The Year 1968 – Charlie Company 3/22nd, 25th Infantry Division
Vol 3 No. 01 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS January 1, 1968
DAU TIENG – Saving the men in his platoon from the blast of a VC claymore mine, a 25th Div sergeant singlehandedly silenced a Viet Cong bunker during intense fighting southeast of Dau Tieng.
SGT David H. Moran, a member of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, was with Co C when a machine gun opened up from a hidden bunker inside a fortified VC base camp. Hearing the cries for medic, Moran signaled SP4 Michael V. Jamilkowski, 4th Plt Medic, and they headed forward.
The young sergeant helped treat the most seriously wounded and then grabbed a grenade and his M-16 and crept toward the enemy bunker.
“Suddenly, I saw a green wire leading out from the bunker to another claymore aimed at our platoon,” said Moran. Cutting the wire, Moran rushed the bunker and tossed in his grenade.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS January 1, 1968
HELICOPTERS STAGE MASSIVE AIRLIFT IN ONE OF MANY ASSAULTS BEGINNING OPERATION “YELLOWSTONE” IN WAR ZONE C. THE 1ST AND 3RD BDES ARE TAKING PART.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS January 15, 1968
SGT Fred C. Du Bose, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PSG Wayne O. Knowles, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Vol 3 No. 04 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS January 22, 1968
3RD BRIGADE KILLS 382 VC
IN BATTLE NEAR SOUI CUT
Four battalions of Main Force Viet Cong attempted to overrun a 25th Inf Div fire support base on Jan. 1 and 2, and lost 382 men in the abortive attack. The battle took place at Soui Cut, some 90 kms from Saigon. The enemy launched their attack on the afternoon of Jan. 1, hours before the termination of their announced New Year’s truce period. The Div’s fire support base had been set up only three days earlier.
The attack began with mortar and rocket grenade attacks in the afternoon and evening. Then shortly before midnight, still well before the end of the truce, four enemy battalions from the 271st and 272nd Main Force Viet Cong Regiments, launched human wave assaults against the fire support base perimeter.
The defenders were members of the 25th Div’s 3rd Bde who were in the process of setting up a powerful fire support base at Soui Cut, only 12 kms from the Cambodian border.
The above map is of the 10-hour battle of Soui Cut. At least 382 Viet Cong of the 271st and 272nd Main Force VC Regiments were killed in their abortive attempt to overrun the fire support base.
The enemy was repelled with small arms, automatic weapons, hand grenades and supporting fire. The tubes of the 105mm howitzers were lowered and fired directly into the Viet Cong attackers.
It was only last March that men of the 3rd Bde, then the 3rd Bde. 4th Inf Div, had killed 647 communists of these same Viet Cong Regiments in the battle of Soui Tre. That battle is still the biggest one-day victory of the war.
Additional fire support for the battle at Soui Cut was provided by Army helicopter gunships and Air Force tactical aircraft hitting enemy positions from which they launched their assaults, and later enemy escape routes.
When the Viet Cong attempted to flee to the south and west at daybreak on Jan. 2, these aircraft sprayed the jungle with thousands of rounds of machine gun fire and air-delivered rockets.
The infantrymen found most of the enemy dead around the base camp perimeter. U.S. casualties were listed as 23 killed and 153 wounded.
In addition to the 382 Viet Cong killed, the enemy lost 87 individual (rifles, carbines and sub-machine guns) and 29 crew-served (machine guns, mortars and recoilless rifles) weapons.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 5, 1968
Bronze Star Medal (Valor)
SGT David H. Moran, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 5, 1968
Stranded GIs Survive Night
3RD BDE – “If our patrol had been located 15 meters away in any direction, none of us would have survived,” stated PFC John M. Golden from Westminster, Calif.
The ambush patrol from Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, had set up 350 meters from the perimeter of fire support base Burt near the Cambodian border. A few hours after dark the patrol came under heavy Viet Cong mortar, RPG and small arms fire.
With the only radio knocked out of commission and men wounded, the patrol was forced to remain in position. “We couldn’t move because we didn’t know where the Viet Cong, were,” commented Golden.
In the meantime the enemy was advancing all around the patrol in their attack upon the fire support base. With both enemy and friendly fire dropping around their position, the uninjured patrol members bandaged the wounded for the rest of the night.
Only when morning arrived was the patrol able to receive aid from the base camp and return to safety.
Quick Thinking Ambush Patrol Kills 7 VC
3RD BDE – Quick thinking by an ambush patrol that was caught in the direct line of attack on the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div fire support base Burt resulted in their pulling back to a bomb crater where they held off an all night attack killing at least seven enemy troops. This action took place during the Battle of Soui Cut that resulted in 382 Viet Cong killed.
The ambush patrol from Charlie Co, 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, was led by SSG Mark Ridley of San Antonio, Tex, with only two weeks in country. Although the New Year Truce was in effect, previous mortar attacks which had broken the truce prompted the “Triple Deuces” battalion commander, LTC A.G. Norris, to send the ambush patrol out as counter-mortar security for the support base.
Leaving the southern end of the perimeter at 6:30 p.m. the patrol traveled 400 meters down a main trail before angling in to the right. “We had been set in place for half an hour,” said Ridley. “Around 7:30 the perimeter opened up and a little later we began to hear the Viet Cong talking all around us.”
“Then some Viet Cong came down the path, led by a man with a flashlight,” commented PFC William Thompson from Seabrook, Tex. “We threw some hand grenades and got them.”
By then SSG Ridley had received word that the whole fire support base was under heavy enemy contact. With friendly .50 cal. and enemy fire cracking overhead, the patrol crawled to a bomb crater where they set up in a circle.
It took only a moment for the men to realize that they were in the line of a major attack on their battalion, and their only chance for survival lay in maintaining a purely defensive posture. For the rest of the night, the patrol called in artillery concentrations and provided targets for the gunships and aircraft pounding the enemy’s line of attack between their position and the perimeter.
The only reply to the enemy heavy small arms fire and hand grenades thrown by the circling enemy troops was defensive fire to keep the enemy at bay. PFC John Marts from Owaneco, Ill, kept his M-60 machine gun below ground level until he could see enemy troops creeping up to throw grenades. “We knew we were surrounded and would not be relieved until dawn,” said Marts. “To conserve ammo I waited until they came close enough so I couldn’t miss and then put a few bursts into the enemy and got back down in the hole.”
The only casualty came when a CHICOM RPG-2 round hit the lip of the crater, lightly wounding one of the men.
By dawn the unsuccessful attack had been beaten back, and a reinforcing element had moved to the ambush site to escort the patrol back to friendly lines. Seven enemy bodies were found within 15 meters of the bomb crater, and four heavy blood trails led from the immediate area.
“It was a real hairy experience,” remarked Ridley back at the fire support base, “and I never want to go through anything like that again.”
Big Ammo Cache Found Near ‘Burt’
3RD BDE – An old Viet Cong base camp 1500 meters outside of fire support base Burt yielded a large store of munitions to a careful search by men of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
Bravo Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, led by CPT Robert L. Hemphill from Lavonia, Ga., discovered the recently hidden explosives while on a reconnaissance patrol.
“We knew from the numerous VC footprints nearby and the perfect condition of the stores that, they had been hidden only a few days ago,” explained Hemphill.
The discovery included 156 60mm mortar rounds, 3 82mm mortar rounds, 13,750 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 41 cases of TNT, 24 cases of C-4, and 14,400 non-electric blasting caps.
The mortar rounds were carefully packed twelve to a box and the fuses and warheads were separately packaged in small metal boxes to insure that the rounds didn’t accidentally explode while being transported.
Using the TNT and C-4, the “Regulars” destroyed the entire bunker complex. The mortar rounds which had been packed were brought back to the fire support base for experimental study.
Vol 3 No. 9 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 26, 1968
Div Kills 400 Around Cu Chi
By LT Bruce Burton
In two weeks of continuous contact, elements of six 25th Inf Div battalions have killed more than 400 Viet Cong during the fighting in the Cu Chi area.
Battles raged along Highway 1 from the outskirts of Saigon to the north of the division’s base camp at Cu Chi. Heavy fighting also broke out during the Tet period from the Ho Bo Woods to Duc Hoa in the northern and southern extremes of Hau Nghia Province.
Soon after the Viet Cong shattered their declared Tet truce, the 1st and 2nd Bns, 27th Inf “Wolfhounds” airlifted into the Saigon area to reinforce American units defending the capital. When it became apparent that more troops would be needed to handle the string of coordinated attacks along Hau Nghia Province’s stretch of Highway 1, units were dispatched from the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div.
Both the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf and the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf came in heavy contact within hours of arriving under 2nd Bde control at Cu Chi.
The 1st Bde’s 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf already under the operational control of the 2nd Bde on a land clearing operation in the Ho Bo Woods, also saw heavy action in the Viet Cong Tet offensive.
The 2nd Bn, 27th Inf airlifted into Tan Son Nhut Air Base where the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav was repulsing a massive enemy assault. The “Wolfhound” battalion set up a base nearby and began to battle enemy units poised to strike at the Tan Son Nhut military complex and at the capital.
Also on January 31, an ambush patrol from the 1st Bn, 27th Inf killed 15 Viet Cong and captured a 75mm recoilless rifle. Reinforcements from the battalion’s forward base at Duc Hoa killed 22 more and captured a second 75mm recoilless rifle.
Three companies made heliborne assaults into the Saigon suburb of Hoc Mon, which the Viet Cong had overrun the night before. The American force immediately began clearing operations.
In the early stages of the fighting around Cu Chi, the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf and the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf bore the brunt of the action.
Within days, however, the 2nd Bn, 12th Inf also became fixed in a continuous struggle to push entrenched Viet Cong from two villages to the east of the Cu Chi base camp.
Early on the morning of February 1, the ARVN Cu Chi subsector reported it was under attack by an estimated Viet Cong battalion.
The reconnaissance platoon of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf led a company of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf in a daring charge through heavy enemy automatic weapons and recoilless rifle fire to relieve the burning sub-sector compound.
At daylight, three more companies of the 22nd Inf joined the fight in a three-pronged attack into the village of Cu Chi. Street-fighting raged for five hours until the enemy force abandoned the village. The enemy unit, identified as the 1st Bn, MR IV Main Force Regiment, suffered at least 12 killed, five weapons lost and 21 personnel detained.
The fighting in Tan Phu Trung and Ap Cho, neighboring villages along Highway 1 less than 10 kilometers from Cu Chi, began January 31 when the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf moved in to clear two enemy companies blocking the road.
In almost five hours of continuous contact, the infantrymen killed 17 enemy. The Viet Cong unit, believed to be from the 272nd Regiment, appeared to withdraw from the village.
Two days later, however, fighting again erupted in the two communities, this time as a truck convoy attempted to pass through from Saigon to Cu Chi.
While the convoy waited three kilometers to the south, a company from the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf and elements of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf fought their way into the town.
Although the 3rd Bde battalion has borne the majority of the action in Ap Cho and Tan Phu Trung, elements of the 3rd Sqdn, 4th Cav, Alpha Co, 2nd Bn, 34th Armor; and the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf have assisted the 22nd Inf in its attempts to drive through the enemy fortifications.
So far, at least 106 Viet Cong have died in the American assaults on their fortifications, lost six individual and two crew served weapons and several personnel detained.
The 2nd Bn, 12th Inf killed at least 115 Viet Cong in the battle to clear Highway 8A at Tan Hoa, and in action between there and an Phu Trung, six kilometers to the south.
Also faced with Viet Cong entrenched in reinforced concrete bunkers, the 3rd Bde unit fought against elements of an estimated two battalions of the 272nd Viet Cong Regiment.
Although the American unit had faced sporadic contact shortly after it airlifted into the Cu Chi area, its first significant contact came on February 5, when it killed 33 Viet Cong who had dug in at the hamlet of Phuoc Hung.
The following day, the infantrymen moved north in an attempt to drive through the village of Tan Hoa. Like the action along Highway 1, the fighting has raged ever since.
On February 6, a company of the battalion killed 22 Viet Cong who had opened fire with small arms, machine guns and rockets. Artillery fire from Cu Chi and armed helicopters supported the troops in their assault.
Air Force fighter bombers dumped thousands of pounds of explosives onto the enemy fortifications during the eight-day battle.
Although the U.S. troops several times penetrated the enemy defenses and captured several automatic and crew-served weapons, the Viet Cong force has continued to resist with heavy fire all attempts to break through the town.
In other actions throughout the province, the 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf killed 24 Viet Cong and captured one RPG-2 rocket launcher in a five-hour fight in the Ho Bo Woods.
Throughout the two-week period, tactical air strikes accounted for 35 Viet Cong killed, artillery 30, and helicopter gunships 25 enemy killed.
Two kilometers to the east, two companies of the 2nd Bn, 27th Inf were locked in battle with a large enemy force. Fighting until dark, the infantrymen killed 102 enemy, and were supported by tactical air strikes, artillery and gunships.
3RD BDE – Finding a wallet in the jungle that had been lost two months ago and 35 kms away, sounds unbelievable.
But just such an oddity happened to PFC John J. Foster. The soldier from Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, had lost his billfold when wounded on an operation south of Dau Tieng.
Two months later, as Charlie Co was sweeping through a Viet Cong base camp near Cu Chi, the wallet was discovered in a large bunker.
Page 3 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS February 26, 1968
MAP OF FIGHTING FOR TASK FORCES OF THE 2ND AND 3RD BDES, 25TH INF DIV, FROM JANUARY 31 TO FEBRUARY 14. THE CHART SHOWS GENERAL DIRECTIONS OF ATTACK AND GENERAL LOCATIONS OF ACTIONS ONLY. (MAP BY LT BRUCE BURTON)
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS March 4, 1968
3RD BDE –
During an operation east of Cu Chi a unit of the 3rd Bde narrowly escaped being surrounded by a heavily armed Viet Cong force.
Moving north through swampy terrain, Charlie Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf discovered fresh food and other signs of enemy activity.
Minutes later the Viet Cong opened fire on the lead elements with heavy automatic weapons and RPG fire. Withdrawing, the American company returned the enemy fire as they maneuvered away.
Then the company commander, 1LT Charles J. Boyle called in three air strikes on the enemy force. The troops continued to pour in fire on the VC as the jets and gunships pounded the bunkers.
After the bombing the company moved back through the area and located 14 VC bodies.
“When we discovered well over 50 bunkers with tunnels, it was obvious that this was a base camp for a large VC unit,” commented Boyle.
3RD BDE – Recent fighting in the Saigon area brought the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf into combat south of Cu Chi.
With several companies of Viet Cong headed for the village of Cu Chi, troops of the 3/22 were called in to assist the local ARVN forces in pushing back the enemy.
Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie companies swept through the village, killing several VC infiltrators and taking 21 detainees.
Delta Co accounted for 27 of the enemy dead in heavy fighting in and around the smaller villages near Cu Chi base camp.
As the Viet Cong companies scattered throughout the area, the “Regular” troops conducted highly effective search and destroy missions among the dusty rice fields. Constant enemy fire from rockets and automatic weapons produced U.S. casualties, but the dispersed enemy paid a high price. In four days of fighting 55 enemy were killed.
3RD BDE – With his battalion engaged in heavy combat outside of Cu Chi, LTC Roy K. Flint recently assumed command of the 3rd, 22nd Inf. LTC Thomas U. Harrold, former battalion commander, was unable to return to Dau Tieng so the customary change of command ceremony was omitted.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Flint spent six months with USARV Headquarters prior to taking command of the “Regulars”.
After a brief handshake ceremony with the former CO, Colonel Flint took to the air in an observation helicopter to direct his battalion in its fight against the Viet Cong
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS March 25, 1968
BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM)
SP4 William H. Schieber, Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 15, 1968
CPT Elliot G. Fishburne III, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SGT David H. Moran, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Thomas Volz, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Kenneth E. Giesing, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SIX STARS – GEN William C. Westmoreland, on a recent visit to Cu Chi, listens attentively to a report from MG F. K. Mearns, 25th Inf Div commanding general. (Photo By 1LT Larry Rottmann)
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 22, 1968
1LT Oscar J. Harris, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (HEROISM)
PSG Ronald L. Springsteen, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SSG William L. Watson, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SSG William R. Barbow, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SGT Gaston R. Golding, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SGT Harold R. Key, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SP4 William E. Dahl, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 John L. Sayers, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf SP4 Jerry Rudisell, Co C, 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf
SP4 Wilbur Williams Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 22, 1968
Regulars Still Controlling Rivers, Canals
3RD BDE – Night resupply in the area north of Saigon has become a fatal job for the Viet Cong.
Operation Saratoga brought the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, into the Tan Son Nhut area where VC and NVA regulars had been utilizing the hundreds of small rivers and canals to transport troops and rockets close to the capital.
To stop the infiltration, the “Regulars” have met Charlie on his own terms, at night. Each night, part of the Bn moves out into the canals and streams of the surrounding fields to intercept the Viet Cong as the enemy comes out of hiding.
In four weeks, the 3/22 has accounted for over 60 VC killed and 18 enemy sampans destroyed.
Coupled with intensive daylight sweeps, the Regulars highly effective night operations have markedly reduced Viet Cong rocket attacks in the Tan Son Nhut area and denied Charlie one of his key weapons, freedom to operate at night.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS April 29, 1968
2LT Michael D. Balser, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Vol 3 No. 19 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 6, 1968
Regulars Fight Off Attack, 124 Viet Cong Killed
3RD BDE – The 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, fought off a Viet Cong human wave attack 110 kms northwest of Saigon only hours after they had set up their night position.
The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div unit was taking part in the multi-division Operation Toan Thang when the attack occurred.
The Bn had been heli-lifted into their position and set up their night perimeter in a remote part of the jungle close to the Saigon River. Very early in the morning, the camp came under heavy mortar attack. As the mortar fire increased, the VC hit the battalion perimeter with a massive human wave attack.
One sector of the perimeter received the brunt of the attack and was quickly reinforced by the reconnaissance unit. The Viet Cong began getting inside the perimeter but an all-out effort drove them back.
Air strikes and artillery pounded the VC and the attack began to weaken. As dawn broke, the enemy was driven back to the edge of the perimeter. The VC kept trying to press the attack as their mortar rounds were pounding the “Regulars” position.
By sunrise, the unit had successfully beaten off the attack and were joined by the 2nd Bn (Mech), 22nd Inf, who had worked their way through six kms of jungle to reinforce their sister battalion.
The two units gained complete control of the perimeter and received only sporadic fire throughout the morning.
The first sweep of the area that morning produced 124 VC bodies while later sweeps turned up 13 more to bring the total to 137 enemy killed. Also found were 5 AK-47 rifles, 13 machine guns, 7 RPG launchers and 2 chicom carbines.
The day was climaxed by the presentation of Silver Stars to six Regulars of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf. (See Picture)
COL Leonard R. Daems, at left, the CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, congratulates men of the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, on their receiving the Silver Star for their part in a battle in which the unit killed 137 Viet Cong. The men are, from left, CPT Gerald J. White, commanding officer of Co D; 1LT Richard J. Prairie, commanding officer of Co B; SFC Robert E. Nelson, Co D; SGT Edward D. Crow, Co B; SP5 Carl L. Felgenhauer, attached to Co C; and not pictured, SP4 David Chedester, medic with the reconnaissance platoon. (Photo By SP4 Paul Payne)
This is the third engagement of this nature the battalion has been in. The first was the “Battle of Soui Tre,” the largest single day battle of the war. Second, “The Battle of Soui Cut” where 380 VC were killed and now, this battle takes its place in the Battalion’s history.
Each battle was fought under close combat conditions and each was a victory for the American forces
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 6, 1968
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM ) SP4 David B. Leverty, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (HEROISM) PFC Frank J. Piraino, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS May 6, 1968
3rd Bde Mobility Proving Itself
3RD BDE – Mobility, the U.S. Army’s number one asset in Vietnam. The 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div has proven its mobility many times ever since the first of Dec, when the Bde Command Post and Hqs elements began touring War Zone C.
First it was to Soui Tre, the site of the Bde’s battle with an NVA force last Mar. But, in Dec, the VC and NVA had abandoned the area. Two weeks of operations turned up only 4,500 hand grenades and a few booby traps.
Then, the Bde CP moved to Fire Support Base Burt, 12 kms from the Cambodian border. For the first few days it seemed as though the enemy was not there either. Then, on the night of New Years Day, elements of the 271 and 272 NVA Regiments attempted to overrun Burt. The New Year began with the Bde killing over 300 of the enemy that night and over 500 for the three weeks in the area. The Bde then returned to Dau Tieng.
Time in the base camp was short as the men were called for duty against the VC and NVA units north of Tan Son Nhut early in the Tet offensive. The task was to take the offensive away from the enemy and clear them out of the Tan Son Nhut area.
Commanded by COL Leonard R. Daems, the 3rd Bde units found and destroyed large numbers of the enemy, pushed them out of their strongholds and away from the populated areas. Dozens of 122mm rockets, mortar rounds and numerous weapons were seized from the enemy. During these operations, the Command Post moved three more times.
Finally, after almost four months in the field, the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div CP has returned to base camp, still mobile, still ready to go after Charlie.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 3, 1968
SILVER STAR ~ 2LT Philip J. Hallisy, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM) ~ 1LT Ruben Barkley, Jr., Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Vol 3 No. 24 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
Task Force Kill 600 In 13 Days
3RD BDE – In 13 days of operations northwest of Saigon, a task force of the 25th Inf Div has killed more than 600 enemy soldiers attempting to slip away from the Saigon area following the May offensive.
The task force, consisting of four battalions, destroyed 94 bunkers. Over 60 Viet Cong suspects were detained for questioning.
COL Leonard R. Daems, Jr., CO of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, headed the task force, which included a mechanized battalion, two battalions of infantry and one of armor.
The operation began between Cu Chi and Hoc Mon, as first day action cost the enemy 159 killed. During the following days, Task Force Daems pursued the scattering Viet Cong across the division area of operations past Trang Bang, forcing remnants into the area of the Boi Loi and Hobo Woods.
On the seventh day of the action, 118 VC were killed in the vicinity of the Cambodian border. Three days later another 91 Communists were killed, with lesser body counts on the other days of the operation.
The capture of 77 AK-47 assault rifles and four 60mm mortar tubes as well as several enemy rockets was also accomplished during the action, a continuation of Operation Toan Thang. The task force also captured over nine tons of rice, 1,300 pounds of salt, two USSR flame throwers and several Chinese radios, as well as medical supplies. Additionally, Task Force Daems turned up an assortment of mines, booby traps, enemy clothing and supplies.
Battalions comprising the task force included the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf; 4th Bn, 9th Inf; 4th Bn (Mech), 23rd Inf, and 2nd Bn, 34th Armor. Companies from other battalions of the division were assigned to the task force for portions of the operation.
REGULARS – From the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf, board a Chinook from the 242d Aslt Spt Heli Co as the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, force moves to a new position near Cu Chi.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 10, 1968
Charlie’s Rockets Streak For Home
Cu Chi Base Camp celebrated the 78th birthday of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh. It was with the greatest of pleasure that Tropic Lightning Divarty, assisted by men of the U.S. Element Combined Material Exploitation Center prepared their own version of a North Vietnamese party.
But for ‘Charlie’ out beyond the perimeter, it was not to be such a pleasant occasion. Rather than use U.S. artillery to show the Viet Cong that they wanted in on the celebration, they fired his own weapons back at him!
Using 122mm Russian-built rockets captured by men of the 2nd Bde, the canoneers set them up on the outskirts of the base camp and, on the eve of the President’s birthday, the six foot-four inch long rockets blasted off on a return trip to ‘Charlie.’
Undoubtedly, it gave him some food for thought, but for the men of the 25th Inf Div it was more like the icing on the cake.
Page 2 Decorated
PFC Jimmie Burton, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Alvin E. Hayes, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Paul E. Lewis, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Wallace L. Giesen, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Jimmie L. Marcum, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Virgil E. Ewings, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gerol Mingo, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC James E. Dice, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Sheliey O. Smith, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf PFC Roger S. Warner, Co C, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
PFC Gill R. Moffitt, Co B, 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 17, 1968
Army Commendation Medal (Heroism)
SGT Joseph H. Best, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Harvey Long, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Daniel L. Juan, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Melven Thomas, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC John M. Golden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PUSHED FOR FIRING – A captured Russian-built 122mm rocket is fused for firing back at Viet Cong forces. Fusing the rocket at Cu Chi base camp is Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Thomas L. Swearenger, munitions analyst for the Combined Material Exploitation Center. He is assisted by SP4 Jerry L. Peters of 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Inf. The rocket, captured by men of the Tropic Lightning Div, was fired on the eve of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh’s 78th birthday.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 17, 1968
3RD BDE – Using a Huey as transportation, a medical team from the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div, flew into Tay Ninh Province for a MEDCAP.
Under the direction of the battalion surgeon, CPT Ira P. Mersack, the “Regulars” medics treated over 300 patients in the hamlet of Suoi Can during the afternoon project.
This turnout was the largest yet for a medcap in this heavily populated district, where the previous week had seen only half as many villagers attend the afternoon clinic.
“We will be coming to one of the hamlets in this district every week,” commented Mersack; “eventually we hope to establish a tuberculosis clinic and an immunization clinic here.”
Vol 3 No. 26 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1968
BUNKERS NO GOOD
3D BDE – In a furious day-long battle south of Saigon a company of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, routed an entrenched Viet Cong force and accounted for ten enemy killed.
“We were checking out the area as a possible laager site,” explained CPT Gerald T. Brown, C Co CO from Cape Girardeau, Mo., “when the VC attacked from their bunkers with RPG rockets.”
Reacting quickly, the 3d Bde, 25th Inf Div, troopers maneuvered to flank the triangular shaped bunker complex. Without cover from the heavy enemy fire, however, the company had to pull back.
“I called in artillery and gunships to soften up the area,” added Brown.
Throughout the afternoon gunships, artillery, and finally airstrikes alternately pounded the VC bunkers while the Regulars continued to probe the positions only to encounter increasingly intense small arms and RPG fire.
As dusk drew near, C Co made a final attempt to drive out the enemy with hand grenades, small arms and light antitank weapons. The bunker-to-bunker battle lasted until darkness when the American troops were forced to withdraw from the area. During the fighting, one enemy soldier surrendered.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS June 24, 1968
ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL (HEROISM)
PFC Pedro J. Mundo, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SGT Joseph H. Best, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Harvey Long, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SP4 Daniel L. Juan, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Melven Thomas, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC John M. Golden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 1, 1968
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM) ~
1LT Dennis R. Adkins, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf 1LT Michael Donnelly, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SSG Perry Rowe, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SSG Cecil. A. Du Cote, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Donald J. Manlief, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf SP4 Peter J. Novosel, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SP4 Loydell Anderson, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC Harry Jordan Jr. Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC John E. Lesniak, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 15, 1968
BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM)
1LT Charles J. Boyle, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf 2LT Michael Donnelly, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Edward Runge, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 29, 1968
SILVER STAR ~ 1LT Dennis R. Adkins, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM) ~ 1LT Oscar J. Harris, Co C, 2d Bn, 22d Inf
Vol 3 No. 31 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS July 29, 1968
July 4th Attack Repulsed
By SP4 BILL SLUIS
3D BDE – More than 400 enemy rocket and mortar rounds and a pair of pre-dawn ground attacks by two reinforced Viet Cong companies were repelled by 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division soldiers on the 4th of July.
The attack, largest sustained in the two-year history of Dau Tieng base camp, was broken by gunships and infantry. At least 10 enemy soldiers were left dead on the perimeter of the camp.
The attack began shortly before 2:30 a.m. as salvo after salvo of mortar fire struck all corners of the base camp.
Miraculously, no one was killed as an official total of 374 mortars, eight 107mm rockets, and 25 RPG rocket rounds slammed around infantrymen who were huddled in defensive bunkers.
Striking from both sides of the perimeter north of the airfield, the Viet Cong, arrayed in suicide squads, attempted a ground wave pincer movement which hit night defensive positions of the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, and the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry.
Several artillery bunkers were damaged as the enemy suicide squad, hitting the west side of the camp, struck with RPG rocket rounds and satchel charges. At least seven VC broke inside the perimeter before the attack was halted.
On the east side of the camp, a larger Viet Cong force emerged from behind tombstones in a cemetery but were cut down in a welter of machine gun and duster fire. Two VC planted themselves near the end of the runway and tossed pressure-released satchel charges onto the east end of the airstrip.
As gunships scrambled and shattered the air with a deafening roar of fire, the ground wave attacks were completely disrupted. By the light of flares, enemy soldiers were seen to toss their weapons to the ground and run for the protective cover of nearby woods.
Before dawn, an AC-47 “Puff the Magic Dragon” aircraft began circling the base camp, dropping flares and adding further firepower to the assault on the retreating enemy. Artillery fire and more gunship raids also rained down on the attackers.
A preliminary search of the perimeter the following morning recovered, in addition to the enemy bodies, 434 home-made satchel charges, three bangalore torpedoes, a dozen RPG-7 rocket rounds, 49 RPG-2 rounds, 45 60mm mortar rounds, one RPG-2 launcher, numerous hand grenades and six AK-47 assault rifles.
Blood trails leading away from the base camp indicated additional enemy deaths which could not be positively confirmed. American casualties numbered five dead, all in defense of the west perimeter, and 53 injured, 18 of whom required hospitalization.
REPAIRING THE BUNKER LINE at Dau Tieng Base Camp, GIs with the help of Vietnamese nationals reinforce the positions. The west perimeter of the base camp came under heavy ground attack in the predawn hours of July fourth by two reinforced NVA companies. (Photo by SP4 Bill Sluis)
3D BDE – Seven NVA soldiers died at the hands of a 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division battalion commander firing from his command helicopter.
Lieutenant Colonel Roy K. Flint of St. Petersburg, Fla., Commander of the 3d Battalion. 22nd Infantry, used an M-l rifle and two hand grenades to kill the NVA in rice paddies six miles northwest of Saigon.
The enemy soldiers had been pinned down while LTC Flint and his pilot, Captain Jerry R. Pierce of Celoron, N.Y., strafed the area. Dropping down to 100 feet, LTC Flint and his pilot spotted one man fleeing along a canal line. Flint blasted away, unsure whether he got the enemy.
“I looked to one side and saw several shadow-like shapes creeping in water in an old bomb crater,” Flint said. Quick investigation found them to be enemy troops trying to hide. LTC Flint fired away all his remaining ammo, killing three of them.
After the action, which took less than 20 minutes, members of Charlie Company turned up four AK-47 assault rifles and two RPG rocket launchers, including one that was loaded and ready to fire.
MANY distinguished guests passed through the division’s area of operations during General Mearns’ year in command. One frequent visitor and friend of the Tropic Lightning Division was the former commander of all U.S. Forces in Vietnam and now Army Chief of Staff, General William C. Westmoreland, pictured with General Mearns and 3d Brigade Commander, Colonel Kenneth E. Buell.
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 12, 1968
Regulars Count Accomplishments
Come Up With Impressive List
3D BDE – “Everybody pop smoke” was the enthusiastic cry as companies of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry pulled into Dau Tieng base camp after a record 88 days in the field.
The smoke-popping ritual marked the start of a stand down and a well earned rest.
Operation Toan Thang II so far proved to be most successful for infantrymen of the 3d of the 22d. From April 10 through July 6 the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Regulars killed more than 275 of the enemy.
While combing woods and jungles, wading through rice paddies and slogging through swamps, men of the 3/22 came up with more than 75 AK-47 and AK-50 assault rifles, more than a dozen RPG-2 rocket launchers, upwards of 100 grenades and 7,000 plus rounds of small arms ammunition.
In addition, they found close to 100 RPG rocket rounds, 80 RPG boosters, and more than a dozen light machine guns. To this were added more than 10,000 pounds of contraband rice – in all it was a truly impressive list.
The days at Dau Tieng were rewarding ones for the Regulars. Brigadier General Carleton Preer Jr., assistant division commander for support, was on hand to present 11 Silver Stars.
Lieutenant Colonel Roy K. Flint, battalion commander, presented 42 Bronze Stars and 141 Army Commendation Medals to men of his command.
During the remainder of the time in camp the battalion made sure that its weapons and equipment were in good condition. Then the men began to unwind a bit. Company sponsored barbecues were on the agenda with steaks, hamburgers, refreshments for all. Trips to the gift shops, swimming pool and PX were also in order.
For some it was a time to answer letters that just couldn’t be answered while in the field – for others, a time to just relax and get caught up on some sleep.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS August 26, 1968
MOVE! – Men of Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry race toward a chopper ready to lift them into a combat assault to the JUNGLES OF WAR ZONE C seven miles north of Tay Ninh. The 3d Brigade Company was sent in to assess damage from B52 bombing raids. (PHOTO BY PFC HERB BURDETT)
Page 8 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 2, 1968
Regular-Type Ambush Nets Seven-Ton Cache
3D BDE – Infantrymen of the 3d Brigade killed three Viet Cong and seized more than 13,000 lbs of enemy supplies in a night ambush two miles west of Dau Tieng.
A platoon of Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry ambushed an enemy convoy consisting of 10 oxcarts along a road in the Ben Cui rubber plantation.
Among the captured supplies were 3,500 lbs of rice; 2,800 lbs of peanuts; 3,500 lbs of salt; 500 lbs of tea and 2,800 lbs of peas. Also taken were 1700 cans of milk and 200 cartons of cigarettes.
VC ASSAULTS FAIL
Pages 1 &8
FSB Buell Forces Crush Enemy Drive
1ST BDE – The apparent lull in the Vietnam conflict ended for units of the 25th Infantry Division and Vietnamese forces in Tay Ninh Province. Base camps, fire support locations and numerous outposts came under heavy enemy fire as a determined Viet Cong force attempted to overrun U.S. positions.
The attacks triggered a two-day battle filled with fierce fighting as 179 Viet Cong soldiers were killed near Tay Ninh City before pulling back late Monday. The attacks were apparently aimed at denying U.S. and Vietnamese control of the city itself.
Initial action was triggered as an ambush patrol from Delta Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry spotted an estimated enemy battalion three miles northeast of Tay Ninh City. As they let the Viet Cong force deliberately pass their ambush site they engaged the enemy’s rear elements while coordinated artillery fire blasted away at the front of the column. Five VC were killed in the action, two rifles and one pistol captured.
At Fire Support Base Buell II, only three and a half miles to the northwest, base personnel were alerted by the ambush and were aware of the imminent danger. They were ready when at 1:23 am, 75 to 100 rounds of 82mm mortar and 12 rounds of 107mm rocket fire crashed into their perimeter.
Moving under the cover of the rockets and mortars, an estimated enemy battalion made a vicious ground attack on the base, hitting first in the direction of the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery. During the following four-hour battle, the fire base was hit from the southeast and northwest.
Small arms and sustained automatic weapons fire plagued the staunch U.S. defenders. The 105mm howitzers from Bravo Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery and the 155mm guns of Alpha Battery, 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery retaliated with point blank fire. Elements from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry and 2d Battalion 34th Armor delivered a devastating fire into the VC as they pushed their attack.
As the elements of the 9th NVA Division attacked from the shelter of a nearby banana plantation to the northwest, Base Coordinator Lieutenant Colonel Alexander H. Hunt, battalion commander of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry directed the artillerymen to use direct fire on the approaching enemy the VC attempted to penetrate the perimeter of the fire support base, and met a wall of flame and steel from the hard-working artillerymen. Within seconds the 155mm howitzers of Alpha Battery, 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery (The Clan), under Captain Clifford Crittsinger, joined the 105s of the threatened Bravo Battery under Captain Robert A. Snyder in presenting tremendous firepower to the stunned enemy.
Lieutenant Colonel Hunt used flare ships and called U.S. Air Force tactical air strikes within 150 meters of the perimeter. Helicopter gunships from Delta Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry and Bravo Troop, 25th Aviation Battalion continually strafed the enemy with machine gun fire and rocket attacks. They were assisted by the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, under the operational control of the 25th Infantry Division.
As the shattered enemy assault forces began to retreat, the 7th Battalion, 11th Arty followed their movement with continuous fire from their 105mm howitzers. Twenty minutes later, another assault force attacked from the southeast. This time The Clan was directly faced with the charging enemy.
Leveling their self-propelled howitzers, the artillerymen once again fired round upon round directly into the enemy’s front. Howitzer crews of both batteries continued to man their pieces despite small arms fire and automatic weapons fire throughout the attack.
Heavy fighting continued until 4:40am when the enemy started retreating after suffering heavy casualties from the combined Infantry, Artillery and Armor team at the fire support base. Eighty-three enemy were killed while American forces suffered only one killed and 26 wounded. Over 700 rounds of artillery alone were expended.
“It was a real joint effort. The artillery batteries here did a real fine job as did the tank’s direct fire,” commented Major Jerome Johnson, the 3d Bn, 22nd Infantry Operations Officer from Green Bay, Wis.
Meanwhile, Tay Ninh base camp was attacked at 1:15am during the enemy operation but little damage resulted from the five 82mm mortar rounds and the nineteen 107mm rockets hurled inside the perimeter.
A second target for the coordinated enemy advance was the communications center atop the 3200 foot Nui Ba Den mountain near the fire support base. The small signal relay station received fire from small arms, automatic weapons and RPG rounds, beginning at 2am. The sharp conflict continued until dawn. At one point, four bunkers were occupied by enemy troops. Ten Viet Cong were killed while eight Americans died and 23 were wounded.
At 7:20 am Monday, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry made contact with prowling enemy units three and a half miles due west of Dau Tieng base camp. Two VC companies unleashed small arms, automatic weapons and RPG fire on the infantrymen.
Throughout the day, the Bobcats aggressively fought the enemy, proving too strong for them by 4:30 pm when the VC broke contact. Forty-two Viet Cong bodies were found.
During the coordinated attacks, Tay Ninh City was hit as the VC mortared the district headquarters in an attempt to move into the city itself. An unknown size enemy force was reported in the city.
As the Regional Force and Popular Force units in the area, assisted by the 51st ARVN Ranger Battalion moved in to rout the VC, it became evident that the enemy could not hold their quarters and the Long Hoa market district, fled to the southwest at night after two firefights between 5 and 8 o’clock at night.
Early Monday morning, the Vietnamese soldiers including elements of the 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry and 2d Battalion, 34th Armor who maintained blocking positions in the southern city limits, swept the city. The sweep confirmed that the enemy had left the city itself. During the two days of fighting around the city, these units killed 14 VC while tactical air strikes accounted for another nine enemy killed.
During the actions, 16 AK-47 rifles, two RPG-7 launchers and 32 rounds, 11 RPG-2 launchers and 84 rounds, six .51 caliber machine guns and one .30 caliber with two barrels, one M-16, one radio, 214 hand grenades and 40 rifle grenades, 4,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and twenty-one 57mm recoilless rifle rounds and 10 pounds of documents were captured. Thirteen enemy soldiers were detained for questioning.
Vol 3 No. 37 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 9, 1968
ENEMY ATTACKS SMASHED
900 VC KILLED IN WEEK
On Sunday, August 18, the enemy came out of hiding to launch a series of attacks on 25th Infantry Division and Vietnamese forces in Tay Ninh Province. He hit an impenetrable wall of fire power – the Tropic Lightning Division.
The enemy was unable to take any of his apparent objectives. His losses were staggering: more than 900 enemy were killed by the 25th in seven days following the first clash. Certainly his plans – whatever they may have been – were foiled.
The 25th knew he was coming; the question was when. Infantry and artillery units had been deployed astride key avenues of approach to Tay Ninh City.
When the enemy struck, the 25th was ready. Determined infantrymen, cannoneers and tankers stopped the enemy’s main thrust into Tay Ninh City and then set to finding and destroying the VC and NVA as they tried to move through the rice paddies and rubber plantations around Tay Ninh City and Dau Tieng.
The fierce fighting began around Tay Ninh City. Late Saturday night, two companies from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, set up an ambush along Highway 13 leading into Tay Ninh City from the northwest. The ambush was sprung on the rear element of an estimated 300 NVA as they moved down the road. Five enemy were killed in the short engagement.
About four hours later, the 1st Brigade’s base camp to the west of Tay Ninh City received mortars and rockets. The attack was apparently a diversion for simultaneous attacks on two 25th Division fire support bases, a mountain top signal facility, and a special forces camp.
Fire Support Base Buell four miles north of Tay Ninh City at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday started receiving mortar and rocket fire. Under cover of the barrage, the enemy launched a ground attack. Infantrymen and artillerymen fought for three hours; and when it was over, 83 enemy had been killed.
At the same time, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked a U.S. Special Forces and Vietnamese Combined Civilian Defense Group camp at Katum in War Zone C. There, the enemy’s cost was 59 killed.
The signal facility atop 3,200 foot Nui Ba Den mountain also came under ground and mortar attack. Ten VC were killed as the Americans repulsed the enemy.
Sunday morning, an unknown sized enemy force was reported in Tay Ninh City. They had set several fires in civilian areas of the city. The Tropic Lightning Division deployed forces in blocking positions around the city and astride key exfiltration routes as Vietnamese forces moved through the city flushing out the enemy.
In the southeastern portion of the city elements of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, and the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, killed 10 enemy.
Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was moving into the Ben Cui rubber plantation 11 miles east of Tay Ninh City near Dau Tieng. They clashed with the enemy at 10:30 a.m. and in six hours of heavy fighting, killed 50.
After a comparatively quiet night, mechanized forces of the Division again set out looking for the enemy. They found him.
At 9:30 a.m. Monday, the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, was moving down Highway 26 when four miles east of Tay Ninh City, they received small arms, automatic weapons and RPG fire from an unknown-sized enemy force entrenched in nearby rice paddies. Reinforced by elements of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, and the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, they fought until 5:45 p.m. killing 40 enemy.
At the same time, elements of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, again made contact in the Ben Cui Plantation. They were reinforced by elements of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, and killed 67 enemy in the ensuing four-hour battle.
Before dawn Tuesday, several U.S. camps received harassing mortar fire. But, an ambush patrol from the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, met with more than harassment.
The patrol opened fire on six VC moving to their front and immediately came under heavy attack from an unknown-sized enemy force. “The RPG’s were coming in at a rate of six to ten a minute,” recalled Sergeant Paul Lambers of Holland, Mich., who took charge of the patrol when the patrol leader was wounded. After four hours of intense fighting, the enemy withdrew. He left 56 bodies on the battlefield.
Except for a mortar attack on Dau Tieng base camp, all was quiet during the night and until almost noon Wednesday. Then, at 11:30 a.m., the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, was again searching out the enemy in the Ben Cui Plantation when they ran head-long into an unknown-sized enemy force. Track-mounted .50 caliber machine guns blazed until the barrels burned out as the enemy launched three human wave assaults at the Tropic Lightning troops. After 1½ hours of all-out battle, the Bobcats had to return to Dau Tieng base camp for more ammo, and airstrikes and artillery continued to pound the enemy during the afternoon. The sharp battle left 182 enemy dead.
At 1:00 a.m. Thursday, the enemy launched a pair of mortar and ground attacks on two fire support bases. Buell was hit for the second time in five days. Artillery tubes were lowered to fire point blank and determined infantrymen spewed hot lead at the attacking force. This time, the enemy’s abortive attempt to overrun the base cost him 39 lives.
Simultaneously, Fire Support Base Rawlings, two miles east of Tay Ninh City, was hit by a mortar and ground attack. Here, the infantrymen and artillerymen took a toll of 25 enemy killed.
At first light Thursday, the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, and the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, again swept into the Ben Cui Plantation. Early in the morning, they met light resistance and killed 10 enemy.
After five days of fierce fighting, Friday was comparatively quiet for the soldiers. But, the breather was not long-lived.
Just 20 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, at Fire Support Base Schofield five miles southwest of Dau Tieng was attacked by an unknown-sized enemy force. Close-in artillery fire and gunships supported the infantrymen as they killed 62 enemy.
As fighting tapered off somewhat, the soldiers had time to reflect on an exhausting but highly successful week. The combined fire power of infantry, artillery and helicopter gunships along with always-present tactical jet fighters had dealt the enemy a crushing blow. More than 900 Viet Cong and NVA soldiers were killed as they tried to dent the Tropic Lightning Division’s impenetrable wall of fire power.
Page 7 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 9, 1968
Bn-Sized Enemy Force Loses 83 During Battle
3D BDE – Tropic Lightning Division infantrymen and artillerymen at Fire Support Base Buell repelled a human wave attack launched by an unknown-sized enemy force, killing 83 enemy.
The enemy attempted to storm the perimeter four miles north of Tay Ninh City after subjecting the defenders to a thundering rocket and mortar barrage.
Infantrymen and tankers from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry; 2d Battalion, 34th Armor, and 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, along with howitzers of the 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, and the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, supported by helicopter gunships and tactical air strikes drove off the enemy and captured hundreds of pounds of equipment, weapons and ammunition during the four-hour night battle.
Lieutenant C.C Brown of Auburn, Ala., of Delta Company, 3d Bn, 22d Inf, credited trip flares with playing a major part in making the night defense a success.
“The flares gave us a clear view of the enemy as he attempted to enter the perimeter.”
A sweep near the perimeter the following morning found 40 freshly dug foxholes plus tunnels and numerous bunkers. The Tropic Lightning soldiers policed up ten large piles of enemy ammo, bangalores, grenades, ammunition and RPG rocket rounds, all of which were destroyed by engineers.
During the sweep, men of Delta Company, 3d Bn, 22d Inf, made contact with a straggling enemy force. Sergeant Robert Clark of Atlanta, Ga., and his platoon caught three enemy in an open field and cut them down. They surprised and killed several more in a bunker.
Included in the items captured were 11 RPG rocket launchers, 112 RPG rounds plus 18 boosters, 15 AK-47 assault rifles, three Chicom machine guns and a .30 caliber machine gun.
Also captured were 214 Chicom grenades, 21 57mm recoilless rifle rounds, 40 anti-tank rifle grenades, eight 60mm mortar rounds, 24 bangalore torpedoes and more than 4,000 rounds of rifle ammunition.
“This was the finest piece of work that’s ever been done by anyone under my command,” said Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, Co. “Infantrymen, support troops, gunships – all did an outstanding job. Not one enemy soldier got inside the perimeter all night long.”
VC-NVA Fail Again
U.S. FORCES CRUSH 2D ASSAULT
3D BDE – An unknown sized enemy force launched a second attack in four days on Fire Support Base Buell four miles north of Tay Ninh City. The enemy lost 39 in their abortive attempt to penetrate the perimeter.
Elements of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry; 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry; and 2d Battalion, 34th Armor along with cannoneers from the 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, and 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery, repelled the human wave attack.
At 1:00 in the morning 82mm mortars and rockets came whistling into the perimeter followed by a ground attack that lasted until 5:45 a.m. “The mortars even continued after the ground attack started,” said Specialist 4 Al Gibbs of Philadelphia, Pa. “That’s what made this attack harder to handle than the first one.”
Company D and the Reconnaissance Platoon from the 3d Bn, 22d Inf, were responsible for one side of the perimeter and Company C of the 4th Bn (Mech), 23d Inf, for the other, with the tanks and artillery providing support.
“Our listening posts spotted movement, and we immediately pulled them in,” commented Platoon Sergeant Robert Nelson of Hannibal, Mo., from Delta Company. “They hit two of our platoon sectors hard. Many VC lay out in the brush firing RPG’s at our bunkers. Others tried to charge the wire and insert bangalore torpedoes, but we stopped them cold,” said Nelson.
“The VC marched right up the road that bisects the perimeter,” said Sergeant Robert Clark of Atlanta, Ga. “We held them off with our machine guns and M-16’s. Unfortunately our claymores were not too effective. The VC had shot them full of holes. Some APC’s from 4/23 and one of the tanks came up quickly to help us. The tank was firing point blank at the attackers which had the effect of turning a giant claymore mine on them.”
First Lieutenant C.C. Brown, reconnaissance platoon leader from Auburn, Ala., had his unit deployed as a reaction force behind Delta Company. “As soon as the attack started we moved right up to help hold the bunker line. We came up to plug gaps in the line and to help out those positions that were pinned down.”
Once again artillery and mortars played an important part in making the defense a success.
“We had 105’s and 155’s firing point blank just outside the perimeter. These high explosive projectiles showered the enemy with shrapnel,” said Lieutenant James W. Carper, 3/22 liaison artillery officer from Tampa, Fla. “We also called for 8 inches from the 1st Brigade at Tay Ninh and 175’s from Camp St. Barbara,” continued Carper.
Delta’s 81mm mortar crew fired 137 illumination rounds and 235 high explosive rounds during the attack. “The crew. (Privates First Class Alex Sudano, of Los Angeles; Bob Searfoss, of Summit Hill, Pa.; and Dennis Bealka, of Chaska, Minn.) put out a maximum effort that helped save the base,” said Lieutenant John Paulding, New Cumberland, Pa., Delta Company platoon leader.
A sweep around the perimeter the next morning turned up the 39 enemy.
“Once again the men under my command did an outstanding job. Once again, not one VC set foot inside the perimeter,” said Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, commander of the 3d Bn, 22d Inf.
Major Jerome G. Johnson from Green Bay, Wise., operations officer for 3/22, praised the efforts put forth by all units in the perimeter: “We couldn’t have done it without them. The tanks, APC’s, and the artillery were just what our infantry troops needed to help repel the attackers successfully.”
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1968
SP5 Carl L. Felgenhauer, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
BRONZE STAR (HEROISM)
SP4 Geroy Mingo, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf .
SP4 James E. Boggess, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Vol 3 No. 38 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 16, 1968
Page 1 (August 25, 1968 Ambush at Ap Nhi)
Company C of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry was on eagle flight operations north of Tay Ninh City when they were directed to join the battle. The infantrymen were flown to a position just north of the fire fight, landing in rice paddies on the eastern side of the road. As the Regulars jumped from the helicopters, they were hit with several volleys of enemy mortar fire.
Company C commander, Captain James Hansard of Plainview, Tex., deployed two of his platoons on each side of the road. Under a constant sniper fire, they swept through an area which separated them from the NVA positions in the “Little Rubber.”
The two platoons on the eastern side of the highway made their way to the edge of the rubber trees. Staff Sergeant James Allen of Louisville, Ky., stated, “By the time we reached the rubber trees we began receiving RPG rounds.
The NVA were firing them into the trees above our heads so the shrapnel would shower down on us.”
As Platoon Sergeant Fred Painter from Pontiac, Mich., and his men moved into the rubber, they were greeted by an unusual NVA trick. “We spotted what appeared to be American troops along a berm, wearing green uniforms, helmets and goggles. They were standing up waving for us to come over to their position. They turned out to be NVA who had taken the helmets and goggles from the trapped convoy trucks. They opened up on us, and we all had to hit the dirt,” recalled Painter.
Just inside the tree line, the platoons ran into a U-shaped ambush. “The NVA were dug into a high berm running parallel to a deep ditch on our right flank. We were receiving sniper fire from the trees on our left flank and rounds were coming directly at us from another ditch to our front,” said Hansard.
Tanks and APC’s from B Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, called up from Cu Chi, and tracks from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, came up on line with their guns blazing to support the infantrymen.
Another platoon from the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, on the western side of the highway moved across the road, using the disabled convoy vehicles for cover. As they moved through the trucks they pulled wounded Americans to safety.
According to Staff Sergeant William Landman of Granite City, Ill., “We moved through the trucks and got into the rubber. Part of my platoon acted as spotters shouting directions while the rest of us tossed hand grenades into the spider holes. In some cases we just rolled the grenades down the berm into the holes.”
The fighting eased, and the Americans set up night positions on both sides of the “Little Rubber.” The next day, they counted 96 dead enemy.
Vol 3 No. 40 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS September 30, 1968
Pages 1 & 8
First Bde Put Down VC Move
TAY NINH – Soldiers of the 1st Brigade fought off a major attack near the Dau Tieng base camp as enemy activity around Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh increased.
More than 100 enemy soldiers were killed in 14 hours of fighting around the U.S. bases.
Ninety-nine enemy soldiers, dressed in green NVA uniforms and carrying relatively new weapons, were killed in an abortive attack on a night defensive position of Company A, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, three miles southwest of the Dau Tieng base camp in the Ben Cui rubber plantation.
A relief force from Company C of the Bobcats came under heavy fire from an enemy blocking force half way to Alpha’s position.
Company B, located in the Dau Tieng base camp was helilifted to the south of the fight to pinch the enemy off. However, the enemy broke contact and fled shortly after their arrival.
The enemy also made his presence known around Tay Ninh, shelling U.S. fire support bases and the 1st Brigade’s Tay Ninh base camp. Hardest hit was Fire Support Base Buell II, two miles north of Tay Ninh City. The base received an estimated 200 mortars and RPG rounds.
A disorganized ground attack was repelled by infantrymen of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, and an early morning sweep of the area revealed nine enemy dead. Also found were: 2 RPG-7 launchers with 7 rounds and 10 boosters, 37 hand grenades, and 2 bangalore torpedoes.
Also hit with enemy fire were Fire Support Base St. Barbara, which received 50 rounds of 82mm mortar fire; Tay Ninh base camp, which received nine 107mm rockets; and Dau Tieng base camp which was hit with less than twenty 82mm mortar rounds.
Action during the remainder of the day was on a smaller scale as 1st Brigade elements sought to find the enemy and destroy him.
Elements of the 25th Infantry Division maintained blocking positions to the south and east of Tay Ninh City as two battalions of Vietnamese airborne soldiers swept through the city.
Companies A and C of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, conducted a reconnaissance-in-force to the west of Tay Ninh.
In other action, gunships of B Troop, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, killed two Viet Cong who were hiding under trees two miles north of Nui Ba Den. B Troop chopper crews killed seven more NVA soldiers seven miles northeast of Tay Ninh base camp.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS October 21, 1968
|BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM)|
1LT Richard Booth, HHC, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS October 28, 1968
|BRONZE STAR MEDAL (HEROISM)|
SP4 Tyrone Smith, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf PFC John R. French, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
PFC Karl Kaiden, Co C, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 11, 1968
DAU TIENG – A 3d Brigade conscientious objector has received such widespread acclaim in the United States following his heroic actions in Vietnam, that his name has become almost a household word.
After Specialist 5 David Chedester of Walla Walla, Wash., was presented the Distinguished Service Cross by General Creighton Abrams, U.S. commander in Vietnam, the story about his amazing exploits while a medic with the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry reconnaissance platoon made the pages of hundreds of stateside newspapers.
Included were the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his home town newspaper and many others.
The Associated Press story told of the medic’s fear of war and hatred of fighting, based on his strict faith as a Seventh Day Adventist.
Chedester received the nation’s second highest award for valor for saving more than a half dozen lives when the battalion’s night defensive position subjected to a massive ground attack last April (12th) in War Zone C.
Chedester, while mortars, rockets and RPG rocket grenades rained in all over the perimeter, rushed to the aid of wounded comrades, treated them, brought them to safety, and supervised their evacuation aboard dustoff helicopters.
The publicity has caused Chedester to be deluged with dozens of letters from admirers all over the United States.
“It is reassuring to us, who only stand and wait while our sons are fighting and dying in Vietnam, to read about someone like you,” said the city manager of a city in South Carolina. “My own son, Tim, flies C-7A Caribous out of Cam Ranh Bay. If ever he needs help, I hope you are around. As a fellow Christian, I pray God will look after you and return you safely to your family.”
A woman from Pittsburgh wrote, “It is truly rewarding to see someone like you and others your equal receive some amount of recognition. After reading the article I was called upon by a little voice within me to write you. I guess you could consider this an unusual thank you note, a note that expresses my thanks for your bravery… God bless you not only when you sneeze, but always.”
A letter without return address said, “We in the Northwest are very proud of you. You are a brave man. My very best always.”
Recently Chedester relinquished his post as reconnaissance platoon medic to assume new duties at the battalion aid station.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS November 18, 1968
Combat Honor Roll
Added to the Tropic Lightning Combat Honor Roll this week is Specialist 4 James E. Beverett of Company C, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry who well displayed the spirit of the American fighting man.
Beverett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 17 September 1968 while serving as a machine gunner with Company C, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam. While on a road clearing operation, Company C came under an intense hostile attack, sustaining several casualties.
Fearlessly, Beverett exposed himself to a heavy volume of fire as he moved forward, placing effective suppressive fire on the insurgents, allowing his comrades to evacuate the wounded to safety.
As he was withdrawing from the area of contact, he noticed a severely wounded soldier who had not been extracted with other friendly casualties. With complete disregard for his own safety, Beverett exposed himself to the withering enemy fire as he attempted to carry his fallen comrade to safety.
Realizing that he could not reach safety unless he received supporting fire, he readjusted the wounded soldier on his back, picked up his M-60 machine gun and began placing highly effective suppressive fire on the enemy as he evacuated the wounded soldier to safety.
His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission. Beverett’s personal bravery, aggressiveness and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
Vol 3 No. 49 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS December 2, 1968 Page 1
Lightning Thrust Into War Zone C,
Convoy Pushes On Towards Phillips
By SP4 Herb Berdett
CU CHI – The 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars conducted a clean sweep of the area along Route 22, securing an important crossing site on the Soui Tri Bi River.
The quick, efficient work of the Regulars enabled combat and support arms of the 25th Division to make a safe and secure crossing and continue on their way toward establishing FSB Phillips, the new base of operations for actions against suspected NVA concentrations in Triple Canopied War Zone C.
Route 22 was at one time a major highway running along the western edge of South Vietnam into the heart of Cambodia. It is bordered on both sides by thick woods and jungle making it hazardous going for convoys.
The climate, lack of care, and the ravages of war have taken their toll. Bullet-ridden road signs along the route tell all travelers that the name War Zone C has real meaning.
As the men of C Company jumped off their Huey copters, their commander, Captain Donald I. Haramoto of Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, realized the gravity of his mission.
“The whole mission depended on securing the river-crossing site, and we were bound and determined to see that our mission was accomplished,” said Haramoto.
Teams from the 46th Scout Dogs were directed to take the lead in checking the areas. They moved cautiously along the road, sending sweep teams to either side until they reached the river. The once serviceable bridge lay destroyed at their feet. It was still possible to cross the foundations on foot, so the sweep team proceeded across, setting up security on the other side.
|Action Photos, Story
See Pages 4&5
First Lieutenant Robert Wadkins of Columbus, Ga., a member of A Company, 65th Engineers, stopped to examine the crossing site. “I’ flew in with C Company to examine the river banks for the best possible site,” said Wadkins. “We have an AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launching – Bridge) coming up that will permit all the convoy vehicles to cross safely.” A site parallel to and to the left of the old bridge was selected. At that point the river was only 35 feet wide and the AVLB, which can span 60 feet, could easily operate.
Soon the convoy with APCs from the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, artillery pieces from A Battery, and tanks and. trucks of A Company, 65th Engineers, approached the river. By this time C Company Regulars had effectively sealed off the area from any possible enemy infiltration.
Now it was the AVLB’s, turn to go to work The huge tank-like machine lumbered to the edge of the river. The 60-foot bridge, which had till then been collapsed on the deck of the tank, was raised skyward and thrust across the river, coming to rest gently on the other side. The tank then charged across, and gravel trucks were brought up to prepare solid approaches to the bridge on both sides of the river.
Then the vehicles began pouring across. There were tanks and APCs, trucks and jeeps, artillery pieces and water trailers, ammo trucks and mess hall vehicles; in all, 70 tracked and wheeled machines sped across on their way to the new FSB.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt, the Regulars commanding officer, landed in his ‘C and C’ ship to view the operation from a hill overlooking the river.
“The bridge was set down at 1230 hours and the entire convoy was moved across by 1350 hours,” said Wadkins.
When the last vehicle came across, the AVLB moved down and picked up its bridge and joined the convoy.
Page 4-5 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS December 2, 1968
1st Bde Spearheads Deep Drive
Into Jungles of War Zone C
By 2LT Mack D. Gooding
CU CHI – Major General Ellis W. Williamson, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, and Colonel Nguyen Quan Thong, province chief of Tay Ninh Province combined elements of the 1st Brigade and Regional Forces to conduct operations around Thien Ngon, in northern Tay Ninh Province.
Thien Ngon lies three and a half miles south and six and a half miles east of the Cambodian border on strategic Route 22. One of the major objectives of this operation is to clear the area of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army units to allow resettlement of War Zone C by South Vietnamese civilians.
Two companies of the 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23d Infantry, under Lieutenant Colonel Clifford Neilson, of Mobile, Ala., and two companies of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alex H. Hunt, of Wealder, Tex., began the sweep of Route 22 from Tay Ninh Forward Operations Base to Thien Ngon, 30 miles to the north. The armored column was greeted at Thien Ngon by the 101st Regional Force company and Colonel Thong.
Troops from the Tropic Lightning Division and the 161st Regional Force Company under Colonel Thong and Colonel Robert L. Fair, commanding officer of the 1st Brigade, executed combined operations within the shadow of the Cambodian border.
Elements of the 1st Brigade swept strategic Route 22 to Thien Ngon, combining forces with the 161st Regional Force Company at the civilian irregular defense group camp. When the two forces linked up, they began reconnaissance-in-force operations in the area.
The operation around Thien Ngon was a first in many respects: It was the first time a Regional Force Colonel and a U.S. Colonel together directed combined forces of battalion size. It was the first time that an armored column moved, in force, into northwestern Tay Ninh Province. It was the first time vital Route 22 was used to resupply a large element in the field.
Comments heard after the first day of action by some of the Americans reflected the admiration and confidence they have in their Vietnamese counterparts.
Fighting as they did, one could not draw a distinction and say, “That’s a U.S. soldier over there and an RF over there.” They fought as one.
The opening and use of Route 22 by Americans and Vietnamese forces denies the use of this route to the Viet Cong, significantly reducing Charlie’s capability of movement of men and supplies in this area.
SOLDIER AND SCOUT DOG – Specialist 4 Del Troujillo, of Las Vegas, N V., and his scout dog, Smokey, both with the 46th Scout Dog Platoon, prepare to lead a sweep team from C Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry on a search-and-secure mission near the Cambodian Border. (PHOTO BY SP4 HERB BURDETT)
SECURING BRIDGE SITE – Men of C Company, 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, move across the foundations of a demolished bridge on the Suoi Tri Bi River.
Page 2 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS December 16, 1968
LTC Alexander H. Hunt, HHC 3d Bn, 22d Inf 1LT Char1es J. Boyle, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
SGT Charles G. Carosin, C Co, 3d Bn, 22d Inf
Vol 3 No. 53 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS December 30, 1968
First Brigade, RFs Encircle,
Crush 100 VC Near Tay Ninh
By SGT Herb Burdett
TAY NINH – In just a few hours elements of the 1st Brigade reinforced Regional Force elements heavily engaged against VC and NVA forces 14 miles southeast of Tay Ninh City.
The Tropic Lightning soldiers moved from their position nine miles northwest of Tay Ninh to bolster their Vietnamese allies in their fight against an estimated NVA battalion.
Within minutes after receiving the word, companies C and D of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, Regulars were preparing to lift off from fire support bases Washington and Buell. Bravo Battery, 7th Battalion, 11th Artillery, was on its way to Fire Support Base Hull five miles southeast of Tay Ninh to train its big guns south toward the area of contact.
Daylight was fast disappearing when companies C and D flew into the contact area “We sure landed in a very hot spot,” said First Lieutenant Donald I. Haramoto of Makawai Maui, Hawaii, Charlie Company commanding officer, “There were rice paddies all around us and a small nearby village full of VC.”
Company D, commanded by First Lieutenant Dale N. Richey of Fayetteville, N.C., came in on the heels of Company C and also received a hot reception.
The Regulars quickly consolidated their forces establishing a defensive perimeter, girding themselves for a night of combat. “We began receiving rounds from the rice paddies and hamlets to the south,” said Sergeant Eric Morris of San Francisco, Calif. “It was good time for some support.”
“The flares are so bright I can easily see the whole area,” radioed the Forward Air Controller. “Very fine,” replied Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hunt of Wealder, Tex., commanding officer of the 3d Battalion. “Your target is the rice paddy bounded on the right by a long hedgerow.”
Soon the strikes were on the way, pounding the enemy soldiers who decided to try to hold their own. In all, 26 air strikes were called in on the enemy that night and the following morning.
While the aircraft were blasting away, the Regulars finished establishing their night defensive positions, sealing off an important area of escape for the trapped VC and NVA. Regional Forces and American forces had forged an ironclad ring around the enemy-infested area.
It started around 2:15 a.m. A torrent of RPG rounds, mortars and automatic weapons fire rained in on the defensive perimeter. The VC tried to break out through Charlie Company’s section of the perimeter.
“They walked up along a nearby road. Boy, what nerve,” said Specialist 4 Jim Rodgres of Blythville, Ark.
A VC RPG team was drawing a bead on a group of four defenders when an M79 round put an end to their night’s activities. A Kit Carson Scout with Company C had knocked them out with a single round.
Despite the heavy RPG and mortar barrage, the determined effort by the trapped VC to break toward the Cambodian border was an utter failure.
When morning came the Regulars and the Regional Forces prepared to sweep the area. The search revealed a total of 96 enemy dead, their bodies clad in forest green uniforms either impaled on the wire or lying nearby.
The 128th Helicopter Company cruising the area in support paid the enemy back for the many aircraft rounds fired at its choppers from around the hostile area. Just five miles northwest of the contact area they spotted five NVA soldiers in a bunker, engaged them with rockets and got a body count of four.
In all, allied infantry and support accounted for a total of 100 enemy killed while suffering light casualties.
Page 6 TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS December 30, 1968
DAU TIENG – During the year 1968 the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry has proved to be one of the most decorated units in Vietnam.
Since the middle of April the Regulars have been awarded 52 Silver Stars, four Distinguished Service Crosses, more than a hundred Bronze Stars for valor and more than 150 Army Commendation Medals for valor.
The Distinguished Service Cross has been presented to Captain Gerald White, First Lieutenant Phillip C. Bryant, and Specialists 4 Richard Stuart and David Chedester.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander H. Hunt of Wealder, Tex., the Regulars commander, frequently travels to the many locations occupied by the units under his command to distribute the awards to the recipients.
“It is my intention to have the awards presented to the men in the presence of those they have served with these many months,” said Hunt. “An awards ceremony is always of prime importance to the recipient, but also to his unit and his fellow soldiers. That is why we are conducting the ceremonies in this manner.”
Colonel Lewis J. Ashley, commander of the 3d Brigade, has heaped praise on the battalion’s awards and decorations section.
“The 3d of the 22d deserves the high number of awards they are receiving. Since the beginning of this year the battalion has borne a large part of the fighting burden in our area of operations and has done outstanding work,” said Ashley.