Vol 2 No. 22 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 1||12th Evac 6||2/77 Arty 3||588th Engr 8|
|1/5 1||2/12 6||245th Psyops 8||65th Engr 8|
|1/5 1||2/14 Photos 4||3/13 Arty 6||Barking Sands 1|
|1/5 7||2/14 7||38th Scout Photo 3||Chieu Hoi 1|
|1/5 8||2/14 8||38th Scout Dog 3||Diamondhead 1|
|1/27 1||2/22 3||4/9 Photo 7||Inspector General 3|
|1/27 6||2/22 6||4/23 1||Kolekole 1|
|1/27 7||2/22 Photo 7||4/23 Photo 3||Manhattan Ends 8|
|1/27 Photo 8||2/22 7||4/23 8||MG Fred Weyand 6|
|1/35 8||2/27 1||5/32 Arty 6|
25th Starts 3 New Operations
Kolekole, Diamondhead And Barking Sands
"Kolekole," "Barking Sands" and "Diamondhead".
These are the three latest operations underway involving units of the 25th Inf. Div. Following the Hawaiian heritage, the "Tropic Lightning" Div. named the three operations after a pass, a beach area and of course the most prominent point, all in the Islands.
Kolekole began May 15. Elements of the 2nd Bde. are operating in an area centered around Duc Lap southwest of the Cu Chi base camp.
The 1st Bde. is operating under Barking Sands which also started on the 15th. The area of operation includes Trung Lap and the surrounding vicinity. The 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav., is also in on the action.
May 19 was the start of Operation Diamondhead being conducted by the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., under operational control of the 25th. This action is located between Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh.
MAJ Berlin Springstead, operation and plans officer for the 25th Inf. Div., said the three operations are being conducted to disrupt the infrastructure of the enemy. Other objectives are to destroy his lines of communication and supply, and to execute search and destroy action against VC main force units and the installations used by the enemy.
CA Used With 'Seal'
A dawn search and seal of a hamlet east of the combat base of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., recently, produced no Viet Cong but did prove the worth of a different idea in village search.
The 25th Inf. Div. soldiers were taking part in the 2nd Bde. Operation "Kolekole," a current combat operation being conducted southwest of the "Tropic Lightning" Div.'s base camp.
The soldiers surrounded the hamlet just as the first hints of dawn showed themselves on the surrounding rice paddies. The seal was complete as the first smoke curled up from breakfast fires.
The mission was to thoroughly search the village but also to explain why the soldiers were in the area and hold a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) to convince the people of the unit's good intentions.
The searching began soon after the seal was complete. Every house was checked by the soldiers with the assistance of an ARVN "GO-Team." This specially trained team inspected identification cards, questioned the villagers on Viet Cong movement, and handed out safe conduct passes.
"It was evident from the start that the safe conduct passes were a good idea," said CPT Richard Jones, the battalion Civil Affairs officer. "There were no men in the village, and everyone we questioned said that their men had gone to Cholon." Cholon is the Chinese sector of Saigon.
"Whenever we go into a village and there are no military age men, we get a different story," Jones explained. "On the last operation, everyone had gone to Tay Ninh."
When the search was complete, the people were invited to the MEDCAP. The medical treatment proved to be the most successful part of the operation. Two hundred and eleven medical patients were treated. Soap was distributed to everyone in the long lines.
Before the morning was over, the operation was complete and the seal was removed from the hamlet.
"The operation is a good combination of military search and intelligence work combined with civil action projects," said Jones.
"It's not a totally new idea, but one that we haven't tried in quite a while. We think it will prove effective in our area."
Shades of James Bond As VC Comes Over
DUC PHO - Because many Viet Cong captured attempting to return to the GVN side are tortured unmercifully before being killed, one dissatisfied VC in Quang Ngai province devised an escape plan worthy of James Bond.
His rather complicated plot was delivered by message and map to the Duc Pho District chief who turned it over to CPT Peter Bankson, the MACV advisor to the district.
The potential Hoi Chanh said in his message he would be at a certain stream at a designated time washing red pajamas. After washing them, he would place them on the roof of a nearby hut which allegedly housed two VC.
Then at one p.m. upon seeing a signal flare, which was to be fired from the 3rd Bde. Task Force, 25th Inf. Div.'s forward base camp on the outskirts of Duc Pho village he would cross the stream, wearing a white sweatband and carrying a 10-foot pole.
Helicopters were then to sweep down and pluck him from the field and the Viet Cong.
In true Bond fashion, the intricate scheme worked. It was not a trap and the 3rd Bde. Task Force, to the chagrin of the VC, gained valuable information from the Hoi Chanh.
Strong Start For 2nd Bde
One major battle, B-52 strikes, and continuous combat sweeps have accounted for 36 Viet Cong killed and an additional 47 possible kills for elements of "Kolekole."
The wide-ranging operation covers the area southwest of the Cu Chi base camp.
The operation has combined lightning swift surprise air assaults by the 1st and 2nd Bns., 27th Inf., with long mechanized sweeps by the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
"The objectives of "Kolekole" extend beyond many of our earlier operations," said COL Marvin D. Fuller, 2nd Bde. commander. "They include much greater emphasis on Revolutionary Development in addition to our combat mission."
"Kolekole" takes place in the same vicinity as the earlier Operation "Makalapa II," and contains frequent "buddy" missions with ARVN units.
'WON'T YOU COME HOME' PLEA FROM VC FAMILIES
The Viet Cong are putting their complaints about hardships and short rations in writing, according to letters found in a tunnel complex recently uncovered in the Boi Loi woods by elements of the 25th Inf. Div.
While on a search and destroy mission in the southern section of the Boi Loi woods, the 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf., uncovered the tunnel complex containing 45 pounds of mail as well as documents valuable to intelligence officers. Most of the letters were from VC soldiers to their families and friends, complete with addresses and locations.
The letters contained complaints of hardships and shortage of rations. The letters reviewed by the battalion's interpreter stated some form of discontent with the Viet Cong's "government."
Incoming mail revealed pleas for the men to give up the fighting and return to the side of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam and to their families. All spoke well of the effectiveness of the "Open Arms" program as their relatives described the many opportunities and advantages that awaited them if they would "come back."
Chained Up By Viet Cong
A man chained like an animal was discovered in a spider hole by the mechanized troopers of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., southwest of the 25th Inf. Div.'s base camp. He was found during a sweeping search that was part of the 2nd Bde. Operation "Kolekole."
"Our personnel carriers almost ran over him," said machinegunner PFC Donald Goser of Anniston, Ala.
"He popped his head up out of the hole just as we broke through the brush surrounding him. I thought he was a VC and almost shot him until I saw the chains."
The man, shaking with fear, told an interpreter that he had been held prisoner by the Viet Cong for five days because he was loyal to the Allied side.
He had been guarded by three VC, one of them female, and had been provided with only a sleeping mat and a teapot of water in the hole.
The soldiers assured him that he was in safe hands and freed him from the chains. After a short rest the man led the soldiers in the direction his guards had fled. Soon after the three were spotted as they ran. One was wounded and captured, but the others escaped.
The wounded VC confirmed the chained man's story and said that he and the other two had been assigned to punish the man because he was a government sympathizer.
The Viet Cong was evacuated for medical treatment and further interrogation.
|Members of the 2nd Bde. find a drier way than wading to cross the many canals in their area of operation. The engineer boats keep the men high and dry ... most of the time.|
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
1LT Harry R. Stewart, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
SP4 Richard L. Hadd, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
|SP4 Darrell Taylor, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Miguer Rivera DeJesus, Co. A, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf.
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
PSG John R. Sheetz Jr., HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP5 Raymond L. Bapst Jr., HHC, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP4 Francis Condon, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SP4 James A. Thomas, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
|PFC Kenneth Kralick, Trip. B, 3rd Sgdn., 4th Cav.
PFC James H. West, Co. C, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
PFC Charles G. Wright, Co. B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (VALOR)
SSG Dale K. Finnemore, Co. A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
SP4 James W. Pyle, Trp. D, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
LTC Charles A. Gillis, HHC, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
SFC Tadashi Yamamoto, 25th Admin. Co.
1LT Jesse O. Pearce Jr., Co. A, 6th Bn., 9th Inf.
1LT Claude Phipps, Co. A, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SMC Carl D. Craner, HHC Btry., 3rd Bn., 13th Arty.
SFC Walter E. Jackson, HHC, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SSG Herschell L. Antee, HHC Btry., 3rd Bn., 13th Arty.
SSG Jimmie Robinson Jr., Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SGT Ronald N. Dedenbach, Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SGT Lee J. Doran, Co. A, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SGT William A. Rush, Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SGT Raymond L. Starkey, Co. B, 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf.
SGT Lee D. Williams, Co. C, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SGT Leroy Young Jr., Co. C, 4th Bn. (Mech), 23rd Inf.
SP4 Edward H. Beaver, HHC, 2nd Bde., 25th Inf. Div.
SP4 John R. Booth, HHC, 2nd Bde., 25th Inf. Div.
SP4 Richard Ellsworth, Trp. A, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
SP4 Ralph E. Smith, Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Jerry W. Byers, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Brian N. Jacobson, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Leroy B. Johnson, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
PFC Larry D. Miller, Co. C, 4th Bn., 9th Inf.
PFC Ronald G. Mugrage, Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC John R. Racz, Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf.
PFC Mikel D. Rhodes, Trp. A, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
PFC Edward J. Swift Jr., Trp. B, 3rd Sqdn., 4th Cav.
Its a Two Way Street
It is a two way street. Criticism is a give and take situation.
When someone criticizes you in a caustic, non-constructive manner, you probably won't pay much attention to the criticism. The words spoken are just words and the only effect they have is to move your frame of mind to dislike of the person.
When someone criticizes you in a constructive manner by pointing out what exactly it was that you did wrong, and attempts to give you advice as to how you can correct what was done wrong or prevent it from happening again, the chances of you listening and following the advice are much higher.
No one likes a person who yells and shouts when someone does something wrong. That isn't the right way to get things accomplished, it is also a way to lose any respect the man might have had for you to start with.
Taking advice or criticism works the same way. Keep an open mind and look for positive suggestions how you can improve your work or prevent further "goofs."
When you are giving or taking criticism keep these points in mind. Give it constructively and accept it positively. Remember when you give criticism that you make mistakes too and you're not perfect. Don't criticize a person with the attitude that you are perfect.
Harmony in relations creates better working conditions, higher work output and better quality work.
Hol Chanh Increasing
SAIGON - A total of 2805 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese of various categories turned themselves in to the South Vietnamese government during April under the Chieu Hoi Program.
This figure brought the 1967 total to 13,551 since Jan. 1. The number for the first four months of this year represents 66.9 per cent of the returnees for the entire year of 1966.
If present trends continue, as many as 40,000 may accept the offer of food, clothing, rewards for returned weapons, and a chance for a new start in life during 1967.
Since the program started in 1963, the South Vietnamese government has welcomed 61,582 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese back through the program.
Returnees are offered a choice after orientations at one of several Chieu Hoi centers. They may learn a trade, join a South Vietnamese military organization, work with Free World forces, or take part in programs designed to enable other VC and NVA personnel to take advantage of the program.
June 15 Start For Army Photography Contest
The 12th All-Army Photography Contest is under way and you are in one of the best areas of the world to obtain prize winning pictures.
The competition is divided into two basic areas with subject breakdowns after that. The two areas are Black and White Photographs and Color Transparencies.
The black and white must be printed on paper of least 80 square inches and no larger than 480 square inches. Photographs may be drymounted, provided mounts are cropped to edge of the photograph so there is no border. Photographs may not be tinted.
Color Transparencies may be up to 4 by 5 inches maximum in size and must be submitted in some type of protective covering such as plastic-type envelopes. Glass mounts will not be accepted.
The breakdown as to subject matter ranges from People to Action. Others are Babies and Children, Animals and Pets, Scenic, Military Life, and Experimental. Photos must fall under one of these categories.
The pictures will be judged under nine different criteria. One of the most important of the criteria is impact. This deals with what the viewers reaction is to the photograph the first time he sees it.
Freshness of approach is the second judging criteria. Story telling and technical skill used are two more criteria.
Under the heading, quality, falls three sub-headings. Sharpness of the important subject matter is desired unless a deliberate lack of sharpness is used for a special effect.
Graininess of the photograph falls also under use of it or not for special effects.
Under contrast the judges attempt to determine if the photographer used contrast with discrimination.
Photographs for the contest will be accepted from June 15 to July 15. Send entries for the Photography Contest to: HQ, USARV, Attn. Special Services Office, APO 96307.
Recruiting Duty Open in States
AFN - The U.S. Army Recruiting Command is seeking enlisted personnel in grade E-5 or higher for recruiting duty.
Openings exist for both men and women in grades E-5 through E-7 in most areas of the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Details on prerequisites and qualifications for recruiting duty are in Section III of AR 601-275. Anyone interested should contact his units adjutant or career counselor.
Applicants must have these basic qualifications: grade E-5 or higher, at least six years service for men and three years for women, General Technical Aptitude Area test score of 110 or higher, high school graduate or General Education Development Test equivalent, and hold a valid civilian or Army driver's license.
For the best chance of being accepted, personnel on overseas assignment are urged to submit their requests on DA Form 1049 at least six months prior to return to the continental United States.
Allotments Cut Only by Mistake
Many complaints reaching the Pentagon from servicemen's dependents say their allotment checks have stopped for no reason.
Finance authorities say they have found the two main causes. The Class Q allotment is cut off when a serviceman in grade E-4 completes four years service or is promoted to a higher grade.
In both cases, a new allotment that is proper for the soldier's grade is supposed to be started -but often isn't.
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 Terry S. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 John Dittmann . . . . .. . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
Dog Training Now at 25th
|THEY WENT THATAWAY - PFC Morris Summers trains his scout dog in scanning an area as part of the new training program at the Cu Chi base camp. (Photo by PFC Bruce Dapprish)|
The small American patrol led by a scout dog and his handler pushed
through the wildly overgrown jungle of War Zone "C." The dog alerted the
handler just short of the Viet Cong ambush position. A fire fight broke out and
six of the Viet Cong were killed; only one of the Americans had been wounded.
The same story has been repeated time and time again since the 38th Scout Dog Pit. arrived in Vietnam in July of 1965. The small unit is attached to the 2nd Bde. of the 25th Inf. Div.
The scout dog concept has proven so valuable that the demand for new dogs and handlers soon outstripped the supply.
Previously trained at Fort Benning, Ga., the unit now receives replacements from its own special school conducted at the division's Cu Chi base camp.
The intensive training has not changed. The same maneuvers and rough obstacle courses are used. The big difference in the new course is that 12 weeks of training is now packed into six. It's become tougher because there is less time to do more.
All the men in the new school are volunteers. All have requested to work with the dogs. Some of the men were in the infantry before they came to the school, but not all. "I was a clerk before but liked to be outdoors. There's nothing I'd rather be doing than working with my dog," explained PFC Morris Summers of Fairmont, W. Va.
Working with the dogs first of all means meeting them. SGT Donald Purvis, an instructor for both dogs and handlers remarked, "the first thing we do is to take the new man to the kennels and have him talk to his dog until he knows the dog won't bite him."
The dog then becomes the possession of his master. But most of the time it also works the other way around.
"I really enjoy working with my dog," said new handler PFC Michael Dziekan of Milwaukee, Wis., "he is a real friend that I can always talk to."
Most of the dogs themselves come from Lackland Air Force Base. They are then purchased by the Army and sent to training sites. The majority of them are German Shepherds but some are not, even though they maintain the characteristics of the breed.
During the six week course, the dogs are trained to act as a silent warning system. They are run through course after course designed to increase their alertness with all their senses. Realistic training sharpens their sight, hearing and sense of smell to detect the enemy in the thickest jungle.
But the handlers too must be trained. A typical mistake the new man makes is to focus all his attention in the direction the dog first alerts.
If there is a second threat in the area, the dog will also alert on it, but the handler, busy looking ahead, will miss the second signal. By the end of the course the problem no longer exists. Both man and dog become continuously alert.
The trainers, themselves former handlers, stress that the most important thing is mutual confidence between dog and man. "For effective teamwork, there must be confidence. The man must have it in his dog, and the dog in his master," said SGT Clifton Cabaness of Baton Rouge, La.
Six weeks of tough, intensive training produce a dog-handler team that is equal to the best. It produces a strong bond of friendship between the man and his dog. But most important, it produces eyes and ears for 25th Inf. Div. units that will save American lives.
What are you doing on Monday morning between 11:45 and 12 noon? If your portable radio is tuned to Armed Forces Radio your listening to the 25th Inf. Div.'s new program called "Lightning Two-Five."
Music of featured recording artists, a talk with the men in the division and a report of the past weeks happenings on Lightning Two-Five News with SSG Ray Hayes.
Make it a habit every week to join SP4 Mike Halloran and Ray Hayes - The 25th Inf. Div. answer to Huntley & Brinkley in a far out way.
Englishman in Vietnam Serves with 'Three-duece'
DAU TIENG - What does a foreign national feel about fighting in Vietnam under US Army command?
Sitting at the HHC, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., EM club at the completion of Operation "Manhattan," SP4 Hugh Hamilton Brown, formally of Luton, Bedfordshire, England, gave his views.
He had come to Los Angles after three years of college in England, to pursue a career in civil engineering. He had registered for the draft after six months residency. When drafted, and again when ordered to Vietnam, Brown had the option to refuse and go back to his homeland.
"I'd rather not be in the Army. Who would? But I am proud to serve here. I feel that I'm fighting in the forefront of the battle for freedom, something that my countryman should also be participating in. Every American that could be here, should be; and that applies to every nation in the free world."
And what of his chances of not coming back? "It sounds a little trite, but my feelings were expressed by an English poet a few hundred years ago," said Brown. "If I die in some corner of a foreign field, it will be forever England."
Army Now Younger
Members of the Armed Forces are younger and more educated, according to manpower statistics released in April.
The drop in the average age of military men to 23.2 years as of last June was attributed to first-term enlisted men and officers who make up about half the total active force. Most volunteers enlist in their teens, while officers usually enter active duty around 20.
Higher educational attainment in both officer and enlisted ranks was attributed to selective recruiting and technological changes in the American society. Only 55.5 per cent of all officers were college graduates and only 55.2 per cent of all enlisted men had high school diplomas in May 1965.
Artillerymen Re-do School
DAU TIENG - Silence prevailed in the Dau Tieng Nursery School, as the children watched their teacher finish writing on the blackboard. "Now repeat after me," he told them, and thirty-two voices echoed throughout the recently completed building.
Earlier the nursery had been a dull, aging, structure. Now it shines with a new coat of paint, while chairs and tables enliven its interior. The completion of the nursery was brought about through a Civic Action project of the 2nd Bn., 77th Arty.
This is a Typical 'Tomahawk' Day
By PFC Joe Plott
Out of the dark low overcast I sky the sun gives a bright glance breaking the news that another day and another sweep for the men of the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf. (Mech), 25th Inf. Div. The typical "Tomahawk" is way ahead of his morning "alarm clock." He has been up for an hour or more now.
Already the red ants are running around in their usual annoying manner, occasionally a spider falls out of a tree and finds its target. A quick blow sends him on his way.
He can tell it's going to be hot today, just as it has been day in and day out. His helmet is tucked neatly on his head, his girl's picture covers a portion of his steel pot.
The command is given to load on the tracks. As he sits in the track he studies the faces of the other four men. They are a team. Each of them knowing what the other's reaction will be in many different situations.
They have lived together, waded through mud, slept in rain, gone on patrols, divided their hot beer and argued about who was going to have the ham and eggs "C" rations; all of this for six months. They are unbeatable.
As the tracks plow through the rice paddies, many daydreams are generated, savored and discarded. The infantryman. A quick stop for a contested "C" ration lunch and he is back on the move.
The sun seems to set differently for the infantryman in a wartorn country. The setting is not a sign of peace and rest but a reminder that danger could linger only meters away. Danger that will have to be watched and listened for throughout the night.
Then the most cherished words of the day are heard as the famed call "Hey, the mail is here," rings out.
He gets his letter and reads of life back home and falls into a semisleep. He sleeps light and at the same time listens. It has been another day for the "Tomahawk."
IG Riding the Range
Back in the days when the Wild West was woolly, it was considered quite an improvement when Judge Roy Bean established the Law west of the Pecos.
Drawing on his Texan heritage, LTC Arthur W. Knoll of El Paso, has decided to apply something similar to his job as Inspector General (IG) of the 25th Inf. Div.
Knoll' intends to become a "Circuit Rider" bringing IG services to the troops of the division in the field. "I hope to increase combat effectiveness by solving the troops' problems out in the field, right where they originate," says the colonel. "It should cut down considerably on lost man-hours for the combat elements and significantly reduce the administrative overhead."
This IG-mobile concept, Knoll feels, should allow his section to better meet the mission of the Inspector General and make them much more accessible to the men.
He also hopes to better gain the confidence of the "Tropic Lightning" soldiers and commanders, showing them just how easily most of their administrative and personal difficulties can be resolved.
Knoll has just recently assumed his duties in the division, after attending the Inspector General's School in Saigon.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
'Golden Dragons - Sweep and Seal
Photos by SP4 Larry Craig and PFC Bill Wermine
|FRIENDS ANYTIME - Vietnamese children offer diversion from the routine of a search and destroy mission near a Vietnamese village. The "Golden Dragon" troops had already searched the village.|
|EXTRA PROTECTION - A gun jeep guards the woodline as the men of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., are searching the village of Phu Hoa Dong. VC snipers had been active but stopped when the gun jeep pulled up.|
|SLOW BUT SURE - Men of Co. B, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., recon a heavily booby trapped area near an abandoned VC village.|
|KEEP YOUR DISTANCE - In the vicinity of Phu Hoc Dong near the Saigon River, the men sweep across a field along a tree line.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
Arty. Men Try Inf. Job
"It was fun while it lasted but I believe in the future I'll stay in my motor pool and leave field operations to the Infantry, commented SGT Kendrick Boardman of Billings, Mont., on a mission that started out as a tunnel destroying operation and ended with him and four other 25th Inf. Div. soldiers chasing a Viet Cong across the fields and finally capturing a Chinese claymore mine.
The incident took place at one of the division's forward fire support bases at Soui Cao, 32 kms northwest of Cu Chi, during Operation "Manhattan."
Boardman, SP4 Milford Noble of Wahoo, Neb., PFC Myron Letcher of Emery, S.D., all members of the 3rd Bn., 13th Arty., and SSG Gerald Davenport of Kalamazoo, Mich., and SP4 Richard Dupin of Decatur, Ill., both of the 5th Bn., 32nd Arty., had been going out into the area near their perimeter for several days prior to the incident looking for aiming stakes and other signs of VC activity. The 13th Arty. had had several claymore attacks and received other fire from that general area.
"That morning however," continued Boardman, "we found a freshly dug tunnel and decided to go back and get some dynamite and blow up some of the tunnels we had found previously. We blew the tunnel near the perimeter and went over to another that we knew came out in a hut in a partially destroyed village about 300 meters from the perimeter and blew that one.
"While we were on our way to a third tunnel Davenport and I spotted a Vietnamese man standing at the edge of the woods across the field. We all ducked down below the dike to see what he was going to do and then noticed that he was carrying something green. We decided to check his ID card ... he saw us and started to run. Dupin hollered at him to stop and when he didn't, fired a round at him.
"We left Letcher to guard the dynamite and also as a rear guard in case there were any more VC in the area and he went into one of the huts where he would have some cover. Davenport circled around to the left, Dupin went straight ahead and Noble and I circled around to the right. We heard shots off to our left but Noble and I were in a patch of woods and couldn't see anything. Dupin meanwhile had come upon a Chinese claymore mine sitting beside a well with some wires leading down into the well.
"Noble and I were trying to figure out the best way to get through the woods when Noble saw two paths, one was narrow and pretty well blocked up with branches but the other was clear and wide enough for two men to walk abreast. He started to move down the path but the ground in front of him didn't look quite right so he called me over. We started feeling around with a stick and uncovered a freshly dug punji pit about three feet wide, four feet long and two-and-a-half feet deep. It was so fresh the bamboo stakes were still green.
"Davenport had lost contact with the VC but claimed he had wounded him so we joined Dupin at the well and I sent Noble back to keep Letcher company. After determining the claymore wasn't wired up to fire we approached it and pulled the large green coil of wire out of the well. We then took the wire and mine, picked up Letcher and Noble and went back to the battery area and reported to CPT William E. Noran, the Headquarters and Service Battery commander."
After receiving Boardman's report, Nolan of Niagara Falls, N.Y., led a patrol that included SGM Carl D. Craner of Worcester, Mass., the 13th Arty. sergeant major, back into the area. While searching the partially destroyed village they found a hut with fresh blood on the floor, substantiating Davenport's claim of having wounded the VC he was chasing. Two carbines with 130 rounds of ammunition and several papers were found, but no more VC.
`Warriors' Become Colorful Unit
DAU TIENG - The 2nd Bn., 12th Inf., "Warriors" now situated in Tay Ninh and outlying fire support bases have a new way of distinguishing themselves.
As an added incentive towards achieving pride in their unit, each man has the head of an Indian warrior painted on the side of his camouflage cover and the butt of his weapon. A different color distinguishes one company from another as HHC displays black, Co. A, red, Co. B, green, and Co. C, blue.
Just recently an effort was made by the companies to get the headgear of all their men painted, especially those who have been in the unit only a brief time. Besides instilling pride in the unit, the Indian head also serves as a means of marking headgear and weapons so they can be easily identified.
Wolfhounds in NY Parade As Many March Pro-VN
"We stayed up all night and had nothing to do so we wrote a letter to Mr. Gimler," said PFC Douglas Adams of Monticello, Iowa.
Three members of the 1st Bn., 27th Inf. "Wolfhounds," wrote a letter to Ray Gimler of Rockway, N.Y. They had discovered an article in the New York Daily News stating that Mr. Gimler was chairman of a pro-Vietnam parade in New York City.
Gimler took the letter and reprinted it along with the address of the men in a full page advertisement for the parade in the New York Daily News.
The three men are Adams, PFC John Casey of Bronx, N.Y., and SP4 Wayne Force of Cranford, N.J. In the letter they asked if there was some way the "Wolfhounds" could be represented in the massive parade.
They were represented, and in a big way. "From all the letters we've been receiving there must have been a lot of people marching for us," said Force. "One lady wrote that the parade was led by 25th Inf. Div. posters." The men received two of the posters in the mail and said that at least 18 others were carried.
Soon after the parade was over Mrs. Loli de Puglia of Manhattan telegrammed the men to say that her poster was on the way to the 2nd Bde. soldiers. "Sure enough," said Force, "in a few days we received it, cut up in four pieces to fit the envelope. All we had to do was tape it together."
That was only the beginning. Letters have been arriving ever since along with another poster. "We've received more than 50 letters and don't have the time to answer them all so we're circulating them among our platoon so that everyone will get a reply," said Adams.
The letters have come from all over the states of New York and New Jersey and congratulated the battalion for its work. "Everyone has been writing," said Casey, "from retired colonels to airline stewardesses. It's been great."
Cu Chi Head Nurse Speech Pathologist
By SP4 Rick Calvo
Head nurse during the day, speech and hearing pathologist during off duty hours . . . CPT Ellen Langston of Laconia, N.H., finds her tour in Vietnam busy, but rewarding.
Ellen arrived in Vietnam last September from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Since that time she has been working full time as a nurse with the 12th Evac. Hosp. at Cu Chi.
Holding a bachelor of science degree in Nursing, a masters in Education, and a certificate of advanced study from Boston University, she is presently the head nurse of the hospital's Vietnamese patients ward.
The captain, who is also a registered speech and hearing pathologist, sets aside from six to 12 off-duty hours weekly to work with men from units all over Vietnam who come to receive aid for stuttering and articulation problems.
"I often receive calls from company commanders asking me to help some of their men. `I have a man here' they say, and I can't understand what he says . . . Can you help me? And thats how most of the men are referred to me for treatment," explains the captain.
But speech pathology is a slow process requiring many hours of informal conversation. "Stuttering," the captain explained, "is really never cured. All that can actually be done is to teach the client to stutter better. By this I mean, eliminating the crutches most stutterers use, and changing the pattern of the stutter."
Articulation problems, which concern difficulties in pronouncing words correctly, are other problems she helps soldiers to conquer.
"In one case," nurse Langston recalled, "a young college grad came to me with a pronunciation problem. It detracted a great deal from his personality. As I remember, he couldn't pronounce the word "straight," but after many hours of working with him, the man rotated home happily saying `straight.' I was so glad I could help him."
Ellen Langston, listed as a medical nurse in the hospital's table of organization (TO&E), says she derives great pleasure in providing the men in Vietnam with a specialize service.
Ivymen Uncover VC Mine Factory
DAU TIENG - Operating through dense jungle northwest of their base camp at Dau Tieng, Co. C, 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., has recently found and destroyed a VC boobytrap and mine factory, complete with a number of machines and completed mines.
Included in the find were 20 homemade 12 gauge shotguns, two pistols, three rifle barrels, 55 rifle grenades, 30 assorted types of hand grenades, one VC type Claymore mine, molds and castings for fuses, and three CHIC0M RPG-2 anti-tank rounds.
1LT Rodger W. Frydrychowski of Chicago, who recently took command of the "Ivymen," ordered the base camp and another camp containing a mess hall and five hooches destroyed.
|NEW COMMAND - MG Fred C. Weyand assumes command of 11 Field Force Vietnam and is awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. GEN William C. Westmoreland presented the award to the former CG of the 25th Inf. Div.|
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
Fight Shatters Quiet
When many of the soldiers in the Cu Chi base camp of the 25th Inf. Div. were knocking off for chow, the fifteen man ambush patrol was just wending its way out through the final protective wire. Ahead lay a dark 3000 meter march through Viet Cong territory to the designated ambush site.
The patrol from Co. C, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., reached their position a little after nine p.m. and went silently to work setting up Claymore mines and weapons firing positions. The ambush, an L-type, lay across a trail with a large rice paddy to one side.
Five hours of waiting came and went. The men were alerted occasionally by the sound of insects croaking or a small animal breaking a branch. But when they looked, there was nothing.
"A terrible scream came from the right just after two o'clock," said SGT Melvin Screws of Natchez, Miss., a member of the patrol. "Then someone was yelling orders in Vietnamese and a hail of grenades came bouncing into the position." The multiple blast wounded two of the soldiers and a violent firefight broke out. Grenades and small arms rounds flew back and forth.
"We could see many of them and I'm sure we got a lot, but the fire was so tremendous that they drove us out of the ambush position into the rice paddy," said SP4 Ernest Frost of Newburgh, N.Y.
Driving the men away from the ambush site proved to be a big mistake. The soldiers drew back under the heavy fire and called in artillery that blasted their former firing positions.
"The artillery really broke them up," said Frost, "and that was the last we saw of them."
As the sun came up, a search of the area showed that the Viet Cong had severed the firing wires of the patrol's claymore mines, turned them around, and wired in their own detonators. Luckily the VC hadn't used them.
"We only found one Viet Cong body, but there were blood trails all over the place and a bloody stretcher that they had used to haul off their dead," said Screws. The searchers also found two Chinese claymores, 40 grenades, and an AK-47 automatic weapon next to the dead VC.
The patrol wearily came back in through the protective wire just as many soldiers on the base camp were heading for breakfast.
|WHAT HAVE WE HERE? - SP4 Dannel E. Kochh of 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf., inspects a captured VC truck. (Photo by PFC James Friar)|
Mech Gets New CO
LTC Chandler Goodnow of Keene, N.H., recently assumed command of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., during a brief ceremony at the battalion's combat base camp.
Goodnow takes command from LTC Richard Rogers who is hospitalized at Cu Chi after his tracked command vehicle hit a Viet Cong mine during Operation "Kolekole."
COL Marvin D. Fuller, commander of the 2nd Bde. accepted the battalion's colors from Executive Officer MAJ William I. Harris and presented them to the new "Bobcat" commander. "With this ceremony you take command of a proud unit," said Fuller as he offered his congratulations.
Goodnow comes to the 2nd Bde. after tours with USCONARC Headquarters, the 52nd Inf. Bn., the 2nd Bn., 19th Inf., and the 38th Inf. Regt.
`Golden Dragons' Take on VC at OP
There was a gloomy overcast promising heavy rain for the late evening hours, as SP4 Elias Morgan from Marietta, Ga., and his detail moved out to man one of the outposts set up every evening to provide early warning security for the fire support base located in the heart of the Boi Loi woods in Tay Ninh province.
As a member of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. "Golden Dragons," 25th Inf. Div., he had been on many of these patrols before. He knew the discomforts of these lonely night security watches, the persistent mosquitoes, and other insects not to mention eerie sounds emitted from the surrounding jungle.
As the day turned to night, Morgan and three other men moved silently in the rain toward their outpost (OP). As they set up their OP along a woodline they noted that they were in a good position to spot snipers or infiltrators moving toward the perimeter. Since this area was thickly infested with VC, the possibility of making contact was great.
At about two a.m. the rain had subsided and Morgan had assumed his guard, everything seemed normal. The crickets were chirping out their steady monotonous drone. Occasionally a Macaw would call out with its distinctive cry not quite unlike the caw of a crow.
The men were used to these sounds. They were comforting in a way. But they mean even more than comfort. Whenever there is a break in the pattern of these sounds it means that there is something moving around, more than likely an animal predator but sometimes a human.
Suddenly, a few minutes after assuming his 2 o'clock guard, the jungle became silent. Morgan tensed. His hand instinctively went to the trigger of his M16. Without making a sound he alerted his comrades by touching them.
Almost instantaneously, a dark form appeared, silhouetted against the woodline. It was moving rapidly toward their position. Morgan watched until he determined the form as being unfriendly.
Slowly he raised his weapon to his shoulder and switched the weapon to full automatic. He took careful aim and calmly blasted the hostile form with a burst of deadly automatic fire.
Later the next morning, Morgan stated, "I thought that I had missed, but upon investigating I found a dead VC 150 meters from the OP."
It was the opinion of the men that the heavily armed VC was trying to sneak up and wipe out the OP and then move out to harass the perimeter.
He was carrying several documents, one of them saying that he was VC soldier of the year in 1965. Apparently he was out to recapture his title for 1967. Unfortunately, this year one "Charlie" will miss spring training. The VC soldier was well armed with nine Chinese Communist grenades and several clips of Russian ammunition.
2-22 Finds 3 VC Trucks
DAU TIENG - Three trucks used by the Viet Cong to haul supplies through the jungle of War Zone "C" were found recently by the 2nd Bn. (Mech), 22nd Inf., 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., on Operation "Ahina," 10 kms north of Dau Tieng.
One of the vehicles had been destroyed by direct hits from airstrikes in that area several weeks ago. The other two trucks, one a Willey van and the other a jungle-worthy Land Rover were found nearby in a make-shift garage.
The garage had been dug to a depth of four feet and covered with aluminum sheeting. The area was protected by mines and booby traps, all of which were uncovered by the "Ivymen."
The captured trucks and material were extracted by CH-47 Chinook to the Dau Tieng base camp of the 3rd Bde., for repair and use by the brigade civil affairs program.
PFC Gerald E. Picard of Springfield, Mass., had driven the Land Rover to the landing zone for extraction and he had other ideas for its disposition.
"I heard we could take souvenirs," Picard said. "Now, all we have to do is bore it out a little, channel it, a few dual carbs, a little pinstriping - it would sure beat walking around post."
What Sort of Man Reads TLN
Like most medics he is called "Doc" by the men around him.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 5, 1967
With the initial phase of Operation "Manhattan" over, the operation continues now in its 43rd day.
The multi-division action combined the 25th Inf. Div., the 1st Div., the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf. Div., and the 11th Armd. Cav. Regt.
The U.S. forces started working through the Ho Bo and Boi Loi woods as well as fighting down the Saigon River from a starting point near the Mechelin Plantation.
The pincer of the operation started closing with the 25th units pushing up the river and in from the west while the Big Red One and the Ivymen came down the river and in from the east.
The body count and possible VC killed total is not as high as many operations, but this was more than compensated for by the amount of supplies and fortifications found and destroyed.
Tremendous amounts of ammunition were found in fortifications and tunnels during the operation. More than 380,000 rounds of small arm and automatic ammunition were found. This is 19 times that found during Operation "Junction City."
More than 1400 heavy explosive rounds were uncovered ranging from mortars to recoilless rifle projectiles.
Some 380 mines and booby traps were blown up after being discovered and more than 320 tunnels were destroyed.
A VC province headquarters tunnel complex was discovered, "run," and destroyed.
Mech LP Kills Two
Two Viet Cong were killed as they attempted to sneak past a three-man listening post (LP) to the perimeter of the 1st Bn. (Mech), 5th Inf., combat base recently during Operation "Kolekole," a combat operation of the 2nd Bde., 25th Inf. Div.
Photographs carried by the VC showed enemy training operations.
The men had waited until an estimated 15 man Viet Cong unit had come next to their position and fired a claymore mine. "After the claymore went off we stayed hidden and checked the area out with a night vision device," said PFC Paul Williams of Kingsport, Tenn. "We knew that we hadn't killed them all.
They stayed hidden until dawn when they searched the area and found two dead VC and several blood trails. "We checked the VC and found the pictures and a flag," said Williams.
The photographs showed what appeared to be a basic training camp. "One of the pictures was of a rifle range with what looked like a sergeant watching a man fire," said SP4 Gary Ceisner of New York.
The flag had a bright green cross and a red circle and carried a message in Vietnamese. When translated, the message impolitely suggested that the mechanized soldiers leave the area.
|BICYCLE BUILT FOR HO - Members of Co. A, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., take a leisurely spin around the battalion area and soak up a little sun on "two-wheelers" captured during Operation 'Manhattan.' The VC bicycle were found along the Saigon River. (Photo by PFC Bruce Dapprich)|
35th Infantry Platoon
Chow, Called Short
DUC PHO - "This underbrush is so thick, we have to cut our way through to move," the squad leader's voice spoke over the radio.
CPT Jacky A. Burr of Tulsa, Okla., picked up the horn. "Keep pushing," he said.
The 3rd Plt. of Co. A, 1st Bn., 35th Inf. had just stopped for a rest and some chow when they heard automatic weapons fire and M-79 grenade rounds going off on a hill directly to their front. The 1st Plt. had made contact with elements of the NVA.
Chow was called short, and Burr moved his men out to aid the forward platoon.
They were faced with the task of moving through dense vegetation up the finger of the mountain just to the west of the action.
A noon-day sun spread its heat over the entire area; sweat blurred vision; thorns tore at the skin. Often the men had to crawl through the brush to avoid becoming entangled as they moved steadily upward.
Word came over the radio that contact had been broken and that a recon group sent out had discovered a large cache of polished rice, six illuminating 60-mm mortar rounds and various pieces of NVA field equipment.
Burr halted his platoon while he continued to receive reports on the findings and reports of numerous sightings of enemy positions and enemy in the open.
Soon it was to become a job for the artillery - "an. artilleryman's field day," as Burr phrased it.
Then the 1st Plt. radioed that they saw three NVA soldiers bathing in a nearby stream with at least five more men in the immediate area. He called in artillery fires. Direct hits were reported by gunships surveying the area.
The 3rd Plt. then proceeded to an LZ to set up for the night. Their next day's work was all cut out for them: policing up the battlefield and bagging the twenty-six tons of polished rice they had uncovered for transport to the Duc Pho refugee
LTC Ladd CO of 'Golden
The `Golden Dragons' have a new battalion commander.
LTC James Von K. Ladd of Perrysburg, Ohio, took over command from LTC Charles A. Gilles May 18.
While fighting in Korea with the 3rd Inf. Div. Ladd won the Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.
The 1946 graduate of West Point attended the Command and General Staff College and taught Military Science at Dartmouth College for two years.
He attended the Army Language School where he studied Thai. In 1962 he assumed the duties of Senior Advisor of Counterinsurgency with JUSMAG in Thailand.
From 1964 to 1967 he worked as staff officer of the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff in Washington D.C.
The former CO of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., left for an assignment attending Tulane University Graduate school in New Orleans.
A Losing Battle
Hoi Chanh Tell of Hard Times, Why Return
DUC PHO - "We are fighting a losing battle! We can't get any rest! We are short of food and our leaders have not kept any of their promises to us! We are tired of being hunted down like animals!"
These are but a few of the reasons given by Hoi Chanh in the Duc Pho area escaping from Viet Cong control and rallying to the GVN.
Another important reason, and the one pointed to with pride by 1LT Louis Beck, leader of the 245th Psyops Co. team attached to the 3rd Bde. Task Force, 25th Inf. Div., has been the success of psychological warfare on the Communists.
"I heard you talking from airplanes and read the leaflets you've dropped," explained many of the returnees.
The leaflets dropped contain statements and pictures of other "Hoi Chanh" ralliers and show them the power of Allied forces.
Among the leaflets dropped are "National Safe Conduct Passes" which allow dissatisfied enemy soldiers to "Chieu Hoi" or safely turn themselves in to free world units.
Communist cadremen have issued strong warnings to their men not to be caught with any government information in their possession.
Despite this, the enemy troops have become avid readers of the leaflets according to Hoi Chanh. Rewards are given as incentives for information regarding the whereabouts of enemy mines and booby traps and for turning in weapons.
For the past 15 years the Due Pho District of Quang Ngai Province has been a free movement area for NVA and VC.
Suddenly the tide has turned and the enemy is no longer free to roam and terrorize the villagers.
One former VC squad leader, now a returnee, stated, "I was in a firefight this morning just before dawn and for every round I fired, twenty men fired back at me. With odds like that I knew I never could win."
Since the 3rd Bde. closed the Duc Pho area on April 19, more than 120 Hoi Chanh have rallied. Thirty-three returned in a two day period, one of which was an NVA political officer who stated, "I am returning to the GVN because I can no longer lie to my people. I tell them we are winning and we lose.
"I tell them food, clothing and medicine are coming but it never arrives for them or me. Your men seem to have a will to win because they have something to fight with and for."
The Psyops team has taken many such returnees and given them the things which the Communists fail to give.
They are taken to the Chieu Hoi center in Quang Ngai. There the government relocates them and, if necessary, educates them in a trade so they will become useful citizens of Vietnam.
When asked how he felt about the sudden influx of returnees, Beck replied, "For every Chieu Hoi that comes in I know our work has not been in vain, and we are doing a good job of reaching the people. This is a never ending job yet it is one where there is real satisfaction.
"We realize that Psyops alone cannot do the job but with the help of combat forces and civic action teams, we will eventually achieve our goal which is to display an interest in a free government for the people.
65th Slices Thru Boi
The last phase of Operation "Manhattan," that of clearing the heavy tropical secondary growth of the southern Boi Loi woods, will be completed by next week, reports a 65th Cbt. Engr. Bn. spokesman.
To date 3500 acres have been cleared by Co. C, aided by elements of the 588th Engr. Bn. Security for the engineers and their heavy equipment has been the responsibility of the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf.
MAJ William Borum, battalion plans and operations officer, definitely feels that by clearing the Boi Loi area, Allied forces are denying the communist-led guerillas the use of what was the center of terrorist activities and a major supply point.
Hundreds of bunkers, tunnel complexes and trench lines, containing tons of weapons, ammunition and food caches have been uncovered.
Many of the underground fortifications, according to 1LT Jack Hansman, Co. C commander, are old but show signs of recent improvement.
Gary Hartt, 2nd Bn. (Mech.), 22nd Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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