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Vol 5 No. 14          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          April 6, 1970



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                    1 2/22                                 1 25th Admin                   3 49th ARVN                    8
1/27 Photo                      3 2/22 Photo                     2 25th Admin                   8 7/11 Arty Photo            3
125th Signal                   6 2/22                                 6 25th Admin Photo       8 Expo 70                           7
2/14 Photo                     2 2/22                                 6 3/5 Cav                          8 Nui Ba Den Photos      4
2/14                                 6 2/27                                 7 3/22                                3 Nui Ba Den                    4
2/14 Photo                     8 2/77 Arty                       3 362 Avn Sppt               6 Tango Boats - Navy     8
2/14                                 8 25th Inf                          1 4/23                                1  


MG Bautz Assumes Command of 25th Division

Major General Edward Bautz, Jr.   CU CHI - Major General Edward Bautz, Jr., took command of the 25th Infantry Division in ceremonies here Thursday.
   General Bautz, is the 24th Commander of the Tropic Lightning Division in its 29 year history.  He replaces Major General Harris W. Hollis, who has been reassigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe.
   The new division commander's most recent assignment was as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).
   Born in Union City, N.J., on April 2, 1920, General Bautz graduated from Rutgers University in 1941, at which time he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve.
   He was ordered to duty with the newly activated 4th Armored Division.  He served with their 37th Armor as a platoon leader, a company commander and a battalion commander as well as in several staff positions.
   While with the 4th, Bautz participated in all five of their major World War II campaigns, including such well-known actions as the breakout from Normandy Beachhead and the relief of Bastogne.  He also saw battle in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Czechoslovakia.
   After the war, he served successively as tactics instructor in the Armor School, Fort Knox, Ky., and as Operations Officer of the 1st Constabulary Brigade in Germany.
   On completion of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Army field forces where he served successively in the Office of the Inspector of Armor and as Secretary of the General Staff.
   After a tour on the Department of the Army Staff he attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and in the summer of 1956, rejoined the 37th Armor in Schweinfurt, Germany, as Commander of the 3rd Medium Tank Battalion.  He later served as Operations officer, 3rd Armored Division before returning to Fort Monroe in September, 1961 where he undertook combat development duties for Headquarters, U.S. Continental Army Command.
   A short time later he was assigned to the Planning Group, Combat Developments Command, where he participated in the developing the organization and concept of operations for the implementation of the Report on the Reorganization of the Department of the Army.
   On activation of the Combat Developments Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., in June, 1962, he was assigned as Chief of the Plans Division; Plans, Programs and Intelligence Directorate.
   In the fall of 1963, General Bautz attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.  On completion of this course he became Director of Plans, Headquarters Combat Developments Command, where he was responsible for Long-Range Studies, Intelligence, International Standardization and Historical programs.
   In May of 1965 he joined Headquarters, MACV, where he served as Secretary of the Joint Staff until his return to Washington in April, 1966, to become Deputy Director of the Enlisted Personnel Directorate.  Shortly thereafter he was transferred to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel where he stayed until October 17, 1967, when he became the Director of Military Personnel Policies.
   General Bautz's awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart also with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

1Lt. Bill Olson, MSG James Quellhorst FIRST LIEUTENANT Bill Olson of McMinniville, Ore., models a riddled flack jacket for Master Sergeant James Quellhorst of Tacoma, Wash.  The extra vest was on the turret of a 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry track when it absorbed the blast of a rocket propelled grenade, likely saving the lives of the members of the track.  (Photo by SGT Bill Oberholzer)



Name Games
Tracks Get Personality

   DAU TIENG - Bobcats of the 1st Battalion (Mech) 5th Infantry with battle weary posteriors report, that while naming an armored personnel carrier doesn't ease the ride, it does help pass the time.
   "It begins in one of two ways," explains Specialist Four Wayne Kilpatrick of Oneonta, N.Y.  "Someone finds a can of paint (a rare occasion) and says 'Hey, let's paint something on our track,' and they paint the first thing that comes to mind."
   "Then there is the tradition-named track, where one name follows a track.  The name is dutifully repainted by new crew members when it is weather-worn.  Even after a track is retired the name often follows with 'Volume 2' added."  A track of the Bobcat Recon Platoon is now "Volume 6" - having the same name since just after the 1st Bn. 5th Inf. arrived in Vietnam.
   By far the most common is naming a track after a favorite girl.  Right now Bobcat tracks salute Mary, Linda, Jenny Lynn, Arlene, Kathy, Liane, Alice, Dawn and yes, Johnny Cash, there is even a track named Sue.
   A significant influence is rock music. "Rocky Racoon," "Brother Love's Travlin' Salvation Show," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club," and a flame track called "Light My Fire," are among the titles in the battalion.
   Movies also have their influence with "Easy Rider" and "Alice's Restaurant."
   Hometowns are not forgotten, either.  El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Big Rapids, Mich., St. Paul Park, Minn., and Bisbee, Ariz. are printed on the sides of tracks.  Southerners show their pride with numerous "Rebel" flags and phrases.
   An unusual case is a Bravo Company track which bears a "Scotland" sticker and a drawing of the Scottish flag placed there by Sgt. Joseph Hynes of Glascow, Scotland.  "It's a wee bit of home," he says to explain his track's markings.
   A philosophical approach is taken by one Alfa Company track crew - they have printed in 6 inch letters "BE TRUE TO YOURSELF FIRST - THEN THE WORLD."
   It is difficult to find a platoon without a peace symbol on at least one track.  Sgt. John Mack of Winsor Locks, Conn. explains "It's more a symbol of our generation than a sign of any particular political philosophy."
   Some of the names are artistically drawn while others are rough hand sketches.  Some are multi-color with psychedelic lettering and others are quite simple.
   Kilpatrick sums it up: "No matter what the track has on it, it serves one purpose: to express a little individuality so the guys feel 'this is our track.'".


Regulars Get Jump
Surprise Nine NVA


   CU CHI - An ambush patrol from Alfa Company, 2d Battalion (Mech) 22d Infantry, recently engaged and killed nine N.V.A. north of Cu Chi.
   "While we were walking towards our planned ambush site," said patrol leader Sergeant Henry Smith, of Phoenixville, Pa., "my radioman informed me that another ambush patrol had spotted enemy personnel."
   "The enemy, which were several hundred meters to their front, were headed our way.  So we set a hasty ambush while it was still daylight in case they were closer than the report indicated," assistant patrol leader Specialist Four Steve Montgomery, of Copper Hill, Tenn., said.
   After 45 minutes no one had been spotted.  The patrol moved to its planned ambush position.
   While setting up the ambush, Private Andrew Werk, of Hays, Mont., spotted 10 to 13 enemy approaching and quickly passed the word.  "The enemy was about 50 meters away and well armed," Werk said.
   Private First Class Doug Ryan, of Battle Creek, Mich., was returning to his position after setting out a claymore.  "I started shaking all over when everyone suddenly motioned for me to hurry so I jumped over a rice paddy berm.  Soon I was aware of the enemy coming towards me," he said.
   "Everyone was all eyes and quiet," said Private First Class Mark Zetter, a machinegunner, from Portland, Ore.
   The men opened up with small arms fire and received return fire from 47's and hand grenades.  "My radio man reacted instantly and called in for illumination and gunships," Smith said.
   The support came quickly and was effectively placed.
   "It really felt great to see the gunship work out with its miniguns and rockets," said Private First Class Bruce Alwell, the radio operator of St. Paul, Minn.
   After 25 minutes the enemys' fire ceased.
   "The next morning we found nine bodies and they didn't even scratch us," Smith added.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970



COL Olin E. Smith, HHC, 3d Bde  
1LT Thomas J. Cannava, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf WO1 Terry L. Bachi, HHB, 25th Div Arty
CPT Ronald S. Graves, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT John E. Lockner, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
2LT David L. Phillips, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
LT Paul R. Hargrove, Co A, 4th Bn, 23rd Ind
2LT John P. Alchus, Co A, Bn, 22d Inf
2LT Donald R. Bentivoglio, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
2LT Jerry Collins, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PSG David LaBang, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG William W. Reilly, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Richard A. Davis, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SSG Eddie Demary, Co B, 4th Bn, 23rd Inf
SGT James R. Hampton, Co F, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT John McCubbin, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Asofourale Pili, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Larry W. Carrington, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Walter S. Kordek, Co E, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Charles W. Sanders, Co F, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Clyde Lawrence, Co B, l st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Darroll Green, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Erwin N. Daniel, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Donald G. Probasco, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Larry L. Mills, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT John D. McGeehon, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT John D. McGeehon, HHC, 2d 34th Armor
SGT George P. Walker, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT John R. Howell, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT John E. Kyzar, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Dennis W. Valusek, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Daniel Gonzalez, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Thomas R. Hysill, Co B, Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Daniel Gonzalez, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf (1st olc)
SGT Bobby Keeton, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Jimmy Rogers, HHC, 2d Bn, 43th Armor
SP4 Bill G. Koch, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Roger King, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Wililarn Jones, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Chris P. DeYoung, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Harmon Catlett, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf .
SP4 David L. Vann, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Dennis M. Swartz, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Perry T. Everett, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Paul J. Comereski, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Donald H. Young, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Neal F. Harp, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Billy E. Williams, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Morgan E. Smith, Co E, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Jimmy D. Robertson, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Joseph W. Sheilley Jr, Co. D. 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Everett Manning, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Dave A. Mathis, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Daniel R. Goodell, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Peter J. Carlin III, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Christopher G. Sharpe, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Christopher G Sharpe, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf (1st olc)
SP4 David M. Webb, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Daniel C. Paschal, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Lawrence Hayes, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Sammy W. Nugent, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Henry C. Slabaugh, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 George T. Sandoval, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Bobby L. Parks, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Otis Mitchell, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Donavan L. Shangreux, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Emerson Thomas Jr, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 Carl W. Faster, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SP4 John B. Hall, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
PFC James A. Briddell, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Angelo S. Milano, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Randal M. Whipple, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Thomas C. Bolmer, Co B, 4th Bn, 23 Inf
PFC Curtis R. Speight, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Francisco J. Gonzales, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC David L. Harrelson, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Albert E. Souza, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Thomas W. Bult, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC William H. Griffin, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Karl W. Beal, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Raymond M. Queen, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf



Pay Attention To Detail Details

   How safe are you from yourself when you are working on a detail?  How safe are your friends from you?  People who have to work on details generally do not care much about whatever they may be working on.  They become careless in the use of equipment and materials with which the work must be done.
   For instance, recently, two men were digging a sump hole at a Fire Support Base with the help of a pickaxe.  After a while the work became rather tiring, and one of the men began cursing the Army for all its drudgery.  He hit a rock and the pick bounced back striking him in the knee.  He caused physical damage to the muscles in his knee.
   Another man, a PFC, was building an observation tower along with five other friends.  While three sides of the tower lay on the ground, one of the timber bents was standing and was supported by knee braces.  However, the knee braces were not firmly in place.  The structure fell on you know who - the PFC.  As a result, the PFC found himself with a fractured right leg underneath a heavy timber.
   Remember, when working on details pay attention to what you are doing and do it well.  Your friends' safety depends upon it - and so does yours.


GEDs Won By 61 Men

   CU CHI - Sixty-one Tropic Lightning soldiers were awarded the equivalent of a high school diploma (General Educational Development certificate) recently in a ceremony at the division chapel.
   The ceremony followed study and testing through the Army Education Center here.
   Brigadier General Michael J.L. Greene, an assistant division commander, commended the graduates for their accomplishments under the difficult conditions of war.  He encouraged them to consider the ceremony as a beginning to expanding their educations.
   The test is free and may be taken between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day except Sunday.  Tutors are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the education center.

Lt. Col. Charles W. Norton, Jr. LIEUTENANT COLONEL Charles W. Norton, Jr., of Greensboro, N.C., is the new commander of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.  He came to the battalion from Nha Trang where he was executive officer for the 5th Special Forces.


CSM Wosley Wooley NEW DIVISION SERGEANT MAJOR - Command Sergeant Major Wosley Wooley of Rapid City, S.D., recently assumed the position of command sergeant major of the 25th Infantry Division.  He was formerly the command sergeant major of the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry.



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:

SP4 Jerry E. Remedis, Co E, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl, Mar 9
SP4 Gromer Mareton, HHC, Co A, 25th Med. Bn, boy, Mar 20
PFC Clinton Rogers, 25th Admin. Co, 25th Admin. Co, Mar 20
PVT Chester H. Sims, Co B, 725th Maint. Bn, girl, Mar 20
SP4 Leroy Spratlen, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, boy, Mar 21
SSG Adrian Figuerea, Co A, 588th Engr. Bn, boy Mar 21
SP4 Kenneth Farmer, 79th Engr. Gp, 595th Engr. Bn, girl, Mar 21
SP4 Kiyoshi McCool, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, boy, Mar 21
PFC Paul L. Jennings, Co A, 25th S&T-Bn, girl, Mar 21





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 Edward Bautz, Jr . . . . . .  Commanding General
1LT John Caspari . . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SSG Stephen F. Veroczi . . . .  NCOIC
SP4 Charles C. Self . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 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 Caplan
SP4 Brian Flaherty
SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick
PFC Rob Lato
SP4 Ken Johnson
SP4 Frank Salerno
SP4 Lawrence Merritt
SP4 William McGown



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970


Troopers Discussing Human Relations

   CU CHI - A weekly series of informal meetings designed to better human relations is being held at the 25th Administration Company.
   The meetings were devised in order to bring about a clearer understanding and more compatible relationship between the enlisted men and the officers.
   Topics for discussion have been in the areas of racial harmony, NCO/EM relations, and bridging the gap between young soldiers and old troopers.  The discussions were led by Major Charles E. Stiles who recently assumed command of the company.
   At a recent meeting, the group suggested that proper command leadership should be stressed by the command to the NCO's and officers of the unit.  Individuals who represent a cross section of the enlisted personnel should attend senior NCO meetings: The personnel attending said that everyone should be encouraged to take initiative in doing their jobs.
   Problems with which the black GI is confronted with were also discussed at length.  Captain Herbert Herod, the company executive officer, said that the major cause of racial separatism is a lack of knowledge and understanding between the races.  He said that even as a black officer, he attracts unusual attention when he is with an all black group.
   Stiles summed up the purpose of the meetings by stating, "Let people know how you feel and try to learn how they feel.  Treat them with human dignity."

CARGO NETS are great not only for sorties-they make a pretty good bed too.  These cannoneers from Bravo Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery catch a few "Z's" while waiting at Tay Ninh air strip for C-130 transport planes.  The 105mm howitzer battery flew to Thien Ngon to support 25th Infantry Division troops on a six-day operation. Taking a nap



Artillery Surveyors Know All the Angles - Precisely

   PB BLUE - "Artillery survey performs a function similar to that of the offensive line of a football team: emplacement of howitzers by survey insures accurate fire, and only if the line blocks well will the quarterback be able to throw accurate passes."
   The analogy comes from Staff Sergeant Bob McCormick of Albany, N.Y., chief of the survey section of the 2d Battalion 77th Artillery.
   Artillery survey is perhaps one of the least recognized aspects of artillery, but is one of the most important.
Surveying   "Basically the job of survey is to locate the exact grid coordinates where the howitzers are to be placed," said McCormick.  "We do this by finding a survey control point which is located and marked at an exact grid by the next higher survey echelon.
   "In our case it's Division artillery. They also give us a known direction from the control point to a certain station.  We then carry this known data to where the guns will be placed."
   McCormick, as chief of section, supervises all phases of each survey problem checking on the condition of equipment and the accuracy of each man's computations.  Precision is the key to effective survey work.
   Specialist Five Bob Forbes of Atalissa, Iowa, is the Instrument Operator (IO).
   "I use a complex instrument called a Theadolite to measure horizontal and vertical angles between front and rear stations by sighting off of range poles," he said.
   Working closely with the IO is the Recorder.  Specialist Four Ron Switzer of Holt, Mich., is 2/77's Recorder.
   "When the IO determines his readings, he calls them off to me.  I record the data and tape readings, he calls them off to me.  I record the data and tape distances and maintain a sketch of the survey as we go along."
   After the Recorder marks the data called to him by the IO, he relays the information to the Computers.
   There are always two Computers on every survey.  The reason for this is they must utilize intricate geometric and trigonometric principles in computing the exact grid coordinates of each station as it is established by the other members of the crew.  Each Computer works independently with the same data, and then the results are compared.  This double-check system insures accuracy throughout the survey.
   Two Rodmen, Specialist Five Bill Kirby of Chicago, and Specialist Four Jerry Pyles of Springfield, Ohio, move ahead of the rest of the section driving hubs (usually M79 cannisters) into the ground and then erecting range poles above the hubs.  The IO takes his readings by sighting off the range poles.
   "The range poles must be directly over the hub and they must be level or the IO's angle will be off," said Pyles.
   Another duty of the Rodmen is to guide the Tapemen so that they measure distance on a straight line between stations.
   The Tapemen measure the precise distance between the rear station and the one occupied by the IO and the Recorder.  A 30 meter steel tape is used producing results to the nearest centimeter.
   "Pulling tape is a tiring job because we have to make sure that there is no slack in the tape and at the same time the tape must be directly over the hub of each station," said Specialist Four Dale Brown of Watseka, Ill.
   "But the toughest part of tape pulling is when you have to work in rice paddies and mud waist-deep during the rainy season," said Private First Class Tom Payment of Baton Rouge, La.
   Each station is erected and computations taken from it in the same manner as the crew hopscotches across the earth's surface from the control point to the exact point where the howitzers are to be emplaced.
   Depending upon the nature of the terrain, artillery survey is also capable of calculating accurate altitudes for each station as the survey progresses.
   "We don't compute altitude in our area of operations, though, because the terrain is relatively flat," said Specialist Four Ed Syzmansky of East Hartford, Conn.
   "Crossing the goal line in football gives a team six points," McCormick said.  "A touchdown for us is an accurate survey so the howitzers can be effective."


Poet Writes of Life, Love, Death

SP4 Keith Underwood   BEARCAT - Fatigue, fear, bravery, anger and homesickness are a few of the many characteristics the pressures of combat bring out in a man.
   For Specialist Four Keith Underwood, a member of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, a different kind of expression of emotion is seen.  Keith writes poetry.
   In his works are found three topics, all of which are experienced in a lifetime - life, love and death.
   Keith became interested in poetry during high school in his home town of Urbana, Ohio.  He developed an interest in the works of William Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe.  Robert Frost and Henry Thoreau are two other bards who have left their poetical imprints on Keith's mind.
   His interest in poetry has had rewards.  While attending high school Keith had a number of his poems printed in his school newspaper as well as taking top honors in literary contests.
   He is quiet, soft-spoken and, basically an optimist.
   "I try to bring out the good and the beautiful of all existence around me; yet, I often find myself trying to block out the evil though it is a part of life," Keith said.
   "I try to bring out the most intense feelings of emotion and admiration that one might not have felt possible to express."
   One of his poems shows the feeling Keith has toward the subject:

   "Love is a deep, dark, rich feeling which is forever giving the heart room for happiness and the will to go on when all seems hopeless; yet it is the only thing upon the face of the earth that one could hold in his very hands and, through the joy of it all, never even feel its weight until it is taken away."

   "Just as life and love are part of our lifetime, so is death," Keith said "with death I merely try to bring out the uncertainty and the unknown of death itself.  Death has always interested me, for when there is something unknown - I want to know about it."

   Tonight as all tonights,
   We act as one.
   Today as every today,
   And tomorrow as each tomorrow,
   We live as one.
   In a time as all times come,
   We maneuver as one.
   In a moment as every moment,
   As in a single instant as an instant,
   We shall rule as one,
   We shall fight as one,
   And, if we must die,
   Assuredly, we shall die as one!

   Inspiration and imagination are important ingredients in poetry writing.  "Inspiration is most essential in writing poetry, as is imagination," Keith said,  "Both are all that is needed in good creative writing."
   Aside from writing poetry Keith enjoys song writing and short story writing.  He is in the process of writing "Jessie and Jessica," a post Civil War story of two lovers.
   Keith has written lyrics for a number of songs and hopes that someday they will be published.  The songs, like the stories and poems, involve the joy of life, the happiness of love and the sorrow of death.
   Looking toward the future, Keith said, "I plan on entering college where I will major in English.  Returning to school will enable me to enhance my vocabulary and widen my scope on all subjects, which is a necessity in poetry writing."


Recon Men Jump NVA

   The sun had just gone down, and the eleven man AP from Recon Platoon, E Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, had just finished setting their position.
   Sergeant John Kyzar spotted movement of a small group to his front.  He asked Specialist 4 Perry Everett, "Hey, are they CIDG's?"  Everett replied, "Hell no, they have AK's."
   At this point, the men from E Company commenced the action with M16, M60 and M79 fire.  The fifteen man party of VC did not even attempt to return fire.
   The bunch from E Company kept a silent vigil until 6 a.m.  They conducted a quick sweep and found two bodies and two AK's.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970


Nui Ba Den summit


Lonely Are The Brave
       Mountain Men: Heads in Clouds, Feet on Ground

   TAY NINH - Nui Ba Den is a mountain that rises 3,200 feet above the midst of a cultivated plain nine miles from Tay Ninh City.  At the top is a watchtower-lookout station manned by a pathfinder who guides aircraft in and out.  Surrounding the watchtower are huge boulders, conexes, bunkers made of sandbags and PSP (perforated steel plating), a reservoir, a basketball court, a PX, a mess hall and helicopter landing pads.
   The 25th, First Cav and First Infantry Division each have men serving on the mountain.  They are joined by relay men for signal transmissions, radar technicians, engineers, airmen, an ARVN unit and a few Marines.
   There are only eight acres of ground on the mountain top: improved real estate enclosed by tangles of barbed wire coiled profusely around the perimeter.  Screens of heavy woven wire protect the bunkers from rocket propelled grenades.
   Infantrymen man the outer perimeter bunkers.  They live and pull guard in them.  They also do most of the digging, building and rearranging of positions during the day.
   Each bunker is connected by telephone and radio.  Some have push-button bell alarm systems so the man upstairs on guard doesn't have to run downstairs to wake his partners.
   All the guard has to do is push the button.  The bell rings.  The other men know what it means and the guard can keep his eyes and his sights on the movement.
   A little sleeping on guard, a gradual lessening of alertness, a slowing of reactions and it could mean the difference between waking up in the morning or not.
   So, the men stay alert and keep working.  There are 150 days apiece for them on the mountain.
   Among the major accomplishments on the mountain is the construction of a road around the mountain camp.  It is named the Colonel Tyler tollway - posted speed limit: 75 miles per hour.
   The reservoir is new and so is the mess hall.  An engineer outfit airlifted the concrete to the peak to lay the mess hall foundation.
   The new complex is sturdy.  It is manned by soldiers who are determined to live there until they can go home.

Base on top of Nui Ba Den


Welcome to Nui Ba Den


  Bringing Supplies
Black Virgin  



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970


There was Light
Strip at Tay Ninh Glowing After Dark

   TAY NINH - The ribbon was cut, the generator lever pulled, and the airstrip lights at Tay Ninh Base Camp lit up for the first time.
   With the addition of the lights, the airfield here now has a 24-hour operational capability.  The lights run up and down the airstrip and have different intensities to allow for varying weather conditions.
   The project was accomplished in one week's time by the 362d Aviation Support Detachment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Orr, Asheville, N.C.
   Sergeant First Class Walter Watkins, Hartford, Ala., was NCOIC on the project, but admitted that most of the work was done by Sergeant Frederick Coen, Davenport, Iowa, and Specialist Five Jessie Smith, Magnolia, N.C.
   "Before we got the lights," explained Watkins, "we had to use flares in buckets whenever we had aircraft coming in after dark."
   "That was not exactly the best way to run an airfield," added Coen.  "Sometimes the planes would blow the flares out as they taxied by, and during the wet season, sometimes the buckets would fill up with water and the flares would naturally go out."


Sarge Tests Out His Old Product - Hand Grenades

   CU CHI - For Sergeant Daniel Dailey, squad leader of Bravo Company, Triple Deuce, hand grenades were an everyday thing in the United States.
   Before Dailey came into the Army he worked for nine months in a munitions plant in his hometown of Philadelphia, electrically plating grenade handles.  "My machine produced about 900 rounds of plated handles a day," he said.
   "Sometimes I wonder if the grenades I use now are the same ones I helped make.  I'm sure glad I did a good job on them," Dailey said.


Dragons Sink Sampan, Enemy

   CU CHI - The NVA recently came into a river terminal they didn't know existed.  By the time they were aware of it their voyage was ended by claymore mines and small arms fire of the Golden Dragons.
   "They surprised us and we surprised them," said Specialist Four Jim Hinton, Grove City, Ohio.  "We were just faster."
   Charlie Company of the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, set up a night ambush on a deep inlet of the Oriental River.  After a portion of the night had passed, an enemy sampan with five crew members and five more NVA acting as security on the shore, came into view.  Claymores were detonated in unison, quickly sinking the boat.  Friendly small arms fire followed.  Five enemy were found dead.
   "It's hard to say how many we really got," said Specialist Four Silvio Nicol of Modena, N.Y.  "The river (creek) was really deep there.  Maybe some of the bodies went under."
   The enemy on shore managed to get off three grenades before being quieted.  U.S. forces suffered only minor wounds.
   In addition to the five enemy dead, two automatic weapons were recovered along with various pieces of equipment.


WET TERRAIN - Infantrymen of Bravo Company move out across a swampy area near the Saigon river.  (Photo by SP4 Jim Williams) Patrolling



'Audience' Zaps Fashionable V.C.

   CU CHI - Charlie Company, 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry were recently treated to a show of the latest in Viet Cong fashions for men.
   While moving from a night laager site a recon patrol was confronted by a lone VC wearing a bright green blouse and blue trousers accented by a reddish-brown belt with red star and matching brown sandals.
   The fashion show created an instant impression with the Triple Deuce troopers who burst forth with a standing ovation of small arms "applause."
   Upon closer inspection the troops found that the outfit also included a canteen and documents.  A rucksack stuffed with VC uniforms completed the ensemble.


Computer's Gift Proves Misleading

   TAY NINH - Uncle Sam's "Be smart, stay Army" program is getting more discreet and subtle all the time.
   Just ask First Lieutenant Harold Yager from New London, Md.  Yager, Communications Platoon leader for the 1st Brigade, traveled to 125th Signal Battalion in Cu Chi to pick up his February pay.
   He was expecting the usual $62.  Instead, the "amount paid" on his pay voucher read $4,559.
   "I thought maybe this was part of the Army's new experimental re-up program where they give you the bonus in advance, then hope you decide to stay in," reasoned Yager.
   Sorry men - it ain't so.  One of the Army's computers just made a "tee-tee" mistake and overpaid $4,497.


Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT CERTAIN: In my travels through Vietnam I have seen a good many Boy Scouts, but no Girl Scouts.  How come?
                                                                                                                                             MAJOR QUANDRY

DEAR SIR: Chocolate mint cookies loose all appetizing consistency at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Creme sandwich cookies go limp, and high humidity makes shortbread cookies mushy.  A Girl Scout program in Vietnam is not feasible.

DEAR SGT CERTAIN: Our unit has a little ceremony to welcome replacements to the 25th Division.  We would like music but have heard that the 25th Division musical record won't be available until July.  What do you suggest we play?
                                                                                                                                             WELCOMING COMMITTEE

DEAR WELCOMING: How about, "Strawberry Fields Forever?"

DEAR SGT CERTAIN: Why is it that so many guys put the strings to their jungle hat in the back instead of the front.
                                                                                                                                             COMING UNSTRUNG

DEAR COMING: I can't speak for everyone, but the last time I wore my string in the front, a chopper flew by.  The hat blew up.  The string poked the tip of my cigarette into my nose and SGT Certain looked like Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer.


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970


Expo '70: Peace and Harmony for Mankind"

   OSAKA, Japan - "Bampaku" or "the Exhibition of 10,000 countries" will be underway here through next September.  It is the world's biggest and most costly exposition and is a good spot to spend an R&R or leave from Vietnam.
   Specialist Four Phil Jackson, a correspondent for the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds paid a visit to the fair shortly before the gates opened in mid March.
   He said it looked spectacular even before the gates were opened.
   It is the first world's fair in Asia.  Seventy-seven nations are represented.
   Among the many amusements are robots, mechanical birds and insects, computer controlled automobiles, a space station, a castle made out of glass and a shooting the rapids ride.
   The theme of the fair is "Progress and Harmony for Mankind."  The emblem is a cherry blossom, the flower of Japan.  It symbolizes the five major continents "joined together in peace and harmony."

Photos by SP4 Phil Jackson


Expo 70 Expo 70
Expo 70 Expo 70 Expo 70
Expo 70 Expo 70



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           April 6, 1970


Returning from patrol
BACK FROM A MISSION, A boatload of Golden Dragons of 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry leap from a Tango boat at Go Dau Ha.  The boats serve in combat as miniatures of the Navy's larger LST's.  (Photo by SP4 Greg Stanmar)



Transport Tango Charms Dragons

   GO DAU HA - In an earlier day the Tango may have created havoc on the dance floor.  Now it's doing a pretty good job on the battlefield.
   The Tango of today isn't a dance step but a small Navy troop carrier similar to the LST.  It is so ungainly looking one could never associate it with the graceful art of dancing.  But when it comes to war, there are few who will doubt its success with its partner the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry.
   The 25th Division uses these heavily armed boats, now operated by the Vietnamese Navy, to transport its troops to and from the thickly vegetated areas along the Vam Co Dong River.
   When a boat reaches an objective along the river bank it beaches and the troops storm out from the front ramp or jump off the sides.
   Bravo Company of the Golden Dragons recently conducted a four-day operation along the Oriental that terminated when they were picked up by the Tango Boats.  Before they could reach the river they had to walk through swamps that often reached their chins.
   When they reached their objective shouts of, "Hey, a river cruise," "The fleets in" and "They're the Navy and we're the Infantry, but look who's drier" could plainly be heard.
   But the company was quick to take advantage of their "river cruise" as they settled down on the large, dry decks for the trip up stream.
   "When I get back I'd volunteer for permanent KP," said one trooper, "but that means getting wet."


Night Laager Yields Rice, Med Supplies

   CU CHI - A two day reconnaissance mission in the Boi Loi Woods, North of Fire Support Base Wood III, by ALFA Troop 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, brought forth more than 4,000 lbs of polished rice and 250 lbs. of medical supplies recently.
   "We were only about 1,000 meters from our night laager position", stated Specialist Four Mahlon K. Kapule from Honolulu, Hawaii, a dismount in the 3rd platoon, "when we noticed a small hut like structure in the middle of some brush.  Our dismounts were sent over to check it out."
   "It turned out to be two pieces of tin shaped in the form of a roof covered with leaves with a one foot deep sunken floor.  After carefully probing around we discovered a trap door in a corner, that led us to over 250 lbs. of medical supplies and two SKS rifles.  There were shelves built in the wall and it looked like a regular warehouse down there", Kapule said.
   "We were searching an area just west of where we found the medical supplies, the day before," stated Specialist Four Danny E. Harless, also a dismount from the 3rd platoon.
   "We moved into a very suspicious looking area.  We got word from the platoon leader to check it out on foot.  After I was on the ground for about five minutes I found a well-used trail and decided to follow it.  I didn't have to go very far when I discovered a bunker that contained bags and bags of rice."
   "I called in the findings and marked the bunker, then started down the trail again.  Shortly I came across two more bunkers filled with bags of rice.  After counting 118 bags the rice was sent back to the rear where it was weighed in at more than two tons".


Detainee Leads ARVN Regiment To One of Largest Ammo Caches

   BAO TRAI - Elements of the 49th ARVN Regiment recently parlayed the cooperation of a detainee with their own skill and alertness to compile one of the largest munitions caches found in the 3d Brigade area of operations.
   The detainee, captured with four others near Trung Lap, led units of the 2d Company of the 4/49th ARVN's to a twin cache to start off the day.  The cache included boosters, detonating cord, blasting caps, rockets and other materials, as well as small arms ammunition.
   The detainee then led a recon platoon of the unit to another site nearby.  This one, however, was guarded by three Viet Cong. The ARVN's quickly overwhelmed the enemy, killing two and capturing the other.  The men also captured numerous rocket rounds and boosters.
   After the action, and still in the same vicinity, the platoon discovered a hidden tunnel and captured two NVA officers and their equipment, including binoculars, radio, map and documents.  A 60mm mortar tube with bipod and base plate was also found.
   Meanwhile, another ARVN platoon from the same unit had discovered another cache, featuring a complete 82mm mortar with rounds, fuses and charges.
   To finish off the day's discoveries, the detainee led a recon unit to a bunker which yielded a 75mm recoilless rifle with tripod.


Admin Company 'Adopts' Brood at Catholic Home

   LAI THIEU - Soldiers from the 25th Administration Company have "adopted" the more than 600 deaf and mute Vietnamese children who live and learn at a Catholic home near here.
   The men make a trip to the home every two weeks to deliver clothing and visit with the children who are between four and sixteen years old.
   The first visit was at Christmas time.  Soon after, Specialist Five Eric Meine, who works in the division enlisted records office wrote to his parents asking them to gather clothing for the Vietnamese children.
   Meine's family, along with a boys club in Locust Valley, N.Y., got to work gathering clothing and money that was used to ship what they collected.  During one recent visit the men from admin company delivered 160 pounds of clothing to the home.
   The children welcomed the soldiers by giving them Vietnamese beer, soft drinks, peanuts and water melon.
   "They have lots of questions," Lieutenant Jerry Retzloff of Three Rivers, Tex., an admin company officer, said.  "They write their questions on slips of paper and the G.I.s write answers and add questions of their own.  Their English is very good - better than a lot of G.I.'s," Retzloff said.
   Retzloff and many of the other men in admin company have written home for more clothing for the children.  Major Charles Stiles, admin company commander, said he would like to start a fund raising drive in admin company.  The money would be used to buy materials so the Vietnamese could do some new building at the school.
   "Believe me, that's the way to do it, Stiles, a former MACV adviser, said.  "We couldn't build anything the way they wanted it and we couldn't do as good a job," he said.
   Meanwhile, the twice-a-month visits continue.
   "Our men spend most of their time working in the division staff sections," one officer said.  "They like to get out to the villages and meet the people.  They enjoy going to Lai Thieu as much as the children enjoy having them visit."

Writing notes A QUIET CONVERSATION - Soldiers from the 25th Administration Company exchange notes with children they have "adopted" at a Catholic home 25 miles from Cu Chi base camp.  The more than 600 children at the home are deaf.  (Photo by MSG James Nance)



Thanks to:
Karl Karlgaard, 2nd Bn., 27th 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 02-21-2005

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