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Dec. 68
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Pacific Stars  and Stripes

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

Price 10 cents.



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   Viet's Only Coal Mine To Reopen

   NONG SAN, Vietnam (Special) - Vietnam's only coal mine, closed since November of 1964, may reopen in a few months if a Special Forces team and a cooperating community can pull it off.

   The coal mine at Nong San was producing 120,000 tons of coal a year until Communist activity halted shipments by river.

   Now, a recently established Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG), advised by a Special Forces A Team, commanded by Capt. Earl J. Stewart, Chicago, is reducing enemy control of the area.

   When the CIDG camp was under construction, mine owners lent a bulldozer to help clear the camp area and dig bunkers.   

   1st Lt. Timothy F. Harper, Jensen Beach, Fla., and 1st Lt. Joseph D. Tucker, Tampa, Fla., teach English classes in the town.  The team medics, Sgt. Francis W. Harris, Ft. Collins, Col, and Sgt. Scott L. Danielson, Duluth, Minn., conduct Medical Civic Action Patrols (MEDCAP) to treat the villagers, and advise the town council on health problems.

  Phan Than Khiet, chief engineer, has been removing dirt from the open-pit mine to expose the coal and has also been getting the machinery in shape for expanded operation.  He has plans to bring in machinery to more than double the mine's output, and increase employment to 1,500.

14Dec68- Photo

   Phantom Landing on a Sudsway

   A Marine F4 Phantom piloted by Maj. Carl E. Black kicks up a tail of foam as it makes a two-wheeled landing at Chu Lai.  a hydraulic failure prevented lowering of the aircraft's left wheel.  It took two attempts, but Black landed safely with only slight damage to the aircraft of Marine Fighter-Attack Sq. 314.  (USMC)


   14 Die, 30 Hurt In Crash of C123 At Viet Airstrip

   SAIGON (AP) - A U.S. Air Force C123 Provider with 40 passengers and 4 crewmen aboard crashed Tuesday a mile and a half south of Chu Lai.

   The U.S. Command said first reports indicated 14 persons were killed and most of the 30 others aboard were injured.

   An Air Force spokesman said the twin-engined transport cart-wheeled and burst into flames minutes after taking off from the Chu Lai airstrip 58 miles south of Da Nang.

   "An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the accident," the spokesman said.

   Names of the victims were withheld pending notification of kin.

   The spokesman said 10 of the survivors suffered burns and three were in serious condition.  The others suffered scratches and bruises as they were thrown or crawled free of the wreckage.  All aboard were believed to be Americans.

   "We don't know if it was hit by enemy ground fire or not," the spokesman said.  "It had just taken off and it would have been easy to hit at that low an altitude.  There was no indication of aircraft failure."


   73 Reds Slain in 9-Hour Duel


     S&/s Staff Correspondent

   SAIGON - A North Vietnamese army company was all but wiped out Wednesday in a nine-hour duel with Americal Div. troopers near the town of An Hoa.  The Reds lost 73 dead.  Only three U.S. troopers were wounded.

   The battle began as three companies form the 196th Light Inf. brigade's 2nd Bn., 1st Inf., were preparing to leave nigh defensive positions in the jungle, south of Da Nang.  the Americans spotted about 10, Communists moving through the thick underbrush.

   Shooting broke out almost instantly.  After 30 of the comrades had been killed, the enemy broke and ran.  Trying to escape to the southwest, the NVA ran into another company of Americal troopers.

   Air Force fighter-bombers were called in to keep the enemy from escaping again.  Then artillery and gunship choppers were brought in to finish the job.

   When the fighting was over, the Americans found and enemy base camp under construction, plus several shallow graves containing the bodies of eight other Communist soldiers killed previously.  It was determined 14 of the enemy killed in the fight were  Viet Cong who had been with the NVA.

   Elsewhere in the northern provinces Wednesday, American Marines teamed with South Vietnamese Regional Force troops to kill 14 of the enemy in an arc about 15 miles northwest of Quang Ngai city.  The allies had no casualties.

  Communist gun crews hit four American Army outposts.  Wednesday with mortar and rocket fire, causing only light casualties.  No damage was reported in any of the attacks.   

   The Communist's first target was a 1st Air Cav. Div. landing zone, 11 miles southeast of Katum in Tay Ninh Province.  The outpost took about 20 rounds of 82mm mortar fire.

   At about the same time, 30 rounds of mixed 107mm rocket and 82mm mortar fire were lobbed into another 1st Air Cav. Div. landing zone, about 10 miles southeast of An Loc.

   Later in the evening, a unit of the 1st Air Cav. Div. holding a night defensive position nine miles north of Bien Hoa was hit with about 10 rounds of 60-mm mortar fire.  Elsewhere a similar position held by the 25th Inf. Div. four miles east of Trang Bang, was also attacked with 10 rounds of 82mm mortar fire.


   GI's Small in Size But Not in Action

   CHU LAI, Vietnam, (Special)

- When one thinks of a combat hero, he pictures an over six-foot, 200-pound "John Wayne" type soldier who carries a machine gun in one hand and a hand grenade in the other.

   Would you believe a five foot six-inch, 105-pound Puerto Rican called "Pee Wee"?

   Pee Wee is the hero of A Co., 4th Bn., 31st Inf., Infantry, of the Americal Div.'s 196th Inf. Brigade "Chargers."

   Pee Wee, otherwise known as PFC Julio Colon, of Santurce, Puerto Rico, won his claim to fame in the recent seven-day battle for Nui Chom Mountain, 26 miles northwest of Tam Ky.

   The week long battle cost the NVA 65 dead, 25 AK47's captured, one machine gun, 29 82mm mortar rounds, two 82mm mortar sights and 20 NVA packs.

   It all began when Pee Wee made the first enemy contact.

   "Our CO told me that if I could find an enemy weapon, he would give me a three-day pass," said Pee Wee, a "tunnel rat."

   "I was searching about 400 meters from the company, when I found a tunnel with about 20 NVA packs in it," he said.  "I started to pick up one of the packs and take it back when three NVA came up behind me.

   "Being little like I am, I guess they though I was one of them because they called me by some Vietnamese name.  I turned around and fired one shot with my .45 and took off," he exclaimed.  "I knew I couldn't go back the same trail, so I circled around and tried to lose them."   

   Pee Wee finally managed to get back to his company where a platoon was sent out to verify his story.

   "We went back to the tunnel, but all we could find was one enemy weapon," he said.

   Pee Wee didn't know it at the time, but his little episode with the three NVA led to the exposure of an estimated battalion size NVA force.

   Pee Wee was awarded his three-day pass and elected to spend it at the "Charger Hotel" in Chu Lai.


Pfc. Follows 18 Footsteps

  CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special)

- When Pfc Juhle F. Dean, (Tacoma, Wash), B Co., 4th Bn., 3rd Inf., 11th Inf Brigade, joined the Army he was following in his brothers' footsteps - 18 brothers to be specific.  The son of a retired Army major, Juhle Dean comes from a family of 22 boys and one girl.  All told there are 18 of the Dean brothers in the Army at the present time, all enlisted men and all of them with Infantry MOSs.  One brother joined the Marines.

   "When I was at Ft. Lewis, my father came for a visit." he said.  "There were 12 of us there at the time.  We really had a celebration."

   When asked if his father had encouraged his sons to join the Army Pfc Dean replied "Not really, we all decided on it ourselves.  I guess we all just got the same Idea."

   Pfc Dean volunteered for Vietnam.  When he arrived, five of his brothers were waiting for him.  Now the only remaining Dean in Vietnam, he has six months left in his tour.  His father plans to give a party in his honor when he returns, with as many of his brothers as he can round up.

   "I plan to reenlist for three years and get into mechanics," he said.  "That's what I did as a civilian." And what of the three brothers who haven't been in the service.  "When the time comes it's their decision," he said.

   Displaying a picture of a very pretty girl, he said with a glint in his eye, "When I leave Vietnam I want to get married."  And then hesitating he said, "And maybe raise a big family, like my father did."

30Dec68 - Humor

   Viet Hit Parade

   SAIGON (Special) - The newest listing of the "Top Ten" record hits have just been listed by an unknown poll-taker stationed here.  The following are those selected:

   1.  "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" performed by the 41st Signal Bn. choir.

   2.  "Catch Us If You Can" sung by the Viet Cong to the 1st Cav. Div.

   3.  "Run Baby Run" sung by the 173rd Airborne escaping a Viet Cong ambush.

   4.  "Singing In The Rain" by a long range recon squad on night patrol.

   5.  "Strangers In the Night" by the combined Viet Cong-U.S. Army choirs.

   6.  "Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain" performed by the U.S. Army during the monsoon season.

   7.  "Wipe Out" by the 1st Cav. to a trapped Viet Cong battalion.

   8.  "No Milk Today" sung by the cooks at the 31st Signal Bn. mess hall.

   9.  "Dear John" by the unfaithful sweethearts.

  10.  "Ring of Fire" by the ROKs to Charlie during Tet in Qui Nhon.

27 & 31Dec68   (A/123rd Avn Bn)

   Copter Tangles with Tiny 'UFO'

  CHU LAI, Vietnam (Special) - Except for the flying saucer, the flight would have been one of those routine hops form Da Nang.

   WO1 Joseph E. Clark, a pilot with the Americal Div.'s 123rd Aviation Bn., had turned the controls of his UH1B [sic] (Huey) over to his co-pilot, WO1 Roger "Seymour" Loomis shortly after departing Da Nang.

   "We were flying 'feetwet' (over the ocean) that morning and had just buzzed past the battleship New Jersey, about five miles south of Hoi An, when I spotted the 'thing' out of the corner of my eye," Clark said, half smiling.

   There, in front of the chopper, and at about half its altitude of 1600 feet, was the strangest aircraft the aviator had ever seen.

   It was first thought to be an H13 model helicopter, but as the Huey neared the UFO the two pilots, an unidentified passenger and the crew all noticed the absence of a tail boom and most conspicuously, a pilot.

   Without further delay Clark, fighting an impulse to make a 180-degree turn, took control of the helicopter to seek out the unknown.

   "It was heading toward the sea at about 30 knots so I slowed our speed from 110 knots," Clark continued, "dropped to 800 feet, and pulled right up alongside a gray, white, and silver tail-less aircraft with a rotor system and skids.  There were no markings or a pilot visible.

   "As we watched, the UFO flew under the chopper.  I did my best to keep close without risking a collision, but every time I approached it would move away and change course.  After about 20 minutes of playing with the saucer I decided to report my sighting for further guidance."   

   With some reluctance, the 11-month Vietnam veteran radioed the artillery warning net (Sav-A-Plane) (*comment ?Salvation was the name of the net?) located at

Chu Lai.

   "I want to report a UFO five miles south and one-half mile east of Hoi An . . . looks like a little helicopter . . . . but no one's flying it."

   As he had feared, the net came alive with the chortles of disbelieving pilots monitoring the unlikely conversation.

   "Okay, UFO! Whaddya got up there, a flask?  I suppose you've seen little green men!"

   Advised to refrain from further action with what was likely to be a monitoring craft from the New Jersey, the beleaguered pilot turned his craft south and headed for Chu Lai.  Naval officials with the Naval Support Activity Detachment (NSAD) at Chu Lai later confirmed the UFO was probably a "DASH" (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter) radio-controlled from a destroyer providing security for the big battleship.

   Clark admits that after close observation of his UFO he was pretty certain it wasn't extraterrestrial.

   "I was going to shoot it down at first, but I didn't want to risk and international . . . or interplanetary . . . incident!"