The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on January 3, 1967 · Page 5
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 5

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Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 3, 1967
Page:
Page 5
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Boi Loi Is VC's Unyielding Bastion By HORST FAAS I BOI LOI WOODS, South Vietnam (AP) — There's a deadly stillness in the Boi Loi Woods. No birds sing as the sun rises. Trees that once blanketed the forest with green are charred. They stick up black and stark, like splintered spires. The usual jungle night sounds of scurrying animals are missing. Even the trill of the cicada is gone. "Everything in its right mind has gotten out of here. . .except the Viet Cong," a GI said. His outfit ol the U.S. 25th Infantry Division was making another attempt to crack open this battered but unyielding bastion of the Viet Cong. Steel-shod troop carriers of the division'* 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, were rolling in. Infantrymen stayed on the outskirts because of the thousands of enemy mines and boobytraps that The Communists had stayed around despite more than a year of smashing by jets and B52 Stratoforts with 1,000-pound bombs; by artillery shells; by fiery napalm and white phosphorous. They only burrowed deeper. The woods, covering 10 square miles, are on the southern bank of the Saigon River about 30 miles northwest of Saigon. The position is valuable to the Viet Cong. It has excellent access to War Zone C to the north- est and War Zone D to the east. And here the guerrillas can receive supplies both overland and from the river. It has become a showplace of their resistance. In the late 1930s the French earmarked this area for a rubber plantation. Before it could be established, Red guerrillas moved in and took over. After years of avoiding the woods, the Saigon government sent in a Ranger battalion on New Year's Eve, 1963, The Rangers penetrated the inner sanctuary. Then the Viet Cong closed a spider's web and strangled the battalion into submis- sion. | Several months later a Viet-i lamese airborne brigade tried o clean out the dreaded Boi iOi. The troops walked into an amazing network of tunnels and >unkers. Again the Viet Cong iprang their trap. The defeat of the airborne so itunned the government that no urther campaigns were tried lere until the Americans ar- ived. Vietnamese and American air orces bombed the woods. On me occasion they lathered it with defoliants, gasoline and mpalm. The resulting fire ilazed so fiercely that an officer n Saigon told a news conference "the Boi Loi Woods are no more!" He didn't know that a late- >reaking torrential rainstorm was at that moment drenching the fire. From that time on, the woods were a free-bomb zone. Planes returning to Saigon and Bien ioa airbases unloaded their unexpended ordnance there. The U.S. 25th Infantry Division moved in last spring. To the Americans the Boi Loi Woods were not the terrible place the Vietnamese had come to think it was. The GIs pushed through, and the Viet Cong t tried to stand and fight. The Comu- nists took the worst of it against the mobile armor and modern weapons. The Viet Cong stopped standing and resorted to hit-and-run swipes, antitank mines, pellet- spewing Claymore - type mines and ingenious boobytraps. This was costly to foot soldiers, and the casualty figures rose. Armored units took over the attacks. This was the situation as the 1st Battalion of the 5th Cavalry headed toward the woods recently. : We usually figure On losing about 10 APCS (armored per- sonel carriers) on an operation," one young officer said on the third day of a five-day operation. "We've had seven knocked out so far," he said, "so 10 should be about right this time, too." Tr.2 men had adapted their riding habits to the mines and, despite the loss of vehicles, there wasn't a similarly high casualty rate. Tankmen keep their arms at their sides and their feet tuked up with them as they sit outside the carriers. 'When we hit one of those Alpha Tangoes (antitank mines), it usually blasts the turret clean off," a soldier said. "Guys with their arms hanging over the edge of the armor plating will be carried off right with it. If they keep their arms at their sides the turret probably will just fly off and leave them okay except for a few bruises and scratches." As their vehicles clattered ahead, the men saw signs that ,he bunkers and tunnels they lad destroyed on their last visit lad been rebuilt. "There, you see that!" one man shouted. "What is Charley doing? He knows he can't win. We beat him and beat him and he just keeps fixing the dammed things again. "How many times do we have to destroy this stuff." The battalion rumbled into an expansive empty base camp ,with bunkers, deep tunnels and fortifications. It was so large the vehicles pulled back, and a strike by B52s was ordered. The big bombs screeched down in a tight pattern that covered the camp. Next morning the armor rolled back in. Wherever the men spotted a still-useable position they called Skyraider fighter-bombers to zero in with special 1,000-pound deep-penetration bombs. To cap the process, they placed 55-gallon barrels of powdered riot-control gas in the large craters. Demolition men set time fuses on the barrels that exloded them after the carriers moved away. Some of the GIs who had not CHOP ART is the new form used by Francis Hutchins of New York, who uses a chain saw to create animal figures. Hutchins says the chain saw makes it possible to carve fast enough to make a living out of wood sculpture. put on their gas masks got a :aste of the nauseating gas, which would stay in the area for as long as 14 days. As the battalion moved away, one man muttered through his mask: "Well, we've given them everything the U.S. government will allow — riot gas, the napalm, the biggest bombs they'll let us drop, and the best damned troopers you'll find anywhere. "But, you know, I've got a pretty good hunch somebody could come back here in three weeks, and old Charley will have this place in shape again. 'Have to do it all over again." Currency of the United States acquired the name of "greenbacks" because of the green printing on the reverse of the otes. QUICK QUIZ Q _ When was ttie word "motel" first used? A — In 1925 in connection with an establishment opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The name was coined by the architect, and the place was first called and advertised as a "Motel Inn." Q — In symbolism what does a feathered arrow represent? A — War; while a quill pen stands for peace. 'OTords offer SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic... fully automatic and My manual. You cant get flexibility like that on oris aj Put Ford's SelecfShift Cruise-O-Matic on "D" and you have the finest automatic transmission in the industry. Or you can select the gear for every road or driving condition you meet and it will stay there until yon change ft. Other car makers may claim their automatic transmissions are manual, too. But see how much manual control they give you when you want to bold in second. On stow cornets they'll drop back into low... svrtomafleany. On wet or slippery surfaces you can't start in second without going through low. Get the full, uncensored story on two-way shifts from your Ford Dealer. SelectShift B just one of the better ideas Ford offers . . . like a Convenience Control Panel, Comfort-Stream Ventilation and the two- way wagon Magic Doorgate ... on the strongest, quietest Fords in history. Quieter because it's stronger...stronger because it's better built! You're «h«ld In « Ford FORD PHILLIPS FORD SALES Broadway at Chiekasawba Blyth«vill«, Ark. BIythevllle (Ark.) Courier Newa - Tuesday, January 3, !M7-Pagt Sevei> Traffic Deaths Down By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The nation's traffic-death toll during the extended New Year weekend dropped sharply from last year's record and was below estimate made by saftey experts. During the 78-hour holiday period, from 6 p.m., (local time) Friday to midnight Mondy, 446, persons lost their lives in traffic accidents. The total compared to 564 traffic fatlaities during last year's three-day New Year weekend, the record high for any year-end holiday. The National Safety Council, which had estimated that motor vehicle accidents would result in between 460 and 540 deaths, said motorist were driving more safely and the toll "proves that improvement is possible." "Drivers appear to be doing a better and safe job than would be expected on the basis of past performance," a council spoke- man aid. He said that although there was some snow and rain in scattered areas, weather conditions QUICK QUIZ Q — Does the Library of Congress keep in its permanent files one copy of every book ever published in the United States? A — No. The copyright law permits the librarian of Congress to determine which books and articles shall be retained in the library's permanent collection and which shall be placed in its reserve collection, or otherwise disposed of. Q — How many points does the "Star of David" have? A — Six. The star or shield is composed of two triangles pointing in opposite directions. Q - What is the Septuagint? A — A Greek version of the books of the Old Testament; so- called because the translation is supposed to have been made jby 72 Jews, who, for the sake jof round numbers, are usually j called the "Seventy Interpreters." Q — Which is the longest bridge in the world outside the United States? A — The Premier Antonio Salazar Bridge over the T a g u s River in Portugal. The 3,323- foot span was opened in August 1966. had little to do with the final toll. The council had expresed hope that the death toll would be only slightly above that of a three-day, nonholiday weekend. The Associated Press, for comparative purpoes, counted . Ml death over a 78-hour weekend period of Dec. 9-12. The lowest highway death toll for any three-day New Year period since World War II was 69 In 1949. The alltime record for a long holiday weekend was set during last year's four-day Thanksgiving period when 748 peron were killed. No Takers BURLINGTON. Vt. (AP) or Fthe sixth year in a row, .no one has coected on an offer by the Burington Free Press to pay funera expenses of those who aid they woud drink and drive during the hoidays. The newspaper said 15 persons signed up for the period from 10 p.m. Chritmas Eve to 6 a.m. New Year' Day. bringing the six-year tola for the offer to 141. 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