Vol 5 No. 16 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1st Bde Library 2||2/22 6||25th Inf Div 1||40th Med 6|
|1/5 Photo 3||2/22 8||25th Inf Photo 2||45th Surg Hsp Photo 7|
|1/5 8||2/27 Photo 2||3/7 ARVN 1||45th Surg Hsp 7|
|2/12 Photo 1||2/27 Photos 4||3/13 Arty 8||45th Surg Hsp Photos 7|
|2/12 1||2/27 4||3/22 3||65th Engr 8|
|2/14 3||2/27 Photos 4||4/23 1||7/11 Arty 3|
|2/14 8||2/27 6||4/23 3||7/11 Arty Photo 3|
|2/22 1||2/27 6||4/23 3||725th Maint 6|
|2/22 1||2/27 8||4/23 Photo 8||Lancer Rifles 8|
|2/22 4||2/77 Arty 3||4/23 8|
Tomahawks Slay Six
NVA in Fierce Clashes
By SGT BILL OBERHOLZER
NUI BA DEN - Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division recently killed six enemy during a clash near the base of The Black Virgin Mountain in Tay Ninh Province.
The 3rd Platoon of Alfa Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry "Tomahawks," had set up a platoon laager and dismounted to check the area for traces of the enemy.
"We found some trails and sleeping positions that were still incomplete," said First Lieutenant Steve Sarfati of Brooklyn, N.Y. "We were just completing a sweep and were heading back to our armored personnel carriers when the enemy opened up with at least two machine guns and three or four AK-47s. It was very accurate sniper fire and definitely pinned us down."
As the Tropic Lightning troops began to return fire, drivers Private First Class Carl Rector of Rock Hill, S.C., Specialist 4 L.C. Clemens of Fulton, Miss., Specialist 4 James Love of Pomona Park, Fla., and Private First Class Phil Gay of Lancaster, S.C., all sped their tracks to the contact. As they approached, the enemy fire shifted to them.
"We pulled in front of our men who were pinned down," said Sergeant Dennis Killean of Butler, Pa. "They got on and then we started pulling back."
Artillery and airstrikes pounded the enemy positions as the first and second platoons of Alfa linked up with their third platoon.
The first and second platoon conducted a sweep while the third platoon stayed behind for rear security.
In addition to the six enemy bodies, various enemy weapons were captured.
Combined Operation Wins
By PFC FRANK H. SALERNO
CU CHI - Elements of the 25th Division recently combined with Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), Regional and Popular Forces in a search and cordon of Phu Hoa Dong village, about 20 miles northwest of Saigon.
"Several choppers have received fire in this area lately," said Senior Advisor Major David H. Williams, of Columbia, Mo. "That's the main reason for this operation."
The operation began at four a.m. when the Villagers were alerted by helicopter loudspeakers to stay in their homes until further notice.
Meanwhile, elements of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry, formed a blocking force with their armored personnel carriers and surrounded the village.
Soon after, they moved towards the village, searching for enemy personnel, tunnels, bunkers and signs of recent activity.
Two companies of the 3rd Battalion, 7th ARVN Regiment were air-lifted to various spots in the area. Inside the village, 12 companies of Popular and Regional Forces patrolled the streets checked identification cards.
A PSYOPS (Psychological Operations) team combed the village, using interpreters to explain the operation and distributing Chieu Hoi ("Open Arms") pamphlets.
"Our ultimate goal is to win the support and cooperation of the people," said Specialist 4 Rodney Ewing, of Irving, Tex., a PSYOPS specialist.
When it was apparent that the enemy had cleared out, the combined force left Phu Hoa Dong to the security of the Popular Forces.
"This mission showed how well the friendly forces are conducting operations and that the villagers want to cooperate," Williams concluded.
|FIRE IN THE HOLE! - First Lieutenant Verne P. Seehausen (left) of Crown Point, Ind., a platoon leader with Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry, looks on as one of his "demo-men" squeezes an electric detonator, setting off several mines inside an enemy bunker. The Warriors are presently operating in the Trapezoid area, 12 miles northwest of Cu Chi Base Camp.|
Three Sappers Sacked At
By SGT TIM WHALEN
NUI BA DEN - Enemy sappers on top of Black Virgin Mountain recently made the fatal mistake of trying to slip by the 25th Infantry Division troops manning the bunker line there.
Sergeant David Quinones of Stockton, Calif., crawled out of the sack at four a.m. for his turn on guard. Shortly after taking a position on top of his bunker, Quinones spotted what he believed to be some figures stooping, 75 to 80 yards to his left front. Without hesitation, he opened up with an M-60 machine gun and the figures disappeared in the heavy rock formations.
An instant after the burst from the M-60 Quinones popped a red star cluster and at the same moment two other men from the next bunker were up and firing. Specialist 4 Tom Muzik of Walled Lake, Mich., took over the M-60 while Quinones grabbed the radio to report what he had seen.
Specialist 4 Lee Fioretto of Chicago, thumped the area with his M-79 grenade launcher. Thinking Muzik and Quinones might need help, men from a neighboring bunker ran over with a 90mm recoilless rifle and several rounds. Specialist 4 Tom Langenburg, of Ray City, Mich., climbed to the top of the bunker and splattered the area with the 90mm rounds.
A morning sweep revealed the bodies of three enemy and one dead field rat.
A week before the action at Nui Ba Den, five communist sappers were killed by gunships, artillery and bunker guards as they tried to breach the wire of Tay Ninh base camp during early morning hours. Two more of the insurgents were captured.
The enemy attempted to repeat his assault tactics the next night and withdrew under a barrage of small arms and automatic weapons fire from the Tay Ninh bunker line.
RTO's Have Own Lingo
By SP4 JEFF HINMAN
FSB KIEN - Have you ever talked to some guy who has been an RTO (Radio-Telephone Operator) for most of his tour in Vietnam?
He talks as if you are a PRC-25 radio. It's "Roger" for "Yes," "Negative" for "No" and "Most affirmative" for "Definitely" - his conversation is full of RTO lingo.
One Radio-Telephone Operator in the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry "Warriors," at Fire Support Base Kien, instead of saying "Good Night" signs off with "Negative further, out."
It makes you wonder how them RTOs are going to talk when they get back to "The World!"
Another Warrior RTO, Specialist 4 Bob Hengen of Akron, Ohio, experienced the difficulty of having to speak "civilian" while on R&R with his wife in Hawaii.
"Every time someone asked me a question, I'd say `Roger' or 'Negative'," said Hengen. "I finally managed to quit doing it after a few days."
"The biggest problem was handling civilian telephones," added Hengen. "One time the hotel desk called our room. I picked up the phone and didn't know what to do, because I didn't know my call sign. I had to let my wife handle the call," Hengen recalled with a laugh.
Rallier Points Way
CU CHI-Alfa Company, 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry, used the services of a Hoi Chanh to discover a munitions cache five miles north of Fire Support Base Devins, recently.
The day started routinely. Move out at daybreak on an eagle flight operation, do your job and do it well. Only this time the rallier lead the way.
Platoon Sergeant James R. Bird of El Segundo, Calif., said "It was a routine operation except the rallier led us to a trap door. I had PFC Andrew Wilda Manitowoc, Wis. blow it open with his 60 machine gun."
Under the door, and in two other spots nearby, was a triple cache consisting of 35 20lb. bags of rice, one AK-50, one SKS, two M-16s, one carbine rifle, four 122 rockets, four RPG rounds, 200 NVA ponchos, numerous home made booby-traps, NVA web gear and supplies.
"In my three months in country this was the largest cache that my platoon has found," Wilda said.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
|CPT Ralph G.
Laubecher, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
CW2 Thomas M. Dooling, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
|WO1 J. L. Walters,
D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
PFC Arch V. Leake, Co B, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
|COL Olin E. Smith,
HHC, 3d Bde
LTC Corwin A. Mitchell, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
MAJ Frederick J. Stanley, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CPT Henry R. Farrell, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CPT William W. Foster, HHC, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
CPT Harry B. Mitchell, HHS Btry, 3d Bn, 13th Fld Arty
CPT William A. Santerini, HHS Btry, 2d Bn, 77th Fld Arty
WO1 Wayne T. Blonn, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
|WO1 James F.
Carnathan, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
WO1 Griffin E. Fisk, HHC, 3d Bde
WO1 Francis Mcdlin, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
WO1 Garrison S. Smith, Co A, 25th Avn Bn
CSM Willie H. Hickey, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
CSM Harold G. Walsh, HHC, 3d Bde
SP5 Steven D. Duncan, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SP4 Perry A. Foster, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
|SP4 Alvin B. Cook,
Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 William B. Miner, Co B, 25th Med Bn
|PFC Robert L.
Going, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC John Nicolaysen, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
BRONZE STAR FOR HEROISM
1LT Alfonso Olivera, Co D, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
1LT Francis G. Ratka, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT Less R. Wright, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
WO1 George Beadore, 725th Main Bn
SFC Francis L. Moore, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Roy L. Felton, HHT, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SSG David J. Zonfrilli, Co F, 75th Inf
SSG Robert Paul, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG James R. Jenkins, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Melchior J. Borbolla, Trp B, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Stephen J. Timmerman, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT Stephen J. Lawton, Co F, 75th Inf
SGT John W. Allen, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Henry J. Smith, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Daniel Farmer, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Darce Chandler, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Thomas R. Gaulin, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Daniel O. Stevenson, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP5 Paul E. Nistico, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP5 Thomas O. Lemke, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP5 Donald K. Kimura, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP5 Perry V. Rawley, HHC. 3d Bn, 2d Inf
SP5 Randolph F. Brogan, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Richard B. Piornack, Co B, lst Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Frank G. Cain, Co B, 1st Bn. 5th Inf
SP4 Thomas Meldrum, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Bobby L. Martin, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 James W. Ford, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Joe H. Dangelmayr, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 John Connolly, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
SP4 Gordon R. Grieve, Co F, 75th Inf
SP4 David L. Nodsle, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Stephen O. Montgomery, Co A, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Antonio D. Alvidrez, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 James Standback, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Andrew Desimone, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Gary D. Tackett, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Gary C. Whited, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Ronald F. Wilson, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Edward A. Tibbs, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Michael Marcum, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Jerry Lewis, Co B, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 George L. Holloway, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Donald L. Jones, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Dale L. Iverson, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Frank G. Cain, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Henry G. Wilbanks, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Johnny L. Ollison, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC David F. Johnson, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Henry Hayes, Co B, 1st Bn, 5th Inf
PFC Dennis A. Montgomery, Co F, 75th Inf
PFC Gerald J. Camerelleri, Co F, 75th Inf
PFC Russell D. Suever, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Larry R. Neville, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Paul D. Hawcroft, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC William G. Braun, HHC, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
PFC William D. Brodie, A Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Arty
PFC Brent F. Weekly, Co B, 725th Main Bn
Hours of Good
Library Adds Book Shelves
By SGT TIM WHALEN
TAY NINH - More popular books than ever are available at the 1st Brigade's library here. Not only do they have a large collection of recent best sellers, but 3,500 fiction, non-fiction and reference volumes.
Specialist 5 James Bayless of San Diego is the NCOIC of the library, which was recently expanded when the 1st Infantry Division left Vietnam. "We inherited a lot of books and even some furniture," Bayless said.
Books not on the shelves may be ordered through the inter-library loan service. This means readers have access to books from over 40 libraries in Vietnam. They may borrow books for up to two weeks.
The library subscribes to 120 popular magazines, from "Life" to "Playboy." It also receives 16 major newspapers from back in the "world."
There is a film library also. Specialist 4 Robert Emmons of Winchester, Mass., is in charge. There are always about 50 popular movies on hand. Seven new ones come in every week and any company size unit can check one out overnight.
The library is open from 0900 to 2100 hours seven days a week, and is located in the 1st Brigade Headquarters area.
"Most guys come in here and expect to see the walls and shelves packed with TMs, FMs and all kinds of other Army publications," Bayless said. "They're usually pretty surprised to learn that this isn't that kind of library!"
|Division Senior Career Counselor Master Sergeant Fred Epley of Spokane, Wash., shows Specialist 5 Glen Ramsey of Little Rock, Ark, how to sign up. Ramsey reenlisted for an administrative job. He was formerly a rifleman with the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry.|
GI's Fired Up While Playing With Burners
By SP5 GARY D. SCIORTINO
Carelessness is a major factor in accidents involving injury and destruction of property by fire.
Recently two men relaxed in a bunker after a hard day's work. One of the men toyed with a hand-fired starcluster as he spoke of the events of the day with his friend. The starcluster accidentally fired, striking the second man. It ignited his clothes and the bunk upon which he was lying. Although he managed to extinguish the fire which burned his clothes and his bedding, the fire spread rapidly throughout the bunker.
In the end, the entire bunker burned to the ground and an entire basic load of ammunition stored there, including a case of hand grenades, exploded. The man who was hit by the star cluster suffered first degree burns.
In another recent incident, a man was detailed to burn mortar charges which had accumulated from the previous day's firing. He threw a few of the charges into a fire at the dump area.
Although he was familiar with the job, he decided to go against prior instructions not to burn more than a couple charges at one time even if the first few did not ignite.
He placed the remainder of the charges on the fire. As he turned to walk away, all of the charges roared into flames. The man was burned on his back, leg, arm and hand.
Playing with fire or objects which are likely to begin a fire unexpectedly is a dangerous business.
DEROS safely. Do not play with fire. You may get burned.
Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
PFC Joseph Karran, HHC, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl
SP4 Jerry Colburn, HHC, 65th Eng. Bn, boy
PFC Jay Kennington, B Co, 1st Bn, 27th Inf, girl
CPT William Ayers, HHC, 2d Bde, boy
SP4 Douglas Calvano, 94th Maint. Bn, boy
PFC Kenneth Tuma, D Co, 2d Bn, 14th Inf, boy
SGT Harold Bruggeman, HHC, 1st Bn, 5th Inf, boy
SP4 Tony Moyer, A Co, 20th Trans. Co, girl
SP4 James Alvey, 327th Sig. Bn, girl
1LT Donald Jones, Adv Tm #43, girl
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 Edward Bautz, Jr . . . . . . Commanding General
MAJ Warren J. Field . . . . . . Information Officer
1LT John Caspari . . . . . . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SSG Stephen F. Veroczi . . . . NCOIC
SP4 Charles C. Self . . . . . . . . Editor
SP5 Gary D. Sciortino . . . . . Assistant Editor
|SGT Bill Obelholzer
SP4 Jim Williams
SGT Wally Baker
SP4 Greg Stanmar
SP4 Phil Jackson
SP4 Jeff Hinman
SP4 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Ken Barron
SP4 Greg Duncan
SP4 Brad Yaeger
SP4 Frank Rezzonico
SP4 Dan Neff
|SP4 Henry Zukowski
SP4 Joe O'Rourke
PFC Ray Byrne
SGT William E. Zarrett
SP4 Robert Caplan
SP4 Brian Flaherty
SP4 Rich Fitzpatrick
PFC Rob Lato
SP4 Frank Salerno
SP4 Lawrence Merritt
SP4 William McGown
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
"On Time" Cannoneers
Remain on Toes Day and Night
By SP4 TOM BENN
FSB KIEN - "Baked while you sleep" is the eye-catching slogan of a popular bakery in the United States.
In Vietnam, the 25th Division's Artillerymen are doing a little Late-Night Cooking, too. The 25th Division's A Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery is typical of most arty units. The men's days are spent building bunkers and filling sandbags while their nights consist of fire missions, broken up occasionally by an hour or two for sleep.
The "On Time" cannoneers from A Battery start preparing for the night's missions late in the afternoon when they "lay the guns" so that all tubes point magnetic north.
When the initial request for a fire mission comes in, it is taken by the Fire Direction Center who, after plotting the target on a map, relays a set of numbers to the guns - lining them up on target.
The busy FDC facility also has the responsibility of obtaining air clearance to shoot. If there is excessive air traffic or friendly troops in the target area, the fire mission is cancelled.
Sections get the call for a mission over a phone located near the gun. Crew members take turns pulling two hour guard shifts each night, waiting for the call and then waking up the rest of the crew when it comes.
Not all fire missions are called in on known enemy positions. Firing at suspected enemy concentrations, according to one artilleryman "keeps Charlie on his toes."
With such a schedule, sleep is at a premium. According to Sergeant Jerry Hopson, an Alfa Battery section chief, "We get four and a half to five hours sleep each night.
Asked when fire missions are most frequent, one knowing gunner grinned, "Usually just before or just after you pull guard."
Despite the amount of nighttime action artillerymen see, their days are no different than anyone else's. Dawn to dusk is occupied with the never-ending jobs of bunker building, cleaning the guns, breaking out new ammo, and getting ready for another night of cooking things up for Charlie.
Provides Change of
Regulars Enjoy Field Day Fun
By SGT TIM WHALEN
TAY NINH - For one sweet day, the war really did fade away for the Regulars of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.
It was just like a scout jamboree . . , or maybe the annual July Fourth family picnic. It was officially called a "Field Day" and that's exactly what it was for the war-weary infantrymen.
The Regulars started the day off with reveille. Representatives from each company leaped out of their bunks, pulled on their boots and started folding hospital corners with the sheets.
The men were timed on all the events.
The events were designed to be fun. Some were designed to be sort of a test of the men's abilities as they are used every day in the field. Some of the events were map reading, radio procedures, and mortar tube relays.
Dart throwing, volleyball, and horse shoes contests also drew fierce competition among the companies.
The Field Day was highlighted by a country style bar-b-que. Chicken and a trailer full of beer added to the men's incentive to win. But the real incentive was an extra two-day stand-down for the winning company.
The day was termed a tremendous success by the men and their officers. It was a fun day, and a very welcome change of pace from their usual routine of humping the boonies.
Wears Buck Owens' Old Coat
By SP4 GREG STANMAR
CU CHI - The Department of the Army has denied rumors that it is considering a new uniform for its troops which would consist of a red jacket and matching pants with white trim and rhinestones liberally spread over the costume.
But Specialist 4 Jim Anderson of Clarion, Iowa, who has such a uniform has no intention of trying to persuade the Army to adopt it. "After all", points out one of Anderson's friends in the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, "Jim's suit doesn't even match the color of the Army issue flak jacket."
Anderson isn't complaining however. First of all, the jacket was worn by Buck Owens during his performance at Carnegie Hall. And besides, it didn't cost Jim anything but the time it took to name the five songs played by AFVN (American Forces Vietnam Network) in a contest sponsored by the United Services Organization.
"I knew all the songs and figured I might as well enter," he said. "Next thing I knew they told me that I won."
Owens has produced several country and western hits, among them "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail".
"He's terrific," continued Anderson, "But I probably won't ever wear the costume. I'll just keep it for a souvenir."
Anderson, a driver for the 2nd of the 14th `Golden Dragons', said he plans to start a country and western band of his own when he gets out of the Army.
"But", he concluded, "I don't think I'd ever have the guts to wear Buck Owens clothes in that band."
|CLEANUP - The morning after a fire mission, Specialist 4 Robert Perry (left) and Private First Class Bernard Williams clean their section's 105mm howitzer. The two Redlegs are members of the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery's Alfa Battery at Fire Support Base Kien.|
Brothers Put 'Hurt' on
Arty Repairs Team
By SP4 DOUG SAINSBURY
CU CHI - "It only 'Hurts' for a little while." The adage has been used countless times to express the nature of a particular situation. It recently had singular meaning for Specialist 4 Roger Hurt of Rock Island, Ill., the operator of 2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery's Five-Ton Wrecker.
"I arrived in Vietnam in late July while my younger brother Gale was in AIT at Ft. Ord., Calif.," said Roger. "After talking to several people and checking the regs, it finally turned out that he (Gale) came to the 25th Infantry Division and was assigned to our unit."
"I didn't know if I had much of a chance to get into 2/77 when I volunteered for Nam, but I was hoping I would get into it," said Gale who is Private First Class.
Things turned out well, though. Gale arrived at Headquarters, 2/77 in January and started on the job training in the Battalion Maintenance section as a mechanic and welder.
"When we both have time, I give him a little OJT on the Wrecker, too," said Rog. "But he doesn't really need it, because we both had a lot of experience operating wreckers before we came into the Army."
Rog is scheduled to DEROS in late July, but may decide to extend for the 150 day early out.
"People often wonder if we are twins," said Gale. "I guess we do look a lot alike, but Rog is several inches taller."
So now at 2/77 it doesn't `Hurt' anymore, brother!
Sarge Saves Injured
By SGT BILL OBERHOLZER
TAY NINH - Safe positions in a firefight are normally quite scarce. But Staff Sergeant Kim Fisher of Salt Lake City, Utah, a platoon sergeant for Charlie Company 4th Battalion (Mech) 23rd Infantry Tomahawks, took shelter in a bomb crater in the shadows of Nui Ba Den during a heavy firefight with NVA soldiers.
But, as soon as Fisher arrived in his position a call for help came from a wounded soldier 90 meters away. Fisher crawled out of the crater, across open terrain to the wounded man's position. Rounds were hitting all around as Fisher dragged the man back to the crater.
Specialist 4 Guy Taylor of Calico Rock, Ark., a medic, joined them to administer first aid. While they were working a 60mm mortar round landed within inches of Fisher's foot, but did not detonate. They continued until armored personnel carriers could come forward to evacuate the wounded man.
Chief Of Chaplains
Dedicates FB Chapel
By SP4 GARY SCIORTINO
FSB RAWLINS - The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains (Major General) Francis L. Sampson, touring the Republic of Vietnam, dedicated a chapel at the 25th Infantry Division's Fire Support Base Rawlins here recently.
He later spoke to approximately 50 chaplains at the 25th Infantry Division's Chaplain Training Conference in Tay Ninh.
Chaplain Sampson cut the ribbon at the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry's Tomahawk Memorial Chapel, after which he spoke to the troops. The chapel has been dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel A. C. Butler, a former Tomahawk battalion commander who was killed in action on March 22, 1969.
The men of the battalion, now under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James E. Coggins, built the chapel by themselves. The chapel, designed by Chaplain (Major) John A. Rakestraw, was built by the Tomahawks under the guidance of Command Sergeant Major James J. Gallagher and Sergeant Major Elden Johnston.
Chaplain Sampson told the Tomahawks that they may never again have the same feeling of oneness under God that they had accomplished in Vietnam.
Later, while speaking at the chaplains' training conference, he told the chaplains that few of them "would have to build their own chapels at home through their own hard work and with such all-out support of the parishioners. This trip to Vietnam is most satisfying for me, because this is a place where an ordinary chaplain can become an ideal chaplain as a result of the hardship situations with which he must contend," he said.
"This could be the pivotal year of your ministry," he told the chaplains. "You will find satisfaction in your work without all the artificialities that clutter up religion in civilian life. It's simply you - the chaplains - and the men."
|"I GET BY with a little help from my friends," says Specialist 4 Mike Orwig of Whittier, Calif., as Kit Carson Scout Tong lifts a field pack onto his ally's back. They were preparing for a three-day mission with the Recon Platoon of the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry.|
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
|READY - Specialist 4 Richard Nast of Marionette, Wis., a medic with Bravo Company, Second Wolfhounds, and the company Kit Carson Scout, Kahn, watch air strikes on enemy positions.||SEARCH - Bending low a Wolfhound emerges after searching an NVA bunker complex during the four-day operation.|
Hounds Met Charlie Head On in Renegades
In some of the heaviest fighting in the 25th Infantry Division in several months, units of the 3rd Brigade combined to kill 93 NVA northwest of Go Dau Ha recently.
The four-day operation took place in the Renegade Woods near Patrol Base Blue.
Charlie, Alfa and Bravo companies of 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds supported by 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry companies established numerous contacts with an estimated battalion-sized enemy force. The ground troops were supported by artillery, air strikes and helicopter gunships continuously.
"They were well-trained," said Charlie Company Private First Class Bobby Fleming of Cochran, Ga. "They tried to stop our machine guns instead of just running away."
Thick woods and heavy foliage made operations difficult. The enemy tunnels and bunker complexes were deep and well-fortified.
U.S. casualties were listed as light.
by SP4 RICH DOMBROWICKI
Photos by PFC ROBB LATO
|PROBE - A former 1st Infantry Division soldier reassigned to the 25th's 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Wolfhounds, cautiously probes an NVA bunker during a four-day operation in the Renegade Woods.|
|EVAC - Ready to evacuate wounded companions Wolfhounds wait for the "go ahead" signal.|
|COLLECTING - Specialist 4 Rob Odziana of the Wolfhounds, gathers Chi-Com grenades during recent operations in the Renegade Woods.|
|RENEGADE WOODS - Sergeant Charles Moore of Tacoma, Wash., inspects enemy supplies captured during the operation.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
Serves Fire Base Troopers
By SP4 RICH DOMBROWICKI
CU CHI - A new, mobile dental van which will enable all 25th Infantry Division fire base personnel to receive routine and emergency treatment is now in operation.
The facility, a converted shop van mounted on a deuce and a half, is a product of the combined talents of the 40th Medical Detachment aid the 725th Maintenance Battalion.
"The job was unusual," said Specialist 5 Mark W. Miller, Milwaukee, of 725th. "But the work itself wasn't difficult," he added modestly.
Many modifications were made, including connecting air hoses from an outside compressor to the inside dental unit and installing an air conditioner. Fluorescent lighting and fresh paint, which contribute to brightness for better visibility, were other important steps taken. And, all of the equipment had to be bolted down.
"The 725th did a tremendous job in getting the clinic ready," said Colonel Donald R. Nelson, project officer and Executive Officer of the 40th Med. "It was a real problem converting a shop van into something it was never intended for."
The clinic-on-wheels features a portable air compressor and a mobile dental unit, both specially designed for field use. The air conditioning, besides adding to comfort, enables the doors to be closed and thus keep out dust.
"Our biggest problem was finding materials, although everything came from Cu Chi sources," Nelson, of Evansville, Ind., said in referring to the 40th Med.
All functions of a regular clinic are available, except for x-raying and denture work. Routine treatments such as fillings, extractions, cleanings and self-applied fluoride brushings are most common. Minor surgery using local anesthetics can also be performed.
"The staff of one officer and a dental assistant-hygienist will have a lot of work to do," Nelson added. A previous clinic averaged 1,200-1,500 patients per month.
Vietnam Orphan Is
By PFC ROBB LATO
CU CHI - "A Wolfhound he isn't, but I guess not every company has a Wolfpuppy to look after," said First Lieutenant Mike Conner of Buffalo, N.Y., referring to Minh, the eight year old Vietnamese boy adopted by Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry 'Wolfhound' mortar platoon.
"While our company was at Phuoc Luu," explained Private First Class Jack Folsom of New Underwood, S.D., "Minh told us that his mother and father had been killed by the VC. After we saw the sadness and sorrow on his face we decided to make him a junior Wolfhound."
One problem the platoon faced was finding clothes for Minh. The men finally decided that the best way to get clothing was by asking for help from their families and friends in the states.
"The folks back home have really been great," Specialist 4 Larry Smith of Blountsville, Ala., said. "Minh now dresses like most kids in America. He's got gym shoes, blue jeans and plenty of tee shirts."
Minh spends most of the day helping the Hounds pass time. He plays games and occasionally works with the men on some of their lighter duties.
"When the platoon moves back to Cu Chi base camp, we plan to enroll Minh in school," said Staff Sergeant Roy Collins of Decatur, Ga.
Yet, Minh already speaks English very well.
"As a rule, the mortar platoon does not have a Kit Carson scout. Since the rest of Delta Company stays in the village, a lot of ralliers come to our compound outside the village," said Conner. "That's when Minh helps us out as an interpreter."
Mysterious Dish Remains Secret
CU CHI - Army cooks have often been on the receiving end of sharp remarks by their fellow soldiers. Most take it as part of their job, but one recently had a comeback that deserves to be recorded.
As the men of Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, were filling in for the noon meal, everyone noticed a mysterious delicacy in one of the serving pans.
"I'd be afraid to ask what that is," cracked one G.I. at the head of the line.
"I'd be afraid to tell you," replied the cook.
PB HARRIS - The day started as a drag but ended up as a haul for Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, and the 2d Battalion (Mech), 22 Infantry, on a land clearing operation. They uncovered a large enemy mortar and rifle grenade cache one mile northeast of Patrol Base Harris.
The land clearing operation was a joint effort to clear the area around Harris of booby traps and thick vegetation. A chain was stretched between two APCs, dragged along the ground to blow the booby traps and tear down hedgerows.
Found in the cache were 108 rifle grenades, 85 60mm mortar rounds, one case of AK-47 ammunition, four 30-pound Chicom claymore mines.
Also in the find were five bags of TNT, three unset mackerel can booby traps, two shovels and one can of cooking oil. There were documents and pictures located inside a nearby hootch, all in good condition.
|Ilikai East by Night
WED Floor Show on Stage
THU Swimming Party (1930)
SAT Films and Popcorn
SUN Cash Bingo
MON Stage Band (1900)
TUE Dating Game
All events begin at 2000 hours.
Ask Sgt. Certain
DEAR SGT CERTAIN: Through a teen magazine penpal system I was corresponding with a gorgeous 23-year-old debutante from New York City. After several letters we decided that we were meant for each other, and I sent her an engagement ring. I now find out she is fifteen, from Brooklyn, has buck teeth and she had sent me an old picture of her mother. What should I do?
DEAR HOOKED: Cancel the engagement.
DEAR SGT CERTAIN: who we all admire,
your column lights my heart on fire.
Such clever wit, such touching prose.
Who'd think you're dressed in O.D. clothes.
Out in the field we labor long
But harken to your cheerful song.
The week drags on until when
We get our tattered TLN
There your column lies with grace.
putting a smile on each saddened face.
Some people idolize Denny McLain,
Joe Namath or Richard Burton.
Not me, My hero is SGT Certain.
DEAR FAN: I thank you truly, but
What are you, some kind of nut?
DEAR SGT CERTAIN: Next week is my kid brother's birthday and I promised him an authentic souvenir of Vietnam. Unfortunately it's the end of the month and I have no bread. What can I send him?
DEAR DUTIFUL: You can send him a copy of the TROPIC LIGHTING NEWS with directions for folding it into a coolie hat.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
|IT MAY BE "after hours," but men from the hospital staff are on the job as they wait with hospital litters for a dustoff helicopter that is about to land.|
Speed, Skill and
Care a Must At Tropic Lightning's MUST
By 1LT ROBERT E. GOLDEN
TAY NINH - "MAS-CAL!" With this word, people at the 25th Division's 45th Surgical Hospital begin to move.
On a recent Sunday night when the call was sounded doctors and nurses converged on the pre-op (pre-operative) ward and prepared all the equipment they would need. Everyone else headed towards the breezeway in front to man the litters when the dust-off choppers, bearing 15 casualties, came in.
The 45th Surg is a "MUST" facility. MUST means Medical Unit , Self-contained, Transportable - in other words, a portable hospital.
The "heart" of the hospital consists of five large inflatable "bubbles", six expandable steel buildings (each one is about three times the size of a conex) and five utility packs that provide all the air conditioning, heat, water and power for the entire hospital.
The MUST hospital is a new concept and has replaced the MASH concept (Military Army Surgical Hospital). The 45th Surg, now commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George M. Pomerants, opened in November 1966, and was the first MUST-type hospital in Vietnam.
As in any other hospital, the men and women of the 45th are on call 24 hours a day. It has to be that way, since most of the "crises" occur after normal duty hours.
"We usually have our MASCALS between 1800 and 1900 hours or between five and seven in the morning," said Major John J. Candelaria, hospital Executive Officer.
When dustoff ships arrive at the hospital's chopper pad, patients are hurried into the preop ward for immediate emergency treatment. In the process known as `triage' (French for `to separate'), all wounded soldiers are categorized as a team of doctors carefully examines each man and decides whether he is to remain at the hospital for treatment, whether he can be released or whether he is to be further evacuated.
Patients designated to stay are prepared for surgery in one of the three surgical suites. Patients needing further evacuation are quickly loaded onto waiting choppers that take them to either of Long Binh's evacuation hospitals, the 25th or 93rd.
According to Captain George J. Wright, Adjutant, the MUST hospital is still in the experimental stages.
"We feel the 45th Surg serves a very important and useful purpose for the men out in the field," Wright explained. "We're the middle man between the medic out in the boonies and the evacuation hospitals in Cu Chi and Long Binh. There's no doubt that we've saved many lives here during our existence. I think that justifies our being here."
You might say that the best of care is a must at the 25th Division's MUST.
|SPECIALIST 5 Stanley W. Behner (center) helps lift a litter patient on to a chopper for further evacuation.|
|A PATIENT, after receiving emergency life-saving treatment at the 45th Surgical hospital, is carried to a waiting Medevac chopper that will take him to an evacuation hospital in Cu Chi or Saigon.|
|DOCTOR (Captain) John C. Kecirns carefully prepares a wounded trooper for surgery.|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 20, 1970
Beefing Up Camp Bunkers
CU CHI - The Maginot Line will live again - this time in Vietnam. The 25th Division's 65th Engineer Battalion is constructing a defensive system reminiscent of the famed French barrier, on this base camp perimeter.
However, the Cu Chi version of the Line won't be outflanked by a blitzkrieg of planes and armor.
Under the direction of the "Whiskey Fifth" Engineers, many bunkers which were constructed during the 25th Infantry Division's first few months in Cu Chi have been torn down and are being replaced.
Outside the wire, grass and underbrush were burned while bulldozers and graders leveled the area to provide better fields of fire. Aging barbed wire was replaced.
The new bunkers the engineers are building should be a guard's delight when the rainy season arrives. The bunkers are built above ground on concrete platforms. They are roomy inside with a covered observation platform on top.
According to Platoon Sergeant Tommy Alexander of Hartselle, Ala., a Bravo Company Engineer who is NCOIC of the bunker construction, the new bunkers are capable of withstanding a direct hit from an RPG round.
When the project is completed there will be a total of 55 new bunkers on the perimeter. In addition, smaller firing positions are being built between bunkers for the use of reinforcements if that should become necessary.
According to one of the engineers, manned by crack guards, the new "Maginot Line" will put a lock on Cu Chi that will stop any sapper.
Rifles, Bobcats Team
Flush, Kill Seven NVA
By SGT DAN DELANEY
TAY NINH - Seven enemy soldiers died in their own bunkers during a recent clash with Tropic Lightning troops 10 miles west of Dau Tieng.
After climbing for an hour up the side of one of the Razorback mountains, members of the Division's Lancer Rifles (formerly the Minicav) found the enemy bunker they had been sent in to locate.
Looking down into one of the bunkers, Specialist 4 Randy Marino of Oakland, Calif., saw "one of the enemy looking right back up at me." Both reacted immediately. The NVA soldier had an American M-60 machinegun and didn't waste any time putting it to use. He wounded one American and the accompanying Kit Carson Scout.
Marino dodged, then threw a grenade. The NVA threw it right back, and a small piece of shrapnel nicked the lieutenant commanding the platoon. More grenades were thrown by Marino's buddies.
The Tropic Lightning troops found that their radio had been damaged, so they flagged down a Charlie model gunship which evacuated the wounded men in its ammo well.
Meanwhile, elements of the 25th Division's 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry moved in on the bunker complex. Seven enemy were killed as the 1/5th bored in on the Communists.
|SCANNING THE AREA for enemy activity at Fire Support Base Devins is Specialist 4 Stephen Belus of Girard, Ohio, a member of the 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry. (Photo by SP4 Henry G. Zukowski)|
Big Horn Foes Fight Together
By SP4 RICH DOMBROWICKI
CU CHI - George Custer and Crazy Horse in Vietnam? Almost, but not quite.
At the Battle of the Little Big Horn Sioux Indians led by Chief Crazy Horse met the 7th U.S. Cavalry of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in one of the most famous battles in American history.
Almost 100 years later, and half-way around the world with the 25th Infantry Division, descendants of both those great Americans are once again engaged in combat. Only this time they are fighting Communists, rather than each other.
Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer of DuPont, Wash., is commanding officer of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry.
Private First Class James Franklin, a full-blooded Sioux from Rapid City, S.C., is wearing his war paint with B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery.
Recently Chasing Horse's battery supported elements of Custer's battalion during a mission near here.
Does the Little Big Horn ever cross his mind? "It doesn't make any difference to me," said Chasing Horse. "It's all in the past."
The young Indian, a draftee, had been living on the White River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota before entering the Army last year. He doesn't mind serving his country so far from home.
"My father is real patriotic. He was an artilleryman during World War II. Like father like son, I guess," he chuckled.
That would be an understatement for Colonel Custer. He is maintaining the military tradition in his family passed on from father to son for over a century.
For Custer and Chasing Horse, the hatchet has been buried a long time. Now they are working together to see that the Communists suffer a Little Big Horn defeat in every battle.
|TOMAHAWKS of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry, stationed at Fire Support Base Rawlins wait in line outside a portable PX truck. The truck visits outposts near Toy Ninh City each week bringing necessities and luxuries to the men in the field. (Photo by SP4 Robert C. Caplan)|
Tomahawk Puppy Studies
By SGT BILL OBERHOLZER
TAY NINH - Upset by the discrimination against Vietnamese dogs for use as scouts, Tropic Lightning men of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry adopted a brindle-colored "man's best friend" whom they affectionately call "Hoche."
The men of the battalion's personnel office, who care for Hoche maintain that he is as well-trained as any scout dog. One 4/23rd "Tomahawk" even claimed that Hoche "is more crucial to our morale than any scout dog could ever be."
His main task, according to one personnel specialist, is to make sure that tempers never rise. He sits in front of the Personnel shop - sometimes under the shop, when the sun is too hot - and watches to make sure that all the business that transpires is carried out in a friendly manner.
When it's time for chow, just in case any Tomahawks have forgotten where the mess hall is, he springs to his paws and immediately assumes the "point position".
As his human friends are enjoying the delights of the mess hall, Hoche sits patiently, guarding the building, meanwhile helping himself to the better pickings of the garbage.
He won't eat too much of this because he knows his hard day's work will be rewarded at night with his favorite food - sardines and crackers.
At dusk, Hoche assumes his guard position on the Personnel bunker. Nothing can get him away from his sentry post, except maybe a little rain or a good movie.
Nevertheless, Hoche is an institution. Some say he was here even before Bob Hope was. Yet he carries out his duties efficiently and has gained the respect of the men and other dogs in the Tomahawks Battalion.
Border Bush Stops
GO DAU HA - A night ambush of the 25th Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, designed to prevent NVA crossing the Cambodian border, recently halted six enemy soldiers - permanently.
Bravo Company of the "Golden Dragons" set up their night vigil between the Cambodian border and the Oriental River, several miles southwest of here. Soon after, a sizeable force of NVA was spotted heading toward the patrol.
When the enemy was within range the company opened up with organic weapons, leaving six Communists dead and the rest running for their lives.
Bravo Company's casualties were described as "light."
Robert Bessette, 3rd Bn., 22th Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 07-24-2005
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