Vol 1 No. 17 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/8 Arty 1||2nd Bde 7||25th Inf Photo 2||ARVNs 6|
|1/14 Photos 4||2/9 Arty Photo 3||25th Inf Photo 6||Boxer Archie Moore 3|
|1/27 Photo 1||2/9 Arty 3||25th Avn Bn 1||Boxer Archie Moore 3|
|1/27 1||2/9 Arty 3||25th MP 7||Chieu Hoi Program 2|
|1/27 8||2/9 Arty 4||25th MP Photo 7||Leroy Ellis Photo 8|
|1/35 4||2/27 1||3rd Bde 8||NVA Structure 2|
|1/35 6||2/27 3||3/13 Arty 8||Operation Paul Revere 4|
|1/35 6||2/27 7||4/9 3||R & R 6|
|1/35 6||2/35 3||4/9 7||Red Cross 1|
|1/35 Photo 6||25th Inf Photo 1||7/11 Arty 8||25th's 25th Yearbook 1|
|1/35 7||25th Inf Photo 1||725th Maint 8|
[The 1966 Vietnam issues of Tropic Lightning News were published in Saigon, and are of lower quality than later years that were printed in Japan. Over the years the photographs and text have faded and it has been difficult to reproduce them. Even when the photos are unclear, I have been included them to give a sense of the activities in the Division.]
Old Form Obsolete
New Ration Card Issued To All Troops July 1
A new ration card becomes effective July 1, replacing the old, pink card, which will be obsolete.
The new card will entitle the holder to purchase rationed items and a limited number of items costing more than $10.
The new form, consisting of three parts, must be intact. Any portion separated from the center section voids the entire card. All rationed exchange merchandise is non-transferable.
If a card is lost or stolen the individual must report it in writing to the nearest provost marshal through his unit ration card control officer, who will issue the cards.
Although the new card is not effective until July 1, it has been valid since April 15 and issued to new arrivals in Vietnam.
Persons rotating on or before June 30 will not be issued new cards but those whose tour of duty extends past that date will be issued a new card and must turn the old one in to the issuing officer.
All controlled or rationed items on the pink card will be recorded on the new one before it is turned in. Persons in isolated areas, who wish to have one man purchase items for a group, must have a written statement from their commanding officer, including the name, rank and service number of the purchaser as well as of those for whom he is buying the items.
77 AVIATION MEN DECORATED WITH AIR MEDALS
Seventy-seven members of 25th Aviation Battalion were decorated last week in a mass awards ceremony at Cu Chi. The men all received Air Medals for aerial missions against the Viet Cong.
Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander, congratulated each of the men as he presented the medals.
In his brief speech after the presentation, General Weyand emphasized the aviation battalion's part in enabling the division to "Strike anywhere, anytime." The general praised the men, as he said, "for the capability you gentlemen have brought to the division."
The awards were presented to 77 pilots, crew chiefs and gunners of the battalion for flying at least 255 combat operational missions over hostile territory in direct support of ground forces.
1/27th Greets Lt. Col. O'Neal As Commander
Lieutenant Colonel Alvin L. O'Neal, of Houston, Tex., has assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds). He replaces Lieutenant Colonel Harley Mooney, who has become assistant chief of staff, G-2.
At change of command ceremonies, the 40-year-old officer talked to the men of the unit, saying, "I couldn't be prouder if I'd written the orders myself to join the 'Wolfhounds' who fought communism 40 years ago."
He added, "It's kind of ironic that we have to join together and lose some of our individual liberty to gain what we're fighting for."
Colonel O'Neal holds a bachelor of science degree in history from the University of Omaha.
The 1/27th Inf. is one of three maneuver battalions in the 2nd Brigade.
General Collins Inspects Cu Chi ARC Facilities
General (retired) James F. Collins, president of the American Red Cross (ARC), visited the division last week as part of an orientation tour of United States bases in Southeast Asia. The purpose of the trip was to determine what new Red Cross facilities were needed in the Vietnam combat areas.
General Collins, former commander-in-chief, U.S. Army, Pacific, was met at the Cu Chi Army Airfield by Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander, Brigadier General Edward H. de Saussure, assistant division commander, and Division Chief of Staff Colonel Thomas W. Mellen.
The group went to division headquarters, where they were joined by other Cu Chi-based Red Cross personnel to discuss ARC activities in the area.
The 25th Division Red Cross Office handles more than 650 new cases every month, including emergency leave cases, requests for health and welfare reports on families and service personnel and miscellaneous family and personal problems.
The first of a team of six Red Cross girls is expected to arrive at Cu Chi by the end of this month. They will take over the new enlisted men's club, bringing the total number of Red Cross workers with the division to ten.
Division Gives Orphans $5,000
More than $5,000 has been contributed to the support of the Dong Ngai Orphanage from the 25th Infantry Division, according to Major William W. Walker, assistant division civil affairs officer.
Contributions for the project, sponsored by II Field Force, Vietnam, were made during payday and Sunday religious service donations.
It is the second orphanage the division is sponsoring officially, joining the longstanding association of 1st and 2nd Battalions, 27th Infantry, and 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery, with the Holy Family Home, Osaka, Japan.
Viet Leader Visits Div.
Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thieu, chairman of the National Leadership Committee of the Republic of Vietnam, visited the division base camp last week.
After receiving a tactical briefing from Major General Fred C. Weyand, the division commander, General Thieu was presented a commemorative plaque by General Weyand.
The plaque, pledging "our continued assistance in the cause of freedom," also carried the words, "This plaque symbolizes the deep respect of the men of the 25th U.S. Infantry Division for the people of the Republic of Vietnam."
General Thieu responded with gifts of his own to General Weyand, Brigadier General Edward H. de Saussure, assistant division commander, and all the major unit commanders of the division.
|GOVERNMENT VISITOR - Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander, greets General Nguyen Van Thieu, chairman of the National Leadership Committee of the Republic of Vietnam, at the Cu Chi Army Airfield. (Photo by Park)|
Yearbook Sale Announced
The colorful 25-year history of the 25th Infantry Division will be depicted in a 400-page pictorial review book to be published on Oct. 1, 1966, the division's silver anniversary.
Announcement of the anniversary and the publication commemorating the occasion was made by Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander.
Highlights will include a color section of the division's military operations in Vietnam, action pictures of the division in World War II and Korea, anniversary messages and sections on the preparation and training of the division at Schofield Barracks in jungle and guerrilla warfare, unit activities during the last 25 years and special features of the division's commitments in Vietnam.
The theme of the book is "The 25th's 25th . . . in Combat." More than 1,000 pictures taken over the last 25 years have been selected by the yearbook staff to illustrate the "dedication, determination and courage" of the combat division, which is one of two in the United States Army authorized to wear the Combat Infantryman's Badge with two stars because of its participation in three combat zones.
Major William C. Shepard, of San Antonio, Tex., division information officer, outlined the purpose of the book when he said:
"To capture two and one-half decades of a determined effort to promote and preserve peace, build the nation's defenses and deter enemy aggression within the short span of 400 pages, the book will portray division activities from its baptism of fire at the start of World War II through its present military operations in Vietnam."
Editor of the book is Specialist Four R. Vincent Puchalski, of Scranton, Pa., and officer-in-charge is 2nd Lieutenant Patrick J. McKeand, of Anderson, Ind.
|YEARBOOK ORDER - Major General Fred C Weyand, division commander, signs the first order card for the division Yearbook which will commemorate the "Tropic Lightning" 25th anniversary on Oct. 1, 1966.|
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
|BRONZE STAR MEDAL (With "V" Device)|
PSgt. James M. Deacon, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
2nd Lt. Robert D. Duffle, Co. A. 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Valle Encarnacaon-Del, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Lawrence P. Hall, HFIC, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
SSgt. Marion J. Kruq, Co. B, 2nd. Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Charles C. London Jr., HHC, 1st Bn, 69th Armor
MSgt. Joseph T. Kacala, HHC, 65th Engr. Bn.
Lt. Robert M. Pfeiffer, 30th Weather Squadron
Sp4 Andres Ramirez, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp5 Francisco Ramirez-Medina, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 Anibal Sonera-Gonzalez, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
MSgt. Charles L. Vanover, Trp. A, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
Maj. Anthony J. Adessa, Co. B, 25th Avn Bn.
Lt. Col. Boyd T. Bashore, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Maj. Robert W. Blake, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. Robert D. Bretz, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. Lewellyn A. Brown, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. Raymond F. Huntington. Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. James E. Miller, Co. B, 25th Avn. Bn.
Maj. Keith J. Rynott, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL
|SSgt. Edward A. Lillard, HHC, 2nd Bde.|
2Lt. Gerald R. Abbott, Co. C, 1st Bn., 5th Inf,
PFC Calvin Allen, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Emmitt Allen, Co. B, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
SP5 Thomas G. Allen, HHC, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sp4 William E. Arthur, Co. C, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
Sp4 Johnny L. Atwater, Co. C, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
PFC Dennis Bailey, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
Sp4 Craig A. Berwald, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
Sp4 B. J. Bradford, Co. A, 2nd Ba., 14th Inf.
Sgt. Philip W. Bridges, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
Sp5 Machon D. Broxie, HHC, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
PFC Alan R. Brunt, HHC, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
Hanoi Pulls Strings On All VC Efforts
The Communist regime in Hanoi directs, controls and supplies the entire Viet Cong political and military effort to conquer the Republic of Vietnam.
All control - political and military - comes ultimately from the Central Committee of North Vietnam's Lao Dong Party, which maps out broad strategy. The Reunification "Commission of the Northern government controls the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, and the Military High Command in the North is responsible for the military training of the men who infiltrate into the South. In addition, a central intelligence organization In Hanoi - the Central Research Agency - maintains an elaborate intelligence network in South Vietnam and directs the extensive undercover activities of the Viet Cong.
The two communist administrative headquarters to the South, inherited from the Viet Minh, have been merged into the Central Office for South Vietnam. This central "brain" coordinates all communist party activity in the South and all relations with the highest Communist Party and government echelons in North Vietnam.
In South Vietnam, the communists have created a show of legitimacy through the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam. At the national headquarters level, the Front has a central committee and presidium, which take their orders from the control committee of the People's Revolutionary Party - the Communist Party in South Vietnam.
The Front's National Central Committee sets policy and also is responsible for planning and organization building. The next level in the Front hierarchy consists of the three interzone headquarters, which determine agitprop (persuasion and propaganda) policy guidance and which are responsible for political indoctrination and training. Under the interzone headquarters are seven zone headquarters, which are their sub-offices.
Next in the Front's structure are the approximately 30 provincial committees - its chief operating units. These committees direct the "liberation associations" the communists use to spread their indoctrination and propaganda and to gain the often-unwitting support of the South Vietnamese people. The committees, of course, also transmit to subordinate levels the orders sent down from the central committee. In addition - and this is a major role at the provincial level - they assign military duties to the Viet Cong units operating in their provinces.
The Front's committees and cells in South Vietnam's districts, towns and villages make up the largest part of the Communist spider web. In the Viet Cong-dominated areas of South Vietnam, they are in the open, free of government interference as they carry out their so-called political struggle, recruit and train men for their local Viet Cong units and carry out the military or guerrilla tasks they are assigned.
In the areas controlled by the legitimate government, of course, the communists and grass-level front members must remain under cover and work in secret in their efforts to overthrow the government of the Republic of Vietnam.
Since the communists are using the National Liberation Front to camouflage their anti-government activities, their People's Revolutionary Party organization parallels the Front structure, and that Communist apparatus keeps a tight control on the Front from the top-level central committee to at least the provincial level.
(Next week: How the military effort fits in.)
Another Ilikai Debuts
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held recently opening the "Ilikai East," a new service club for division soldiers at Cu Chi.
Major General Fred C. Weyand, division commander, was on hand to snip the ribbon, officially opening the new club. Between field operations, division troops will be able to enjoy the club's many recreational facilities, which include television, ping-pong, billiards, darts, horseshoes and volleyball. For those who wish to relax, the club offers books, magazines, card rooms and a wide variety of music.
Along with the assortment of food and soft drinks sold, there will be candy, cookies, cake, cigarettes and many other such items given to the troops without cost. These items are donated by thoughtful Americans.
To the rear of the club is the new PX beer garden spread out under the trees, and specially thatch-roofed patios. Lieutenant Miguel Camacho, of San Juan, P. R., will act as the club officer, while the duties of custodian will be accomplished by Sergeant First Class Edward J. Deal, of Niagara Falls, N.Y.
|Major General Fred C. Weyand (r) stands by the sign of the division's new service club. With him are (from left) Lieutenant Miguel A. Camacho, club officer, Captain Frederick C. Turner Jr., division Special Services officer, and Sergeant First Class Edward J. Deal, the club custodian. (Photo by Pardue)|
'Chieu Hoi' - Open-Arms Program
"Chieu hoi" is the Vietnamese expression for open arms and it means a handshake, hot food and an offer to return to a better life at the hands of the Vietnamese government.
Inspired by communist defectors and the fact that many Viet Cong come from everyday Vietnam life, the Chieu Hoi Program is designed to encourage guerrillas to abandon their fight against the central government.
But it is more than just an arm established to encourage enemy defection. Entailing indoctrination to combat communist propaganda, Chieu Hoi furnishes intelligence, serves to weaken the Viet Cong while strengthening the government and is thought to cause dissension and distrust within VC ranks.
Chieu Hoi at the national, regional and provincial levels is organized into the Chieu Hoi Action Plan, which includes construction, maintenance and repair of one national, five regional and 39 provincial centers for the reception and. rehabilitation of returnees.
The centers provide returnees with a place to live while the government supplies them vocational training to permit them to take their places as useful parts of Vietnamese society. For the many displaced returnees, the center also provides a resettlement plan to help returnees move quietly back into native life. When the "graduates" leave the centers, they are further helped with moderate sums of money.
The program also tries to enlist the help of returnees in existing government intelligence and propaganda activities.
The volunteers, organized into Chieu Hoi Armed Propaganda Units, move among the people in villages and hamlets to explain the policies and aims of the government and the Chieu Hoi Program and to encourage Viet Cong defection.
The government began the armed propaganda units hoping that returnees could explain the differences between the two political systems more effectively than others.
In encouraging VC defection, the government tells the Viet Cong that they are welcome under the Chieu Hoi Program, and they can expect good treatment and the chance to return to their families. Chieu Hoi units also observe that the government and Free World Military Assistance Forces are winning the war, making continued resistance futile.
The entire Chieu Hoi effort is aimed at VC military forces, Viet Cong civilian sympathizers and workers, families of active VC, inhabitants of communist-controlled areas and at the national population of Vietnam.
The open-arms policy is reaping benefits. So far in the provincial program in 1966, Chieu Hoi has welcomed over 13,000 returnees in its centers.
|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 U.S. Forces 96225. Army
News Features, Army Photo Features and Armed Forces Press Service material
are used. Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the
Department of the Army. Printed in Saigon, Vietnam, by Dai Doan Ket
Maj. Gen. Fred C. Weyand . . . . Commanding General
Maj. William C. Shepard . . . . . . Information Officer
2nd Lt. Patrick J. McKeand . . . Officer-in-Charge
Sp5 Dale P. Kemery . . . . . . . . . Editor
PFC David L. Kleinberg . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
"Hair-Raising" Ambush Kills Eight Viet Cong
It, was 8:10 p.m. and Sergeant Carlos Encarnacion, 19, Rio Granda, P.R., was leading his eight-man ambush patrol 700 yards beyond the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, perimeter.
At 8:30 on the dark, moonless night, the ambush was over and the men were returning to the base camp.
What happened in the intervening twenty minutes is a hair-raising tale.
"We picked the spot with a lake to our front and set out four Claymores on the other side of the berms in the paddy," said Encarnacion.
"I put my machine gunner on the corner of the L-shaped ambush so he could cover both sides."
"We weren't there five minutes when a flare went off from the base camp and we all hit the ground," continued the squad leader, who received the Bronze Star Medal for valor on another division operation.
When the squad got up the excitement began. Specialist Four Manuel Flores, 20, of East Los Angeles, Calif., the machine gunner, looked over the berm and saw 12 Viet Cong moving into the "Wolfhound" position.
"They were so close," said Flores, "that I had to give the warning 'VC!' in a whisper. Our Claymores were no good because the VC already were between us and the mines. The only thing I could do," continued Flores, "was stand up and fire a 200-round burst . . . the whole can of ammo. The first VC fell about three feet from me,"
The ambush squad, alerted by Flores' whispered warning, began to withdraw, still firing at the enemy.
In the midst of the shooting, a rifle grenade landed on the berm in front of Flores.
"It rolled to the other side and went off. I guess I was lucky. It just grazed my cheek and burned my elbow," said Flores.
Since no VC were standing when the grenade came in, the men figured it was fired as an enemy soldier was hit by a barrage of machine gun bullets. Two other men were nicked by grenade fragments.
The following morning, eight bodies were found along with four weapons, two of which were fitted with rifle grenade adapters.
SSgt James Cox Blows Bugle; Cu Chi Jumps
Gabriel may have the edge when it comes to trumpets, but when it comes to bugles, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, has it hands down.
Staff Sergeant James A. Cox, the Al Hirt of the Cu Chi bugle set, is the early bird with a horn, cracking the dawn with the sound of reveille. When Cox puts his lips to the mouthpiece of his bugle and lets wail, 1,600 pairs of feet thump to the floor and have their owners standing in formation almost before the end of the call.
Besides reveille, Cox has some other numbers in his repertoire of great bugle calls, such as mess call, assembly, taps - and a little Dixieland jazz thrown in for flavoring.
When Cox isn't blowing bugle, he's section chief for the "Manchus" ground surveillance platoon.
|BIG PUNCH - Archie Moore, former world light heavyweight boxing champion, fires a 105mm howitzer of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, during his visit to 3rd Brigade. At Moore's right is Major Paul E. Lenhart, executive officer of the "Mighty Ninth." (Photo by Sutphin)|
Archie Moore Hits Third Brigade
The "Broncos" of 3rd Brigade had a ringside seat for a visit last week by former world light heavyweight champion Archie Moore.
After a briefing on the brigade's Operation "Paul Revere," the former champion, who visited division headquarters at Cu Chi week before last, was given a guided tour of the rear base camp by Major Paul E. Lenhart, executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, and Major Quitman M. Wright, escort officer for U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
A highlight of the tour came when Moore visited Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, where he fired two 105mm howitzer rounds into hostile territory.
Afterwards he visited the brigade mess area, touring both the officers and enlisted mess halls. Moore later visited Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, where he was welcomed by Captain Robert Ord, the company commander. Accompanied by Capt. Ord, the boxer toured the mess area and a fire direction control bunker.
Following that he toured Company A and the 3rd Support Battalion (Provisional).
After the tour of the base camp, Moore, accompanied by Maj. Wright and Sergeant Major Norman Dube went to the base camp of 6th Battalion, 14th Artillery. He later returned to II Corps headquarters at Pleiku.
Moore's visit to the "Bronco" Brigade base camp was part of a four-week personal appearance tour of military installations throughout Vietnam.
It's Insane to Knock Batman
Batman, who until recently had gone unrecorded through 2,000 years of Vietnamese history, has finally made it big at Cu Chi.
After speeding to overnight success in their Batmobile, Batman and his precocious pal Robin have slowly infiltrated into almost every American base in Vietnam, although Batman and everything that follows in his path arrived belatedly at Cu Chi.
Many division members had long since left Hawaii before Batman made his first daring save, but through the media of radio and printed matter he wasn't far away.
When replacements came to Cu Chi months later, they were often asked about Batman. More than talk about it, some have put Batman into "practical" use.
Captain Melvin A. Casberg, Jr., Belmont Shores, California, surgeon for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Division, uses the Bat signal when he needs aid - and gets results.
Capt. Casberg used styrofoam to mount the beaming Batman signal in one of his ophthalmoscopes, an instrument normally used for viewing the interior of the eye.
"I use it for calling the medics when I need some help," he says. "And it works. I've got the craziest bunch of medics in the division. They love it."
In the enlisted men's club of the 25th Administration Company, a bumper sticker sign hangs from the wall. It says "Send Batman to Vietnam."
"I think it's a good idea," one private said. "They ought to bring him here. It would be good for morale. Especially to know you have someone on your side that can't be beat."
Captain Frank Jones, of Hereford, Tex., who, as division psychiatrist, is directly concerned with the troops' mental state of health, finds nothing wrong with mixing Batman and war.
"Batman is the sort of thing that the men here can share with the people back home," he said. "It probably helps to bring some semblance of home here."
"Having an invincible hero on your side serves to increase your own courage and morale."
At Cu Chi, it is almost insane to knock the Bat.
Rat Problems!!!? Try New, Instant 'Snake'
Attention, Mr. Hooch Dweller! Having problems with rats in your room? The one-strike service of Thompson's Rat Ridders can save you the embarrassment of scurrying rodents when friends come to call.
If you've been badgered by gray-haired things that go bump in the night, PFC Dennis R. Thompson can probably help you sleep quietly once again. Thompson's Rat Ridders, located at Headquarters and Service Battery, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, has devised a sure-fire way to put those creatures in their place.
Now, through the magic of modern, Vietnam jungle technology, you will be visited by one of our experts who knows instinctively how to make those unpleasant rats and mice extinct. Just one call to Thompson's Rat Ridders will bring "Snake" rushing to your side.
"Snake" is a five-foot long rat snake who stands ready at any hoar of day or night to wage war against your unwanted visitors. Highly trained and skillfully polished at his profession, "Snake" can provide you with the same service many other satisfied customers have experienced. In one two-day period alone, "Snake" has eliminated seven of the midnight marauders.
"Snakes talents were enlisted during Operation "Paul Revere" and he now offers "Broncos" surefire extermination service.
Remember, too, in dealing with Thompson's Rat Ridders, you are being serviced by a reliable firm. Proprietor Dennis Thompson has had years of experience with exterminators of "Snake's" proficiency, having wrapped garter snakes around the handle bars of his bicycle while still living in his native Baltimore, Md.
And remember, Thompson's Rat Ridders is never one to sit on past accomplishments. Under a recently announced expansion program, Thompson's is planning to add a king cobra to its death-dealing staff of exterminators.
So for a quick kill, contact Thompson's, serving 3rd Bde. for over two weeks. Remember, your satisfaction is guaranteed or double your rats back.
Page 4 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
OPERATION "PAUL REVERE"
( The start of this story was lost in the center binding of the
library binding holding
...though some foxholes still had two to three feet of water in them from earlier heavy rains.
Shortly past one o'clock the following morning, Co. A began receiving heavy fire. This was followed by an attack of screaming, shouting North Vietnamese. The enemy charged, withdrew, and charged again. Each assault was accompanied by blood-curdling yells. Each attack was repulsed by the American defenders.
The enemy tried many tricks to entice the Americans to surrender or get them to give away their positions. One enemy was heard to shout in excellent English, "You have two and a half hours to surrender."
Occasionally, the enemy used the ruse of yelling "Medic, medic!" in an effort to trap unsuspecting Americans. Also, they would shout "Cease fire, cease fire!," then try to get into better positions. "The tricks usually bought the speaker a one-way ticket to eternity."
Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, was supporting the operation from another area. While firing missions during the darkness early one morning, they came, under attack from small arms and mortar. Throughout this attack on their own area, the artillerymen continued to support
the infantry troops in LZ 10 Alpha.
At daybreak, patrols were sent to check the area. The 3rd Platoon of A Co. was pinned down by enemy fire. As the company's 2nd Platoon was en route to aid the trapped platoon, they ran into a North Vietnamese patrol heading in the opposite direction. The ensuing firefight routed the enemy, permitting the relief column to continue. The 2nd Platoon attacked the flank of the enemy force, which had pinned down 3rd Platoon. The assault freed the 3rd Platoon and killed 15 of the enemy.
Eight men and the platoon leader of the 2nd Platoon remained behind to bring back the wounded. As they were returning to friendly positions they saw about 50 screaming North Vietnamese attacking American positions.
Unable to reach the perimeter, they set up their own defenses and laid fire on the attacking force. The action pinned down two enemy mortar crews and killed at least 40 of the NVA troops.
During the morning, helicopters continually brought in much-needed supplies and, along with the Air Force, provided air firepower.
Although the rest of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, was eventually brought into the area, the big battle was over. The fighting in LZ 10 Alpha accounted for 178 enemy killed by body count. Since the operation began May 10, 435 enemy wave been killed. One hundred forty six small arms and eight crew-served weapons have been captured. American casualties remain light.
|HACKING - Troops of Company C, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, cut their own trail through the central highlands on combat patrol during "Paul Revere."|
|PUSHING THROUGH - The grass is tall and the hedgerows thick as members of Company C, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, wade through the jungle during Operation "Paul Revere."|
|UNREQUESTED BATH - Out of the jungle and into the drink. The men from 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, push across a stream southwest of Pleiku.|
|RESCUE - It's called "Dustoff" as members of Company B, 25th Medical Battalion, take a casualty from an ambulance to the forward hospital.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
R&R: Just Five Beautiful Days
"I hate to tell you this," the PFC announced over his loud speaker, "but there's been another delay and we won't be ready to board for another hour."
The division soldiers, all patiently awaiting their rest and recuperation flight to Tokyo, filtered off in different directions, some muttering profanities, others accepting their fate silently.
The terminal in Saigon was hot and muggy. All the men wanted to do was get aboard the plane and forget the war and suffering for five days.
But the giant, 727 Pan American bird was late. Then it was there, moving in almost like a taxi.
One by one, the soldiers climbed aboard, exchanging the heat of Vietnam for the Plane's air conditioning.
One stewardess greeted the men at the door. She was pretty. She was very pretty. In fact, she was about the most beautiful thing most of the men had seen in months. Her name was Linda. She had blonde hair. That was beautiful. Her eyes were blue. They were beautiful too. She had on a blue skirt and white blouse. Beautiful!
"Gentlemen," Joanne, another stewardess, announced, "There are some seats in the rear."
"Gentlemen?!?" someone questioned. "You don't have to call us gentlemen. Just say, 'move out'." The men, meanwhile, moved into their seats.
"Is that Linda?" someone asked.
"I don't know. Does it matter?" came the reply.
Luana, the third stewardess, gave the procedural announcements, the location of the lavatories (she didn't call them latrines), the location of the emergency exits, etc. "And," she concluded, "If there's anything else I can do for you just yell."
Roughly 123 of the 123 passengers felt like yelling, possibly screaming but there was silence, except for the engines, which were beginning to warm up.
The pilot announced, "We'll be flying at about 29,000 feet and expect no weather difficulties en route. We hope you have a good flight."
And so the jet roared off into the fading daylight. One stewardess pressed her tiny nose against one of the windows to catch a glimpse of Saigon below. As someone remarked, that's about the safest place to see Saigon from.
A few hours later the super jet stopped over for an hour at Taipei, Formosa. As the jet landed, some guys still hadn't realized that Vietnam was many miles away.
One said, "Let's form a perimeter around the plane, dig foxholes, set up trip flares and booby traps. We'll have 50 per cent (guard)."
"Ha!" his friend replied. "You pull my 50 per cent."
Long before even one foxhole could have been dug, the jet was on its way and soon in Japan.
It would be great - for five days at least.
PFC Destroys Enemy Position On Perfect Call
PFC Russell L. Crawford, Patterson, Calif., a radio operator for Company A, 1st Battalion, 35th infantry, could hear the enemy mortar fire but he didn't have a map or a compass.
He called in fire on the enemy position anyway.
During the 3rd Brigade's Operation "Paul Revere" near Pleiku, Crawford and other members of the third platoon were returning to the company's position after gathering an armful of enemy weapons in the jungle.
He saw a puff of smoke and heard a loud noise as a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) mortar dropped on the landing zone (LZ), which was also the company's location.
He called the company 81mm mortar section and had them fire a round into the center of the platoon's sector. He adjusted their fire from that.
Hot Food in the Field
'Flying Cooks' KO C-Rations
Specialist Four Lynn J. Woodard, of St. Clair, Mich., is a "flying cook," one of a unique group of men who air lift at least one hot meal a day to companies in the field on operations.
Woodard, a cook for 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, is now catering for 3rd Brigade's Operation "Paul Revere."
There are no cooking facilities in the field, so food must be prepared at the rear area base camp and air lifted to the men. This is the occupation of the 'flying cooks' and to the man who must face a diet of C-rations, the 'flying cooks' are a welcome sight.
Each morning the cooks take the empty insulated containers from the command post and load them on to helicopters to be taken to the battalion's rear location.
"At the rear command post we have a consolidated mess hall," Woodard said. "Once I get there with the empty, dirty equipment the KPs wash the cans."
By this time, the hot food is usually ready. It's loaded into the containers and tagged to insure that each container gets to the right unit.
The men of the "Cacti Green" don't miss their sweets either. Woodard hustles to the bakery and checks to make sure each company gets its share including anything from donuts to cakes.
After everything is gathered together, the food and utensils are taken to the helipad, loaded and flown to the forward command post.
"It may sound as if there isn't much to it," Specialist Woodard said. "But there have been times when I've gotten into some ticklish predicaments."
"One time the company I was to feed that night was supposed to be heli-lifted into a new position."
He was notified by the logistics officer that he was to hit the landing zone before his company, even though a platoon from another company was there and supposedly had the area secure.
"When I got to the landing zone," he said, "I saw the platoon just getting there. If I'd been there five minutes earlier, I would have been all by myself on a hot landing zone."
Light Contact, Then VC Hit Third Brigade
After several weeks of light contact, elements of 3rd Brigade suddenly found themselves in a pitched battle with a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regiment last week southwest of Pleiku.
During the action, the 2nd Platoon of Company A, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry was trying to push back an NVA attack on the east edge of a landing zone.
As the men swept the area, they were picked at by snipers hidden throughout the heavily wooded area surrounding the landing zone.
"We didn't know where the snipers were," said Specialist Four Kenneth R. Harpold of Indianapolis, Ind., a fire team leader in the 2nd Platoon.
"There was one sniper that particularly bothered us." Harpold continued. "We began looking for him."
"PFC James Hyatt, who was right behind me, had a Chinese submachine gun he had captured and I had a 12-gauge shotgun. We both opened fire on the sniper."
"But he didn't fall like we expected him to do. It turned out that he was tied to the tree. We left him up there, planning to come back later and cut him down. When we did come back to get him he was gone. Apparently, some of the other NVA soldiers had come and taken him away," Harpold remarked of the enemy's passion for conducting combat police calls."
|REMOTE CHOW - Specialist Four Lynn J. Woodard, a "flying cook" of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry "Cacti Green," stacks some insulated containers prior to loading them onto a helicopter on Operation "Paul Revere." (Photo by Blue)|
ARVN Could Use Digit Dialing
U.S. artillery, helicopter and jets couldn't get the job done, so Army, Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) called on its own air force recently to strafe a Viet Cong target.
That's the simple way to tell it.
Actually, ARVN called U.S. artillery. Answer No. ARVN called U.S. helicopter. Answer: No. ARVN ALO called U. S. FAC. Answer: No. ARVN ALO called RVNAF. FAC told ALO he Saw 10 VC dead. ARVN ALO relayed info to Center.
And when the smoke had cleared, about the only telephone not involved in the complex air strike was undoubtedly the "hot line."
CSCC, the Combat Support Coordination Center, the important abbreviation to remember, is a temporary organization used only when U.S. and Republic of Vietnam units are on large, joint operations.
Whenever such operations take place, American and Vietnamese controllers work together to plan battle action.
During the episode described above, a Viet Cong platoon was reported 30 miles south of the division's Cu Chi base camp.
American artillery was too far away, American helicopters were on another mission and U.S. planes also were too far away. But ARVN was able to find three RVN Skyraiders to hit the position twice, followed by a third run by U.S. F-100s, by this time in the area.
Although it may have taken a few phone calls, the CSCC is apparently starting to make the right connections.
|CONTRABAND - Major General Fred C. Weyand (l), division commander, and Brigadier General Phan Trong Chinh, commander of the 25th Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam, examine a Chinese 57mm recoilless rifle shell captured by "Tropic Lightning" soldiers on the joint U.S.-ARVN Operation "Makiki."|
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
Scroungers Get Last Haul
Fourth Battalion, 9th Infantry, proved that text book techniques are still effective against the Viet Cong. During Operation "Wahiawa," a Manchus reconnaissance platoon trapped three Viet Cong by effectively springing a "stay behind" ambush.
After a battalion leaves its base area the Viet Cong scavengers enter. The men of the 4th knew this and decided to try an old trick, leaving a group of men behind to ambush the scavengers.
A scout section from Lieutenant Charles Scott's reconnaissance platoon was chosen to stay, conceal themselves in the area and wait for the Viet Cong to show up.
Staff Sergeant Oscar E. Smith, scout section leader, placed his men inside the existing perimeter as the rest of the battalion prepared to depart.
They stationed themselves strategically throughout the area, hiding behind small bushes and lying in rice paddies. Camouflage was difficult because of the large open area within the perimeter and the limited amount of natural cover.
The area looked deserted. The scout section planned it that way. If one man revealed himself, the entire platoon would be placed in danger.
Waiting is always the hardest part of an ambush. The sweat running down the forehead, the stagnant, stinking water from the rice paddy and crawling insects all made the waiting seem endless, but still the men didn't move. Time passed slowly. An hour went by and still no sign of the Viet Cong.
Suddenly shots began coming from the thicket in front of the platoon. At first they thought the VC had spotted them, but the rounds were hitting all around them and not concentrated on any one place or person.
The men held their fire. They were receiving probing fire from the VC to see if anyone was left in the area.
The Viet Cong, receiving no return fire, decided the area was secure and eight of them entered the clearing from the heavy thicket. They moved closer and closer to the ambush site.
When one VC was about 45 feet from Specialist Four Vernon Kunkle's and PFC William James' position they tossed two grenades, killing the Viet Cong that was directly in front of them.
At the same time, Staff Sergeant William Cunningham and Sergeant Elias Olivarez each shot and killed one more VC. The other members of the ambush began firing on the five retreating VC.
When the firing stopped, three Viet Cong were dead and another three were suspected killed. There were no injuries to the recon platoon.
English-Teaching Job Falls to Suggestor
Suggesting a better way often means executing the suggestion, as 2nd Lieutenant Tim Rosenheim, of Philadelphia, Pa., learned when he announced he thought it would be a good idea to teach English to Vietnamese students in Hau Nghia Province.
Lt. Rosenheim, who became involved in the project shortly after he became assistant adjutant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, is a unique language instructor in that he speaks no Vietnamese - outside of the usual pleasantries.
But what he lacks in the native tongue, the lieutenant more than compensates for in enthusiasm, a fact borne out by his students, who eagerly swarm to his classes voluntarily.
Teaching in a village meeting hall for an hour and a half weekly, Lt. Rosenheim wields a simple phrase book to teach conversational English.
He works from self-made lesson plans to offer such dialogues as, 'Hello. How are you ?' 'I'm fine, thanks. How are you?'
In three weeks, the "Tropic Lightning" lieutenant has brought the villagers from the ultra-simple "Hello" to answering basic questions. When holding up a notebook, he can ask, "Is this a pencil?" and hear the reply, "No. That's a notebook."
With the combined enthusiasm of teacher and students, it shouldn't be long before about 90 Vietnamese are speaking English comfortably - with a Philadelphia accent.
'New-Lifers' Get Richer From Division Donations
Life in Ben-Vang, a 'new life' village located 40 miles northwest of Saigon, is going to be considerably better since its inhabitants have received food and clothing from the 25th Infantry Division.
Ben-Vang is a fortified home for refugees who are starting a 'new life' in new surroundings. Helping the newcomers are 2nd Brigade and the Special Forces Detachment at Kiem Hanh, the district in which Ben-Vang is located.
Approximately 500 villagers turned out during an intermittent light shower to receive the canned goods, summer-weight clothing, rice and salt donated by generous contributors from Hawaii.
The chattering of the men, women and children stopped when Captain Nguyen Van Mach, chief of the Khiem Hanh District, led the joint group to a table set up for presentation of the gifts. Three Cao Dai priests, dressed in white clothes and black skull caps, joined the group, and the first recipient was called.
The villagers - men and women, young and old - kept coming to accept their packages of American clothing: a bag of rice and several cans of food assembled for distribution by Major Robert C. Gutner, the brigade civil affairs officer.
Sgt. Shaw comes from Petersborough, England, 80 miles north of London, but now calls Fayetteville, N.C., his home.
Dead Cong Makes Day For PFC
PFC Paul V. Banther, of McDonald, Tenn., a 20-yearold member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, was the point man on a patrol during Operation "Paul Revere."
"About 900 feet from the company command post, we crossed a stream and were moving up a trail," he said. "I looked along the trail and saw a VC stand up from behind a machine gun. There ware two more behind him, running away.
"I turned around and yelled to the others in the platoon."
"Thinking I had my M-16 on automatic, I kneeled down and began firing. I only got off about four or five rounds. I didn't think I had a chance of hitting any of them because I really couldn't see them too well; there was high grass between them and me," Banther explained.
"Later," he continued, "an artillery forward observer, who was posted nearby, told me I had hit one of them."
"My platoon sergeant came up to me and said, "Don't worry. We're going to make a hero out of you yet!"
This Little Piggy Went to (Viet) Luau
A traditional Hawaiian luau conjures up images of burning tiki torches, steaming imus (underground oven) and simmering ti leaves. It is the rare luau that is supervised by a burly Army master sergeant, illuminated by aerial flares and laced with the sounds of thundering artillery.
But no matter, insists Master Sergeant Levi Haina Jr., a typical Hawaiian kamaaina (old-timer), for whom no excuse is necessary for an old fashioned hookilau.
Nonetheless, a good excuse does add legitimacy to it all and the luau that sprouted at Cu Chi last week was ostensibly a "thank you" party for these who had helped build the new office building for 25th Military Police Company's Criminal investigation Division.
Sergeant Haina, operations sergeant with the Division Provost Marshals Office, adhered to strict Hawaiian tradition in preparing the kalua pig, the luau's main course. The 110-pound pig was packed with hot stones from the imu, filled with water and buried beneath successive layers of soaked canvas, banana leaves and dirt. Five hours later, two cooks, stripped to their waists Hawaiian style (less the lava-lavas), their mouths watering and their backs gleaming with perspiration, pulled the steaming pig from the ground.
The repast, complete with fresh pineapple, some very unHawaiian baked beans, tossed salad and French bread, fed 25 division members, who managed to enjoy the Southeast Asian luau under improvised tiki torches and potted palm trees.
|PORKER - Two members of the 25th Military Police Company place the kalua pig in the imu pit, to simmer in its own juices in the ground for five hours.||SCULPTURE - Staff Sergeant William Bradley cuts the kalua pig under the direction of Master Sergeant Levi Haina (center), while Sergeant first Class Jerome P, Eckert observes. (Photo by Pardue)|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1966
A weekly summary of major Army actions in the Republic of Vietnam compiled by
Army News Features from Department of Defense published Official MACV
June 9 through June 15, 1966
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) - No major actions reported. (On June 14
an element of the division reinforced units of the 101st Airborne Division
engaged in operation HAWTHORNE).
HEAVILY ARMED VIET CONG WAVES AND SURRENDERS
The experience was similar to driving through a red light and having the policeman on the corner smile congenially.
The difference was that Sergeants James A. Meisner, of Phoenix, Ariz., and John C. Alton, of Vincennes, Ind., were on patrol during 3rd Brigade's Operation "Paul Revere."
Part of a reinforced squad patrol was going to set up a night ambush. Meisner said, "We had just gotten outside the perimeter and were getting the patrol set up when Sergeant Alton and I saw a North Vietnamese Army soldier sitting in a hammock."
"We motioned for him to get out of the hammock and then signaled for him to put up his hands," Meisner continued.
"When we motioned for him to raise his hands," Alton said, still shaking his head in disbelief, "he waved back at us !"
His face didn't show any fright, but his knees were knocking like dry bones," Meisner observed. "It looked as if his legs were doing the watusi but his body wouldn't cooperate."
When the captive stopped waving, the two noncommissioned officers searched him. He was armed with four hand grenades, but there was no sign of a rifle. He offered no resistance.
"After blindfolding him, we sent him back to the perimeter with two other men in our patrol," Meisner said. "He was turned over to the perimeter guards there."
It was found during interrogation that the NVA soldier had been lost from his unit for four days and had not eaten anything in that time.
He told the interrogators that he wanted to give himself up but was afraid to approach the perimeter because he thought he would be shot.
|STRETCH - Fire mission! Leroy Ellis, of the Los Angeles Lakers, shoots a two-pointer as members of Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery, look on. Ellis, Darrell Imhoff and Rudy LaRusso recently toured the "Tropic Lightning" base camp at Cu Chi. (Photo by Pardue)|
NBA Giants Score at Cu Chi
Ellis Wants To Know "What's Happening?"
When three long, tall National Basketball Association players walked into the mess hall of Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery, there was a surprised silence.
Looking over the silent audience of 20 to 30 soldiers, Leroy Ellis, a towering six-foot, ten-inch center, spread his big arms wide and said, "What's happening, fellows? Say something."
The men laughed and the ice broke as the three NBA stars continued their one-day visit to Cu Chi.
Ellis was joined by center Darrell Imhoff and forward Rudy LaRusso, all stars for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Soon each of the players was sitting down, casually talking with the men about the war, basketball and girls.
"Hey," Ellis announced. "I want to shoot one of those cannons (referring to the 155mm self-propelled howitzers.) "I want to get a few Charlies."
The three soon moved on to Headquarters, Division Artillery, where Ellis was handed a basketball and the three were led to the battery basketball court to take a few shots in weather they admittedly had never before played in.
The aces went to the court and the troops followed. Although they claimed the basket was an old sewer rim and the court could have passed as a rice paddy, they nevertheless found their range and started dropping shots through.
Ellis, who had a sure way of not missing, found the side he wanted, dribbled three times, passed the bucket and then went up, stuffing the ball through the net, two-handed and backwards.
At Battery C, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, where things were relatively quiet, Imhoff, LaRusso and Ellis each got one shot on the 105mm howitzers.
During their tour of the division, sponsored by the USO, the three discussed sports and the war.
On basketball. (Imhoff): "The (Boston) Celtics are a tough team to beat. They have pride. After all, they've won nine championships in the last 10 years. But they are getting older."
On the war (LaRusso): "Everywhere we've been the morale of the men has been good. They are counting the days, which I think is natural. But they know they have a job to do and they are doing it."
On sports in general (Ellis): "The men here are surprisingly up to date on their sports. Naturally, they don't ask us too many questions about baseball, but they know what's going on."
With time pressing, they moved out on a fast break, catching a helicopter to Saigon, where they would visit another court tomorrow.
MEDCAP TEAM SAVES VILLAGE FROM SMALLPOX
What could have been a disastrous smallpox epidemic in the little village of Hau Hoa was averted June 16 by a division Medical Civic Action Program Team.
Captain Donald G. Winningham, Seattle, Wash., and medics from the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, treated the Hau Hoa villagers while the battalion was on Operation "Santa Fe."
During the visit, the doctor discovered that a 50-year-old woman living next door had an advanced case of smallpox. Although the woman had survived the peak of the disease, Capt. Winningham realized that the 200 residents of Hau Hoa were in danger of contracting smallpox.
On the afternoon of the discovery, enough smallpox vaccine to inoculate the entire population was flown in. Vietnamese national policemen went from house to house with a truck and a loudspeaker and told the villagers the necessity of being vaccinated. I
In two hours, battalion medics administered 156 doss of the serum.
A combination of ingenuity and necessity have produced some of the finest pre-fabricated warehouses this side of the Hawaiian Islands.
The warehouses, belonging to the 725th Maintenance Battalion, each accommodate 600 of the 15,000 line items of technical supply that the battalion handles.
The rest are either stored outdoors in weatherproof containers or in one of 11 vans.
The warehouses are made of boxes on pallets stacked three high with the open ends pointing into a central aisle, ten stacks of three on either side. The backs of the boxes, covered with tarpaper, form the building's outer wall.
Storage bins from the old warehouses in Hawaii were welded into A-frames and placed on top to support a 20-by-40-foot tarpaulin, which forms the roof.
The 25th Infantry Division Museum for providing the volume of 1966 Tropic Lightning News,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Battalion for finding and mailing them,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 10-15-2006
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