TLN.JPG (37996 bytes)

Vol 4 No. 47          TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS          November 24, 1969



Unit                   Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page Unit                  Page
1/27                                 8 2/27 Photo                     1 3rd Bde                          7 46 Scout Dog               7
1/29 Arty                       7 2/27                                 1 3/4 Cav                          8 46 Scout Dog Photo   7
1/49 ARVN                    8 2/27                                 8 3/4 Cav Photo               8 65th Engr                      7
116 AHC                        8 2/27                                 8 4/6 Psyops                    3 65th Engr Photo          7
2/12 Photo                     2 2/77 Arty                       6 4/9                                   3 7/11 Arty                      3
2/12 Photo                     3 25th Avn Bn                 1 4/9                                   8 7/11 Arty Photo           7
2/12 Photo                     8 25th Inf                          1 4/23                                2 86 Signal                       4
2/14                                 1 25th Inf                          4 4/23                                7 Chieu Hoi                      3
2/14                                 7 242 ASHC                     4 41 Port Engr                  7 Hoc Mon Orphans      4
2/22                                 3 3rd Bde Photo              3    


Thanksgiving Day In a Combat Zone

   Of all the holidays our nation celebrates, Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the most peculiarly American.  From its inception nearly 350 years ago, it has been intended as a celebration of thanks for the particular kinds of blessings which America offers her citizens.
   This year, those of us serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam will find ourselves far from our homes and our loved ones.  We will not have the privilege of sharing the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with our families, nor a chance to enjoy at first hand the harvest beauty of our homeland.  We shall, instead, be manning a perimeter of freedom, offering a helping hand to other people.
   What then, can we be thankful for this Thanksgiving?  How can we soldiers, so very far from our homes, feel thankful when we are not present to share in the special native gifts which are the genesis of this day, Thanksgiving?
   We can be thankful for many things.  We can be joyful about much.
   We can be thankful for nearly 200 years of constitutional democracy based on majority rule and universal rights, including those of the minority - a record unmatched in the history of man.  We have a system which welcomes dissent and discussion; where men are encouraged to participate in their government; where government is not for the few but for the many; where the government is the servant of the many.
   We can be thankful for the right to give thanks as we please, to whom we please.  No one forces us to believe in any particular fashion; no one tells us how or whom to worship.  We are free men.
   From the perspective of the battlefield, we, too, are uniquely able to appreciate that our homeland has been blessed with an absence of war on our lands; and the horror that this brings.  Our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters have never seen the death, starvation and destruction of war in America.  We pray they never will.
   As our families sit down to their Thanksgiving dinners this year, let us rejoice that we have been deemed worthy by our people to undertake this defense of the American ideal of Liberty.  Let us be proud that, as men, we serve this ideal.  Let us join our loved ones in spirit as they reflect on yet another year's bountiful harvest - a harvest, too, of freedom in America.  Freedom of thought, freedom of spirit, freedom of worship - that freedom associated with order, not the license of anarchy.  These are the freedoms which all Americans everywhere have shared.  They are the ties that bind us to the Pilgrims of Plymouth in 1620 and to the Apollo Astronauts on the moon in 1969.
   Thanks be to God for these, our blessings.

Major General, USA



No Buffalo, for Sure:
        Seven Tons of Turkey Await Troops on T-Day

   CU CHI - The Great Turkey is coming!  So are the great gravies, the great hot rolls, pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes.
   A tour in Vietnam is no turkey shoot, but 25th Infantry Division troopers will not go hungry this Thanksgiving, either.  Gaily decorated mess halls throughout the division will prepare seven tons of taste bud-tailored turkey for Thanksgiving.
   Just in case that's not enough food, the mess halls will also have two and a half tons of white potatoes, one and a half tons of sweet potatoes, a ton of fruit cake, two and a half tons of pumpkin pie, and 36,000 hot rolls and other and various sundry items from soup to nuts and even a shrimp cocktail.
   "Everyone in the division will eat his Thanksgiving meal at either Cu Chi or Tay Ninh base camps on a rotational basis, except for the men who absolutely cannot make it in from the fire support bases," declared Warrant Officer Everett M. Howard, division food service advisor.  "For those who must stay in the field the full Thanksgiving meal will be transported to their positions by helicopter."
   The division's chapels will hold numerous services throughout the day.
   Major General Harris W. Hollis, division commanding general, is scheduled to speak at Cu Chi's Division Memorial Chapel in a nondenominational service.  His subject will be "Gratitude."
   Chapels throughout the division in coordination with American chapels everywhere in Vietnam will also take up a special Thanksgiving offering to aid in the immediate reconstruction of two ARVN chapels recently destroyed by a typhoon in Dong Ha and Quang Tri.
   The Ilikai and Holiday Inn Service Clubs will also hold Thanksgiving buffets starting at 1900 hours Nov. 27.


OUT OF THE BIG MUDDY - Private First Class Bill Polzkill of Markett, Neb., gets a hand from his assistant gunner, Private First Class Charles Gullickson of Battleground, Wash. The M-60 gun crew is a part of Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.  Bravo Wolfhounds are working extensively near the Cambodian border.  (Photo by SP4 Phil Jackson) PFC Bill Polzkill, PFC Charles Gullickson



Waving Red Flag at Dragons Can Be Fatal, NVA Discover

   CU CHI - A USSR battle flag was carried by NVA soldiers, symbolizing another country's support, but the Russian Bear was sleeping when the enemy walked into the gunsights of Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry during a recent night operation north of Cu Chi.
   The devastating firepower of the US forces resulted in 14 enemy killed.  The bright red-and-yellow flag bearing the hammer and sickle was found nearby.
   The successful Golden Dragon ambush was also the occasion for the award of the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Patrick Shields of Torrence, Calif., who took over as platoon leader when in the first minutes of battle, the unit's leader was injured.  Shields was awarded the Silver Star for reorganizing the platoon while under fire to lead a second attack on the enemy, and for coordinating air strikes and artillery fire on the enemy.
   Private First Class George Steiner of Missoula, Mont., described the action.  "We were at our last checkpoint before setting up our ambush site.  We were in the tall tiger grass that grows all over the area when the NVA started walking past us talking to each other."
   Steiner and Private First Class Tim Foley of Byer, Ind., got up to take a look.  "Man! We were looking right into their eyes," Steiner said.
   The NVA realized they were in trouble and immediately started to pull back.  Alpha Company got on line and opened up.  The battle didn't last long.
   Private First Class Willard Ousley said, "I'm sure we really hurt them.  We sprayed the area a few inches above the ground and at that range (about 20 meters) we just couldn't miss."
   Later an attempt to persuade several enemy to rally to the government resulted in the award of a Bronze Star for valor to the unit's Kit Carson scout, Hue.
   "We knew there were several more NVA out there," Shields said, "so Hue went out there to try and convince them to surrender.  When Hue returned he said, 'They say they will kill.'  There wasn't anything we could do but open up on them."
   Two new pistols, several AK-47 rifles, and ammunition were with the enemy dead.


25th Helps PFs Kill 25

   BINH THANH - Popular Forces supported by 25th Division gunships and artillery killed 25 enemy soldiers and captured 11 assault rifles recently after the enemy attacked this border hamlet.
   An estimated VC/NVA company fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades into the 84th Popular Force outpost during early morning hours.  The popular forces responded with organic weapons, a light fire team from the 25th Aviation Battalion and the artillery.
   Two platoons of A Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds were committed to support the Popular Forces but were not needed, a 3d Brigade spokesman said.
   He said the Vietnamese force reacted "quickly and efficiently" in routing the enemy.


   The local equivalent of the silver hammer wielded by the Beatles' friend Maxwell is malaria.  It will flatten you out - bang! bang! - if you don't protect yourself.  Keep your sleeves rolled down at night, use mosquito repellent and, most important, take your pills.  DEROS.  Do it the safe way.



Page 2                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969



MAJ Ronald L. Baker Jr., HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Eddie J. White, Co A, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Joseph A. McCarthy, Co B, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT James R. Swinnery, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Richard G. McLane, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP5 Gerry G. Lanuza, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Jose A. Oyola, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Gene H. Pearson, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
COL William J. Maddox Jr., HHC, 3d Bde
LTC Burton J. Walrath Jr., HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
MAJ Carmen J. Cavezza, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
CPT Paul B. Maini, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
1LT Terry E. Cory, HHB, Div Arty
1LT Larry B. Wilkerson, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Bobby J. Davidson, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 James A. Derck, HHC, 1st Bde
WOl Michael Finnigan, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Michael J. Scholl, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP5 Kenneth A. Perry, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Elmer D. Hansen, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SP4 David E. Horton, Co B, 25th Avn Bn
SFC Gerald J. Gorman, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Arm SGT James Anderson, HHC, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
MAJ Carl R. Quickmire, HHC, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
CPT Charles G. Campbell, HHC 2d Bn, 22d Inf
CPT William Correia, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CPT Lewis P. Kasper, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
CPT Joseph A. Kilbane, HHSB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty
CPT Robert B. Powell, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
CPT Joseph E. Root, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1LT John R. Harold, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
1LT Francis L. Mayo, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT William H. McMullen, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT John Mitchell, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
2LT Gerald J. Byram, Co A, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
2LT Frank P. Dee, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
1SG W.L. Stinchcomb, Co E, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
PSG Wilbur V. Martin, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SSG John P. Lachman, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Carlton M. Orebaugh, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SSG William J. Wark, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG Marshall Wickline, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Arm
SGT Arlen Benson, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT James A. Bobikevich, C Trp, 3d Sqdrn, 4th Cav
SGT Wayne J. DeTavernier, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Larry W. Holvey, Co D, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Robert C. Laeana. C Trn- 3d Sadn- 4th Cav
SGT Stephen J. Larson, Co C, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Donald Lavrack, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
SGT Richard P. Murphy, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Charles R: Perkins, Co C, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SGT Raymond A. Rust, C Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
SGT John R. Tapper, Co D, 2d Bn. 12th Inf
SGT Michael Tooze, C Trp, 3d Sgdn, 4th Cav
SP5 Gary Trapman, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP5 Paul S. Townes, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Arm
SP4 Richard J. Bacholzky, Co A, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Ivan G. Bahm Jr.. C Trp, 3d Sqdn. 4th Cav
SP4 Larry A. Bleeker, C Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav





                 Combat Honor Roll

SSG David Fanesi   Staff Sergeant David Fanesi of Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, has been added to the Tropic Lightning Combat Honor Roll.
   Serving as a platoon sergeant, Fanesi was on a combat operation when his unit came in contact with a large enemy force in well-entrenched fortifications.  During the initial exchange of fire, Fanesi's platoon leader was fatally wounded.
   Fanesi immediately assumed command of the platoon and rallied his men for an assault on the enemy stronghold.
   As the unit maneuvered towards the target bunkers, four men were wounded and pinned down by intense hostile fire.  Fanesi unhesitatingly organized a medical rescue team and moved to the aid of the injured soldiers.
   Three enemy soldiers engaged the rescue team as it was evacuating the wounded men, but Fanesi exposed himself to the hail of fire as he placed accurate fire on the insurgents, killing them.
   While returning to a safe area, the rescue team was again fired upon by two other hostiles hidden in a bunker.  Fanesi assaulted the enemy position single-handedly, throwing hand grenades and killing two more enemy soldiers.


Tomahawks' NCO Sells Army Bunker to Bunker

   TAY NINH - When a manufacturer attempts to introduce a new item, he selects as his salesman a person who is thoroughly convinced of its usefulness, reliability, and overall value.
   The Army is no different when it comes to advertising and selling its product - an Army career.  The record-setting re-enlistment NCO for the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry Tomahawks is Staff Sergeant Charles Gerry from Fayetteville, N.C., holder of two Bronze Stars for heroism.
   In October, his first full month on the job, Gerry re-enlisted 22 young men, most in the division.  That equalled the number of re-uppers in the battalion for the three previous months.
   JUST AS A salesman for a commercial firm uses many angles to sell his product, so does Gerry.  However, aggressiveness is the most important angle, Gerry says.  His office in the battalion area resembles a vacated building, because he is constantly in the field, where the potential re-enlistees are.
   A former platoon sergeant for Charlie Company Tomahawks, Gerry has no aversion in going to the field to explain the advantages of re-enlisting.
   "I'm not assigned a vehicle but that's no excuse, because there's always something going out to the fire support bases that I can hitch a ride on," he said.  "I feel that I have something that will benefit someone and I'm going to make sure that individual has the opportunity to know about it."
   "I'LL NEVER lie to a man," Gerry added. "There's no use getting a man's hopes up for something that he isn't qualified for.  However, that isn't the case very often and it's very gratifying to know I've helped both the individual and the Army."


vStork.jpg (2787 bytes)Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division – As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
Born To:

Nov. 5
LT Robert A. Shields, B 2/27, boy

Nov. 6
SP4 William E. Lancaster, B 3/4, girl

Nov. 7
PFC Clemmet E. Holland, HHC 65th Engrs, girl
SSG James Rucker, MACV Team 99, boy

Nov. 8
PFC Daniel Joaquin, HHC 65th Engrs, girl

Nov. 9
SP4 George R. Smith, B 125th Sig, Boy
Nov. 10
2LT James K. Clark, B 1/5, girl
SFC Columbus Crews, MACV Team 99, boy
SGT Victor T. West, B 3/13, girl

Nov. 12
SP4 Gary M. Graso, HHC 25th Inf, girl
SP4 Steven J. Dettman, B 25th Med, boy
SP4 John C. Mayberry, HHC 1/5, boy

Nov. 13
SP4 Sammar W. Kinney, HHB 1/8, girl
SGT Timothy Saknit, E 725th Mnt, girl
SGT James L. Collins, 20th Trans, boy
SP4 Joseph R. Stanton, A 25th S&T, boy



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 Harris W. Hollis . . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Warren J Field  . . . . . .  Information Officer
1LT John C. Burns . . . . . . . .  Officer-in-Charge
SP4 Ralph Novak . . . . . . . . .  Editor
SP4 Harold O. Anderson  . .  Assistant Editor
SGT John Genitti  . . . . . . . . .  Production Supervisor


SP4 Dennis Bries
SP4 Bill Frame
SGT Bill Obelholzer
PFC Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
SP4 Frank Ditto
PFC Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
SP4 Pat Morrison
SP5 Tony DeBiasio
PFC Rich Fitzpatrick
SP4 Ken Fairman
PFC Doug Sainsbury
SGT Larry Goodson
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Tony Crawford
SP5 Pete Freeman
SP4 Craig Sampson
SP4 Richard Sears
SGT K.C. Cullen
SP4 Henry Zucowski
SP4 Brad Yaeger
PFC Frank Rezzonico
SGT Tony Camelio
PFC Ray Byrne



Page 3                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969


Party Line: Simply but Wrong
       Disillusioned Enemy Village Chief Rallies to RVN

   BAO TRAI - Tran Van Truong joined the Red cause three years ago, and he became a devout communist.
   Now, he hates the Communist Party and everything it stands for.
   TRUONG, WHO refused to give his real name for fear of retaliation against his family, recently rallied to the government of Vietnam through the auspices of the open arms program.
   "I was a deputy village chief," he said. "A political officer approached me and requested I join the party. At the time, I thought it was the best thing to do for the village."
   Truong said he wanted to see more equal economic structures in Vietnam.
   "THE RICH were too rich and the poor too poor.  I wanted everyone to have the same average income.  Then, I thought, everyone would be happier," Truong said.
   The Communist Party had the answer, Truong thought.
   "The party line sounded good. `Get rid of the imperialist troops, and everyone would have just what they wanted.'  It was so simple, but it was wrong."
   He found out just how wrong the communists were one day when he stepped on a booby trap - a trap laid by the Viet Cong.
   "THE VC refused to give me medical treatment.  I was shocked.  Here I was, one of them, and they refused to help me in my hour of greatest need."
   Truong found an old bunker, and hid there trying to heal himself.  Fortunately, an old woman from the village brought him food and medicine.
   "I spent three months in that bunker, hiding from allied sweeps.  I had, a lot of time to think.
   "I REALIZED that the communists weren't going to help the people.  Why, they wouldn't even help me; what would they do to the peasant farmer?"
   Truong decided to rally.  He came to the Bao Trai Chieu Hoi Center early one morning and turned himself over to Vietnamese authorities.  "It was the only thing to do.  I couldn't go on assisting a cause I didn't believe in."


Weapon Care Is Armorer's Life's Work

   TAY NINH - Keeping the weapons of a mechanized infantry company functioning is a full-time job for the company armorer.  For the man handling the job for Bravo Company, 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 22d Infantry is Specialist 4 Joseph J. Larry of Roselle, N.J., it is a life's work.
   Working as an armorer is nothing new for Larry.  Weapons are his specialty, and he's been working with them since he was 16.
   Larry, 23, learned the basics from a now-retired gunsmith who taught a private gun school in New York.  After completion of the course, Larry started working for Manpower guns and Supply in Buffalo, N.Y.
   Larry was drafted in April, 1968.  "I really liked my work and wanted to continue doing it in the Army," he said.  "I guess I was lucky and made it."
   "Working as armorer keeps me busy, but I enjoy my work," Larry added  "Fixing these weapons is something else.  Now and then I get weapons that are really messed up, but I've been able to get them all fixed again, though."
   Larry plans to return to his gunsmith job in Buffalo when he leaves the Army.  As he puts it, "I'd like to own my own business someday and I hope my interest can help me make it a success."

Crossing stream COME ON IN:  WATER'S FINE - Warrior machinegunner Private First Class Ron Wagner of Tomah, Wis., leads his team across a stream while on a 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry operation.  (Photo by PFC Jim Williams)



Mission Completed, Manchus'Mole City Is Just Legend Now

   TAY NINH - Nearly a year ago, Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Manchus crossed the Vam Co Dong River, met up with Bravo Company Manchus and built a patrol base that was to hit the enemy a crushing blow in Tay Ninh Province.         
   Sergeant Terry Gray of Owensboro, Ky., then a private first class, was walking point when the site was found.
   "I stopped the column and told them to pass the word back that we were here."
   Patrol Base Mole City was dug in Dec. 19, a half mile from Ben Cau village, which was 50 per cent Viet Cong at the time.
   THAT WAS THE first time in two years that an American force had crossed the Vam Co Dong into the area between it and the Cambodian border.  This area was so strongly infested with enemy that at the Paris peace talks the Viet Cong delegation claimed it as its own.
   Manchu squads were sent over to the ARVN compound in Ben Cau each night to assist local Regional Forces.
   On Dec. 20, some Manchus from Charlie Company were in Ben Cau playing Santa Claus and giving the children gifts.  The following night, just before midnight, movement was spotted and the base came under a rain of heavy incoming rounds, followed by a ground attack from an estimated NVA regiment reinforced by a support battalion.
   When the smoke cleared in the morning, 113 NVA soldiers lay dead.
   ON APRIL 25, Charlie Company Manchus departed Mole City, which became Fire Support Base Sedgwick with the addition of a 105mm battery, and marched six kilometers west to build Patrol Base Frontier City.
   The 1st Brigade infantrymen sat 1200 meters from the Cambodian border, but were not hit that first night.  It came the second night, when the 271st NVA Regiment made its move just before midnight.
   By morning the 271st Regiment was virtually erased, leaving 235 dead around the site of the battle.  This defeat and its predecessor at Mole City dealt the enemy a death blow that "turned the war in this area" as former 25th Division Commander, Major General Ellis W. Williamson, commented at an awards ceremony for the two battles.
   THE STRAIGHT Edge Woods, Renegade Woods and area surrounding Ben Cau stayed alive with Manchus constantly patrolling stopping the enemy from getting a foot-hold anywhere in their area of operations.  Movement at night was made impossible by the firing of Charlie Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, and Manchu ambushes set along the trails at dark.
   At the end of October, Sedgwick II was torn down.
   The Manchus are now working and living with ARVN soldiers at Ben Cau.  Regional Forces compounds now house the Tropic Lightning soldiers as they teach the allies how to defend the area.


Movies Win Friends, Influence People

   BAO CANH NA - Charly Russell and his friends may be here tonight, along with Ricky Truong, Chi and Mini My Nuong, Spunky the Snowman and Pumpkinhead, too.  They'll perform for an hour or so in the village meeting place.
   AND, DON'T forget Lieutenant Charles Hochmuth of Washington, D.C., his assistant and an interpreter, who are bringing the troupe in via color and black and white films.
   Hochmuth and his crew are from the 4th Group, 6th Psychological Operations Battalion.  They work with Tropic Lightning's 3d Brigade, psychological operations (PSYOPS) teams that conduct nighttime civic action projects (NITECAPS) several times each week in Hau Nghia Province.
   As darkness falls Hochmuth and his assistant set up their 16mm movie projector and hang a movie screen in a convenient spot in a village center.  The interpreter advertises the show with a loudspeaker.
   The film library includes a series of shows designed to entertain villagers and give them a soft sell on benefits the province government offers.
   RICKY TRUONG, Chi and Mimi My Nuong are animated puppets.  During a 16-minute long color film they enact a traditional Vietnamese tale arranged in a modern setting.
   Charly Russell is an American cowboy who lives with Indians.  The 10-minute long color film "Charly Russell's friends," paints a picture of American Indian life and culture.
   Pumpkinhead and Spunky are cartoon characters designed to please children.
   The films are produced at PSYOPS centers in the United States and in Saigon.  Vietnamese drama groups play the roles in many of them.
   One black-and-white drama that lasts for ten minutes features a pretty girl singing a Chieu Hoi song and a Vietnamese magician and his sidekick performing popular magic tricks.  Another film is a slapstick comedy featuring two bungling Viet Cong who are reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.

Village Movies THE DRIVE-IN - Films shown in village centers by 3d Brigade PSYOPS teams usually draw large crowds.  (Photo by Sp4 Bob Stephens)



Page 4-5                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969


Sure Way to Lose Your Heart:
Add 125 Orphans to a Party


   The children charged off the ramp of the chinook helicopter like a miniature army storming a beachhead.
   Tropic Lightning soldiers waiting in Cu Chi base camp's 8th Aerial Port were suddenly startled by 125 yelling, clinging children.  The Mother Superior's sharp blast on her whistle ground them to a quick halt, however, and the children of Hoc Mon's Rose Orphanage fell into an orderly group and filed onto a bus.  They had come to Cu Chi for a holiday party.
   On the way to Ilikai East Service Club, the children waved at every GI they could see.  And most of the GIs cheerfully waved back.
   The 25th Infantry Division's chaplain office had coordinated the party with the Mother Superior of the Catholic orphanage.  Transportation was arranged through the 242d Assault Support Helicopter Company.
   The children entered the service club in a very orderly fashion - until the word leaked out that some bags of candy were hidden throughout the club.  Then the whole building became a free-for-all.  Some of the service club girls who hadn't finished hiding their share of the loot were caught red-handed by the throngs.
   Later, the girls formed a circle and sang Vietnamese songs which were led by the Mother Superior.  Meanwhile, the boys engaged themselves in a game of drop-the-handkerchief with the GIs.
   Major General Harris W. Hollis, commanding general of the 25th Division, made a mid-party appearance to greet the Mother Superior and welcome the children.
   Santa Claus, in the person of Private First Class Bill Sorenson from the 86th Signal Battalion, also made a surprise visit to the party.  He spoke to each child individually and gave him a bag of practical items, such as soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
   Lieutenant Colonel Gene M. Little, division chaplain, said that the Tropic Lightning Division has already donated eleven boxes of clothing and more than $1000 to the Rose Orphanage.  The money is being used to build dormitories for the children.
   He also said that the division chaplain's office and the Ilikai East Service Club would sponsor holiday parties for six more local orphanages before Christmas.

Story by
SP4 Cary Sciortino
Photos by
PFC Joe Loper


Vietnamese Children Hi!  When do we eat?
Who ever told him he could dance? Playing with the children
General and Mother Superior Mother Superior meets the CG


Orpans arrive by plane
Children of Hoc Mon's Rose Orphanage charge off a chinook on their way to a party.


Meeting Santa `Me . . . I want a Hula Hoop'
Okay, while I talk to the girls you grab the candy, then . . . Talking with the children
Bags of Candy They left all this candy lying around, see, and well, we . . .
So much for the food ... where's the band? Fancy Meal
Talking with the children Didn't I meet you three years ago in Omaha?



Page 6                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969


Up Tight Arty Sets Sights to Pacify A Harassed Hamlet

   DUC HANH B - Artillerymen are temporarily humping building materials instead of howitzer rounds in this hamlet eight miles southwest of Cu Chi.
   Up-Tight Artymen of the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, have been expanding their activities in Duc Hanh B for the past two months.  The program consists of three parts - MEDCAPS, pacification and intelligence gathering.
   Duc Hanh B has been the object of pacification efforts of the 2/77 because of the constant presence of a Viet Cong force in and around the hamlet.
   "There are 12 known VC families out of the total of 250 families in the hamlet," said Master Sergeant Harold Baker of Lawton, Okla., intelligence NCO of the 2/77.  "There are more VC, probably a platoon-size unit, in the immediate area.  These VC come into the hamlet at night to collect taxes, distribute propaganda and terrorize the people.  Recently the VC killed two people here for refusing to cooperate with them."
   CAPTAIN JAMES Allan of Arnold, Mo., 2/77 battalion surgeon, travels to Duc Hanh B weekly to treat the sick and supply medicine.  At the same time, several other redlegs work closely with the people to acquaint them with the activities and policies of the Province Government.  This is accomplished through informal discussion and dissemination of literature.
   Baker said, "There is a pressing need for clothes, weapons and materials for construction of defense positions.  We are attempting to help them acquire these things by seeking assistance from the village and province chiefs.  At the same time, 2/77 has supplied sand bags, tin ammo boxes, lumber and engineer stakes."
   Another aspect of the overall project includes periodic visits by a South Vietnamese drama team that teaches patriotism.  The group distributes magazines, plays games with the children and performs skits to reinforce their points by way of illustration.
   THE 2/77 HAS made numerous suggestions to the people to aid them in organizing strong leadership and developing a workable, effective defense force.
   "The relatively new hamlet chief, Vo Van Dao, is only 21 years old, but has demonstrated a willingness to work hard in organizing the community," said Baker.  "So far the PSDF (Peoples' Self Defense Force) numbers only 15 men, but they hope to increase this to 30 soon.  The CIDG (Civilian Irregular Defense Group) conducts frequent classes in tactics for the inhabitants of Duc Hanh B."
   "Our objective is merely to make suggestions as to how to develop a defense force and build an adequate bunker system to combat VC activity.  Of course the people are free to accept or reject our ideas," he said.
   The 2/77 has built swing sets and volleyball courts at the school for the children.
   RELATIVES OF the men of 2/77 are sending clothing and food from the U.S. to help the people, too.
   The success of the program is difficult to measure at this stage, but a few VC sympathizers and two hard core VC in the hamlet have rallied to the Government of Vietnam thus far, Baker said.
   "Our theory in helping these people is to show them that we are interested in them and in the improvement of conditions within their hamlet," Baker said.
   "WE DON'T TRY to impose our ideas on them or try to do the actual work for them.  We feel that only if the people do the work and organize the affairs of their community themselves, will they take pride in their progress and achievements," Baker said.
   Captain John N. Totten of Olney, Ill., civic affairs officer for 2/77, said, "The hamlet chief and his officials are energetic and enthusiastic about working for the betterment of their people.  We're ready to lend a helping hand in the form of advice and certain types of materials."
   "The seeds of self-respect and pride have been planted; now it is only a matter of time for them to be nourished and grow to fruition," he said.


Ask Sgt. Certain

DEAR SGT: I hear that anybody whose DEROS is between 4 March and 11 March will get a 238-day drop.  Is this true?

DEAR?: Right.  This is the legendary Arbor Day drop.  If you are a veteran of at least four wars and are a Lieutenant General or above, you're eligible and should have left last month.

DEAR SERGEANT: I am a fan of arty movies and am wondering when "I am Curious (Yellow)" is going to make the military circuit?
                                                                                                                                        ART LOVER

DEAR ART: That movie is currently being screened, and all the dirty, nasty and morale-destroying parts being taken out.  As of right now, in its revised version it will run about two minutes and 15 seconds.  While you're waiting for that movie, you might want to see some of the other recent releases soon to be shown at your nearby mess hall: "Moby Charlie," the story of how a water buffalo changed the course of the legendary Polka Rebellion, starring Omar Sharif as a Polish general; "Gone with Monsoon," a story of the Diem regime, starring Ann-Margret as Madame Nhu; "The Creature from the Black Virgin Mountain," featuring Omar Sharif as a member of the Provisional Nui Ba Den Company who turns into a giant cockroach and eats all the paperwork at Tay Ninh Base Camp; "False Grit," a documentary about messhalls and the men who run them, "Guerrilla My Dreams," with Cary Grant as a VC district chief and Doris Day as the peasant woman who loves him; "Thoroughly Modern Mai," a musical starring Julie Andrews as a Saigon tea girl who falls in love with a kind-hearted American sergeant major played by Glen Campbell; "I Was an Eskimo for the CLA," a chilling tale with Omar Sharif as a commando assigned to sneak into North Vietnam disguised as an igloo salesman.

DEAR SERGEANT: I, for one, am fed up with all those complainers who say that Army coffee tastes like turpentine or the really wise-acres who claim that "you add cream and it looks like the Saigon River."  Won't you please say a good word for the morning brew?
                                                                                                                                         J. VALDEZ

DEAR J.: Those are terrible insults, indeed.  They could get people who use them sued, by the Turpentine Association or the Friends of the Saigon River Committee.  Actually, Army coffee is carefully prepared to go with the rest of a soldier's diet. It is the dietary equivalent of radiator flush or carburator cleaner.  If you have trouble getting it down, just think about whether or not you want all that creamed chipped beef clogging up your insides.


A little Basketball UP AND IN - Members of the 2d Brigade's Headquarters Company relax at the end of a long day with a little intramural combat at Cu Chi base camp.  (Photo by Sp4 Karl Karlgaard)



Page 7                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969


Supply, Demand Throw Curve to Viet Cong

   TRA CU - One of the basics of economic theory, supply and demand, is coming to life in Hau Nghia Province.
   The demand is wood.  The supply is almost unlimited on the banks of the Vam Co Dong River.
   "Because of increased security on the river, woodcutters are becoming less and less timid about traveling to areas further from their villages.  In doing so, they are naturally increasing their output," a Tropic Lightning 3d Brigade spokesman said.
   WITH INCREASED output comes increased revenues, which makes all province residents happier as well as richer.
   "A few months ago, it was unsafe to travel the river - the banks were an enemy stronghold.  Now, sampans can travel from Ben Luc to Tay Ninh in relative safety, thanks to river patrols," he said.
   Woodcutters are providing a service for 3d Brigade troops too.
   "All the foliage on the river banks is being cut down by these people and the enemy is finding it harder to lay ambushes - they have no cover.  The woodcutters are also uncovering weapons caches."
   HAVE THE ENEMY forces tried to halt the flow of river traffic and the disastrous effects of the woodcutters?
   "No, not really," officials said. "It's very difficult to stem the tide of progress, and the river gunboats and ground patrols keep the enemy away from the area."
   Hau Nghia Province officials said they hope woodcutting won't be the only business to benefit from the increased security in the area.
   Hopes are for the Sugar Mill, an old French refinery set on the banks of the Vam Co Dong River, to go into production again soon.
   "What better way to show these people how democracy works for them?  They're getting a new lease on life, and they can make that life anything they want it to be if they work at it.  We've provided the security, it's up to them to provide the industry," officials said.

LIEUTENANT Colonel Robert E. Robinson of Oxon Hill, Md., has assumed command of the 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Carl M. Mott Jr. Robinson formerly served as Division Artillery executive officer. LTC Robert E. Robinson, 7/11th



Pink Beacon Toughens Up PB Hunsley

   CU CHI - Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a TV antenna.  It's a radar screen.  It's a piece of modern sculpture.
   Nope.  Try a giant, million candle power "pink light" and you've got it.
   "Pink light" is how Sergeant Michael McKissick of Pueblo, Colo., describes the high-rise beacon provided by the 1st Battalion, 29th Artillery, to the 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry Golden Dragon's Patrol Base Hunsley.
   With the light turned on at night, the naked eye still can't detect any real change in the surroundings.  Look through a starlight scope, though, and the bunker line and surrounding terrain will seem to be lit as bright as day.
   "This is the first time the light has been employed in the 25th Infantry Division," McKissick said.  "We are definitely very pleased with it so far."
   Just in case the fire support base should be attacked, the pink filters can be removed from the light very easily.  This results in conversion to a bright, visible light that will completely illuminate the would-be attackers.
   Besides increasing the security of the perimeter, the new light is also a great asset to ambush patrols operating out of Hunsley.  The addition of the super light has given the GIs still another advantage over the enemy.


Chico Earns Filet Mignon-with 'V'
          46th's Top Dog Gets Rare Decoration

   TAY NINH - A pat on the head, a shake of the paw and a scratch of the belly are usually all the reward necessary for a scout dog.
   But the 46th Scout Dog platoon, serving units of the 1st Brigade, wanted to do a little more for Chico, one member of its canine corps, after he alerted his unit to two booby traps, several enemy bunkers and numerous fresh enemy trails on a patrol recently with Charlie Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry Tomahawks.
   A DOG PROBABLY wouldn't think much of having a Bronze Star pinned to his fur, however.  Besides, he probably couldn't read the citation.  So the scout dog platoon came up with its own, unique canine Impact award - a raw, thick juicy steak.  Delicious?  You bet!  A Bronze Star never tasted so good.
   The 46th scout Dog platoon, commanded by First Lieutenant Richard A. Hale of Lakewood, Calif., has 23 scout dog teams, each team consisting of one dog and his full-time handler.
   The usefulness of the dogs in the field has been proven time and time again.  Requests for the scout dogs have increased to a point where the teams are being utilized to their maximum capacity.  The dogs are trained to detect booby traps, punji pits and enemy personnel.
   "THEY PROVIDE a very effective early warning system," Hale said.  "They're just as big an asset to a day patrol as a starlight scope is to a night patrol."
   The dogs can smell 40 times better than humans, hear 20 times better and see 10 times better.
   In one recent month, the 46th's dogs detected 21 AK-47 rifles, 19 RPG rounds, 34 Chicom grenades, 16 mortar rounds, four bangalore torpedoes, 600 rounds of small arms ammunition and one anti-tank mine.  In addition the animals have uncovered many rocket rounds, caches and hundreds of enemy bunkers.  They have also provided an early warning system for numerous enemy ambushes and for dozens of enemy snipers.
   SCOUT DOGS ARE trained well and in many cases get more training than the infantryman they're supporting.  It all begins at Fort Benning, Ga., where they undergo 12 to 24 weeks of training.  When they arrive in Vietnam, they get three weeks' training at Long Binh, and when they get to the 46th Scout Dog Platoon in Tay Ninh, they get at least two additional weeks.
   The 46th has complete facilities for the dogs, including concrete pens that are steam-cleaned daily and a treatment room staffed by Specialist 4 Charles P. Giambrone of West Hempstead, N.Y.  The veterinary technician is responsible for diagnosing and treating wounds and diseases as well as for the sanitary conditions and feeding of the dogs.
   "Each dog alerts differently," Hale noted, "and it's the handler's job to know his dog perfectly, so that he can immediately interpret any subtle warning from the dog."

SP4 Mike Monahan and Chico CHOMP - Chico, one of the 23 dogs of the 46th Scout Dog Platoon, is rewarded with a raw steak by his handler, Specialist 4 Mike Monahan of Cincinnati.  Chico distinguished himself while on a patrol with Charlie Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry.  (Photo by 1Lt Robert Golden)



65th's River Rats Spell Help A-V-L-B

   CU CHI - Ingenuity and innovation are bywords with the Army Corps of Engineers, bywords recently put into action by the 41st Port Construction Engineers and the combat engineers of Tropic Lightning's Whiskey Fifth.
   In high-spirited cooperation, the two units worked together to bypass the Phu Cuong Bridge, an overhead obstacle for the 41st's 40-ton crane, which was being transported down the Saigon River on a 300-by-60-foot barge.
   TWICE THE 65th Engineer River Rats' armored vehicle launching bridge (AVLB) came to the assistance of the crane, once at Thu Duc, where the crane was off-loaded for its trip to Ben Loi, and again at Phu Cuong, where the crane was reloaded for its return trip.
   The men of Whiskey Fifth's Echo Company, stevedores for a day, employed the AVLB as a gigantic gang-plank over which the crane crawled to and from its berth on the barge.
   At Phu Cuong, the crane slowly crawled from the bed of the 60-foot flat-bed truck it had ridden while the AVLB driver, Specialist 4 James Thomas of N Monroe, La., cranked up his turretless tank as he swung the 63-foot bridge into action.
   THIRTEEN TONS of steel arched toward the barge as the large floating vessel chugged to shore.  As soon as the barge moorings were lashed, the big bridge made its descent in less than a minute.
   Within an hour of the rendezvous, both the crane and AVLB were underway once again, the crane to Thu Duc, where an important bridge awaited construction, and the AVLB to Cu Chi where it stood ready for another mission.

RUMBLE - A 40-ton crane crawls to its barge berth using the Armored Vehicle Launching Bridge of the 65th Engineers' River Rats in an operation near the Phu Cuong Bridge.  (Photo by Sp4 Garth Fike) Crane on barge



Page 8                           TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                           November 24, 1969


Over River, through Woods
         Manchus Hide, Seek Foe

   TAY NINH - Manchus of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry may be anywhere, behind a bush in the Straight Edge Woods, beyond a clump of trees in the Boi Loi, or just off the riverbank near the Renegade Woods.  Wherever the enemy chooses to hide, the Manchus will follow him.
   The Manchus' latest exploits were around the Renegades southeast of Tay Ninh, where they positioned themselves to the north, south and east.  Charlie Company worked out of Go Dau Ha, setting ambushes along the Vam Co Dong River to the east of the Renegades while Bravo and Delta Companies were on a four-day ambush patrol to the north and south respectively.  During their first night out all three companies made contact, killing nine enemy.
   CHARLIE WAS the first of the Manchu companies to make contact.  As usual they divided up into small squad-size elements after getting off the Navy gunboats at nightfall.  An element of the first platoon had just barely enough time to set out their claymores when an unknown number of enemy were spotted coming along the riverbank.
   The seven-man ambush blew claymores and engaged the enemy with M-79 fire.  Soon a Navy gunboat appeared and the seven Manchus tossed the last of their grenades and ran for the security of the boat.  The next morning reconnaissance of the area found four dead enemy soldiers, an AK-47, and several enemy grenades.
   Private First Class Kenneth F. Grossman recalled, "We surprised them and were aboard the boat before they knew what happened."
   TO THE northwest, Bravo Company was the next to have contact.  Specialist 4 Rudy Hopkins was on guard when he suddenly spotted seven enemy coming down a trail.  After alerting his element, Hopkins detonated his claymore and opened up with his M-16.  The enemy retreated leaving three of his dead behind.
   Delta Company was the last to see action.  After dividing up into its designated ambushes, Private First Class Clark Way of Johnstown, Pa., recalled that it was nearly daybreak when two enemy were discovered.
   "We blew our claymores and tossed a few grenades to be sure, then waited," said Way.  At daybreak, two enemy bodies, one AK-47, and several valuable documents were discovered.

Caught in the rain UNORTHODOX UMBRELLA - Finding that bamboo leaves just don't stop the rain, First Sergeant James A. Moore of Tacoma, Wash., and his companion resort to corregated metal hats during a wet operation north of Fire Support Base Pershing with Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry.  (Photo by PFC Jim Williams)



1st 'Hound 'Rat Patrol' Baits Trap for Charlie

   FSB CHAMBERLAIN - "The only thing I worry about is mines," said Command Sergeant Major Harold Walsh as he prepared to leave this support base with the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry's "rat patrol."
   The nightly patrol was created by Walsh to secure the roads around Chamberlain.  The enemy has been intermittently mining highway TL10 outside the base and also using the highway to go to Bao Trai where local VC leaders met.  Trails leading to the highway were also trafficked by the enemy, and this, also, Walsh hoped to control.
   The rat patrol is comprised of four jeeps armed with M60 machine guns.  There are fifteen enlisted members of the patrol and they are all volunteers.  Most came from "straight leg" companies, but others had held off-line jobs and volunteered for the dangerous duty.
   The jeeps leave the wire at dusk and travel along the dark highway to set up ambushes in areas of enemy activity.  Sometimes they wait only several hours before moving to new positions.
   The rat patrol has put a big dent in enemy mine-planting activities on TL10, where several vehicles a month used to be destroyed despite the efforts of road sweep teams and regular ambush patrols.


3d Brigade Joins ARVNs To Rout 13

   FSB JACKSON - Third Brigade and ARVN ground and air forces working together killed 13 enemy recently during daylight operations as enemy activity in Hau Nghia Province increased.
   Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds operating with the 1st Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment killed four enemy as the combined elements swept an area three and a half miles southeast of here.
   During their search of the area, three more enemy dead killed by gunships from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company were found.
   Armed forward air controllers and Air Force fighter-bombers operating near the Parrot's Beak killed six enemy with air strikes, rockets and miniguns.
   The operations yielded five enemy small arms, ammunition and supplies.  A sampan was destroyed by the air attacks which also caused secondary explosions and fires.


Beaten around 'Bush, 10 Enemy Die

   PATROL BASE HARRIS - Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry blew the cover for 10 enemy when they walked into a Wolfhound ambush site near this border outpost.
   Harris, which is 13 miles west of Cu Chi base camp, is part of a chain set up by the 2d Battalion Wolfhounds to cut off enemy infiltration from Cambodia to areas east of the Vam Co Dong River.
   Private First Class Armando Noriega of Sonora, Tex., and Private Vincent Pecora of Inwood, N.Y., were on guard when the enemy suddenly walked up to their site.
   "It all happened so quickly," said Noriega.  "We didn't have time to wake up everyone.  Pecora and I blew our claymores and that got everyone up in a hurry."
   "After the first blast, everyone on the position opened up with M-16s and claymores," said Pecora.
   After the smoke cleared, three VC lay dead and others scattered to covering brush.  A nighthawk flying cover for the Wolfhounds received small arms fire from the hedgerow.  It engaged them with its minigun and dispersed the enemy.  A sweep of the area revealed the enemy dead and a cache scattered throughout the area.
   Included in the finds were three assault rifles, four Chicom grenades, two NVA gas masks, AK magazines, mess equipment, medical supplies and personal gear.
   Noriega and Pecora were presented Bronze Stars with V-devices in an Impact award ceremony at Harris by assistant division commander Brigadier General Thomas Camp.


Winged Warbler Rules Raiders' Roost

   CU CHI - Dogs, cats, monkeys and even raccoons - but a talking bird?  Never.
   "I thought I had seen every possible pet on one or another track during my two tours of duty in Vietnam, but a talking martin bird is one thing I never expected to see," said Sergeant First Class John J. Weiss of Columbus, Ohio, first platoon leader of Charlie Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry.
   The explanation?  Specialist 5 Jerry Lanusa of San Francisco said "I had a martin bird for a pet when I lived in the Philippines and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one perched on the shoulder of a little Vietnamese child while we were posting roads just outside Trang Bang."
   A TRADE was made and Lanusa got himself a pet.  The bird has been with the Cav almost two months, and troopers feel that their Sheridan tank would seem empty without it.
   "The first platoon has adopted it as sort of a combination mascot and good luck charm," Lanusa continued.  "It's constantly singing and every now and then it comes out with a new word to make the long days seem a little shorter and a little happier."
   Specialist 4 Ammon Sweitzer from (of all places) Birdsboro, Pa., said,  "What I like best about the bird is the company I get while on guard duty at night.  He sure helps keep you awake after a long, hard day."
   DURING a firefight, the martin seems almost oblivious to the noise.  "There's only one thing that seems to bother him, and that's when we shoot our 152mm main gun," said Sweitzer.  "It used to be the place where he liked to perch most.  That is, until we fired the main gun with the bird on it.  Now he prefers the back deck."
   So, if you happen to pass a Sheridan tank that has sounds like "more ammo," "Babysan," "help," and other less publishable words coming from what appears to be an empty vehicle, you'll know you're passing Track 15 of Charlie Troop.

SP5 Lanusa BIRDBRAIN - "Tweet," the talking martin bird of Specialist 5 Lanusa of San Francisco, sits atop his master's head, protecting him from kamikaze gnats and other threats.  Lanusa and
Tweet serve with Charlie Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry.  (Photo by Sgt. Tony Camelio)



Read Only If You Plan To Go Back To The World

   You may not think so now, but someday you may want to remember the highlights of your tour in Vietnam.  The Tropic Lightning 1969 yearbook, a 20-page pictorial history of that year, can now be ordered for $5.  You'll get it in February, delivered anywhere you want.  See your Tropic Lightning Association unit representative.



Thanks to:
Sherrel Bees, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.

This page last modified 04-03-2005

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