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, at their compound near Phuoc Luu village. Jim Nance, Botson Patriots



Cu Chi Builds Defenses To Halt All Attackers

   Men in Cu Chi Base Camp are constantly rebuilding, repairing and improving its defenses.
   "Base Camp Defense (BCD) is a never-ending job which demands continual improvement," said Captain John S. Regan, assistant S-3 of BCD which is now under the control of the 3d Brigade, and its commander, Colonel O. E. Smith.
   The function of BCD is to defend Cu Chi Base Camp from rocket, mortar, and ground attacks and to prevent penetration by infiltrators.  New emphasis has been placed on rebuilding bunkers, repairing faulty barbed wire and completing a new berm line.
   According to Regan, of Nashua, N.H., "Base Camp Defense is the secondary mission of all Cu Chi military personnel.  A lot of work is done every day in refurbishing bunkers, chopping down grass and weeds, and in generally improving positions."
   To emphasize the importance of BCD, special training is given to all bunker guard personnel.  The Tropic Lightning Academy runs a course on techniques of challenging and on how to set up a Claymore mine.
   Coordinated with BCD in its mission is artillery of the 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, and, in the event of ground attack, the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  Division aviation is also a co-operating unit.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970


Rough Going Everyday
            Convoy to Pershing a Lifeline

Story and Photos by

   CU CHI - Transporting men, munitions, meals, and everything else necessary to keep the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry operating at Fire Support Base Pershing is the function of the Warrior Convoy.
   Each day the Convoy makes the 23 mile run from Cu Chi Base Camp to FSB Pershing.
   On the road the convoy moves on file like troops in the field, and like the field, the going is rough.  In the dry season the heat and dust get to you and in the wet season it's the mud.  But to the warriors at Fire Support Base Pershing, the convoy is their life-line.  Everyday the convoy brings them the two vital things in their lives, mail and meals.
   Vietnamese children also like to see the Warrior Convoy roll past their homes along Highway 1 through Cu Chi and Trang Bang and up Highway 6 Alfa because the G.I.'s always throw candy and "chop-chop" to them as they watch from the roadside.

Dusty Road

Dust paves the way for the convoy to FSB Pershing

On the Road

Children watch the convoy pass from their cool vantage point

Through the countryside

There is a long road in front of the convoy every day of the week


The convoy always encounters traffic - civilian and military Crowded Roads
Mirror, mirror... The convoy is on line as seen through a mirror
Almost lost in a "dust storm" is the last truck Seen through the haze
Neither rain nor hail... Rainy weather doesn't stop the convoy


Securing the road

3/4 Cav Armor helps secure the road for the daily convoy to FSB Pershing

Traffic Jam

Just like stateside - A traffic jam at the gate of Cu Chi basecamp



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970


SP6 Theodore Davis, SP4 Robert Haredon "LIGHT MY FIRE" - Putting his talents to work is SP6 Theodore Davis of Syracuse, N.Y. who once worked as a gourmet chef in New York City's Hilton Hotel.  He demonstrates his field-expedient barbeque grill to SP4 Robert Haredon, of Madison Heights, Mich.  (Photo by SGT Rick Mizdal)



Classes - 'Forward Together'

   FSB CHAMBERLAIN - Classes in artillery techniques for ARVN NCO's are being conducted here by cannoneers of Charlie Battery, 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery.
   They are being conducted as part of the Dong Tien "Forward Together" program.
   Three groups of eight NCOs each have completed the morning-long classes two groups of about 15.  ARVN Artillery officers have also completed the program of instruction.
   Captain John Charters, the Charlie Battery commander, said the ARVN's seemed to understand the classes despite the language barrier.
   The classes included demonstrations of boresighting, basic periodic tests and the use of aiming circles.
   Howitzer section chiefs conducted briefings on the care and handling of ammunition, conduct of airmobile operations and the characteristics and nomenclature of the battery's guns.


The All New P-38 Won't Get Off Turf

   FSB PERSHING - With machine guns rattling, a deadly hail of fire strafes enemy positions and the fighter aircraft bearing the markings of the United States Army Air Force streaks off into the wild blue yonder.
   The year is 1944. The place is the European theater of operations.  The fighter plane is a twin tailed P-38.
   Years later in Vietnam, 1970, a tired and hungry 25th Infantry Division soldier stops somewhere in the Citadel for chow.  Out come the "C" rations.  Out comes a small shiny metal can opener, bearing the inscription, "U.S. Shelby Corp."
   WHAT DOES THE World War II fighter and that small can opener so much apart of a G.I.'s life today have in common?
   Simple, both are called P-38's.  One P-38 contributed to the success in Europe, the other is doing its part in South Vietnam.
   Today's P-38 may be a small item of equipment, but for the infantrymen in the field its importance can't be exaggerated.  Especially when it's time for chow.  In the hands of any G.I. the P-38 is a fast, efficient reliable tool.  Next to his M-16 it's surely the one piece of gear he'll never leave behind.
   The P-38 is not only a G.I.'s answer to hunger pangs it also serves as a souvenir complete with sentimental feelings of the first order.  There is many an old timer who can hold his P-38 aloft and say with pride, "Yes, this here item of equipment has been with me since Korea."  Or, "This P-38 is in its second tour now and like me still going strong."
   Even the new troops at the 2/12 realize the importance of the trusty P-38.  Recently one Warrior heading out of the wire on a Bushmaster operation said, "Hey, have you got a '38 with you?"  "Roger that," was the reply, "I'm going heavy duty.  I'm humping two of them just in case."
   The larger size can opener known as the "church key" has gotten with the program lately.  It's now known by the men at FSB Pershing as the B-52, the "Big Bomber" which is also an important opener whether you live in the field or the base camp when time for a cold beer or soda comes around.


Dragons Clothe Kids

   TRUNG LAP - "Naked kids just don't get it," was the reason given for a recent Golden Dragons clothing drive.
   "I know we can't hope to clothe everyone in our area of operation," continued CPT Paul O. Merryman, of New York City.  "We just scratched the surface.  But it really makes you feel good when you do something like this."
   The drive, initiated by CPT Fletcher Wideman, chaplain for the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, was aided by clothes sent from home and contributions in money from the men.
   Thirty thousand piasters was collected.  This money bought toys, clothes and sandals.  In addition, each child was given a new 20-piaster bill in keeping with the Vietnamese Tet custom.
   Other clothes from the United States was a result of solicitations by the officers of the Dragons.  After writing home, the wives contacted their churches.
   "I was surprised at the response," said Merryman.  "My church, for instance, is really not too wealthy.  Yet postage for sending the stuff came to $35.  People were more than responsive."
   By the time the battalion distributed the donations, a 21/2-ton truck was filled.


Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT. CERTAIN:  A couple of guys and myself are going to pitch in and buy a television set for our bunker.  We've got one already picked out.  It's got a 3 1/2 inch screen with all the latest gadgetry imaginable, volume control, contrast knob and everything.  What we were wondering is, if there are any good shows worth watching before we buy the set?
                                                                                                 N. B. And C.

DEAR NBC:  It's funny you should write about the new shows on television this season.  There are a number of good ones out.  Preventive Medicine has a great fifteen minute thriller called "You've Got It Under Your Skin".  There is also an agricultural show called "Green Rice Paddies", starring Moms Mabley and Jackie Leonard.  The overseas network is also doing remakes of old shows.  One in particular is called "Nguyen and Bui", a takeoff on "Ozzie and Harriet".  Only "Nguyen and Bui" will be a comedy series.  "Our Miss Van Duong" is a big hit on the tube this year about a Vietnamese school teacher teaching motor stables to a group of GIs.  For all mess sergeants there will be a zinger of a show called "The Beer Belly Polka" in which Sonny Tufts stars as Julia Childs and conducts cooking classes.  A series of episodes called "Mission Impossible", the story of one man's efforts to check out of the PX, is big on the bill.  Local sports events will also be televised.  It will feature the pick-up football game of the week and Intermediate Night Frisbee tournaments.
   Music lovers in the division will be treated to a musical variety show weekly called "Trang Bang Palace" with special musical groups such as "Country Cuong and the Water Buffalo Five", "The Lead Oxcart", "The Rice Paddy Water Revival".  The first show will lead off big with Kate Smith singing, "Way Down The Vam Co Dong", in her own inimitable style.  The intellectual crowd will be entertained with a panel show called "You Bet Your Siklo" in which John Cameron Swasie will interview the honor Hoi Chanh of the Week.  In addition to this already outstanding season, I will portray the entire life story of John Wayne in a two-part episode called "SGT Certain Goes To Hollywood."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970


Two Days and Two Nights
   Control, Stamina, Teamwork Combine For Bushmaster

   CU CHI - A consistently successful series of Bushmaster operations requiring control, stamina and teamwork have been held by 2d Brigade battalions during the last several weeks.
   Each Bushmaster required no less than a two day and two night period during which a wide-range of territory was covered.
   Specialist 4 Jim Williams, combat correspondent for the Warriors of 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, recently accompanied Bravo Company on a Bushmaster southeast of Fire Support Base Pershing in the Citadel area.
   The operation began early in the morning with a search of a village complex near what was scheduled to be the site of the first night's ambush positions.
   As the sun began to set, Bravo Company moved to a holding area to await darkness and receive C-rations, water, claymore mines and the day's mail.
   When total darkness enveloped their position movement to ambush sites began.  A short while later five ambushes were in position for an all-night vigil.
   SHORTLY BEFORE MIDNIGHT ambush number three engaged two VC with M-16 and machine gun fire, resulting in one enemy killed and a K-54 pistol, two hand grenades, a pound of documents, two flashlights and 5 pounds of clothing.
   A short time later Staff Sergeant Dennis Evans of Grand Rapids, Mich., spotted another enemy climbing over a rice paddy dike in front of a claymore mine.
   "We waited, then we blew the claymore.  There wasn't a doubt in my mind that we got him," Evans said.  A sweep of the area under flare illumination revealed another dead enemy.
   At sunrise the weary Warriors packed up their gear and headed to another holding area some distance away.
   The new holding area was a friendly village.  Bravo Company set up security, then began thinking about the hot breakfast that would soon arrive.
   Private First Class Kieth Moffit was one of the hungry Warriors waiting.
   "It's really hard to believe we're going to be getting a hot meal soon when we are way out here in the middle of nowhere," he said.
   NO SOONER HAD the words left Moffit's mouth when the excited call rang out, "Pop smoke!"  In swooped a Little Bear resupply chopper loaded with a breakfast of fresh milk and cereal, hot bacon and scrambled eggs, plus steaming coffee and cold tomato juice.
   With full stomachs, the Warriors settled down to spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon resting and preparing for the evening's operation.
   At about 1400 the Warriors headed north to a new holding area.  There they waited for nightfall and more supplies.  This time it was a Diamondhead slick and the day's mail came with it.
   The sun was a huge ball of orange when Bravo Company began moving to their second night's ambush sites.  Again there were five ambush positions.
   AT 0130 HOURS ambush three caught 5 enemy in the open.  The Warriors opened with organic weapons.  A sweep of the area resulted in finding two enemy, an AK-47, three back packs, a pound of documents, 25 pounds of polished rice and three pounds of medical supplies.
   By morning everyone was ready for the return trip to Fire Support Base Pershing.  Thoughts of what had been accomplished now mingled with thoughts of showers and a good rest.  At 0900 the comforting sound of an eagle flight approaching could be heard.  By 1000 hours the Bravo Warriors had returned to the Pershing wire, Bushmaster completed.



Bringing in supplies




Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           February 16, 1970


Joint U.S.-Viet Effort
    VIS, MEDCAP Entertain, Heal - Bring in Hoi Chanhs

   LONG TRUNG - The red curtains parted and center stage the young man and woman sang their duet accompanied by the three-piece orchestra in the wings.  They were followed by an impish comedian and, in the audience, young and old alike enjoyed every minute of it.
   This Vietnamese Information Service (VIS) show wasn't on some elaborate stage in Saigon but on the back of a flat bed truck in a schoolyard in the village of Long Trung outside Tay Ninh City.
   Across the street people were lined up at the back ramp of track 17.  The medic track was from Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry (Mechanized).  "We've got a much better turnout than the last time we were here," said Sergeant Eugene Bihn, a medic from Millberry, Ohio.
   This joint effort of the VIS and S-5 of 4/23 was aimed at increasing the Chieu Hoi rate.  The purpose of the VIS show and MEDCAP is to draw crowds to the Chieu Hoi centers where families of known or suspected VC are given a tour of the facilities.  This lets them see for themselves that the Chieu Hoi program is not just a propaganda story.
   "The Vietnamese set up the basic program," explained Captain Thomas Mallison of Bear Lake, Mich., who is in charge of 4/23 S-5 operations.  "Mr. Duc, who is the head of the Phu Khu Ong district Chieu Hoi centers, sets up the programs and supplies the culture-drama show and a speaker truck.  We supply the Chieu Hoi leaflets and Medcap Facilities."
   Chieu Hois who have gone through the program go out and talk to the villagers.  They emphasize to the families if a man rallies to the government he can spend time with his family.
   The combined program was scheduled for various hamlets throughout the Phu Khu Ong district, which includes Tay Ninh City.


Ambushes Pay Off In Enemy Extinction

   FSB PERSHING - Night ambushes by the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, Warriors resulted in the elimination of more enemy than any other battalion in the 25th Division during the month of January.
   At least one Warrior Bushmaster was harassing the enemy nearly every night throughout the area of operations.  In this way the VC and the NVA were denied freedom of movement for troops and supplies.
   As a result of the Warriors' extensive night combat patrolling, more than 50 of the enemy were eliminated.  Pound upon pound of valuable medical supplies, clothing, food and other material also were captured by the persistent Warriors.
   More importantly, nearly two dozen of the enemy's AK-47 rifles and half as many K-54 Chinese Communist pistols were taken out of enemy hands.
   Master Sergeant Robert S. Qualls of Norwalk, Calif., part of the Warrior Intelligence Section, usually is one of the first to know about the damage the Warriors are inflicting on the enemy.
   "We've all but completely cut off the enemy, said Qualls.  "Food supply and replacements from the North are no longer able to flow smoothly into the south.  Instead of traveling in large groups, they must now move in groups of three and four."
   The enemy command structure also has suffered as a result of the continued pressure.
   "Having captured a number of high ranking VC and NVA officers," Qualls said, "organization within the local and regional units has deteriorated  significantly."


Team Brings Health, Fun

   TAY NINH - Medical care is a weekly event in Binh Trung hamlet near Tay Ninh.  First Lieutenant Charles Pruitt, 1st Brigade civic action officer, Specialist 6 Lawrence Joel, holder of the Medal of Honor and senior medic on the Medcap team, and Private First Class Marvine L. Davis, San Antonio, Tex. Co. D, 25th Medical Battalion visit the town once a week.
   The team goes to hamlets three times a week and while an ARVN interpreter announces their arrival over a loudspeaker, they set up their clinic in an open-sided straw-roofed building.
   As people of the village gather for treatment, Pruitt and Specialist 4 Robert Kaufmann, Detroit, walk to the far reaches of the town passing out information leaflets door to door.
   A Vietnamese nurse helps Joel and Davis with the patients, making sure each one knows how much medicine to take and how often.
   During the treatment there is usually a treat for the children. With the aid of an interpreter Pruitt forms a line of boys and a line of girls. The team then passes out candy.  Vietnamese children may be very brave and not cry with a cut finger, but a stick of candy brings a giggle every time.


Target practice FOUNTAINS OF WATER - Water shoots into the air as an M-60 doorgunner fires into the swamps of a hot landing zone.  The chopper was preparing to insert the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry's Mini-Cav for an operation in the Ho Bo Woods.



From the Ground Up
    Care Keeps Choppers Flying

   CU CHI - Helicopters are everywhere in Vietnam.  Like thousands of giant bees, they hum their way across the skies providing support for the fighting man.
   Keeping all of the choppers flying, however, isn't an easy or often-mentioned job.  Ground crews work around the clock to insure that helicopters are safe and well cared for.
   "On an average day, we begin work at 6 a.m. and finish about 9 p.m.," said Specialist 4 Allen Landon of Idaho Falls, Idaho, a mechanic in the aviation section of the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.  "Many times we don't get off until after midnight though."
   Third Brigade's aviation section is responsible for four Light Observation Helicopters (LOH).  The Brigade LOHs are light aircraft that fly contact missions, courier routes and a wide variety of other flights.
   According to Staff Sergeant Ernie A. Jones of Roseboro, N.C., the NCOIC for the aviation section, "The LOH is a simple aircraft that doesn't require a lot of heavy repairs.  But, for the safety of the pilots, all parts must be checked and, if necessary, replaced periodically.  It costs the government about $5,000 a month to keep the choppers in top shape."
   The ground crew spends most of the day on the flight line making light repairs or cleaning parts.
   "We can change a rotor blade in about 20 minutes," explained Jones.
   Ground crews clean the helicopters, change the oil and replace all faulty safety equipment.  When heavy repairs are necessary, the choppers are taken to a large maintenance yard where they can be completely overhauled.
   The most important part of the day begins at about 5 p.m.  Most of the LOHs are on their pads by that time for their daily inspection.
   "A complete daily takes an hour and a half," said Landon.  "If it's not done right, the pilot may have to pay for it with his life."
   The craft is checked completely from the air speed indicator tube in front to the rear rotor blade.
   "The most important area to inspect is the main rotor head," Landon pointed out.  "If something happens there, the helicopter could lose a blade and it would go down like a rock."
   The mechanics also check the flying instruments, engine stability, structural damage and many other things.  After every 300 flying hours, helicopters go to the maintenance yard where they are taken apart and given a complete going over.
   Ground crews put in long hard days, but to the people who fly the skies of Vietnam, it's all worth it.

SP4 Allen Landon IS IT SAFE? - Specialist 4 Allen Landon of Idaho Falls, Idaho, looks over the pilot's controls of a Light Observation Helicopter between missions.  Landon is a mechanic in 3d Brigade's aviation section.  (Photo by SP4 Bob Stephens)



Thanks to:
Roger Welt, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., and a Tropic Lightning News correspondent, for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 04-02-2006

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