Vol 5 No. 17 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
|1/5 Photo 1
|242 ASHC 3
|65th Engr 8
|2/22 Photo 3
|242 ASHC Photo 3
|7/11 Arty 8
|7/11 Arty Photo 8
|4/23 Photo 6
|75th Rangers 8
|12th Evac 3
|2/34 Armor 1
|720th MP 4
|2/34 Armor Photo 8
|49th ARVN 6
|720th MP Photos 4
|25th Admin 3
|501 Land Clearing 1
|725th Maint 6
|2/12 Photos 7
|25th Avn Bn Photo 2
|501 Land Clr Photo 1
|Jill Jarmin Photo 3
|25th Med Bn 3
While Clearing Jungles
Regulars Protect Plows
By SP4 HENRY G. ZUKOWSKI
CU CHI - After a recent, fierce battle northwest of the Angel's Wing near the Cambodian border, land clearing operations began in the Renegade Woods.
For many years, the area had served as an excellent passageway for enemy infiltrators coming into Vietnam. Rome plows from the 501st Land Clearing Company at Long Binh, secured by men of the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized) 22nd Infantry ripped down the heavy jungle cover.
The plowing unearthed many enemy bunkers, trails, tunnels, and fighting positions, thus eliminating future infestation by the enemy.
"With the plows exposing the hidden positions, it was easy for us to destroy them," said 2/22nd Platoon Leader First Lieutenant Francis Ratka, of Foly, Minn.
The Triple Deuce armored personnel carriers of Bravo Company provided firepower protection for the 29 Rome plows. The plows covered about 200 acres each day.
Complimenting the plow operators, Bravo Company Specialist 4 Chris Skaggs, of Deer Creek, Ill., said, "It's a lot easier driving our tracks over the fallen jungle than having to maneuver them through it."
|GOIN' DOWN - Not even the biggest obstacle stands in the way of a Rome plow of the 501st Land Clearing Company. In this jungle-clearing operation in the Renegade Woods, the "Triple Deucemen" of the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry provided security against would-be enemy intruders. (Photo by Specialist 4 Henry G. Zukowski, Jr.)
Warriors Find Cache, Scorn Warning Signs
By SP4 JEFF HINMAN
FSB KIEN - Like roadside billboards, the signs of heavy cardboard hanging from trees read in Vietnamese, "Yankee You Die," "You Die Here," and "Booby Trap Mine Area."
Despite the enemy's advertising, the Third Platoon of D Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, continued down the double-canopy covered trail they were searching southeast of here.
Suddenly, they came upon an enemy bunker complex within which was a two foot by two foot hole containing nine SKS rifles, two Chi-Com Carbines, 15 B-40 rockets, one 120mm mortar round, two Chi-Com telephones, 10,000 feet of commo wire and assorted booby trap components.
"A Hoi Chanh led us to the cache," said Platoon Leader Second Lieutenant James Fitzgerald of Cambridge, Mass. "The Second Platoon found him the day before with two AK-47 s."
"When we started through the booby trap signs, our source didn't want to go along," said Fitzgerald. "He was afraid the VC were going to come back while we were digging up the cache. Luckily, they didn't."
Ewell Applauds, Thanks 25th Div. For Cooperation
CU CHI - The departing II Field Force commander, Lieutenant General Julian J. Ewell, extended his thanks and congratulations to the 25th Division in a message to the commander recently.
"Your motto 'Ready to Strike Anywhere, Anytime' has been your guidepost," Ewell said. "You have met the challenge and to each officer, NCO, and soldier I say with deep affection and sincerity thank you for a job well done."
Ewell is now military adviser to the U.S. delegation at the Paris peace talks. The new II Field Force commander is Lieutenant General Michael S. Davison.
Cooks Under Siege
Hounds Invade Pastry Pantry
By SP4 ROBB LATO
CU CHI -- After conducting a recon of the area, the "Wolfhounds" of the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry staged nightly on-line assaults on their mess hall with one thing on their minds.
"Our pastries," grinned Specialist 4 Mike Kubla from Baldwinsville, N.Y., a cook with the Wolfhounds. "We spend approximately six to nine hours baking pastries and it seems like they are devoured in no time at all," he added.
Kubla is referring to himself and the head cook, Sergeant John Haynes of Philadelphia, Pa, who supervises the baking for the 'Hounds in the field and in Cu Chi. Making use of shelf-type ovens, the two bakers turn out hundreds of doughnuts, turnovers, and a variety of cake rolls nightly.
"Tonight we are going to bake about 200 to 300 turnovers. To back that up, we'll make several layer cakes," said Haynes.
Since both cooks have served on line as grunts, they know what it is like to be hungry.
"We attempt to make enough baked goods to go around every day," stated Haynes. "We keep them fresh by wrapping them in wax paper and putting them in boxes."
Baking at night, uninterrupted, would normally allow the cooks to complete their 'artistry' in a few hours, right? Wrong!
As Sergeant First Class Vern Shavers of Detroit, Mich., the mess hall NCOIC, testifies, "Many times during the night, the men in the area smell the fresh baked goods and they swarm the mess hall like flies looking for a midnight snack."
"It is not that we do not have enough for everyone," laughed Kubla, "but we like to fill our order for the next day first before the free-for-all begins!"
|BREAKING THROUGH the triple-canopy jungles near the Cambodian border, 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry "Bobcats" recon the area with perseverance. (Photo by Specialist 4 Rich Fitzpatrick)
Tanks Ruin Bunkers
By PFC KEN JOHNSON
LONG THANH - The platoons of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor worked together in an operation for the first time in two years recently for a 15-day romp through the jungle that sent Charlie humping.
The Long Thanh region is a long-time enemy stronghold bristling with bunker complexes that have six feet of overhead cover. ARVN infantrymen working the area had discovered the bunkers but were not equipped to destroy them.
Using elements of the 43rd, 289th, 453rd and 137th ARVN infantries as patrol and blocking forces, the Dreadnaughts went into the jungle.
At the completion of the operation an estimated 200 enemy bunkers had been destroyed by the weight of the tanks, charges of C-4 explosives and CS gas to render the bunkers uninhabitable.
The Dreadnaughts accounted for four enemy dead, but the bulk of the communist forces fled north and south - straight into trouble.
ARVN forces killed 49 enemy in two engagements south of Long Thanh while American gunships killed 27 north of the province capital.
Six of the armormen were awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star after the operation. The awards were presented by Colonel Lam Quan Chinh, provice chief of Bien Hoa.
Those receiving the award, the second highest the Vietnamese Army presents, were: Major Roy Kimberling of Wickenburg, Ariz., Captain Stephen Lang of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sergeant First Class Walter Stout of College Park, Ga., Sergeant Stanley Neal of Victor, W. Va., Specialist 4 Mike Handy of Santee, Calif., and Private First Class Dale Haynes of Valdosta, Ga.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
|CPT George E. Robertson, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT Francis L. Mayo Jr, Co D, 3d Bit, 22d Inf
1LT Phillip J. Norton, Co F, 75th Inf
1LT Joseph M. Robichaud, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SFC Colin K. Hall, Co F, 75th Inf
SSG Jack J. Boss, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
|SGT Jimmy E. Williams, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Walter Lee Davis, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 David D. Drake, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Frank S. Everingham, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Dennis L. Perry, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Donald W. Tinney, Co F, 75th Inf
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
|LTC William L. Martin, HHC, 3d Bde
WO1 John C. Morgan, HHC, 1st Bde
|SP5 Terry L. Dildy, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP5 Joe D. Ramey, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
|CPT Hugh C. McClees, HHC, 725th Maint Bn
MSG Mack W. Clarkson, HHC, 1 st Bde
|PFC John T. Haines, Co B, 25th Med Bn
CPT Richard H. Goldsmith, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
CPT Melvin A. Greenroad, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT James F. Kleffman, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
CPT Frank Smith, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Malcolm S. Burgess Jr, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT James L. Fogarty, HHC, 1st Bde
2LT Dick F. Dent, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG James C. Darwin, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Stephen J. Larson, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG Timothy L. Palmer, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SSG David Zonfrilli, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Kerry W. Dickerson, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Arlinn G. Gushee, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Ralph E. Hartsock, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Stephen Morrison, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Toby G. Novelli, Co D, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Rex J. Petri, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Samuel P. Seay, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Max E. Smith, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Edward W. Bollen, 44th Inf Plt, IPSD
SP4 Jeremiah Bradwell, HHC, 1st Bde
SP4 Marcus Collins, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 James L. Donahue, HHC, 1st Bde
SP4 Joseph Elsasser, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Robert E. Falconer, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 William M. Fink, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Richard F. Guth, Co F, 75th Inf
SP4 Peter C. Hall, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Thomas W. Jackson, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Herbert R. Johnson, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 William H. Kline, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Larry C. Knight, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Carl Kocmit, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Bill Lavell, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d hif
SP4 James Leblanc, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Richard B. Loy, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Randy L. Marino, HHC, 1st Bde
SP4 Michael Martin, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 James E. Moses, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Jim Mullins, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Dennis M. Nowack, Co E, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Donald E. Purdy, Co F, 75th Inf
SP4 Edgardo Rosa, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Charles Shores, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 William N. Singleton Jr, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Marcus Whybra, Co A, 3d Bn 22d Inf
PFC Raymond L. Allmon, Co F, 75th Inf
PFC Marvin E. Battle, Co A, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Richard S. Curtis, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Brian S. Giguere, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC James Grotelueschen, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Gary C. Heine, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Myron K. Hoag, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Kenneth J. Langland, Co F, 75th Inf
PFC Marvin D. Lerch, HHC, 1st Bde
PFC George D. Marquardt, Co B, 25th S&T Bn
PFC Mikel Miles, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Anthony J. Olesh, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Steven Perez, Co F, 75th Inf
Roads, Speeding Poor Combo
By SP5 GARY D. SCIORTINO
Despite the fact that GI's in Vietnam may drive hardy American-made vehicles, the roads remain unpredictable and unfit for high speeds.
Too many American soldiers learn this fact of life the hard way. Recently, a man was returning to Tay Ninh Base Camp in a two and one-half ton truck after taking a platoon out to a night ambush position. He was traveling 40-50 miles per hour when he approached a curve. The vehicle overturned on the curve because the truck was going too fast. As a result, the driver and one of the shotgunners were pinned under the cab of the truck. They were lucky. They suffered only broken bones and abrasions. Two other shotgunners were pinned underneath the bed of the truck. They were dead on arrival at the dispensary. The truck itself, worth more than $8,000, was a total loss.
In another incident, four men rode in a jeep on the main road from Dau Tieng to Fire Support Base Kien. Although the speed limit on the road was 25 mile per hour, the jeep moved out at about 40 miles per hour. Suddenly, the driver lost control of the jeep. It swerved to the side of the road, hit a ditch and flipped over onto its side. Except for one passenger who suffered a broken ankle, none of the other persons in the jeep were injured very badly.
However, the driver was not the assigned driver. The assigned driver, who was a passenger, had merely deferred that job to him. And, of course, the ranking man in the vehicle took all the responsibility for the accident. This man, a sergeant, will have to account for how he allowed a jeep, a radio, and a radio antenna to become totally useless. Total damages were estimated to be more than $2,000.
So the next time you allow the speedometer needle to rise above the speed limit, ask yourself this question: Is it worth it?
Fliers Swim After Hours
CU CHI - Except for their recreational facilities, the men of the 25th Aviation Battalion would find little to do after duty hours.
Instead of succumbing to boredom, they take advantage of the battalion's swimming pool, volleyball and basketball courts, and softball field.
Inter-battalion leagues in volleyball, softball and basketball have been set up and are fully organized with officials and scorekeepers.
Captain John Burns, the battalion flight surgeon and recreation officer, remarked, "Since we have both enlisted mens' and officers' teams, it gives the men a chance to compete against their officers -- which always makes for a spirited game."
|JUMP BALL! -- Two men of the 25th Aviation Battalion stretch high into the air in an effort to regain the ball for their own team.
Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
SP4 John Wenzel, A Co, 2d Bn, 22d Inf, boy
SGT Edward Walsh, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl
SP4 Marion McClellan, E Co, 65th Engr. Bn, boy
SP4 Paul Marales, C Co, 4th Bit, 23d Inf, boy
ILT Robert Vadnais, F Trp, 75th Rangers, boy
PFC Stephen Miller, B Co, I st Bn, 5th Inf, boy
PFC Michael Duncan, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, girl
WO1 William Hodges, 187th Hel. Bn, boy
SP4 Richard Brown, B Co, 65th Engr. Bn, girl
PVT Joseph McDonald, D Co, 2d Bn, 27th Inf, girl
SP4 Dennis Murphy, Hq & A Co, 725th Maint. Bn, girl
SP4 Donald Brenner, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf, girl
SP4 Bobby Allred, B Co, 3d Bn, 13th Arty, girl
PFC Dan Deeren, A Co, 2d Bn, 22d Inf, boy
SP4 Michael Jessie, 25th MI Det, boy
PFC Guy Long, A Co., 25th Avn. Bn, boy
SP4 John Runnels, 25th Avn. Bn, boy
CPT Gary Oldham, HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, girl
SGT Randall Burchett, C Co, 7th Bn, 11th Arty, boy .
PFC Norman Tinsley, B Co, 1st Bn, 5th Inf, boy
SP5 Jack Taylor, A Co, 4th Bn, 23d Inf, girl
SP4 Eugene Kininnock, LCLC, girl
SP4 Theodis Grant, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, girl
PFC John Robinette, A Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf, boy
SSG Rhett Daverio, MACV Adv. Tm. No. 90, 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 Edward Bautz, Jr . . . . . . 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
PFC Joseph V. Kocian . . . . . Production Supervisor
|SGT Bill Obelholzer
SP4 Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
SP4 Greg Stanmar
SP4 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Greg Duncan
SP4 Brad Yaeger
SP4 Frank Rezzonico
SP4 Dan Neff
SP4 Henry Nukowski, Jr
|SP4 Joe O'Rourke
PFC Ray Byrne
SGT William E. Zarrett
SP4 Robert Caplan
SP4 Brian Flaherty
SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick
PFC Rob Lato
SP4 Frank Salerno
SP4 Lawrence Merritt
SP4 William McGown
SP4 Tom Benn
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
Muleskinners Accident-Free 18,500 Hours
CU CHI - The "Muleskinners", the men of the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company which is the main support element for the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, recently kicked in 18,500 hours of accident-free flying for the past sixteen-month period.
Captain James H. Barnes, Executive Officer of the Chinnok Company, said, "This distinctive achievement certainly establishes the 242nd as a chopper company with one of the highest safety records in the Republic of Vietnam."
In March the company received an award from the Boeing Vertol organization commemorating the Muleskinners' having flown 40,000 hours in RVN.
"The significance of that award is that 16,500 of the hours were consecutively accident-free," said Barnes. "Since the award's cut-off date in December, 1969, the 242nd has an additional 2000 'safety hours' to its credit."
The company, flying CH-47 helicopters, is aptly nicknamed, for the mule is a beast of burden. The Muleskinners transport about 11,000 troops and 11,000 tons of support necessities -- food, water, medicines, weapons -- each month to the field troops working in the III Corps area.
Their primary mission is the support of troops of the Tropic Lightning Division. A part of the First Aviation Brigade, the 242nd has slung everything from water buffalo to observation towers through the Vietnam skies.
Captain Barnes said that a great part of the credit for his company's safety record should go to First Lieutenant Walter Atwood, of Boston, and his maintenance crew.
A large man with a hearty laugh, Atwood acknowledges that the seven-day week he and his crew put in is a strain, working in the open and exposed to the Asian elements. The work continues into the night, often with inadequate lighting making it difficult for the third shift to maintain the high standards they strive for.
Barnes pays tribute to his men; "Maintenance is the hard and unglamorous work which allows the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company to achieve its remarkable safety and service record."
|PAINSTAKING repair and inspection of helicopters have been a big factor in the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company's remarkable safety record. During the last 16 months the unit has had 18,500 hours of accident-free flying.
Triple Deuce Stops in Tracks
Shake Hands With Hollywood
By SP4 HENRY G. ZUKOWSKI
FSB DEVINS - Hollywood stars Jill Jarmin and Gary Vinson exchanged friendly smiles, light conversation and warm handshakes with the men of the 2nd Battalion (Mech) 22nd Infantry Scout platoon during a brief visit recently.
Vinson, of televisions "McHales Navy," impressed the men with his down-to-earth manner. Triple Deuce squad leader Sergeant Wally Wolfe of St. Peter, Minn., said, "He's funny, relaxing, and most of all refreshing. One of the guys, a 'Cool Head'.
Miss Jarmin wowed the men with charm and personality, greeting everyone with a glowing smile. She has appeared in movies and on TV in Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillys, and many others. She is also a well-known night club singer.
Presently on their second USO Vietnam tour, Vinson, a captain in the Air Force Reserves, was once stationed at Tan Son Nhut. Miss Jarmin was a singer on her first tour in 1966.
"We're from the same world as you, so why not come and see my people," Vinson replied when asked why they made the trip.
For the Hollywood stars there will be other fire support bases with more friendly GIs, but for the Triple Deuce Scout platoon, their thoughts were made a little warmer and a little closer to home.
|SINGER Jill Jarmin hopped aboard a track during a visit with men of the 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry, at Fire Support Base Devins. (Photo by SP4 Henry Zukowski).
Kids Have School On Admin Comp.
CU CHI - Construction of a public school at Thai My village west of here is underway, using materials purchased or donated by the men of the 25th Administration Company.
"The children do not have a school now, even though many of them are of school age," Major Charles Stiles of Lawton, Okla., the 25th Admin. Co. commander, said. "The area recently came under government control, and the people are too poor to buy a school for themselves."
"We have agreed to support the building of a two-room schoolhouse," Stiles stated. "Much of the material can be obtained through salvage materials," he pointed out. "Other materials, such as brick, must be purchased on the local market. Those materials will cost approximately $2,000."
The company raised $240 in its first appeal to the men to support the program last payday. Other donations came later including one from a man who handed Stiles $40 for the project during a barracks inspection one Saturday morning.
The people of the village will do the building on a supervised, self-help basis, Stiles said. The community will supply teachers after the school is completed. Books and other school supplies are available through CARE.
Stiles, with 43 of his men, visited the village several weeks ago. A MEDCAP and DENTCAP went with them plus some musicians from the company and the Division Band who entertained. Later, some of the villagers came to Cu Chi Base Camp, where they picked up salvagable material from the 25th Admin. Co. area so they could begin building.
In addition to the public school project, the company has paid regular visits to a home for deaf-mute children, most of them orphans, at Lai Thieu.
Vietnam Military Medics Get Health Care Training
CU CHI -- Fifteen Regional and Popular Force medics, currently enrolled in 12th Evacuation Hospital's Health Care Course provided specifically for Vietnamese military medics, are learning about everything from inoculation techniques to anatomy and physiology here.
The course, now in its fourth session, is conducted at the hospital five days per week for six weeks. Professional personnel of the hospital and the 25th Infantry Division Surgeon's Office instruct the classes.
A Vietnamese translator mediates in student-instructor language problems. The classroom work is confined to mornings. In the afternoon, groups of three and four students receive practical experience by joining in Medical Civic Action Programs conducted by personnel of the 25th Medical Battalion.
Captain Sue P. Minahan from Garland, Tex., head nurse of one of the hospital's surgical wards and director of the Health Care Course, stated that enthusiasm and cooperation has contributed to the program's success. "Some of the instructors work in the hospital at night, but they still teach classes in the morning," she said. "The students themselves take notes on everything; and if the teacher fails to explain something fully, they are sure to question him."
Captain Anna B. Thomas from Oakland, Md., head nurse of the hospital's Vietnamese ward, originally was slated only to teach the students about the proper techniques of administering injections. "When I dismissed the class, one of the students mentioned that they had not yet learned anything about intravenous therapy," she stated. "They insisted upon learning about it before class was dismissed. Their enthusiasm for learning the subject thoroughly made me enthusiastic about teaching them."
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
Combat MP's Work Out
Log Resupply Keep Rolling Along
The most important job of combat Military Police is insuring the security of logistical resupply convoys which pass through the division area of operations from Long Binh to Tay Ninh and Dau Tieng.
As soon as the daily convoy enters the division area of operations, Tropic Lightning combat MP's take charge of its security from Long Binh's 720th Military Police Battalion.
"The most important job of the convoy MP," says First Lieutenant Paul J. Callen of Boston, Mass., the 25th Infantry Division. MP operations officer, "is to make sure that the convoy never stops rolling until it reaches its destination."
Convoy MP's lead and follow the convoys in jeeps and armored vehicles in order to protect the convoy from enemy ambushes, to regulate its speed, and to insure that none of the vehicles fall behind.
In each of the major villages a convoy passes through MP's set up tactical control points. There they see to it that no traffic in the village blocks the convoy or causes the convoy to stop for even a few seconds.
"It is all very well planned," said Callen. "Nobody knows which route we are taking until we actually take it."
After the day's convoy passes through a tactical control point in a village, the day has just begun for the MP's there. They spend the rest of the day acting as highway patrolmen.
They assist GIs whose vehicles have broken down along the road, call in dust-offs for Vietnamese or American persons who become involved in auto accidents, and, in general, provide assistance to just about anyone who needs it.
First Lieutenant John T. Heaton of Weathersfield, Conn., a convoy MP commander at the 25th MP Company, explained very simply why the convoy MP's have been so successful in performing their mission. "We take a hell of a lot of pride in our work," he declared.
Story and Photos
|DIRECTING THE CONVOY in the proper direction when it passes through a village on the way to its destination.
|EARLY IN THE MORNING, an MP jeep and V-100 armored car provide one of the resupply convoys to Tay Ninh Base Camp with security and communications.
|A PROUD MOTHER shows her infant son off to Specialist McRobinson.
|LEADING A CONVOY to its destination is nothing new for these MP's. And, as the motto implies, whenever a convoy enters the 25th Infantry Division's area of operations the MP's are always there.
|CONVOY MP's WAIT atop their armored cars for the resupply convoy from Long Binh to enter the 25th Infantry Division area of operations. When the convoy comes along, these MP's will take charge of providing it with security until it again departs the division's area of operations.
|TRAFFIC CONTROL plays an important role in Private First Class John Lawrence's job as a convoy MP at the tactical control point at Go Dau Ha. Lawrence, who hails from San Diego, Calif., must hold back civilian traffic in the village long enough for the convoy to pass through without stopping.
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
Hawks Have New EM Club
By SP4 ROBERT C. CAPLAN
TAY NINH - Take an old hootch, some wooden pallets and a few surplus gallons of paint, add some dedication and hard work and the result is a new EM club for the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry Tomahawks.
The materials were supplied by the various Tomahawk supply rooms. The dedication and hard work were supplied by Specialst 4 Kenneth Laswell of Las Vegas, Na., known as "Vegas" to his friends.
Vegas spent seven-and-one-half months in the field with Bravo company Tomahawks. He was brought out of the field to become manager for the 187th Assault Helicopters Officers Club. On December 18, 1969, while returning from Cu Chi with club supplies, Vegas was wounded when the convoy he was in was ambushed between Trang Bang and Go Dau Ha. While he was recovering, the 187th got a new club manager. Vegas returned to the Tomahawks of Delta Company and started plans for a Tomahawk EM Club.
Using wooden ammo boxes, old blankets and tarps, Vegas has built a padded bar at one end of the converted hootch that now serves as the Tomahawks club. At the other end of the room is a stage made from wooden pallets and scraps of masonite. The "modern" paintings on the walls are pieces of tar paper with paint splattered "artistically" on them.
"When the guys come in out of the field, they need a place of their own to let off steam," Vegas stated. "This club should be the perfect place."
|SPECIALIST 4 Kenneth Laswell, Las Vegas, Nev., a Tomahawk with Delta Company, 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry, puts the finishing touches on the new EM Club he built for the men in the battalion. (Photo by SP4 Robert C. Caplan)
Save Pal in River
By SGT BILL OBERHOLZER
TAY NINH - River crossings in Vietnam can be very hazardous as the Charlie Company Tomahawks of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry discovered on a recent operation. While on a company size operation, they came upon a turbulent river. The company's mission was to complete the crossing and continue on its operation.
Because of the danger involved, only one person could cross at a time. As one of the men was crossing, he lost his grip and was carried downstream.
Immediately Private First Class Miles Patrick of Bound Brook, N.J., and Specialist 4 Paul Morales, Jr., of La Habra, Calif., dove in the river with their clothes and boots on and helped to pull the man ashore. After a successful resuscitation, the ailing Tomahawk was revived and was able to continue the operation.
For their bravery, Tomahawks Patrick and Morales were awarded the Soldier's Medal.
725th Maintainers Are Teacher's Pets
LAO TAO -- A public school built with materials purchased by the men of the 725th Maintenance Battalion is scheduled to open here next week. It is the second school built with the battalion's support this year.
Construction is being done by the men and women who live here and some help is coming from soldiers assigned to the 49th ARVN Regiment. It is the only school in this hamlet which has sprung up near Trung Lap.
The money was raised through regular payday donations by the 725th's men. The building materials were purchased on the economy and given to the Vietnamese. All of the materials have gone into the construction of the school and the community will supply teachers when classes begin.
A Buddhist school at Vinh Nnh, Built with donations from the battalion, opened in late January. It now has 150 students according to Captain Bill Suter of Mineral, Wash., the battalion assistant personnel officer.
"We have the most active civic action program of any unit in the division," Suter said. Among the unit's other projects is support of the Vinh Rosa Orphanage at Hoc Mon. It was "adopted" by the 725th last November.
"Our men make daily visits to the orphanage," Suter said. It has 138 children living in it and is operated by nine Catholic nuns."
The battalion headquarters are located at Cu Chi. Its mission is to provide direct support maintenance of almost all types of maintainable division material," Suter said. "Civic action projects are just one of the extra things we do."
|Ilikai East by Night
SAT-Films and Popcorn
All events begin at 2000 hours.
Ask Sgt. Certain
DEAR SGT CERTAIN: I have made a study and have discovered that people with long thin faces should wear the rims of their jungle hats rolled up. Guys with fat faces look better with the brims turned down. People with large noses ought to break the peak on the front of their hats by letting the rim get soft and limp. A mature face looks best with a conservative style such as a starched top. A more youthful face can get away with something zanier such as a Gabby Hayes, or an Aussie style. But remember, a Gabby Hayes looks gruesome on a person whose face is pushed in. There are exceptions but I think this is a good general rule. What do you think?
DEAR KEEN: I think you should have your head examined.
DEAR SGT CERTAIN: The rainy season is fast approaching, and every time it rains our bunker fills with water. The stairs look like Niagara Falls. Two weeks ago we had four inches in the bunker, we took our boots up off the floor and went to sleep. This week there was three feet, I couldn't find my bed. What are we to do?
DEAR DAMPENED: You have a drainage problem. You might try putting your bed on pontoons, or practice the back stroke till you can do it in your sleep. Did you ever consider redirecting the drainage, or better yet moving elsewhere?
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
"Bell's Bunker Builders"
Sandbagers Rebuild Kien
FSB KIEN - When the 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry Warriors took over Fire Support Base Kien, it was debatable as to whether or not they should call the place a fire support base. The men of the 1st Infantry Division had called the site "a night defensive perimeter." There was much work to be done in order to make Kien as comfortable and functional as the battalion's former home, Fire Support Base Pershing.
"It was a real hassle getting things going when we first got here, but now we're operating smoothly," commented Private First Class Ron Jenkins of Phoenix, Ariz.
The construction work on FSB Kien is being supervised by Sergeant First Class Donald Bell of Grovetown, Ga., the battalion's expert carpenter. Bell and his "Bunker Builders" have the project of building up the fire support base at a rapid pace.
"We have got bunkers and buildings going up everywhere around here now," said Sergeant Wally Hanson of Lifer, R.I.
The building project is not easy; but there are few complaints from the men doing the work, because their security as well as their comfort depends upon the quality of their work.
Story, Photos By
|TRIMMING ammo boxes with a noisy chain saw fills the time for these two Warriors.
|SAND is always plentiful wherever infantrymen gather; and a countless number of sandbags waiting to be filled by these Warriors at FSB Kien proves to be no exception for them.
|DRIVING NAILS sometimes requires good balance as Warrior Sergeant Huffstutler of Winter Haven, Fla. demonstrates while building a bunker in the Delta Company area at FSB Kien.
|THE MOBILE TOOL SHED of 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry at FSB Kien bears the nickname and emblem of Sergeant First Class Bell's construction crew.
|TWO WARRIORS team up to saw the heavy timber needed for bunker construction.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 4, 1970
Disillusioned John Waynes?
Acting Eleven Bravos Conduct Search
TAY NINH - Although he would probably be the last to admit it, the secret ambition of almost every "base camp warrior" is to get outside the wire and find out what it's like to be a grunt.
Recently, some North Vietnamese sappers gave the "Redlegs" from Headquarters Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, their big chance. After a ground attack on Tay Ninh Base Camp the night before, a captured NVA claimed that three of the sappers slipped inside the wire and were hiding somewhere on the 25th Division base camp.
During the massive search that ensued, the artillerymen were called upon to conduct a sweep through the barbed wire along a sector of the perimeter. The "acting" 11 Bravos "saddled up" with their steel pots, flack jackets, and dusty, (but trusty) M-16s, and humped down to the bunker line.
The procession was led by one of the battery mascots, Ton the Wonderdog. According to legend, Ton was at one time an NVA scout dog who "Chieu Hoied" after being wounded, and he seemed right at home walking point.
Once outside the wire, the Redlegs spread out and searched the area thoroughly. Tall grass was combed using the stomping-foot-probe method, which is guaranteed to flush out sappers, snakes and lurking field mice. Shell craters were probed with the muzzle of a weapon, using the long-thrust series. Dud mortar rounds were picked up, scrutinized closely, then tossed aside.
After a second sweep of the area failed to turn up anything, the search party headed back to the battery area. Apparently all the John Waynes had become disillusioned during the afternoon, as the most frequent comment made was, "Sure glad I'm not a grunt."
Maybe it's better that way.
|GRUNTS FOR A DAY - Artillerymen from Headquarters Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, get a taste of "11 Bravo" as they head outside the perimeter of Tay Ninh Base Camp. The Redlegs where searching for three enemy sappers who had reportedly crept inside the post the night before. (Photo by SP4 Dan Neff).
Detains Six Suspects
By SP4 BRAD YAEGER
FSB COLORADO - "I was very glad to leave the area. Even though the people weren't armed, they had us outnumbered six to one."
That is how Captain William Goodman of Philadelphia, Civic Actions Officer for the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," described his feelings after returning from a reconnaissance during which he and his Vietnamese interpreter spotted twelve Vietnamese and detained six suspects for questioning.
The action began when Lieutenant Colonel Marvin Rosenstein, "Wolfhound" commander, flew back to Fire Support Base Colorado after directing troops during a seven-day mission. Enroute, he spotted a number of abandoned oxcarts at the base of a mountain. He called for an eagle flight to land and check out the area.
He was informed, however, that troops and helicopters were not immediately available.
"My interpreter and I hopped on a light observation helicopter (LOH) at Colorado. The only communication equipment we had on the ground was red and yellow smoke, and I had my CAR-15 (a stripped-down M-16 rifle) for firepower," said Goodman.
"The only type of air cover available was an Australian FAC (Forward Air Controller). We contacted the pilot and he agreed to cover us even though he had only marking rockets on board," said Goodman.
When the FAC failed to draw fire. Goodman circled in the LOH. Spotting several people trying to hide in the underbrush, he tossed smoke grenades near their position.
"I was pretty tense when we landed and just the two of us stepped out," he said. As the LOH flew off, the people began to pour out of the woods with their hands up. Within a few seconds, there were 11 men and one woman standing in front of Goodman and his interpreter.
His interpreter questioned the people and discovered that six of them lacked proper identification. Red smoke was popped and a Huey, now available, was rushed to the scene to pick up the detainees.
Questioning of the six detainees yielded one VC agent.
Aquabush' Nets Four Enemy
By SP4 FRANK REZZONICO
BEARCAT -- The 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry waterborne "Wolfhounds" are making waves for enemy forces on the Thi Vai River.
Working with the 65th Engineer Battalion and the 75th Rangers, the Bravo Company "Aquahounds" killed four North Vietnamese and took one detainee in two recent "aquabushes" (an ambush blown from a boat).
When asked how working on the Thi Vai compared with working on the Vam Co Dong in the Hounds' old area of operations, Private First Class Jay M. Kennington, of Ogden, Utah, answered, "The brush here is much thicker than it was on the Vam Co Dong."
"One of the advantages to this," said Kennington, "is that you can hear the slightest movement because of the thick brush, which makes it difficult for anyone to sneak up on you."
There are a few new methods the "Aquahounds" had to adopt on the Thi Vai.
Private First Class Arnold Williams, a member of Bravo Company from Lookout Mountain, Ga., said, "We used to use large River Patrol (PBR) and "Tango" boats on the Vam Co Dong. Here we use two smaller boats - the "Boston Whaler" and the "Ski Barge".
Williams explained that "by using less men we are cutting down on noise and increasing our element of surprise."
An additional task the "Aquahounds" have assumed is checking sampan traffic on the river.
"Checking the sampan traffic on the Vam Co Dong was the Navy's job; here it is our responsibility," Kennington added.
|OH NO -- A "tanker's nightmare" occurred for the men of the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor while on an operation with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry. The units were working in the "fingers" area north of Nui Ba Den. (Photo by SGT Bill Zarrett).
Troop Takes Swim To Save NVA Life
By SP4 FRANK REZZONICO
BEARCAT -- Compassion is occasionally visible, even in the most heated moments of battle.
Such compassion was demonstrated near here recently when a 25th Infantry Division soldier, Private First Class Allen Kim of Honolulu, dove into the Thi Vai River to save the life of a drowning North Vietnamese trooper.
Kim's platoon from B Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds" was participating in river ambush operations when an enemy sampan with three NVA soldiers aboard drifted into their field of fire.
The Wolfhounds waited until the sampan was well into the kill zone, and then opened up.
Two enemy soldiers were immediately killed and the other, who was seriously wounded, was trying desperately to stay afloat in the river.
Seeing the man's plight, Kim quickly dove into the swirling current. After a few minutes of splashing around, Kim returned to the riverbank with the enemy soldier in tow.
"I really don't know why I wanted to save him," said Kim. "But it just didn't seem like a good way for anyone to die."
Kim's beneficiary turned out to be an NVA supply sergeant. After the rescue, the enemy soldier's wounds were treated, and he was evacuated for interrogation.
"Who knows," said Kim, "maybe he has all kinds of important information."
Mech Dismounts Shock Two VC
By PFC FRANK H. SALERNO
CU CHI -- Infantrymen of Charlie Company, 2d Battalion (Mech), 22d Infantry, picked off two enemy soldiers recently during a hasty ambush several miles north of Cu Chi.
While walking through a heavily brushed area, Specialist 4 David Dodsle of Harwood, N.D. heard voices and saw movement to his front.
He told his patrol leader, and a hasty ambush was set up. The barrage of M-16 and M-79 fire caught the enemy by surprise.
A search of the area revealed two dead V.C., one assault rifle, several loaded magazines and surgical supplies.
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.
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