Pacific Stars & Stripes News Articles
Selected Article clippings (thanks to Les Hines, 23rd "Americal" Infantry Division, for collecting and sending these articles)
1967 June 11 Top VC Now a Statistic July 30 Trooper Sits Down On VC Weapons Cache August 6 NCO Leads 5 to Safety After VC Down Copter September 2 NCO Is a Real Part of Viet Village October 27 VC's Stick Sticks VC November 23 The War Can Wait December 2 Machines Level VC Sanctuary In Hobo Woods December 24 Drop Zone For Santa December 24 Long Tail Was Almost a Short Story 1968 January 3 Close Call for Trooper; Round Slowed by Pouch April 3 VC Rice in Lieutenant's Pot; Helmet Recovered With Bonus May 5 3 Viets Saved From Buffalo May 21 Arms, Ammo Found; GIs Wake Up To VC Cache North Viets Turn Yellow Viet Due Reward For Machine Gun Survives Fall From Helicopter Infantry Hits the Jackpot 1969 GIs Upset Red Luncheon; 50 Communists Killed R&R Begins at 'Home' For 25th Inf. Div. GIs 4th Brigade of 25th Inf. Div. Is Activated (includes 3/14th)
Ironic Touch to Viet War: Empty Shells Build Education Not Stumped Flashback Of a Camera Circuit-Riding Bn. Chaplain Keeps in Touch With All GIs Assault Boomerangs
Top VC Now a Statistic
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, June 11, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - The Viet Cong carried a document as proof of being selected "Soldier of the Year" for 1965, and Army Spec. 4 Elias Morgan believes this guerilla was trying for the honor again this year.
Morgan and this "model soldier" met just outside the perimeter of a 25th Inf. Div. forward fire support base camp, where elements of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., were providing the security.
According to Morgan, he and his squad had been in their early warning security outpost for some time when they heard someone approaching in the darkness and opened fire.
At daybreak the squad searched the immediate area and found the dead VC.
"He was apparently alone and well armed with nine Chinese grenades and several clips of ammunition for his Russian rifle," Morgan explained, "and I believe he was trying to sneak in and harass the base camp."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, June 5, 1967 - read the extended story... ]
Trooper Sits Down On VC Weapons Cache
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, July 30, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - A U.S. infantryman who stopped for a rest sat right down on a Viet Cong weapons cache.
"I sure put my hand in the right place," said Spec. 4 Tommy Peters, describing how he found a hidden earthenware jar containing VC weapons and ammunition.
While on a search and destroy mission along the Saigon River in Binh Duong Province, an element of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., had stopped to rest. Peters removed his web gear and sat down.
"I slid my hand through the grass," he said, "when suddenly the warm grass turned into cold steel." His right hand came up holding a Soviet-made submachine gun.
Digging around, Peters found an earthenware pot containing two more new submachine guns, five RPG-2 rocket rounds, 200 rounds of small arms ammunition and a number of blasting caps.
NCO Leads 5 to Safety After VC Down Copter
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, August 6, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - A U.S. Infantry sergeant took over command and led a helicopter crew and a passenger to safety after their aircraft was hit by ground fire and crashed in the middle of a dug-in company-size Viet Cong force.
Carrying the only weapon, Sgt. Charles Kostos led the other five survivors to cover, firing as he ran, stopping once to kill a Viet Cong who had charged out of a wood line firing his automatic weapon.
Kostos was at the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., forward supply base where he boarded the helicopter bound for the 25th Inf. Div.'s base camp at Cu Chi. WO Gordon Fitzgerald, the aircraft commander, was flying at 50 feet when the aircraft was hit by ground fire, knocking out the hydraulic system.
The chopper crashed in a flooded rice paddy and flipped over on its right side. "Everyone was pretty shaken up," relates Kostos, "but from what I could see there were only minor injuries."
Fitzgerald put out an emergency call for help, while the door gunner tried to free the only available machine gun - the other M-60 was buried under the aircraft. "The left gun was frozen on its mount," Kostos said, "and the other weapons had been lost in the crash so all we had was my M-16 and 15 magazines of ammo.
"The first thing I thought of was 'let's get the devil out of here'" He told the other survivors to follow him, and they started running across the rice paddy to a dike 50 yards away. Fire was coming in from all directions.
A perimeter was set up by the men, primarily, Kostos explained, "to give me warning in case the VC tried to overrun us." He continued firing bursts from his M-16 until two Air Force F-100s flew over in response to the emergency radio message.
"They looked beautiful," recounted Kostos. "They roared in firing those rockets and 20mm cannons. The rounds were landing no more than 100 feet away from us."
NCO Is a Real Part of Viet Village
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Saturday, September 2, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - Marriage counselor, financial expert and police adviser are but a few of the responsibilities facing a 25th Inf. Div. sergeant in the little village of Vinh Cu in Binh Duong Province.
An assignment that started out three months ago as adviser to Vietnamese security forces in the Vinh Cu sector, has turned into a job that S. Sgt. Warner Orlandi describes as one that, "Requires the finesse of a statesman and the wisdom of Solomon."
Orlandi learned Vietnamese at the Defense Language Institute at Monterey, Calif. He has been in Vietnam for 18 months - the first year was spent at the Military Assistance Command (MACV) headquarters. Orlandi was then transferred to the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., because, "I wanted to get into the field and put my language training to work."
At the start of the battalion's pacification program, Orlandi was sent to the Vietnamese garrison in Vinh Cu as an adviser - coordinating sector defense between Popular Forces and his parent unit.
With the ability to speak Vietnamese and a healthy respect for the people and their way of life, Orlandi has become a prominent figure in the village because, as he says, "If you show respect for their way of life and are sensitive to their problems and can come up with the answers, then you'll become one of them."
Orlandi claims to know each of the 1,500 villagers, and from the problems he has been asked to solve, it is apparent that every villager knows him. He has solved problems of marriage, money, village security and public health. According to Orlandi this trust works both ways. "I've received information on VC movements in the area, and through a tip from a villager we broke up a VC black market operation."
He says he likes working with the Vietnamese and becoming such an important figure in their village. "It has given me a lot of satisfaction and I hope to continue working with these people."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, September 11, 1967 - see the story and accompanying photos... ]
VC's Stick Sticks VC
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Friday, October 27, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - Some Viet Cong would probably feel very sheepish if he know how his woodworking skill let U.S. infantrymen to some very valuable weapons and equipment.
Pfc. Lonnie J. Robbins and other members of C Co., 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., 25th Inf. Div., were detailed to get poles in order to search the brush along the Saigon River during an operation.
Robbins chose a pole that had been a VC punji stake. "It had a sharp point on the end that looked as if care had been taken to carve it." said Robbins.
As they probed in the heavy brush along the river, Robbins poked his pole into a camouflaged 55-gallon drum. In the drum was a complete 60mm mortar, tools, cleaning equipment, grease, a Chinese claymore mine and many documents.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, October 23, 1967 - read the story... ]
The War Can Wait
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Thursday, November 23, 1967 Page 7]
With his air mattress set up in a mortar pit, Spec. 4 Daniel Hemphill manages to grab a few moments of sleep. Nap time came during a lull in fire missions in the Hobo Woods, 35 miles northeast of Saigon. The 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., was taking part in the 25th Inf. Div.'s Operation Batrking Sands. (USA Photo by Spec. Bill Wermine)
Machines Level VC Sanctuary In Hobo Woods
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, December 2, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - The dense jungles of the Hobo Woods, 35 miles northwest of Saigon, no longer exist.
A 56-day combined land-clearing and search and destroy operation conducted by the 25th Div's 1st Brigade has leveled 90 per cent of the 13,000-acre former Viet Cong sanctuary.
Specially equipped helicopters are making daily flights over the woods spraying the secondary growth with defoliating chemicals.
Rome plows from the 27th Land Clearing Team, a detachment of the 168th Eng. Bn (Combat), 79th Eng Group, escorted by armored personnel carriers from the 4th Bn., 23rd Inf., and tanks from Alpha Co., 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, began uprooting trees and dense undergrowth in the northwestern sector of the woods.
Leading the plows were infantrymen from the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. and the 4th Bn, 9th Inf., who hacked their way through the jungle searching out the well-hidden Viet Cong.
Fighting from a maze of tunnel and bunker complexes and never attacking in force, 109 of the enemy were nevertheless slain.
Working with the infantry were elements of the 65th Combat Engineer Bn., who destroyed with explosives the trenches, bunkers and tunnels that were uncovered.
The intensive search turned up some 157,000 rounds of assorted small arms ammunition, 134 individual weapons, 58 tons of rice and eight crew-served weapons. Even a late-model Simca sedan was uncovered, well camouflaged in a field.
The 4th Bn, 23rd Inf., also discovered what was described as brigade officers as the Viet Cong propaganda center for the Hau Nghia-Saigon area.
The center consisted of two tunnel complexes in the same general area. From one the "Tomahawks" brought three 35mm cameras and a movie camera; a photo-enlarger, photographic chemicals, printing paper and film. From the other came two portable printing presses and 800 rounds of type in both English and Vietnamese.
"We've successfully denied the Hobo to the Viet Cong." summed up Col. Edwin H. Marks, brigade commander.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, December 11, 1967 - read the story... ]
Drop Zone for Santa
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, December 24, 1967 Page 6]
Pfc. Orville Painter, 23, of Modesto, Calif., leans out of his bunker to hank his Christmas stocking. He jokingly pointed to the sky and said, "Santa Claus will assault from there." Painter is with C Co., 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., 25th Inf Div., at Ka Tum, 50 miles northwest of Saigon. (S&S Photo by John Olson)
Long Tail Was Almost a Short Story
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, December 24, 1967 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - The case of the lizard that wasn't a lizard still has the men of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. a little leery of things on the ground.
The infantrymen found a cache of Viet Cong clothing and building material on a recent search and destroy operation in War Zone C.
Spec 4 Darryl Fullum of Ravenna, Ohio, and Pfc. Dale Burmeister of Carmichael, Calif., were in the underground VC "treasure room" when Fullum called to Burmeister, "Hey, look at the size of this lizard."
Fullum slowly pulled the lizard's tail from under a sheet of roofing tin. It appeared most of the creature was tail. Two feet grew to four, and at the eight-foot mark the head of a highly indignant cobra appeared.
Dropping his prize, Fullum sought a better vantage point, outside the hole. Burmeister passed him on the way.
The cobra wasn't pleased with the surroundings either. He slithered from the hole . . . passing scout dog that came as close to having a heart attack as a dog can . . . and headed for freedom.
The men couldn't use a rifle. Snipers had been active and the unit was on the alert, but Fullum and Burmeister took up the chase anyway. The contest came to an abrupt end when the cobra wheeled and rose to face its pursuers.
"I threw an entrenching tool at it and we left the scene," said Burmeister. "We called it a draw."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, January 1, 1968 - read the story... ]
Close Call for Trooper;
Round Slowed by Pouch
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Wednesday, January 3, 1968 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - "You wear a steel pot and flack jacket and what saves your skin - something that was never intended to defend you."
Spec. 4 Gerald Mitchell of Fort Worth, Tex., was commenting on the close call he'd had recently while serving with the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
Mitchell was part of the first patrol sent out from his battalion's perimeter at Ka Tum as the 1st Brigade consolidated the base camp for the 25th Inf. Div's Operation Yellowstone.
As the patrol moved down a trail some 300 yards outside the perimeter, Mitchell spotted what appeared to be the foundation of a hootch. As he went forward to check it out, the Viet Cong opened up.
"I hit the dirt fast," the Texas soldier said. "Charlie was close, maybe within 20 yards. I began returning the fire when suddenly I felt something hit my left side and slam me back."
Shaken, he began to look for blood. Unable to find any, he opened his shirt and found a red hot AK47 round nestled next to his skin at his belt line.
The bullet had passed through Mitchell's ammunition pouch, magazine ammunition and web belt.
"All I got out of it was bruised ribs, and a small burn."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, January 15, 1968 - read the story... ]
VC Rice in Lieutenant's Pot
Helmet Recovered With Bonus
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Wednesday, April 3, 1968 Page 7 and Monday, April 8 Page 7]
Tay Ninh, Vietnam (IO) - Second Lt. Michael C. Long recently found his helmet in an enemy base camp near Tay Ninh, 16 days after the same helmet was shot off his head during a firefight with a mixed company of North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong guerrillas.
After airlifting into an area near the one operated in 16 days before, D Co. of the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., 25th Inf. Div., conducted a reconnaissance-in-force operations. They came upon a large 55-bunker base camp with trench lines leading from bunker to bunker around the perimeter.
"I spotted my old camouflage cover hanging in a tree with my platoon emblem, 'Third Herd' still plainly inked," said Long. "Closer investigation led me to my steel pot, which was sitting near a stove with freshly cooked rice in it," added Long, of Mackeyville, Pa. "A bullet hole was found in the steel pot and matched up with the hole in the camouflage cover, indicating that the steel pot did belong to Long." said Spec. 4 Alfredo H. Dungca of Tamuning, Guam
3 Viets Saved From Buffalo
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, May 5, 1968 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - A 25th Inf. Div. lieutenant on his first day in the field saved several Vietnamese children when he shot a rampaging water buffalo.
First Lt. Sylvain I. White, of Vine Grove, Ky., killed the beast during a 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., 2nd Brigade sweep during Operation Toan Thang.
"I saw three children running down the street being chased by an enraged buffalo. After everyone was out of the way, I pumped six rounds into it," White said.
The platoon medic, Pfc. John R. Stubinger, of Rochester, N.Y., treated one child for minor injuries.
Arms, Ammo Found
GIs Wake Up To VC Cache
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Friday, May 21, 1968 Page 23 and Wednesday, May 29 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (IO) - Soldiers of a 25th Inf. Div. rifle company received an early morning surprise at their night ambush site by finding themselves in the middle of a vacated enemy base camp.
C Co, 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. uncovered the company-sized base camp during an ambush patrol 30 kilometers northwest of Saigon.
"We had spotted some small tunnels as we moved into the ambush site, but it wasn't till the next morning that we found out about it being a base camp." said 2nd Lt. Francis J. Culkin of Philadelphia, Pa.
"As soon as the sun came out the next morning, the men started nosing their way around and found enemy supplies left and right." added the platoon leader.
An underground fire direction center (FDC) with various instruments, colored pencils, mathematical charts and aiming directions were found in the tunnels. A large underground hospital, a Viet Cong mess hall and storage area for explosives were the most interesting spots in the camp according to Spec. 4 Thomas M. Winston of Panama City, Fla.
"That 200 pounds of Chinese Communist explosives was sure heavy as we packed it out of the holes, but I'm glad we found it," said Winston. "Charlie could have made some mighty dangerous hand grenades if we hadn't."
Pfc. Wesley F. Hall of Bapchule, Ariz., who had less than a month left in Vietnam, remarked, "It's a good thing that I didn't know about this being a VC base camp while we were there all night. I couldn't have slept a wink while I was off guard."
In addition to the 200 pounds of Chinese Communist explosives, and the FDC equipment, an AK-47 assault rifle, a 75mm Chinese Communist recoilless cartridge, 3 RPG-2 rockets, 2 boosters, 50 rounds of small arms ammunition, an anti-tank mine, NVA web gear, food, clothing and numerous documents were found.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, June 24, 1968 - read the story... ]
North Viets Turn Yellow
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Wednesday, June 19, 1968 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - "Suddenly a bright yellow hand emerged from the tunnel, and three NVA soldiers came out looking like someone had sprayed yellow paint all over them," recalled 2nd Lt. Douglas Miller of Vancouver, Wash.,
The 25th Inf. Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., was 36 miles northwest of Saigon when a flank man spotted a body in a tunnel entrance.
"I went down in the hole and saw others move back in the tunnel," said Pfc. Damon Darley of Seattle, Wash.
The Vietnamese interpreter with the unit told the enemy soldiers to come out.
"Finally, when we could see they weren't going to come out, we threw a yellow smoke grenade in the tunnel to sdd if it would drive them out," Miller said.
They came out - yellowed, but unharmed.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, June 17, 1968 - read the story... ]
Viet Due Reward For Machine Gun
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Friday, July 19, 1968 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - "When I looked up and saw that man walk around the back of his house carrying a machine gun, I didn't know what to think," recalled Pfc. John H. Yeder, of Newport News, Va.
Yeder, a medic with A Co., 2nd Bn, 14th Inf., was writing a letter when suddenly a Vietnamese man walked up to him with a machine gun. It seems that he found the weapon near his rice paddy and wanted to clean it before presenting it to Yeder.
Earlier in the week, Yeder had participated in a 25th Inf. Div. medical civic action mission in the village and won the respect of the people while treating them.
The weapon, a Chinese-made RFD 46 company-size heavy machine gun, was in excellent condition. "A reward will be given Pham Van Xem for turning it over to the U.S. Forces," said 1st Lt. Michael Long, of Mackeyville, Pa., battalion intelligence officer.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, August 5, 1968 - read the story... ]
Survives Fall From Helicopter
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Thursday, August 8, 1968 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - Recalling his airborne training, Sgt. Franklyn S. Weisberger survived an accidental fall from a helicopter about 50 feet in the air.
The 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., was making an air assault five miles east of the 25th Inf Div. base camp at Cu Chi when Weisberger turned in his seat to look out of the copter. His foot slipped on the wet floor and he slid out.
"As I slid out, my head hit the machine gun barrel," explained Weisberger, of Bradenton, Fla. "I was speechless. All I could think of was: 'This can't be real.' When I looked up, I could see everyone smiling at me."
"As soon as I hit the ground I did a PLF," said Weisberger. (The PLF - parachute landing fall - is used to prevent injury by rolling on five points of the body in rapid succession to cushion the fall.)
"My steel pot was lost on the way down, but I still had my weapon in my hands. In fact, the butt of my M16 hit the ground so hard that the bolt went back and chambered a round," added Weisberger.
When the rest of the company landed, some of the men in his platoon rushed over and asked him why he had jumped.
Infantry Hits the Jackpot
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Thursday, August 22, 1968 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - Information from a Chieu Hoi paid off with an unexpected bonus for elements of the 25th Inf. Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., when they found not only a large Viet Cong munitions cache, but also a recruiting officer for the National Liberation Front.
The cache - including more than 25,000 rounds of small arms ammunition; 86 rocket grenade rounds; 22 82mm mortar rounds; and a 122mm rocket warhead - was found by A and C Cos. six miles north of Duc Hoa after a Chieu Hoi had given the location.
As the companies moved across the open fields, an escorting helicopter gunship spotted movement to their front. The element nearest the location was A Co., which sent a platoon to check out the area.
"I was walking down a dike when I saw a man off to one side hiding in the brush," said Spec. 4 George Timmons. "I pointed my M16 at him and he came out with his hands up," added Timmons of Sumter, N.C.
Interrogation revealed that the man had infiltrated into the area to coordinate future activities with the local leaders.
A more thorough search of the area by the two companies turned up two other suspects including one man who said he was "the local head of the Viet Cong farmers' association," whose main job is believed to be coordination of food supplies with troop movements.
A night defensive position was set up for the companies. Early the next morning, mine sweeping teams were airlifted in, and the task of uncovering the hidden supplies began.
With the help of the villagers, the mine detectors quickly located ammunition, RPG rounds, and other objects buried in rice paddy dikes.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, January 15, 1968 - see the story, by Larry Weist, 2/14th, and the accompanying photos... ]
GIs Upset Red Luncheon;
50 Communists Killed
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Tuesday, July 22, 1969 Page 6]
SAIGON - A late afternoon attack caught surprised Communist soldiers at the dinner table Saturday as 25th Inf. Div. GIs backed by air and artillery strikes ransacked an enemy supply complex 25 miles northwest of Saigon.
At least 50 of the Reds were killed in two hours of fighting. No Americans were hurt, U.S. military spokesmen said.
Helicopter gunships began to strafe the area with machine-gun and rocket fire about 5 p.m., and 25th Div. artillerymen followed with a 4-minute barrage onto the camp, which was nestled in woods six miles northeast of Trang Bang, and 15 miles east of Cambodia.
Before the Reds could recover from the first bombardments, troops of the 14th Inf.'s 2nd Bn., carried in by helicopter, swarmed into the complex.
"Rat Pack (187th Assault Helicopter Co.) pilots circling over an abandoned village which housed some of the enemy supply and service personnel came under heavy small arms fire," said WO Harry De Leon, a Huey chopper pilot. "We rolled in on them with rocket and door gun fire, and they started running all over the place.
"There were well-built bunkers in all the hootches and the area was honey-combed with firing positions and trench lines."
Helicopters lifted the "Tropic Lightning" infantrymen out just before sundown, but Air Force F100 jet bombers and artillery continued to pound the area late into the night.
Military sources said the supply facility was manned by North Vietnamese troops working for the 9th Viet Cong Div. and that it included a large headquarters building, a warehouse and several camouflaged storage pits.
Other 25th Div. soldiers killed 35 more Reds in scattered fighting between Saigon and the Cambodian border. Five were killed on the "Black Virgin" mountain, six miles northeast of Tay Ninh City, a recurring battlefield where 27 enemy died in a Friday clash.
Far to the north, five Americans were killed and nine wounded Saturday morning in a clash between 101st Airborne Div. troops and North Vietnamese forces two miles from the Laotian border near the A Shau Valley. Military officials said enemy casualties were unknown.
Military spokesmen reported 27 Communist shelling attacks during the 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. Sunday. Twelve of the barrages caused casualties or material damage, including two Americans killed and 13 other U.S. personnel wounded.
Vietnamese military officials said two 122mm rockets landed late Saturday night near the southeastern edge of Saigon, about three miles from the city's center. The rockets killed one Vietnamese civilian, destroyed a house and damaged a school building and a sampan.
About 35 122mm rockets hit the Bien Hoa Air Base, 15 miles northeast of Saigon Sunday. Damage and casualties were listed as light, with no fatalities.
Phan Rang Air Base, 170 miles northeast of Saigon, and the 9th Inf. Div.'s Dong Tam headquarters post, 40 miles southwest of the capital, both took about 10 rounds of mortar fire. Light casualties, but no deaths, were reported at Dong Tam.
R&R Begins at 'Home' For 25th Inf. Div. GIs
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Tuesday, September 16, 1969 Page 23]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - The troops are getting a new kind of stand-down, which just about amounts to a special R&R, at the 2nd Bn., 14th Inf., 25th Inf. Div.
Each of the five companies in the battalion sends two men in from the field to Cu Chi base camp every week. For four days the men relax in their own private area.
The idea was conceived by Sgt. Maj. Peter Howlett and put into operation by 1st Sgt. Cleo Stevens of Hq. Co.
When the stand-down men arrive in the battalion area they report to Stevens. After an hour's maintenance on field gear, the men are shown to a special hootch and turned loose to do as they please for three days.
A television set, along with three free beers and a soda, are provided for the troopers by the battalion's enlisted men's club as soon as they reach Cu Chi.
The men also have magazines, newspapers and books available.
The idea is to give the Brigade soldiers three days of complete relaxation. They can sleep in, write letters, read - anything they wish.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, September 1, 1969 - see the story, by PFC Frank Ditto, 2/14th, and the accompanying photo... ]
4th Brigade of 25th Inf. Div. Is Activated
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Tuesday, November 18, 1969 Page 23]
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Special) - The Army has announced that the new unit replacing the 29th Inf. Brigade here will be designated the 4th Brigade, 25th Inf. Div.
Maj. Gen. Ben Sternberg, commanding general U.S. Army Hawaii, emphasized, "This activation of a 4th Brigade of the 25th Div. in now way implies that the 25th Div. is returning to Hawaii nor that the division is preparing to leave Vietnam.
"It is an entirely new unit and is being so designated because of the close ties between 'Hawaii's Own Tropic Lightning Division' and the people of Hawaii and as a tribute to the 25th's outstanding record in Vietnam.
"It will add to the historical association of the division and the state of Hawaii," Sternberg added.
The 25th was one of two divisions formed from the old Hawaiian Division Oct. 1, 1941, just 10 weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The 29th Brigade will be demobilized Dec 12, and will relinquish its mission as part of "The Pacific Reserve Force" to the newly activated 4th Brigade, 25th Div.
This activation will not increase the authorized end strength of the Army as Regular Army personnel now assigned to the Hawaiian National Guard unit will be reassigned to form the new organization. The new brigade will have the same structure as that of the 29th.
Each of these newly formed units will be given battalion numerical designations not now used by any active Army units. They are the 2nd Bn., 5th Inf.; 3rd Bn., 14th Inf.; 3rd Bn., 27th Inf.; and 5th Bn., 13th Arty. Other battalions of the 5th, 14th, 27th and 13th are also part of existing 25th Div. forces.
In addition to those organizations historically attached to the 25th will be one reconnaissance troop of the 10th Cav.; the 161st Aviation Co.; the 76th Engineer Co., and the 425th Support Bn.
The 13th Arty Regt. first arrived in Hawaii Oct. 21, 1920. It was constituted in the annals of the Army three years previously at El Paso, Tex., and participated in the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Muese-Argonne offensives during World War I. Upon formation of the Hawaiian Division in 1921, the 13th Field Arty. was one of three artillery regiments included on the rolls of this historic organization. The 13th Arty. has earned 18 battle streamers since World War I.
On June 4, 1921, the 27th Inf. Regt. landed in Honolulu from Manila and the next day traveled to Schofield Barracks and was assigned to the Provisional Infantry Brigade of the Hawaiian Division. Later it became part of the 22nd Infantry Brigade.
Although several units had previously been designated as the 27th Inf. Regt. after short periods of existence they were consolidated with other units to form regiments of different numerical designations and it was not until July 5, 1901, that the present organization was formed.
Its first commitment was in the Philippines during the Insurrection and from 1906 to 1909 it was a member of the Army of Cuban Pacification. World War I found it on the Trans-Siberian Railway where it became a part of a many-nation force assigned the mission of guarding the railway and supplies against attack by the Bolsheviks.
The nickname "Wolfhounds" came from the remark of a Russian officer that "the Americans cover ground like the wolfhounds." The 27th Infantry has earned 24 battle streamers.
The 5th Inf. is the third oldest regiment in the U.S. Army, descending from a unit constituted April 12, 1808. During more than a century and a half the 5th has served in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Philippines, Germany, Korea and Vietnam.
In 1898, the "Bobcats" took part in the Spanish-American War and in 1900 traveled half-way around the world to fight in the Philippine Insurrection. During World War I they were assigned to guard the Panama Canal against attack.
The regiment crossed the Rhine with the 71st Inf. Div. in World War II and was stationed at Schofield Barracks following the war. As the 5th Regimental Combat Team, it participated in all 10 campaigns of the Korean War. They have earned 38 battle streamers in their long and illustrious history.
The 14th Inf. traces its history back to the time when Abraham Lincoln ordered an increase of the Regular Army early in 1861. Members of the 14th have served from Antietam in the Civil War to Manila in the Spanish-American War, the Rhineland in World War II, and near the 38th Parallel in the Korean War.
The 14th "Golden Dragons" joined the 25th Div. in Korea in 1951 and returned with it to Schofield Barracks in 1954. In April 1966 they arrived at Vung Tau, Vietnam, and by nightfall were setting up the base camp at Cu Chi. They have 31 battle streamers on their organizational colors.
The formation of the 4th Brigade, 25th Inf. Div. at Schofield Barracks will return to the Hawaiian Islands a unit that represents an illustrious history almost from the beginning or our country. Throughout more than 150 years members of these units have fought and died to assure our freedom.
Ironic Touch to Viet War:
Empty Shells Build Education
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Sunday, January 25, 1970 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - The surplus of war was transformed into a cornerstone of education recently when the Civic Action Team of the 25th Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. Golden Dragons, using a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, helped rebuild a school in Trung Lap.
"We were on a Medcap operation one afternoon," said Capt. Peter Levy, of Santa Maria, Calif., "and we stopped to look over the place; there and then we decided that the children here had to have a better schoolhouse."
Most of the materials used for the reconstruction had to be scrounged. Some of the material used was discarded 155mm howitzer powder cannisters and the wood from shipping platforms. The artillery cannisters were used as supports for new benches and writing tables. The shipping platforms were torn down to provide planks and beams.
"The one thing we had no trouble with was labor," said Sgt. Tony Newcome. "The littlest kid to the oldest 'papa-san' pitched in to give a hand."
With the help of the villagers and the assistance of the five members of the Army team, the village's new school building was completed in three days.
The only disruption came when the local Viet Cong took offense at the enthusiasm the people were showing in the project and set up a number of booby trapped 82mm mortar rounds. Luckily all the traps were found before any of the people were hurt.
"Other than that single incident," Newcome said, "the only other problem was a small one - too many chiefs. Every 'papa-san' had some advice and helpful tip on how to go about building this place. It's a pretty good idea to go along with them, because they are all like your grandfather. They've been doing carpentry work a lot longer than any of us."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, January 5, 1970 - see the story, by SP4 Greg Stanmar, 2/14th, and the accompanying photo... ]
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Thursday, February 5, 1970 Page 7]
Landmarks in the Ho Bo Woods north of Saigon are few and far between. In order to pin-point his posiiton, 1st Lt. Warren Smith takes advantage of an old tree stump to get his directions straight. Smith, an artillery forward observer, was on an operation with the 25th Inf. Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. (USA)
The bullet had passed through Mitchell's ammunition pouch, magazine ammunition and web belt.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, January 19, 1970 - see the photo and caption, by SP4 Ray Byrne, 2/14th... ]
Flashback Of a Camera
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Wednesday, February 25, 1970 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - Spec. 4 Stanley (Tony) Schutz inadvertently loaned his $80 camera to a Viet Cong - but got it back.
Schutz was on a mission last April with the 25th Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. He had his newly purchased camera along with him.
"It was in an ammo bag and dropped when I had to head for cover," said Schutz. "I figured it was gone forever."
Recently, he was notified by intelligence that a camera found on a Viet Cong after a minor battle, had been tracked down.
It looked good on the outside, said Tony. "But the inside had seen the wrong side of too many rice paddies."
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, February 16, 1970 - read the story... ]
Circuit-Riding Bn. Chaplain Keeps in Touch With All GIs
[Pacific Stars & Stripes Wednesday, May 27, 1970 Page 7]
CU CHI, Vietnam (Special) - If chaplains were paid by the mile instead of the month, the 25th Div.'s 2nd Bn., 14th Inf. chaplain would be a rich man.
"I like to get to every man in this battalion at least once a week," said Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph P. Dulaney. "This means I run from one end of the AO (area of operations) to the other several times a week."
In addition, Dulaney, as do the other ten chaplains in the division, has assignments and responsibilities outside their battalion.
"It keeps you winded," said the chaplain, "but if you like the job, you don't mind. And I like the job. I've 'done time' in a civilian pastorship and know what it's like. At that time I was in the reserves. When it came to a choice of giving that up or going active I decided to give the Army a try. And so I'm still here.
His usual schedule takes the busy chaplain to troops both in the rear and forward areas. Services last a half hour and are non-denominational.
But often, troops in the field are too spread out to warrant a formal meeting. Also, it is dangerous to have a large group of people in one area for any length of time.
In that case, Chaplain Dulany goes to each position handing out leaflets and talking to the men.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, May 25, 1970 - see the photo and caption, by SP4 Ray Byrne, 2/14th... ]
[Pacific Stars & Stripes About July 20, 1970]
DAU TIENG, Vietnam (Special) - A company of cool-headed 25th Inf. Div. infantrymen, with artillery support, recently turned back an NVA assault on their fire base and killed five enemy troops.
The action took place at Fire Support Base Byrd, which had been set up by B Co., 2nd Bn., 14th Inf.
"At about midnight, we began to take a heavy barrage of mortar and small arms fire from three sides," said 1st Lt. Sam Hargrove, the company's forward observer. "It seemed like they were using our radio antenna for an aiming point."
C Btry., 2nd Bn., 77th Arty. quickly responded by pumping 105mm rounds directly into a nearby wood line.
"We couldn't see where they were exactly," said Pfc. Fred Sundermier, "but from the firing we knew they were real close."
Spec. 4 Charles Greenville was firing an M-60 machine gun on one side of the gun pit when it jammed.
"I decided to leave it and help out on the 105. As I ran to the ammunition bunker, an RPG round hit where I had just left, but the 105 never even slowed down."
Spec. 4 Terry Gourd and Pfc. Tom Heavlin had to dismantle two M-60s during the intense combat in order to make one workable.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Terry Zych was busy dropping rounds into a mortar tube when a dud shell cut through the RPG screen and landed near him.
"I dropped the mortar rounds in twice as fast after that," said Zych.
Some snipers crawled to within a hundred meters of us, but we messed them up with some M-79 rounds," said Pfc. Greg Stitt.
A recon of the area later revealed the enemy's intentions. A nearby trench, matted-down grass indicated that a force of about 35 NVA had been ready to make a dash for the wire. It never came off because the American fire had kept them pinned down.
Although only three dead were found in the trench, several blood trails indicated that others were wounded. Another area searched revealed two more enemy dead, one wounded, who was taken prisoner, and more blood trails.
"There were probably about 100 NVA who must have thought they could take us," said Intelligence Officer Capt. Bennet Jones.
[This story appeared in Tropic Lighting News, July 20, 1970 - read the story, by SP4 Richard Erickson, 2/14th... ]
Thanks to Les Hines, 23rd "Americal" Infantry Division, for sending these articles
Pacific Stars & Stripes - News Articles of the 14th Infantry Regiment
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Last modified: April 28, 2014