Vol 5 No. 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 6||2/12 Photo 3||2/27 3||3/4 Cav 1|
|1/5 Photo 6||2/12 3||212 MP Photos 4||3/4 Cav 3|
|1/5 8||2/14 1||212 MP 4||3/22 1|
|1/5 8||2/14 Photo 1||212 MP Photos 4||34th Armor 3|
|1/27 Photo 1||2/22 1||3d Bde LOH 8||44th Scout Dog 1|
|1/27 8||2/22 3||3d Bde 8||75th Inf 7|
|2nd Bde 6||2/27 3||3d Bde 8||75th Inf Photos 7|
Hard Job for Dragons Proves Harder for Enemy
BY SP4 GREG STANMAR
CU CHI - Building a new campsite every night, pulling night ambush patrols and then coming back for daylight sweeps wasn't easy for Bravo Company 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry. But then, it was a lot harder on the eight dead enemy the Dragons tallied up.
The four-day bushmaster operation began with a sweep through the Filhol Plantation. The Dragons were working with a company from the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry (Mech). The tracks provided transportation into what was thought to be a recent holding area for a battalion of NVA.
After setting up a night perimeter surrounded with numerous APs, the enemy made his presence known. The first platoon still moving into their night ambush position, did not prove courteous guests.
"We opened up with M-16 fire and machine guns," said Sergeant James Northington, platoon sergeant. "We got the first one and spotted another heading for his bunker home. He didn't make it."
On the third night of the operation Private First Class Mike Vallentine, Hornell, N.Y., "spotted this VC. He looked lost. I was walking point and so got the first shot at him."
A 6.5 mm pistol, a personal radio, a GI compass and a small amount of money were found on the body.
The final day of the operation did not bring a slowdown of action. While giving the area a final sweep, more empty cans and fresh fires were spotted.
"We saw these three NVA waiting for somebody," said Private First Class Johnny Scott, Seminole, Tex. "We got the one up front right away. The other two were about 100 meters away. But we got them with no sweat."
In addition, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Crutchley, Dragon commander, shot one NVA while he was airborne in his Command and Control ship.
On the eve of the action-packed bushmaster, the third platoon of Bravo killed two NVA on an ambush patrol.
The eight dead, by actual count, for the week caused one GI, newly arrived on line, to comment, "so this is the way it is. It makes me wonder what's going to happen in my next 49 weeks."
Regulars Uncover Regiment
By SGT K. C. CULLEN
TAY NINH - A regimental size base camp is nothing new to the Regulars of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry but when it is less than a week old and stripped bare of anything of importance then it is unusual and suggests the enemy can't be far away.
A light observation helicopter (LOH) received ground fire from the region of the saddle due north of Tay Ninh, and Bravo Company of the Regulars reacted quickly via heliborne assault.
They were on the ground for only a short time when they began to take fire from a nearby woodline. Under the cover of organic weapons, Bravo pulled back and let the artillery and air pound the area thoroughly.
Charlie Company soon joined Bravo on the ground and Alfa was inserted on the other side of the finger of jungle to operate as a mobile blocking force.
As the two companies moved into the woods, they continued to receive sporadic sniper fire and they were soon in the midst of an enemy regimental headquarters and staging complex.
The main body had withdrawn to the north, deeper into the jungle but the harassing snipers remained as the Regulars moved through the bunkers. The enemy had taken most of their g e a r, but assorted mortar, RPGs and small arms ammo, along with food, cooking utensils and medical supplies were found in fresh, large bunkers with as much as five feet of overhead cover.
Alfa Company was left behind when the other companies were airlifted out. For three days, Alfa played cat and mouse with the snipers having cut them off from the main group. The Regulars once returned to a previous night location to find enemy troops scavenging through destroyed 155 canisters which had been used to bring in water. Three enemy were killed and another caught by the alert Regular point man. One AK-47 assault rifle was captured.
The Communists once again had tried to set up a base near the heavily populated villages to the north of Tay Ninh City and again the Regulars thwarted their effort and drove them deep into the jungle.
|THE SIMPLE PLEASURES - During a lull, SP4 Will Fazenbaker of Monroeville, Ohio, working with Alfa Company, 1/27th, near the Vam Co Dong river, lazes on a hammock at the Sugar Mill. (Photo by SP4 Frank Rezzonico)|
Slithery Strangers Shake Sandbaggers
By SP4 BRAD YAEGER
CU CHI - There were screams and flying shovels and Vietnamese sandbag girls scattering pell mell when they found another "hooded stranger" in their midst.
At the 44th Scout Dog Platoon in Cu Chi where a small reconstruction project was under way, men of the platoon were using ammo boxes to make new sidewalks.
"We were ripping out the old rotted sidewalks when it happened," said Specialist 4 Willie Posey of Haines City, Fla.
"I heard the sandbag girls scream and I turned to find a four-foot Indian Cobra sliding out from beneath the walk."
In the titanic struggle that ensued, Posey was able to subdue the Cobra with a long handled shovel. After the discovery of the first snake, the men figured that where there was one, there were bound to be many.
"The snakes were packed under there like sardines," said Sergeant Frank Smith of Holyoke, Mass., platoon sergeant for the 44th Scout Dogs.
"In the next 100 feet of walk we ripped out, we found one more Cobra, a krait, a bamboo viper, one unidentified snake and one dead rat.
"One of the guys even found a snake in his hootch, up in the rafters," he said. "Needless to say, we don't do too much walking around here in shower shoes anymore," Smith added.
NVA Leads Horsemen To 16 More Prisoners
By SP4 JOE O'ROURKE
FSB WOOD III - The capture of one young North Vietnamese soldier led the Horsemen of Alfa Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, to the chain reaction capture of 17 enemy soldiers recently.
"We were on a reconnaissance in force mission near Fire Support Base Wood III," said Specialist 4 Harold Alexander, a cavalryman from Atlanta, "when someone spotted a hole."
A thorough search of the position resulted in the capture of a young North Vietnamese soldier. Not many of the Horsemen thought they would get very much important information from such a young boy, but their assumptions turned out to be wrong. With the help of the troop's Kit Carson Scout, the boy told them he was 14 years old and had been in the North Vietnamese Army for two years. He said his father, a Commanding Officer in an NVA Unit, had threatened to kill him unless he joined the army.
Most importantly the captured NVA told the Horsemen the location of another enemy hiding place.
Private First Class Carlos Tavarez, a combat medic from West Los Angeles, said, "We started searching for the other hole the boy told us about and it was right where he said it would be."
Inside the hiding place were four more North Vietnamese. After a few minutes of questioning, the four prisoners revealed the location of still another hiding place containing four more NVA. The same pattern followed for the rest of the day's operation.
By day's end the Horsemen had found three more enemy-occupied holes and a grand total of 17 prisoners. Along with the 17 POW's, eight assault rifles and a Chicom pistol were captured.
|WITHERING FIRE - Specialist 4 William Lovelace, Joyer, N.C., a member of the Bravo Company Golden Dragons, 2/14th, fires his M-60 machine gun near a patrol base perimeter. (Photo by PFC Ray Byrne)|
Dreadnaughts Build Range
FSB BUELL - Second Battalion 34th Armor (Dreadnaughts) completed an M-16 firing range and dedicated it to the allies killed in Vietnam.
The firing and qualification range has been designed for day and night firing. Upon completion of difficult operations the men of the unit go to the range to zero their weapons.
The range is the first of its kind to be built at a fire support base. Former First Brigade commander, Colonel John E. Tyler, officially fired the first shot down the range to open it.
The dedication sign that hangs at the range reads, "In memory of those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the fight to preserve and stop the spread of Communist aggression."
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
|BRONZE STAR FOR HEROISM|
LTC Corwin A. Mitchell, HHT 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT John L. Schafer, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
SGT Jimmy L. Leonard, Hq. Trp. 3/4 Cav., girl
SGT Byron L. White, 25 TACP (USAF), girl
SSG Dennis L. Dixon, 25 MP Co, girl
SGT Charles Sanders, E. Co. 2/27, girl
SP5 Tommy Watkins, 587 Sig. Co., girl
SP4 Glenn W. Ransier, HHB 1/8 Arty, girl
SP4 Robert J. Lundquist, HHC 1/5, boy
1LT Martin Gonzales, C Co. 1/27, boy
SP5 James E. Smith, 372nd R R Co, girl
SP5 Charles Dale, D Co. 2/22 Inf., girl
1LT Paul Louis Grube, HHC & Band, girl
SGT David McClennen, Co. C 2/22, Girl
SP4 Eugene Worden, A Batt. 7/9 Arty, boy
Learning Back in the World
Army Offers Programs to Help Gis Back to School
By SP5 PAT MORRISON
If further education is your bag, "Project MEMO" was designed for you. MEMO (More Education, More Opportunity) is the program kicked off by comedian Bob Hope on his Christmas tour. MEMO helps you start arranging for your education while you're still in the service. It's for servicemen who haven't completed their first four years of college.
MEMO will get you in touch with a high school superintendent, a trade school, technical school, business school or college in your home state. You can name the school or let MEMO submit your name to several. It costs nothing.
All you need is a "Project MEMO" application form from your education NCO or from the Education Center. In from two to six weeks, one or more schools will contact you here in Vietnam.
IF YOU GET IN TOUCH with a school through Project MEMO or on your own and the school requests entrance examinations, your Education Center has you covered again. These may be taken at the Education Center. They are given on certain dates at the same time all over the world. The college will tell you which test they require for entry. The cost is about six dollars.
Applications for these entrance exams are available at your Education Center and should be mailed five weeks prior to your test date.
COLLEGE GRADS who are applying for graduate schools may also take required entrance examinations at the Education Center.
Applications for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business (ATGSB) are available at the Education Center. Here again, applications must be mailed five weeks prior to the test date.
ENLISTED MEN MAY RECEIVE an early release from the Army to enter or return to school. Up to 90 days can be chopped off your military hitch by this method. Although it may take several weeks to gain the necessary acceptance from the school, Army approval is virtually automatic.
To apply for a school drop you need a letter from a recognized institution of higher education stating that you are accepted for enrollment for a specific school term as a fulltime student. The school's letter must state the latest date on which you must report to the school in person for registration in order to meet the school's requirement for attendance. The letter should also note the first day of classes.
A short statement from the serviceman is also needed saying he is able to pay the school entrance fee, that this school term is the most opportune time for him to begin or resume his education and that he is aware that giving false statements to secure a separation from the service may lead to prosecution.
You will need to write the school yourself for the letter of acceptance and specifics. Your unit clerk will take care of your personal statement once you have obtained the acceptance letter from the school. These two statements along with a short enclosure from your immediate commanding officer are sent through battalion headquarters to 25th Division Headquarters for consideration.
The effective date of your separation can be up to 15 days prior to the first day of classes. The Division Personnel Actions Office would like your paper work a month or more before your new DEROS.
YOU ARE ELIGIBLE for educational assistance under the GI Bill if you are discharged or released under other than dishonorable conditions and were on active duty for a continuous period of 181 days or more.
Effective Dec. 1, 1968, a veteran having 18 months or more active duty is entitled to 36 months of educational benefits. Veterans returning to complete high school in no way jeopardize their 36 months of educational benefits which may be used after earning a high school diploma.
Although the GI Bill does not make provisions for educational loans, most colleges have loan programs. Write your school for details.
TO GET GI BENEFITS at the time of your separation from the service you will be given an opportunity to pick up a VA Form 21E-1990. These are also available at your local Veterans Administration Office and from any college registrar.
Submit this completed application, along with a copy of your DD-214 (Report of Separation from the Armed Services), and, if applicable, all documents to support evidence of dependency to the Veterans Administration Office serving the area in which you reside.
The VA will issue two copies of the Certificate of Eligibility which you submit to the college at the time of registration. Payments are made directly to you. Your first check will come about five weeks after you enter school and once a month thereafter for each month you are in school for up to 36 months.
If you have any questions concerning your education plans, you may call the Education Center in Cu Chi (5143) or write: Army Education Center 25th Infantry Division, APO 96225.
Reup: Pays $643 Plus Side Benefits
Recently a PFC who had been in Vietnam 4 months and in the Army 8 months earned promotion to Specialist 4, $643 tax free, a 30-day leave in the U.S. and a 3-day in-country R & R - all for one action.
He reenlisted in the Army for what amounted to eight months. Besides all this, his MOS was changed and he began on-the-job training for work he had wanted to do even as a civilian.
"This isn't an unusual case at all," Captain Denis J. Tappella, Division re-enlistment officer said. "Any man with eight months or more in the Army and with at least six months remaining in Vietnam can get exactly the same thing."
Tappella stressed that this man had originally enlisted for three years and that by reenlisting after 8 months, he extended his tour of duty to only three years and eight months. After he came into the Army he had decided he wanted to work in another MOS. By reenlisting he guaranteed himself the change of MOS for the rest or his tour.
"They definitely are guaranteed the change of MOS if they request it when they re-enlist," said Tappella. "And they are guaranteed the side benefits as well."
Tappella said that men who have been in the service more than 21 months could earn up to $10,000 with a variable reenlistment bonus when they reenlist.
The Division provides lots of places to re-enlist, Tappella said. Each battalion maintains a re-enlistment office, a re-enlistment office is located across the street from Wakiki East in Cu Chi (standdown area), and a re-enlistment office is located next to 1st Brigade Headquarters in Tay Ninh.
"We think reenlistment benefits give the best deals the Army has to offer," Tappella said. "A man can change his job, get a vacation and get paid for all of it."
Benefits of GI Bill
The GI Bill grants you a monthly allowance to help you meet the
cost of living, tuition, fees, books and supplies. The rates of monthly
pay are as follows:
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 Genitti . . . . . . . . . . Editor
SP4 Charles C. Self . . . . . . . . Assistant Editor
SP4 Gary D. Sciortino . . . . . . Assistant Editor
SSG Jack Anderson . . . . . . . Production Supervisor
|SP4 Dennis Bries
SGT Bill Oberholzer
SP4 Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
SP4 Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
SP4 Jeff Hinman
SP4 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Greg Duncan
SP4 Brad Yaeger
SP4 Frank Rezzonico
|SP4 Dan Neff
SP4 Henry Zukowski
SP4 Joe O'Rourke
PFC Ray Byrne
SGT William E. Zarrett
SP4 Robert Caplan
SP4 Brian Flaherty
SP5 Pat Morrison
SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick
PFC Rob Lato
SP4 Ken Barron
SGT William E. Zarrett
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
Up to Charlie's Tricks
'4th Platoon' Chases Enemy
By SP4 JOSEPH L. O'ROURKE
The ability to counteract the enemy's use of darkness as a shield for concealing his night-time operations has always been a problem to units in Vietnam. Night activities of the enemy working in the Boi Loi Woods have been drastically inhibited by the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry's new "4th Platoon."
The ground units of the Cav have been diversified by reorganizing and employing the men in each troop to form the new "4th Platoon" dubbed the "Night Raiders." The 4th Platoon is used specifically for day and night ambush patrols.
First Lieutenant Thomas J. Morgan, Charlie Troop's 4th Platoon Leader from Port Arthur, Tex., said, "Since employing the new concept of the 4th Platoon ambush patrol we have been able to curb enemy activity both at night and during daytime. During the day the troop performs a reconnaissance, surveying the area and telling us where fresh enemy activity is.
"The 4th Platoon is then inserted. We wait, and it doesn't take too long before the enemy shows up. We let them have it with everything we have, check out the bodies quickly, and get out of the area fast! You might say we are fighting like Charlie because we move in a small group, hit hard, and move away quickly."
Private First Class Boyd C. Butterfield, a grenadier from Portland Oregon, who is nicknamed, "Seven-Nine," because of his accuracy with his M-79 said, "I remember one AP we went on. We stayed in the area where the troop ate chow. Within 45 minutes two NVA soldiers came walking in kicking cans and looking for any food the troop might have left laying around.
"We let them have it killing them. Then someone spotted one in a tree and I used my M-79 which took care of him. Again we spotted one in a trench and I fired killing him also. When we checked the trench line we also found blood trails leading away, that indicated we wounded some more."
Lieutenant Colonel Corwin A. Mitchell from Springfield, Va., Commanding Officer of 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, originally initiated the idea of the 4th Platoon ambush patrol, while Captain Oleh B. Koropey, from Pawtucket R.I., took care of training the men.
"The men from each ambush platoon went through intensive training in the methods that were desired by the Cav," said Major Webb Kremer, Squadron S-3, from Arlington, Va. "Each man was given training in ambush techniques, night movement, demolitions, and adjustment of artillery and gunships.
"One of the direct results of the Cav's ambush patrols since the end of January has been that none of the Troops have received any enemy attacks by fire or snipers while in their night laager positions," Kremer said.
Hounds Hunt Water - New Well At PB Kotrc
By SP4 RICHARD DOMBROWIECKI
CU CHI - "Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink."
This was the problem for both the Ancient Mariner of literary fame and the men of Patrol Base Kotrc. Kotrc personnel, however, are taking steps to relieve their problem.
Kotrc has no direct access to fresh water and has had to depend upon the resupply system for potable water. Unfortunately, only a thousand gallons can be brought in per day for the men. It must be used for drinking, cooking, and washing.
Said Captain William H. Schuler Jr., of Ripon, Wis., commander of Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, Wolfhounds, "We would usually be down to our emergency supply by 4 p.m. every day. And when the choppers couldn't reach us because of enemy action, we'd really be in a bind."
To ease the situation, Kotrc is taking advantage of what nature has provided. "The water table in the area is quite high," said the captain. "Therefore, we are digging a well. It should supply about 1,800 gallons daily so that several chopper flights with water can be eliminated."
Installation of a 600-gallon tank with a filter and purification unit will complete the operation and hopefully solve Kotrc's watery dilemma.
|WARRIOR DRAFTSMAN - Gothic lettering is one of the specialties of Warrior draftsman Private Ronald Vanone of Haledon, N.J. (Photo by SP4 Jeff Hinman)|
'Zippo's Hideaway' Home Of Drafted Draftsman
By SP4 JIM WILLIAMS
FSB Pershing - Whether it is making a map or chart, lettering a jeep or just painting a sign, the talented draftsman of the Warriors, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, will rise to the occasion. That talented draftsman is Private First Class Ronald Vanone of Haledon, N.J.
Vanone arrived in Vietnam in March last year and spent several months as a machinegunner with the Warriors of Alfa Company before his talents were recognized. Warrior Operations finally put "Zippo," as his friends call him, to work making charts and signs.
It wasn't long before business was booming and Zippo needed an area set aside especially for him and his operations.
"We started construction of a small shack adjacent to the Tactical Operations Center at Fire Support Base Pershing back in September," said Vanone, "and it was finished in a couple of days."
Inside Zippo built shelves into the wall and constructed a drafting table. The shack became known as "Zippo's Hideaway."
Before entering the Army, Vanone spent two semesters at Trenton State College in Trenton, N.J., were he majored in business administration.
"I guess I was born with the artistic talent," said Vanone. "When I'm given a job to do I just do it the best I can. Someone must like my work, I guess. I've been swamped with signs to paint and charts and maps to put together."
Zippo is getting short though, and it will be no easy job for the Warriors to find a replacement for him.
Sergeant Takes a 2nd Look
Careful Search Pays - in Cache
By SP4 DENNIS J. BRIES
CU CHI Applying experience learned from two previous tours of duty in Vietnam, Staff Sergeant Gilbert J. Paris from Owensboro, Ky., led the men of his platoon to an extremely profitable cache of 50,000 piasters.
Charlie Company, 2d Battalion (Mech) 22nd Infantry, operating as security for 65th Engineers in a land clearing operation about 10 miles west of Cu Chi, had captured six VC during the previous day's operations.
Three of them were removed from a tunnel while the others were captured while trying to escape from the area where the plows were operating. Numerous documents, a pistol and personal items were also captured.
"The fast moving plows didn't permit us to thoroughly search the area after we spotted the VC," Paris said.
"It took a little talking to convince the platoon leader and the company commander that there was more to be found in the area," Paris said. "I finally got permission to take several men with me and check it over again."
The next day Paris took eight men with him to the tunnel where the VC were captured. "Things were pretty messed up but I pointed to a spot and told them to start digging," Paris said.
Specialist 4 Michael J. Self, St. Louis, said, "At first it seemed crazy to go back and dig behind the plows but we had only gone down a foot before we found a new AK rifle."
"We uncovered the money two feet below the rifle," added Private First Class William R. Drake Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif.
"Where there is one cache there's bound to be another," said Paris. The VC we captured the previous day were fat, well dressed and well-to-do. It just bothered me and I had to go back and check again."
Hounds Build Gas Station
By PFC ROB LATO
FIRE SUPPORT BASE JACKSON - "Ready to Strike. . .Anywhere, Anytime." That is the motto of the 25th Infantry Division. This motto also holds for the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.
To uphold the lightning reputation of the 2d Hounds, a refueling station has been added as a time-saving device for helicopters at the battalion forward, Fire Support Base Jackson.
The refueling pad cuts down on blade hours that were once necessary to run back to Cu Chi to refuel. Now gunships, slicks or whatever are flying support for Wolfhound operations simply fly to Jackson, refuel and may return in a matter of minutes instead of hours.
Running the chopper gas station is a three-man team headed by Sergeant David Brody of New York City and the air service attendants, Private First Class Charles E. Davis, Washington, D.C., and Specialist 4 Charles Davis, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"We will even give the Chinooks a booster so they can complete their resupply runs to our forward positions near the border," said Brody.
The trio's duties also include daily maintenance of the fuel pumps and keeping a ready supply of smoke grenades and "60" ammo for emergencies that might arise, thus saving helicopters the time of returning to distant rearming points.
"It just goes to show you how busy this refueling pad really is," said Davis. "Three months ago, we built sandbagged shelters for the fuel bladders that we had. Since then, we have had to accommodate for additional bladders, and it looks as though its time for more expansion."
The refueling pad operates between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. "The refueling pad, being a time saver, is a great asset toward the accomplishment of any mission," commented Captain Hank Jones, 116th Assault Helicopter Company pilot of St. Louis.
|50,000 PIASTERS - This money was part of a find uncovered by Charlie Company, 2/22, when Staff Sergeant Gilbert J Paris, Owensboro, Ky, insisted on double checking after a sweep. (Photo by SP4 Dennis J Bries)|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
Story & Photos
There are three types of dogs serving in
Vietnam, Scouts, Trackers and Sentry dogs.
Sentry dogs are trained to attack on command, while Scouts and Trackers are trained to alert silently on scent or sign so that the men they are working with can take action. They are warners more than attackers.
"Sentry dogs are trained to pursue, attack and delay an enemy," said Staff Sergeant Clyde E. Morgan, who is head NCO of Team B, 1st Platoon, 212th MP Company, (Sentry Dogs), assigned to Tay Ninh base camp for perimeter patrolling.
"In order to be effective, the handler must be able to control his dog," said Morgan. "Some dogs will attack anything, anytime, so the handler has to let him know who's boss.
"The dogs can sense fear. If you are acting afraid, they will attack, particularly if you run."
Specialist 4 John T. Lettuce Alexandria Va., is handler for a five-year-old dog named Shadow, who is on his third tour in Vietnam. "The dog knows what to do," said Lettuce, "but he has to get used to the handler or he won't obey. The dog will try to go his own way with a new handler until the handler proves he can control the dog. Basically, the dog wants to cooperate. The handler has to win the confidence of the dog. Then they are a team."
Veterinarian for the team is Specialist 4 Percy E. Hicks, Bronx, N.Y., who feeds each dog one can of horsemeat and a two pound size coffee can of meal, mixed with 12 ounces of water each day.
He treats the dogs for fevers, cuts, bruises and worms, and maintains a complete medical record on each dog.
"One bad thing here," said Hicks, "is the disease 'I.H.S.' Most of our dogs have it, and until it is cured the dogs have to stay in Vietnam. The disease is contagious to other dogs, but not virulently so. So far no humans have been affected by the disease." I.H.S. is a blood disease causing even a small wound to bleed without clotting.
Practice and training is part of the Sentry Dog team's daily schedule. After the sun sets and the air begins to cool, the handlers bring out their dogs on leashes and begin working with them.
Up through a window and down a ramp and through a length of steel pipe, the dogs run, stop, leap and obey directional commands as handlers concentrate on obedience and accuracy of response.
"It is almost impossible to outrun them," says Sergeant Tim J. Anderson, Hot Springs Ark., who dons a heavy canvas-covered padded cotton suit for practice. "The dogs are fast - very quick, and good tacklers also."
In the suit, Anderson stands still while handlers practice searching and surveillance techniques with their dogs. The dog sits unmuzzled, watching while the handler searches the "detainee." Any sudden movement by the "prisoner" brings on a flying rush of dog fangs and clawing feet.
"I am thankful for the padded suit when that happens," said Anderson.
After training, the handlers and their dogs mount jeeps for transport to the perimeter and a night of walking guard along the wire. Tours of duty are six hours.
In the blackness of the night on the line, the silent partner tugging on the leash is reassuring to the man walking.
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
Homeless Bobcats Move to Dau Tieng
By SP4 RICH FITZPATRICK
FSB DEVIN - Late last month the last elements of the 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry, left Fire Support Base Devin for the last time. Devin had been the home of the Bobcats for ten months.
The men began a trek across the Filhol, the Boi Loi Woods and the Ho Bo Woods to their new home in Dau Tieng. The trip would take nearly three weeks. During this time the battalion would be homeless.
Segments of the battalion criss-crossed their way with from four to seven night locations. Keeping the men supplied with food, ammo, mail and other necessities was the job of Bobcat supply.
Feeding two hot meals a day to more than 600 men was a team of six cooks in the rear who were on call 24 hours a day. Sixty-six mermite cans of food traveled from Cu Chi to the forward areas and back each day. To quench the dry throats five 600-gallon water trailers made the daily trip to Cu Chi to be refilled. For those desiring something more tasty than water more than 100 cases of soda went to the field daily and were iced down by sixteen 300-pound blocks of ice.
Laundry, mail and repaired parts also were transported to the men in the field daily. As replacements completed the Tropic Lightning Re-Inforcement School, they were taken to their new companies in re-supply choppers.
The enormity of the task of supply of an entire battalion on the move by air was summed up by Bobcat Mess Sergeant, Sergeant First Class Jack W. Cassiba of Linden, N.J., who said "I've been in Vietnam four years and have never seen anything like this."
|UP UP AND AWAY - Fresh supplies begin their daily trip to supply the Bobcats of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th infantry, during their move to Dau Tieng. (Photo by SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick)|
Top Soldier Sees How Brigade Works
By PFC RICK CONNELL
CU CHI - Each month for a few fortunate infantrymen of the 2nd brigade, the war in Vietnam takes a new perspective. These Fire Brigade GIs are chosen by their battalions as "Soldiers of the Month."
The 2nd Brigade's Soldier of the Month program is designed to honor the best soldiers of each battalion and to give these top soldiers a commanding officer's eye view at the operations of the brigade. The Soldier of the Month is selected by his battalion on the basis of knowledge of his job, leadership ability, courage and personal character.
Once selected by his battalion, the Soldier of the Month has the opportunity of spending a day with the 2nd brigade commander, Colonel Ennis C. Whitehead Jr.
In the morning he is introduced to the brigade commander and spends some time personally talking with him before attending the morning briefing. At the morning briefing the Soldier of the Month, along with the brigade staff officers, is familiarized with the previous day's operations and the operations that will be carried out for the day.
After the briefing, the Soldier of the Month is photographed with the brigade commander in front of the commander's Command and Control aircraft. A copy of the photograph is sent to his next of kin along with a hometown news release.
DEAR SERGEANT CERTAIN: Shortly before I left the
United States I met a beautiful young lady and immediately fell madly in love.
After a whirlwind romance through the wire at the Overseas Replacement Station
in Oakland I proposed and she accepted. My problem is this: I'm not
interested in getting married by telephone and can't afford an R&R in
Hawaii. How can I bring my finance to Vietnam?
Madly in Love
DEAR MAD: A number of methods have been tried with varying degrees of success. One loney girl packed herself up in a box addressed to her love but when the X-rays at the post office were developed she was convinced to stay with the GIs in San Francisco. Another girl disguised herself as a GI and climbed aboard a plane bound for Vietnam. It was hijacked to New York. Of course there are legitimate ways too. She could become a stewardess for the Bingoi Air Lines which shuttles GIs between the U.S. and Australia. But after the first night she might not remember your name. If she fails the stewardess course she might enroll in the extensive two-day training given donut dollies or apply for a two year course in nursing and a second lieutenant's commission. But the surest answer is to convince your Sweetie to enlist as a WAC. After about eight months of training she should be ready to join you in Vietnam and as she arrives at Bien Hoa you can wave to her as you board your freedom bird back to the world.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
Jumping at Tan Son Nhut
Airborne Rangers: Training Hard, Harassing Enemy
CU CHI - The Airborne Rangers of Company F., 75th Infantry, perform a Division-wide mission harassing the enemy from the Straight Edge Woods to the Black Virgin Mountain to the Ho Bo and Boi Loi Woods. Most of the Ranger operations are performed over two and three day periods by elite well-trained teams consisting of both U.S. and ARVN Infantrymen.
Training is a continuous effort for the Rangers and recently they traveled to Tan Son Nhut Airbase to make parachute jumps. The Rangers accomplished three things that are important to any Ranger outfit as a result.
First on the list was getting the practice so important to performing a feat which requires a great deal of skill. Second, the jumping enables the Rangers to maintain their jump status. Finally, the Rangers will eventually be awarded Vietnamese jump wings as a result of their extra efforts.
Story and Photos
|The leap into emptiness|
|Teamwork on the ground|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 23, 1970
Bobcats Grenade NVA in Kill Zone
By SP4 RICH FITZPATRICK
CU CHI - Night after night infantrymen of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry had set up their ambushes, but the nights passed without seeing a single enemy.
Finally, the persistent Bobcats' efforts paid off. After eight fruitless evenings, the Bobcats engaged an enemy force and killed seven of the foe.
It was a dark and foggy night with no moon for illumination. Starlight scopes couldn't be depended upon to spot the enemy. However, a sharp-eyed Bobcat spotted 15 NVA complete with full field gear and AK-47's. The NVA were not far off and headed straight for the flank of the Bobcat's ambush position.
Second Lieutenant James K. Clark of Bardstown, Ky., suddenly found himself in a difficult situation. Another Bobcat ambush was located 300 meters in the same direction from which the NVA were approaching. The enemy had already passed the line of friendly claymores and it was impossible to fire either the M-60 machine gun or M-16's.
There was only one thing to do and Clark did it. He gave the order to hurl hand grenades at the approaching enemy force. With the best pitching performance since the New York Mets took the World Series, the Bobcats fired a series of deadly strikes at the oncoming enemy, dispersing them and killing seven.
A sweep of the area was conducted following the action. Along with the seven dead, the Bobcats captured 1/2 pound of documents, 2 AK-47's, 1 K-54 pistol, 50 batteries. Enemy food supplies were also found: 20 pounds of buffalo meat and I head of fresh lettuce.
Vietnam 1969 Sales Soaring
CU CHI - The 1969 Tropic Lightning Yearbook "Vietnam 1969" has topped previous years' advance sales records. More than 4,000 orders have been placed, according to Second Lieutenant Frank DiBella, who is in charge of sales.
DiBella credits the boom to the "promise of a really fine book." It will have 220 pages with 80 pages in full color, he said.
"The yearbook covers the life of the 25th Division soldier - the hard times and the good times, DiBella said. "It tells the story of the division and its men."
He said Yearbook orders may be placed through Tropic Lightning Association representatives. The book will have a hard, clothbound cover and sells for $5 per copy. DiBella added that it may be sent directly to a subscriber's home address.
A March delivery date is expected.
|HUNTING ENEMY - A Light Observation Helicpoter (LOH) on a Visual Reconnaissance flight mission skims the tree-tops searching for enemy.|
Prevent Enemy Buildup
VR Pilots Flush Out Enemy
By SP4 BOB STEPHENS
CU CHI - One of the most effective means of preventing an enemy buildup near 25th Infantry Division bases is through Visual Reconnaissance (VR) flights, a pilot flying the missions said recently.
The missions, flown in Light Observation Helicopters (LOHs), are responsible for spotting enemy elements before they can launch their operations.
"If the enemy were planning a night attack on Cu Chi Base Camp, they would have to begin massing their troops outside the wire during the early evening," said WO1 Kenneth Thiem of Florence, S.C., a pilot with the 3d Brigade. "We would be able to spot them on the daily VR flight we have around base camp."
Making visual contact with the enemy isn't easy, he said. Communist soldiers are masters at camouflage and can hide almost anyplace.
"By hovering low over suspected enemy positions and maybe dropping a few hand grenades, we can flush any hidden troops. If they open up, we fly out of range and call in their location to the artillery," he explained Thiem.
VR pilots are always on call to support ground troops in their area of operations. If an infantry unit receives incoming fire and can not locate the source, a VR flight through the area usually can.
VR pilots often catch the enemy by surprise.
"The other morning I was flying a mission about 880 meters outside Cu Chi's perimeter when I spotted something that looked suspicious," recounted Thiem. "I was hovering just a few feet away before I realized that it was a VC. He must have had a pretty rough night because he was sound asleep," he said.
"When he woke, he jumped up but tripped and dropped his AK-47. He started running and another officer with me started firing. I think the VC was hit because he fell but we couldn't spot the body," Thiem said.
Groaning Ghost Haunts VC
By SP4 FRANK REZZONICO
FSB CHAMBERLAIN - If you were a Wolfhound of the First Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, and were at Fire Support Base Chamberlain on the night of February 10 you might have sworn the place was being haunted by poltergeists . . . ghosts that is.
The moans, groans and weird sounds began at eight that night, a likely time for the cloudlike forms to reveal themselves. Of course, ghosts are nonexistent . . . or are they?
In this case the ghosts and weird sounds were furnished by the Sixth Psyops Team and the S-5 Section of the 1/27th Wolfhounds who were conducting a night mission at Chamberlain.
With the help of loud speakers and a tape of "The Wandering Soul," a mythical tale of a V.C. gone to Buddha, the mission was a success.
"The Wandering Soul is a tape about the soul of a dead Viet Cong. It describes the wandering of this soul about the countryside. The dead VC tells his comrades to look at what has happened to his soul and that he will never be at rest, always wandering," said Captain William Goodman of Philadelphia, the battalion S-5.
"Buddhists believe very strongly that if they aren't properly buried and properly mourned, their soul will wander through eternity," added First Lieutenant Peter Boni of Boston, the OIC of the Sixth Psyops Team.
"We play upon the psychological superstitions and fears of the enemy. The method is very effective," Boni said.
"The tape makes the friendly villagers return to their homes, and any suspecting persons who remain are questioned," Goodman said.
A quick-reaction sweep following the tape by the l/27th Recon Platoon netted three detainees, one of whom was jailed.
"It was the first time this type of tape has been used in the Third Brigade and reviewing the results we plan to use this method again," Boni said.
Radar School Held at 3d Brigade
By SP4 RICHARD DOMBROWIECKI
CU CHI - In an effort to increase the effectiveness of night-time search operations, a two-day radar school was held recently at 3d Brigade Headquarters.
The school was held to familiarize radar operators with the PPS-4 radar device. In charge of the training was 1LT Eugene B. Roberts, Atlanta, a 3d Brigade staff officer.
Nine radar operators from four 3d Brigade units received instruction by two civilian technicians of the Long Binh Radar School.
For the radarmen this was their formal instruction with the PPS-4, a device designed to detect ground movement at various ranges. Their only previous training was on the PPS-5, big brother to the PPS-4.
Instruction included operation and basic maintenance of the equipment. A night exercise, scanning from bunker line positions, was the practical application of what the men learned by day.
The PPS-4 was described as smaller and less bulky than the PPS-5, and operable from moving vehicles and patrol boats as well as stationary positions. Because of its mobility it is especially useful at night when enemy activity increases on a wider scale.
In commenting on the PPS-4 school, the first of its kind at Cu Chi, Lieutenant Roberts, was enthusiastic.
"I can't see any drawbacks to the program. You know your people are getting good instruction," he said.
The lieutenant, who said he hopes to make the school into a monthly one, said the ultimate goal is "to have our own school within the brigade. In that way we won't have to depend on other units to train our men."
|FEEWD - This is the new Field Expedient Early Warning Device, a trip wire-activated, rubber band-driven reusable noise maker (Photo by SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick)|
Bobcats' Cans Can Can Charlies
George Foster, 25th Aviation Bn., for sharing this issue,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn., for locating and mailing it,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 8-12-2004
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