Vol 2 No. 21 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 Photo 3||2/12 7||3rd Bde S-3 Photo 7||4/9 8|
|1/5 8||2/14 1||3/4 Cav 1||4/23 1|
|1/10 Cav 7||2/22 8||3/4 Cav Photo 1||44th Med Bde 3|
|1/14 Photo 4||2/22 8||3/22 3||544th Engr 3|
|1/27 1||2/27 1||3/22 7||588th Engr 6|
|1/27 8||2/27 6||3/22 7||704th Maint 7|
|1/35 Photos 4||2/27 8||3/22 7||Menehunes 6|
|12th Evac 7||2/27 Photo 8||4th Med Det 3||MG John Tillson III 1|
|116 Avn Bn 8||25th Inf 3||4/9 1||MG John Tillson III 3|
|2nd Bde Photo 1||3rd Bde 4||4/9 3||Red Cross 6|
|2nd Bde Avn 6||3rd Bde Photos 4||4/9 3||Red Cross Photo 6|
Wolfhounds and Cav Whip VC
'Honcho' Meeting Disrupted
Twenty-two Viet Cong guerrillas were killed, 15 prisoners detained and 51 suspects detained during a lightning raid on the village of Phouc Mi, nine kms northwest of Cu Chi.
A combined force of 25th Inf. Div. soldiers from the 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., along with Vietnamese Regional and Popular forces from the Cu Chi sub-sector swept into the village shortly after dark.
The action routed nearly 75 Viet Cong who appeared to have gathered for a meeting or celebration, probably in commemoration of Ho Chi Minh's birthday, which was the next day.
Working on intelligence reports that the VC were using the village for a staging area, a platoon from Trp. A, was sent through the village toward Trang Bang as if on another mission. Approximately 15 minutes later a lone track retriever pulled a tank back through the village.
The track retriever and the seemingly disabled tank were sent through as bait, hoping to draw enemy fire.
The Viet Cong took the bait and fired on the vehicles. At that time, the first and third platoons, along with a company of Vietnamese forces, entered the village from the southeast while the second platoon closed in from the northwest.
The first and second platoons moved into the center of the village and then flanked to the left and right to drive the fleeing VC away from the civilian population into the rice paddies where they could be fired upon.
Air Force flareships circled overhead to provide illumination while helicopter gunships were screening the flanks to keep the guerrillas from escaping.
SSG Robert L. Coates described the first contact. "As we swung to our right toward the edge of the village, about 10 VC ran out of the village toward the woodline. We took them under fire and I saw five of them fall." The scout section leader continued, "We couldn't chase them because our gunships were firing and our primary mission was to seal off the village. But when the firing stopped about 15 minutes later we went out and found four weapons, some web gear and several blood trails.
"A couple of hours later my observer saw two VC run out of the village. They were down in a gully trying to sneak through our position. When they were about 50 meters away we fired," said the Argyle, N.Y., native.
One of the guerrillas was killed immediately and the other wounded in the arm and shoulder. "When we picked him up," Coates continued, "he was yelling 'No VC. No VC!' but he had a carbine slung over his shoulder and 13 magazines of ammunition on his belt."
|Tank of 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., moves along Highway 1. (Photo by SP4 Jack Mraz)|
Bde. Cmdr. Leads Fight From Above
Thirty-four Viet Cong were killed, a 57mm recoilless rifle was captured, and several small arms and the barrel-carrier group of a Soviet heavy machinegun were taken as the result of an immediate reaction aerial assault by elements of the 25th Inf. Div.'s 2nd Bde.
The battle that resulted raged until midnight southwest of the division's Cu Chi base camp.
The multi-battalion force was airlifted into the area west of the Oriental River in response to an urgent request for assistance by a Civilian Irregular Defense Group company that had been heavily engaged by an estimated Viet Cong company.
COL Marvin D. Fuller, 2nd Bde. commander, orbiting over the battle area ordered the 1st and 2nd Bn "Wolfhounds" into the fight despite the lack of immediately available artillery support. The two units had been on a search and destroy mission across the Oriental River approximately 10 miles away.
Covered by heavily armed gunship helicopters, the 1st Bn. was heli-lifted into place behind the enemy. The unit received heavy fire as they scrambled off the ships and made immediate contact with the estimated 100 Viet Cong. The battalion, directed on the ground by its commander LTC Harvey H. Perritt, swept ahead into the hedgerow that hid the VC force. They killed 13 while taking six wounded. The remaining VC fled to the north.
"It looked as if the Viet Cong were about to flank the CIDG unit," said Fuller, "the attack by the 1st Bn. caught the VC in the middle."
As the Viet Cong fled to the north Fuller ordered his own helicopter to engage the enemy. The command ship accounted for three enemy while other gunships killed three more.
Meanwhile, the 2nd Bn. was heli-lifted into a blocking position to the north and immediately began sweeping toward the fleeing Viet Cong. In fighting that lasted until midnight 15 VC were detained. Large amounts of ammunition, medical supplies, and 35 pounds of documents were also taken.
"Spooky" flareships lit the area throughout the night as the fighting continued. Medevac helicopters withdrawing American wounded and resupply ships bringing food and ammunition took enemy ground fire.
"The heavy weapons captured indicated that this was a major Viet Cong unit," said Fuller.
The area of the battle was the site of extensive sweeps by the brigade nearly one month ago as part of Operation "Waialua." Contact with the enemy during the operation was light.
The brigade is taking part in the 25th Inf. Div. monsoon campaign, aimed at destroying Viet Cong forces in the Hau Nghia Province area and restoring government control and road systems.
|Two helicopters being used by 2nd Bde. for aerial assaults take off at the start of the mission.|
1st Brigade 'Cleans Up' On Manhattan
"I do not think the Viet Cong will be able to go back into the area which was once a haven for them. They had put many man years of work into the construction of the trap doors, concrete fortifications and tunnels.
"They had a highly developed perimeter defense which was impossible to spot from the air under the triple canopy of the jungle." So said COL Francis S. Conaty Jr., commander of the 25th Inf. "Tropic Lightning" Div.'s 1st Bde., summarizing the impact of Operation "Manhattan".
The 4th Bn, 9th Inf., 2nd Bn, 14th Inf. and the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf. (Mech), combined to capture 500,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. They killed 33 of the enemy. They captured 125 individual weapons and 12 machine guns.
Some 550 mortar rounds were found and destroyed. Other ammunition captured included 29 bombs, 31 claymore mines, 100 anti-personnel mines, 33 anti-tank mines, 298 hand grenades and 133 rifle grenades and 3191 pounds of explosives.
Fortifications destroyed were 160 tunnels, 574 bunkers, 3870 trenches and 157 foxholes. Generators, radios, batteries, bicycles, telephones and thousands of pounds of clothing and food were found.
"The rifleman must be given tremendous credit, and we also had terrific artillery and aerial support," said Conaty.
Word of Advice By CG
During the first few months of command, I have had an opportunity to meet only a few of you. As each day goes by I meet many more fine soldiers, and I am impressed by your performance of duty. Keep up the good work!
From time to time there will be matters of importance to all of us which I will discuss with you by letter in this paper to be sure everyone "gets the word" and understands my concern.
Intermingled with our operational successes of the past few weeks have been some tragic accidents which are a result of inexcusable carelessness. Four men have been killed and twenty-one men wounded as a result of accidentally discharged weapons since March 7, 1967. The tragedy of all this lies in that "we all know better." Improper inspections, unsafe cleaning practices, and failure to practice basic safety precautions have placed this blemish upon our superb record. The man lost as a result of an accidentally discharged weapon is just as effectively eliminated from the rolls as one killed by the enemy. I realize that such accidents are a shock to the responsible soldier; yet I must emphasize to you as strongly as I can that each such incident is a particularly serious matter and can result in severe punishment of the soldier concerned. Everyone of us must realize the seriousness of such careless acts.
Carelessness is not a soldierly habit and certainly not one which anyone in any walk of life dares to cultivate. Elimination of this accident blemish must be a personal program. Each one of us must make every effort to improve his own safety consciousness as well as that of those around us or under our supervision. If we all take that extra moment to be 100 per cent certain, I am confident that we can defeat this enemy "carelessness" as ably as we can the VC.
JOHN C. F. TILLSON III
Major General, USA
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
1SG Elbert A. Martin, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor
SP4 Gary A. Bower, Co. A, 3rd Bn., 21st Inf.
|SP4 George Lillienthal, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.|
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
CPT Francis X. Delvy, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
CPT Wilfried H. Dast, Co. B, 25th Avn. Bn.
CPT Charles A. Phipps, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
CWO Archie P. Fremen, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
|CWO Roy J. Molick, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
CWO John H. Calloway, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
CWO Robert G. James, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
WO1 Mark A. Lindamood, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
MAJ Arno L. Ponder Jr., HHC, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
1LT James S. Conley Jr., Btry. A, 2nd Bn:, 77th Arty.
1LT Dale R. Crafton, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
1LT George N. Dorn Jr., Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor.
1LT Joseph M. Lingle Jr., Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
1LT James D. Montavon, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
1LT Grant Yee, Trp. A, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SSG Karoly L. Denes, Co. A, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf.
SSG Chris Y. Garcia, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor
SSG Miguel S. Garcia, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor.
SSG Arthur W. Grace Jr., Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty
SSG Richard L. Massie Jr., Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
SGT James W. Evans, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SGT David A. Stover, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
CPL Carl Besson, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
CPL William T. Garner, Btry. C, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
CPL Thomas E. Hill, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Francisco R. Arvizu, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor
SP4 Charles J. Bivona, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
|SP4 George F. Bresson, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Amilcar C. Cerejo, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Israel R. Cisneros, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Atry.
SP4 Ovie B. Clark, Btry. C, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Eric N. Espino, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor.
SP4 Charles Grodes, HHC. 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP4 Willis E. Headen Jr., Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty,
SP4 Robert M. Hill, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
SP4 Richard M. Lane, HHC, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor.
SP4 Robert H. Melgareio, Btry. C, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Russell A. Russo, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
SP4 Oliver B. Suttles, Co. A, Bn., 9th Inf.
SP4 Joseph Vierra. Co. C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor.
PFC Robert A. Choauette, Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
PFC Dennis R. Graham. Btry. B, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
PFC Larry Harrison. HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
PFC Edward R. Malinowski, HH&S, Btry., 2nd Bn., 7th Arty.
PFC Jerry R. Miller. Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Harvard H. Walker Jr., Btry. A, 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
AIR MEDAL (VALOR)
MAJ Michael J. Kubas, HHC, 1st Bde., 25th Inf. Div.
CPT Adolfo Eschenwald Jr., Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
CPT Joseph V. Johnson Jr., Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
CPT William Wilde, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
1LT Clarence C. Buxton III, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav.
1LT Bainbridge Cowell, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
1LT Richard W. Prillaman, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
WO1 Donald J. Scholz, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP6 Heinrich G. Harring Jr., 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
SP5 Kenneth P. Holmes, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP5 Joseph A. Marsh, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP5 Robert N. Van Horn, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP4 Wayne A. Humphrey, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
SP4 Jimmie R. Rhinehart, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
SP4 Jerald D. Spurlin, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
SP4 Clifford L. Weaver, 147th Aslt. Hel. Co.
PFC Gerald T. Crawford, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Walter P. Hand, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Leland R. Stewart, Co. A, 25th Avn. Bn.
PFC James M. Vaughn, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
Praise From Our CG
Millions of words have been written and spoken in praise of the thousands of American fighting men engaged in the bitter struggle to safeguard the cause of freedom against communist aggression in the Republic of Vietnam.
The most eloquent praise a fighting man can receive is that which comes from his commander because there is a kinship that exists between them based upon mutual respect and confidence strengthened by the ordeals of combat.
GEN William C. Westmoreland, commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, had this to say about the American forces here:
"Who are these men? They are mostly youngsters representing every State of the Union from the farms, the cities, the factories and the campuses. They are the sound product of America's democratic society. They are the sum of our educational system, our medical science and our communications.
"Their excellent morale results from knowledge of their jobs, sound military policies, professional unit leadership and unprecedented material support. Their medical care is superb, their food is excellent and their mail is carefully handled. Shortages have been few and of short duration.
"As an individual, the fighting man I command is a tough, determined professional in battle one day, and (the) next day, a sensitive, compassionate friend helping the Vietnamese people. He is a fighter, a thinker, and a doer. He has seen at first hand Communist subversion and aggression at work; he has acquired a deeper appreciation of the importance of freedom. And from his ranks in the years ahead will come the confident, alert, intelligent citizens and leaders who will make this nation's future greater than its past.
"With fighting forces like these, a commander cannot help but look forward with confidence as he views the military situation."
Speedster Chopper Unveiled
Army's "Cheyenne" AH-56A, a radically new winged combat rotorcraft, was unveiled on schedule at a rollout May 3 in the Van Nuys plant, Lockheed-California Company, as the first of 10 prototypes the firm is building for the Aviation Materiel Command.
Cheyenne, according to DOD announcement, is designed for a top speed exceeding 250 miles per hour, nearly twice that of current combat helicopters in Vietnam. It will escort troop-carrying helicopters and be used to direct fire support missions.
The heavily armed, agile aircraft will be able to dash suddenly from its convoy to hover and fire on a surprise target and then return to its escort position.
It will be able to make a complete turn in a radius far less than present combat helicopters and in less time. The large bubble canopy gives the two-man crew wide visibility. The crew is protected by armor plate.
The crew can ferry the unloaded aircraft across the United States nonstop. It can be ferried across the Pacific Ocean from Calif., with fueling stops at Hawaii and Guam.
AH-56A is one of the first major weapons systems originated under DOD's contract definition concept.
Allowances To Be Upped
A nine per cent increase in Quarters and Subsistence allowances for some 270,000 lower grade enlisted men, E-1 through E-4 with less than four years service, with an estimated annual price tag of $20.1 million, is now before Congress in two pieces of legislation.
The 1967 military pay raise bill calls for increasing the current $55.20 monthly rate of zero or one dependent to $60 and the $83.10 rate for two dependents to $90. The current $105 BAQ for more than two dependents would remain unchanged.
Legislation to extend Selective Service another four years proposes a continuation of current lower grade BAQ allowances for family assistance, as married men are now being drafted. The increase itself is in the pay bill and is based on the actual increase in cost of housing since rates were set in 1963.
New WO Ranks Refused by DOD
Defense will not approve the Army's proposal to establish two new warrant officer grades, CWO-5 and CWO-6. The Army has been seeking ways to improve the career possibilities of warrants.
The Army proposal to create the new pay grades (each bring about $50 more a month in basic pay) would have affected all of the services because new grades normally can't be established for a single service.
Defense views the Army's pilot problems sympathetically but does not see changing the pay and promotion structure merely to solve the pilot situation.
It is studying other methods to help the services recruit and retain aviators.
25th Top Division On Re-ups in VN
According to a report from Hq USARV, the 25th Inf. Div. tops all in-country Divisions for reenlistments from Nov. 1, 1966 thru Mar. 31 1967, with 338.
In second place was the 1st Cav. Div. with 303 re-ups.
The 25th also took first honors in number of 'US' personnel reenlisted with 37. Second went to 1st Cav. with 30.
The 1st Cav. took first in 'RA-1st termers' with 97, followed by the 25th, with 78.
NCOs of 2/12 Get New Club
DAU TIENG - May Day of 1967 marked the official opening of the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf.'s NCO Club. LTC Joe F. Elliott, battalion commander, and some 20 non-commissioned officers representing the units within the battalion, cut the ribbon stretched across the club's main entrance.
New Coat To Be Issued
The new Army Green 44 overcoat will become a standard clothing item for Active Army enlisted men entering the service on or after next July 1.
According to a DA Message, all EM entering the Army prior to that date will be authorized the current Olive Green 107 overcoat as an organizational item, not a standard item, until July 1, 1970. At that time, the AG 44 becomes mandatory wear for all enlisted personnel.
Those entering the service prior to next July may buy the new coat at their option.
As a general rule, the new overcoat will not be issued until the individual completes AIT.
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 John C. F. Tillson III . . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
CPT John P. Fortner . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . NCOIC
SP4 John R. Dittmann . . . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Nicholas V. Polletta . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
'Manchus' Help Rural Vietnam
Pacification is the current mission of the 4th Bn., 9th Inf., "Manchu." This 25th Inf. "Tropic Lightning" Div. unit has named its current Operation "Farmingdale II" and for a very good reason. A while back they were "adopted" by the people of Farmingdale, N.Y., who have since formed the "Vietnam Assistance Committee" (VAC).
The VAC is now working in partnership with the "Manchu" battalion as they attempt to win the confidence of the rural Vietnamese living in the small villages along the road between Trang Bang and the Boi Loi Woods, about 60 kms northeast of Saigon. The American infantrymen are passing on clothing and medical supplies which the people of Farmingdale have sent over.
Confidence of Chief
Still in the initial stage of the mission the battalion has already seen signs of success. Recently a village chief came to the "Manchu" field camp early in the morning to report that terrorists had been in his village during the night stealing food and collecting "taxes." The fact that he was sufficiently confident in the ability of the Americans to assist him, and that he risked his life by reporting the terrorist activities to them, proves that the battalion has already partially accomplished its goal in the area.
The "Manchu" are striving to provide both day and night security for the villagers they come in contact with during daytime pacification work. The existing Government of Vietnam resistance forces are also being aided by the 4th Bn.
The main road running through the pacification project area has been closed due to Viet Cong mining for the past several years. The Americans have now replaced two bridges that had been destroyed by the VC and have cleared mines from it making it possible for the villagers to communicate more easily with the nearby village of Trang Bang. Twenty mines were removed from one short stretch of the road. Two were located thanks to the help of villagers who responded to the message of leaflets which asked that the location of any mines or booby traps be reported.
The "Manchus" are adapting themselves quite well to the difficult task of fighting the Viet Cong by night and winning friends during the day. The support of the people back home as it is concretely displayed by the efforts of the Vietnam Assistance Committee makes the task a little less difficult.
|HOSS HEADED HOME - Horace "Hoss" Drew, Red Cross field director for the 25th Inf. Div. receives a Certificate of Appreciation from MG John C.F. Tillson III. Drew is on his way to reassignment at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y. (Photo by SP4 Collins)|
Steinbeck's New Technique
The creative imagination that enables an author to write prize-winning novels can also develop new ideas for the military in Vietnam. Take John Steinbeck and his magnets as a case in point.
In January of this year Steinbeck was invited by Everett Martin of NEWSWEEK to go along on a visit to Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf. "Manchus", who were then engaged in a particularly interesting pacification effort, Operation "Fairfax," in the northern part of the Mekong Delta.
Watching a squad of troops wade through the slime and ooze of an evil-smelling paddy in search of hidden arms, the author suggested that magnets might prove equally efficient in locating weapons concealed in the patchwork of paddies and deep wells which dot the Delta country.
Moreover, by attaching the magnets to long poles the rifleman might be spared the unpleasant task of wallowing waist-deep in water and muck, with the associated risks of detonating underwater booby traps with his feet or stepping on submerged punji stakes.
The Manchu battalion commander, LTC Robert A. Hyatt, of Fairfax, Va., commented that the idea certainly had merit but he knew of no source of magnets both light enough to be carried conveniently and powerful enough to do the job. Steinbeck promised to do what he could to find some.
Subsequently the author mentioned his conversation with Hyatt in his nationally-syndicated newspaper column, and letters came to the battalion from well-wishers from Florida to California.
Meanwhile, the Manchus had gone on to Operations "Gadsden" and "Makalapa," and were preparing to take part in Operation "Manhattan." But Steinbeck had not given up. Shortly after the battalion plunged into the Boi Loi Woods on Manhattan, Everett Martin paid a return visit, bringing with him a gift from the famous novelist: five 5 pound magnets of watch-wrecking capacity, any one of them powerful enough to snatch a rifle right off the ground.
Aid For Animals
DAU TIENG - The village of Dau Tieng located outside the perimeter of Camp Rainier, the home of the 4th Div.'s, 3rd Bde. has been 'the host to a very unusual MEDCAP. The medical assistance wasn't available for the people but it was being given to their animals which are treasured almost as highly as human life.
Coming from all surrounding villages the people brought their sick livestock and pets to the medical team. The variety of animals ranged from small dogs to huge water buffalo, yet all received the same amount of care. The majority of the vaccinations were given to pet dogs to prevent rabies which is common in every hot country.
The three-man team, two Americans and one Vietnamese, worked all day caring for the animals and giving advice on how to care for the different diseases without professional help. The veterinarians supplied by the Army were mainly advisors for Nguyan Van Luong who will carry on the work after they leave.
CPT Thomas A. Dees, 4th Med. Det., spoke highly of the people's readiness to have their animals cared for. "The people are anxious to have their animals well." SP5 Fred E. Stannard, 44th Med. Bde., spoke of their Vietnamese counterpart with the respect of one doctor for another. "He is dedicated, careful, intelligent and gentle which is a combination that is impossible to beat."
R&R Saves An 'Ivyman' From Death
DAU TIENG - An Ivyman from the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., was soaking up the sun and relaxation of Hawaii with his wife while on R&R, but if he had been at the Dau Tieng base camp he would most certainly have been killed.
SP5 Grady E. Payne of Seattle, returned to the 4th Inf. Div. to find that a Viet Cong had planted two satchel charges on the aviation hangar and had blown a three by three foot hole through the cement and brick building. Payne's cot was situated in front of the blast and was completely covered with debris from the blast.
"I'm glad I was on R&R," the 22 year old crew chief said quietly, "or right now I'd be a number."
War Dead Are Honored
DAU TIENG = "On behalf of the officers and men of the 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf., we present this memorial to be dedicated to the memory of those men of the 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf. who gave their lives in the Republic of Vietnam in the defense of freedom."
As CPT Fred J. Spencer, adjutant of the 3/22 Inf., finished his dedication a white curtain was pulled unveiling a memorial to the men of the battalion who made the supreme sacrifice.
LTC James E. Hilmar, commanding officer of the battalion, accepted the memorial with these words, "We accept this gift as a sacred trust, and shall guard it reverently, in honor of the faithful and devoted lives in whose memory it is given."
The memorial contains the names of the operations in which each man died fighting. Above the names is a large wooden eagle containing the crest of the 22nd Inf. on a blue background. The scroll underneath contains the 22nd Inf. motto, "Deeds not Words."
Base Camp Appearance Improved
Several large base camp construction projects have been started by Co. B, 544th Engr. Bn. (Construction), at the 25th Inf. Div., according to 1LT Roger Baker, company construction officer.
The largest of the new projects, according to Baker, is the up-grading of the airfield by resurfacing the runway with aluminum mats. "The new surface will provide a more durable and smoother surface needed for Air Force aircraft such as the Caribou and C-123," he added.
At the same time work was started on the 12th Evac. Hosp. New nurses quarters and recreation hall, sidewalks and mess facilities are being added to the hospital complex. Improving the hospital water system is also on the work schedule.
25th Div. Commended
LG Bruce Palmer will become a deputy of GEN William C. Westmoreland, MACV commander. As he left II Field Force he wrote this message.
"As I take leave of II FFV, I wish to commend the 'Tropic Lightning' division for its truly great performance of duty in combat. The 25th Infantry Division has led the way carrying the fight to the enemy whether it was in the depths of the jungle, in War Zone C, in the delta country of Hau Nghia, or in the pineapple plantations.
"You have added new laurels to an already long, proud record of many old and distant battlefields and have faithfully lived up to its traditions. Please pass on to your officers and men my personal admiration for their devotion to duty. I wish you all God speed and good luck."
|ALPHA'S ALPHY - The Bobcat monster leers at CPT William H. Pelfrey (right), CO, and 1LT David Becerra, XO of Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf. "We figure "Alphy" will strike at least as much fear into VC hearts as the "Hounds" in the 2nd Bde.," said Pelfrey. (Photo by 2LT Marlowe Haakenson)|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
3rd Bde., 25th Infantry Division = 1 Year
DUC PHO - On May 10 the 3rd Bde., 25th Inf. Div. completed its 365th
consecutive day of combat operations. In 12 months the Bronco Bde., which has the motto "None Better," has never
left the field of combat.
They have sloshed through rice paddies, climbed forested, precipitous mountains, waded rivers and endured torrential rain, mosquitoes, rotor-blasted dust, monsoon mud and unbearable heat over the past 52 weeks.
Since May 10, 1966, they have participated in 129 battalion-size and 16 brigade-size assaults. They have fought the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong in seven different operations ranging from Kontum to Darlac on the Cambodian Border and from Qui Nhon to Duc Pho on the South China Sea.
They have battled in the swampy, densely vegetated Ia Drang Valley, in the triple-canopied, virgin forests north of Plei Djereng, where sunlight never reaches the forest floor and on the sands of the hot South China Sea coast.
They have waded through rice paddies from Qui Nhon to Duc Pho and repeatedly searched caves in the mountains, sniper holes and trenches in the villages along the way.
Before Operation "Baker" began on April 22, the Bronco Bde. had rid Vietnam of 2196 North Vietnamese Army regulars and Viet Cong by confirmed body count and captured 1437 of their weapons for one of the best weapon-to-body count records in Vietnam. Since the beginning of Operation Baker they have added another 234 enemy killed in action to their already impressive record.
From May to October - except for a three week period in August - they were the only U.S. force between five North Vietnamese Army regiments and their objectives around Pleiku. They made numerous contacts with enemy units of battalion size or larger in that four month period of "Paul Revere," each time sending the NVA scurrying west to escape.
In October, while still on Revere, the brigade displaced north to Plei Djereng where the NVA were reported to be massing in the mountains. Five times the brigade made contact with enemy battalions. Twice they overran NVA regimental base camps, earning the highest weapons captured count to confirmed body count recorded as of that time.
Two hundred and thirty days and 1466 dead NVA later Paul Revere came to a close, concluding the longest single operation in U.S. Army history.
The brigade started the new year in a new area of operation.
Without returning to base camp for a rest or standdown, the 3rd Bde. of the "Tropic Lightning" Div. moved over 100 miles on Highways 19 and 1 to Phu Cat leaving one battalion still fighting in Pleiku Province. There the brigade joined the 1st Cav. Div. (Airmobile) on Operation "Thayer II" to force the NVA out of the rich coastal ricelands.
By constant patrolling they sufficiently agitated the Viet Cong so that the enemy had to focus his efforts on staying alive. The enemy lost the offensive and his operation deteriorated.
In addition, the Bronco Bde. located the Communist Binh Dinh provincial headquarters, seizing NVA weapons, ammunition, flags, hospital administrative supplies and large amounts of documents that proved highly useful intelligence sources.
In February, the 3rd Bde. Task Force attacked north and Operation "Pershing" began, a continuance of the same programs in another more vital, more strongly VC-held area. Especially in the Crescent Valley, an area rich in rice and salt, the enemy was reluctant to leave. He attacked in battalion strength at the Village of Hoa Tan, but scurried into the mountains the next morning leaving 81 dead comrades, numerous machine guns, anti-tank rocket launchers and rifles behind.
On April 19 the brigade massed an air and sea lift and jumped deep into Viet Cong territory. They landed at Duc Pho and began operations immediately, this time on Operation "Le Juene."
The commanding general of the 1st Cav. Div. attested to the 3rd Bde.'s effectiveness in a message which read in part:
"Through the inspiring leadership of its officers and non-commissioned officers, and the resolute determination of its courageous soldiers, the 3rd Bde., 25th Div. has received laurels not normally awarded units of this size and has clearly merited the retention of its motto, 'None Better'."
Still on Operation Baker, the brigade is now part of the multi-brigade Task Force Oregon.
This brigade of the 25th Inf. Div. is unique in Vietnam. It fought as a separate brigade under the operational control of I Field Forces, the 4th Inf. Div., 1st Cav. Div. and Task Force Oregon but never under the 25th Div.
Its overall reenlistment rate of 54 per cent for April tops any other in Vietnam. Also from January thru April, 100 per cent of the Bde.'s Regular Army personnel eligible for reenlistment have reenlisted and stayed in Vietnam to fight with the unit.
Throughout the previous operations in which the 3rd Bde. Task Force has participated over the past year, they have maintained one of the best enemy-to-friendly loss ratios of any unit in Vietnam.
COL James G. Shanahan, the brigade commander, and a veteran of three wars, who was with the 25th Div. as a platoon leader and a company commander during World War II, and a battalion commander in the Korean War, believes the last year has been a profitable one for his brigade.
"We've fought and defeated the enemy throughout the highlands and for 150 miles along the South China Sea. I think the situation has vastly improved, partially because of the brigade's gallant efforts. We have proven to ourselves everyday for the last 365 that we can defeat the enemy in battle and it appears we may be convincing him of that fact also.
"Vietnam has been saved from the NVA. The enemy seems to be fighting a retrograde action with an occasional well planned but desperate attempt to regain lost control.
"The job has just begun, but the threat is diminished. The tide has turned and there is no longer the question, 'Will South Vietnam be free?' but rather the question is, 'When?'."
|SEARCHING EYES - A patrol from Co. A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf., recons an area near an NVA rest camp in Pleiku province during Operation "Paul Revere III" (Photo by SP4 Dale Sutphin)|
|OUT AND AT 'EM - A machine-gunner in Co. C, 1st Bn., 35th Inf., heads for fortifications as his helicopter is setting down during a combat assault. The action took place during a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh province. (Photo by SP4 John Rolfe)|
|OUT ON PATROL - Men of Co. C, 1st Bn., 35th Inf., keep a watchful eye on Operation "Pershing" in an area where 81 NVA soldiers were killed the day before. (Photo by PFC Robert Metz)|
|COMIN' DOWN - A Vietnamese youngster picks a coconut for his buddy in the recon platoon, 1st Bn., 35th Inf. The two became friends during Operation "Pershing" when the men were near Van Thiet. (Photo by PFC Eric Schmidt)|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
2nd Brigade 'Menehunes' Always On The Job
By 1LT A. R. Karel
Wiggle into the seat, strap yourself in, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime, your first ride in a Menehune (pronounced mina-hoony).
It's not a jet, but rather one of the tiny light observation helicopters of the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Aviation Section.
"It's the closest thing to skydiving I can think of," says WO James M. Riley, one of the section's four pilots. Unlike the HU1D "Huey" and the mammoth CH-47 "Chinook," the only thing that surrounds you in the small chopper is air and plexiglas.
"The vision is fabulous," says Riley, "which makes it a perfect ship for command and control or observation."
The helicopters of the Menehune fleet are used for just that. Each of the battalion commanders in the Brigade has one of the ships generally available for controlling his troops.
"Sometimes all it takes is a good look at the terrain from a few hundred feet up to clear up a confusing tactical situation," said MAJ William Priest, Brigade Aviation Officer, and a pilot himself.
"When the commander must get down with his troops on the ground, the Menehune fills the bill," said WO Riley. "The ship can get into areas far too small for a larger helicopter."
How small an area the ship can enter depends on many things including winds, and oddly enough, temperature.
When the air is very hot, as it often gets in Vietnam, it thins out a very little, but just enough that the rotor blades don't have as much to dig into. A load that could easily be carried in the morning might be too heavy is late afternoon.
Flying the ship under these conditions is difficult, but so is everyday normal flying. Unlike a standard fixed wing aircraft where control can be relaxed, a helicopter demands constant attention to the controls.
"One hour of helicopter flying, especially in a light one like a Menehune, is as tiring as three hours on the ground," said Riley. Second Brigade pilots often fly eight or more hours a day.
But they are well prepared for combat flying. Like all Army pilots, they have trained for nine months at Fort Wolter, Tex., and Ft. Rucker, Ala., before becoming qualified. Many of the men of the section had flown on previous assignments before coming to Vietnam.
The ships they fly must be as good as the pilots and this is the job of the enlisted Menehunes. "Three hours of maintenance for every hour in the air is the general rule," said Section Chief, SSG James R. Wade, "The lights in the maintenance section often burn all night."
These men, like the pilots, have been extensively trained for their jobs. "The light helicopter course at Ft. Rucker is ten weeks of tough training that makes the mechanic familiar with every square inch of the ship," said Wade.
Both officers and enlisted men of the section wear the distinctive red pocket patch of the Menehune. Embroidered on it is the symbol of 2nd Brigade Aviation, the tiny Hawaiian elf.
"He's got everything an Irish leprechaun has and more," said MAJ Priest. "He's our good luck guy."
Menehune luck must work. The ships have flown through ground fire on every operation they've been in, and been shot down several times in the year and one half that they've been in Vietnam, but no Menehune pilot has ever been seriously hurt.
Towers Watch Over Base Camp
By SP4 Terry Richard
It starts with a difficult climb up 28 steps and ends 48 hours later at the bottom of those same stairs. Perimeter tower guard is a unique job. Physically it isn't as hard as the job the infantryman has, but it does have its aspects that make it anything but easy.
PFC Eduardo Barrera was standing by the "Old Lady," a .50 caliber machinegun, his arm draped over the barrel. Barrera is from Redlands, Calif., and a member of the 4.2 inch mortar platoon, HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds."
This man, only 20 years old, has the responsibility of guarding all the men and equipment in the 25th Inf. Div. base camp at Cu Chi. He sits in a wooden tower 40 feet above the ground. He can see a long way past the perimeter, but he is also a stand-out target up there.
Sitting on his air mattress, SP4 James M. Nichols of Reading, Mich., cleans one of the M-16 rifles in the tower. Nichols is the oldest man in the tower. He is 22.
"It's about time to give the battalion TOC (Tactical Operations Control) our sit. rep. (situation report)," comments Nichols.
The third man in the tower, PVT William S. Hairston of Winston-Salem, N.C., picks up the phone and rings the TOC, "Sitrep no change."
These three men have communications with other men on the perimeter, the battalion and the division TOC. If "Charlie" ever did try to break through the perimeter the entire division could be alerted in minutes.
The next ten minutes are quiet. Nothing is said. Often this is the case in the tower. According to Barrera, "Sometimes you run out of things to say. Nobody talks then. Forty-eight hours is a long time for three men to be together in a small room."
It takes a man with an extremely casual temperament to be able to live in a 10 by 12 foot area for 48 hours with two other men. These three men have books and crossword puzzles to keep them busy. They have 24 hours off and each man eagerly looks for things to talk about when he goes back for the next 48 hours.
As the sun goes down, eyes become adjusted to the darkness. On cloudy nights it is almost impossible to see more than 25 or 30 meters without the aid of scientific devices. When a tower guard peers through one of the three instruments located in the tower the ability of his eyes to penetrate the darkness is increased 20 times.
The tower-men have at their disposal two starlighters. One small one and a large one for penetration up to 500 meters. An infrared spotlight is always in the area and is utilized with special binoculars in the tower. Many a night, especially during Operation "Manhattan," the men have watched firefights in the Boi Loi Woods, some 15 kms to the northeast.
Every man in the towers on the perimeter is capable of plotting and calling in mortar and artillery fire.
On maps on the front wall of the tower are drawn in the areas of responsibility and fire. Areas that are suspected to be possible routes of VC movement are marked in also.
As minds dull from the many hours in the tower, Nichols checks the positions of ambush patrols on a plot board to make sure he knows where they are.
Suddenly the silence is broken as one of the men whispers, "I got it. I got it." Quizzical looks are directed at him. He answers them with, "I got the prize in the crackerjack box." The tension that has built up over the past 40 hours slacks off. Only eight hours to go.
Very rarely does the enemy attempt to get through the wire. Hairston joked while patting the .50, "If Charlie does get to the wire that's all right, cause this Old Lady will convince him to di di mau."
Finally the rope that drops from the trap door is pulled taut. The door is opened and someone below yells, "Come on down. New crew comin' up."
SSG Gets 3rd In-Country Promotion
SSG James J. O'Neil of HHC 588th Engr. Bn. was recently promoted to his present rank during ceremonies at the battalion's forward command post in the Boi Loi Woods while on Operation "Manhattan."
The event marked the third in-country promotion for O'Neil who has served in Vietnam for 19 consecutive months.
Initially assigned to Co. A of the 588th in September of 1965, he has had the opportunity to acquire nearly all the complex "combat engineering" skills during his 19 month tour.
At 22, SGT O'Neil is assigned to the battalion intelligence section as recon sergeant.
New Boss For Red Cross
Miss Laurae Fortner of Denver has recently become the new director of the 25th Inf. Div. Red Cross Clubmobile. Laurae is replacing Joan McKniff of Boston who has taken a new position with the 11th Armd. Cav. at Long Giau.
The "Tropic Lighting" Red Cross unit, founded in August of last year, is presently composed of eight young ladies: Chris Campell of Clairmount, Calif.; Marian Gibbs of Las Vegas, N.M.; Ellen Felman of Highland Park, Ill.; Marietta Ginocchio of Cincinatti; Deirdre O'Brian of the Bronx, N.Y.; Mary Peshek of Scottsbluff, Neb.; and Dotty Kojala of Pittsburgh, Pa.
|THE NAME IS THE SAME = Miss Laurae Fortner of Sterling, Colo., serves coffee to CPT John Fortner of Bloomington, Ill., (left) and SP4 Harold Fortner of Oakland, Calif., at her first Coffee Call since becoming Red Cross Clubmobile Director with the 25th Inf. Div. (Photo by SP4 Rich Calvo)|
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
AP Carriers Roll In, Bring Aid To Sieged Squad
DAU TIENG - A squad-size outpost of the 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav., was saved from annihilation recently when two tanks and an APC of the troops reaction force came to the rescue as the road guards sustained nine casualties.
Late in the evening, an RPG-2 anti-tank round smashed into one of the two APC's at the small outpost six miles southwest of Dau Tieng on the. 3rd Bde., 4th Div.'s main supply road. The blast injured four men in and around the track.
"I was the only man in the track who wasn't hurt and so I got to the radio, called for help, and then started firing the 'fifty,"' said SP4 Ronnie L. Gros of East St. Louis, Ill.
Right after the first RPG, four more were fired into the outpost and an estimated 15 Viet Cong across the road opened up with automatic weapons and small arms fire. Five minutes later, mortar rounds came smashing into the area from the rear.
In response to Gros' call, 1LT Dean H. Guynes of Hazlehurst, Miss., 1st platoon leader, moved out two M-48 tanks and an APC from the main camp a mile from the squad and pushed down the road.
"Just as we got there, the mortars started coming in," Guynes said. "We had a searchlight on one of the tanks but the smoke was pretty thick and we couldn't tell exactly where our troops were."
Jumping off his tank, Guynes yelled to SP4 Richard M. Trovato of Rochester, N.Y., to follow him up the other tracks. They ran 300 feet up to the outpost where Guynes first called his tanks by radio, and Trovato started to help the wounded.
"We had gone about 50 feet when a mortar round exploded between us," related Guynes. "I called back to him 'Are you there' - 'Yes, sir!' - 'Are you hurt?'-'No, sir!'
Guynes then directed his tanks to open up on the VC on the north side of the road with high explosive, while he peppered the area with the 50 caliber machinegun.
"We turned the big gun around, fired a few rounds and the VC stopped firing," commented Guynes. "Just like blowing out a match."
The next morning a search of the area revealed a pair of sandals, forgotten ammunition and several blood trails leading into the jungle.
|MOBILE PX - With his helmet covered by the "necessities" of jungle living, a 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf., trooper wades across a stream in central War Zone C. The 3rd Bde., 4th Div., troopers were on search and destroy operations near the Saigon River. (Photo by 1LT Ralph Campbell)|
Signal Maint. Busy Place
DAU TIENG - The men of the signal section, Co. B, 704th Maint. Bn., 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., keep the brigade supplied with one of its most vital elements . . . signal equipment maintenance support.
"Communication is just as important on a combat mission as the weapons used and a great deal of the time there can be no mission without radios," said SP5 Francis Hunsaker, head of the signal section.
The section's mission is to inspect and repair everything from a RT 524 radio to teletype machines.
The eleven men of the section have all been specially school trained at their different specialties and have a complete knowledge of their job.
Since their arrival in October, they have received and completed more than 2100 job orders. The section receives about 125 pieces of equipment each week. This variety of equipment includes radio transmitters and receivers, teletype machines, field telephones, switchboards and even mine detectors. The section has also helped out the base chapel by working on its loudspeaker system.
The section also prides itself in being able to move. If any of the brigade's units need signal support, the section is in their trucks and on their way. This type of support is necessary in the field, where properly functioning equipment is vital. Many times the men find themselves working for units other than the 3rd Bde.
Commenting on the training and knowledge acquired here in Vietnam, senior radio repairman, SP4 Walter Lamberson said, "When we first arrived here we were greatly understaffed and many times found ourselves working deep into the night trying to get equipment out to the men in the field who needed it, but by doing this we soon learned how to trouble shoot equipment faster and what parts went bad most frequently.
With the different equipment constantly being brought in, the men never really stop learning. And their knowledge of their job is appreciated most by the men who use signal equipment.
'Ivymen' Leap-frog Saigon River
DAU TIENG - Heavily armed river assault group (RAG) boats and the Ivymen of the 3rd Bde., 4th Div., kept the VC along the Saigon River on the move during Operation "Manhattan" south of Dau Tieng.
In a search of the river bank, four sunken sampans and several large bunkers were located and destroyed.
The twelve RAG boats, each equipped with 40mm cannons, and .30 and .50 caliber machine guns "leap-frogged" down the river carrying the troops of Co. A, 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf., on a thorough search of the river bank.
Each platoon was designated to search a particular area which eventually linked them with a second platoon. When one area was "secured," they would load back onto the boats and move down river.
Once a bunker complex is found, it is destroyed and marked for future operations.
Co. A and RAG boats don't really want to deny "Charlie" the use of the Saigon River. Anytime the VC want to ride up and down the river they can because the RAG boats will be glad to see them. The River Assault Group boats have a unique air conditioning device for the VC boats which works on the same principal that Co. A uses on the occupants.
Sharp SP4 Given Pass For Action
DAU TIENG - In a move of the 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., in conjunction with Operation "Manhattan," SP4 Robert L. Smith, as point man for Co. A, heard rustling noises to his front. Without hesitation he pumped several rounds into the area from which the noise came.
The battalion picked up to move out and had gone no more than twenty five meters when they discovered a dead Viet Cong complete with AK-47 and full web gear.
For his undivided attention to duty Smith was awarded a three day pass to Vung Tau by his company commander.
COL Visits Men In Cu Chi Hosp.
DAU TIENG - The new commanding officer of the 3rd Bn., 22nd Inf. 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., LTC James E. Hilmar visited with the wounded men of his battalion at the 12th Evac. Hosp. at Cu Chi.
Colonel Hilmar talked with SSG Horace Harvey who was wounded in the leg during Operation "Manhattan." The sergeant was surprised at first to have a colonel visit him. Hilmar explained that he was the new commanding officer and that he was trying to visit all his men in the hospital.
The commanding officer asked Harvey how they were treating him in the hospital.
"See that nurse sir? Every time she smiles I know I'm going to get another needle."
What Sort of Man Reads TLN
Although he now spends his time drawing maps and diagrams for the S-3 Office
of the 4th Inf. Div.'s 3rd Bde., SP4 Vito Ramanauskas looks back fondly on the
time when he was drawing bunnies.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 29, 1967
Midnight Resupply Hectic Affair
The fight had begun early in the evening when the 1st and 2nd Bns., 27th Inf., were airlifted into the battle between a Civilian Irregular Defense Group and an estimated 100 man VC force. As the sun went down, flareships lit the area while the fighting went on.
But despite the battle, the 25th Inf. Div. soldiers had to be fed and their stores of ammunition replenished. In the middle of the firing, plain resupply had to go on. But that night, resupply was anything but plain.
The ships had been ready for hours, and piles of material lay neatly across the open field of the Cu Chi supply pad. Helicopters attempting to get to the fighting men 32 kms away had been driven off by Viet Cong fire. Medevac ships that had to get in took enemy hits, but luckily no one was wounded. The material had to wait.
Then, just before midnight, the word came that supply could begin. Choppers guided in by hand lights settled between the twin mounds of food and ammunition and the frantic loading began. The swirls of dust kicked up by the rotor's downdraft glowed red as the ship's safety lights blinked.
A minute or two of loading, and the men turned their backs to the flying grit as the ship nosed over and swung off on its mission.
In the forward area the problem was to get the ships in without drawing Viet Cong fire. Searchlights on the aircraft had to remain out. Though the entire area was dimly lit by flareships, the battlefield was spread out and finding the correct unit was tough.
Flashlights, emergency lights, and anything else available were used by the soldiers on the ground to bring the choppers in. Many of them still attracted enemy fire, but this time there were no hits. Men scrambled and loads were literally thrown off the moment the skids touched the muddy ground. In a matter of seconds, the aircraft were airborne and on their way back to Cu Chi for more. The infantry now had its food and ammo.
"The pilots were fabulous," said 1LT Derry Gallagher, 2nd Bde. assistant S-4. Gallagher is in charge of the brigade resupply pad. "They had an extremely tough mission, and they accomplished it."
Early the next morning, Gallagher and the resupply men were at it again, this time extracting heavy equipment brought in during the night, so that the infantry could move out on a new assault.
|LEFT AND DOWN - A Wolfhound guides in extraction ship after a hectic night of resupply. (Photo by 1LT A.R. Karel)|
Manchu Point Man His Close Call
Slammed to the ground by the force of the blast from four simultaneously detonated claymore mines, the rest of the patrol was certain their point man had been killed. The deafening explosion of claymores was followed by an attack of automatic and small arms fire from three positions.
Miraculously, point man PFC Curtiss L. Scott of Clarksville, Miss., was hit by just a few pellets from the claymores and not seriously wounded. He managed to join the rest of the patrol as they began to return the fire. Sgt Antonio Ortiz of San Juan, P.R., pulled the patrol back about 100 meters and called in artillery. The enemy was silenced and the only friendly casualty was Scott.
In the morning 1LT Glen Crummie, 26, of Fayettville, N.C. took the men of the 2nd PIt., Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf., 25th Inf. Div., to survey the scene of the night's action. They found that most of the deadly fragments from the claymores had sprayed the area between Scott and the remainder of the patrol. A fortunate miscalculation by the guerrillas.
The sites the Viet Cong had fired from were uncovered disclosing casings from the AK 47 submachine guns they had fired at the Americans the previous night. Part of a boot and some pieces of clothing were also located indicating that at least two enemy had been killed by the remarkably accurate artillery barrage which left craters as near as ten feet from the enemy positions.
Troop commander CPT James H. Strickland of Birmingham, Ala., set up a POW collecting point and aid station in the village school to handle the large number of detainees. "The Vietnamese soldiers were outstanding," said the captain. "They moved through the village in a beautifully coordinated manner and quickly separated the VC from the civilian population."
Are You Putting Me On?
When "Doc," CPT Murray Rothberg, battalion surgeon of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., was called in after one of the unit's track vehicles hit a Viet Cong mine he learned something new.
The eardrums of several of the men had been punctured by the tremendous blast. A fifth man complained of ear pain, "Doc" assured him that the eardrum was only bruised.
"The eardrum looked all right to me," said Rothberg. But a few hours later the soldier returned and insisted that the ear must have been punctured.
"I asked him how he could be so sure after the examination turned up nothing," said Rothberg," and without saying a word he lit a cigarette, took a puff, held his nose, and proceeded to blow a pretty fair puff of smoke out his right ear." Having proven his point, the man was evacuated to a hospital at Cu Chi.
"It was pretty embarrassing at the time," said Rothberg, "but now we light up a cigarette every time a man comes in complaining of ear pain."
Hornets Have Long Night
Elements of the 116th Avn. Bn. were recently involved in a formidable clash with enemy forces, turning a routine re-supply mission into a medical evacuation mission, and setting what is believed to be one of the longest flight records of the war.
Approaching the 2nd Bde., 9th Inf.'s operational base camp, located some 48 kms southwest of Saigon near My Tho, the "Hornets" came under intense enemy fire from automatic and small arms weapons.
Continuing their movement into the area, the "Hornets" extended the cut-off time of their original mission and, under the direction of Maj. Harold I. Small, commanding officer of 116th, began to fly medical evacuations and provide air support.
Additional support was later supplied by the 68th Avn. Co. "Top Tigers," out of Bien Hoa.
At dusk, the 3rd Bn., 60th Inf. element at base camp came under attack by three 82mm mortars. Two gunships and a "slick" aircraft spotted their positions, destroying two and silencing the third.
The results of the battle included 40 American casualties and the loss of two gunships. Enemy forces suffered heavily, with combined Hornet and ground units confirming 131 VC dead. In addition, four enemy structures and two sampans were destroyed, 15 weapons and 60mm mortar rounds were captured.
The combined Hornet forces scored a total of 203 hours flight time, qualifying it as one of the longest on record for one day by one unit.
DAU TIENG = "Doe" has had some strange cases to deal with since he came to Vietnam, but none quite as unusual as when a bird walked into the 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf.'s medical tent.
The bird had been weakened by a number of red ants. Battalion Surgeon, CPT Vseuolod Kohotia of Utica. N.Y. applied first aid, removing the ants and giving the bird something to eat and drink.
SP6 Richard C. Davis of Fitchburg, Mass., said, "I guess he saw the red cross on the side of our tent. He sure came to the right place."
Celebration Has Special Touch
With all the trouble and bother the Viet Cong went through to celebrate North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh's birthday, the officers planning the ambush patrols for the 25th Inf. Div.'s 2nd Bde. thought they would do their part.
The four patrols the night before the big event were codenames "Happy," "Birthday," "Uncle," and "Ho." It was a quiet night for the patrols north of the division's Cu Chi base camp until "Happy" celebrated the birthday with a bang by getting into a firefight with an estimated five man VC unit.
The Viet Cong fled the scene when the American patrol returned fire with their best wishes of the day.
Ivymen Uncover Weapons Factory
A Viet Cong arms factory was uncovered recently by elements of the 3rd Bde. 4th Inf. Div., while working on search and destroy missions with the 25th Inf. Div. The 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf. found the factory in War Zone C, 24 kms north of Dan Tieng.
A large number of rifle stocks, barrels and assorted parts were uncovered along with 16,000 mine fuses.
In the same area, a small VC base camp was uncovered, containing five huts with heavily protected bunkers under the flooring. Captured in the camp were 15 pounds of batteries, 50 pounds of peanuts and 90 pounds of rice. No contact was made with the enemy.
Gary Hartt, 2nd Bn. (Mech.), 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 06-14-2005
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