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Feb. 68
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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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04Feb68-Stubborn GIs Help School

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - "If they destroy it again, we'll just come back with new materials and help the people rebuild it." said Sgt. 1.C. Arlen C. Williams, platoon sergeant of the Americal Div. G-4's 6th Civil Affairs Platoon.

   "This is the second time, we've helped rebuild the school at Khoung Nhon," Williams continued.  "It was destroyed once before we started the project."

   The school located in the hamlet of Khoung Nhon near Chu Lai, was first destroyed last year.  The platoon stepped in and helped start the reconstruction."

   "When the school was about 90 per cent complete, the VC leveled it, probably with satchel charges," Williams added.

   While the 220-student elementary school is being rebuilt, classes are being held in a small adjacent, wooden structure.

   Khoung Nhon is also the site of other civil action programs.  Many wells have been built and a large garden project is under  way.

07Feb68-Army 'Farmhands' Improve Viet Agriculture

   Photo Captions - Second Lt. Donald H. Beeler (left), Spec. 5 Glenn Miller, a Vietnamese officer and 2nd Lt. William M. Bivens (right discuss a parasite problem in Chinese cabbage (left photo).  At another spot (right photo) the team of Americans discusses the rice culture with Vietnamese farmers (USMC Photo)

   The American farm experts visit an experimental plot in which they have planted a new type of rice.  They are trying to teach Vietnamese farmers to use the new rice strain.

   DA NANG, Vietnam (ISO) - Heard the one about the three farmers who turned out to be traveling salesmen?

   Well, there were three young farmers who joined the Army.  Now they're working the fields and paddies of South Vietnam's I Corps area with the U.S. Marines.  Their job is "selling" agriculture improvement and American cooperation in the rural areas of the five northern provinces of the embattled country.

   The three form the food and agriculture team of the U.S. Army's 29th Civil Affairs Co. attached to the III Marine Amphibious Force at Da Nang.

   Theirs is the down-to-earth mission of increasing crop yields and the variety of produce, introducing new crops and methods, improving local livestock, advising on irrigation, fertilizer and equipment while also imbuing the population with confidence and trust in the U.S. serviceman.

   The three farmhands, 2nd Lt. Donald H. Beeler, 24, of Redlands, Calif., 2nd Lt. William M. Bivens, 24, of Bellevue, Mich., and Spec. 5 Glenn Miller, 22, of Power, Mont., spend most of their working days on the road and in fields and hamlets.  Much of their job consists of coordinating and cooperating with Civil Operations Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS).  And they work with and through other units, usually Marine.

   Beeler, who grew up on the family citrus farm near Redlands, graduated  from Cal Poly in 1966 majoring in citrus agriculture.  He came to Vietnam to join the Americal Div. in August, and in November moved up to the 29th CA.

   A former Michigan State football tackle and '66 dairy management grad.  Bivens has been on a farm most of his life.  He was a ROTC member at State and came to Da Nang last November.

   Veteran of the team is Miller, who's been a farm agent here since last March.  He hails from his dad's 6,000 acre cattle and wheat spread which Glenn modestly calls a farm.   Although he completed more than three years of journalism and political science at the University of Montana he plans on returning there next winter to specialize in veterinary science.

   Biggest business and most time-consuming for the food and Ag team is rice, the staple crop in I Corps.

   They promote the new IR-8 Miracle rice, an improved better yielding type, and they're sold on it.

   The team now has 74 experimental and demonstration sites in I Corps.  These 10x20-foot plots are prominently located and marked by identifying signs.

   The farmers may be complacent and difficult to swing from tradition; but they stop by to compare size and yield and to watch demonstrations of the advantages of commercial fertilizer over manure.   They're also advised on improved insecticides to combat the green leaf hopper and the always hard-to-control stem borer.  Eleven of the plots are in Montagnard territory in northwest mountain regions.  According to Miller the Montagnards are excellent farmers.

   A valuable innovation has been the simple, foot-pedal operated rice thresher introduced from Taiwan.  It's especially popular in the North, according to Miller, but in southern I Corps the farmers think it throws the rice around too much.  More than 200 threshers have been sold to individuals and co-ops at 3,500 piasters each (under $30).  Cpl. Bill Taylor, 3rd Marine Div. Civic Action NCO, demonstrated and sold at least 100 and put the money back into the Civic Action revolving fund.

   Great interest has been stirred up among the Vietnamese by the team's work in vegetable gardening.  Local farmers have for centuries raised vegetables, specializing in salad crops such as leaf lettuce, Chinese cabbage and mustard greens.  But since most of the available land is devoted to rice, gardening is seasonal, confined to certain areas and usually for subsistence only.

   The food and Ag boys give out CARE seeds after breaking down bulk lots into supermarket-size packets.  In 18 months more than 5,000 pounds have been distributed in the provinces.  Another 2,000 pounds of assorted seeds are on hand.

   Along with the old favorites, the popular choices this time of year are onions, beans, cowpeas, carrots, squash, watermelon, and egg plant.  Mimeographed instructions in Vietnamese detail the planting and care.

   It is the team's hope to sell the Vietnamese on planting larger areas in vegetables than the usual family consumption plots.  The idea of selling in the market places, to RVN, and to U.S. and Free World forces is promoted.

   They've also had favorable community reaction when dealing with insecticide problems.   Their advice saved and aphid-infested taro crop north of Da Nang, and  they go rid of moths in a peanut farm down the road.

   Such projects have aroused Vietnamese military interests.  Vegetables have been planted inside the compounds of the Army.  Popular Force, Regional Force and detainee centers for mess hall use.

   Another bright spot in the program is animal husbandry.  The task here is to upbreed and improve the local swine population.  It's been a knotty problem in the past.  "It's been the scarcity of grain and other feed." said Beeler.  "All available land is given over to rice."

   Hogs originally were brought into Vietnam by the Chinese and the strain was improved somewhat by the French.  Nevertheless a poor conformation and meat quality developed.  The pigs are all swaybacked and run to fat and little meat because of the feed problem.

   When the pig farm projects began, officials positioned them near military units so mess hall scraps and waste would be available.  The result is 92 successful pig farms and breeding stations from the demilitarized zone to Duc Pho.

   Elsewhere in livestock, Miller mentions that the buying of 200 goats from the Philippines is in the "dickering" stage.  Government red tape is being cut by permission to quarantine the animals for one month in the Da Nang area.  The goats are scheduled for the Cam Lo area up north and with he prospect of skins, milk and meat, should be an economic boost to the huge refugee community.  Bivens is pushing a rabbit program to increase production and the usage as meat.  The quality of rabbit here is good, he said.

   The cattle industry in Vietnam is still in its infant stages, again, because of lack of grazing land.  Bivens and Miller, however, have worked with vets on tropic parasites and they recently wormed about 100 head after building two western style chutes for the task.  Miller, an old rodeo bulldogger, admits he's exercised a few steers while on the job and says the smaller-than-Shetland-type of Vietnamese ponies are strong and hardy.
   Though usually keeping their distance from water buffalo, Miller says they've doctored some of the wounded beasts that have been caught in fire fights or artillery barrages.  One, shot in the hind quarter, was put through a penicillin terramyacin series and has returned to duty.  On another occasion they used tweezers to pick shrapnel from the hides of cow and her calf and then prescribed a shot series.

   The team advises on irrigation problems like the one at Cam Lo where the 15,000 refugees are far from their water supply.  A backup dam in the hills should soon ensure a steady stream in monsoon or dry seasons.  They've also talked of stocking fish ponds near Hue.

07Feb68-Barefoot Getaway

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - A frightened Viet Cong literally ran out of his shoes trying to get away from an element of Americal Div.'s 196th Light Inf. Brigade.

   The incident occurred as C Co., 3rd Bn., 21st Inf. was on a search and destroy mission near Tam Ky.  The pointmen were cautiously making their way down a trail when they spotted an enemy not more than 150 yards to their front.

   We had just rounded a small bend and the VC didn't spot us at first," said Pfc. Bill Fraze, of Louisville, Ohio.  Before Fraze could take aim, the enemy noticed him and started running.  The pointmen got off three shots, one of which appeared to hit its target, but the VC disappeared into thick brush.

   "As we approached a hedgerow, we spotted a weapon on the ground," said Sgt. Richard Brothers.  "We searched the area hoping to uncover the body, but the only things we found were a pair of worn out sandals and the VC's rifle, he said.

07Feb68-Col. Rose in Command

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - Col Robert M. Rose of Carlisle., Pa., assumed command of the Americal Div. Support Command in recent ceremonies, replacing Col. Robert B. Pridgen, of Hampton, Va., who has been reassigned to Ft. Lee, VA.

08Feb68-Brick Factory Builds Morale, Economy of Viet Villagers

   DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) - A small brick factory in this Southern I Corps village is providing the framework for not only a host of community improvements but also a more stable village economy.

   A factory, sponsored by the Americal Div.'s 4th Civic Action Platoon, grew out of the Duc Pho District's need for more bricks for schools, dispensaries, market places and the like.

   "But we have also found that it provides an excellent means of support for some of the refugees we have living here in this area," said Gt. 1.C. James Allen, of San Jose, Calif., a member of the platoon which coordinated its construction and provides nominal supervision over its activities.

   The factory consists of four hand-operated machines which allow the worker to mold a dirt-cement mixture into a structurally sound brick.

   "Before we came in and set up the factory, the people made their bricks entirely by hand and were able to make about 300 a day.

   "Now they can put out about 1,200 in a day," Allen said.

   "Another big advantage is that they can now get 65 blocks per bag of cement, where they used to be able to get only 20, and cement is sometimes hard to get over here."

   The cement and the machines were provided by the Civil Operations for Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), and the local refugees have done the rest.

   A foreman hired by Allen, is in charge of the factory, hiring his own crews.  He also pays the workers.

   Bricks from the factory, which started operations in late October, have been used to build or renovate seven schools, a market place in the neighboring village of Sa Huynh, a dispensary and several water walls.

   "I think one of the best facets of the factory is that it allows these refugees to  have a good, honest job.

   "This way they are not beggars or dregs on society, but actually performing a service to the community.  They work out here seven days a week," Allen said.

   The factory employs a crew of 15 full-time workers and more when rush orders speed up production demands.

   After the bricks are made, they are donated to the various projects.  All work on the projects is done by the local villagers who request the bricks.

   "We just finished supplying 15,000 bricks for a market place in Sa Huynh, near here.  In that case, the businessmen of the town got together and donated 120,000 piasters to hire a construction firm to do the work and we supplied the bricks.

10Feb68-Scout Copter Crew Joins Battle, Gives Good Account

   LANDING ZONE BALDY, Vietnam (IO) - A pair of OH-13 scout helicopters returning from a routine reconnaissance mission, decided to look in on an air assault and wound up killing 31 members of the 2nd North Vietnamese Army Div. three miles northwest of here.

   Their curiosity was the start of a battle which claimed 128 enemy, members of both NVA and Viet Cong units.

   At approximately 11 a.m., tube and aerial rocket artillery were preparing a landing zone near the village of Tra Kieu Nam for an air assault by elements of the 1st Bn., 35th Inf.  The elements were planning a cordon and search of the village to look for Viet Cong.

   As the barrage pounded into the landing zone; W.O. Phillip Flanagan, of Virginia Beach, Va., and W.O. George Francioni, Richmond, Va., decided to have a closer look.

   Flanagan spotted five uniformed enemy soldiers with weapons running from the scene.  Francioni opened up with an M60 machine gun and an M79 grenade launcher, killing the five.

   Suddenly, a platoon-sized element sprang up a couple of meters away in a tightly-knit group and began to run towards a stream bed east of the village.

   "It was the most I've ever seen in one group in a single area since I've been over here," recalled the 20-year-old Francioni.

   Flanagan called for aerial rocket artillery and gunships.  But everybody seemed to be busy with other missions, so the two scout ships took things in their own hands.

   The enemy broke up into small groups of 10 and scattered.

   Five tried to escape by hiding in a clump of bushes where they proceeded to fire on the scout ships.  Flanagan and Francioni and their respective doorgunners cut them down in a matter of seconds.  The ship was not hit.

   "As soon as we spotted them it was pure mass confusion,"   Francioni recalled, "I've never seen anything like it."

   While Flanagan and Francioni headed back to LZ Baldy, Maj. George D. Burrow, commander of B Troop, 1st Bn., 9th Cav. 1st Air Cav. Div., and his crew appeared on the scene.

   After receiving fire on a wide swing, Burrow directed his gunships on top of the crowded NVA and gunned down 10 along the stream bed.

   "We go an indication of their position when we received fire as we made a wide swing.  We worked on them from a distance before moving in on top of them.  By then they were really scared," said the 35-year-old major.

   Meanwhile, another company was told to stay in nearby rice paddies as the gunships poured 7,000 rounds into the enemy.  "On several occasions one NVA would shoot at us and we would uncover five or six in the bushes," said W.O. Larry Kreps, co-pilot.

   When Burrow ran out of ammo, he flew to an adjacent rice paddy and reloaded ammo from another gunship.

   On the third pass over the stream bed they killed five more NVA and Pfc. Mike Simpson, doorgunner, shot it out with one NVA who showed determination in attempting to down the gunship.  Simpson finally won out, but not before the NVA had put a scare into the crew every time he aimed his AK47 automatic rifle at the gunship.

   "We threw everything at them, expending all our M16 ammo and innumerable grenades," Kreps said after the long fight.

11Feb68-Outduels Grenade-Tossing Red with .45

   DUC PHO, Vietnam (IO) - Spec. 4 Victor M. Jamoom, a team leader in the 2nd Platoon, D Co., 3d Bn., 1st Inf., 11th Light Inf. Brigade, figures he's lucky to be alive.  At least he won't challenge hand grenades with a .45 caliber pistol again.

   Jamoom and the 2nd Platoon were on a search and clear operation about 15 miles northeast of here in the southern I Corps area, when 2nd Squad leader S. Sgt. Pinky McNeely spotted a man and woman running from the advancing troops.

   They lost the fleeing VC in a swamp, but while searching the area came across a Vietnamese hut and bunker.  The hut was empty, but the bunker had a false wall which opened into a forked tunnel.

   Jamoom grabbed a flashlight and a .45 pistol and started into the tunnel.  The hole was so small he had to shed his helmet to squeeze into the entrance.  About  half way through the tunnel he found some clothes and searched them for weapons or documents, but found none.

   "I continued into the tunnel where the bunker section led off to the right," Jamoom said.  "As I shined the light into the right section I saw a man just as he threw a hand grenade at me.

   "I fired a shot at him but missed, and he threw another grenade at me.  As I fired a second shot I remembered that I only had about two seconds before that first grenade went off.  When I started backtracking I recall saying to myself, "Don't stop!  Make it to the top.

   "I think that pile of clothes might have saved me," Jamoom said.  "There wasn't room to turn around in the passage, and I only got a few feet out when the grenade went off."  With shrapnel whizzing around him, Jamoom emerged from the tunnel without a scratch.

   When other members of the platoon began digging into  the chamber, they found that Jamoom hadn't missed with his second shot.  They also found the second grenade, which hadn't gone off.

16Feb68-Reds Lose Radio Gear To GIs of Americal Div.

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - A large cache of radio and communications equipment was found 15 miles northwest of Tam Ky by a battalion of the Americal Div.'s 196th Light Inf. Brigade.

   The cache, including 25 assorted radios and 18 field telephone sets, was found by A co., 3rd Bn., 21st Inf. under the command of Captain Paul A. Yurchak of Pittston, Pa.

   "We were on a search and destroy mission in the vicinity of the battalion's fire support base," said Yurchak, "when the second platoon found some radio equipment in a camouflaged hut during a routine search.  After intensifying the search, the third platoon found the rest of the equipment about 400 meters away."

   The cache of communications equipment was composed of six field radios, two generators, 20 varied antenna sets and parts, several testers, voltage and ampmeters, two transistor receivers and one automatic sending key base, and a few assorted items of  electrical and radio equipment, including two Soviet alarm clocks.

   Most of the equipment included in the find appeared to have been used for parts or in the cache to have repair work done.  Many of the telephones and larger radios, though, appeared to be in good working condition.

 (Note: Americal casualties were treated on the Repose in certain situations).

18Feb68-The angel of the orient steams weaponless to war

     Photo Caption -   Capt. James M. Campbell, commanding officer of the Repose (left), chats with patients being evacuated to hospitals ashore.  Lt. Cdr. John S. Lindsay, Dental Corps, performs oral surgery (above) as the Repose rides off Vietnam.


   FEW SHIPS of any naval force are without weapons of war or protective armor, but the hospital ship Repose is an angel sans disguise.

   In contrast to combat counterparts, Repose and her sister ships of mercy are awkwardly conspicuous and as vulnerable and harmless as a luxury liner.  Her construction more consistently resembles the Queen Mary than it does any ship of the American Navy, yet her mission is no less serious than the most powerful man o'war.

   "Protected" by rules of the Geneva Convention, Repose steams within sight of battle and amid hostile fire from both land and sea, fighting not with shore bombardment but with medical car, saving the lives that others aim to destroy.

   But Repose is also involved in war - sanitary and quiet as it is.  Her deadly enemies are the infectious elements of conflict against death and disease not confined to battlefields ashore.

   Following the tradition she established in World War II and later  as "Angel of the Orient" in Korea, Repose steams independently of the combatant fleet, her stark while silhouette and red crosses beckoning instead of discouraging all who seek treatment and care.

   Since arrival off the coast of South Vietnam in February, 1968, Repose had admitted more than 10,000 patients and performed over 5,000 major surgical operations.  And, her mercy mission is not only a contrast, but a countermeasure in the Vietnam war.

   Her first arrival off Chu Lai did more, however, than revive this legendary ship of the white fleet.  It immediately doubled the number of hospital beds available to the tactical zone nearest the demilitarized zone.

   Initially, the 750-bed floating hospital steamed between Chu Lai and Da Nang, headquarters of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force.  Her operating schedule includes stops offshore near Hue, Vietnam's imperial city, and Dong Ha near the 17th parallel.

   Here, at the no-man's land bordering North Vietnam, the "Angel of the Orient" currently steams in slow, graceful circles three days each week.

   Most patients are U.S. Marines and allied battle casualties form this sector which comprises 10,000 square miles, three million Vietnamese civilians and some 100,000 militarymen.

   Like any hospital, however, here service is not limited to any national or social group.  She is available to all humanity where a need exists.

   In a suite of wards called International House, Vietnamese and other Asian men, women and children - civilian and military alike - receive the most advanced medical and surgical treatment and care the United States has to offer.

   A landmark occasion occurred on Repose in August 1966, when the first open heart surgery at sea was successfully accomplished on a 13-year old Vietnamese girl.  Many others since then have been saved by use of the cardio-pulmonary bypass technique.

   Recalling a year as chief surgeon on Repose, Capt. William A. Snyder, a thoracic surgeon from Baltimore, Md., says, "We remember a lot of skinny, sick Vietnamese children who depart, often many months later."

    According to Capt. James M. Campbell of Coronado, Calif., commanding officer of Repose,  "Our humanitarian purpose just exudes and is apparent to everyone aboard."

   Repose is equipped with the most modern equipment and facilities available, including a 250-unit frozen blood bank, an artificial heart and lung machine and an ultrasonic diagnostic device similar to a sonar.

   Comparing the casualty treatment provided in Vietnam with the past, Capt. Herbert A. Markowitz, of Cleveland, Ohio says, "There are innovations and improvements in just the routine things.  It's not unusual now to give a patient 50 or 60 units of blood, but in World War II this was almost unheard of and during Korea it was not common."

   Now the third commanding officer of the hospital in Repose since here arrival in Vietnam, Dr. Markowitz was an orthopedic surgeon before World War II when he spent four years as a prisoner of war.

   Currently, he says, the mortality rate is at an all time low of about 1.4 per cent for casualty treatment.  About three-fourths of all patients admitted to Repose, however, will return to duty or a normal life and the remaining percentage of patients are transferred or evacuated to hospitals ashore for continuing treatment or recovery.

    But the mercy mission of Repose and ships like her cannot be assessed accurately by the figures alone, staggering as they sometimes are.  "Numbers are often deceiving here," says Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Donald G. Oppedal of Decatur, Ill., the senior enlisted man aboard.  "Our effectiveness is measured by individuals every time."

   Doctors, nurses, corpsmen and ship's crewmen total about 600, a small staff when compared to a large general hospital ashore.  But on Repose, all hands are constantly on call.  What's more, they cannot go home for a year.

    Photo Captions:

     1.  The hospital ship Respose awaits battle casualties and other patients off Chu Lai.  The 750-bed Navy ship has served almost continuously in the combat zone since arriving in Vietnam waters.  AT left, dawn breaks over the South China Sea as patients are removed from a chopper bringing casualties from the battlefield near the DMZ.

     2.  Below, left, a helicopter from the stores ship Mars lifts food supplies to the Repose in Da Nang Harbor.  Below, doctors perform surgery on a wounded U.S. Marine who was hit only a few minutes before.

24Feb68-Tunnel For Reds Ruined

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - A tunnel complex that stretched 1,500 feet beneath a Viet Cong village was uncovered 19 miles southeast of Chu Lai during  Operation Muscatine.

   It was the largest tunnel-bunker network discovered by units of Americal Div.'s 198th Light Inf. Brigade.

   "With the tunnels and trenches here, the VC could have held this village against a battalion."  Capt. Virgil Lee Cone of Creedmore, N.C., said after his company overran the enemy position and routed Viet Cong in a vicious half-day battle.

   "They used the tunnel as an escape route," he said.

   While infantrymen provided security, a 198th tunnel rat team led by 1st Lt. Jerry L. Bibb of Harrison, Ark., moved into the tunnel, explored its numerous entrances and exists, and mapped it.

   When the tunnel had been mapped, brigade engineers blew it with 2,400 pounds of catering charges.

25Feb68-New Label: Ol' Grandpa

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (ISO) - Crystal Dee Marzioll's grandfather doesn't fit the traditional pattern.  His "old rocking chair" is the rear seat of a Marine F-4B Phantom jet.

   The flying grandfather is 1st Lt. Joseph Marzioli, 38 of Haverhill, Mass., a radar intercept officer with Marine Figher Attack Sq. 323 at Chu Lai.

   A verteran of 17 years' Marine service, Marzioli is just a beginner as a grandparent.  Crystal was born Jan. 1`9 in Garden Grove, Calif., wihle Marzioli was there en route to Vietnam.

??Feb68-Photo Caption - Looking for Guns, Not Needles

   An Americal Div. infantryman searches a haystack for enemy weaposn and supplies during an operation near Vinh Loc in the northern sector of South Vietnam.

26Feb68-Gunner Routs Reds in Clash

   CHU LAI, Vietnam (IO) - Machine gunners are supposed to support assaults - not make them.

   But when A Co., 1st Bn., 52nd Inf., Brigade was held up by intense Viet Cong automatic weapons fire during Operation Muscatine 20 miles southwest of Chu Lai, Spec. 4 George Bekkering broke the rules.

   Spotting some cover to his front, Bekkering charged through a hail of bullets for almost 100 yards and set the stage for a complete rout of the enemy.

   Raking the Viet Cong's gun pits with flanking fire at almost point blank range, Bekkering's machine gun forced the enemy from heavily fortified hedgerow positions and the rest of A Co. came charging.

   "Two of our guys were already caught up there," Bekkering said later.  "I had to do something to help them so when the lieutenant (James Milling) said "Can you make it" I went!"