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Vol 5 No. 20          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          May 25, 1970



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                   Page Unit                  Page
1/5                                     6 2/22                                    3 25th Inf                              1 4/9                                    7
2/14                                   1 2/22                                    6 25th Inf Photo                  1 4/9 Photos                      7
2/14 Photo                       3 2/22                                    8 25th Admin                       2 4/23                                   3
2/14                                   3 2/22 Photo                        8 25th ARVN Arty              8 65th Engr                         1
2/14 Photo                       4 2/27                                    1 25th DivArty                    8 65th Engr Photo              1
2/14                                   4 2/27                                    8 3/4 Cav                              3 65th Engr                         6
2/14 Photos                     4 2/27 Photo                        8 3/4 Cav Photo                  3 Photo Lab                        2
2/14 Photo                       6 2/34 Armor Photo            1 3/22                                     1  


25th Secures Lifeline Road

   THIEN NGON -- To reach Cambodia, 25th Infantry Division troops had to conquer Route 22 - the only road from Tay Ninh to Thien Ngon in War Zone C, a queazy thrity kilometers of uncertainty.  They did!
   It's a slow, dusty, tossled ride where brush and trees close in too close and where men have good cause to fear mines.
   But Route 22 has to be traveled.  It is the only ground route from the rear support bases of Cu Chi and Tay Ninh to the division's forward supply point east of Cambodia.
   War Zone C formerly was occupied by elements of the First Air Cavalry Division - an air mobile unit with considerable air assets.  Supplies could be flown in for operations then.
   But the 25th Infantry Division, with fewer air vehicles organic to it, must depend upon support units for air resupply.  The critical items can be carried by Air Force C-130s and the very critical supplies can go by Chinook.
   But most items must travel on road convoys and those convoys must go up Route 22.
   "The complication is we only have one road.  The enemy knows there is only one road.  Sweeping and security then become much more important," said Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Salucci, First Brigade Executive Officer.
   "We have to secure our life-line in order to operate in our A.O. (area of operations)."
   "The road net in the area is practically non-existent," he said. "Some east-west routes exist," he added, but only Route 22 runs north and south.
   When the 25th Division moved into the area the division's 65th Engineers upgraded the narrow, winding dirt road, and swept the road clear of mines.
   "You need infantry and armor to secure a road sweeping operation," Salucci pointed out.  "It's a laborious, difficult task to open the road.  Once you open the road you have to outpost-it so anything you want to move on the road can get through without being ambushed."
   "We're going to have the double problem of beating the road to death with heavy traffic."
   Route 22 is open.  Armored units of the 25th Infantry Division bounced up the powdery surface early this week and established the unit's control over the area.

ROLLIN' ACROSS -- Mechanized elements of the 25th Division's 1st Brigade roll across a pontoon bridge into Cambodia.  The bridge, about 3 ½ miles east of Tasuos, was built by the 25th's Echo Company, 65th Engineer Battalion. Pontoon Bridge



Regulars' Drive Kills Nine

   TASOUS, CAMBODIA - Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division traded punches Monday with Communist forces in Cambodia, killing nine NVA in the Division's first penetration into that country.
   While Alfa, Bravo and Delta Companies from the Division's 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, were air-lifted to Tasuos village four miles inside the Cambodia, Charlie Company secured the western bank of a river crossing at the border.
   The 3/22nd met little resistance while securing advanced positions.
   The contact followed the unit's insertion into a cold LZ.  As they advanced through Tasous, the enemy opened up with small arms fire.  With the help of gunships, the Tropic Lightning troops closed in, killing nine, then setup security for the arrival of 1st Brigade mech units.
   Specialist 4 Don James, of Joplin, Mo., said, "The operation didn't seem any different than previous ones."
   But Specialist 4 E.D. Rosa, of New York City, said, "The psychological effect of operating in Cambodia made me a bit nervous at first, but once we settled down, the operation smoothed out."


"Dreadnaught" tank DREADNAUGHT ACTION -- A "Dreadnaught" M48 tank of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, assaults an NVA village in the Fishhook region of Cambodia.



Wolfhound's Scout Turns Twice on NVA

   CU CHI - Communist soldiers recently captured Huynh Van Vu, a 25th Infantry Division Kit Carson Scout - by now, they are probably sorry they did.
   Van Vu was scouting for the division's 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, on a sweep within 50 yards of the Cambodian border.  Because of the sensitivity of the location, his company remained several hundred yards behind while he thoroughly reconned the area.
   "I walk with rifle on safety and come into six NVA," said the Scout.  "I can do nothing."
   He was subdued and taken across the border.  Once there, he underwent several weeks of indoctrination and harassment with at least seven other Hoi Chanhs who had also been captured.
   When word was received that Cambodian troops were going to sweep the area, Van Vu was quickly given his mission and sent back into the Republic of Vietnam.  His hands were tied behind his back and he was to act as an escaped prisoner rallying to the government.  Once reinstated as a Kit Carson, he was to become a spy for the enemy.
   Van Vu followed his orders to the letter - until he was found by the 25th Division's C Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry.
   "We found him with his hands tied up, but otherwise quite alright," said Captain William Branch, of Barnesville, Ga.  "He was pretty tired though,- and I don't blame him."
   Van Vu immediately told the division's intelligence people everything he had learned while in Cambodia.
   "Besides the information Van Vu gave about the large unit operating inside Cambodia, he supplied us with a new angle on the Communists' strategy," commented Branch.


Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 25, 1970



CPT Gerald M. Bonti, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Michael J. Neuman, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Patrick S. Cardona, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
LTC Shepperd H. Phillips, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
MAJ Richard W. Cato, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
MAJ William B. Mason, HHS Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Fld Arty
1LT Fred M. Perryman, HHB, Div Arty
SSG Freddie E. Wood, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav  
CPT Chrisman Bonnell, HHC, 3d Bde
WOl Lewis D. Braswell, HHC, 3d Bde
WOl Griffin E. Fisk, HHC, 3d Bde
WOl Howard R. Lusk, HHC, 3d Bde
WOl Craig T. Tate, HHC, 3d Bde
SFC John J. Hynes, HHS Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Fld Arty
SSG Frederick J. Boshaw, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Charles T. Farmer, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG Paul K. Sanford, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Thomas L. Brown, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Larry M. Gassner, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Stephen S. Moore, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Daniel G. Pollock, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Eugene Poole, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Solon Ralston, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Jimmie C. Rucker, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT David Quinones, HHC, 1st Bde
SGT Earl D. Smith, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Kenneth S. Vore, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Walter T. Amick, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James Baresich, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Dennis L. Burns, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Carl J. Caprood, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Roy T. Cordova, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Daniel R. Diaz, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Jerry D. Duncan, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Ezel Hughey, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Russell N. Morgado, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Lonnie M. Nelson, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SP4 Alvin R. Nolen, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert J. Odziana, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Samiel M. Olson, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Joseph B. Parisi, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Raymond E. Rossi, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Bruce H. Scattergood, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Haywood E. Scarver, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 John F. Tanksley, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 James Wooldridge, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Robert Zuniga, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Lawrence D. Allen, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Dwight H. Ball, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Kent O. Beavers, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Fred F. Berry Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James Blac, B Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Fld Arty
PFC William Daniel Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC James Daughdrill, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Leroy Frizell, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jeffrey L. Gayne, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Issac A. Jolley, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Albert W. Kirchner, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Willie E. Little, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Micheal J. Magnotta, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Dimas C. Perez, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Peyton T. Pratt, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Roy Robinson Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Micheal D. Santy, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Rodney J. Sheridan, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John C. Vomela, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John M. Williamson, Co B, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Enrique Rodriguez-Cruz, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PFC Isidra Sanchez, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Craig Sanderson, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Charles R. Strachan, Co A, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC George R. Tolin, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC William F. Turner Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf



Fire Begun From Flare In Hootch

   CU CHI - A fire in the 25th Administration Company, 25th Infantry Division recently confirmed the possible dangers associated with handling pyrotechnics.
   Major Charles Stiles, Van Harnsville, N.Y., 25th Administration Company Commander stated that the blaze destroyed one hootch, gutted another and burned one more seriously.
   The fire allegedly resulted from a GI in one of the hootches handling an aerial flare.  The flare ignited, setting the 25-man hootch afire.
   A second hootch caught fire when the wind blew flames from the first hootch toward it.  Firemen arrived moments after the fire started and in a one-hour effort, confined the fire to the two hootches.
   According to Stiles, the payday evening fire destroyed quantities of cash, stereo and television sets, cameras and other items of personal property.
   Stiles stated that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the individual or individuals alleged to be responsible for the fire.
   The Tropic Lightning News warned of the dangers of handling pyrotechnics in the April 20 issue.


Print Pictures With Enlarger At New Lab

   CU CHI - Attention all you camera bugs - here's an opportunity to process your own photos and slides, from A to Z.
   Special Services announces the opening of a brand new, fully equipped photo lab for use by anyone who wants to do his own photography.  It's located near the Ilikai East service club, adjacent to the base library.
   "It's a lot of fun to watch your own photos developing right before your eyes," said Specialist 5 Arthur Newsome, who is in charge of the facility.  "It's easy, too, once you get the hang of it."
   The lab includes a large work room, a spacious darkroom and a film loading booth.
   "We hope to be able to do some color work as well as black and white," Newsome, of Washington, D.C., continued.
   Equipment includes four enlarging machines, a dry mounting press, three sinks, formica-topped work areas and lab materials such as developing trays, light filters, chemicals, etc.
   "We'll be conducting classes for those who have no photo processing experience," Newsome added.  He and his assistant, Private First Class Fred Jackson of Chicago, have worked in graphic arts as well as regular photography.
   The lab is open daily from 10 to 10.  The facilities and chemicals are free, although there is a nominal charge for the print paper.
   The print paper used is 8"x10", with experienced enthusiasts being able to use 16"x20" paper.
   So come on down to the new photo lab and see what develops!


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 25
SP4 David Ploof, C Co, 25th Med Bn, girl
SP4 Thomas Conn, HHC, 125th Sig Bn, girl
SP4 Philip Lee, B Co, 125th Sig Bn, boy

Apr 26
PFC Leroy Swiatly, Jr., HHC, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, boy
PFC Richard Newman, B Co. 2d Bn, 34th Armor, boy
SGT David Shumaker, A Co, 65th Engr Bn, girl

Apr 27
SP4 Thomas Ellinger, 548th Maint Bn, boy
2LT Dale Williams, B Co, 7th Bn, 1 1 th Arty, boy

Apr 29
SP4 George Rico, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, boy
SP5 Robert Steffen, D Co, 4th Bn, 23d Inf, girl
SP4 Standley Henderson, B Btry, 5th Bn, 2d Arty, boy

Apr 30
CPT James Debiase, 25th Admin Co, girl
SP4 Robert Bandi, 25th Admin. Co, twin girls
SP4 John Flynn, B Co, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl
May 1
SP5 George Wyatt, Hq & A Co, 725th Maint Bn, boy
CPT Peter Levy, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, girl
PFC Darrell Renner, HHB, 7th Bn, 1 I th Arty, girl
1LT Albert Flagg, B Co, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, girl
SP4 Ralph Jones, B Co, 2d Bn, 12th Inf, girl

May 2
CPT Thomas Deberry, 25th Admin Co. girl
SP4 Carl B. Chitwood, HHC, 2nd Bn, 25th Inf, girl
SGT James Crocker, HHC 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf, girl

May 3
SGT Hugo Mora, SAF, Air Control, boy

May 4
SP5 Lawrence Wendel, HHD, 125th Sig Bn, girl
PFC Ray Diederich, HHC, 269th Avn Bn, girl
PFC John Carver, 548th Maint Co, boy
SP4 Drig Quesenberry, D Co, 2d Bn, 34th Armor, boy

May 6
SP4 Billy Davis, HHC, 269th Avn Bn, 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 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 25, 1970


Hits Dusty Trail
    Cavalry Spends Hard Days - and Nights

    BEARCAT - Reconnaissance-in-force (RIF) is a way of life for the men of the 25th Division's A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry.
   The day starts off with a quick breakfast and an inspection of weapons and ammo.  Officers and NCOs receive a final briefing on their mission.
   The sun rises and the heat of the early day can already be felt as the tracks line up to move out.  The signal is given and the Sheridan armored vehicles and armored personnel carriers begin to move into the triple-canopy jungle in the mountainous area south of the division's 2nd Brigade base camp at Bearcat.
   Moving slowly, the lead vehicle, a Sheridan, breaks trail for the rest of the column as all eyes keep a sharp lookout on both sides of the trail, probing jungle so thick that the enemy could be standing three feet away and not be seen.
   With the sudden breaking of squelch on the radio, a message comes over the air from the platoon leader, "On Line," and everyone knows that they have reached their objective.  Now the intense search for the enemy begins.
   The infantrymen know their job will soon begin.  Again the radio blares out another message, "Dismounts down," and the troopers hit the ground looking cautiously for the well-concealed hiding places of the enemy.
   After a number of thorough searches through the sweltering heat of the jungle, the long day slowly comes to a close.  The vehicles form a column to head back to their NDP (Night Defensive Position.)  The men - tired and dirty - are looking forward to getting some mail from home, some hot chow, and clean up a little before the long night moves in.
   Darkness now blankets the troopers as they sit on top of their tracks keeping a sharp eye to their front for any enemy movement.
   Suddenly, a trip-flare makes a deceiving pop and a .50 caliber machine gun is the first to start blaring away.  Within a split second an arsenal of deadly weapons begin pouring fire on the area in front of the trip-flare and the night drags on into the start of another long day.


Always On Call
   Truckers Supply Line Units

   TAY NINH - 25th Infantry Division troops are fighting the war in Vietnam with the support of a small group of men - truck drivers.
   The truck driver has the vital mission of getting supplies to the infantry unit no matter where it is.  Without these supplies the fighting troops cannot function.
   Braving mines, booby traps, and the elusive enemy that sometimes plagues the roads of Vietnam, the drivers move their rigs from base to base delivering their vital cargo.
   One group of drivers, members of the support platoon of Delta Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry, have their work cut out for them.  The "Tomahawks" have men and machines in two, sometimes three and four fire support bases.  These bases are resupplied everyday.  The supplies are shipped by small convoys on a scheduled basis, but in a combat situation extra supplies might be needed anytime.
   "We've sent supplies to the mountain (Nui Ba Den) and to the Crescent area when our companies have been in contact," said Sergeant Bob Bouscher of Deer Park, Wash., the platoon sergeant for the support unit.
   Some of the trucks leave the 25th's Tay Ninh base camp as early as 7 a.m.  From the early morning hours to late evening, the truck driver is on the go.  His cargo consists of everything from ammunition and water, to food.  Whatever is needed, the men from Delta Company will carry it.
   Specialist 4 Roger McKee of Muskegon, Mich., added, "We're on 24-hour call daily.  Besides our resupply duties, we must pull maintenance on our trucks.  Because of the rough roads here, this is a constant problem."
   When asked how he felt about his job, Private First Class Eddie Lane, of Granite City, Ill., said he realized the risk, but the supplies had to get through.
   "Going through the villages is a little hairy because all the kids want to 'inspect' the truck.  But most of my trips go very smoothly," replied Lane after a grueling day's drive.


BUSTIN' JUNGLE -- An airborne reconnaissance vehicle, commonly called a Sheridan, of the 25th Division's 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, breaks through dense jungle near Bearcat in a search for the enemy.  (Photo by SP4 Joe O'Rourke) Sheridan Reconnaissance Vehicle



Regular's "Siren" Track Clears Road in Emergency

   FSB DEVINS - Remember when you were a kid and used to like to play fireman and make a lot of noise with bells and clangers just like on a real fire engine?
   Well, a 25th Division infantryman, Specialist 4 John Hull, of Alton, Ill., is still playing "Fireman," - Vietnam style - with the aid of a "little red siren."
   Hull drives an armored personnel carrier for Company A, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry.  In the past, whenever a mission called for high speed through a village there was the problem of local citizens jamming the way with their slow-moving vehicles and carts.
   Hull eliminated the problem in a rather unique way.
   "I hooked up a little red siren on my APC," Hull said.  "It's electrically operated and has the same voltage as the track."
   The siren was originally designed as a warning device for incoming attacks.
   According to Hull, it really wails - the sound carries a long way ahead, just like on a fire truck.  Besides, as one of Hull's fellow soldiers pointed out, "It's been extremely effective in clearing the roads."


CHAPLAIN (Captain) Joseph Dulany from Tahlequah, Okla., visits the 25th Division's Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry "Golden Dragons" near the Cambodian border.  (Photo by SP4 Greg Stanmar) Chaplain Joseph Dulany



Chaplain Enjoys Job
Covers AO with Zeal


   CU CHI - If chaplains were paid by the mile instead of the month, the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry chaplain would be a rich man.
   "I like to get to every man in this battalion at least once a week," said Chaplain (Captain) Joseph P. Dulany, of Tahlequah, Okla.  "This means I run from one end of the AO (area of operations) to the other several times a week."
   In addition, Dulaney, as do the other ten chaplains in the division, has assignments and responsibilities outside his battalion.
   "It keeps you winded," said the chaplain, "but if you like the job, you don't mind.  And I like the job.  I've 'done time' in a civilian pastorship and know what it's like.  At that time I was in the reserves.  When it came to a choice of giving that up or going active I decided to give the Army a try.  And so I'm still here."
   His normal schedule takes the busy chaplain to troops both in the rear and forward areas.  Services last a half hour and are non-denominational.
   But often, troops in the field are too spread out to warrant a formal meeting.  Also, it is dangerous to have a large group of people in one area for any length of time.
   In that case, Chaplain Dulany goes to each position handing out leaflets and talking to the men.


Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 25, 1970


Refugees from Cambodia
NEW LIFE -- These refugees were picked up at an ambush site by the 25th Division's Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry "Golden Dragons," and brought to a rear area for questioning and processing.



Thousands Flee Cambodia
    Brigade Gives Refugees Help

   GO DAU HA -- As a result of increased activity along the Vietnam-Cambodian border, thousands of refugees and ralliers are coming to the protection of the 25th Infantry Division's Third Brigade.
   The huge exodus from enemy-held land created unparalleled demands for the civic action and intelligence sections in the brigade.
   "I don't know how many people I've processed myself," said a 25th Division NCO.  "Hundreds, I guess.  They (the ralliers) all had the same story.  Allied surprise assaults created chaos in their units allowing them to escape."
   The refugees made up the majority of Vietnamese coming into the American foward hard spots.  Though most came with only a bundle of clothing and a chicken or two, they were quickly settled into nearby villages and furnished with a place to live and the possibility of beginning a new life.  Others were taken into the Saigon area until a place could be found for them to live.
   "All these people really took us by surprise," stated Captain Michael J. Collier of Milwaukee, Wis.  "But we're working overtime to make sure they will never regret their decision."

Story and Photos By


Water for Ralliers IT MAY NOT BE COLD, but it's wet and it's welcome.  Ralliers are well treated by 25th Infantry Division troops of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, while they wait to be questioned and processed.
NO PAIN - A "Golden Dragon" medic applies a little first aid to a little refugee child.  Food, medicine and lodging had to be found for the thousands fleeing from Cambodia as the war intensified in the border area. Medics help out
Questioning Refugee EACH refugee coming across the border is questioned by a member of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry "Golden Dragons" assisted by an ARVN interpreter.
WAITING FOR A NEW LIFE -- These Cambodian refugees talk about what's coming up in the future and what they left behind.  They are but a few of the hundreds of refugees who have been questioned and detained by the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade. Waiting
Met by "Dragons" THE END OF the escape from a Communist unit is here for these two Hoi Chanhs as they are met by members of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry "Golden Dragon" Civic Actions section.
QUESTIONING -- Initial questioning of refugees, brought to a rear area by men of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry "Golden Dragons," is facilitated with the aid of an ARVN interpreter. Questioning Refugees


OFF WE GO -- Members of the "Golden Dragons" help refugees off the truck and into a new life.  The 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry was one unit of the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade that received thousands of ralliers and refugees fleeing from action in Cambodia.



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 25, 1970


Division Units Gather On Edge of Cambodia

   THIEN NGON - The first day of the 25th Infantry Division's movement to Thien Ngon was a "Vietnam" day - hot.
   There was very little breeze and the breeze that existed was caused by airplane propellers.  When the engines idled, the breeze was just right.
   Two planes took off; one revved his engines getting ready for the short dash to takeoff and two more circled to land.
   When the plane took off there was a lot of wind and dust.  Everyone ducked their heads and pulled their hats on tight, covering their eyes until the gusts from the airborne aircraft subsided.
   Then came the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, after 50 kilometers and a day-and-a-half of travel.  Some of the men wore beads and headbands.  Some wore medium long hair and round-or-rectangular-lensed sunglasses.
   Names like "Friends of Distinction" and "Christ You Know It Ain't Easy" were painted with care on the tracks, along with "Tennessee," "Kentucky," "Linda," and "Sue."
   The men were reddish-brown with dust from the long ride.  No one waved a peace sign, for this was war.
   A CBS camera crewman came across the airfield to take some pictures and a Chinook landed, picking up the last of the 1st Cav's 5/7th.  The camera crew filmed the Chinook and the men loading on with their gear.
   A 65th Engineer Battalion truck rumbled along the road, towing a generator and carrying what would be needed for new bridges -- bridges across which an entire brigade could attack.
   The next day, Tropic Lightning quit waiting for the enemy.


Takin' a bath YE OLDE SWIMMING HOLE -- It may not be the YMCA, but to these members of the 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)



Munitions Assembler Sees Product in Use

   CU CHI - After five months in the Army, Specialist 4 Rom Keith of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry, began to see how munitions he had made as a civilian were used in a combat situation.
   For two years before he entered the service, Keith helped make 105 and 155mm artillery rounds, bangalore torpedoes, flammable cylinders, hand grenades, and small arms ammo at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif., his hometown.
   One of his first assignments after he arrived in-country was to provide perimeter security at Fire Support Base Hampton where several 155mm tubes are located.
   "It was hard to believe how fast the artillerymen could fire those guns compared to the time it took us to assemble a single round at the plant," Keith said.
   Several weeks later, while at a night laager site, his platoon was working in a very thickly vegetated area and a bomber dropped a flammable cylinder used to burn the brush.
   "I couldn't believe it - within minutes the brush area was completely burned away," he said.
   Another day, his platoon was securing a road which the engineers were building and one of his company's jobs was to get rid of the hedgerows bordering the road.  This was to discourage the enemy from ambushing convoys.
   The platoon used bangalores, along with time fuses to clear the hedgerows.
   "All I can remember is my ears ringing and the smell of powder.  It was great to travel down the road and be able to see through what once was thick brush," Keith added.
   "I knew that someday I was going to be in the Army and so I put a lot into my job and encouraged my co-workers to do likewise for the benefit of our guys in Vietnam," Keith recalled.  "It means the difference between life and death for us everyday."


Ilikai East by Night

WED   Floor Show on Stage (8 p.m.)
THU    Night in Las Vegas (8 p.m.)
FRI     Officers' Coffee Call (10 a.m.)
SAT    Films & Popcorn (7:30 p.m.)
SUN   Gemini Bingo and Birthday Party (8 p.m.)
MON  Plug-a-Prize (8 pm.)
TUE    Photo contest entries
           Whirlpool Table Tennis (8 p.m.)



Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  My problem is my buddy Joe.  What am I going to do?  We're in an artillery unit and he seems to have fallen in love with his Howitzer.  He has named her Hazel.  And after cleaning he puts a pink bow around her middle.  He likes to rub her gently and at night he sleeps with his head up against her base.  As far as I know, to this point the Howitzer has not shown any affection.
                                                                                                      Good, Good Pal

DEAR GOOD GOOD:  Your buddy is headed only for heartache.  Howitzers are treacherous and mean.  There is no chance for a sincere two-sided relationship.  I suggest a clean break.  A switch to Commo might help him forget.  Radios are warmer and more communicative.

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  I have been told that hard boiled eggs can be neatly sliced with the blades of a chopper.  Is this true.
                                                                                                       Gour Met

DEAR GOUR:  Yes, hard boiled eggs can be neatly sliced with the blades of a chopper, also the fingers and hands holding them.

DEAR SGT CERTAIN:  When I go to the steam bath, I always get massaged by the same girl.  She is very nice, so I give her a big tip.  Sometimes I bring her gifts.  She calls me "Soc Kha."  She is real pretty.  What does "Soc Kha" mean?
                                                                                                        No Bic

DEAR NO: "Sucker."


Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 25, 1970


From Soap to Books
     Manchus Distribute College Gifts to School

   Bearcat - American college students have begun to take part in the so-called "other war."
   Students at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., in response to a request by one of their alumni, contributed valuable supplies to the Civic Action Program of the 25th Division's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry.
   "Manchu" medic, Specialist 6 James Zika, of St. Paul, Minn., contacted his alma mater and requested a few minor items for his battalion's civic action operations.
   The overwhelming response was a great surprise to Zika.
   "At first there were only one or two boxes," he said, "but soon it seemed like they would never stop!"
   In all, the students sent thirty boxes with contents ranging from soap to books.
   The Integrated Medical Civic Action Program, at which the student-donated supplies were distributed, took place at the Vinh Tanh District High School in Phuoc Thuey Province.

Story and Photos By SP4 Lawrence C. Merritt


STUDENT -- A student at Vinh Tanh District School practices his English and tells the rest of the class where the gifts they have just received came from. Student
A band-aid helps BAND AID -- A band aid from a "Manchu" means a lot to the children of Vinh Tanh School District.  The children received the first aid during a recent MEDCAP-ICAP conducted by the "Manchus" at the school.
CLASSROOM -- Students of Vinh Tanh District School listen attentively as they are told about the gifts they've received from the students of St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minn. Students watch
Father Tui, SP6 James Zika FATHER TUI - Father Tui of the Vinh Tanh District School accepts books from Specialist 6 James Zika, of St. Paul, Minn., a medic with the "Manchus."  The books were a gift from the students of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where Zika was once a student.


Giving gifts
GIFTS -- A "Manchu" medic from the 25th Division's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, leans toward understanding as he passes out gifts to the children of Vinh Tanh District School during a recent MEDCAP-ICAP.



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           May 25, 1970


Radar Men Spot Stealthy Enemy

   CU CHI - "Echo One, this is Oscar Papa One Eight - have movement approximately 400 meters to our front, will stand by, over."
   This could be any one of the members of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, radar team reporting their sightings from their secluded radar post just outside Duc Hoa, 12 miles west of Saigon.
   "Our mission is to check an area with radar and a starlight scope," said Specialist 4 Mike Ciwakala, of Grand Blanc, Mich.  "I guess our job is pretty important, considering we are the main observation post for all of Duc Hoa and our battalion forward at Fire Support Base Chamberlain."
   By putting their "Pipsi Five" radar and a large tripod-mounted starlight scope to work, the crew is able to scan the surrounding area, pinpointing any enemy that might venture into view.
   "As soon as we spot movement and determine its identity and size, we give the location to our higher command," said Specialist 4 Walter Meade, of Woodside, N.Y.  "They usually react by sending troops into the area."
   The team operates from a small compound with security elements from one of the line companies.
   "The ARVN help us with our security duties," said Specialist 4 Tom Gutirres, of Agana, Guam.  "They even helped us build a large bunker for our radar."
   Operating hours for the radar team are between dusk and dawn the next morning.  In the daylight hours the men occupy themselves cleaning their weapons and equipment, reinforcing their defensive positions or just getting some well-deserved sleep.
   "We have to get clearance and still be very careful when we fire at a target because of the many hamlets in the area," said Specialist 4 John Kits, from Ashville, N.C., a rifleman with the security element.
   "Many nights we spot enemy groups and it's really a temptation to fire on them," claimed Sergeant Stephen Ross, a squad leader of the security element, who is from Naugatuck, Conn.  "But it's really not worth endangering the lives of the civilians."
   Private First Class Charles Blanchard, the security element's machine gunner from Detroit, said, "I never realized how tremendous radar is - it's great to see Charlie before he sees you."

ALERT -- Specialist 4 Walter Meade of Woodside, N.Y. scans the open terrain with an ARVN soldier, as Private First Class Charles Blanchard of Detroit moves in to adjust the radar for nighttime use.  The men operate and secure the radar for 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds." SP4 Walter Meade, PFC Charles Blanchard



DIVARTY E.M. Brief Colonel

   CU CHI -- Enlisted men do not usually brief visiting dignitaries.  But two 25th Infantry Division specialists had that opportunity recently when Colonel Pham Van Phan, Commander of the 25th ARVN Division Artillery, and his staff toured the 25th Division Artillery units at Cu Chi.
   During the morning session, Phan and his staff were given a briefing on the organization and operation of DIVARTY Headquarters by Colonel H. A. Buzzett, of Apalachicola, Fla., and a tour of DIVARTY'S Fire Direction/Target Information Center.  After lunch, Buzzett escorted Phan and his assistants to subordinate headquarters.
   Following a report on the unit's mission, the ARVN colonel visited the Air Warning Control Center (AWCC).  Here, Specialist 4 Lee G. Parnegos, of Whittier, Calif., and Specialist 4 Larry Davenport, from Storm Lake, Iowa, briefed Colonel Phan on the operations of the air control center.
   "The colonel seemed very interested in our system of operations here," said Parnegos. "After the briefing he came over and asked me some specific questions about how much data and cooperation we are getting from the ARVN units."
   "Our reason for being here," said Davenport, "is to act as a clearing agent for all aircraft in our Area of Operations (AO). Our AO extends from south of Cu Chi to north of Tay Ninh and includes both US and ARVN artillery which might be firing in this area."
   "Any pilot on a mission in our AO," continued Davenport, "can radio in and know within minutes which artillery units along his route are firing and the highest trajectory of the round fired.  This prevents him from flying low enough to be hit by any artillery fire from allied units."
   Parnegos also explained that there are different ways of routing aircraft around artillery fire.
   "We can use grid squares, geographical areas, names of cities, or roads. Usually the ARVNs are more easily directed by geographical locations," said Parnegos.
   "Colonel Phan already seemed to have a very good grasp of the difficulties of operating such a large-scale project and was particularly concerned with the accuracy of data given us by the ARVN units," Parnegos commented.
   "We have been getting more and more data from the ARVNs lately, and it is getting more and more accurate.  This answer seemed to satisfy him."


Fast and Effective
    Aerial Resupply Crucial in Jungle

   CU CHI - Aerial resupply has been crucial to the fighting man of the 25th Division since he arrived in Vietnam five years ago.
   The task of resupplying grunts in hard-to-reach places is the responsibility of men like those in Delta Company, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry.
   Thick jungle vegetation, however, has placed severe limitations on the use of ground transportation in the resupply mission.  Consequently, with the assistance of Chinooks from Cu Chi base camp, the majority of supplies are flown to men in the field.
   Food, water, ammunition, clothing, and - probably most important to the man in the field - mail is carried by nets attached to the undersides of Chinooks, thus saving valuable time and space.  Personnel are transported inside the chopper.  The entire operation is fast and dependable.
   Staff Sergeant Gilbert Paris, of Owensboro, Ky., the man in charge of the Triple Deuce resupply mission, explained that because of the thick jungle in Hau Nghia Province, it would be impossible to resupply the men by convoy.
   "Roads which are available for transporting supplies simply cannot be swept for enemy mines and booby traps every day, he said.
   Specialist 5 Jerry Dyers, of Troy, Miss., who prepares all equipment before pick-up added, "We can air-lift more supplies by Chinook faster and with more effectiveness than we ever could transport with tracks."


Chinook Lands
DASH - A trooper from the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry dashes for a Chinook resupply chopper which is on its way to his company's night laager position near Cu Chi.



ARVN Arty Soldiers Display Survey Skill

   CU CHI -- Two 25th ARVN Division soldiers were recently awarded certificates of achievement for successfully completing the 25th Division's 80-hour Field Artillery Survey Course.
   The two ARVNs, First Lieutenant Hoang Xuan Hai, an artillery reconnaissance officer, and Sergeant First Class Dao Ngoc Nam, an artillery survey sergeant, enrolled in the course as part of the Dong Tien ("Progress Together") program of mutual assistance between the 25th ARVN Division and Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division.
   One of their instructors, Sergeant First Class Perry J. Rimmer, of Brandy, Va., commented, "Lt. Hai and SFC Nam were extremely alert throughout the course and caught on quickly.  When they came to us, their background was limited to aiming circle survey.  Through the practical knowledge and experience learned in the course, they are now skilled in using our more advanced and complicated survey equipment, including the T-2 theodolite and DME (Distance Measuring Equipment)."
   "In fact," Rimmer said, "they are now qualified to go back to their unit and instruct other ARVNs in how to use more modern survey equipment."
   Lt. Hai and SFC Nam are presently stationed in Tan An where they will use their newly acquired skills to improve and upgrade the professional qualifications of the ARVN Artillery, thus making their fire support more accurate and effective.


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 05-12-2006

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