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Vol 5 No. 19          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          May 18, 1970



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                   Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                     7 2/22                                    1 3/4 Cav                             3 4/23                                  3
1/5 Photos                       7 2/22 Photo                        1 3/4 Cav                             6 501 Land Clr Photo       6
1/27                                   3 2/27 Photo                        2 3/13 Arty Photo              2 587 Signal Bn                 4
1/27 Photo                       3 2/34 Armor                       1 3/22 Photo                        3 587 Signal Photos          4
1/27                                   6 2/34 Armor                       3 4/9                                     3 7/11 Arty Photo              3
1/27                                   8 2/35 Arty                          8 4/9                                     8 75th Ranger                     1
116 AHC                          1 25th Admin Photo          2 4/9                                     8 Aussies                            8
2/14 Photo                       1   2/22 Photo                        3  


Choppers, GIs Kill 13 Enemy

   FSB DEVINS - Elements of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion (Mech.), 22nd Infantry, teamed with gunships of the 116th Assault Helicopter Company recently, killing 13 enemy soldiers.
   While on a recon mission, two Cobra gunships received ground fire from a point near Devins.  Alfa Company of the 2/22nd reacted quickly.
   "Within several minutes my men were on line with their armored personnel carriers at the contact area, one klick (about half a mile) away and ready to sweep the area," said Alfa Company commander, Captain William R. Lechner, of Rochester, N.Y.
   Meanwhile the gunships had riddled the area.
   "The gunships were working out with mini-guns and rockets, causing fires in this area," said Private First Class Joe Suemegi, of Chicago.  "My eyes were burning and I was nervous with anticipation for enemy fire at any time."
   Spotting a tunnel, several men dismounted their tracks to check it.  At the tunnel entrance, several grenades were thrown in, resulting in two enemy dead and one captured AK-47.
   Later, the "Triple Deuce" Scout Platoon re-checked the area.
   "We weren't expecting anyone in this area, but suddenly our right track drew enemy fire," said Specialist 4 Steven Belus, of Girard, Ohio.
   The Souts answered with small arms fire, killing one enemy in a bunker.  Inside they found an AK-47, two bandoleers of AK ammo, and two booby trapped hand grenades.
   But the enemy hadn't quit yet.
   "Apparently the enemy returned to the contact area to get their belongings because we were fired upon again from another bunker," said Private First Class Charles J. Redden, of New Zion, S.C.
   This time the Scouts killed two enemy soldiers and found three AK-47s, a pistol belt, a U.S. .45 caliber pistol and five loaded M-16 magazines.


2/22 Inf APC
FLATLAND SEARCH -- An armored personnel carrier from the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion (Mech.), 22nd Infantry, rumbles through the "Flatlands" near Cu Chi on a search and clear mission recently.  (Photo by SP4 Henry G. Zukowski Jr.)



Thai - U.S. Units Together
    Allies Overpower Enemy


   BEARCAT - Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division combined with elements of the Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force recently and killed twelve enemy during a clash a few miles southeast of here near Long Thanh.
   The 2d Platoon of Alfa Company, 2d Battalion, 34th Armor, together with a Thai armored cavalry unit and Thai infantry, had been searching the area and were about to set up a night offensive position.  The company commander sent out two mounted patrols to recon the area surrounding the laager site for traces of enemy activity.
   The patrol south of the laager site, consisting mostly of 2d Platoon elements, made the initial contact with the enemy force.
   Specialist 4 Joe Pereira from New York City, N.Y., the driver of the command track, although wounded in both hands by fragments from an enemy rifle grenade, still managed to maneuver his track into the contact site.
   Staff Sergeant James Higginbotham of Jacksonville, Fla., the platoon sergeant of the 2d Platoon, was credited with quickly coordinating the elements under his control in achieving fire superiority.
   A helicopter gunship in the area noticed the fighting and emptied his load on a group of the enemy.
   Later, the 2d Platoon conducted a sweep of the area as artillery blocking forces were called in.  In addition to the twelve enemy bodies, four RPG launchers, a Light Anti-tank weapon (LAW), one AK-47 with ammo, a small amount of food and enemy pay vouchers were captured.
   Tropic Lightning tankers suffered three wounded.


Allies Get Arty Hub

   BAO TRAI - Vietnamese and American dignitaries recently dedicated a new Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) here described as "the hub for a giant wheel of artillery support in Hau Nghia Province."
   The new center will coordinate fire support for all U.S. and ARVN units in the area and provide a more accurate and up-to-the-minute working knowledge of the tactical situation in the province, according to officials.
   The center is designed to speed support by reducing the time required to coordinate information of different fire support units.


Ambush Works;
Claymore Fails


   CU CHI - An element of the 25th Division's F Company, 75th Rangers, recently killed five enemy soldiers in a night ambush approximately nine miles northeast of Cu Chi base camp.
   Staff Sergeant Russell C. Norwood, of Lafayette, La., the patrol leader, reported that his team spotted the enemy only 25 yards from their position.  Norwood said he attempted to detonate the claymore mine, but it failed to function.
   The noise of the detonator alerted the Viet Cong point man.  He raised his rifle just as Norwood attempted a second detonation of the claymore.
   The device exploded its deadly load into the group of VC as the Rangers opened up more claymores and small arms fire.
   An immediate sweep of the area located three enemy killed and two AK-47 rifles.
   An insertion of a Ranger search team the following morning resulted in two additional enemy bodies and another AK-47.


Golden Dragons go for a swim YE OLE SWIMMING HOLE -- It may not be the YMCA, but to these members of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, "Golden Dragons," working near the Cambodian border, a bath is where you find it.  And of course, a little horseplay is always in order.  (Photo by SP4 Greg Stanmar)



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970



1LT Philip J. Norton, Co F, 75th Inf
1LT Steven S. Sarfati, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
1LT Richard E. Sforza, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SFC Colin K. Hall, Co F, 75th Inf
SSG Kimel P. Fisher, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Dennis E. Killean, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT John E. Mohler, C Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Gary W. Hall, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Carl W. Rector, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
1LT George F. Schmalhofer, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP5 Nathan T. Gentry, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP5 Jerry D. Matthews, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
LTC Corwin A. Mitchell, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
LTC Lewis W. Wright, HHSB, Div Arty
CPT John M. LeMoyne, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
CPT Harry B. Mitchell, HHS Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Fld Arty
1LT Ronnie J. Clark, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
2LT David E. Evenson, C Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
2LT Ralph M. Priest, HHC, 3d Bde
2LT Joseph V. Yarashas, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
CSM Willie H. Hickey, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Paul Chaney, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG Dennis I. Dixon, 25th MP Co
SSG Francis J. Hoyer, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG William T. Marthers, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG John W. Nevils Jr., Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Charles P. Avery, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Larry G. Bullard, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Ronald S. Cirone, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Stephen E. Conkle, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Carvel M. Cook, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Henry P. Flores, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT John W. Saeger, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Dan M. Slocum, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Mark G. Stevenson, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Eugene Barr, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Curtis A. Berglin, 25th MP Co
SP4 Jerry Blackwelder, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Kenneth Bourque, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 L. C. Clemons, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Billie W. Colburn, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Charles W. Curly, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 John R. Dapra, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Ronny J. Dawley, Co C, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Stephen L. Miller, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Jackie T. Patterson, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 William Raymaker, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 John Ross, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Gilbert M. Sanchez, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Harry Schneebele, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Robert Shaw, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Richard J. Shramko, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Gary L. Sloan, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Guy W. Taylor, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Paul Terry, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Darrell R. Vincent, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Ronald W. Virack, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Ralph J. Watts, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Dawson Wilkinson, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Travis Willeby, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC William B. Bandaries, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Kenneth D. Bennett, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Bruce L. Brown, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Walter W. Bryan, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Manuel J. Cabrero, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Robert E. Carlson, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Roger L. Davis, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Dennis C. Dodge, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC James E. Donehue, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Terry W. Huber, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Charles Jones, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Paul Keams, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Charles Keels, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Richard C. Mullikin, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Marvin J. Nelson, Co D, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Ralph E. Perkins Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Jesus Reyes, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Arthur R. Rice, Co D, 3d Bn, 22d Inf



COSTLY ACCIDENT -- This fire in 25th Admin Company at Cu Chi base camp alledgedly began when one man ignited a flare inside the building.  (Photo by SP4 Joe Loper) Cu Chi fire



Lt. Col. A. P. Hodges CU CHI, RVN -- In ceremonies recently held in their Battalion area, the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry, Wofhounds received a new Battalion Commander. Lieutenant Colonel A. P. Hodges of St. Augustine, Florida, and formerly a member of the Army General Staff at the Pentagon, assumed the command formerly held by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer of Dupont, Wash.  LTC Custer will become the Deputy Commander and Director of the Testing and Evaluation Center at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.
CU CHI -- Lieutenant Colonel William D. Taylor, Opp, Ala., recently assumed command of the 3d Battalion, 13th Field Artillery.  He was formerly the Executive Officer of Division Support Command at Cu Chi.  He replaced Lieutenant Colonel Kelvin H. Hunter who has returned to the United States. Lt. Col. William D. Taylor



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:

Apr 18
PFC Terry Gill, B Co, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, girl

Apr 21
PFC Donald Wayne, A Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor, boy
PFC Jerone Harold, E Co, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, girl
SSG Joe Saylors, A Co, 554th Engr Bn, boy

Apr 23
SGT Dennis Decasper, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, boy
SP5 Reginald Bratz, 228th S&F, girl
SGT Rudy Nieto, B Co, 1st Bn, 5th Inf, boy

Apr 24
SP4 Kenneth Frazier, E Co, 725th Maint Bn
WO 1 Paul Bansen, 94th Maint Bn, boy
SP4 Ralph Seeley, C Co, 65th Engr Bn, boy


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 Zukowski, 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



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970


VC Flank Ambush
    GIs Outfight Enemy Force

   FSB COLORADO - Men of Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, were recently flanked by the enemy and didn't know it until they blew an ambush on two VC walking toward their position.
   The incident occurred on a night ambush patrol with the 3rd Platoon of D Company in the Rung Sat Special Zone, 25 miles southeast of Saigon.
   The three squads in the platoon had set up separately and just finished putting out claymore mines when movement was spotted.
   "It was about 7:30 p.m. when we spotted the two Viet Cong moving toward Lieutenant Slade's position," said Sergeant Dennis Work, of Philadelphia, platoon sergeant for the 3rd Platoon.
   "I radioed the lieutenant that he could expect company, and about thirty seconds later they blew their claymores on the two VC and opened up with a machine gun," Work continued.  The two VC were killed instantly by the hail of steel from the claymores.
   The only trouble was there were more than two VC in the area - the two dead enemy soldiers were a point element for a much larger enemy force.
   "We began to receive fire from two different directions.  The VC had an M-79 grenade launcher as well as an M-60 machine gun, and they pretty well knew where we were," said Work.
   A Cobra gunship was called in to keep the remaining enemy at bay.
   "I called in to the pilot and told him to watch his step because of that VC M-60 machine gun," Work recounts, "and the pilot replied, "Don't worry, I think I have a little more (armament) than they do."
   When the enemy broke contact, a search failed to reveal any additional bodies.  There were no American casualties.


Enemy Camp Yields Bomb To 2/34 Unit

   BEARCAT -- Crushing through the jungle in a tank is a job that holds few rewards.  In addition to the fact that the enemy may be constantly watching the tank and placing mines and booby traps in its path, the tank is constantly being bombarded with everything from red ants to dense jungle vines and falling trees.  The days are long and tiresome and the sun blazes mercilessly.
   Recently members of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, found a cache that made the long hot hours worthwhile.
   While on a routine operation in the thick jungle near here, Headquarters and Bravo Companies crashed into the center of a vacated, battalion-size enemy base camp, consisting of an underground network of more than 30 bunkers.
   Recon members of Headquarters Company dismounted their tracks and under cover of B Company's tanks, searched the area on foot.  Once inside the tunnels and bunkers, the recon squads found that the enemy had evacuated the area hastily, leaving behind several bangalore torpedoes, several Chi-Com grenades, command detonated mines, RPGs rocket propelled grenades and AK-47 ammunition and magazines.
   The big prize was a 500 pound, American-made aerial bomb.  The enemy had apparently planned to use the bomb as a booby trap against American and Allied troops.
   Working rapidly and efficiently, demolition experts placed shape charges in every bunker, and set off a series of explosions which destroyed the bunkers and munitions.
   For some reason, the Tropic Lightning tankers didn't feel as hot and fatigued as before.


MEDCAP MEDCAP -- Vietnamization includes increased participation by Vietnamese personnel in pacification programs.  Above an ARVN soldier helps treat some of his countrymen while on a MEDCAP with elements of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, and 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery.  (Photo by SP4 Tom Benn)



Vung Tau Area Opens For GIs' Stand Down

   BEARCAT - Sea, sand, surf, sun, and suds! - No, this is not an advertisement for R&R in Sidney or on Waikiki.  All of this was recently enjoyed by the Manchus, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, during their standdown in Vung Tau.
   The beach facilities of the former in-country R&R center have recently been opened to the men of the 2nd Brigade giving them a chance to relax on the white sands of Vietnam's Miami Beach.
   After only a forty-five minute ride from Fire Support Base Le Loi, the trucks rounded a corner and suddenly the men found the sun and sand and sea.  In a matter of minutes, the Manchus were set to spend the afternoon, evening and the following morning enjoying everything the beach had to offer.
   "When you're on the beach in Vung Tau, it's hard to believe there's a war going on," said Specialist 4 Jon Dumend, from Savage, Md.
   This is just what the Manchus and the rest of the Fire Brigade's Battalions are enjoying - a complete change from the difficult and dangerous job of the line infantryman.


FOs' Readiness Scares Off VC

   TAY NINH - Recently the enemy hasn't been fooling with the 25th Division's 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry.
   Most of the 4/23rd "Tomahawks" agree that three good reasons for the enemy's "snub" are their artillery forward observer (FO), Captain Lynn Tew, of Goodwin, N.C., his Recon Sergeant, Roy Granucci, of San Francisco, and Specialist 4 Bruce Diehl, of Kearny, N.J., who are attached to the Tomahawks from the 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery.
   These men provide 24-hour coverage for the Tomahawks, insuring a quick response to any request for support from the field units.
   "We can have a round out in less than five minutes," Tew said. "We keep the fire direction center (FDC) informed of the location of our different units and this insures timely fires."
   When a Tomahawk ambush is sent out or a night defensive position set up, defensive targets have been plotted and relayed to all supporting artillery elements.
   During the day, the FO accompanies the battalion commander on visual reconnaissance flights.  Any important information can be relayed to the company commander on the ground.
   If there is any contact, the FO can assist the artillery officer in adjusting fire.


Bunker Bares Booty
        Floor Falls in on Charlie

   CU CHI - Bravo Troop of 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, recently added another cache to their list of finds, when they uncovered a large supply of ammunition and weapons in the Boi Loi Woods.
   "We had been working in the area directly north of Fire Support Base Wood III," said Private First Class William R. Swilling, a tanker from Greenville, S.C.
   "All we were finding were old bunker complexes and not too much recent activity," he continued.  "We were checking things out on the ground when I found an old bunker that had a couple of Chi-Com grenades lying in front of it.  I called it in to the platoon-leader, and he sent a couple of men over to help me search the area.
   "Another man and myself went down inside the bunker trying to find a trap door.  Well, we didn't find a trap door," continued Swilling, "but we did discover something better -- a false floor.  Part of it caved in from our weight. It was really a nice surprise when we jumped down there and found enemy ammo stacked up all over the place."
   Some of the items found were 412 Chi-Com grenades, 130 rifle grenades, 146 RPG rounds and 68 boosters, 63 recoilless rifle rounds and 3,100 rounds of small arms ammunition with a large assortment of various other munitions.
   "This ought to give Charlie a real empty-handed feeling - he can't do much fighting without ammo for his weapons," Swilling said.


BEACHCOMBERS -- Members of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, enjoy a 24-hour standdown in Vung Tau.  The former in-country R&R center recently was opened to men of the 2nd Brigade.  (Photo by SP4 Frank Rezzonico) Lifeguard at Vung Tau



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970


New Clothes

   TAY NINH - The whole idea came from Private First Class Thomas Smith of Glenndale, Calif. He asked his parents to help and they got assistance from neighbors, reletives and church people who wanted to help war orphans.
   Recently, Smith and four of his buddies from the 587th signal company saw the happy end of the plan.  They lugged several boxes to the Cao Dai Orphanage in Tay Ninh City and distributed clothing to children left homeless by the war.
   The children sang for the GIs while the mamasan-in-charge served hot tea.  Then the children lined up while the soldiers handed out the clothing and made new friends.
   Those helping Smith were: Specialist 5 Leslie Stubblefield of Conroe, Tex., Specialist 4 Dennis Rodrigues of Briston, R.I., Private First Class Daniel Preator of Independence, Mo., and Specialist 4 Thomas McNulty of New York City.

Story and Photos
SGT Tim Whalen





Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970


Hounds Relearn Survivor Skills

   FSB COLORADO - Map reading, "quick kill," detection of mines and booby traps, and combat formations - all familiar subjects of basic training.
   But during 24-hour, in-the-field standdowns outside Fire Support Base Colorado, men of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds have been receiving refresher training in such subjects.
   Charlie Company was one of the companies to undergo the training.  Platoon leaders were assigned to teach the men, and a makeshift rifle range with cardboard targets was set up to practice quick kill.
   "After spotting the enemy in this terrain, we have only ten seconds in which to engage him before he escapes into the thick underbrush," said Captain James Marcum of Columbus, Ohio, the company commander.
   "We also tend to operate in smaller groups than we did when we were up near Cu Chi, and of course the terrain here is a lot thicker.  Because of this, every man must be able to navigate and be able to locate his position on a map" Marcum said.
   "Coordination is more difficult because of the thicker terrain, especially after contact is made with the enemy," he added.  Emphasis is placed on teaching the troops what to do after it is made.
   "We have yet to make a large contact in this area, so some of the newer men have never been shot at.  This training will help them maintain the skills they picked up in the States," Marcum said.


GI 'Rat' Explores VC Tunnel Maze

   CU CHI - The yell crackles through the jungle silence. "We got a tunnel over here! Where's the tunnel rat?"
   A 25th Infantry Division soldier, about five feet, seven inches tall answers his buddies' call. Grimly, he makes his preparations.
   The tunnel could be booby trapped, so he carries the tools of his trade - a .45 automatic or .38 caliber pistol, a flashlight with fresh batteries and a long probing rod - with him.  His unit, the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, possesses awesome firepower - but none of it will help him underground.
   Carefully studying the entrance for any signs of a mine or booby trap, he cautiously probes the inside of the entrance.  His buddies watch as he draws and cocks his pistol and enters.
   Because of the small size of the tunnel, the "rat" goes in head first.  Once inside, he becomes aware of the peculiar smell and dead silence so common to the hiding places of Viet Cong and NVA.  Sweat pours from him as he crawls on hands and knees, ears and eyes straining to detect movement.
   He comes to a sharp turn - one of the things a "rat" dreads most, for there's no telling what is waiting around the corner. He wants badly to turn back, claw his way into the sunshine, and say, "There isn't anything down there."  But he forces himself to flick the beam of his flashlight around the corner, nerves tensed to open fire on a cornered enemy.
   But this time there is only emptiness and the end of the tunnel. A shuddering sigh of relief, another inspection for booby traps, and it's time to head back to the entrance.
   The men waiting breathlessly on the outside hear noises coming from the hole.  They lower their weapons just in case.
   Then a dirty face with a smile appears in the hot sun.  Hands are extended to pull him out and the "rat" and his pals return to their armored personnel carrier for a cool drink of water, a smoke, and a chance to unwind - until the next tunnel and the next call for "the rat."


Rome Plow stuck
TROUBLED PLOW -- A call goes out for help getting a Rome plow of the 501st Land Clearing Company back into operation.  The plow was on a land clearing operation in the Renegade Woods with elements of the 2nd Battalion (Mech.), 22nd Infantry.  (Photo by SP4 Henry G. Zukowski Jr.)



Ilikai East by Night

WED Floor Show on Stage (8 pm.)
THU  Trick Shot Pool Tourney (7:30 pm.)
FRI    NCO Coffee Call (10 a.m.)
          Cookout in Patio (8 p.m.)
SAT   Ping Pong and Pool Tourneys (2 p.m.)
          Films and Popcorn (7:30 pm.)
SUN  Coffee Call (10 a.m.)
          Pool and Ping Pong Tourneys (2 p m.)
          Smoker Bingo (8 pin.)
MON  T.V. Game: Concentration (8 pm.)
TUE   Crafts Night (8 p.m.)



Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  Since they closed Vung Tau as an in-country R&R site, has the Army come up with any new ones?
                                                                                      Curious, O.D.

DEAR CURIOUS:  Rumor has it that the Army has contacted Walt Disney Enterprizes which is now drawing up plans for prefab fantasyland to be set up in a clearing near the Renegade Woods.  The amusement park will be designed like a storybook castle, but there will be real M-60s in the turrets for security.  In addition, vast tubs of excess Army chow will be hauled to the towers to be catapulted at would be assailants.  Inside the park, soldiers will be encouraged to look at the light side of war.  There will be scary jeep rides through tunnels with paper mache NVA popping out of corners.  Soldiers will be entertained by an hilarity of Donald Duck Officers and Mickey Mouse politicians.  One of the highlights of the park will be Snow White's house reigned over by a loveable donut dollie.  In the evening there will be glamourous shows with girls dressed up in mouseketeer costumes.  R&R at the Renegade Woods should provide a truly unforgettable experience.

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  I am a stereo album fan.  I like to keep up with all the latest, but by the time I find out about an album and send for it, it no longer is the latest thing.  Can you help?
                                                                                         Fiend for Music

DEAR FIEND:  An E-8 I know has a brother in the business.  He's given me advance warning on some discs soon to be cut that should definitely break records.  Top on the list are "The Led Zeppelin's Christmas Album," "Three Beatles and Minnie Pearl: Grooving Together," and Moms Mobley Sings Verdi Operas."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970



   DAU TIENG -- War respects few things -- including standdowns.  A recent example was the interrupted standdown of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry.
   In early April, the Bravo "Bobcats" prepared for their first standdown in the Division's 1st Brigade base camp at Tay Ninh.  The base camp houses a Holiday Inn.  It was to be the company's first break since January.
   Rising early, the men toted their valuables in bags or small suitcases and boarded 2 1/2-ton trucks.  The trucks were so crowded that Specialist 4 Thomas Berry of Riverside, Calif., cracked "Same-same basic training."
   But it wasn't long before the troops arrived at the Dau Tieng airfield, loaded onto the Air Force's C-131, and were airborne for the quick shuttle to Tay Ninh.
   Again the familiar "deuce-and-a-half" was waiting to transport the Bobcats to the standdown area.
   "Wow! Just like a real Holiday Inn!" exclaimed Sergeant Erwin Daniels, of St. Paul, Minn., when he first spotted the famous green and white marquee.
   By the time all the men had arrived and were moved in, a trailer full of beer and soda was being iced down.  Two Red Cross "Donut Dollies" stopped by to talk.  The succulent aroma of charcoal-broiled steaks started stomachs growling.
   Many of the men headed for the PX to buy needed extras while others steamed off the dirt acquired over the past months at the steam bath.
   As the sun set, the last of the steaks were consumed, the Donut Dollies left, basketball games began, and the men drank more beer.  Soon, "wolf whistles" signaled the arrival of the evening's floor show.
   Late that night, some men placed MARS calls to their loved ones at home while others relaxed in the luxury of beds with mattresses.
   But it ended abruptly at 5:30 the next morning when Bravo was awakened to catch flights back to Dau Tieng to join the rest of the battalion for a special operation in the triple-canopied jungles of War Zone C.
   Thirteen days later the company returned to the Tay Ninh Holiday Inn to complete standdown.  As Specialist 4 John Connolloy, of Brockton, Mass., said philosophically, "Better late than never."


Flight to standdown
ALL ABOARD - Some with "AWOL" bags, some with waterproof bags, and one with a dog, men of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry, fly from Dan Tieng to Tay Ninh Base camp for a standdown at the Holiday Inn there.


Story and Photos
SP4 Rich FitzPatrick


Donut Dollie and troops HELLO DOLLIE -- A Red Cross "Donut Dollie" stops to talk with men of the 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry, on a standdown at the Holiday Inn in Tay Ninh base camp.
CRASHED -- A Bobcat of the 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry, relaxes on the luxury of mattressed beds at the Holiday Inn standdown area in Tay Ninh base camp. Nap time
Playing cards DEAL -- "Standdowns are a good deal," could be what these two men of 1st Battalion (Mech.), 5th Infantry, are thinking at the Holiday Inn standdown area in Tay Ninh base camp.



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 11, 1970


Manchus Avoid Mires;
Relocate Site of FSB

   FSB LE LOI -- With the black clouds of the rainy season already on the horizon, the "Manchus" of 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, headed for higher ground.  Along with a change in location, the fire support base got a new name in honor of Vietnam's George Washington.  In the early 15th Century, when Vietnam was under Chinese rule, a patriot named Le Loi formed the uprising that gained independence for Vietnam.
   In order to minimize this sticky situation, the Manchus moved - lock, stock and sandbag - to a higher plot of ground only twelve hundred yards away.   Fire Support Base Rhode Island, a former First Infantry Division outpost, had seen several monsoon seasons.  Each time, the famous red clay of the Big Red One turned into "goo" as thick as toothpaste and as slippery as LSA (a lubricant for M-16's) on ice.
   By recognizing a national hero in establishing Fire Support Base Le Loi, Tropic Lighting soldiers reminded Americans in Vietnam that what Le Loi achieved nearly 500 years ago is still worth protecting.


Aussies Provide Flexible Support

   NUI DAT - To most GI's, Australia means R & R, but to the men of the 25th Division's 2nd Brigade it means much more.  Australia is the home of one of the Fire Brigade's toughest allies, the First Australian Task Force (ATF).
   Like the 2nd Brigade, the Australian Task Force is under the "operational control" of II Field Force Tactical Headquarters at Long Binh.
   From their Nui Dat base camp, the Australians pull operations like any infantry brigade.
   "They're good, tough soldiers," said First Lieutenant Charles J. Parker, of Tallahassee, Fla., 2nd Brigade Liaison to the ATF.  "They are very flexible in what they can do to help us."
   Parker explained that the "Aussies" have granted 2nd Brigade units whose area of operations borders the ATF, extensions to use the Australian AO.  He added that they have also participated in coordinated operations with the Fire Brigade.
   One coordinated operation, held recently with the "Manchus" of the 25th Division's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, was designed to force enemy elements into a pre-designated area.
   "I think that all parties concerned were happy with the operation," said Parker, "except the enemy, of course."
   The Aussie base camp is also a refueling point for II Field Force aircraft operating in the area.  Each day helicopters of the 2nd Brigade land at "the Dat," as the Australians call their base camp, to refuel, rearm, or eat chow.
   "The Australians also provide gunships and aerial transportation when the situation arises," added Parker.
   Plus, they provide artillery support for Allied units working in the II Field Force area of operation.  One particular battery, "the Kiwi," gained fame during World War II.  The Kiwi's are New Zealanders who made up part of the ATF.
   "Our relationship with the Australians is reciprocal," said Parker.  "They help us and we help them."
   One of the U.S. units directly supporting the ATF is "Husky Chuck."  "Husky Chuck" is a 155mm self-propelled artillery battery of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Field Artillery.
   "To sum it up" said Parker, "the Aussies are just great to work with.  It's as if they were another US Brigade."




Future Lifesavers
   Well-Treated Ralliers May Become Scouts

   BEARCAT - One of the most effective military and political weapons employed by U.S. forces in Vietnam is the Kit Carson Scout.
   Kit Carsons are former Viet Cong who have rallied and are employed by American military units as interpreters and pathfinders.
   As soon as the former enemy has turned himself in, he is given a shower, a meal and a soft drink.  At this time his wife is informed that he has rallied.
   Captain William Goodman, of Philadelphia, the officer-in-charge of the Psychological Operations section of the 25th Division's 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," said, "After these people turn themselves in they are asked why they rallied.  The answer most often given is fear of death."
   After questioning, the Hoi Chanh is taken to a rehabilitation center where his wife may live with him.  Staying at the center no less than one month nor more than four months, the man is given the choice of taking up a trade, such as farming or welding, or becoming a Kit Carson Scout.  If he does choose to be a scout, arrangements are made for him to be assigned to a unit operating near his home.
   "These are quite a few reasons why these men choose to be Kit Carsons," Goodman said.  "They are given a 30-day leave each year plus three days off each month.  A Scout may also ask for an emergency leave whenever necessary, and he receives the same pay monthly as an ARVN E-6.
   Once a Hoi Chanh becomes a Kit Carson working with an American unit, he employs his talents as an interpreter, pathfinder and expert on enemy tactics.  The Kit Carson also teaches GI's how to recognize booby trapped areas and how to dismantle enemy weapons and mines.
   There is many a grateful GI who owes his life to an observant Kit Carson who steered him away from an enemy booby trap.


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 05-06-2006

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