TLN.JPG (37996 bytes)

Vol 5 No. 13          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          March 30, 1970



Unit                            Page Unit                            Page Unit                            Page Unit                           Page
1/5 Photo                                 3 2/22 Photo                               7 269th Avn Bn                          6 4/23                                           8
1/8 Arty                                   6 2/22 Photo                               7 269th Avn Bn Photo              6 4/23 Photo                               8
1/27                                          3 2/22                                           8 3rd Bde                                     7 40th Med                                 2
1/27                                          3 2/22 Photo                               8 3/22                                           1 65th Engr                                 7
116th AHC                              8 2/27                                          7 3/22 Photo                               1 7/11 Arty                                  1
187th AHC                              1 2/27 Photo                              7 3/22                                           4 7/11 Arty                                  6
2nd Bde                                   3 2/27                                          8 3/22 Photos                             4 7/11 Arty Photo                      6
2/14                                          8 2/34 Armor                              3 4/9                                             3 725th Maint                             2
2/22                                          7 25th Inf                                    1 4/23                                           1 MG Harris W Hollis Photo    1
2/22                                          7 25th Inf                                    8 4/23 Photo                               1 MG Harris W Hollis                1


Maj. Gen. Harris W. HollisCG Bids Troops a Fond Farewell

   The time has come for me to go.  I leave to you and to your new commander, work yet to be done.
   You have made a magnificent contribution during our association together, and as a consequence we see the beginning of better times for the people of this region.
   Your conduct in this war has been inspiring to me.  You have displayed honor and courage, compassion and charity, and unfailing good humor.  Your character, aspirations and individual guts testify to the fact that you are men, not children.
   You have not sucked your thumbs nor shirked your responsibilities as citizens.  You have come to Vietnam and you have served.  For this you will be better men - more vigorous and confident in the uncertain years ahead.
   I am proud to have served as your division commander.  May God go with you.  May an honorable peace follow you.

Major General, USA Commanding
Change of Command


Change of Command
     General Harris W. Hollis Departs Division Thursday

   CU CHI - After more than six months in command of the Tropic Lightning Division, Major General Harris W. Hollis will relinquish his command Thursday to Major General Edward Bautz, Jr., presently the MACV Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations.
   Hollis came to Vietnam in November 1968 as Deputy Commander of I Field Force and later served five months as the commander of the 9th Infantry Division in the Delta.  He assumed command of the 25th in September 1969.
   His new assignment will be with the U.S. Army Europe, as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, in Heidelburg.
   During his command of the 25th, enemy activity has been reduced to the lowest point since the division began operations here more than four years ago.  There has been an increased emphasis on both Vietnamization and pacification under Hollis' command of the division.  The concern for the Vietnamese people that he generated in his men was recognized by the Republic of Vietnam several weeks ago when it presented the division with the Civic Actions Medal, one of two medals awarded to American units by the government.
   Throughout his term as division commander Hollis emphasized understanding of U.S. presence in Vietnam and the fact that U.S. troops are guests of the Vietnamese people.
   In a message shortly after he assumed command Hollis pointed out the need "to maintain a positive and harmonious relationship with the Vietnamese Armed Forces and civil populace in order to execute the combat mission in the most efficient and economical manner."
   In a message addressed to the troops during early December Hollis talked about honor.
   "At a time when alleged aberrations of conduct by some American soldiers hold full sway in the journals across the land we must re-dedicate ourselves to honor so that the confidence of our people may be fully secured in the difficult days ahead," he said.
   "Without honor, integrity and compassion, we are nothing," he stated.
   A syndicated newspaper article that was published in the United States during December described Hollis as a man who goes out of his way to understand the young, "modern soldier."
   "He's all general . . . slender, stony faced, short bristles of graying hair," according to the article.  "He lives 'in the best hootch in Cu Chi' as the GIs say."
   "But," the article continues, "as much as any private in the ranks, he earns his pay by putting in long days of frustrating, difficult wartime labor."
   "Most of the men he sees, even the mods, he likes.  He says he's not opposed to the outspokenness of today's GI.  Not as long as the soldier continues to get the job done."
   The article quotes the general as saying "My own personal feeling is that a commander should treat every man as a man, not as a child.  Recognize his pride.  Recognize his need of comradeship."


Enemy Silenced on Black Virgin

   TAY NINH - A three-day battle at the base of Nui Ba Den recently resulted in 56 enemy killed by elements of two division infantry units.
   "This is my third tour in Vietnam and that was some of the heaviest and most accurate enemy sniper fire I've encountered," Sergeant John Mohler of Cannonsburg, Pa., a recon sergeant attached to the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23d Infantry Tomahawks, said.  "Anything that moved in the open got hit."
   The enemy force was so well entrenched behind the giant granite boulders of the Black Virgin Mountain that it took the combined efforts of two companies of Tomahawks and two companies of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars to finally silence the enemy guns, he said.
   The enemy was first sighted the morning of March 15 moving up the slopes of the mountain by the Tomahawks' Headquarters Company recon platoon.  Charlie Company Tomahawks were assigned the task of sweeping the area at the base of the north side of the mountain.
   They had moved only 200 meters when they received small arms fire.  Alfa Company Tomahawks were then brought in on Charlie Company's flank.
   Alfa Company immediately came under heavy fire from a small knoll to the right of their position.
   "Alfa Company took the brunt of the enemy's attack the first day," Captain Terry O'Hara, Mayfield Village, Ohio, the Tomahawks' Charlie Company commanding officer, said. "They did an outstanding job under the circumstances."
   Alfa and Charlie Companies pulled back to a blocking position late in the afternoon and the Regulars' Alfa and Delta Companies under the operational control of the Tomahawks were inserted above the enemy position by the 187th Assault Helicopter Company.
   The next morning the Tomahawks resumed their blocking positions at the base of the mountain reinforced by Bravo Battery, Alfa Section, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery.
   With the Tomahawks in position the Regulars started moving down the rocky slopes to flush the enemy.  Half way down the slope they encountered heavy small arms, rocket propelled grenade (RPG) and .51 caliber machinegun fire.
   The sudden intensity of fire resulted in several casualties for the Regulars and the immediate necessity for their removal to a secure location from which they could be medevaced.
   The armored personnel carriers from the Tomahawks' Charlie Company moved up to the foot of the mountain to evacuate the wounded under heavy sniper fire.
   Specialist Four Jim Hayes of Oklahoma City, Okla., radio operator on the Charlie Company command track, said, "Rounds were bouncing off the track.  We were receiving heavy, accurate sniper fire."
   Throughout the rescue operation the Tomahawks were unable to return fire because of the Regulars' proximity to the enemy position.  The last wounded were withdrawn as darkness descended on the mountain.  That night the remainder of the Regulars moved into the Tomahawks' night laager sight.
   Five division soldiers were killed in the three days of action and 21 of the wounded were evacuated from the field for treatment.

Evacuate the wounded
TOMAHAWKS of the 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry rush a wounded Regular of the 3rd Battalion 22d Infantry to a waiting chopper during a battle on the slopes of Nui Ba Den. The battle resulted in 56 enemy killed.   (Photo By SP4 Robert Caplan)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970



CPT Michael J. Neuman, C Co 2d Bn 12th Inf CPT Earl M. Yamada, D Co 2d Bn 14th Inf
SP5 Jimmie L. Taylor, HHC 2d Bde
SP5 Paul T. Jones, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Leslie A. Hicks Jr., D Trp, 3d Sqdn 4th Cav
WO1 Marcus Kempson, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CPT William W. Foster, HHC 1st Bde
CPT Ronald H. Cox, HHC 1st Bde
CPT Edward W. Cavanaugh, HHC 2d Bde
MAJ Marion E. Mann Jr., HHC, 4th Bn 23d Inf
MAJ Roy D. Kimerling, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT Jesse R. Stout, D Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Michael C. Paris, A Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Roger D. Ruggles, D Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
1LT Edward W. Leaphart, C Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Harold L. Gromer Jr., D Co 3d Bn 22d Inf
MAJ Uri S. French, HHB, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
1LT Louis J. Douglas, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
WO1 Terrian Bachi, HHB, 25th Div Arty
2LT Jerry L. Owens, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Joseph M. Robichaud, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
1LT Wilbur F. Price Jr., B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Kenneth Plummer, D Co, 2d 12th Inf
SGT Robert C. Thompson, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Robert L. Tafoya, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Steve B. Todd, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
CPL Robert L. Williams, D Co. 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC James A. Walker, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Lawrence Weyres, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Jerry G. Perkins, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT James R. Ross, C Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Aruther B. Rice, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Terry D. Rogers, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
CPL Clifford Rickabrough, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Percy Ricks, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf (ATT)
SGT Eddie R. Nix, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Michael Marcum, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
CPL John L. Marabella, D Co, 3d, Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Jerry V. Billington, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Michael J. Bryant, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC William A. Bones, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Dennis J. Connor, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC William R Cox, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Larry R. Goethe, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
CPL John M. Gaude, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Charles R. Hyatt, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Ronald C. Hayes, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Gregory Fairbanks, B Co, 2d Bn (M), 22d Inf
CPL Carl Kocmit, D Co, 3d Bn, 2d Inf
SP4 William Keener, C Co, 2d Bn (M), 22d Inf
SGT Jimmy L. Johnson, D Co. 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC George Ives, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Clarence R. Isbell, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPL Richard B. Loy, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Rosendo Lopez, A Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PFC Burvin Smith, D Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Michael G. Senyshyn, D Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 David Bailey, A Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT Marvin L. Tieman, A Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
1LT Carroll R. Rich, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
2LT Joseph A. Fucci, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
2LT William Stanbery, B Co, 4th Bn, 23d Inf



Dentists Go Mobile
    Clinic Battles Tooth Decay

   A newer mobile dental clinic for the benefit of fire base personnel of the 25th Infantry Division is currently being completed.
   The improved clinic, which will contain a wealth of modern equipment including air-conditioning, is a facility of the dental staff of the 40th Medical Detachment and the 725th Maintenance Battalion.
   "Our most important job is to administer routine care on a selective basis to prevent dental emergencies which could result in loss of combat man-days," said Colonel Donald R. Nelson, project officer and Executive Officer of the 40th Med.
   "However, we do try to examine each man, regardless of whether dental work is needed," the colonel, of Evansville, Ind., added.
   Because of the nature of fire base operations, appointments are the exception rather than the rule.  Field troops are given priority over permanently situated personnel.
   "The battalion commanders deserve a lot of praise in regulating the flow of troops so that everyone is examined without a decrease in field operations," observed Colonel Kell E. Lovell, commanding officer of 40th Med.
   Col. Lovell, of Mankato, Minn., also stressed that "close coordination between Cu Chi medical headquarters and each fire base is essential since the base commanders usually have only 2-3 days prior notification of the clinic's arrival.  We operate as the need arises, so there is no set pattern as to which fire base will be visited next."
   The average stay at each base is from 10 to 14 days, although this can vary according to the number of treatments to be performed.
   "The clinic is also a great morale factor.  It's a pleasant surprise to have a well-equipped dental clinic show up at your base," Col. Nelson concluded.


Check the ChamberChamber Check Never Hurts

   It is a must to practice safety when one clears a weapon.  Here is a case in point.  Recently, a 25th Infantry Division trooper carried a .45-caliber pistol into his hootch before clearing it.  Without removing the magazine from the weapon, he pulled back the receiver to inspect the chamber for a round.  As he did so, a round snapped out of the chamber.  Thinking the weapon was clear, he fired a round into the floor about 10 inches from another man's foot.
   Puzzled, the trooper re-inspected the chamber.  Again he saw nothing, and again he nearly shot one of his friends in the foot.
   Of course, some persons are not as lucky as this man.  Another G.I., recently "cleared" his weapon the same way.  The only difference was that he "accidentally" shot himself in the right foot and had to be evacuated to the nearest hospital.
   Remember, the next time you clear a weapon, be sure to remove the magazine first.




   The Army is hurting for qualified persons in more than a dozen medical specialties.
   You can be trained as a brace specialist, an optical laboratory specialist, or a dental hygienist.  You can also get into the field of food inspection procedures or preventive medicine.
   Or maybe you would enjoy really getting into medicine.  As an operating room technician or a neuropsychiatric specialist?
   If you are interested, contact your company personnel officer.



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:

Mar. 1
SP4 James S. Nicholas, 94th Maint Bn, Girl

Mar. 8
SGT Jack Buchanan, B Co. 1st Bn, (M) 5th Inf, Boy

Mar. 12
SP5 William Eubanks Jr., HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, Girl
SSG James C. Greager, 372d R R Co, Girl
SP4 Larry W. Nix, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor, Boy

Mar 13
SGT Lindle Bagby, C Co, 7th Bn, 11th Arty, Girl
SP4 Richard M. Proffitt, E Co, 65th Engr Bn, Boy
SP4 Larry K. Masoh, B Btry, 65th Engr Bn, Girl

Mar. 14
PFC Timothy P. Grogan, 588th Engr Bn, Girl
Mar. 14
PFC Timothy P. Grogan, 588th Engr Bn, Girl

Mar. 15
SFC Frank C. Bachnilki, HHC, 3d Bde, Girl
SP4 Robert E. Daniels, A Co, 4th Bn, 23d Inf, Boy
SP4 Johnny F. Jones, C Co, 588th Engr Bn, Girl
PFC Calvin C. Miller, 595th Engr Co, Girl
SP4 Chester Wozciechowski, 25th Admin Co, Boy
SP4 Sylvester Howard, A Co, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, Boy
SP4 William W. Chrismon, 548th Light Equip Maint Co, Girl

Mar. 16
PFC Henry A. Beekman, C Co, 588th Engr Bn, Boy

Mar. 17
SP4 James Barton, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, 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
SSG Stephen F. Veroczi . . . . NCOIC
SP4 Charles C. Self . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Gary D. Sciortino  . . . . . Assistant Editor


SP4 Dennis Bries
SGT Bill Obelholzer
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 Caplin
SP4 Brian Flaherty
SP5 Pat Morrison
SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick
PFC Rob Lato



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970


A New Team, A New A.O.
    'Vietnamizing' East of Long Binh

   BEARCAT - Tropic Lightning's second brigade is looking for the enemy in a new area of operations east of Long Binh and working to upgrade Regional and Popular Force units in the area as part of the division's continuing role in Vietnamizing the war.
   The headquarters and several of its battalions moved north from Cu Chi to Dau Tieng in early February to fill a gap left by the redeployment of the 1st Infantry Division.  No sooner had operations begun than the maneuver elements were turned over to the division's first brigade and the headquarters was transferred here to fill another gap left by the 1st Division.
   Arriving at Bearcat, which is the home of the Royal Thailand Army Volunteer Force, the Fire Brigade set up a forward command post at Fire Support Base Colorado.

On the road to Bearcat
SECOND BRIGADE TRUCKS move out along the road to Bearcat where the brigade headquarters is now located.  (Photo by SP4 Ray Pompilio)



Rhode Isle or Bust!
Manchus Get Home


   BEARCAT - The 25th Infantry Division's motto "Ready to strike anywhere, anytime" was demonstrated recently by the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry (Manchu).
   In mid-February the Manchu, then working in Tay Ninh Province with the Tropic Lightning's 1st Brigade, were reassigned to the 2d Brigade at Bearcat Base Camp.  Upon receiving the reassignment order, the battalion packed up bag and baggage and headed for Bearcat almost before anyone knew they were gone.
   The Manchus employed both land and air vehicles on their journey to Bearcat.  The battalion's rear element traveled by truck convoy to Bearcat, meanwhile, the Manchu line companies loaded on C-130 aircraft and headed for the same destination.
   Upon arriving at the 2d Brigade's base camp, the line companies unloaded the planes and loaded onto awaiting helicopters.  Thus only a few hours after leaving their old area of operations the Manchus were inserted into their new one.
   Fire Support Base Rhode Island is the new home for the battle-tested battalion.  The Manchus had been working in the Ho Bo Woods, Straightedge, French Fort, Fingers and Renegade Woods.


Now High and Dry
     A New Life for Hounds

Editor's Note
   As the Tropic Lightning's 2d Brigade began operations in an area southeast of Long Binh its new elements found a very different environment than they had working north and west of Cu Chi.
   One reaction comes from a correspondent for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds who patrolled the Plain of Reeds near the Cambodian border from June until mid-February.

   BEARCAT - "Dust, dust, great moiling clouds of windblown silt!"
   Although this poetic reaction of one Wolfhound is a bit more dramatic than most, the men of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, Wolfhounds are finding a whole new way of life as they begin operations here.
   They could hardly see through the dust as their convoy of trucks pulled into base camp Bearcat five miles southeast of Long Binh post.  Within a span of five days the entire battalion had moved from its bases west of Cu Chi to the new area of operations.
   The line companies had been working in Hau Nghia province.  They had built their principal bases during the monsoon when it was common for a soldier to sink up to his knees in mud becoming trapped until buddies pulled him out.
   They became accustomed to operating on the Vam Co Dong river, which cut through the center of their area of operations, aboard the Navy's Tango and patrol boats.
   "I didn't bother to distinguish between wet and dry six hours after I was in the field," one trooper said.
   Now things have changed.
   The new area is mountainous.  Stands of mangrove, rubber and pineapple dot the area.  Frequent dust storms sweep through the camps.  The gunboats have been replaced by tanks.  The 'Hounds hump to ambush sights; and whether it be a "boondock bard" or a retiring rifleman the cry at Bearcat is for water.


Tanks Tear into Jungle
Charlie's Bunkers Fall


   BEARCAT - Now that the 2nd Brigade is recently deployed in its new area of operation around Bearcat base camp, combined NVA-VC forces can no longer count on the dense jungle in the area to afford them shelter.
   An indication of this was the recent discovery of a combined bunker complex-aid station by the 2d Battalion, 34th Armor.  The Dreadnaughts Headquarters Company made the discovery while on a reconnaissance southwest of Bearcat Base Camp.
   Early morning found the Dreadnaughts moving out of their night laager position and starting their sweep through the jungle.  Despite the slow going through the dense underbrush, the armormen spotted a trail and signs that it had been recently used.
   Proceeding to check out the area they came across a large number of bunkers with overhead cover and still more signs that the enemy had hastily evacuated the area.  Inside the bunkers the Dreadnaughts found clothing, recently used cooking utensils and a large cache of medical supplies.
   Commenting on the find, First Lieutenant Carroll Rich of Kennett, Maryland said, "With the amount of medical supplies we found, it looks like Charlie was using this place for some sort of aid station."
   After checking out the bunker thoroughly, the Dreadnaughts called for the assistance of the Vietnam Air Force.  After a couple of bombing runs by the Skyraiders, the bunker complex was left in ruins.


Lucky 'Hounds Find Trap the Hard Way

   FSB SOUTH DAKOTA - Men who trip booby traps are lucky to live to tell the tale.
   That's how two First Wolfhounds felt after they escaped injury recently when one of the devices exploded eight feet from them.
   Specialist Four Greg Hall of Spokane, Wash., and Specialist Four Carl Bovey of Corinth, New York were busy working outside the perimeter of Fire Base South Dakota, southeast of Long Binh.
   "I felt something tug at my ankle - some resistance when I started to take a step," said Hall.
   "I thought it was a twig - it turned out to be a trip wire," he said.
   "There was an explosion about eight feet to the left and then a cloud of white smoke.  After the smoke cleared we stood there checking each other out, expecting to find at least a few shrapnel wounds but it turned out that neither of us had a scratch."
   "The VC must have put the traps right outside the wire, because they knew we would be out there on details, improving the base's defenses."
   "We continued to work but you can bet we watched our step from then on," Hall said.

"WHERE does all this moving around leave us?"  Staff Sergeant Richard Farrow from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a member of the Reconnaissance Platoon of 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry, seems to say.  While other units of the 2d Brigade moved to Bearcat, the 1st Bn., 5th Inf. suddenly found itself in the 1st Brigade instead of the 2d Brigade.  It is still based at Dau Tieng.  (Photo by SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick) SSG Richard Farrow



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970


In the Elephants Ear
    Regulars on Safari II - Charlie is the Game



   TAY NINH - The Regulars of 3rd Battalion, 22d Infantry recently chased Charles on "Safari II" northwest of the Black Virgin Mountain.
   The area is referred to as the Elephant's Ear.  Small helicopter landing zones, a triple canopy jungle and NVA base camps are the attractions.
   The Regulars, with their Alfa, Bravo, and Charlie Companies, boarded C130 transport planes, and flew into the area.  They rallied at Thien Ngon Special Forces Camp.
   From there the Regulars worked and coordinated with the Civilian Irregular Defense Group CIDG forces in an effort to disrupt enemy activities in undercover training sites.  They also attempted to acquire information needed to place effective long-range damage on any major NVA buildups in the area.
   The operation lasted six days.  On the second day, Delta Company set up as a blocking force on the northern edge of the triple canopy.  As Bravo and Alfa Companies moved northward, Delta placed effective fire on the enemy, who were scurrying from the woodline.
   Allied positions held up and the artillery was fired on enemy positions.
   A sweep uncovered four NVA bodies and an abandoned NVA training camp.
   On the fifth day, CIDG forces were inserted into the western-most landing zone available.  As their operation commenced, the CIDG forces caught movement to their immediate west.  They put out small arms fire and coordinated with two Cobra gunships which were laying down fire.
   A sweep of the area later turned up eleven enemy dead.

Story and Photos by
SP4 Brian Flaherty




Waiting Choppers  
  Hauling supplies
M-60 Machinegun Team  


Hurry up and wait - the Army's motto



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970


FSB Pine Ridge No New Suburb

   The name "Pine Ridge" probably makes one think of some suburban housing development with American ranch-style homes nestled between evergreen trees and a brook bubbling through the back yard.
   It sounds like the kind of place advertised with phrases like "Fresh as all outdoors," "Modern as tomorrow," or "A place to get away from it all."
   The Vietnamese version of Pine Ridge is not quite as picturesque as the name might imply.  There are no pine trees, and the housing development consists of sandbag bunkers snuggled between granite boulders.
   But Pine Ridge is definitely a place to get away from it all.  It is located on top of one of the Razorback Mountains north of Dau Tieng.  There are only two ways to get there: one is to hack a trail through the jungle up the side of the mountain; the other is to fly.  This is ideal for keeping away unwanted guests, but it complicates things if you are trying to move 105mm howitzers to the lofty perch.
   Alfa Battery of 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery solved the problem with a little help from the Muleskinners of the 269th Aviation Battalion.  The redlegs convoyed from Tay Ninh to Dau Tieng to replace the 1st Battalion 8th Artillery.  At Dau Tieng the guns were rigged up to catch Chinooks to the mountain top.
   The air lift was supervised by the battalion ammo section.  The "ammo bumpers," who have had plenty of experience rigging cargo nets for resupply sorties, had no trouble getting Alfa Battery's mountain of equipment ready for the "hooks."
   According to the battalion ammo sergeant, Staff Sergeant Kenneth Fry of Muncy, Pa., "Once we got everything to Dau Tieng the rest was easy."
   As the dust settled from the last of the sorties needed to get all the equipment to the top, the gun bunnies were already hustling around to get settled.

WHILE DOOR GUNNERS watch from above, Redlegs from Alfa Battery, 7/11 Artillery hook up their 105mm howitzer to a CH-47 Chinook.  The cannoneers were en route to Fire Support Base Pine Ridge on top of the Razorback Mountains north of Dau Tieng to support 25th Infantry Division troops.  (Photo By SP4 Dan Neff) Moving Howitzers



Alfa Of Auto Eighth Honored For Valor

   BEARCAT,  RVN - In a recent ceremony at Fire Support Base Rhode Island Alfa Battery, 1st Battalion 8th Field Artillery, was presented a Valorous Unit Award (First Oak Leaf Cluster) by Major General Harris W. Hollis, the division commander.  The Valor Citation was earned by the Automatic Eighth battery for displaying extraordinary heroism on August 24, 1968, while supporting combat maneuvers in defense of the cities of Tay Ninh and Dau Tieng.
   At the time of the action the 1st of the 8th battery was located approximately eight kilometers west-southwest of Dau Tieng at Fire Support Base Schofield III.  In the early morning hours on the 24th, the base was hit with an intense volume of enemy mortar rounds, recoilless rifle rounds and rocket propelled grenades.  The heavily armed North Vietnamese Army forces launched a ground assault and directed heavy automatic weapons fire at the southeast sector of the base.
   The Alfa Battery artillerymen immediately retaliated with effective close-in timed fires and counter-mortar fires.  Although the battery Fire Direction Center was temporarily knocked out by a mortar round and several howitzers suffered flat tires from shell fragments, the battery continued to respond.  During the three hours that the battle raged, the battery commander directed helicopter evacuation of the casualties without letting up on artillery fires.
   The Automatic Eighth artillerymen fired high explosive rounds and illuminating rounds during the battle and were given credit for 23 of the 62 enemy bodies found on the battlefield.
   After attaching the streamer to the battery guidon, General Hollis said that although only several of the men present were serving with the battery at Fire Support Base Schofield III in 1968, all of the men and officers of the battery could still take great pride in the Valorous Unit Award.


Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  The men in our mechanized unit drink an awful lot of canned soda.  We used to throw away the cans, but my buddy has started playing packrat, and has collected over three thousand cans toward some useful purpose.  It's getting very hard to move in our APC.  Can you offer us a useful purpose for all these cans?


DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  I am a PFC who has not been able to decide on the proper time to take my R&R.  Taipei would be nice in the fall when I could join a buddy.  Australia sounds like fun too, but I may have to wait till next winter to go.  I posed my problem to my Colonel yesterday as he got his morning briefing.  He screamed at me for wasting his time and threatened that he would skin me alive.  When do you suggest I take my R&R.

DEAR PUZZLED: Immediately.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970


Children Learn Lessons
   Bilingual GI Holds Teach-Ins

   FSB JACKSON - "Six months ago I never dreamed I would be over here in Vietnam teaching school, but here I am," said Specialist Four Rod Ewing of Irving, Tex.
   Ewing, a member of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds) PSYOPS team, is teaching Vietnamese children how to speak English.
   "These 'teach-ins' are a new part of our civic action programs," stated Staff Sergeant Glenn Hurley of Fennel, Pa., a PSYOPS NCO with the 'Hounds.
   "We had difficulty getting Ewing into some of the schools," explained Hurley.  "A few of the teachers didn't have confidence in his ability, but after the first session they changed their minds," he added.
   Ewing learned to speak Vietnamese while in the language school at Fort Bliss, Tex.  His ability to speak Vietnamese has been beneficial in teaching English.
   As Ewing points to various objects in the classroom, the children attempt to pronounce them in English.  "Kids will be kids," said Ewing. "I try to make learning sort of a game.  It's really interesting to see how enthused the children and the teachers are about the idea."
   "I was nervous at the start," said Ewing, "but the children were well disciplined and eager to learn.  The kids like the class so much that they have asked me to teach them math in English also."
   "These teach-in operations are a giant step forward in improving communications between us and the Vietnamese people," he added.

SP4 Rod Ewing THE RAIN IN SPAIN falls mainly on the plain!  At least it seems that Specialist Four Rod Ewing could be saying this.  Vietnamese teacher and children alike pay close attention to him as he teaches them the correct way to pronounce various words in English.  (Photo by PFC Robb Lato)



Resupply Mission Fills Regulars' Needs Via Air

   CU CHI - Supplying the men in the field with food, water, ammunition, clothing, mail and other necessities in Vietnam is a mammoth task.
   The men of Delta Company 2nd Battalion (Mech) 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division are shouldering this job every day.
   With Chinooks from Cu Chi base camp, the resupply mission is a fast and dependable operation.
   The required supplies are called in daily by each company.  The men of supply support then gather and truck the needed items to the assigned pick-up area.  There they are broken down and priorities are established for distribution to each company operating in the field.  The Chinooks usually make one morning run to pick up empty equipment containers.  These containers are filled and returned to the unit in the evening.
   Second Lieutenant Robert Labadie of Aurora, Ohio, who is in charge of the Triple Deuce resupply mission, explained that keeping the battalion supplied is a 24-hour-a-day job.  He also added that because of the terrain involved it would be impossible to coordinate the necessary supplies to the right units at the right times without choppers.  Labadie works with Captain William Hatter of Dallas, Texas, who handles the air transportation for the supply runs.
   "Today we air lifted eight tons of supplies with only two runs by a Chinook, and we could never do that with tracks in such speed and effectiveness," said SP4 Timithy Blazie of Milwaukee, Wis. who prepares all equipment before pick-up.


Infantry Guards Highway As Engineers Pave Way

   CU CHI - The job of expanding and extending the important highway system throughout Vietnam is a never-ending operation to which provides fast supply of troops and equipment.
   The 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry is helping the 65th Engineer Battalion to mold a new passageway from highway 7 Alfa to the village of Trang Bang.  Their job is to provide the engineers with a blanket of security.
   For armored personnel carriers of the 2/22d early morning begins with a road clearing sweep to eliminate all enemy mines and booby traps which could slow the heavy construction.
   Once the sweep is completed, the huge bulldozers and trucks take over as the watchful men of Triple Deuce stand-by, ready to strike back against any enemy sniper fire which is common to this type of operation.
   "We have worked with the engineers quite often and received sniper fire, but as soon as our tracks appear the enemy turns tail in the opposite direction," said .50 machine gunner Specialist Four Bill Mader of Oshkosh, Wis.

A .50 CALIBER MACHINEGUN remains ready to provide cover for members of the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry who are sweeping the roadway for possible enemy mines or boobytraps.  (Photo by SP4 Henry G. Zukowski) Providing cover



Raids HQs

   CU CHI - A surprise sweep of the 3d Brigade Headquarters Company area conducted recently uncovered several large caches.
   "The sweep was conducted in an attempt to recover some of the many missing items that just seem to disappear from the mess hall," said Specialist Four Walt Abbott of Utica, N.Y., a rations driver.  "It took two of us plus a truck to gather it all up," he added.
   A post-sweep tally revealed that the NCO's were caught with the largest percentage of the goodies, although the officers had a monopoly on the coffee cups!

A RESUPPLY CHINOOK brings in its load of supplies to Triple Deuce Regulars who are set up at a laager position.  The supplies include a water trailer and a load of munitions, food, clothing and mail.  (Photo by SP4 Henry G. Zukowski) Bringing Supplies



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           March 30, 1970


Enemy Platoon Leader Rallies
Triple Deuce and ARVN Forces Blast Enemy Complex

   FSB DEVINS - Speed and coordination of ground and air elements spelled success recently for Triple Deuce and ARVN forces.  Both teamed to blast away an enemy bunker complex killing six NVA soldiers.  An enemy platoon leader rallied, officials said.
   The eagle flight operation combined the 1st platoon of Bravo Company, 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry with forces of the 49th ARVN Regiment.  The joint force left fire support base Devins for a destination north of Cu Chi.
   Gunships of the 116th Assault Helicopter Company riddled the area in preparation for landing but the enemy opened up with a sudden barrage of small arms fire.  The gunships followed with mini-gun and rocket fire roaring back into the enemy location.
   "We landed on the hot LZ with the ARVNs," said Triple Deuce platoon leader First Lieutenant Harry Brann of Garden Grove, Calif., "and the ARVNs took the brunt of the enemies' fire."
   During the ensuing fire fight the allies carefully eliminated the entrenched enemy one by one.  The last NVA, a platoon leader, gave himself up and helped his captors in searching the bunkers.  A sweep of the contact area turned up six NVA bodies, one complete 82mm mortar, AK-47 rifles, and numerous NVA supplies.
   No U.S. casualties were suffered.
   Sergeant Jim Flanigan from Erie, Pa. said, "This was the first time I've worked with ARVNs, and they did a good job."

Eagle Flights
THE 25TH DIVISION'S Bravo Company of Triple Duece joined ARVN forces during eagle flight operations north of Cu Chi.  (Photo By SP4 Henry G. Zukowski, Jr.)



Human Projector?
      It Flutters During Clutches

   CU CHI - He had been chasing the rich girl for some time now.  Finally, after a few drinks at a party, the amorous scene that everyone had been waiting for was about to unfold.
   It could have been a murder story, however, by the expression of one guy's face.  It was the projectionist's.
   "This projector has a prudish mind of its own," said Specialist Four Leon Lozen Jr., Alpena, Michigan.  "Whenever it gets to the sexy scenes it either breaks the film or starts jumping the frames."
   Lozen runs the films for the Golden Dragons every night.  Because he is also a supply clerk, he puts in a 16-hour day.
   "I don't mind it when everything is going okay, but if the machine starts acting up I can't concentrate on both the movie and the projector," he said.
   Lozen added that anytime something goes wrong, the audience prefers to vent its rage on him rather than the machine.
   "One night," he recalled, "the machine broke down three times within five minutes.  My company commander, who was watching the movie, called out that I could be replaced.  That was chilling."
   "The girls and situations in the films remind the men of home.  They can identify with them," he said.
   "In fact," said Lozen, "films don't even have to feature women to be enjoyed by GI's.  'Hell In The Pacific,' with an all-male cast, was a good example of that.  Nobody walked out on that one."
   With Lozen getting near DEROS he feels he has seen enough films to last him for awhile.
   "When I get home," he said, "the closest I'll get to a theatre is a stage play."


Hounds Halt VC

   PHUOC LUU - In recent activity west of the Vam Co Dong river, members of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, Wolfhounds, killed fourteen enemy soldiers and captured two small caches.
   In the first contact the members of Bravo company's 2nd platoon, operating on a four-day laager out of the Battalion forward, Fire Support Base Jackson, killed two enemy soldiers and captured two AK-47s plus eight magazines.
   "We were just breaking up our ambush patrol when the first platoon called us and said they had just spotted three VC and were going to spring their bush," acting Platoon Sergeant Jim Sperry from Oakland, Calif., said.
   Later that same day a platoon from Delta company started taking mortar and small arms fire near the Cambodian border.  With the aid of Bravo company gunships and artillery, they began search of the hedgerows.  Firing with M60's and M16's and the gunships and artillery, they were no match for the enemy.
   As a result of that action the enemy suffered twelve men killed, and one AK-47, and seven rounds of 60mm mortars were captured.


One Enemy Captured In Tomahawk Battle

   TAY NINH - "Bill (Specialist 4 Bill Jones of Gary, Indiana) and I were just finishing our guard at 4:30 when I heard footsteps and some muffled talking," commented Specialist 4 Dave Catlett of Ceres, Calif., referring to Alfa Company 4th Bn (Mech) 23rd Inf's early morning ambush.
   A patrol from the second platoon, headed by Second Lieutenant Paul Hargrove of Ridgeway, Ill., was set in position south of Nui Ba Den, when a food resupply party of enemy soldiers, bound for the sacred mountain, walked into their path.  It was a foggy and damp morning and the visibility was poor.
   "They were in range of my claymores when I spotted them," said Jones.  He fired his arsenal, and immediately the other members of the squad reacted.
   The enemy scattered but the patrol placed effective fire on them.  Five enemy soldiers fell in the initial blast.  Three were killed and two were wounded.  A medevac ship was called in as PFC Dave Worden of Kalamazoo, Mich., a medic, tried to keep the wounded enemy alive.  Eventually one died but the other became a detainee and admitted he was part of a resupply party.
   Specialist 4 Albert Souza of Fall River, Mass., the "blooper" (M-79) man for Alfa Company's second platoon, said, "They were walking barefoot and carrying their sandals on their belts.  They didn't want us to see their footprints later in the day."
   A sweep revealed two AK-50 rifles with ammunition, eight grenades, gas masks, three sets of web gear, and sacks of food.  Alfa Company did not suffer a casualty as they continued to harass the enemy with night ambushes.


Division, Hawaii Swap U.S. Flags

   CU CHI - An American flag which flew above division headquarters here, is being presented to the city of Honolulu.  It is a symbol of the close relationship between the division and the 50th state, a division spokesman said.
   The flag was removed from its staff in front of the division's headquarters by Major General Harris W. Hollis, the division commander, and was blessed by Chaplain (LTC) Roy V. Peters, a division chaplain.

Meeting AN ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER from the 4th Battalion (Mech) 23rd Infantry, 25th Division, awaits further word from the Command and Control ship.  Earlier that morning Alfa Company killed four enemy soldiers and took one detainee in action by Nui Ba Den.  (Photo By SGT Bill Oberholzer)



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 04-20-2006

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