Vol 2 No. 29 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 1||2nd Surg. Hosp. 3||2/77 Arty 3||3rd Bde 7|
|1/5 4||2/9 Arty 3||25th Inf 1||3rd Bde Photo 7|
|1/5 Photos 4||2/12 Photo 3||25th Inf Photo 3||44th Scout Dog 1|
|1/5 6||2/14 Photo 1||25th Inf Photos 8||44th Scout Photo 6|
|1/5 6||2/14 1||25th Avn Photo 3||65th Engr Photo 1|
|1/5 Photo 7||2/14 7||25th Med Bn. 1||Red Cross 2|
|1/35 6||2/22 1||3rd Bde 3||Red Cross Photo 3|
|1/35 Photo 6||2/27 7||3rd Bde 3||Red Cross 7|
|2nd Bde 6|
Phu Hoa Dong 'County Fair' Photos on Back Page
Big 'Fair' Underway
A multi-brigade force of U.S. and Republic of Vietnam Infantrymen July 7 launched one of the 25th Div's largest "County Fairs" over an area honeycombed with tunnel complexes, 33 kms north of Saigon in Hau Nghia Province.
That operation is still continuing.
Elements of the 25th Div and the 5th ARVN Div, combining civic action and a military seal and search operation, encircled and combed the village of Phu Hoa Dong.
After setting a seal around the village, a search turned up a maze of tunnel complexes which started within the village and led into the nearby Filhol rubber plantation.
Division officials estimated that 80 per cent of the villagers 11,000 inhabitants are Viet Cong or communist sympathizers.
On the perimeter around the village, one infantry company discovered three of the tunnels when an engineer trench-digging tractor scooped a 100-meter slice out of the ground bordering the rubber plantation.
Tunnel rats to date have searched some 1600 meters of tunneling, and reported finding 11 separate rooms within the maze.
The village itself is only one and a half kms southwest of the site where a 25th Div company ran up against human-wave assaults last February, killing 114 Communists.
Inside the village, civic action teams from the Div's 1st Bde fed and entertained the villagers while National Police and ARVN soldiers conducted a house-to-house search and checked ID cards against "black lists" of suspected Viet Cong.
Check stations through which the villagers were filed, reported detaining 231 people and capturing seven confirmed Viet Cong as of July 8.
According to division civil affairs spokesmen, the operation will continue with the eventual relocation of 75 per cent of the village's families to form a new consolidated hamlet. The new hamlet will receive U.S. aid for education, sanitation, road construction and medical facilities.
|KEEPING HEADS DOWN - Soldiers of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf. take cover as an Air Force F-100 (circled) hits an enemy position near Saigon during 25th Inf Div Operation "Barking Sands." (Photo by PFC Bill Wermine)|
Cu Chi Mortared, 5th Time
At least 16 enemy 82mm mortar rounds landed within the Cu Chi Base Camp July 13, injuring 15, four seriously. The attack began at 9:33 p.m.
The exact round count was not possible due to heavy rains which quickly caved in the newly made craters.
Two possible mortar positions were located four kms northwest of the base camp shortly after enemy shelling began, and artillery fire was returned.
Damage, termed "light" by a military spokesman, included two buildings, three bunkers, and one trailer van.
1SG James Ramsay, HQ & Co A, 25th Med Bn, told of a round hitting the company's command bunker. "The explosion did not damage the bunker much, but shrapnel did break my water cooler in the orderly room," Ramsay said.
The Cu Chi base camp was first hit by enemy fire in June of last year. This attack brought the total to five. The last one was on May 12 when 12 rounds fell within the perimeter resulting in no casualties.
Lost And Unable To Eat
He Lives For 10 Days
The bullet had entered his nose, passed through his tongue and torn away part of his jaw bone. Yet somehow, although lost in the jungles of Vietnam, unable to eat, and given up for dead, he managed to stay alive for 10 long days.
This is the story of Ringo, a member of the 44th Inf Scout Dog Plt stationed at Dau Tieng.
Ringo and his handler were leading a reconnaissance patrol of the 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf, near Tay Ninh on July 3, when suddenly Ringo alerted just as an unknown number of Viet Cong ambushed the U.S. soldiers. In the following fire fight the dog became separated from his handler and when the patrol pulled back was believed to have been killed.
For the next 10 days he apparently wandered in the jungle, unable to eat and growing thinner each day.
On July 13, a patrol returning to Tay Ninh found they were being followed by a dirty, blood-caked, and tired animal. It was Ringo.
Upon reaching Tay Ninh Ringo would allow no one to come near him. He was apparently searching for his handler back where he had started 10 days before.
Finally a dental technician appeared on the scene, won the dog's confidence, and accompanied him on an evacuation flight to the 25th Inf Div base camp at Cu Chi for further treatment.
CPT Thomas A. Dees, 25th Div veterinarian, operated on Ringo into the early morning hours and although remaining hopeful, has announced the dog to be in poor condition.
Ringo's handler, SP4 Roger Jones of Pierce City, Mo., was said to have been delighted when told Ringo had been found, but saddened at the outcome.
Punji Pit Plunger Says 'Somebody' Is With Him
After two mighty close brushes with VC punji pits SGT Harold Felty of Salinas, Calif., is sure "somebody up there" is looking after him.
Felty, a squad leader with the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf , crashed through the camouflaged cover of a punji pit just after the start of a search and destroy operation southwest of the 25th Inf Div base camp at Cu Chi. A stake tore a corner off his boot but his leg missed the razor sharp spikes.
Minutes later he stepped on a trip wire of a VC booby trap grenade that was stretched over a second punji pit. The strong trip wire jammed on the split top of one of the stakes giving his foot enough support for him to jump away.
A closer inspection of the grenade showed that another half inch pull and it would have detonated.
Ten VC Caught At Work
Ten Viet Cong bent on planting demolitions along a 25th Inf Div supply route, were almost demolished themselves by an ambush patrol.
Communist-led guerrillas had been sneaking in at night to mine the road between the division's base camp and the forward supply base of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf.
An ambush patrol had been hidden behind the high dikes of a rice paddy running parallel to the known avenue of approach.
As SP4 Martin Carlson of Youngstown, Ohio, was setting up his Claymore mine, he noticed figures moving in his direction along a woodline. The rest of the team was alerted and the approaching VC were observed through a night viewing device.
"When the point man got to within five feet of the dike," relates Carlson, "we opened up with everything we had." Four VC were killed and Carlson reported seeing several others wounded.
Six large CHICOM Claymore mines and several time fuses and blasting caps were captured.
Says Carlson, "It happened so fast, I don't think the VC got off a single shot."
|DOWN FOR FIFTEEN YEARS - Soldiers from the 65th Cmbt Engr Bn survey a bridge over the Trang Bang River in Tay Ninh Province built by the Japanese during World War II and later destroyed by Viet Minh forces. Reconstruction will provide 25th Div convoys easier access to north bound routes and farmers in outlying hamlets a speedier delivery to markets in Trang Bang. (Photo by PFC Joe Carey)|
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
LTC John A Bender, HHC 3d Bn, 22nd Inf
CPT Edgar L. Nealon, HHC, 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div
1LT George P. Rogers, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Keith D. Cumpston, HHC, 1st Bn, 14th Inf
LEGION OF MERIT
COL James G. Shanahan, HHC, 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div
|LTC Bruce Holbrook, HHB, 2nd Bn, 9th Arty|
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
CPT Jacky A. Burr, HHC, 1st Bn, 35th Inf
SP4 Johnny Banks, Co B, 1st Bn, 35th Inf
COL Edwin W. Emerson, HHC and Band, 25th Inf Div
SGT Joe Martinez, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Robert E. Rossman, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 William D. Blessman, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Ben Coy, HHC, 25th S & T Bn
SP4 George H. Haddox, Co B, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22d Inf
SP4 Lionel E. Hewitt, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Ronny L. Palmer, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Joseph D. Prince, Jr, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William O. McNew, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Sherman E. Ratliff, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Roy L. Branham, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
PFC David A. Brileya, Co C, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf
PFC Paul Cyr, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
PFC Curtis L. Duckett, Co C, 2nd Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Curtis T. Harmon, Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Eddie M. Mann, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf
PFC Howard T. Rice, Jr, Co C, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22rd Inf
College Degree - OCS Plan Qualifications Now Listed
WASHINGTON (ANF) - The first enlisted men participating in the U.S. Army's new Baccalaureate Degree - Officer Candidate School Program will begin their civilian schooling in September.
The program, which was approved in June, will offer up to 50 qualified enlisted personnel annually the opportunity to complete work on a bachelor's degree and then attend OCS.
To be selected, applicants must meet the following general qualifications:
• Educational, mental, moral, citizenship, medical fitness, combat training, and advanced individual training requirements of OCS, as stated in AR 350-50. • Be on active duty at the time of application.
• Have a minimum of one year's service in the active Army when training begins.
• Be serving in enlisted status.
• Be able to complete OCS before age 28.
• Have an adequate foundation of previous college training to insure completion of a degree program within 24 consecutive months.
The program will permit study in a variety of disciplines that are particularly suited to the needs of the Army.
Upon completion of college requirements, participants will attend OCS, leading to a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve as a second lieutenant with concurrent call to active duty for three to four years.
Applications may be submitted in accordance with a new Department of the Army Circular that will be available shortly.
PX's Offer More Goods
SAIGON (MACV) - The Vietnam Regional Exchange (VRE) has recently increased the amount of foreign goods offered to its customers. Japan supplies the bulk of these items, followed by Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries.
The major purchases are audio-visual equipment: cameras, tape recorders, stereo sets, radios and related items. Watches, dinnerware, electric appliances and European manufactured perfumes make up the remainder of the offshore purchases.
The $3 million spent monthly through October 1966 in offshore purchases has more than doubled and current monthly expenditures are expected to reach $7.6 million to satisfy the increasing serviceman population.
All foreign merchandise purchased in the VRE meet APO shipping weight and size and may be mailed to the States without undue delay and cost.
Lightweight Ponchos Could Trim Your Load
FORT BENNING, Ga. (ANF) - The U.S. Army Infantry Board here is testing a poncho which is more than a pound lighter than the present model. If the new poncho meets all requirements it may be adopted for Army-wide use.
The light-weight poncho is another step in a program to reduce the weight of all equipment and clothing carried or worn by the combat infantryman.
Made of rip-stop nylon twill with a vinyl coating on the outside only, the new item weighs 1.64 pounds. The poncho now in use, which is a nylon twill with waterproofing on both sides, weighs 2.67 pounds.
Development of the projected lightweight clothing and equipment system, including the new poncho, is a project of the U.S. Army Natick Laboratories.
All War Souvenirs Need Registration
FORT MONROE, Va. (ANF) -If you want to bring that war trophy home from Vietnam, better register it.
Officials at Hqs, US Continental Army Command (USACONARC) have called for a campaign throughout USACONARC military establishments to alert soldiers and their families to the dangers of death-dealing souvenirs.
Concern about accidents caused by explosives brought back from overseas as war souvenirs initiated the campaign.
Individuals returning from Vietnam with war trophies - firearms or other lethal items - are required to have a War Trophy Registration Authorization, DD Form 603-1, in their possession.
Army Regulation 643-20, "Control and Registration of War Trophies and War Trophy Firearms," explains the criteria for owning such items.
Red Cross Starts To Fill Gift Bags For US Forces
The American Red Cross is thinking about Christmas already.
Red Cross chapters across the country have begun making and filling gift bags in a project designed to give every U.S. Armed Forces man and woman in Vietnam a gift during the holiday season.
Called "Red Cross Shop Early-Vietnam," the plan aims at production of 525,000 gift bags, made from denim or cotton so that they can be reused.
The bags will be filled with personal and useful items and shipped to field directors between early September and Oct. 15. Included in the total will be bags specially packed with feminine articles for distribution to women members of U.S. forces in Vietnam.
Red Cross officials invite the participation of local organizations and groups in the Christmas gift project. (ANF)
Arrowhead Requirements Are Changed
WASHINGTON (ANF) - The U.S. Army has changed its requirements for awarding the Bronze Arrowhead for unit participation in a major assault into enemy-held territory.
Criteria for presenting the award have been expanded to include units participating in helicopter landings in enemy-held territory as part of an organized force carrying out an assigned tactical mission.
To qualify, a unit must be part of an operation large enough to warrant designation by the Department of the Army as a campaign and be of such magnitude as to include tactical elements of at least one other U.S. service. The committed force must ultimately control the area in which it has landed.
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.
Maj.Gen. John C. F. Tillson III . . . . Commanding General
Maj. Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
Capt. John P. Fortner . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . Editor
Sp4 Terry S. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
PFC George R. Hairston . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
Town Council Visits
DAU TIENG - Fifteen members of the town council of Dau Tieng helped the men of the 2nd Bn, 77th Arty, celebrate Independence Day here while they were escorted around the base camp by LTC Fred J. Merritt, the battalion commander. Their visit was highlighted by an aerial view of Dau Tieng from a small OH-23G observation helicopter.
Beginning early in the morning the visitors, one woman and 14 men, were taken for coffee at the Redlegs NCO club where introductions were made. After the introductions, a tour of the firing battery area where the methods of executing a fire mission were explained and demonstrated. The blast of the 105mm howitzer round left a few of the visitors ears ringing but they were obviously interested in the operation of the gun section through the number of questions asked during the demonstration.
A short walk to the metro station gave the Vietnamese some idea of the weather data which is collected every day for the use in computing artillery concentrations. A weather balloon was launched and inside the instrument shack the visitors watched as the transmitter from the balloon sent back the height of the clouds, the temperature and humidity at different levels, and the direction and speed of the wind in the upper altitudes.
A ride on a "Duster" track around the area brought the group back to the "Lanyard Lounge" where refreshments were served before going to dinner in the Headquarters Battery mess hall.
For the trip back to 3rd Bde. Headquarters, COL Merritt arranged to have his OH-23 helicopter ferry the dignitaries two by two after circling Dau Tieng to let them see what their town is like from the air.
New 3rd Bde CO
DUC PHO - COL George E. Wear has assumed command of the 3rd Bde Task Force, 25th Inf Div, succeeding COL James G. Shanahan who has returned to the States.
Upon assuming command, Wear praised the men and said he considered it a great honor to have the opportunity to command the brigade.
A 1944 graduate of West Point, the colonel began his military career as a rifle platoon leader in World War II. He served as a company commander and battalion commander during the Korean War.
He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces War College, Army War College, and holds a master of science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
"I will do everything within my power to provide the guidance and leadership at the top that every brigade deserves and must have," COL Wear said during the ceremony.
Guest speaker was MG William R. Peers, commanding general of the 4th Inf Div. MG Peers welcomed the new commander and said, "He (COL Wear) comes to us and to your brigade with all the credentials and with a high degree of professionalism."
Bobzien 2/9 CO
DUC PHO - LTC Gerald B. Bobzien has assumed command of the 2nd Bn, 9th Arty, during a ceremony at the tactical command post of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div. He succeeds COL Bruce Holbrook.
In. accepting his new post the colonel stated, "If I had been offered my choice of any battalion in Vietnam I would have chosen the 'Mighty Ninth' based on my previous experience with it and based on the 3rd Bde's record in Washington."
During the year preceding COL Bobzien's assumption of command, the battalion made 151 battery displacements by helicopter, a record in the U.S. Army.
|A THREE STAR CAKE - Former 25th Division Commander LG Fred C. Weyand, now head of the US II Field Force, cuts a cake presented him in honor of his recent promotion. MG John C. F. Tillson III, present division commander, looks on. The cake-cutting took place in the General's Mess at Cu Chi.|
Nurse Trails Future Hubby To Vietnam
DUC PHO - Life is not a honeymoon in Vietnam, but it may lead to one for 1LT Carl F. Stout and 1LT Mary P. Reis.
On completion of their tours in Vietnam, the two Army officers plan to be married.
Most soldiers here are troubled because they are halfway around the world from their sweethearts, but you can even be troubled by being 40 miles apart assures Stout.
Stout is an artillery forward observer in the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, near Duc Pho, while Mary is serving in the Army Nurse Corps at the 2nd Surg Hosp in Chu Lai. Since arriving in Vietnam last December, the two have been able to see each other three times.
The artillery lieutenant and his fiancee met in the officer's club at Fort Ord, Calif. About the time their romance began to flourish he received orders for Vietnam. The pretty nurse then volunteered for duty in Vietnam also.
On June 5, during a break in a fire mission, Stout received a delayed happy birthday message from his future wife over the radio. After receiving the message, everyone on the net broke in with more birthday greetings for the surprised F.O.
|SANDBAGGERS - The Red Cross girl has become somewhat of a fixture on the larger base camps in Vietnam, but very few venture beyond the confines of these relatively safe areas. Recently two young ladies departed by chopper from Tay Ninh where the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, is now located, for outlaying fire support bases where elements of both Co's A and B were situated. This was not the first venture for Miss Marian Gibbs and Miss Mary Peshek as they often seek to reach the trooper in the field where a little cheering up might do some good. Sometimes their activities include helping to fill sandbags, a task with which all soldiers are familiar. Above, Miss Gibbs (r) and Miss Peshek show 2/ 12th "Warriors" how it's done. (Photo by SP4 Brant Olds)|
Advisory Team Helps Duc Pho
DUC PHO - The sign over the door reads, "We have done so much with so little, we can now do anything with nothing."
In the short seven months that CPT Peter R. Bankson has served as subsector advisor in Duc Pho District, the community has undergone a considerable change. Once firmly in the grip of the Viet Cong, Duc Pho has gained its freedom and is rapidly learning the ways of democracy.
Working hand-in-hand with the district chief, Bankson's five-man MACV advisory team has helped the village get on its feet. Schools, refugee camps and private homes are rapidly going up. As many as 30 to 40 homes are built a week.
Improving the small police force was a real feat. It was the first Vietnamese law in many parts of the district in years.
"Security was definitely our biggest problem," reflected Bankson. "Before the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, moved into the area it was next to impossible to reach the local villages and hamlets. Each time we ventured out of the compound we faced the possibility of attack by VC in the area."
Now with the security provided by the infantrymen, the team has been able to expand its operation in helping the Vietnamese.
Staying in the background, the team assists the district chief in his plans to improve the people's lives through the teaching of modern farming techniques and self-government.
The sign over the door of the MACV compound will soon be changed to "We've done it!"
|CREW CHIEF FIDDLES WHILE PILOT BURNS - PFC Kelly Jones of Nevada, Mo., is apparently holding up a helicopter mission, to the chagrin of WO pilot Gordon Oxford of Gordon, Ala., as he practices his fiddling. Jones is a professional Country and Western fiddler now in Vietnam serving as a crew chief with the 25th Avn Bn, 25th Inf Div.|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
5th Mech Assists Villagers With Redevelopment
by LT A.R. Karel
It all started back in May 1966 when the men of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, still busy with securing the Cu Chi base camp, donated 60 imported U.S. pigs to the townspeople of Tan Phu Trung. It all ended last week with a Vietnamese village that serves as a model of truly Allied cooperation.
The pigs were the first assistance the 2nd Bde soldiers provided the village to bolster its sagging diet. Since then thousands of pounds of lumber, cement and medical supplies have been contributed through the unit's civil affairs program.
But the key word in the story of the shining village south of Cu Chi on Highway 1 was not contribution; it was cooperation. The townspeople themselves provided the labor that gave them a new school, dispensary, village office, and defensive compound.
They hammered, sawed and painted their way to a village that has been called the finest example of Allied civil affairs cooperation in all of southern South Vietnam.
Generals, Congressmen and planning officials have all visited Tan Phu Trung. They have come away impressed, but more important, they have returned to their homes with ideas that will make more "Tan Phu Trungs" possible throughout the country.
When the "Mech" first came to the village it looked like hundreds of other hamlet areas. The people just didn't have the material they needed to maintain what they had, and build what they needed.
Medical teams held medical civic action programs, the soldiers brought in truckloads of lumber, cement and paint. A brick-making machine was brought in, and construction began.
Within a few weeks the beginnings of the new buildings began to appear. The work became a community project with everyone pitching in. By April, most of the work was complete.
At a recent ceremony marking the movement of the "Mech" out of the village into another area, the village chief expressed the feelings of all the townspeople. He thanked the battalion for a year of outstanding attention and cooperation, and told the battalion officers present that should combat operations again permit, the people would be proud to have the unit back in Tan Phu Trung.
|WORKERS COME TO BUILD THEIR OWN CHURCH IN TAN PHU TRUNG.|
|PAINT PRESERVES THE BUILDINGS, GIVING THE VILLAGE A BRIGHT EXTERIOR.|
|ALL THE WORK WAS DONE BY THE VILLAGERS WITH MATERIAL FROM THE "MECH."|
|THE REFURBISHED VILLAGE OFFICE GIVES THE CHIEF A PLACE TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT.|
|MAJ WILLIAM HARRIS, XO OF THE "MECH" PRESENTS PLAQUE TO VILLAGE CHIEF.|
|IN THE CENTER OF THE VILLAGE STANDS ONE OF THE FINEST FORTRESSES IN THE AREA. THE OBSERVATION TOWER SURVEYS THE SURROUNDING WOODS.|
|THE NEW SCHOOL HOUSE IS A SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH A TRULY ALLIED EFFORT. THE SCHOOL HOUSE IS THE PRIDE OF TAN PHU TRUNG.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
APCs Can Go Where Troops Go
By LT A.R. KAREL
When Operation "Attleboro" broke out into big fighting in Nov. 1966, the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, headed their armored personnel carriers (APC's) north from Cu Chi and were ready to fight in War Zone "C" in one day's time.
In a matter of hours they had outrun all 25th Div artillery but they were still totally covered by indirect fire support. They took it with them.
Mounted in many of the "Mech's" carriers are lethal packets of fire support. From the outside, they look about the same as other carriers. But inside are mounted mortar tubes that can support the unit anywhere, anytime.
"We can go anywhere the men go," said SSG Melvin Barnes of Washington, D.C., the unit's mortar platoon leader. Barnes' platoon makes use of the big 4.2 inch mortar to cover the troops out to more than 5000 meters.
Their armored carriers are specially constructed for the heavy weapon. A built-in turntable base plate rotates for fine aiming. To make major changes in the direction of fire, the driver simply cranks up the engine and turns the carrier.
Five soldiers man each heavy mortar carrier. The squad leader is in charge. The gunner and assistant gunner set the correct aiming data on the gun's sites. The charge setter places the proper amount of propellant on the round. The last man in the squad is the driver. Many of the "Mech's" mortarmen are school trained but a lot are "on-the-job" trainees who get practice by actually firing at VC.
From the time it slams to a stop, it takes only five minutes to have a barrage of bad news heading toward enemy positions.
Much of that time is taken to calculate the correct site setting. This is the work of the fire direction center, and is no easy task. Figuring on large pizza shaped plotting boards, they take sightings radioed in by a forward observer, and convert them to effective site settings. Corrections, if needed, are calculated the same way.
The 4.2 mortar platoon can answer almost any fire support need of its troops with a choice of high explosive, white phosphorous, and illuminating rounds. They fire missions in support of all units within the battalion.
But Viet Cong meeting up with the "Mech" face even more than the might of the heavy mortar platoon. Within each company there are carriers that mount the 81mm mortar, the deadly little brother of the 4.2.
Again there are special mountings, but this time the weapon can be rotated a full 360 degrees without moving the carrier.
Site setting calculations are just the same for the 81 as for the larger weapon. Within two minutes of the time the first information is radioed in, a round can be on the way. Crack gunners can have a round out the tube ten seconds after receiving the computed site settings.
It has been said that the American soldier is the best supported trooper in the world. When you consider the case of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, and its mobile fire support and add to that massive U.S. artillery firepower, it's easy to believe.
CPT Decorated For Heroism
The nation's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross was presented to CPT Thomas V. McCarthy of Columbia, S.C., during ceremonies at 25th Inf Div Headquarters.
McCarthy received the award for his heroic actions in January during the multi-division Operation "Cedar Falls."
His company was following two tanks into a particularly heavily fortified area of the Filhol Plantation when both tanks struck Viet Cong mines and were crippled.
As his men dove for cover the area erupted with the blast of command detonated mines and boobytraps. Seconds later the enemy began murderous fire from a bunker to the unit's front.
Realizing the critical danger his men faced, McCarthy charged through the minefield toward the bunker but was blown to the ground by an exploding mine. In the explosion, one of his radio operators was killed and another injured.
He resumed his charge despite painful wounds but was knocked down by a second explosion. Again he rose to his feet and continued the attack, this time spraying the bunker with rifle fire as he ran. He threw grenades into an opening, killing the enemy and destroying the position.
Then he ran back through the minefield and directed medical care for his wounded. He aided many of the men himself before accepting care for his wounds.
McCarthy is currently serving as assistant operations officer at Headquarters, 2nd Bde.
|A VIETNAMESE HAM - Bo, a scout dog with the 44th Inf Sct Dog Plt attached to the 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, gives Con Lon a lesson on the finer points of scouting while the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf, searches a village. (SP4 Brant Olds)|
3rd Oldest Regt
Bobcats Celebrate 169th Anniversary
Last week marked the 169th anniversary of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf - the third oldest regiment in the U.S. Army.
It was organized on July 16, 1798, and has since seen duty from the farthest reaches of the American frontier to Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Philippines, Panama, Europe and Korea.
During the War of 1812 the 5th Mech participated in the actions at La Cole Hill, Cook's Hill and Chippewa. It assumed a major role in the Battle of Lundy's Lane which halted the British invasion at Niagara. It was during this battle that the Regiment's motto, "I'll try, Sir," was born.
From the 1857 expedition against the Seminole Indians in Florida until 1894, when it assembled at Ft. McPherson, Ga., to maintain order during labor troubles, the 5th fought and protected the frontiers during the westward expansion period.
In 1898 subsequent to the Spanish-American War the 5th served in the occupation of Cuba and took part in the Philippine Insurrection during 1900 and 1901. It was later ordered to guard the Panama Canal during World War I.
In World War II the regiment was assigned to the 71st Inf Div. It landed in France on Feb. 6 and immediately took up defensive positions near the German border. It crossed the Rhine River and participated in destroying the 6th German SS Division.
On March 28, 1945, the 5th was a unit of General Patton's Third Army. It received three battle credits in World War II: the American Theatre, Rhineland and Central Europe.
The Regiment arrived in Korea on July 31, 1950, and participated in all ten campaigns of the Korean War.
The "Bobcats" led the way in the clearing of the 25th Div's Cu Chi base camp and were the first unit in the "Tropic Lightning Division" to have one of its members win the Congressional Medal of Honor. They have participated in Operations "Attleboro, Cedar Falls, Junction City" and "Manhattan."
HB Section Has Moved
If you are packing your war trophies, tape recorders and old letters for the trip home, remember that the Hold Baggage Section has moved to its new location beside the APO.
The move provides the section with more room. Being near the APO is convenient.
One copy of your orders will be necessary to get shipping boxes. Boxes built to your specifications can be ordered in a few days.
Viet Cong To See Red
DUC PHO - While operating in the Duc Pho area the 3rd Bde Task Force has made several unusual discoveries. The latest was 30 red scarves.
While on a search and destroy mission northwest of Duc Pho the reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, found 30 red scarves hidden in a small village. The curious platoon leader, 1LT John McRae, called for an interpreter.
The interpreter explained to the infantrymen that the VC wear these scarves on their arms during mass attacks so that they can identify their men.
|HELPING HAND - A soldier from the 1st Bn, 35th Inf, slices raw sugar for these Vietnamese women. The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, is lending a hand to the villagers in the Duc Pho area. (Photo by PFC Eric Schmidt)|
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 24, 1967
In a War Zone Too
Hamburgers & Shakes
DAU TIENG - A 155mm artillery shell destroyed the silence of the base camp as the round headed for suspected Viet Cong positions in rugged War Zone C.
"Gimme' a hamburger!"
"Commin' right up."
"An' a shake too!"
"Chocolate or vanilla?"
Outside the perimeter of the 3rd Bde., 4th Inf Div, a never-ending war of cat and mouse rages, but inside the Ivy camp a new and welcomed addition has made life a little more pleasurable: a genuine "off any stateside street" snack bar - the first and only in War Zone C.
Staffed with five Vietnamese girls and three Ivy troopers the newest development of the Michelin Rubber Plantation base camp can "feed an army."
Stocked with some 8,000 hamburgers and 8,000 hot dogs the snack bar serves golden brown fries, shakes, home-type chili and juice drinks.
The enlisted men keeping the burgers sizzling and the shakes shaking are all from infantry units. Each man has been wounded at least once in enemy action.
Sp4 Carl A. Lammers, Breese, Ill., is the head cook. Sp4 Tom W. Spears, Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, and Sp4 James F. Shaw, Baltimore, Md., help keep the establishment in order. All three men have civilian experience in the short order field.
"The credit for the new snack bar goes to COL Kenneth E. Buell, brigade commander," LT Jesse Jackson said as he kept track of the sales inventory on the first day receipts. "MAJ George W. Goetz, the Saigon area exchange officer, deserves credit too," he said.
On the opening day - set purposely to help celebrate the 4th of July - the staff found themselves busy broiling 702 hamburgers, pouring 1000 cold drinks, shaking 500 malts and making 100 sandwiches - most of the 4th Div units were still in the field looking for the VC.
Future plans include a Japanese pagoda-type patio nested under numerous shade trees and Vietnamese contractors will lend a local touch in the development program.
After a good hamburger, with everything, and a cold drink each Ivyman has only to make an about face, take about 30 steps and go for a swim in the brigade's refurnished pool. All this in a Viet Cong war zone.
|STEREO SOLDIER - PFC Bobby E. May carries a loud speaker system on a search and destroy mission with the 3rd Bde, 25th lnf Div. Psychological Operations teams use the speakers with Vietnamese interpreters when approaching a village.|
Mud Gives VC Away
Oozing mud in a rain-swollen rice paddy provided a warning system for a 25th Div four-man listening post.
SP4 David Buller of Iowa, La., leader of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf team, heard a strange sound coming from the darkness to his left front. "It sounded like a vacuum cleaner picking up a piece of paper from a carpet." Turning quickly, Buller saw a Viet Cong guerrilla climbing out of a rice paddy onto a dike followed by four others.
Without hesitation, Buller shot the lead VC, and the other four retreated.
Checking the body, Buller found six U.S. fragmentation grenades, a brand new compass, some money and a dry cigar. He was wearing U.S. webb gear.
RC Director Frizzel
Arrives At 25th Div
W. A. (Al) Frizzel is the new division Red Cross field director. His most recent stateside assignment was Ft Myer, Va.
Al is a 30 year veteran with the Red Cross and has served in many military posts in the Southeastern part of the States, including Ft Gordon, Ga., and Key West, Fla. He also served in Korea and Japan from 1951-53. His last overseas assignment before coming to the division was in Asmara, Ethiopia. Al is also a veteran of World War II.
His last duty assignment was personal affairs officer at Brook Hospital Center, Ft Sam Houston, Tex.
"I am pleased to be with the 25th. I knew the division in Korea, and never heard any but the highest praise for the men and the great esprit de corps," Al said upon arrival. "Now that I am a member of the team I know my tour with the division will be a most rewarding experience and I'm looking forward to meeting the officers and men throughout the division. The Red Cross staff is here to serve the division and I promise that we will do all possible to give the best service, 24 hours a day," Al concluded.
VC Plan No Good,
A Viet Cong plan to draw 25th Div Infantrymen away from two wounded guerrillas with sniper fire failed when the VC were hit from behind by a U.S. maneuver element.
Six of the enemy, including a VC tax collector, were killed and two captured.
Infantrymen from Co B, 2nd Bn, 27th Inf, were chasing two Viet Cong who had been wounded by a helicopter gunship, when they received sniper fire from the village of Ben Long, 33 kms northwest of Saigon.
A task force composed of elements of Alpha and Charlie companies were approximately 1500 meters on the other side of the village and were immediately called into action. The task force, led by CPT Riley L. Pitts, Charlie company commander, rushed into the village and surprised the snipers, who were retreating towards the oncoming Infantrymen.
Seeing the advancing unit, the guerrillas tried to slip off to the flank and into the swamp. Helicopters from the 116th Assault Co blocked their retreat killing three of the local guerrilla force.
The task force, led by elements of Co C killed two enemy and captured two CHICOM rifles.
"We knew one was hiding in a canal so we bombarded the canal with grenades," said SP4 Don Brock, a 2nd Plt squad leader.
"They were watching Co B and didn't notice us coming in from the rear until it was too late," commented Co C 2nd platoon leader, 1LT Fred Noseworthy.
The two wounded VC were evacuated to the 12th Evac Hosp at Cu Chi.
What Sort Of Man Reads TLN?
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 8, 1967
PFC Joe Carey
Map of tunnel complex showing rooms entrances and exits.
|Villagers crowd around band at Festival Area in Phu Hoa Dong.|
|Citizens of Phu Hoa Dong line up near mess tent set up at Festival area.|
|Tunnel rats emerge from tunnel opening in an abandoned well after crawling hundreds of meters underground.|
|Trench digging tractor unearths three tunnel openings while cutting a hundred meter trench near the perimeter established outside the town.|
|Suspected Viet Cong wait for transportation after being detained at one of the National Police checkpoints near Phu Hoa Dong.|
Gary Hartt, 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf. for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 8-12-2004
©2004 25th Infantry Division Association. All rights reserved.