Vol 2 No. 37 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 Photo 6||19th TAC 7||2/22 7||3/22 Photo 1|
|1/5 Photo 7||116th AHC 7||2/27 6||4/9 1|
|1/5 7||125th Signal 7||2/77 Arty 1||4/9 1|
|1/5 Photo 8||2nd Bde 6||2/77 Arty Photo 1||4/9 8|
|1/8 Arty 6||2/12 Cav 2||25th DivArty 8||554th Engr 7|
|1/8 Arty 8||2/14 6||25th DivArty Photo 8||588th Engr 7|
|1/27 1||2/14 Photo 6||25th Med Bn 6||65th Engr Photos 3|
|1/27 6||2/14 6||3rd Bde 8||65th Engr 4|
|1/27 7||2/14 6||3/4 Cav 7||65th Engr Photos 4|
|1/27 8||2/14 7||3/22 1||Cu Chi 1|
Four Win DSCs for 25th's Biggest Battle
Human Wave Assaults Leave 647 Cong Dead
At daybreak last March 21, three battalions of Viet Cong attacked a U.S. Army 25th Div forward base camp with human wave assaults which threatened to overrun its defenders. After a four-hour battle, the enemy retreated leaving 647 dead behind. American casualties - 31 killed and 109 wounded.
On Aug. 30, four soldiers were cited for "extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty" during this battle when they received the Nation's second highest award for heroism - the Distinguished Service Cross.
Three of the men are members of the 2d Bn, 77th Arty: LTC John W. Vessey, battalion commander from Arlington, Va.; SGT Earl Haupt of Cincinnati; and SP4 Samuel W. Townsends of Detroit; and SP5 Richard Hazel of Otter Lake, Mich., who is assigned to the 3d Bn, 22th Inf.
The awards were presented to the men at the 3d Bde's base camp in Dau Tieng where GEN William C. Westmoreland was present for the ceremony.
"Few men wear this decoration," GEN Westmoreland said, "and to award four of them at a single formation is, I believe, unique in the history of this war."
|GEN William C. Westmoreland is flanked by (from left) LTC John W. Vessey, SP5 Richard Hazel, SGT Earl Haupt and SP4 Samuel Townsends. The four soldiers, members of the 2d Bn, 77th Arty, and 3d Bn, 22d Inf, received Distinguished Service Crosses for "extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty" during a Viet Cong attempt to overrun a 25th fire support base. (Photo by SP4 Robert Fungaroli)|
Return Fire Ruins M-16
"I could hardly believe my eyes," remarked SP4 Roger D. Burke of Hingham, Mass., as he looked at his ruined M-16.
During a heliborne assault into the southern portion of the Iron Triangle, Co D, 4th Bn., 9th Inf, came under sniper fire as they started a sweep through the area.
"As I scanned the area," Burke continued, "I saw a Viet Cong off to my left wearing a steel helmet and flak jacket and heavily armed with hand grenades. I alerted the squad and everybody opened up on him.
The VC dropped as he started to duck behind a rice paddy dike but at the same time something slammed into me and knocked me into the knee deep water of the rice paddy.
"I got up and tried to fire my rifle but it wouldn't work. I started to check it and found that a bullet had knocked out the bolt."
Wolfhound Comrades Contribute
Two infantrymen walked silently to the front of the assembled battalion and thrust M-16 rifles with bayonets into the hard Vietnamese dirt.
Then, led by their commander, LTC David Hughes of Colorado Springs, Colo., the men of the 1st Bn, 27th Inf "Wolfhounds," filed silently forward dropping contributions into a basket in memory of two fallen friends.
The money, donated in the names of CPT Leonard "Jerry" Marcum and PFC John Yeast, both killed in action during the 25th Div's Operation "Kolekole," was mailed to the world famous Wolfhound Orphanage in Osaka, Japan.
More than 850 members of the 25th Inf Div unit had gathered at the battalion's Cu Chi base for the service. The number included Div Commander MG F.K. Mearns and Bde Commander COL Edwin W. Emerson.
"It was a sad, yet an inspiring service," said Bn Chaplain (MAJ) S.L. Shannon. "The Wolfhounds seem to have caught the spirit of generosity of an earlier war and an earlier generation."
Soon after the end of World War II, the 27th Inf began supporting a small, half destroyed orphanage in Osaka. Today after nearly 18 years of continuous support, it stands as one of the finest homes in the Far East.
'Glad To See Sun Come Up'
By SP4 Carlos Webb
"I was never so glad to see the sun come up in my whole life," said PFC Willie Townsend of Memphis, Tenn., from his hospital bed after describing the nightlong ordeal of being wounded and surrounded by a Viet Cong squad in the jungle of the Iron Triangle.
Townsend's story began when his platoon was dropped by helicopters late in the afternoon with the mission of securing a landing zone for other elements of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf. Soon after landing they came under heavy sniper fire.
Townsend and PFC Charles Williams of Cowan, Tex., were moving toward a tree line for cover when they realized that they were cut off from the rest of the platoon.
"It was getting dark," Townsend continued, "and all I could think of was how to get through the VC." As the two started toward the tree line 100 meters away, a VC stood up and Townsend killed him with a round from his M-79.
"A second after he dropped, a swarm of his buddies popped out of the tree line running towards us firing."
Townsend and Williams dropped behind a bank of dirt and returned fire. "Just as I dropped I felt a burning pain in my elbow," Townsend said, "and knew that I'd been hit. I remember firing a couple of magazines but then I must have passed out. The next thing I knew it was dark and Williams was crouching over me washing my face."
Williams had put a tourniquet on Townsend's arm to stop the bleeding. "At first I was scared stiff," Williams admitted, "but then when I saw the condition Willie was in I was more worried about keeping him alive until we could make it back to the platoon."
"I could hear the VC talking and rustling through the grass all around us," Townsend went on, "so with Williams' help I was able to crawl about 40 meters from the VC position where we found a clump of matted grass to crawl under and hide.
"During the night flares lit up the area and I figured our company was looking for us but we didn't dare move for fear of being spotted by the VC."
At daybreak gunships made rocket and machine gun runs and the VC withdrew. Williams threw a smoke grenade to show their location but the underbrush was too thick for the helicopters to spot them.
"Then Williams and I saw a helicopter land at a position that we figured was about 1000 meters away," continued Townsend, "and we started walking toward it. I was pretty weak and, Williams was carrying most of my weight."
The two soldiers walked and stumbled through the jungle and as they reached the company's perimeter Townsend collapsed. A dust-off was called in and Townsend was evacuated to the 25th Div's 12th Evac Hosp. Williams continued on the mission with his unit.
Camp Hit 6th Time
Cu Chi base camp was hit by enemy mortar fire for the sixth time when at least 12 82mm mortar rounds fell within its perimeter on Sept. 4. The attack began at 7:25 p.m. and lasted 21 minutes.
Seven U.S. soldiers were wounded, but overall damage was termed light by a military spokesman.
Within 10 minutes after the first round fell, counter-mortar helicopters were in the air. Within five minutes 25th artillery units were returning fire on the suspected enemy position. Dusters and .50 cal. machine guns also fired at the position, believed to have been located 3000 meters north of the camp.
Cu Chi base camp was last mortared on July 13 when 15 U.S. soldiers were wounded. The camp was first hit in June of last year.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite
of his fear,
to carry on. Discipline, pride, self-confidence, and the love of glory
are attributes which will make a man courageous even when he is afraid.
General George S. Patton Jr.
CPT Thomas A. Brewer, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Roger L. Taylor, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Charles E. Roland, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Lavin Aurelio, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Jackie D. Holloman, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
COL David E. Ott, HHC, 25th Inf Div Arty
SP4 Robert L. Taylor, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
BRONZE STAR (VALOR)
MAJ Luther C. Vaughn, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
CPT Frederick C. Phillips, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Dennis L. Trippel, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT William J. Canfield, 116th Aslt Hel Co
2LT Vincent B. McLorg, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PSG Edward J. Gannon, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SFC Joseph F. Newton, HHC
SP5 Gerald G. Brooks, HHC, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Lee D. Williams, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SGT Henry L. Frazier, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech) 23d Inf
SGT John Lenrick, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SP4 Jerry W. Sellers, Co B, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 James P. Allgood, A Btry, 1st Bn, 8th Arty
SP4 Robert L. Pederson, HO & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SP4 James L. Danovsky, Co B, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf
SP4 Lowell R. Carrico, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Juan P. Rios, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 George E. Shomo, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Charles M. Dunn, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John E. Johnson, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
BRONZE STAR (MERIT)
MAJ George F. Newton, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
MAJ Richard C. Winder Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT David A. Bujalski, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
WOl Harley M. Vincent, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
MSG David R. Strandgard, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG Lawrence J. Thomas, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG George F. Lamothe, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SFC Nelson T. Omero, HQ & Svc Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
SSG Robert G. Stapel, HHC, 2d Bde
SSG Joseph T. Hocking, Co B,_ 25th Med Bn
SSG Robert V. Carmody, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Charlie Mosley, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SSG Kenneth H. Kruse, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Richard W. Goodman, HHC, 65th Engr Bn
SGT Bobby D. Weldon, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Loren R. Aase, Co A, 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf
SGT Raymond L. Leavitt, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Thomas R. Matteson, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
SGT Herbert E. Elmore, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP5 Richard A. Fulton, 25th Admin Co
SP5 John D. Quinn, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Joseph J. Amos, Co B, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Anthony Arca, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Richard Cruz, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 David L. Eller, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Paul Vasquez, B Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Lee R. Taylor, Co C, 4th Bn, (Mech), 23d Inf
SP4 Jerome Sims, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Richard W. Griffith, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC William W. Young Jr, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Lyle E. Rohlfsen, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Clarence W. Rogers, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Paul G. Knighton, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
PFC Robert J. Kubinciak, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
PFC Harold Taylor, Co C, 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf
PFC John E. McCullough, Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (VALOR)
SP4 Jerry F. Parks, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PVT Ronald J. Murphy, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
North Wants Control of Viet
In the Spring of 1959, the communist leaders in North Vietnam were growing increasingly impatient. They had won the Viet Minh war five years before and felt they had been cheated out of what they believed was rightfully theirs: control of all Vietnam. That the government in the South was not party to any agreement delivering Vietnam to the communists, or that the people in the South did not want and would not accept such an arrangement, was beside the point.
The Viet Minh leaders had won the war and they meant to have the fruits of victory. For five years their fellow communists, using the argument that the South was divided and its government so weak that soon the whole structure would collapse of its own weight - had dissuaded them from taking direct action to bring all of Vietnam under the red banner.
But finally the waiting game could no longer be endured. Worse, the South steadily was gathering strength and daily its government was becoming more stable. Time was running against the men in Hanoi. And so on March 13, 1959, the Central Committee of the Lao Dong Party, meeting in Hanoi, declared that the time had come to begin the task of "liberating the South, to struggle heroically and perseveringly to smash the Southern regime."
To smash the Southern regime; that was the stated objective. The method was to eliminate by force the Southern governmental apparatus, the country's official natural leaders and establish in each village an apparatus tied to Hanoi.
The assault began in the villages and was to work its way up through the district and then provincial governmental levels until at last there would be a direct attack on the central government itself. Along the way, the enemy's instruments of power - his police and his armed forces, would be won over by proselyting or nullifed by force.
A two-pronged attack was ordered, a political attack and an armed attack. Underlying both attacks was the rational use of terror. Terror was made an integral part of the planned campaign to achieve the single political objective: unification of Vietnam under the communist banner.
SSG Wins MOH
WASHINGTON (ANF) - A U.S. Army sergeant who saved five wounded soldiers with a daring one-man stand against an attacking enemy platoon has received the Medal of honor posthumously.
Secretary of the Army Stanley R. Resor, acting for the President and in the name of Congress, presented the medal to Mrs. Gertraud H. Stewart of Columbus, Ga., widow of SSG Jimmy G. Stewart, in a ceremony at the Pentagon Aug. 24.
The heroic action of Stewart was recognized with the 10th Medal of Honor presented the U.S. Army soldiers for action in Vietnam.
On May 18, 1966, Stewart, of B Co, 2d Bn, 12th Cav, 1st Cav Div (Airmobile), was part of a six-man patrol isolated near An Khe by a surprise attack.
Caught in the direct path of a North Vietnamese thrust, five of the soldiers were wounded. Stewart held his ground to protect his fallen comrades and prevent an enemy penetration of his company perimeter.
"Far past the normal point of exhaustion," the Medal of Honor Citation said, "he held his position for four harrowing hours and through three assaults, annihilating the enemy as they approached. The company position held. Counterattacking U.S. soldiers rescued the five wounded men and found Stewart's body.
Rights Mean Responsibility
"THOSE who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." Freedom was not easily won, nor has it been easily maintained.
Those who wish to enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship must also labor to earn them. For along with the rights of citizenship come the duties.
For every right, there is a responsibility; for every opportunity, there is an obligation.
You who serve in the Armed Forces are fulfilling one of the responsibilities of citizenship - providing for the defense of our Nation.
But to fully meet the obligations of citizenship and reap its benefits, every citizen must not only obey the letter of.the laws, but the spirit as well. It is also the responsibility of every citizen to be well informed about current political and economic questions.
And, it is not only the right, but the responsibility of every citizen to exercise his franchise by voting in every election and urging others to do the same.
History has shown that the democracies which prove to be the most enduring are those in which the individual has the highest sense of civic responsibility and fully participates in government.
The preservation of freedom, equality and justice requires not only the intelligent exercise of the rights and privileges of citizenship, but willing, determined and intelligent assumption of all the responsibilities of citizenship as well. (AFNB)
OC School To Be Cut
Army has announced it will reduce its expanded Officer Candidate School (OCS) program after the present training cycles are completed.
OCS operations are to be discontinued at Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Lee and Fort Eustis in Virginia and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. After Aug. 19, OCS candidates will be assigned to classes only at Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Belvoir, Va.
Under the expanded program, Army commissioned more than 19,000 officers in fiscal year 1967. This was more than five times the number commissioned in fiscal year 1966.
Armored Wheel Vehicles
SAIGON (ANF) - The U.S. Army in Vietnam has added six "Commando" armored cars to its arsenal of mechanized weapons to provide greater protection for supply convoys.
This is the first time that the U.S. Army has used armored wheel vehicles in combat operations since World War II.
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 F.K. Mearns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commanding General
Maj. Bernard S. Rhees . . . . . . . . . . . Information Officer
1Lt. Larry Rottmann . . . . . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG David G. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . Editor-in-Chief
SP5 Terry S. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
PFC Dave Cushman . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial Assistant
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
25th Division Reopens Trang Bang Bridge
|CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED - The newly completed Trang Bang bridge spans the Trang Bang River in Tay Ninh Province. The bridge was reconstructed by the 65th Cbt Engrs, 25th Inf Div. The bridge was originally built by the Japanese during World War II and was later destroyed by the Viet Minh forces. Before the bridge was rebuilt the people had trouble getting their goods to market. The only means they had of transporting their goods to the other side was by ferry. Sampans were used as ferries, but this created a middleman and cost the people time and money. The bridge will also provide 25th Inf Div convoys with an easier access to northbound routes. MG F. K. Mearns, commanding general of the 25th Inf Div, cut the ribbon, opening the bridge. Hundreds of people were on hand for the opening. After the bridge was open the happy people crowded across the bridge. (Photo by 1LT Al Karel)|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
Placid River Sleeping Giant Until Monsoon
Photos by Sp4 Robert Fungaroli
DAU TIENG - Born in the high ground near Cambodia, the Saigon River ambles along at a snails pace as it winds through the dense jungle of War Zone C, past Dau Tieng, and then on to Saigon and the sea. From it's birthplace to Dau Tieng, this placid river is not more than 32 meters wide at any point during most of the year, but when the monsoon rains dump tons of water on the parched earth and jungle left by months of drought, the stream begins to bulge and stretch, out across the countryside. It fills the arid rice paddies, and nourishes the water-starved land for one more year.
Across this sleeping giant, the main supply route for the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, leads from Dau Tieng, across the river and on through rubber plantations, small villages, and rice paddies to Tay Ninh. Constant dumping of laterite (a gravel clay) has built the road up above the ground but the Saigon River, fed by heavy rains engulfed the road recently just outside Dau Tieng. Two to five feet of water suddenly covered the supply route for some 200 meters.
Realizing that the water was not going to subside quickly, the men of Co D, 65th Eng Bn rapidly began construction of a timber trestle bridge to span the flooded portion of the road.
Working in water up to their knees, the engineers first built small sandbag dams to block the water and allow the supports to be implaced. Timber and prefabricated steel bridging was then emplaced and within two days the road was again passable although the center span had not been completed. After passage of the needed convoy on the third day, the engineers emplaced the final span.
The road now stands high and dry over the Saigon flooded area, as the big cargo trucks rumble across the new bridge, bringing to Dau Tieng the needed supplies for a fighting brigade.
|Split by waters of the Saigon River the road looks like a Morse code message with the dots and dashes.|
|With water all around, men fill sandbags for the dams needed to divert the water from the trestle points.|
|A trailer load of timber beams splashes across the river to the far bridge site.|
|The completed span stands high and dry over rice paddies flooded by the Saigon River.|
|A group of Engineers from the 65th Engr Bn discuss the construction of the bridge.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
Man, Dog Reunite
"When I saw that big head come poking around the corner near my bed, I couldn't believe it . . . I thought he'd had it."
That "big head" belonged to a 75-pound German Shepherd scout dog called "Duke." He and his handler, PFC David M. Monger of Fountain City, Ind., were reunited in Ward One of the 25th Med Bn.
The two had last seen each other at the Medevac pad Sunday after both had been brought in by a dustoff chopper - wounded when Bravo Co of the 2d Bn, 14th Inf, was ambushed in the Iron Triangle.
"It was noon and we had just been taken off the point," the 19-year-old soldier recalled. "The jungle was just too thick. A point man needed a machete and you can't chop and handle the dog at the same time."
The platoon was moving in two files. Monger and Duke moved back until they were third in line in the right file. In this formation, they moved up on a hooch in an area where the jungle thinned out a bit. Here, Charlie was waiting in his L-shaped ambush.
"Duke didn't give an alert," Monger explained, "because he relaxes unless he's out on point. That's the way they're trained."
"The first round, from an M-79, killed the man in front of me," Monger said. "Then they detonated a claymore between the two files, killing the point man and hitting me in the left arm and right thigh."
Man and dog dove into a trench off to the left and were pinned down for twenty minutes.
"It was a three-ring circus in there for a while," the handler said. "I was trying to stop the bleeding in my arm, keep the dog from getting his head blown off when he tried to get up and see what was happening, and at the same time keep up a good rate of fire."
Finally a squad leader made it to the trench and the three crawled back to a rear platoon and then to a clearing for the dustoff.
"I didn't know Duke had been hit until we were sitting in a crater waiting for the copter," Monger said. "I could see some swelling in his side, but very little blood, so I figured he had a couple of broken ribs. They told me at the hospital that he'd been hit near the lung and they couldn't operate without puncturing it.
"He already has a piece of shrapnel in him and I was sort of hoping they'd say he wasn't fit for duty so I could take him home. But they tell me he'll be going back out into the field again in about two months."
|TAKE IT IN THE CHIN - Duke is apparently glad to see his handler, PFC David Manger. The two were united in a 25th Med. Bn. ward. (Photo by SP5 Bryan)|
7 day Refresher Crs. For Old and New Alike
In seven days, combat troops who recently arrived in country to the 2d Bn, 14th Inf, will be participating directly in 25th Div combat operations. Although initially well trained, they will be refreshed on new Vietnam developments with particular emphasis on local conditions and operations.
MAJ Charles Fulkerson of Reno, Nev., who is directing the operational phases of the training said, "The refresher training allows us to pass out many of the recent lessons learned in Vietnam to the men in the battalion. This makes it more of a challenge to the instructors as they must make their pitch to both the old and new personnel."
Combat experienced officers and NCOs are conducting these classes. PSG Lawrence Lackey of Columbia, Ga., an instructor in mines and booby traps mentioned, "My experience as a recon platoon sergeant has given me an opportunity to observe VC methods of laying mines and booby traps. These are methods which can be learned and identified."
The men will be refreshed on such vital subjects as M-16 maintenance, VC tactics, civic action, air and artillery support, mines and booby traps and helicopter operations. In addition to classroom training the men will be given practical training in the field to include such subjects as patrolling and reaction firing.
"The emphasis will be on recent developments and lessons learned in Vietnam as applied to local areas of operation. This means that the training is directly valuable and applicable to both the old and new personnel," Fulkerson concluded.
|The lightning two-five radio program which is normally broadcast at 11:45 a.m. will now be aired at 1:05 p.m. on Saturdays. For fine entertainment and interesting interviews be sure to tune in to AFVN.|
Gift Stops Fragment
"I shall never die a sudden death," were the words written on a prayer paper that stopped fragments from a bullet.
"We were caught in a cross-fire," relates PFC Robert Conte of Revere, Mass., "and bullets were coming in from all directions. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp rap on the back of my head."
On examining his steel helmet and helmet liner, Conte found that a bullet had penetrated his helmet and the fragments had torn through his liner to be stopped by the rolled up prayer paper.
The 25th Inf soldier said he was given the prayer paper by another man who had fought with the 2d Bn, 14th Inf, for a year without injury.
1200 Happy Faces
Multiply one happy face by 632 and you have the amount of happiness medics of the 25th Inf Div's, 2d Bde brought in one day to the villagers of Hiep Hoa.
Just the day before, many of the same doctors treated another 600, bringing medical relief to more than 1200 Vietnamese in two days.
The cry "Bac Si" raced through Hiep Hoa soon after the villagers finished breakfast. The word, Vietnamese for doctor, signaled the entrance of doctors from five American units and nurses from Province Health Service.
While medics set up examining lines, old people hobbled out of their homes, sick young people came, and mothers brought their children.
The medics, from a local Special Forces camp, 2d Bde Hqs, the 1st and 2d Bns, 27th Inf, and the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, were joined by a 25th Div dentist.
Many villagers told about earlier doctors when they thanked the American soldiers, but they all said they had never before seen a dentist.
Together, the medical team treated everything from tooth ache to severe leprosy. Arrangements were made for evacuation of several Vietnamese to military hospitals for further treatment.
By the end of the day, the medics left exhausted. As one doctor said, "There was so much we couldn't do, but at least Hiep Hoa went to sleep tonight a little happier than it woke up."
|GOING DOWN - With a rifle and a flashlight ready a 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, tunnel rat prepares to enter a Viet Cong Tunnel. (Photo by 1LT Al Karel)|
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
Bad Spot For Good Camouflage
DAU TIENG - Two Viet Cong who went to great pains to make themselves and their bicycles look like one big bush made one costly mistake near here recently. They planted the bush in the middle of a road.
"I was flying back from a mission," related 1LT Wentlell M. Wilson of Greenville, S.C., a forward air controller for the 19th Tactical Air Support Sqdn stationed at Dau Tieng, "When I saw a big bush in the middle of the road leading northward out of the plantation."
"The camouflage was beautiful and if they had been off to the side I would have never spotted them," he continued. "I had to look twice as it was."
As Wilson flew overhead, the two VC stayed on the road for several minutes and then decided to move to the side.
"It was really funny watching this bush skitter off to the side. I could see the man in the back because his covering only went down to his knees and I could see his legs moving under the bush."
An airstrike was called by Wilson and within minutes F-100 fighters were over the target strafing the area.
"When they were through, the area around the road looked like it had the measles," concluded Wilson.
Result of the action: one moving bush neutralized.
Four-sided Steel Dozer Foxholes
DAU TIENG - The engineers of Co B. 588th Cbt Engrs, have come up with a new way to beat digging foxholes at night. They drive their bulldozers together using the blades as four-sided steel walls.
The engineers are operating with the 2d Bn (Mech), 22d Inf, of the 25th Div's 3d Bde, clearing the road north of Nui Ba Den mountain.
"We usually just dig a small hole at night with one of the blades," said PFC Michael Sonny of Masury, Ohio, "but at the beginning of the rainy season we scooped out a hole one night, it rained, and flooded us out."
For the rest of the rainy season the engineers decided to circle the dozers.
25th GI Meets CoC President
A letter of introduction from the Mayor of Denver to the President of the Takayama, Japan, Chamber of Commerce, led to an exciting and interesting two days for a 25th Inf Div soldier.
Denver and Takayama became sister cities during the term of the late President Kennedy.
SP4 Malcom D. Kaiser, assigned to the 125th Sig Bn, wrote his parents in Denver that he was taking his R&R in Japan.
Denver's mayor heard about Kaiser's intended visit, and decided to send Kaiser a letter introducing him to the President of the Takayama Chamber of Commerce.
The letter was sent to Mrs. Kaiser, who forwarded it to her son. When Kaiser received it, he wrote to the Chamber of Commerce president and relayed his intentions to visit the city.
Kaiser flew to Tokyo, then took a train to Takayama where he was greeted by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, a local doctor, and an interpreter.
The group spent the remainder of the day getting acquainted, then had supper at the Kanko Hotel.
Lightning Raids New Tactic
Lightning swift single platoon raids are a brand new tactic being used with great success by 25th Inf Div "Wolfhounds."
In a recent assault, men of Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, teamed up with gunships of the 116th Aslt Hel Co to kill 18 Viet Cong and detain 27 suspects. There were no friendly casualties.
"Big battles are spectacular," says Battalion Commander LTC David Hughes of Colorado Springs, Colo., "but it's the smaller day to day successes like this that really add up.
"This particular raid that we called the 'little hootch raid' was a prime example," he said. "On a series of five strikes we made that day, we hit action on the third."
Working on intelligence information the platoon, scrambling off assault helicopters, caught an estimated 30-man Viet Cong force apparently holding a meeting in a small house.
The enemy soldiers fled, many of them into nearby open fields.
As the platoon pursued, helicopter gunships orbiting overhead struck with rockets and machine gun fire. Together, the ground and aerial forces accounted for the 18.
Detainees were taken as the platoon swept after the enemy soldiers. They were removed for questioning by Vietnamese authorities.
"When the Wolfhounds first came to Hau Nghia Province it was controlled by the Viet Cong," says Hughes, "and tactics like these platoon raids have now made it highly unpopular with them."
Engrs In RD
A Revolutionary Development project has begun in the village of An Duch, northwest of Saigon.
The project, which involves Co C, 554th Engr Bn, and elements of the 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav, consists of aiding the villagers in upgrading and draining the area in the vicinity of the village slaughter house.
In the past there has been a serious health problem, due to the disposal of wastes and. improper drainage. The problem is being solved by the dumping of laterite and by showing the villagers how to properly drain the area.
In addition there is an effort underway to repair the school playground by preparing the ground for equipment to be delivered at a later date.
The engineers hope to spark a program for the Vietnamese to improve their own village.
|TAKE A LETTER - SGT Paul Hilbrect (left) of Clarence Center, N.Y., and SP4 Joseph Hendrick of Bowling Green, Ky., loosen up their fingers on two typewriters found in an underground Viet Cong tunnel. The 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, has uncovered a quantity of such tunnels along the Oriental River, 40 kms northwest o f Saigon, while participating in the 25th Div's Operation "Kolekole." (Photo by 1LT Al Karel)|
A softspoken Vietnamese interpreter who laid a verbal trap for a Viet Cong, also talked the man into rallying to the side of the government.
The rallier then led the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, to a series of storage bunkers.
SSG Nguyen Thang Long, attached to the 25th Inf Div unit's Co B, was brought in to interrogate a group of detainees after a heliborne combat sweep.
"As soon as I began talking to him I realized that he was a Viet Cong," Long said. "I laid a trap and he fell right into it. After he realized just what he had said, he admitted being a VC.
"I explained to him that the Americans were his real friends and that they were here to fight for the people's freedom," he said.
Soon after the gentle talk, the new rallier led the battalion to five reinforced concrete bunkers and three spider holes.
Pot Saves Another GI
Imagine getting hit on top of the head by a baseball bat. SSG William Roach of Marion, Ind., experienced such a feeling while on a river assault with an element of the 25th Div's 2d Bn, 14th Inf.
Roach had gotten off a River Assault Group (RAG) boat and was making his way through some heavy brush along the shore of the Saigon River, when he heard the snap of a sniper's bullet.
Seconds after he dropped to the ground a bullet hit his steel helmet.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 18, 1967
Refugees Resettle From Dau Tieng
DAU TIENG - From tents on a barren hillock to permanent brick homes with a small garden plot in the backyard - this is the change which 180 refugees from Dau Tieng made recently when they moved with all their household goods to the permanent resettlement area of Lai Thieu.
The move was coordinated by the Tri Tam district officials, who worked with the transportation officer of the 25th Inf Div in providing the three CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters which were used for the move.
The day prior to the exodus, Vietnamese officials went to the refugee camp and announced that the next day the people would be moving to the Lai Thieu resettlement area. They would take all their household goods including their livestock.
The following day, the big Chinooks began to load the people and fly them to Lai Thieu. The manifest was run by the district officials and the entire lift went smoothly with only one minor problem.
"The only problem we had during the move was that the downdraft of the helicopters blew the lid off one of the chicken boxes and we had to chase down the escaped birds," related CPT Vinton D. Loucks, civil affairs officer for the 3d Bde, 25th Div.
Throughout the short flight to Lai Thieu, the refugees were concerned about what it was going to be like when they arrived. Their apprehensions were quickly dispelled when they were greeted by the smiling faces of other refugees who met them as the choppers landed beside the new tin-roofed brick buildings that would be their new homes.
Displaced during Operation "Manhattan" in May, the refugees have been living in a small camp in Dau Tieng. Clothing, food, and other essentials were provided to them as payment for the work they did in the village's public works program.
|The 25th Infantry Division Information Office is presently compiling material and photographs of all division activities from 1 October 1966-1 October 1967. Anyone having good color, black and white, or color slide photographs of combat, civic action, or any other division activities, please bring them to the PIO and give them to LT Rottmann or PFC Hairston. If you desire, the photos will be returned, unharmed, after they are copied. Also any interesting sketches in pencil, ink, or water color can be used.|
A dark jungle trail and a loose bootlace can cause a man to stumble into all sorts of trouble.
PFC Oscar Taylor of Medina, N.Y., was on patrol with an element of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf, in the southern tip of the Iron Triangle 57 kms north of Saigon, when it happened - he tripped over a loose bootlace and pitched forward.
As he fell a Viet Cong popped up from the heavy brush, aimed his automatic rifle at Taylor and pulled the trigger. The weapon jammed and before the VC could clear it, PFC James McDonald of Mahopac, N.Y., killed him with his machinegun.
Thurman Takes Command Of 25th Division Artillery
LTC T. C. Thurman this month assumed command of the 25th Inf Div Arty, succeeding COL David E. Ott who moved to the Pentagon as chief, Officer Personnel Operations, Artillery.
During the change of command ceremony at Div Arty headquarters, Ott was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit (1st oak leaf cluster) and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry with gold star.
The presentations were made by MG F. K. Mearns, 25th Div commanding general, and BG Chinh, artillery officer, III Corps, Army of Vietnam.
Thurman came to Vietnam in 1965 following graduation from the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. His first in-country assignment was chief of schools division, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). In March 1966 he became the senior advisor, Phouc Tuy Province, and in July of last year moved to the American Embassy in Saigon as assistant mission coordinator in the office of Ambassador Lodge.
Thurman's next assignment was commanding officer of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, 25th Div. He served there since last January.
A native of High Point, N.C., Thurman attended North Carolina State College in Raleigh, N.C., and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1946.
He has attended artillery career courses at Ft. Sill, Okla., and Command and General Staff courses at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.; the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.: and the Naval War College.
He holds a master of science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
|TAKES OVER - LTC T. C. Thurman, new commander of the 25th Inf Div Arty, is handed the Div Arty colors in a change of command ceremony. Left to right: BG Chinh, artillery officer, III Corps, AVN; COL David E. Ott, former commander of Div Arty who is rotating; MG F.K. Mearns, 25th Div CG; SGM Carl D. Craner, Div Arty sergeant major; and Thurman. (Photo by SSG Swift)|
Whiskey Papa Navigation Aid
In the dense jungles of Vietnam artillery plays the role of navigator. When the map and compass method of navigation cannot be used because of jungle growth or darkness, the burden of navigation falls upon an artillery forward observer (FO).
Traveling with Co C, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, is 1LT Roger L. Hipwell of Minneapolis, Minn. Although attached to the infantry, Hipwell is assigned to Btry A, 1st Bn, 8th Arty, as one of nine FOs who support the 25th Div's 2d Bde.
The problem of navigation is solved by radio transmission to the fire direction center located at the battery's firing position.
The call sounds like this: "Ancient Valley 9, this is Ancient Valley 41, fire mission, over . . . . grid 613461, direction 3210, request one round Whiskey Papa, 200 meter height of burst, over. . . .
Within minutes a round is fired. The FO has requested a white phosphorus smoke round with a time fuse set to explode in the air on azimuth 3210.
After the battery's center howitzer or "base piece" receives the firing data from the fire direction center a round will be fired on the required azimuth. The explosion will occur near the unit if the estimate of their position is correct. The burst creates a brilliant cloud of white smoke, placing a marker in the sky.
Observing the burst can verify the unit's position. If the burst is not observed another round is requested to the left or right of the original burst. When the FO observes the explosion, he plots his location.
With land navigation still a necessity in Vietnam, artillery's role as a navigational aid continues. The guiding light of a navigational round is just one phase of artillery's role. A role that will omit the word "lost" from field manuals!
Gen Westmoreland May Award Medals
WASHINGTON - The Department of the Army has delegated authority to General William C. Westmoreland, commander of the Allied Forces in Vietnam, to approve the award of the Valorous Unit Award and Meritorious Unit Commendation to U.S. and Free World units serving in Vietnam.
|MOTHER'S CONCERN - A concerned mother looks on as her baby's broken arm is looked after by a medic on a 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf, MEDCAP. (Photo by 1LT A.R. Karel)|
First Sergeant O.N. Davisson, 25th Aviation Bn. for sharing this issue,
Ron Leonard, 25th Aviation Bn. for locating and mailing the issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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