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 Pacific Stars  and Stripes

An authorized publication of the U.S. Armed forces in the far east.

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01Jan68-Photo Caption - Unwelcome Visitor for VC

   Seeking to root out enemy snipers, a trooper of the Americal Div.'s 2nd Bn, 35th Inf., tosses a grenade into a bunker north of Duc Pho, South Vietnam (USA).

  This GI Has Eyes for Potato Patch

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - The valleys and hills roamed by units of Americal

Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade are filled nightly with ambushes, and one found its way into a potato patch.

   The potato patch had been chosen for the protection that the furrows would give against enemy fire.

   Pfc. Robert W. Robinson acting as rear security, was falling asleep after standing guard when a "pop" sent him rolling into a furrow.  To this Wichita, Kansan the "pop" meant an armed grenade.

   "Just as I rolled into the furrow," said the member of C Co., 2nd Bn., 1st Inf., "a grenade exploded on the other side of the mound.  I reached for my rifle, but it wasn't where I had left it."

   The next morning the rifle was found with the stock and hand grip blown completely off.  His pack and nine of his rifle magazines were found ripped by shrapnel.

   "My roll into the furrow saved my life," said Robinson.  "Even the cocoa in my C-rations was filled with shrapnel - but not me."

01Jan68-Love Those C-Rations

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - For the line soldier who thrives in the field by eating C-rations, the mention of ham and lima bean C-rations would usually bring a groan, but not to Pfc. Jeffery Hall of Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade.

   This B Co., 2nd Bn. infantryman owes his life to a can of ham and lima beans which protected him during a firefight.

   While walking through a sugar cane patch, Hall's unit came under fire and he hit the ground.

  "As I was reloading," said Hall, "a bullet hit me in the hip and another hit my pack.  After the fight ended I discovered that the round which wounded me had first hit a ham and lima beans can hanging from my pack in a sock.

   "The other round," Hall continued, "smashed a pair of glasses which were in my pack".

   Thanks to his unusual "body armor," Hall walked away with only a superficial wound.

03Jan68-Can of C-Rations Saves Soldier's Life

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - For the line soldier who thrives in the field by eating C-rations, the mention of ham and lima bean C-rations would usually bring a groan, but not to Pfc. Jeffery Hall of Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade.

   This B Co., 2nd Bn. infantryman owes his life to a can of ham and lima beans which protected him during a firefight.

   While walking through a sugar cane patch, Hall's unit came under fire and he hit the ground.

   "As I was reloading," said Hall, "a bullet hit me in the hip and another hit my pack.  After the fight ended I discovered that the round which wounded me had first hit a ham and lima beans can hanging from my pack in a sock."

04Jan68-Broadcaster Puts in Plug for Defectors

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - Broadcasting has taken a new twist for an announcing veteran of the Americal Div.'s 196th Light Inf. Brigade.  Instead of entertaining listeners, he is urging the enemy to return to defect.

   Capt. James H. Freeman, of Asheville, N.C. psychological operations officer of the brigade, is in charge of an armed propaganda team whose mission is to tactically support field units and work with the civic actions officer.

   Before entering the Army in September, 1966, Freeman was an announcer with radio station WSKY in Asheville.  He has announced news and sports and has been a disc jockey.

   "Our loud speaker team makes combat assaults with infantry units," said Freeman.

   Once engaging the enemy we broadcast our messages.  Our aim is to talk the enemy into surrendering.

   "One time we broadcast some 18 hours from the air while one of the units was in heavy contact," he added.  "During the action an enemy soldier surrendered.  We evacuated him to the rear, had his picture taken, wrote out a leaflet which we air dropped to the enemy and then had him broadcast for two hours.  He appealed to his fellow comrades to give themselves up and several responded."

   The armed propaganda team here consists of a Marine sergeant, an Army private first class and two former Viet Cong who serve as interpreters.  When not assisting the tactical mission, the group visits various villages recommended by the civic actions officer and show propaganda movies.

   "One time we broadcast to a village located near a river and we told the people to stay off the water after a certain time." said Freeman.  "The following evening, not one sampan was on the river.  The people had gotten the word on the curfew which had been instituted for their protection.

   "Actually, the most rewarding experience of this job is when you get a true Hoi Chanh defector) who tells you he came in as a result of a leaflet you had prepared.

06Jan68-Newly Arrived North Viets Battered by Americal Div.

   SAIGON (UPI) - U.S. troops killed 329 Communists in a day of fierce fighting Wednesday near South Vietnam's northern coast.  But Red forces struck with thunderous attacks on two airfields Friday, spokesmen said.

   Communists identified as newly arrived troops of the North Vietnamese 2nd Inf. Div. sprang into battle Wednesday against U.S. troops in the Que Son Valley about 365 miles northeast of Saigon-and promptly fought themselves into bloody disaster.

   Elements of the U.S. Americal Div. entrenched in the valley hurled back a pair of furious ground assaults and withstood three other mortar attacks, then chased the battered Red force into nearby hills; spokesmen said.

   The Communists picked out a pair of U.S. landing zones named "Ross and Leslie" near the district capital of Queison [sic] and slammed mortar rounds recoilless rifle fire and 122mm rockets into both.

   Then they tried to overrun the two sites.  Scores of them tore through the defensive perimeter at "Leslie," it was reported.

   Americans leveled artillery pieces and fired point-blank into the onrushing Communists as wave after wave of Reds broke against the two perimeters.   

   The U.S. barrages finally drove the North Vietnamese out of "Leslie" and away from the edges of "Ross," where the Communists could not quite break through.

   When the shooting was over, 143 bodies were found around "Ross" and 58 more at "Leslie," 40 of them inside the latter's barged wire defenses.

   More American troops tangled with the North Vietnamese in another pair of battles later in the day, killing an additional 40 Communists.  Still other U.S. troops chased the Reds, killing some as they went.

   When the day ended, U.S. spokesmen said the Communist death total stood at 329, the second time this week Reds have lost 300 or more in one general battle area.

   American casualties were placed officially at 17 killed and 135 wounded.

   ..........other action ........

07Jan68-........In the southern I Corps Zone, elements of the Americal Div. followed up their heavy fighting of Wednesday with 72 enemy killed in several engagements.

   The 196th Light Inf. Brigade claimed 32 enemy killed in action west of Tam Ky.  Four U.S. soldiers were killed.

   In a delayed report, U.S. Headquarters disclosed that 37 Reds were killed in Operation Auburn, a combined search-and-destroy mission that ended Jan. 3 near Hoi An.

  Photo Caption - . . . For a Fallen Enemy

   Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Devine, of Eau Claire, Wis., says a prayer for a dead Viet Cong soldier after an attack by the Communists on a district headquarters 340 miles northeast of Saigon was beaten back.  "I just felt I should do something," the chaplain said after seeing at least 15 Viet Cong killed in a futile charge on the outpost (AP Radiophoto).

09Jan68-B52s Blast Area Where Chopper was Downed

   The wreckage of a U.S. Army helicopter sits in a rice paddy in the Que Son Valley, 30 miles southwest of Da Nang, while exploding bombs of a B52 strike raise clouds of dust and smoke over 1,000 yards away.  Since just after the first of the year, units of the Americal Div. have been battling North Vietnamese troops in the wide valley.  (AP Radiophoto).

13Jan68-VC Goof on Booby Trap

   LANDING ZONE ROSS, Vietnam (IO) - Second Lt. George D. Ring, a 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cav. Div. platoon leader, was walking along a trail near Que Son when the ground beneath his feet seemed to give way.

   A second later, Ring had become one of a handful of men who have stepped on a booby-trapped 105mm howitzer round and lived to tell about it.

   "The VC had dug a hole for the shell, covered it with a cross-hatch of thin bamboo strips, put a piece of poncho over that, and then covered it with dirt," Ring explained.

   "But while they'd been covering it up, a few grains of dirt had worked between the trip-wire and the mechanism they were using to detonate the shell.  The wire hit the sand and slid around the detonating mechanism."

   Ring became the luck charm of C. Co., 2nd Bn., 12th Cav., for a long time afterwards.

   Photo Caption- When Red Snipers Start Shooting

   Troops of the 1st Air Cav. Div., on a sweep near Chu Lai, run for cover (left photo) as they are fired on by snipers.  The U.S. troops were stripping a downed heli-copter of weapons and ammo.  At right Lt. John Toler, of St. Charles, Mo., calls for artillery support to clear out the snipers.  (UPI Radiophoto)


 (Note BB-62 fired in support of the Americal)

   Mighty New Jersey to fire devastating

   16-inchers at Reds   By LEE LINDER

THE BATTLESHIP NEW JERSEY, put to sleep more than a decade ago, is shedding its cocoon as a member of the mothball fleet.

   The giant dreadnought is being refitted and reconditioned in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and should be in action off Vietnam next Spring.

   Modern warfare with its supersonic jets and radar-controlled missiles notwithstanding, the Navy now sees the battleship's 16-inch guns as perhaps one of the war's most feared and devastating weapons.

   The biggest U.S. naval guns off Vietnam now are eight-inchers on the 7th Fleet's cruisers.

   But is a battleship a sitting duck in the sea?  Will it be a floating target for enemy planes?

   Jane's Fighting Ships, the book regarded as the world authority on navy vessels, recently observed that "however reputedly unsinkable a battleship might be, it would be a matter of prestige for the enemy to make her the prime target and, if successful in scoring a bullseye, of immense propaganda value."

   But Capt. Richard G. Alexander, the New Jersey's commander, shrugs off suggestions the battleship-sidelined for more than 10 years - would be more a liability than an asset in the Orient.  He insists there will be adequate protection from aircraft and surface vessels.

   The 45,000 ton ship - BB-62 to the Navy - will bring nine 16-inch guns to the Gulf of Tonkin, each capable of hurling a one-ton shell more than 22 miles.

   And that, frankly, is the only reason the fighting battle wagon is being recommissioned at a cost of $22 million.  Many consider the price a bargain equal to about nine fighter-bombers.

   Pound for pound the New Jersey will be able to deliver explosives for considerably less price than the Air Force.  Seven broadsides Navy men say, carry a punch equal to the total bomb loads of 60 planes.

   Annual operating cost of the New Jersey is figured at $7.5 million, including ammunition.  It is estimated that about 22,000 tons of the 16-inch projectiles were left over from Korea.

   It is true, says Cdr. Donald Roane, weapons officer of the New Jersey, that there are a few sailors still in uniform who have served on a U.S. battleship  he himself only took a training cruise - because the four in America's fleet have been in mothballs for 10 years or longer.

   Actually, Roane reports, there are 15 men now available who have fired the giant guns - they have 65 foot barrels and are imbedded in a concrete-and steel foundation sunk 50 feet into the ship's keel.

   "We know hat has to be done and we will do it," he said.  "We'll be ready when we have to be ready.  You can bet on it."

   "Ready" for the New Jersey means next May 15 when it is scheduled to move into the Delaware River--after earlier sea trials-and then to the Atlantic for the voyage to Vietnam waters (Associated Press)

    Photo Captions (1) - The giant 16-inch guns of the New Jersey have been plugged for the past 10 years in the mothball fleet at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  The decision to put the ship back into action, after having been retired in August, 1957, was made after a five-month Defense Department study.

    Photo-Caption (2) - The huge 16-stories-tall battleship lifts its bow to the sky in a photo at the right (AP).

    Photo-Caption (3) - Called back to war duty, the battleship New Jersey (right) is being preened and primed to do battle for the third time.  The recommissioned battlewagon will bring her giant 16-inch guns to Vietnam in May to see her first action in more than 10 years.  It's hoped the extra fire-power from offshore will help save U.S. lives and dollars.  There are more than 1,000 men now swarming over her decks and insides to bring her to fighting shape.  Bulk of the money being spent on her is improvement of the New Jersey's armament. (USN).

15Jan68 -  School Instructs in VC Tricks

   Photo Caption: Australian WO Dave Wallner, adviser to the 6th ARVN Regt. at Duc Pho, demonstrates a tripwire-triggered crossbow - often used by VC- to 11th Inf. Brigade soldiers (MACV).

   ARVN Tutors GIs in Staying Alive

   DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO)- "The Vietnamese soldiers instructing you have over 400 years experience fighting the Viet Cong," Capt. Gary D. Robbins told members of D Co., 4th Bn., 3rd Inf. of the Americal Div.'s new 11th Inf. Brigade.

   You as a group have less than one year in country-and no experience with Charlie's tricks.  Watch these ARVN soldiers.  They are members of a crack outfit-they've killed a lot of VC.  What you learn by watching them may save your life."

   Troops of the 11th Brigade - like the 198th Brigade before them were taking part in an in-country training program conducted by the 3rd Bn., 6th ARVN Regt at the former VC village of Thanh Hieu near here.

   The vacated town has been turned into an outdoor military school by the soldiers of Maj. Phan Van Nghin and his MACV advisers.

   Newly-arrived American troops are getting an experience-based look at the mines, booby traps and enemy combat tricks they can expect.

   The school offers a degree in the exact science of staying alive out in "Charlie-land" where every twig may trigger a VC weapon-every bush may shelter an armed enemy.  The students are eager to learn.

   "Hoi Chanh" Viet Cong defectors answer questions posed by American troops and explain enemy tactics in given situations.

   "Nobody knows better than an ex-VC what the Viet Cong is going to do," said Nghin.

   Putting it in "troop language", an American adviser told the 11th Brigade's infantrymen.  "These guys will give you straight scoop-right from horse's mouth.  Listen hard.  Ask questions.  Adapt their answers to your situation.  And you've got a lot better chance of going home alive."

   Maj. Eric Reichelt, G-3 training officer for I Corps Advisory Group said the 2nd ARVN Div. initiated training program has been an unqualified success.

   He explained that after watching the program at work, Gen. Westmoreland and Gen. Nguyen Vinh, Vietnamese Joint General Staff chairman ordered establishment of a nationwide program of similar training for both American and ARVN units.  Each will instruct the other in its own strong points.

   Vietnamese units are scheduled to train Free World Force and American units in jungle warfare, booby trap detection and enemy tactics.  The counterpart organizations will assist ARVN units in technical training.

   Eleventh Inf. Brigade soldiers gave much of the credit for an effective training program to the joint ARVN-Advisory Group instructor staff.

   One instructor in particular, Australian WO Dave Wallner, held their attention with a presentation larded with infantrymen's jargon picked up during ten years of fighting Communist insurgents in Borneo, Malaya and most recently in Vietnam.

   Newly-arrived American foot-soldiers listened attentively as the two-year Vietnam veteran spelled out Charlie's brand of jungle warfare in no nonsense, personal terms.

    According to one first sergeant, "This beats learning the hard way-some of these men wouldn't live to profit by the experience."

15Jan68-Sentry Didn't Bother Asking for Passwords

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - In the black sea of a Vietnam night Pfc Alan S. Wall of Buffalo, N.Y., took his guard post.  The ammunition clerk with the 198th Light Inf. Brigade began to strain his eyes in the darkness for Communist prowlers around his post.

   But this night a non-Communist prowler, encircling the 198th camp in the Americal Div. area, was to make an appearance.

   First a movement on the horizon, then the outline of a cat.  The silhouette grew larger as it neared Wall's post.

   "It was a black and yellow spotted leopard with enormous paws." Wall said later.

   The leopard snooped up to within 10 feet of the lone guard.

   "It turned and just stared at me, showing a menacing set of white teeth and a long curled trail [sic]."  Wall said.

   "Then it disappeared into the night.  I quickly alerted guards in the direction the cat had gone, and began to breathe once more.

   "I guess it wasn't very hungry."

15Jan68-Good Night's Sleep on a Mine

   TAM KY, VIETNAM (IO) - When an infantryman is tired he can sleep just about anywhere.  For 1st Lt. Roger Ladd of Modesto, Calif., this included sleeping on top of a "bouncing betty" mine.  It wasn't until the next afternoon that his dangerous bed was discovered.

   Ladd's platoon, the reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Bn. 35th Inf., 4th Div., had been operating as a blocking force the first day and found a good night location, an LZ that they considered to be safe.

   They used the normal precaution in checking the area and then began to set up for the night.  Ladd laid out his gear, inflated his ir mattress and settled it on the mine.  It didn't detonate.

   Nor did it detonate the next morning when the platoon moved out.  The mine went

undiscovered until the platoon returned.  

   Ladd went back to his sleeping area, not realizing how much his luck had already been pushed.  But this time, as he laid down his rucksack, he noticed the mine's characteristic three prongs.  Some of the camouflage had been knocked away.   

   The mine was detonated in place and Ladd spent the night in that very spot because, as he put it, "It was the one spot around here I knew was safe!"

15Jan68-Photo Caption

  Blast Puts GI Out of Uniform

  Spec. 4 Steve Johnson of Newark, N.J., almost had his pants ripped off by an explosion.  Johnson, a machine gunner, pauses along a ridge with another trooper during a battle in the Que Son Valley, south of Da Nang in northern South Vietnam.  (S&S Photo by John Olson).

16Jan68-Photo Caption - Another Kind of Clipper

   Troopers of the 1st Air Cav. Div take time out for a haircut at a landing zone 20 miles south of Da Nang.  The pile of 40mm shell casing to the foreground were left when the U.S. troops beat back an attempt by Communists to overrun the camp last week.  (UPI Radiophoto)


16Jan68-Weather Hampers Air Raids

   S&S Vietnam Bureau

   SAIGON - Low cloud cover, limited visibility  and rain showers hampered air missions over North Vietnam Saturday, and prevented accurate bomb damage assessment.

     ......Marine pilots from Chu Lai and Da Nang hit artillery positions north of the DMZ and an artillery position just north of Con Thien.  They also struck at truck traffic north of the Dong Hoi, touching off several secondary explosions.


16Jan68-Photo Caption - Hurler for 1st Air Cav. Div.

   As one trooper throws a grenade, another lays down covering fire at dug-in North Vietnamese troops.  The action took place in Quang Tin Province where the 1st Air Cav. Div.'s 3rd Brigade is conducting Operation Wallowa.  (USA)

16Jan68-3 Services, 2 Nations Team To Give Marine Hospital Help

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - During Task Force Oregon operations last spring in the southern part of the I Corps Tactical Zone, Army doctors nurses and medics worked  alongside Navy and Korean medical personnel in a Marine hospital here.

   The integration of Army medical specialists has reportedly turned the hospital into one of the best staffed medical facilities in Vietnam.

   When casualties from the operations began to filter into the 1st Hospital Co., 1st Marine Div., at Chu Lai, and it was learned that Army personnel would be assigned to the hospital, some concern was expressed.  As it turned out, one hospital official said, "We're all working for the same thing - to save lives."

   The Army added to the hospital's staff of eye surgeons, and oral surgeons and provided the only neurosurgeon in the Chu Lai area, Capt. Edward Katz, Hartford, Conn., handles 15-20 neurosurgery cases monthly at the hospital.

   According to one hospital official, the 1st Hospital Co. is probably the only place in Vietnam where doctors from three services in two countries could be face to face over the operating table at one time.

   The patients are just as varied as the staff.  Not only are U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel treated there, but many of the patients come from the ROK Marine Corps and Vietnamese Army.

   Navy Cmdr. James S. Moughon, Pensacola, Fla., commanding officer of the company, said, "This is a United Nations hospital if there ever was one."

   The 1st Hospital Co. has never been a completely one-service organization since the U.S. Marine Corps has no doctors of medical corpsmen  but is supported by Navy medical personnel.  Marines provide security and other support for the hospital.

   While their uniforms are different, they all work for the same purpose, Army Capt. C. K. Peavy, Jasper, Tex., medical affairs officer at the hospital, said rivalry between the services is "nonexistent."

   One of the better equipped field hospitals in Vietnam, an average of more than 360 patients are admitted each month.  Since last April more than 1,400 major operations have been performed.

   Although a great number of these cases are serious battle injuries, the rate of death once a patient reaches the hospital is far less than one percent, hospital officials reported.

17Jan68(Wed)- Arms Cache Found

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO)

--Elements of Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade uncovered one of the largest weapons and ammunition caches ever found in I Corps area recently, 17 miles west of Tam Ky.

   A Co.., 3rd Bn., 21st Inf., captured 140 weapons and destroyed tons of enemy ammunition in the brigade's largest discovery since it has been in Vietnam.

   The weapons found by the battalion, which is commanded by Lt. Col. Allen R. Champlin, of Fayetteville, N.C., increased the total number of weapons captured by the "Chargers" to 253 in Operation Wheeler/Wallowa.

   This discovery came as a result of information from a former 2nd North Vietnamese Army Div. noncom who turned himself in, using a safe conduct pass he picked up after a leaflet drop by the brigade's armed propaganda team, NH. Freeman, of Asheville, N.C.

   Capt. Paul N. Yurchak, of Pittston, Pa., commander of A Co., received word of the soldier's knowledge and alerted his men that the cache was in their area of operation.

   The former enemy, along with an interpreter and 2nd Lt. George A Kidney of Loomis, Calif., first platoon leader, boarded a helicopter to make an aerial reconnaissance of the area.

   After he spotted terrain familiar to him, they made an air assault into the area with an 18-man force.  The force spotted two VC 50 meters away fleeing from them.  They were killed.

   The soldier led the unit to a village a short distance away and discovered 15 weapons piled in a heap in thick underbrush.  The weapons apparently were being used as a parts stockpile.

   Leaving four men to guard the weapons, the search party pushed on.  Within a short distance the element came upon two huts.  Weapons were discovered in one hut, an ammunition stockpile in the other.

   The captured weapons were taken by 71st Aviation Co. helicopters to the battalion's base camp.  Some of the weapons included: 60 rifles; five shotguns; 20 light machine guns; five heavy machine guns; 25 sub-machine guns; two 57 mm recoilless rifles; eight 60 mm mortars; three 81mm mortars; four pistols; two M-79 grenade launchers; two M-60 machine guns; one 50 caliber machine gun; and three light anti-tank weapons.

   More than 72 boxes of ammunition were destroyed by the company.

17Jan68-Off Target Shell Does Dual Duty

   TAM KY, Vietnam (IO)--

A Btry., 2nd Bn., 9th Arty., chalked up one of the most unusual enemy kills in the Americal Div.'s area of operations recently when a smoke marker round killed an NVA soldier.

   Operating north of Chu Lai, one platoon of C Co., 1st Bn. 35th Inf., on reconnaissance spotted several NVA in a clearing near their position.

   Two of the enemy were dropped with M16 fire while other headed for cover.  Platoon leader, Lt. Gary Nogle called the company's artillery forward observer Lt. Bert Landau, for assistance from A Btry.

   From a nearby hill, Landau called for a marker round on one of his preplotted positions.  The first round was slightly off target and Nogle radioed back the correction.  Feeling that this would put  an artillery round a little too close to the infantry patrol, Landauset up a compromise reading calling for a second marker.

   As the round whistled overhead the GI's saw an NVA step out from behind some bushes to retrieve a fallen comrade hit by small arms fire.

   By a strange quirk of fate, the smoke round burst considerably lower to the ground than usual and happened to be right over the stunned NVA who was killed by the metal fragments.

17Jan68-Crewmen Survive Doomed Helicopter

   QUE SON, Vietnam (IO) - Four troopers of the 1st Air Cav. Div. survived several minutes of sheer terror when their UH1D "Huey" helicopter was blasted from the sky by heavy enemy machine-gun fire.

   The ship was hit at least three times by 12.7mm anti-aircraft fire while flying at 2,500 feet over a North Vietnamese Army stronghold deep in Quang Nam Province, 25 miles southwest of Da Nang.

   The rounds hit the plexiglass canopy and set the instrument panel afire.  Both pilots were wounded.  One of the pilots slumped over the controls sending the speeding ship into a steep power dive.  The helicopter was plunging straight toward the ground when the other pilot, badly wounded., fought to bring the Huey out of the dive.

   But even as the helicopter was falling, its two passengers remained calm, radioing for help and relaying their position.

   "When I saw the pilots were hit, I immediately went out with a "Mayday," said Lt. Col. M.C. Ross 40-year-old commander of the 2nd Bn. 12th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Div.

   Ross gave full credit to the pilot for averting a complete disaster.

   "There were Charlies thick in the valley," Ross said.  He noted that helicopters which came in later to extract the downed bird received heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire, too, though none were hit.

   The other passenger, Capt. Daniel B. Redner, 31 of Ft Lauderdale, Fla., played a vital role in the incident, directing armed helicopters to the scene of the crash.

18Jan68-U.S. Bombs Down Arm Copter

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (UPI)- A U.S. Army helicopter gunship was bombed out of the sky Tuesday by American fighter-bombers in a freak accident that injured the four crewmen.

   The helicopter was flying at treetop level, protecting an infantry unit's flank when it was engulfed in turbulence caused by exploding bombs.  Fragments hit the helicopter but apparently it was the turbulence that yanked the ship out of control and plunged it to the ground.

   The planes were making a radar controlled bomb run above the cloudy "weather and no one saw or heard them.

18Jan68-Reaction Force Kills 13, Routs Red Ambushers

        S&S Vietnam Bureau


   In the Que Son Valley east of Tam Ky, 31 enemy were killed as action continued by the 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cav. Div.

   Pacific Stars and Stripes photographer John Olson accompanied a force sent in to recover the helicopter of a battalion commander downed four days earlier.  He reported three bodies recovered, all from shallow graves near the burned-out chopper, apparently dug by North Vietnamese.  Communist snipers hampered the intended rescue operation.

   Olson also reported intense anti-aircraft fire in the area.  Ground operations in the valley are now being directed he said, from the ground instead of from airborne command helicopters, due to the heavy .50 caliber fire.

   "Four helicopters are still down in enemy territory according to Olson and Landing Zone Ross, a staging area for U.S. operations into the Que Son Valley, has been attacked six times in two weeks.


   (In Quang Nam Province, 375 miles northeast of Saigon, a large Viet Cong force attacked a company of Vietnamese troops- about 130 men - on a road clearing operation and inflicted what officials called "heavy" casualties before reinforcements could be rushed up, UPI reported.

   (When they arrived, the reinforcements chased the attackers and killed 40; government spokesmen reported.

18Jan68-Crew Chiefs Are Eyes and Ears of Gunships

        Story and Photos


   LONG BINH, Vietnam (IO) - He's part mechanic, part pilot, an ordnance expert and a darn good machinegunner.  That's how one helicopter pilot described the Army crewchiefs assigned to gunships in Vietnam.

   Holdgin the responsibility for an aircraft and weapon system worth thousands of dollars, the crew chief's job is not a simple one.  The helicopter is his aircraft and he's the man who says whether it flies or not.

   Crew chiefs are trained by the Army for their future jobs, but according to Spec. 5 Bud Maher, Cut Bank, Mont., a crew chief with the "Sharks" of the 14th Combat Aviation Bn.'s 174th Aviation Co. at Duc Pho, "We never stop learning."

   The crew chief must keep astride of new developments in the complex helicopter engine's and the ever changing weapons systems installed on the Army's gunships.

   Maher said he spent about three months in on the job training after coming to Vietnam, learning more about the gunships for which he is responsible.

   Capt. Tom Wood, Brunswick, Ga., platoon leader of the "Sharks," says when his day ends, the crew chief's is just beginning.  Before he leaves the aircraft, the helicopter must be ready to be airborne at a moment's notice.

   To keep the aircraft in top shape, the crew chief will pull a daily inspection in which he checks out every vital part of the aircraft and its armament.

   For every 25 hours in the air, he pulls a three-hour inspection looking over the aircraft for the slightest defects which could prove fatal once in the air.

   Often in the short time between sorties, he and his door gunner will have to pull maintenance on the ship or weapons systems.

   At any time of the day or night he and his crew are liable to be called on a short notice scramble to assist ground troops.

   One pilot said the crew chief treat their assigned choppers as though they were their family cars.

    Sgt. James Yocum, Chicago, Ill. Platoon sergeant of the "Sharks," said, "They're proud of their unit and proud of their ships.  It's nothing out of the ordinary to see a crew chief working in the dark late at night on his ship to make sure it will be flying in the morning."

    Photo - SPec. 5 Bud Maher (left), of Cut Bank, Mont., crew chief with the 174th Aviation Co. at Duc Pho, and Spec. 4 Gary Bugher, of Kokomo, Ind., a door gunner, pull maintenance on one of the miniguns installed on a gunship.

19Jan68-U.S. Recon Patrol Mops Up Force in Quang Nai [sic] Clash

          S&S Vietnam Bureau

   SAIGON- A platoon sized U.S. reconnaissance patrol backed by helicopter gunships and artillery killed 31 communist soldiers Wednesday in a one-sided clash in South Vietnam's Quang Nai [sic] Province.

   Two Americans were wounded.  They were treated and returned to duty.

   The fight was the biggest so far in Operation Muscatine, a month-old search and destroy operation in the southern portion of the I Corps area.

   It started at 9:15 a.m., when the recon unit, from the 4th Div.'s 3rd Brigade, met a communist force of undetermined size near the coast about 17 miles above Quang Ngai city.

   The [sic] was a heavy exchange of small arms fire.  The Americans called in air and artillery strikes and the enemy melted away, leaving 31 bodies.

   Tuesday in the same operation, seven enemy were killed in a small arms fight nine miles northeast of the city.  Three U.S. troops were wounded.

    Further south..........

19Jan68-Photo captions

    GIs Clash With N. Viets Near Chu Lai






20Jan68-Marines Are Stretched to the Limit: Chapman

   HONOLULU (AP) - The new commandant of the marine Corps said Wednesday there aren't enough Marines to fight brushfire wars elsewhere as manpower is "stretched to the limit" in Vietnam.

   Gen. Leonard Chapman said 75,000 of his 300,000 Marines are in Vietnam and another 30,000 are in other Far East areas.

   Chapman returned from his second tour of the Vietnam war zone.

   Seated with him at a news conference was Lt. Gen. Victor H. Krulak, Pacific Marine commander, who was regarded as a possibility for the commandant's post before Chapman's appointment.

   Chapman said Krulak's handling of Pacific Marines has been "masterful," Krulak has been in Vietnam 51 times.

   Chapman said his formula for fighting the war in Vietnam is to do what is being done today.  He said, "We must persevere."

20Jan68-Photo Caption

   Gunship Goes Down

    Wreckage of a downed gunship lies in the background as a medic treats two of the wounded crewmen during Operation Wheeler-Wallowa.  The helicopter was downed while supporting the 1st Cav. Div., 25 miles south of Da Nang, Vietnam.  

        (UPI Radiophoto)

20Jan68-NCO Battles with Boots Off

   Hot Brass, and a Dance Is Born

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - Californians are noted for starting the latest dance crazes, but one West Coast soldier in Vietnam has invented a step that not even his fellow Californians could follow.

   It's called dancing barefoot on a pile of hot ammo shell casings while 200 NVA and VC charge your position."

   Actually S. Sgt. Allen C. Woods of Paso Robles, Calif., of the 198th Light Inf. Brigade's H Troop, 17th Cav., didn't want to invent the dance.  It just came about.

   "I had my boots off trying to dry out my feet and socks when they hit us,"  Woods said:   "While I was shooting the hot brass from the machineguns fell on the floor of my track."

   In the early morning two-hour battle in the Americal Div. area that left 31 of the enemy dead, Woods never did get a chance to get his boots back on.

   The attack came at 2 a.m. on the Ly Tin District Headquarters two miles north of Chu Lai along Highway One in Quang Tin Province.  Cavalryman Woods was supporting 100 Vietnamese Regular and Popular Force soldiers with 10 men and two armored personnel carriers named "Hellcats" for their firepower.

   "When they hit all we had time to do was move into position and let 'em have it with everything we had."  Woods said.  "It was nip and tuck those first 15 minutes."

   In the middle of the battle two enemy 57mm recoilless rifle rounds pierced Woods Hellcat.  The first round wounded three of his men.

   But the bootless cavalryman kept right on fighting.  He spotted the enemy rifle crew and cut them down with a burst of fire from the 50-cal. and two M-60 machine guns.

   Finally the enemy withdrew and Woods had time to pull his boots back on.  "Those empty shell cases were sure hot on my bare feet," he said.  "I don't think I ever want to do that dance again."

22Jan68-Photo Caption

   A 1st Air Cav. Div. trooper takes no chances-his .45 is kept ready for instant use-as he checks out a log bunker for Communist suspects who may be hiding inside.  The troops were on an operation about 35 miles southwest of Da Nang.

22Jan68-Photo Caption

   VC Suspect Pleads for His Life

   A Viet Cong suspect is flushed from a spider hole (left photo) by troops of the 1st Air Cav. Div. during an operation about 25 miles south of Da Nang.  The suspect kneels (right photo) and pleads with his interrogators after being pulled from his hiding place.

23Jan68-GIs Find Cache Of Drugs

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - A large cache of Viet Cong medical supplies, enough to sustain a brigade for three to four weeks, has been uncovered south of Chu Lai by a 198th Inf. Brigade unit.

   E Co., 1st Bn., 6th Inf., commanded by Capt. James G. Price, Fayettesville, N.C., discovered the cache on a search and clear operation near a suspected Viet Cong camp in the southern part of the Americal Div. area.

   The medical supplies were stored in ammo boxes and consisted of Chinese, French and Russian drugs of all types, minor surgical equipment, and medical books and doctors certificates.

23Jan68-GIS Battle A 10-Foot Enemy

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - An unexpected guest decided he would enjoy the warmth of a shelter constructed in the field by a member of the Americal Division's 196th Light Inf. Brigade, but the soldier did not agree.

   The visitor which just crawled into the area was a 10-foot boa constrictor.

   A Co., 4th Bn., 31st Inf. had set up for the night on a small hill.  "I was resting in a shelter I had made with several sticks and two ponchos," said Pfc. Walter Cabbagestalk, Pittsburgh, Pa.  "All of a sudden, I got a clammy feeling all over as I noticed a boa constrictor crawling toward me."

   "I got out of there as fast as I could and the snake just stayed there," he added.  Then Sgt. 1.C Armando Sandoval, Phoenix, Ariz., used a long forked stick and pinned the snake down by its head.  "As he did that, the snake started wrapping around Sandoval's arm," recalled Cabagestalk.  Two other men also came over and helped unwrap the snake and dispose of it.

   "The snake must have weighed about 50 pounds," said Sandoval.  "I really had the chills when it started to wrap around my arm."

24Jan68-Small Viet War Operations Can Turn Into Fierce Fights (174th Avn)

   DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) - The small unit battles in the Vietnam war can be unpredictable.

   Infantrymen with the 198th Light Inf. Brigade, starting on a routine mission to set up a night ambush against the Viet Cong found out just how unpredictable these battles can be.

   Capt. Anton G. Blieberger, Baton Rouge, La., commander of B Co., 1st Bn., 46th Inf. led his platoon-sized force into the rice paddies north of Duc Pho, and were completing ambush preparations when their plans were changed.

   A priority call came from the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jack A. Henson, requesting Blieberger to have his platoon ready for heliborne operations within

30 minutes.

   Blieberger committed his 44-man-unit and what had started as a routine ambush mission was now an operation which showed promise of enemy contact.

   A gunship had sighted enemy sampans moving south on the Song Cau River in Southern I Corps.  The chopper reported 70 to 80 suspected enemy in the group.

   "This could do it."  Blieberger said to his men as the Hueys swooped down to pick up his small force.  Shortly after takeoff they were at their designated landing zone.

   "The LZ was cold," Bleiberger said.  "We thought it was a false alarm.  Then we spotted the sampans on the river, a village on the other side."

   "We made out 10 sampans, then 10 more.  It looked like a definite enemy reinforcement to me," said Blieberger, a veteran of a previous year in Vietnam as an ARVN adviser.

    While 34 of Blieberger's unit pushed across the deep river they drew fire from the sampans.  For some of the men the water was almost over their heads.  One man went under and immediate someone grabbed him and pulled him up.  Then automatic weapons opened from a concrete bunker in the village.

   "My men were firing their weapons by holding them over their heads-struggling to keep their balance in the murky water.  But they were fighting mad and determined to get across," Blieberger said.

   The small force had crossed the river and gained fire superiority:  Gunships gave aerial support, and finally the enemy broke and ran.

   "We hit the other side of the river and moved into the village.  The enemy was totally disorganized.  They started running in all directions so their fire became ineffective," Blieberger said.

   After the company routed the few snipers left in the village, and the gunships finished off the sampans, B Co. counted 19 VC dead.  Nine of these were credited to the gunships from the 174th Aviation Co.  In addition seven VC were captured.

   Two men from the company were wounded in the action.... one by sniper, the other from an enemy grenade.

    The operation was completed in less than three hours.  The firefight lasted about thirty minutes.  The men of B Co., expecting to spend a long, wet night in the rice paddies, had chalked up a the first significant victory for the 198th, a part of the Americal.

25Jan68-Photo Captions-Rough Going in Que Son Valley Drive






26Jan69-Photo Caption - No Trinkets for Him

   This 1st Air Cav. Div. trooper is not one to settle for small souvenirs.  Returning from a search and destroy operation near Landing Zone Ross, 20 miles north of Chu Lai, he carries this Vietnamese drum as a memento.

26Jan69-2 Generals Due Shift to States

   WASHINGTON (S&S) - New Stateside assignments for Brig. Gens. Morgan G. Roseborough and Charles W. Ryder Jr., both assistant division commanders in Vietnam, have been announced by the Army.

   Roseborough, ADC of the 9th Inf. Div., will be transferred to the office of the deputy chief of staff for the personnel at the Pentagon and Ryder, ADC of the 23d Inf. Div. (Americal), is going to the infantry training center at Fort Jackson , S.C.

26Jan68-Mass VC Defections Reveal Morale Decay

   LANDING ZONE BALDY, Vietnam (IO) - For the second time, the Viet Cong infrastructure of a village in the 3rd Brigade, 1st Air Cav. Div. area of operations has rallied to the Government of Vietnam en masse.  The brigade is a part of the Americal Div.'s Operation Wheeler-Wallowa.

   Thirty members of the infrastructure of Phu Dien village, near this brigade base camp 20 miles southwest of Da Nang, left their village to become Hoi Chanhs.  They were induced to leave by constant and effective Cavalry operationsin the area and by their growing belief that they were on the losing side.

   In addition, Phu Dien had been an early and successful target of early morning cordon-and-search raids conducted by Cavalrymen and Vietnamese National Police.

The raids, designed to root out the Viet Cong VC personnel, and the remaining infrastructure members saw that they would have to be constantly on the run to avoid the cordons.

   The mass Chieu Hoi was one of a number indications of declining enemy morale in the 3rd Brigade area.  Ralliers told government authorities that North Vietnamese officers informed them, "The people were with us before, but now they disappear or refuse to help us."  Another soldier was warned before his unit moved to an area that, "The enemy has observation planes and helicopters flying constantly, and they seem to have artillery support wherever we appear."

26Jan68-Crossing Viet River Is Half of the Battle

   DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) - It isn't often that the infantry has to worry about such thing,s but 2nd Lt. Fred de Witt recently reported that no one in his platoon was seasick.

   Just a few minutes before, D Co., 1st Bn., 35th Inf., had moved up to the Song Thu Bong River north of Chu Lai.  They were to cross the river and pursue enemy troops known to be operating on the other side.

   The mission was complicated though, when a bridge indicated on the map was found to be blown in half and impassable.

   As Capt. George Davignon pondered the problem, he noticed six reed boats on a small island in the middle of the river.  Summoning Sgt. Roger A. Smith, Davignon discussed his plan.

   "The next thing I new," said 1st Sgt. Thomas C. Mathis, "the two of them were swimming the river, naked as a bird's tail and with no weapons."

   The pair clambered onto the island and spotted five Vietnamese hiding in a bunker.  Startled by the attire-or lack of it-of their discoverers, the Vietnamese emerged from their shelter.  After haggling a while over price, D Co. had an amphibious assault force.

   The river crossing was completed and D Co. moved out in pursuit of the enemy.

26Jan68-Viet Cong Free 2 Americans

   SAIGON (AP) - U.S. officials announced Wednesday the Viet Cong have released two American servicemen taken prisoner in South Vietnam.

   A spokesman identified th two as Marine Cpl. Jose Agosto Santos and Army Pvt. Luis Ortiz-Rivera.  Agosto Santos was captured May 14, 1967, and Ortiz-Rivera on Dec. 21, 1966.

   The spokesman said both men were released Tuesday near the coastal provincial capital of

Tam Ky, 350 miles northeast of Saigon.  He said they were taken to a hospital of the U.S. 1st Air Cav. Div. for treatment adn will be evacuated shortly to the United States.

29Jan68-Photo Captions-  'Round-the-Clock Push in Que Son Valley





29Jan68-Enemy R&R Center Hit; 34 Killed

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - More than 200 enemy had their vacations spoiled when a Viet Cong defector directed an allied force to an enemy rest and recuperation center 18 miles southeast of Chu Lai.

   A Co., 1st Bn., 52nd Inf., commanded by Capt. Virgil Lee Cone, had been receiving intelligence reports that Viet Cong were using the village of An Cuong on the coast of South China Sea as an R&R camp.

   A Viet Cong defector told Cone there would be about 200 VC in the village for vacations in early January, and he agreed to direct an allied force to the village.

   A squad from Americal Div.'s 198th Light Inf. Brigade, nine Vietnamese Popular Force troops and eight U.S. Marines moved to the enemy village.

   Led by Lt. James Milling, the allied force surrounded the village, and by dawn had set up blocking positions.  An assault team hit the village and in the fighting 34 Viet Cong were killed.