Vol 5 No. 46 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
|Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page||Unit Page|
|1/5 Photo 1||2/14 2||3/13 Arty 2||4/23 Photos 7|
|1/5 3||2/22 2||4/9 2||44th Scout Dog 2|
|1/5 6||2/27 Photo 1||4/23 Photo 2||668 RF Photos 4|
|1/5 8||2/27 2||4/23 2||7/11 Arty 2|
|1/5 Photo 8||2/27 3||4/23 6||Donut Dollies 2|
|1/27 8||2/27 Photos 3||4/23 Photo 6||Nui Ba Den Photos 4|
|2/12 8||3/4 Cav 8||4/23 7||Nui Ba Den 4|
HISTORY MARCHES ON - PAGE 2
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Units Reflect Colorful Post
CU CHI - Units with their boots planted firmly in history, who have done battle in places whose names head important chapters in the American chronicles of war, continued to stand down at Cu Chi as part of the 5th increment of troop redeployment from Vietnam.
The Little Big Horn, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Ardennes-Alsace, Normandy -- battle streamers knotted on standards tell the story.
It was the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry who stood toe to toe with the Rebels in the fields of Pennsylvania during the Civil War. It was the 2nd Battalion (Mech), 22nd Infantry, who rode with Custer against Sitting Bull. The 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry were first tested against the Russian Communists in 1918.
Other units standing down during the week, were the 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery; 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry; the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery and the 44th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon.
When General George G. Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, was asked where the 2nd of the 14th should be placed in a grand review at the end of the Civil War, he said: "To the right of the line, the 14th has always been to the front of the battle and deserves the place of honor."
The Golden Dragons arrived in Vietnam in April, 1966. The battalion has earned ten campaign ribbons since that time, including those for all six Counteroffensive Phases, and the Tet Counteroffensives of 1968 and 1969. In addition, the unit has been awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Vietnamese Civil Action Medal.
In May, 1970, the Dragons participated in the Tropic Lightning's thrust into Cambodia. Most recently, the unit has been operating near Dau Tieng and the Razorback Mountains.
Triple Deuce was formed in 1966 to fight the Indians in the West. In 1898, it was the first US unit on Cuban soil during the Spanish-American War.
The Mechmen arrived in Vietnam in September, 1966, and have since taken part in Counteroffensive Phases II through VI and the Tet Counteroffensives of 1968 and 1969. The unit has also earned a Presidential Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Vietnamese Civil Actions Medal for its effort here.
In May of this year, the mechanized battalion roared into Cambodian to take part in the division's operations there.
The Wolfhounds of the 2nd of the 27th were formed in 1901 and took their nickname from the Russian dog noted for its ferocity in battle. In 1941, the unit joined the 25th Division and subsequently fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
In January, 1966, the Wolfhounds arrived in Vietnam and helped secure and establish the Tropic Lightning base camp at Cu Chi. During their time here, the battalion has earned three Presidential Unit Citations, a Valorous Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Vietnamese Civil Action Medal. When the division moved units into Cambodia in May, the Hounds were among them.
The 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery was organized in 1917 and saw action in World Wars I and II and in Korea.
The On Time battalion came to Vietnam with the division in 1966. They have earned two Presidential Unit Citations, a Valorous Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Vietnamese Civil Action Medal for RVN efforts.
The 3rd of the 13th saw action in World War 1, in the European Theater during World War II and in Korea before coming to Vietnam in April, 1966. Since coming here, the unit has provided fire support during operations conducted by the 25th Division, including those against enemy sanctuary areas in Cambodia this year.
They have been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, the Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Vietnamese Civil Action Medal since arriving here.
The 44th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon was formed during this war and has received a Presidential Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Civil Action Medal.
By the middle of December, two full brigades of the 25th Division will have been redeployed. At that time, American strength in Vietnam will have been reduced to 344,000.
|THE ACTORS - Infantrymen of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry try their hands at "acting" during a Wild West Program directed by Red Cross Representatives Suzi Blatchford of Chicago, and Pat Rowan of Houston.|
Tomahawks Play Host As
Donut Dollies Visit
By PFC WAYNE DANLEY
XUAN LOC - Recently, the "Tomahawks" of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry played host to a pair of 25th Division Red Cross girls. Taking time out from their redeployment activities at the Husky Compound, the 4/23rd troopers enjoyed an hour long program on the "Wild West."
The first of the three part program saw the girls quizing the men about recent "cowboy" movies and Western-style TV shows.
During the second phase of the program, the girls asked questions to two teams of GI's. The correct answer allowed a trooper to participate in a ring toss game which was the only way points could be scored.
What was the name of the Cisco Kid's horse? Who was the Indian princess that led the Lewis and Clark expedition through the treacherous lands of her tribe? What was Annie Oakley's brothers name in the TV series? What outlaw was hung twice? Who was known as the hanging judge? These are but a few of the questions that the "Tomahawks" were asked. Also - Why did the Indians get to America first? (all Tomahawks should know the answer to that one!) Because they had reservations, of course!
The score of the contest was kept fairly close because of "helping" Red Cross girls and GI's who were a little rusty in their ring tossing. One trooper (nine months in Vietnam) said, "I threw the rings wild so I could get a better view of the girls bending over when retrieving them."
The third and final part of the program saw eight "Tomahawk" actors take the stage and participate in a Western Melodrama. Their acting skills were also a little rusty, but everyone seemed to enjoy it, including the "rookie" actors.
Specialist 4 Rich Geniesse from Menominee, Mich. said, "The program seemed to be a real moral booster. It helped relax everyone by taking their minds off of the problems in the field."
Red Cross girls Pat Rowan of Houston and Suzi Blatchford from Chicago present weekly programs to GI's all over the 25th Division.
Suzi, who proved herself an able football player in a short scrimmage before the program started, explained that a lot of work and preparation goes into constructing an original and presentable program.
Pat, a policewoman back in the world, stated that the hour programs are intended to take the troops minds off of where they are.
Suzi, who will be home by the time this article is printed, said when asked of her year here, "It has been a really interesting and challenging year, but I'll be glad to get home."
As for the question everyone always asks, "What is a girl like you doing in a place like this?" Suzi says, "Most of the time I answer - Because you are here. But sometimes I tell them that I got on the wrong bus."
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. American Forces Press Service and Army News Feature materials 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 Robert E. Kelso . . . Information Officer
1LT Martin E. Webb . . . . Officer-in-Charge
SP5 William M. Lane . . . . Editor
SP4 Scott Watson . . . . . . Assistant Editor
SP4 Michael Winston . . . Production Supervisor
|SGT Derr Steadman
SGT Mike Bailey
SGT Bryon Fites
SGT Mark Rockney
SGT Mike Conroy
SGT Daniel House
SGT Jack Strickland
SGT Dan Davis
SGT Bob Lodi
SP5 Tom Watson
SP5 Doug Sainsbury
SP4 Frank Salerno
SP4 Tom Benn
SP4 Greg Duncan
|SP4 John Corbin
SP4 Rich Erickson
SP4 Ed Toulouse
SP4 William McGown
SP4 James Duran
SP4 Kris Peterson
SP4 Frank Morris
SP4 Phillip Maslin
PFC Dan Lowry
PFC James Stoup
PFC Doc Polis
PFC Dan Danley
PFC Mike Roberts
PFC Richard Haley
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Wolfhounds Accomplish Vietnam Mission
By SP5 STEVE KROFT
CU CHI - When the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds) waded ashore with the rest of the 2nd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division at Vung Tau in January of 1966, Cu Chi district belonged to the Viet Cong.
As late as August, 1965, enemy units staged victory parades down Highway 1 through the center of Tan An Hoi. The plot of land north of the village of Cu Chi that would one day become "Tropic Lightning" Headquarters, was little more than a series of bamboo thickets overgrown with vegetation and honeycombed with enemy tunnels.
Last week, more than five and a half years later, the battalion stood in front of an elaborate division headquarters in pressed fatigues and spit-shined boots to be told by the commanding general of the 25th Division that their mission in Vietnam had been accomplished.
The 2nd Wolfhounds, one of the Army's proudest units, was officially at "zero strength", its members scattered about as a result of the fifth increment of US troop redeployment from Vietnam.
After inspecting the troops and presenting a few final awards for heroism, Major General Edward Bautz mounted the reviewing stand to deliver a short speech.
"We are gathered here today", he said, "to commemorate a milestone: the achievement of the mission that we set out to accomplish when we first came to this country."
"When the members of your organization arrived here, the VC used to have meetings in a catholic church just outside the point where the main gate stands today. We all know that it doesn't look like that now and your contribution has been a significant one."
Besides praising the Wolfhound's fine combat record, General Bautz cited contributions made by the battalion in pacification and Vietnamization; criteria established by President Nixon for successful troop redeployment.
The battalion traces its beginnings back to the old 27th Infantry Regiment which was established in 1901. The regiment saw its first combat against the insurgent Russians on the eastern front of World War I becoming one of the first American units to fight communism. Its nickname "Wolfhounds" was taken from the Russian dog noted for its ferocity.
In 1941, the regiment joined the newly formed 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and subsequently fought in the Pacific theatre during World War II.
The 27th Regiment again fought with the 25th Division in Korea. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John H. "Mike" Michaelis, now Commanding General of US Forces in Korea, the regiment established a reputation as one of the finest combat units in the Army, participating in ten campaigns and receiving four Republic of Korea Presidential citations.
In 1963, the Army did away with the regimental concept under the ROAD organization plan. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 27th Infantry were assigned to the 2nd Brigade of the 25th Division. A third "Wolfhound" battalion was activated in and assigned to the 4th Brigade of the 25th Division now assigned to Schofield Barracks.
From, the time the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry arrived in Vietnam they have participated in nearly every significant operation carried out by the 25th Division.
In January of 1966, the battalion helped secure and establish the Tropic Lightning base camp here. For three weeks they flattened vegetation, dynamited tunnels, and flushed out enemy snipers in what is now referred to as the "Battle for Cu Chi."
They have participated in Vietnam Counteroffensive Phases I through IV and the Tet counteroffensives of 1968 and 1969.
Between February and April of 1969, the battalion killed 545 enemy soldiers at patrol bases Diamond I, Il and III. These operations have come to be considered among the most tactically successful of the Vietnam conflict.
On February 23, 1969, in the midst of country wide attacks on allied bases, the North Vietnamese assaulted patrol base Diamond I.
The attack was planned by doctrinaire NVA officers as a conventional assault by regular troops against what appeared to be a tactical island isolated from the heavy guns and rapid reinforcements of the allied army.
But long range artillery and the quick response of armed helicopters and Air Force gunships put up a wall of fire around patrol base Diamond, inflicting staggering casualties on the enemy.
In the next two months, the 2nd Wolfhounds constructed two more patrol bases along the border. Each time the results were the same: the NVA were no match for allied firepower.
In May of 1970, the unit participated in the Cambodian operations of the 25th Infantry Division. More recently, the battalion has been working the heavily booby trapped area known as the "Mushroom."
During their time in Vietnam, the battalion has earned three Presidential Unit Citations, a Valorous Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Vietnamese Civil Action Medal.
|END OF AN ERA - Major General Edward Bautz, Jr (center platform) commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division delivers his closing remarks to the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds" during their standdown ceremony held here recently.|
|THE DIAMONDS - Small patrol bases, barely 125 meters across, constructed on an open plain near the Cambodian border. They were to serve as a deterrent to enemy infiltration, but also, they were to appear vulnerable enough to entice the enemy into large scale ground attacks.|
Bobcats Discover Cache
By SGT BOB LODI
BEARCAT - It had been a rough two days for the men of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry.
The men of Charlie Company had just dropped their sweat soaked rucksacks and sighs were plentiful in the noon heat. Rest, however, was not to be had. Approximately five klicks away some foolish VC engaged two UH-1 helicopters with small arms fire. The choppers returned fire and called in a light fire team.
The first platoon of Charlie Company was the closet element of ground troops, so they were alerted to saddle up. Soon three choppers were on the ground picking up the Bobcats for an air insertion into the contact area.
The choppers touched down about fifty meters from the contact area and the men split up into two groups and began a sweep. Sergeant Larry Davis of Vincennes, Ind., was walking point for one group when he came across a body lying in the weeds.
"It startled me," He said, "I fired out of reflex."
The VC was already dead, killed by the light fire team. Moving on, Davis spotted a bunker with two more bodies to the side of it. While Davis was checking the bodies out, Specialist 4 David Wood of Salem, Virginia, and Specialist 4 John Watson of Phoenix, Arizona, entered another bunker. Their search was abruptly halted as they came scrambling out, firing back into the bunker.
"We were looking under the floor boards and we found a pair of boots trying to crawl further up under the floor," said Watson. Needless to say the boots and the floor boards stopped moving.
The two sweep elements married up, the choppers landed and the Bobcats were inserted again, this time about 400 meters from the first landing zone. Beginning another sweep, the men found a 55-gallon drum filled with rice, and a case of rifle grenades. This plus the one AK-47, RPG and launcher, M-1 carbine, Chicom pistol and stack of documents recovered from the bodies near the bunker complex made for a tidy haul.
Page 4 - 5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Nui Ba Den
|4 BLACK JEWEL, AN AGING BEAUTY - From a distance, the Black Virgin Mountain appears majestic, an aging cloud covered queen reigning silently over an ancient land.|
By SP5 STEVE KROFT
The 25th Division's Vietnam history is laced with geographical locations that seem to have appeared almost overnight, enjoyed a fleeting moment of prominence, and then ceased to exist. Places like Fire Support Bases Kotrc and Crook, Sharron and Dorn, Frontier and Mole Cities.
The only stationary reference point in the otherwise protean area of operations has been Nui Ba Den.
From a distance, the Black Virgin Mountain appears majestic, slightly erotic, out of place: a black silhouette against blue sky and green rice paddy. But like an aging beauty, she begins to show her years when you draw closer. Scarred and craggy from years of bombing and shelling, that stately black coat turns to the muddy green of scrub brush and undernourished pine.
The mountain has been described as an island cut loose from the war. Nowhere is this more evident than at the summit, where a group of 25th Division Soldiers have defended a signal relay site since 1967.
There is a notable absence of base camp atmosphere and the noise of the fire support base. At one time, the mountain was isolated from the rest of the world, save telephone communication and helicopter resupply, but today, television has made it a full fledged member of Marshall McLuhan's global village.
On a clear day you can see down across the Boi Loi and Ho Bo Woods, past Cu Chi to Saigon. By night, the bunker guards command an impressive view of the countryside. From their vantage point they are able to see artillery fire and then report miles away, tracer rounds crawl along the flatlands as if traveling in slow motion.
But at night, beautiful sights are overpowered by sinister sounds. Noises made hundreds of meters down the slopes ride the updrafts and seem only a few yards away, serving as a constant reminder of the shaky coexistence on the mountain.
For the past three years, the security for the signal relay site at the summit has been provided by the men of the Nui Ba Den Provisional Company, its soldiers literally defending their own doorsteps, fighting off the VC recon elements that periodically probe the defenses.
Through the years, the Japanese, French, Viet Minh and Viet Cong have all held the summit at one time or another. Today the only evidence that remains of those earlier occupants is the inevitable collection of names carved into rocks and a few stumps cemented firmly and neatly onto the mountain.
Recently, the Provisional Company stood down as part of the fifth increment of US troop redeployment from Vietnam and the responsibility for the defense of the mountain was quietly turned over to the Vietnamese.
Fittingly enough, as a final gesture, the division crest was carved on one of the rocks at the summit. According to Major Frank Johnson of Tampa, Fla., the Provisional Company's commanding officer, the insignia is cut one-quarter of an inch deep in solid granite. "The Vietnamese," he said, "say it will last 50 to 100 years."
The mountain, unless man discovers a way to move them, will last considerably longer.
|A LADY WELCOMES YOU -- Struggling up the mountain top path, these 688th RF troops are greeted by the 25th's Black Lady Mountain Welcome Mat, as they move in their equipment to take over the hilltop's defense.|
|UP THE HILL - Luggage, guitars and rucksacks are lugged up this rock strewn trail, as these 688th RF troops, piling out from the entrails of a Chinook, prepare to take up the defense of Nui Ba Den's summit.|
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Tomahawks Believe Good
By PFC MIKE ROBERTS
XUAN LOC - Is there such a thing as good luck? Troopers of the 4th Battalion (Mech) 23rd Infantry believe that there is and carry good luck charms that prove it!
The "Tomahawk" infantrymen tote a wide variety of charms for good luck with them. These range from nude pictures of their girls to Mickey Mouse Fan Club cards. For example, when asked, peace symbols, love beads, bracelets, Kennedy half-dollars, silver dollars, grenade rings, and bush hats were mentioned to name a few.
Others included a two-dollar bill which Sergeant George J. Sousan said, "Is supposed to be bad luck for gamblers, but it has proved to be the opposite for me."
Specialist 4 Charles R. Hawk from Dayton, Tenn., a squad leader with Bravo Company, keeps a cap from a bottle of Tennessee "sour mash" whiskey in his pocket and swears by it.
Staff Sergeant Robert D. Nichol from San Antonio, Tex., wears a chain with monkey, dog, and shark teeth on it, given to him by the Derrian Indians in Panama for his protection.
Sergeant Jimmy Lawson from Dallas, was given a rabbit's foot by his father before coming to Nam.
He said, "It has definitely been good luck for me. I have to put talcum powder and after shave lotion on it to keep the obnoxious odor at a minimum, but its been worth it."
Sergeant Rick Connell sports the left eyeball of the rare "Thumping Lynx" on a key chain as his good luck charm.
The most popular good luck charm carried by the infantrymen of the "Tomahawk" Battalion was found to be the religious cross.
Specialist 4 George Jackson from Vicksburg, Miss., said, "I think we all can agree that all the good fortune we experience is ultimately a result of the Man above looking after us."
|SCOUT LUCK -- Members of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry, Charlie Company's command track (APC) carry Kit Carson Scout Pham Van Phuoc, who has proven to be good luck for them. (Photo by PVC Mike Roberts)|
Sweet Pea - She's Old
But She's Got Class
By SP4 JOHN CORBIN
BEARCAT - She has been adopted and orphaned many times. The names of at least six states are scrawled on her sides along with Diane, Nancy, Sonia, Elenor, and Jane. There's a neatly lettered "Made in Japan" in one corner, an official looking 42 in another, and several embedded AK-47 rounds in yet another. But the most outstanding feature is the carefully centered drawing of "Sweet Pea" from which she gets her name.
Sweet Pea is the oldest Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) in the 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry. She recently saw her fourth year in Vietnam, since coming in-country with the Battalion's Alfa Company in 1966.
"Sweet Pea is a gun track in the weapons platoon and it undergoes less wear and tear than line tracks," said her present driver, Specialist 4 Mark Kelly of Battle Creek, Mich.
Even so, the APC has better than 9000 miles on its log book with few major break-downs. It continues to operate well despite jokes like, if the caked mud were washed off the sides would collapse.
Sergeant James Schryer of Menominee Fall, Wis., her DEROSing squad leader, seems to sum up his squads feelings about the "old" track with his comment, "if you take care of Sweet Pea, she'll take care of you."
Ask SGT Certain
Dear Sgt. Certain,
When I enlisted for 6 years, my recruiting sergeant promised that I would be guaranteed my chosen MOS. I signed up for 234Z 10, Field Sanitation Receptable Maintenance. In other words, I replace the screen covers on the P-P tubes each month. Contrary to popular belief, there's only ONE drawback to my particular MOS. P-P tubes are native only to RVN war zones. Now that American troops are being withdrawn, I will soon be out of a job. I had hoped to be a career man and some day become NCOIC of the entire Vietnam FSRM operation. I am faced with a real dilemma. This is the only vocation I am trained for and I am afraid to go back to civilian life. I would be an outcast and end up unemployed. Can this be avoided?
I can see why you take such pride in your profession. Every GI in Vietnam has gazed happily upon your handiwork. I took your story of woe to the Chief of Staff and he suggested we have a P-P tube bronzed and mounted so that you may hang it proudly on your living room wall. It will make a swell conversation piece and in fact you could charge admission. That would take care of your unemployment problems and also it would serve as a constant reminder that the army takes care of its own.
Dear SGT Cretin,
Now that the dry season is upon us (to coin a phrase), why has the mess hall discontinued the practice of providing milk and cups for our meals. I hate drinking ice tea with a plastic fork.
Considering the consistency of mess hall ice tea, you probably need a knife as well as a fork to eat it. Have you ever tried drinking their jello? It works much better.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Radar Surveillance Locates Charlie By Ear
By PFC WAYNE DANLEY
OPERATION BASE LYNCH - Working as a ground surveillance team to ensure the security of a battalion is the main function of the radar platoon assigned to the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry.
Staff Sergeant Wenceslao Longoria of Austin, Tex., radar section leader, said, "We work together with S-2 and the Battalion Commander (LTC Edward Bradford) here at Operation Base Lynch in direct support of the battalion. There are also two additional radar teams that work in the field with the "Tomahawk" line companies."
Two of the three available portable pact surveillance units are used as audio detectors and the third can be used for both audio and visual purposes. Each unit is capable of 360 degree coverage, although a designated sector of the surrounding area of operation (AO) is usually assigned.
The radar is used mainly for defensive purposes, but can also be used offensively, on patrols and ambushes, although this is rarely done. By using it to scan roads to prevent the planting of enemy mines, it has proven exceptionally valuable to mechanized units.
The radar unit at Lynch can "pick up a man" 5000 meters away and a vehicle 10,000 meters away.
"A moving man makes the sound of someone walking on snow. By listening to our radar equipment, you can estimate the number of people, how fast they are moving, and whether they are moving towards or away from you," said Specialist 4 Richard Moore, from Albuquerque, N.M.
The screen allows an alternate method for detecting enemy targets. Either method (audio or visual) allows the operator to determine an azimuth to the movement and also determine the approximate range.
"We check with S-2 before setting up the unit each night for a schedule of patrols, ambushes, and other friendly operations in the area under surveillance," said Sergeant Sal Quince, from Long Island, N.Y. When a target is spotted, the type of target, azimuth to the target, and range is reported to S-2.
Next, the Brigade perimeter defense is notified and they obtain the necessary artillery clearances.
A radar team consists of a minimum of three men who are on duty a total of four hours a night, but no more than one-half to one hour at a time.
The men also have to perform daily maintenance on their equipment. This includes charging batteries, checking fuses, cables, and cable heads, and lightly oiling the units. The equipment, aside from being very valuable, is very delicate. The preferred method of transporting is by chopper.
Once in Cambodia, at 4:30 in the morning, the radar spotted an estimated 30 individuals in a gully a short distance from a night defensive position. Mortars were called in on the suspected enemy position and the radar showed increasingly less activity until none was detected whatsoever. In that instance, the use of radar undoubtedly foiled an enemy ambush.
|CHECKING IT OUT - A radar specialist of the "Tomahawks" tests his set while getting ready for the night's operation at Operation Base Lynch. (Photo by PFC Wayne Danley)|
|SET UP - Sergeant Sal Quince of Long Island, N.Y., a member of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry "Tomahawks" orients his radar set getting ready for the night's operation at Operation Base Lynch. (Photo by PFC Wayne Danley)|
|GETTING A CHARGE - A radar man of the 4th Battalion (Mech), 23rd Infantry charges batteries for his radar unit at Operation Base Lynch. (Photo by PFC Wayne Danley)|
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 30, 1970
Bobcat's APCs Must
Driver, Gunner See They Do
BY SP4 JOHN CORBIN
BEARCAT -- In a mechanized infantry unit such as the 2nd Brigade's 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry operational Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) are essential for successful missions. In the field an operational APC is the responsibility of the driver and the .50-caliber machine gunner.
"The most important part of a driver and .50-gunner's job is to maintain their track in the field," said Specialist 4 John Hayes of Inverness, Miss., a Delta (driver) for the Bobcats. "They're responsible for first echelon maintenance but usually are involved with quite a bit more," he continued.
Such jobs as checking oil levels in the engine, transmission, and road wheels and checking water levels in the radiator must be done daily. The driver usually cannot rely on his gauges to tell him what's going on.
"Road wheels are usually changed in the field and a driver must look for signs of worn road wheels and dead track blocks," said Specialist 4 Stephen Carell, a driver from Alfa Company.
When in contact the driver and .50-gunner assume more responsibility for they must bring the tracks firepower to its most needed area and also use the APC as a shield for troops on the ground.
"In contact we drive from inside the track," said Specialist 4 Larry Warr of Cleveland, Ohio, "otherwise we use the extension lateral and drive on top."
"The driver has to point the track towards the action because of the limited turning radius of the .50-caliber machinegun," continued Watt. "He is also supposed to keep pouring oil on the fifty to cool it and keep the gunner supplied with ammo."
Drivers and gunners are men who have been on the track for five or six months as ground troops.
Said Specialist 4 Mike Dembee, a driver with Bravo Company, "When I got off the ground and began learning to drive it was like learning to ride a bike. Judgment of speed, how to negotiate logs, rice paddy dikes, hills and streams all had to be learned."
"However," said Private First Class George Yates of Stratford, Conn., a .50-gunner, "It's not a complete bummer, for drivers and gunners do not have to go out on ambush."
Destroy Supply Route
By SGT MIKE CONROY
CU CHI - With the aide of the unerring mechanical ambush, troops of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, recently succeeded in disrupting an enemy supply route north of here.
"Observation from the air had led us to believe that a certain area of the Crescent was being used as an infiltration and resupply route," said Staff Sergeant Raymond Lott of Miami, Fla., leader of the Cav's Flame Platoon.
Ambush sites and mechanical ambushes were set up all along the route each night for a week. Although there were no fire fights by the men, the mechanicals had a field day.
The claymores had accounted for four enemy dead, two AK-47 rifles, 30 lbs. of rice and three VC rucksacks. Several blood trails were also found.
|HURTLING RICE DIKES -- SP4 Wendell Witt of Bedford, Va., an RTO (radio telephone operator) with Alfa Company 1st Battalion (Mech), 5th Infantry and a member of a Regular Forces platoon chase after a fleeing Vietnamese farmer during a recent operation southwest of Bearcat.|
Tripflare Saves G.I.
Deflects Enemy Bullet
By SGT JACK STRICKLAND
CU CHI - There are a number of things that happen to men in combat that just cannot be explained any way but "luck, no matter how one looks at it. Some of these things just defy ordinary explanation.
Such happenings as that funny feeling a grunt experiences just before his unit comes under enemy fire, or those stories about soldiers whose lives were saved when an enemy bullet was stopped by a Bible that the trooper kept in his shirt pocket. Powers from above? Perhaps.
It would seem that some credit should be given to the people who make trip flares too, because for Specialist 4 Palmer Walter, from Houston, a rifleman for Company E, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds," one played a vital role in his tour here.
An enemy bullet slammed into his rucksack, was deflected by a trip flare and slashed its way out the other side of the pack into thin air, missing its intended victim by mere inches.
When the shooting stopped and Walter discovered the damaged flare, his first reaction was one of disbelief.
"We were waiting to board the choppers when we took AK fire," stated Walter. "He was a good shot. I was just lucky or something."
But it was finally conceded that the trip flare may have saved his life.
Warriors Are Last To
By PFC RAY CASSIDY
DAU TIENG - The 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry, a recent addition to the 2nd Brigade, was the last US battalion to leave War Zone C. Fire Support Base Jamie, their home since September was quietly turned over to the 2nd Brigade 8th ARVN Regiment on October 30. The Warriors then moved to the 1st Brigade's Dau Tieng Base Camp to await redeployment to 2nd Brigade.
Patrick Dalton, 1st Bn., 27th Inf., for sharing this issue,
Kirk Ramsey, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. for creating this page.
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