Vol. 5 No. 30 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1st Bde 3||2/12 Photo 8||3/4 Cav 6||725th Maint Photo 8|
|1st Bde 3||2/27 1||4/49 ARVN 1||Cu Chi PX 6|
|1/5 8||2/32 Arty 1||65th Engr Photo 6||Inspector General 6|
|1/27 Arty 1||2/34 Armor 1||725th Maint 3||Kit Carson Scout 1|
|2/12 Photo 1||2/60 8||725th Maint Photo 3||Richard Nixon Photo 8|
|2/12 1||2/77 Arty 8||725th Maint 3||Rubber Mill Photos 7|
|2/12 3||25th Inf 8||725th Maint 8||Viet Cong Photos 4|
|2/12 Photo 3|
The Making of a Kit Carson Scout
By SP4 SCOTT WATSON
CU CHI - During the summer of 1966, a 28 year-old VC squad leader entered a company of the 9th Marine Regiment, threw down his M-1 rifle and ammunition and rallied to the side of the South Vietnamese government. But this rallier proved to be unique - the first of what soon became known as Kit Carson Scouts.
The Kit Carson Scout, whose name derives from that legendary figure of America's old West, is a member of the North Vietnamese Army or Viet Cong who has decided to come over to the other side.
Since 1966, the scouts have been proving themselves a valuable aid to U.S. troops because of their knowledge of the enemy's tactics and familiarity with the countryside.
According to a division Kit Carson Scout officer, the scouts are recruited directly from the Chieu Hoi centers. They must meet certain initial requirements.
"We want them between the ages of 18 and 35 years so that we can be reasonably sure they will be able to handle the physical side of the job. We like them to have used some sort of weapon before they rallied because it cuts down on the hours of training we must give them," he added.
"Also, we prefer those who can read and write. This enables them to learn and retain more during the training they get before going out to the field.
The final requirement is that they have a valid draft deferment at the time of hiring. This deferment is supplied by the Chieu Hoi center. "The scout must not have been released from the center for a period of more than six months," he said.
The scouts receive several weeks of initial training. The primary emphasis is on English instruction. Communication is one of the biggest problems scouts will face in the field.
After the training program has been completed, the scouts are assigned to a friendly unit where they put their knowledge into practice. How they are used is left up to the individual unit.
"The Kit Carson Scout out on line is treated like a member of the platoon," says Captain David Cogan of Elkhart, Ind., the S-5 for the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry. "They go out on all operations.
|DOWN, DOWN AND AWAY ... Human member of the 2nd of the 12th and friend double time it off landing zone.|
Dreadnaught Tankers Aid Rout of Enemy
FSB LANYARD - Reacting quickly, Dreadnaught tankers supported an element of the 4th Battalion, 49th ARVN Regiment recently in a daylight operation that killed 11 NVA soldiers and captured two near the Cambodia border.
Alfa Company, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, was conducting a search operation south of Fire Support Base Lanyard during mid-morning when two artillery batteries moving north in convoy from Thien Ngon received small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire.
The artillery units, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 27th Artillery and Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Artillery, called for arty, gunship and air strike support. At the same time the tankers and the ARVN elements moved into the contact area.
Within 20 minutes, contact with the unknown size enemy element was lost and the Dreadnaughts and the ARVN began a search of the area. Shortly before noon they came upon an estimated 150 enemy in a bunker complex.
Artillery and gunship support was again called in for the battle which lasted 90 minutes. With the tankers firing close in support, the Vietnamese troops killed 11 NVA, took two others prisoner and captured four assault rifles, two rocket propelled grenade launchers and a light machinegun.
Two ARVN were killed. There were no U.S. casualties.
"It was one of the finest combat maneuvers we've had here," a 1st Brigade operations officer said. He praised the armor unit for its quick reaction.
The prisoners told officials that the enemy unit's mission was to make contact with allied forces with special emphasis on ambushing convoys.
Warriors Lay Long-Distance Mech. Ambush
By SP4 ED TOULOUSE
FSB WARRIOR - While the very human Warriors of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, were humping miles away recently, several mechanical members of the unit ambushed NVA soldiers just east of Nui Ba Den, killing two.
Meanwhile, two miles to the north, Charlie Company, 2nd of the 12th was busy destroying a major enemy position.
Actually, the NVA, moving under the cover of darkness, blew their own ambush when one of the group took a lethal step, tripping several pre-set American claymore mines.
A mechanical ambush allows American forces to cover areas of known enemy movement by leaving claymore calling cards behind as they freely move miles away.
One hang-up with a mechanical ambush is that it can be almost as dangerous for friendly forces as it is for the enemy. "Disarming one of the devices can be hairy," said Sergeant John Kukuk of Pontiac, Mich. "Charlie may have tampered with it."
On the previous day, Charlie Company destroyed two enemy trenches, 21 bunkers, 10 fighting positions and twenty 2.75 inch rockets.
Strike It Rich
By SP4 GREG DUNCAN
CU CHI - While sweeping a late night contact site north of here, 25th Infantry Division soldiers of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, found that they had killed a wealthy North Vietnamese extortionist, who was carrying $4,400 in piasters and another $1,000 in false bills.
"We had spotted and fired on several enemy soldiers the night before and were conducting a sweep of the area when we found the body of one NVA," recalled Staff Sergeant Thomas Curren of Wooster, Ohio. "He apparently had been surprised while in the middle of a meal, because we found all sorts of food and cooking utensils nearby. There was a K-54 pistol near his hand. It was cocked. A round was chambered."
Beside the dead soldier, the GIs found a small bag.
"It was quite a shock to open it up and see all that money looking you in the face," said Specialist 4 Pat McCarthy of Streamwood, Ill. "When we got back to our permanent location and began taking a total of everything we had found, it was unbelievable. Not only had we captured the K-54 pistol, but there were also numerous articles of clothing and, after counting the money, we figured we must have had at least $4,000 in piasters. Everyone was pretty excited about the whole thing," he added.
"We felt that not only had we deprived the enemy of his paycheck, but also prevented him from acquiring clothes, food, weapons and ammunition," said Charlie Company Commander Captain Paul Evans from Columbus, Ga.
"The enemy takes this money from the people and then turns around and buys weapons and ammunition to terrorize these same people. It is like beating him to death with his own paycheck," Evans said.
|FASHION PLATE -- This Kit Carson scout models the latest in monsoon season rain wear. Notice the fine cut of pullover rain smock with hood. Completing the ensemble are bell-bottom trousers made of water repellant material. Wow.|
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
|SSG Harry A. Courtney, Co A, 2d Bn, 34th Armor|
CW2 David C. Allen, 25th MP Co
CSM August A. Myszka, HHB, 1st Bn, 8th Fld Arty
SP4 Daniel A. Bruce, HHC, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Gary W. Watson, HHB, 1st Bn, 8th Fld Arty
LTC Albert P. Hodges, HHC, 2d Bn, 34th Armor
CPT Philip C. Blake, 2d Bde
CPT Flether D. Wilderman, 2d Bde
1LT John Alchus, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
1LT James L. Kanelakos, Co C, 2d Bn, 12th Inf
1LT Philip E. McMahan, A Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
1LT David L. Phillips, Co A, 2d Bn 14th Inf
SSG Jerry D. Chinnow, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SSG Eddie Demary, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SSG William H. Hudson Jr, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Robert Anthony, Co D, 1st Bn, 27th Inf
SGT Robert D. Bouscher, Co D, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Thomas J. Cummings, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Carl R. George, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Eugene R. Hess, Co C, 4th Bn 9th Inf
SGT Steven R. Hudson, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Paul P. Michael, Co E, 3d Bn,22d Inf
SGT Charles E. Ovitt Jr, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SGT Eugene R. Powell, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SGT Joe E. Roberts, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SGT Thomas S. Shanaman, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT Clinton M. Spencer, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SGT Edward Wilson, Co B, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SGT George R. Wood, D Trp, 3d Sqdn, 4th Cav
SGT Gregory W. Yahn, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Dan W. Childress, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Gerald S. Cook, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 Milton E. Cox, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
SP4 Percell H. Daniels, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Cleveland H. Egelston, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 Dennis R. Garmoe, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SP4 James A. Hanson, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 Clarence A. Magwood, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
SP4 Sidney Morrison, Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 Warner Murphy, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SP4 Steve E. Odom, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SP4 Armond Pinkston, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 James M. Reams, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 James K. Secrest, F Co, 75th Inf
SP4 Daniel Simpson, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
SP4 Mertis L. Snyder Co A, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
SP4 J. Michael Swaney, Co A, 2d Bn, 27th Inf
SP4 Earnest D. Swiger, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Edward A. Tibbs, Co E, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Allen W. Tonniges, Co A, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Andrew J. Clay, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC William Foster, Co D, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC J. R. Gill, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Thomas J. Heavilin, Co B, 2d Bn, 14th Inf
PFC Terry L. Holland, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Ted D. Hooker, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Thomas Keller, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Louis Lesnikowski, Co C, 4th Bn, 9th Inf
PFC Leo Lunardi, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Sigmund E. Mazur, Co C, 4th Bn, 23d Inf
PFC Calrin J. Moffot, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Stephen R. Neison, F Co, 75th Inf
PFC Carl W. Nichols, Co C, 4th En, 9th Inf
PFC Blair D. Rauch, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
PFC Joseph N. Reyes, Co B, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Arthur B. Rice, F Co, 75th Inf
PFC Nelson L. Williams, B Btry, 7th Bn, 11th Fld Arty
No.1 Fire Concern
|By SP4 SCOTT WATSON
When thinking of possible places for a fire to break out, one of the first areas of concern is the mess hall.
There are numerous incidents on file of fires that have erupted in mess halls, the majority of which were caused by lack of maintenance of equipment or the failure to take necessary safety precautions.
During February of this year, five men were injured, four seriously, when an M-2 field range exploded, throwing gas throughout the kitchen area and causing an estimated $300 damage.
The fire was the result of an over-filled cooking pan which was dripping hot grease onto the burner unit, which in turn caught fire. The fire was extinguished. But, because the range was being used without a heat shield, the heat was reflected back onto the fuel cell. As the gas began to heat up, its pressure began to rise but was not detected because the pressure gauge on the unit was faulty.
The fire could easily have been prevented if proper maintenance had been pulled on the range, and had the heat shield been in place. Also, the man in charge should have seen that the cooking pan was over filled.
It is easy to say what should have been done, but it does little good. If maintenance is kept up and common sense is used before, during and after operation of cooking units, fires can be prevented.
Certain areas such as ventilation openings, burner slots and pressure gauges should be checked often to be sure they are not clogged with dirt or rust. All valves should be checked for leaks, as should fuel cells and generators prior to use, to prevent any chance of escaping gasses catching fire.
During the operation of the cooking unit, keep an eye on that pressure gauge. If it goes above 20 pounds per square inch, lower the flame until the pressure goes below 20 psi.
Afterwards, remember never to refuel the burner while it is hot. A move like that could ruin the whole day.
|Division Lighters In
The Tropic Lightning Association has reported that its list of 25th Division mementos has been expanded once again. Just in are cigarette lighters with the 25th Division "Electric Strawberry" on the front. Still available are division yearbooks, letter openers, wallets, and a record album featuring the division band.
English Course Slated
CU CHI - The education center here is currently preparing a refresher course in English for 25th Infantry Division Puerto Rican soldiers who do not speak the language well. The stated purpose of the program is to "help alleviate existing communications problems and improve the GI's potential in American society."
The continuing program is a result of a recent conversation here between the Honorable Luis A. Ferre, governor of Puerto Rico, and Major General Edward Bautz Jr., Tropic Lightning commander. The Governor pointed out that Puerto Ricans are sometimes handicapped by the language barrier.
Presently, a letter is being distributed to unit commanders urging them to inform Puerto Rican soldiers of this opportunity. The program is scheduled to begin soon.
"Each GI will take a test to determine his fluency in English," said Olin R. Mc Gill, director of the center. "Indiciduals will be grouped according to ability and classes will be established," he added.
"We plan on using basic USAFI (United States Armed Forces Institute) education material, supplemented with Defense Language Institute prepared tapes," said Specialist 4 Robert Marasa, an ed center staff member.
"Commanders are being encouraged to assign men with greatest need in this area to the Cu Chi base camp," Mc Gill explained. "This will facilitate access to the center and the classes. Men in the field will receive taped material and ed. center staff assistance where possible," he added.
Tropic Lightning Tots
The Commanding General Welcomes
The Following Tropic Lightning Tots
To The 25th Infantry Division As
Reported By The American Red Cross.
SP4 Edward Love, 25th Admin Co., boy
SGT Clydell E. Greer, 725th Maint, girl
CPT Michael J. Flanagan, HHB 7th Bn, 1 I th Arty, boy
PFC Clifford E. Ferrell, HHSB 2nd Bn, 77th Arty, boy
SP4 Fred Lowe, Co B 4th Bn, 9th Inf, girl
SP4 Robert Danke, 125th Sig Bn, 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
SP4 William M. Lane . . . . . . Editor
SP4 Scott Watson . . . . . . . . Assistant Editor
SP4 Joseph V. Kocian . . . . . Production Supervisor
|SGT Mike Keyster
SP4 Tom Benn
SP4 Frank Salerno
PFC Nick Haren
SP4 Henry Zukowski
PFC Robb Lato
SP4 Greg Duncan
SP4 Rich Erickson
SP4 Ed Toulouse
SGT Mike Conroy
SP4 Dan Davis
|SGT Daniel House
SP4 George Graham
SP5 Tom Watson
SP4 William McGown
PFC James Stoup
SGT Derr Steadman
SP5 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 James Duran
SGT Jack Strickland
SGT Mark Rockney
SGT William Zarrett
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
In 9 Out of 10
The 25th Is Ready
By SP5 TOM WATSON
CU CHI -- The 25th Infantry Division is the number one combat ready unit in Vietnam, according to a recent USARV maintenance survey.
The figures, for the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 1970, showed the division statistically ahead in 9 out of 10 "operational readiness" categories.
The operational readiness of the 25th is the responsibility of the 725th Maintenance Battalion. With its main facilities located at Cu Chi, the battalion is capable of handling all direct-support maintenance problems that fall within its jurisdiction. But, in keeping with its motto, "Service To The Line," the battalion has forward support units attached to each of the division's three brigades.
These forward companies further aid in the support of line units by sending out select men in "contact teams." Each contact team has a cross-section of the company's maintenance capabilities, with the know-how and equipment to solve any maintenance problem that arises. The contact teams for the most part eliminate the time-consuming job of removing damaged equipment to the rear.
Staff Sergeant Jackie E. Snyder, of Tell City, Ind., division materiel NCO, attributed a large part of the 725th's success to these contact teams. He pointed out that although the battalion is responsible for maintaining more than twice as many APCs (armored personnel carriers) and tanks as any other division in Vietnam (excluding the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment), "it has exceeded the USARV average for operational readiness in both categories, 97 percent and 93.5 percent respectively."
Even when the maintenance of the division's more delicate and sophisticated electronic equipment is considered, the 725th keeps the 25th well above all USARV averages. During the reporting period, the material readiness (in percentage) of the division's electronic equipment was the highest in Vietnam.
The invaluable radar and night-vision devices approached near perfection with a 99 percent average of operational readiness for all radar sets and a 97 percent figure for night-vision devices.
Vehicles and generators, the lifeline of supply and power, are an integral part of any division.
|KNOCKING OUT CLAY -- That's Cambodian Clay, not Cassius, that Staff Sergeant Charles Morris of El Paso, Tex., is chipping away as he readies the vehicle for the road.|
CU CHI -- The mechanics of HQ and Alfa Company, 725th Maintenance Battalion have developed a time-saving, money-saving, sweat-saving method of assembling armored personnel carrier (APC) engines.
In the past, the job required four men, twenty man-hours and an overhead crane. The engine was lifted from the ground by the crane and while one man tended the hoister, three worked a feverish five hours apiece repairing the engine.
But then, one of the men of HQ and Company A -- nobody remembers who -- came up with the idea of putting the engine, which actually consists of three parts (engine block, transfer and transmission) on a wheeled stand. The stand was fabricated in three separate interlocking parts so that the engine could be broken down or assembled with relative ease.
Cambodian Clay Is Sticky for 1st Bde
By SP4 RICH WERNER
TAY NINH -- The infamous red "Cambodian clay" of Katum, three miles from the Cambodian border, took its toll on both men and machines of the 25th Division's 1st Brigade. Besides the demoralizing effect of sloshing knee-deep through the omnipotent ooze, the mud wreaked havoc with the equipment -- especially the four wheel variety.
After the Lancers returned to Tay Ninh Base Camp, the motor pool mechanics worked overtime getting their vehicles back into combat-ready condition.
Although no vehicles were completely destroyed during the brigade's stint at Katum, each one received an unofficial semi-yearly overhaul.
Some jeeps and trucks needed body work because of the mercilessly slippery mud and some equally merciless drivers. But over all, the major problems were with engines, where the red stuff had swept into every crack and crevice causing the mechanics endless headaches and long hours of work.
The Army equipment repair system clerk normally schedules the vehicles for quarterly and semi annual maintenance. But after Cambodia every vehicle received a thorough examination, scheduled or not.
The Agony and the Ecstasy
By SP4 ED TOULOUSE
DAU TIENG - The Air Force recently came to the rescue of a 25th Infantry Division artillery reconnaissance sergeant with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry. Supply personnel for the up-in-the-sky service were able to solve a very down-to-earth problem: cramped feet.
During his 16 months of duty in Vietnam, Sergeant Paul Shraeder of Lindenwood, N.J., has endured the daily agony of maneuvering his size 15 feet into a pair of size 14 boots.
After a tight squeeze, the boots are made to fit -- but only because Shraeder is willing to endure a couple of minor inconveniences.
"The only way that I can get the things on is by leaving the laces very loose and not wearing any socks," Shraeder explained.
Unfortunately for the six-foot, eight-inch recon sergeant, supply systems in the Army are geared to the more common demands in sizes.
"I've tried to get a pair of 15s for some time," he said. "But, I know from experience they aren't easy to get." Some concessions must be made by such Gullivers in a Lilliputian world.
Enter the Air Force. Reading of Shraeder's plight in "Pacific Stars and Stripes," they pulled off a considerable logistical miracle when they turned up one pair of size 15 boots, combat tropical, spike resistant.
According to Shraeder, the fit is perfect. But, no matter how you look at it, he's still got a couple of very big problems.
|IF THE SHOE FITS DEPT. -- Sergeant Paul Shraeder of the 2nd of the 12th shows off new number 15s to much smaller buddy. Now Shraeder can put on socks and tie his shoelaces.|
A Step To Understanding
By SP4 RICH WERNER
TAY NINH -- English wasn't spoken much in Vietnam before the American involvement here. French was the foreign tongue most prevalently uttered among the domestics.
But, every day since GIs began pouring in here, the English language has played an increasingly important roll in the lives of the Vietnamese people.
Most Vietnamese can speak a sort of pigeon-English, You hear them say "same same," "number one," "no can do" and "no sweat, GI." But putting the words into phrases, into sentences, into conversations, is a different thing. English language classes are scarce and expensive in this land and many persons cannot afford them.
But, in the shadow of the beautiful Cao Dai Temple, there is a place for Vietnamese to come and learn English. Each Sunday morning, a group made up mostly of high school-aged girls and monks comes to the temple and waits anxiously for a U.S. Army jeep carrying 1st Lieutenant Tom Johnson.
Johnson, from New York City, and now PSYOPS officer for the 1st Brigade, has volunteered his services to anyone in Tay Ninh City wishing to learn English. And, the price is right: free.
Since Johnson cannot speak Vietnamese, the language barrier would seem to destroy any hopes of communication and thus learning. However, the program has been going on for a couple of years now and Johnson's predecessors laid a solid working foundation. His students -- numbering as many as 30 a week -- can speak and understand rudimentary English.
Johnson's main objective is to polish their speaking abilities and to increase their vocabularies. Anxious to learn and armed with portable tape recorders, many of the students record the sessions for further study.
Snow on Nui Ba Den
But all is not simple.
"One of the most trying sessions I had was the day I tried to explain to the Vietnamese what snow is," Johnson recalls. "I spent all morning describing solid rain that you can roll into a ball and throw at someone. It was incomprehensible to them."
Johnson, a former English teacher, enjoys his Sunday work immensely.
"It keeps me mentally awake in a place where it is so easy to become intellectually stagnant," Johnson says.
To show their appreciation for Johnson's help, his students are going to give him a medal for his meritorious service to the Vietnamese people.
"I don't care about any reward," Johnson says. "I just enjoy teaching." His greatest reward will probably come on the day when it snows on Nui Ba Den and a monk from Tay Ninh picks up a handful of the white stuff rolls it into a ball and throws it at him.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
|WOMEN TAKE UP ARMS - This photo of a squad of VC (all young girls) was found in a bunker complex near the Razor Back by members of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry. In the foreground is an 82mm mortar. One of the girls hefts an RPG (rocket propelled grenade); the others have AK-47s.|
|READY FOR BATTLE -- This group of VC came out of the cover of a rubber plantation near Dau Tieng to pose with their big weapons. The heavy guns include a 75mm recoilless rifle and two 82mm mortars. This, along with the other photos, was captured by the Golden Dragons while on a four day bushmaster.|
A Portrait of the Enemy
|A LITTLE TO THE LEFT -- These two VC appear to be aiming a mortar tube using the line of sight method. They have been operating with a large group of the enemy in the Dan Tieng area.|
|AMBUSH -- It is not known whether this shot was taken during an actual fire fight or if the Viet Cong were just posing for the camera, but they look all business. Most of the VC have AK-47s but the fellow in the lower right hand corner is aiming the feared rocket propelled grenade.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
PFC Has Something To Write Home About
From SGT MIKE CONROY
FSB WOOD -- "I never expected to meet a general over here, much less the Army chief of staff," Private First Class Dana W. Murtz said just after General William C. Westmoreland had pinned a Silver Star on his chest. "This will really be something to write home about."
Murtz of Clarkville, Ind., a member of the Second Platoon, C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry probably never expected to be in Cambodia in June either. But what he did there was "really something to write home about."
His unit was performing a routine operation - transporting men from the squadron laager site to their night defensive position. Suddenly, an enemy force started throwing an intense barrage of small arms and RPG fire on the platoon.
From his position, Murtz saw that the entire crew of a nearby Sheridan Tank had been evacuated. The tank was immobile and in danger of being completely destroyed. Murtz darted from his position and jumped into the turret of the empty vehicle. He single-handedly loaded and fired the main gun, forcing the aggressors farther back into the woodline. He saved the tank and, as his citation said, contributed immeasurably to the defeat of the enemy.
In addition to the Silver Star, Murtz was selected as the Tropic Lightning soldier of the week.
(Ed note): "It's Happening" becomes a weekly feature of the division newspaper with this issue. It's for patting people on the back. It's for gentle jabs at the foibles and follies of the American fighting machine. The items included may be funny, informative, worthwhile or totally without redeeming social importance. If you have an anecdote that you think might be of interest to your fellow soldiers, tell your brigade correspondent or call the division information office. Happy Happenings.
WORKING LIKE A MILLION... During the period beginning June 11 and ending July 10, the Cu Chi exchange sold more than one million dollars worth of merchandise. That's a first. So what, you say. So the PX makes a million bucks. But that's not the story. What a million dollars in sales means is that some exchange people have been really humping for the GI, getting the kind of merchandise he wants and needs. They've been making it available to him here at Cu Chi and getting it to him out in the field.
"These exchange personnel are really dedicated to their jobs," said 1st Lieutenant Stephen Norton, a division exchange officer. "They have no transportation of their own, so they've been borrowing vehicles from the various support units around Cu Chi to get the stuff up from the Saigon depot. Sergeant Thomas R. Miller, our liaison man in Saigon, has been making sure we get our share."
Captain Monte Jochens, Cu Chi exchange officer, and Michael Moreland, retail manager, have taken extra care to make sure PX items are available for the line troops.
IF YOU'RE COUNTING ON A DROP, DON'T...It happens every time two or three guys start talking about home. "I hear they're giving big drops next month. As they bathe the rumors in beer, the drops grow from a week to 30 days to "I even know one guy who got a two-month drop." It just ain't so. According to SP4 Robert Stickelmeier in the port call section at enlisted personnel, there were no drops in July, will be none in August and who knows about September. As the October 15 deadline for troop withdrawals approaches, there may be some drops ... perhaps as much as 30 day drops. "But they may just stop sending people over and let the guys who are already here stay here," Stickelmeier says. So, whenever the conversation around you turns to getting back to the world early, drop it.
SEW WHAT ... Army Drill 1, Exercise 24: Electric Strawberry. Ready ... begin. Hunch your shoulders forward, turn your head to the left and see if you've got your division patch on your left shoulder. If you do, bingo. However, if you do this exercise in the States and the results are the same, someone may drop you for ten. Because, when you return to the world, you've got to switch your combat area patch to the right shoulder. When you board the Freedom Bird, let 'er rip. Then talk one of the stews into sewing the patch on your right shoulder. Hint: Uniform should be worn during this procedure.
|BIG WHEEL -- Sergeant Sam Slaiby of Torrington, Conn., S-2 recon sergeant for the 65th Engineer Battalion, relaxes in front of a giant wheel from a crane during corrective construction of the swimming pool at the Waikiki East stand-down area. (Photo by PFC James D. Stoup)|
IG Takes Up Where CO Leaves Off
By SP4 BILL LANE
CU CHI -- You have a problem. You think you should have been promoted and you weren't. You don't think you have received the proper assignment in Vietnam. Or you think your platoon sergeant has it in for you. Where do you go with your complaints? Who can solve your problems?
When George Washington was running the Army at Valley Force during that other war, he was faced with the same question. He answered it by establishing the office of the Inspector General.
The IG is here at Cu Chi for two purposes: to act on soldier's complaints and to assist soldiers in resolving personal problems. If a soldier has a complaint or a problem, he's urged to first take it up with his unit commander since the resolution of the problem or the redress of the grievance will probably eventually fall to him anyway. The CO is the one person who can correct conditions or circumstances contributing to the situation that is causing the problem.
A lot of men have been by-passing the chain of command, ignoring the unit commander and the IG and presenting their problems directly to their Congressman. This is a constitutional right. However, he'll usually find that a problem or complaint can be more quickly solved or resolved if presented first to his unit commander and then to the IG.
Each unit commander opens his door at least once a week for purposes of letting his men come in to register their complaints.
|Ilikai East by Night
WED Floor Show (8 p.m.)
THU Birthday Party (8 p.m.)
FRI Cook-out & Discussion (8 p.m.)
SAT Movie & Popcorn (8 p.m.)
SUN Coffee Call (10 a.m.)
Tourneys (2 p.m.)
MON Banana Splits
Sports Night Concentration (8 p.m.)
TUE Card Tourney
Ask Sgt. Certain
Sorry, but you're going to have to go through this week starved for solutions to your personal problems. Sergeant Certain just went for a burst of six and is back in the world on special leave. He sent us a post card from Disneyland (where he is staying) confirming the report that Mickey Mouse is wearing a Spiro Agnew wristwatch. Speaking of watches, watch for Sergeant Certain next week and happily ever after.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
Rubber Plant Links Vietnam with West
By SP4 ED TOULOUSE
DAU TIENG -- To the men of the 25th Infantry Division, the sound of heavy machinery contrasts sharply with the rural atmosphere they have become familiar with in the Republic of Vietnam.
Yet, located in Dau Tieng on the Saigon River, a French owned factory, since 1923, has linked this town, and more generally this region, with Western society.
Today, the mill provides employment for 500 of the town's inhabitants. A substantial part of the work force is involved in collecting the sap (crude rubber) from the thousands of trees on the plantation.
Craftsmen at the factory also transform non-productive rubber trees into furniture used in the company's offices throughout the world.
Along with the free medical care and pensions the mill provides for its workers, the industry itself is an asset to the economic growth of South Vietnam.
|LINK TO THE WEST -- The mill at the rubber factory here is a large complex with buildings that bear similarity to those of Western factories.|
|KEEPING WITH THE TIMES -- The raw sap of the rubber trees is initially treated in this trough of acid solution where it hardens into strips. The building is one of the many very westernized facilities at the rubber factory in Dau Tieng.|
|FINAL STEP -- The final step in the process of rubber treating involves cutting the latex into strips and hanging it on racks to dry. The rubber factory employs a large percentage of Dau Tieng's employable residents.|
|FROM SAP TO RUBBER -- At the Dau Tieng branch of the rubber factory, a continuous belt of latex passes through an acid bath (foreground) and then is cut and pressed.|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 10, 1970
Units of 725th Go Where Action Is
By SP5 TOM WATSON
CU CHI - Whenever a brigade of this Division moves from one area of operations to another, a forward support unit of the 725th Maintenance Battalion moves right along with it.
Charlie Company, 725th Maintenance Battalion moved to Xuan Loc with the 2nd Brigade during the middle of July - lock, stock and barrel. Everything that Charlie Company needs to perform its mission was carried with them. Repair parts in every size and shape were crated and loaded in CONEXS and loaded on 5 and 10 ton trailers, which is nothing out of the ordinary day's work for the men in the 725th.
But, the largest and biggest problem was transporting a 56 ton M-88, VTR (a recovery vehicle that resembles a Sherman tank). This task was handled with assurance by the service & evac section of HQ & Co A by loading the VTR on the bed of a 50 ton "Dragon Wagon." This awesome twosome weighed more than 100 tons and had to meet the rest of Charlie Company's convoy on the road between Saigon and Long Binh, since the road that leads directly to Long Binh from Cu Chi is not equipped with bridges substantial enough to withstand the combined weight.
The convoy moved through the Vietnamese countryside without a hitch, but many a wary eye peered toward the woodline on both sides of the road because the convoy made a very pretty target; especially when they had to slow down to allow the heavier vehicles - such as the VTR - to catch up in the hilly terrain between Xuan Loc and Long Binh.
The only problem incurred during the entire trip happened after reaching Xuan Loc. The element of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade which had occupied the area which Charlie Company was to take over, had not departed at the appointed time, thus forcing Charlie Company to sit back and relax while the 199th finished moving to their new area. Not that the men didn't appreciate a chance to relax after riding more than 85 miles in 4 ½ hours; but, they realized every minute they were delayed in moving into their new area would be one more minute they would not get any sleep that night. With darkness rapidly approaching, Charlie Company was finally able to move into the new area.
The technicians worked at a feverish pace to get vehicles and equipment unloaded before darkness hampered the operations. The most important vehicle, as far as the men were concerned, was the one carrying the mess hall equipment, it was unloaded first and within the hour the mess hall had a snack ready for the men. Specialist 4 Donald Wagner of Culbentson, Neb., remarked as he wolfed down a sandwich and Kool-Aid "this is the best damn food I've ever eaten."
The remainder of the night and the next morning were spent unloading the remaining trailers and supplies necessary to set up an efficient operation.
|CHOW TIME - The mess equipment was the first to be unloaded the day the 725th Maintenance Battalion moved the 2nd Brigade to Xuan Loc. Within half an hour after unloading, there was chow on the table.|
Alfa Company, 2/60 Locates Large Cache
By 1LT BOB GOLDEN
TAY NINH -- Nine American-made M-1 rifles, one Thompson sub-machine gun, three M-1 carbines, nine Soviet sub-machine guns, eleven German Mausers, 50 Soviet carbines, one French sub-machine gun, two Czechoslovakian light machine guns and 15 CKCs (Chinese automatic rifles).
The modest beginnings for a museum of international weapons?
Maybe it was, but chances are that Charlie had them earmarked for a few more battles before putting them on display.
Unfortunately for Charlie, the impressive list of weapons was part of a cache uncovered by the 25th Division Alfa Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry, on a recent operation just a mile southwest of the Vietnam-Cambodia border area known as the Fish Hook.
In all, the infantrymen collected 104 enemy weapons buried in two old bunkers deep in the jungles of War Zone C. A 1st Brigade intelligence officer said that most of the weapons were old and not usable.
Nixon Lauds Division
WASHINGTON - President Richard M. Nixon, in a note to General Creighton W. Abrams, has extended his congratulations to the members of the 25th Infantry Division for its conduct of the operations in Cambodia.
"You have my profound gratitude and admiration for the outstanding job you and your commanders have done in executing the Cambodian sanctuary operations," the President said. "I am very proud of the performance of your officers and men and hope you will convey to them my sincere appreciation and hearty well done."
Abrams, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, in forwarding the President's comments, asked that his personal congratulations and admiration be convoyed to all members of this command who participated in the operations.
Lieutenant General Michael S. Davison, commanding general of II Field Force, also sent along his personal congratulations.
Virtually every element of the division participated in the Cambodian effort. Most of them physically crossed the border, the rest providing support from the Vietnam side.
Division units conducted operations inside Cambodian beginning May 6 with operation Bold Lancer south of the Dog's Face.
MEDCAP's Save Villager
By SP5 DOUG SAINSBURY
TRUNG LAP - There is no such thing as a routine MEDCAP. This truism was recently demonstrated by the MEDCAP team of the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, on a visit to a hamlet near here.
"It was our first trip to this area and we were in the process of introducing the people to our program when we heard a commotion several meters away and noticed a crowd forming," said Private First Class Gary Mitchell from Nashville, Tenn., a medic in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. "A woman led us to the crowd and we found an older woman laying on a wood slab in obvious pain."
"Our interpreter spoke to the people and discovered that the injured woman had had a headache and to relieve the pain, she had cut large chunks of surface skin off one of her arms and behind both knees to 'let out the evil blood'," he said.
"I was shocked at first to hear that these people still use some of those primitive cures for wounds and diseases, but when I thought about many of these hamlets being isolated and the lack of exposure to modern medical methods, I could understand their strange practices," Mitchell recalled.
The Up Tight medics immediately treated the woman's self-inflicted injuries. Gangrene had appeared in the wounds on the woman's arm and she had lost a lot of blood.
"I cleansed the wounds, stopped the bleeding, and applied bandages," said Mitchell. "Her arm was swollen and cold, and her condition was becoming serious."
After other members of the hamlet were treated and instructed as to the value of medicine and its proper administration, the woman was taken to the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi by the 2/77th MEDCAP team.
"We were told later that the woman's arm would probably have to be amputated, but that our treatment might have saved her life," Mitchell said. "It seems that almost every time we go on a MEDCAP we find an unusual case that needs immediate attention."
Rallier Leads Bobcats To Bunker Site
FSB SWARTZ -- Two mechanized companies of the 25th Infantry Division rolled into a mountainous area four miles southwest of Xuan Loc recently and destroyed 24 enemy bunkers after a rallier pinpointed their location for battalion officials.
The operation began during early morning hours as artillery and an air strike hit the suspected bunker location. Meanwhile, Alfa and Charlie Companies, 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry, were moving into the area from their night positions.
Alfa Company troopers received enemy sniper fire and suffered one man wounded as it moved into the first of two complexes at mid-morning. Charlie Company found one NVA soldier killed by the air strike earlier and destroyed 19 bunkers in that location.
|LETTING C-RATIONS GO TO HIS HEAD - This rather strangely attired member of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, seems to have his mind set on a big feast. (Photo by SP4 Ed Toulouse)|
Roger Welt, 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., and a Tropic Lightning News correspondent, for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
This page last modified 08-04-2006
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