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Back To Scrap Book Volume No.17


February 17, 1969
Young Cong Victim Walks Again

  CU CHI - In 1966 Tran Van Bao stepped on a Viet Cong mine. For a child of 10, arms and legs are means of expression - running, laughing, waving. Since 1966 Bao hasn't been able to express himself in those ways.
   Initial treatment at the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi allowed the child to return to his home in Soui Cut hamlet to face the rest of his life, minus a leg, minus a hand.
   Two years followed; he managed fairly well on the bamboo crutches the villagers made for him, though in time he grew too big for them.
  Bao is not the only child afflicted by the hazards of war in Vietnam, not even in Soui Cut, but one of many. Yet he may be an example of what can be done for Vietnam's abused youth. For a man saw Bao and cared.
  When the Bau Dieu District pacification festival took place in November, Colonel Eugene M. Lynch, Green Bay, Wisc., former commander of the 2d Brigade saw and met the child and was touched by his disability.
   A father of seven children, Colonel Lynch knew the look in the eyes of the child and he saw him linger while others laughed and played.  The commander picked the boy up in his arms and carried him to an Army doctor in charge of a Medical Civic Action center at the festival and asked for help.
  Captain John C. Richards of Schenectady, N.Y., a doctor in the 12th Evac's children ward took care of Bao and got him a new set of cushioned crutches. Captain Richard Laaken, Chester, Pa., 25th Medical Battalion operations officer, coordinated Bao's transfer to a Vietnamese hospital at Nhi Dong and the boy's training with an artificial limb.
   Officers of the 2d Brigade headquarters donated the money for the limb and the former brigade civic action officer, Major Calvin Sivinson of Bangor, Maine, and his successor Major Billy May of Baylou La Batre, Ala., helped monitor and foster the program.
  Since the beginning Bao knew he had friends, even though he did not understand why. But that concern has enabled him to return to school on his own, to carry his own load.
  Today he walks without crutches. He is still not agile, but in time he will run and play.
  Best of all, Bao is only the first. The interest generated by this project has begun an effort that may provide similar help for hundreds of amputees.  With Vietnamese and United States support these children will be given the chance to live a more normal and productive life.
Story, Photos By
1LT J.N. Black
   
AT CU CHI'S 12th Evac Hospital Bao got new cushioned crutches to replace the homemade bamboo ones he used for two years. Captain Richard Laaken, Chester, Pa., 25th Medical Detachment operations officer, helped coordinate the project.
IN HIS MIND there were questions, but the looks of concern and interest explained much, and he waited in wards, clinics and corridors until they sent him home walking.
THE FIRST STEP - When Colonel Eugene M. Lynch, Green Bay Wisc., saw Bao, he was touched by the child's affliction.  He paved the way for Bao and many others like him. With Colonel Lynch are Nguyen Xuan, Bau Dieu District advisor, and Captain Nguyen Dinh Dai, ARVN liaison of the 2d Brigade.
WITH TWO LEGS TO STAND ON Bao is closer to a normal life than he ever expected. While he undergoes a time of transition, plans are being made which may give other children this same chance.
February 17, 1969

 DIVARTY's Weather Balloons Aid Arty, Aviators' Accuracy

  CU CHI - Technicians working behind the scenes at Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery, make effective artillery support with concise, accurate weather data.
   They also provide valuable information in aiding the forecasting of weather throughout Vietnam.

  Vital up-to-the-minute weather information for all DIVARTY units is provided by the ten men of the DIVARTY ground meteorological section (Metro) at Cu Chi. This information is essential for the accurate pinpoint artillery fires provided for ground troops of Tropic Lightning.
   As artillery projectiles are over the Vietnam countryside on their way to their target, they are buffeted by winds of varying speeds blowing from various directions and are affected by the density of the atmosphere and the temperature.

   To insure their accuracy, four times a day a hydrogen-filled balloon is sent aloft carrying a compact transmitter called a radiosonde, which sends back information concerning temperature, humidity and air pressure.

  The path of the balloon's ascent is tracked by a sophisticated electronic device, the ground meteorological detector.

  Metro personnel chart the balloon's path on a plotting board from which wind speed and direction at different altitudes are determined. This information is incorporated into the “MET Message” which is sent to the artillery units over radio teletype transmitter from DIVARTY RTT operators.

  The MET message is decoded by the fire direction of the artillery battery and incorporated into firing data essential for the rounds to be on target.

  These weather readings are also sent to the Cu Chi Air Force Weather Station.  They are used in forecasting the weather locally and are transmitted to Tan Son Nhut Air Base for dissemination to all weather stations in Vietnam.

  These stations use the data in local forecasting and short and long range flight planning.

  Another recipient of Divarty's metro message is the forward air control at Cu Chi. It is imperative that fighter-bombers have the latest wind data above the strike zone so the first bomb is on target.
   
SPECIALIST 4 John J. Mooney, Chicago, operates the hydrogen generator that provides the hydrogen for the Metro balloons. Weather balloons are sent aloft four times daily from Cu Chi base camp by DIVARTY Metro section. (PHOTO BY SGT KARL GUTKNECHT)
INSPECTION of the balloons is part of the job that Metro section of DIVARTY must perform.  Here Specialist 4 John J. Mooney checks the 100 gram hydrogen-filled balloon to insure that it is properly filled and sealed. (PHOTO BY SGT KARL GUTKNECHT)
MOONEY TRACKS the balloon in flight as the radiosonde sends back information to Cu Chi concerning temperature, humidity and air pressure. (PHOTO BY SGT KARL GUTKNECHT)
Lightning's First Cousin Sends Troops to RVN

  TAY NINH - The first cousin of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, the 29th Brigade, Hawaiian National Guard is now sending many troops to Vietnam, especially its company-grade officers.

  Captain Tom Perry recently arrived from Scofield Barracks, birthplace of the 25th, to become assistant operations officer for the 1st Brigade.
   Perry is one of 12 captains from the Hawaiian National Guard who were given 90 days to become combat ready. “This included extensive training in Hawaii and then a tour at the Jungle Warfare School in Panama,” said Perry.

  “The training was difficult, with survival tests, and simulated combat missions in the jungles, but I feel it was well worth it. I think we are all ready to do our jobs in Vietnam,” continued Perry.

  Perry's military career began while he was working as an industrial engineer and attending Foothill College, Los Altos, Calif. Perry joined the California National Guard and then attended Officer's Candidate School, Ft. Benning, Ga., returning to the guard in 1964 as a second lieutenant.

  Moving to Hawaii, Perry joined the Hawaiian National Guard and made First Lieutenant. He soon became an aide to Brigadier General Fredrick A. Scaffer III, commanding officer of the 29th Brigade.

  “That was my last assignment before being promoted to Captain,” continued Perry. “It was a very interesting and rewarding experience for me to be associated with the General and I am looking forward to an interesting tour in Vietnam.

  Perry's parents live in Sunnyvale, Calif., his fiancee lives in San Diego and he has “a whole regiment” of friends in Honolulu.

  Perry joins the ranks of those members of the Hawaiian National Guard who have distinguished themselves on the battlefields of Vietnam.