Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on January 7, 1971 · Page 31
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Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 31

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Alton, Illinois
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Thursday, January 7, 1971
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Page 31
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B-16 Alton Evening Telegraph Thursday, Jan. 7, 1971 Forces*, casualties at low level Vietnam: second decade By GEORGE ESPER Associated T»ress Writer SAIGON (AP) — This week the United States starts iis second decade of direct involvement in Indochina. Reflecting a course of disengagement, American forces are at their lowest, numerical level in more than four years. So are battlefield casualties. The direct American effort Is generally dated from Jan. 1, 1961. That year U Americans were killed in action. In 1968, the toll was near 15,000. That was the peak year; this year's deaths have been less than a third of the 1968 total. In all, move than 44,00ft Americans have been killed in action in 10 years. The total of American lives lost, counting accidents and disease, has reached 53,000 in atbulalions of the U.S. Command. The focal point of U.S. involvement in the war has subtly shifted for the time being to a 6,000-milu network of mountain passes, dirt roads and river crossings in the southern panhandle of Laos called the Ho Chi Minn trail. It is North Vietnam's highway into the South. Action in South Vietnam has been scaled down to almost entirely small-unit clashes during the past year, but the United States is still uncertain of the Communist side's intentions. Hopes have been abandoned for a military victory. U.S. officials are pessimistic about a political settlement. "We will come to a situation where we have neither war nor peace," says President Nguyen Van Thicu, whose Saigon regime has U.S. backing. One of the allies' main adversaries, Tran Nam Trung, commander of the Viet Cong armed forces says: "The South Vietnam National Front for Liberation has laid down the people's war line, which consists in carrying out a nationwide, all-around and protracted war." American troop strength, at a peak of 543,000 in April 11)0!), has been pared to slightly under 340,000. By May 1, 60,000 more troops are scheduled to be gone. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam is now at its lowest level since October, Ifififi. and battlefield deaths in 1!)70 were the lowest in five years, 'they dropped by more than 50 |>IT cent compared to IflfiO, when U.S. troops fought their last major battle in South Vietnam at Hamburger Hill. Many a field commander has been known to say, "We don't want another Hamburger Hill." U.S. forces launched a major ol'fensiu- against the hill and suffered heavy casualties, triggering ;i storm of controversy in Congress. Some U.S. officers see the next two months as critical. "A couple of months will tell the story," says one American, "how much sup- lilies and how many men the North Vietnamese can got down the Ho Chi Minh trail. what assets they can count on to do anything with." The dry season now dominates Laos, I ho lime when the North Vietnamese historically move supplies and reinforcements southward into Cambodia and South Vietnam. Military sources say the trail network has dried out after a longer than usual rainy season spawned by the. s out h w e s t monsoons and extended by typhoons. Tons of supplies are beginning to flow southward from mountain passes in North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese have beefed tip their air defenses to protect the supply route. Laotian government forces hold a string of small bases and camps on the eastern edge of the Holovens Plateau overlooking the trail network. From these bases and camps, irregular forces, including mercenaries hired by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, conduct surveillance and harassment operations along the trail. In the past two months, the N o r t h Vietnamese have overrun four bases edging the plateau but have failed to take the biggest base, called Site TL on military maps. That is a likely locus of a North Vietnamese offensive aimed at extending control over southern Laos to insure a steady flow of troops and supplies into South Vietnam. With heavy North Vietnamese backing. I he Communist I'athet Lao now control about two - thirds of Laos, a land-locked country bordered by China. Vietnam, c a m I) o d i a . Thailand and Burma. Koyal Laotian sources say- that although the I'athel Lao hold at least two-thirds of the territory they control less than half the population of alimil two million. There are varying estimates of North Y'ieif'amose and Viet Cong strength in Indochina. U.S. sources in Saigon esii- male 240.11110 to liHUKXl North Vietnamese troops are in South Vietnam and Cambodia and in sanctuaries just inside Laos arid just a!)o\e Hie (lemilifari/ed /.one between the two Vielnams. Of this number. -10,000 are said to be in Cambodia, including four North Vietnamese and Viet Cong divisions that had fought against the allies in South Vietnam. These .sources estimate Ilial 50,000 North Vietnamese troops and 50.000 I'alhel Lao are operating throughout Laos. The allies have under MO.OOO American troops, more than one million South Vietnamese, about I lit),000 Cambodians. 50.000 Hoyal Laotian regular army troops and 20,000 Laotian irregulars. There are also 50,000 South Koreans. 12,000 Thais, and about 5,1100 Australians and Now Xealanders. Some of these allied forces also are slated for pullout as the U.S. withdrawal proceeds. In Cambodia, the North Vietnamese have made gains and hold large chunks of the northeastern sector. Some military experts in Saigon and Plinoin Penh feel that the North Vietnamese could put even more pressure on Cambodia if they wanted to. "They haven't been as tough as one would expect in Cambodia," said one analyst. "It could be that, they don't want to be as lough as they have been in the, past in Vietnam. The si'untion is different. "Here in South Vienam. 'he \orlh \ iftna'iiCM' and \ ;<•! Com 1 have an ititra^tnicturc of tlfir own. Tlic\ really aren't prepared for a Miariou yovenuneiil in Cambtiili-'. The ai'ca (hey .-ire inleresied in is Smith Vietnam. IM;' ' am- bodi;i." "Cambodia :s just ami'her jumping oil poini." said another ana'v 1 -'. " I'hey are fiii.hlini: the Cambodians there to keep their siip'i!' lines open, to re - establish their supply svstoiii into South Vietnam," Most experts <-<•(• a con- I i n u a lion of small-scale frjlilini' in South Vietnam for several months, will" enemy forces emphasi/ing guerrilla warfare and terror attacks. Captured documents indicate that Hie main objective in their 1071 spring campaign is to wreck the Saigon government's pacification program, which seeks to secure the more than li!,!"!ll villages in South Vietnam. T h c Silicon gnuTnmont claims thai more than !)(! per cent of approximately IK million residents live in relative security in an.',is under government control. Another indicator of intentions is intelligence data that the Communist command has deactivated four North Vietnamese and Viet Cong regiments and 17 battalions in the 3rd Military Hegion. 'Ihis includes Saigon anil 11 surrounding provinces. "The troops in these deactivated units have -been sent down to work with guerrillas and local-force units in the villa g e s for squad-type operations." said one intelligence expert. "The enemy's goal is to discredit and defeat the pacification program." Several sources report none of the usual intelligence indicators that the Communist command is planning a large- scale offensive in South Vietnam during the Tel lunar new year festival in I IK; last, week of January. This <s not entirely ruled out, however. T h e Viet Cong have declared a four-day cease-fire for Tel 1071. They'also called a truce, for the holiday in ]!)««, then launched their biggest offensive of the war. Although mostly guerrilla warfare is anticipated in 1971, sources expect occasional attacks on towns and sieges of isolated border camps. (•'or the most part, says one Saigon official. "1 see no large force confrontation in I h e cards, Hanoi is p r e s u m a bly under some pressure." While Communist-led forces have made wide gains in Cambodia and Laos, the South Vietnamese have taken the initiative in their own country and have swept across !hc border mi several occasions to help Cambodia. In South Vietnam. the Saigon forces have taken over virtually all of the tough battle /.ones from the Americans, who have been pulled back into the interior as local security and backup forces. So u t h Vietnamese battlefield deaths in 107(1 were I i v e I o I d those of the Americans. The Saigon forces suffered nearly 20,000 men killed in action, including 'close to 1,500 in Cambodia. The Saigon government's strategy is to keep its regular army forces along the border areas of Cambodia and Laos to block any advance into South Vietnam, while more than 500,000 militia troops secure towns and villages and seek to destroy the Viet Cong underground. T h i e u . anticipating a possible political settlement or a standstill cease-fire, has made destruction of the underground his lop priority. Thieu acknowledges it still is troublesome. The United Stales' No. 1 priority in the next, few months is the bombing of the llo Chi Minh trail and the arming of .'id,000 more Cambodian troops. U.S. officials say that the allied raids into Cambodia last spring against North Vietnamese base camps and sanctuaries s e t. the enemy back several months and upset supply lines. The rainy season followed the raids, thus hampering North Vietnamese efforts to rebuild. new car This Japanese-made Honda car is among 100 unsold 1969 models being demolished in Portland because they have defective heating and defrosting units. AP Wirephoto) Piloting helicopter near 4 Z' scary TRI, Vietnam (AP) — There's always that tight feeling in the gut when a man flies a helicopter gunship near the "Zee," the demilitarized •/one that divides the Iwo Vielnams. Scared? "If I said no I'd be lying," grins Capt. Robert Barthhelmess. "This is where the war is, bad guy country, 12 miles below the pink line. Anything thai isn'l ours is theirs. You try to kill it." The yawning canopy welcomes his stocky frame as he prepares to lake off. liotors croon, then snarl as the Cobra helicopter trembles and comes lo life. The ground recedes. Airborne in an olive green death machine and Barthhelmess feels .better. A noseful of guns, rocket pods under his armpits and only 42 inches wide, "which doesn't, give Charlie a lot to . shoot at." Once Barthhelmess was a cabinet-maker in Vallejo, Calif. The U.S. Army invested $500,000 to make him a Cobra jockey, a killer. Now he has to decide whether to zap Charlie with 20mm cannon or 40mm grenades, spray him with 4,000 rounds a minute from his 7.G2mm minigun, of "frag" him with rockets containing 2,500 deadly H/&inch nails. One error in judgment or one well-placed enemy bullet and the Cobra could become $451,000 worth of scrap metal on Ihe green hills below. The mission is simple—two Cobra gunships to fly cover for a light observation helicopter (LOH) and a larger Huey chopper carrying a seven-man aero rifle platoon into enemy territory across Hie Thach Han River. The Huey will insert the riflemen and extract six tired grunts who've been humping the bush for two days. Only 12 miles south of the demilitarized zone, the destination is crawling with North Vietnamese regulars. Gunships reported seven "kills" there the previous week. Barthhelmess is high gun, about 200 feet above the Huey. The LOH scouts at treetop level, covered by the other protective Cobra. Chatter becomes more brisk as the river snakes into view. "LZ at 9 o'clock. Looks like a good one." "No sign of bad guys." The LOH darts over a grassy knoll, a smoke flare marks the landing zone and Barthhelmess' w i n g m a n makes a fast flyover. The Huey follows, dropping the riflemen and evacuating the grime-covered men on the ground. As they climb aboard, Barthhelmess goes into a screaming 80-degree dive right above their heads to distract any hostile gunners. But he draws no fire, the Huey lifts off and the. choppers turn homeward. The blackened faces of the grunts split in white grins as the Cobra pulls near the Huey and Barthhelmess flips a "V" sign. During the Christmas rush, a lot of our furniture and appliances got soiled, scratched and dented, We are cleaning up this stock and to do it fast, many items are below cost, Most items are only only one of a kind, so hurry — These items sold as is, but all appliances fully guaranteed, , MATTRESS CLEARANCE SIMMONS- Floor sample—as is FULL SIZE Johnson Carper— 2-Pr. Colonial Illith Hack LIVING ROOM SUITE (.iruen Tweed nylon rover Reduced S to 297°" Johnson Carper— 2-pc. Modern LIVING ROOM SUITE 3-Pc. Mediterranean Style BEDROOM SUITE Triple dresser, chest & lied Res- IjiiH !).!)5 Reduced $ t Q(l<>0 llolnolni Antnmallc WASHER Deluxe—li-speed miilti-evcle with Pcraiancni 1M"-". i. Res. $HI«.!)5 I'Motir Sample AO 00 Reg. $79.95— $ reduced to ... QUEEN SIZE Both pcs. Mattress & Box Spring Reg. $199.00 reduced $ QQ 00 KING SIZE Mis-matched complete set — Mattress & 2 Box Springs Reg. $299.00 ,$ 1 M Q 00 reduced to • "** complete all 3 pcs. Covey—Colonial 3 CUSHION SOFA Solid maple trim — Ueauuiul tweed cover. Hog- .f 10U.lt5 Reduced $ 4AO 00 to 298 Oul They $«/[ I no (i,, At fcti IM'c. .lohnson Carper LIVING ROOM SUITE Modern Slyle Ko\'al Hlue Nylon ('over. Res- $:<7IUir> Reduced $1 lo M'e. Johnson Carper Mcdllcr- raii-an style LIVING ROOM SUITE Anllqiie Dak —.. Wood 'I i ini Ri'S. $50.'UI5 Redlieeil SOfni 1 " i,> jy i .Inlinson Carper SOFA licl;:e !• I'd at I 'o\ ei A he.nil il ,il piece Ren. .Si:il7.il.") lo '213 Ilioyhlll :i-IV. I riMK'h I'rmlm'lal BEDROOM SUITE lii'i;. XI III. (Ill lo Only l-'.nrelin !'rlne-ss VACUUM CLEANER Wilh Ihe new viliralor carpel, luol c'oinplele will) atlachnienls Res. $fli).!)5—Save SI0.00 No\v S Only RECLINER CHAIRS Nylon '.I'm and hack. Vinyl cov- (M'ed anus and louirest. Choice of colors— Res. $117.1)5—While 7 I .list Reduced 8TQOO to Ward-Mediterranean Style Sollil BEDROOM SUITE Extension table I leaf 4 chairs — with wood grain :>lasiic top. HOB. $7».»5 Slashed to 2-Pc. Johnson Carper LIVING ROOM SUITE Vinyl cover. Gold, black, or 1'i'cen colors. Res. $«»!U>5 Reduced $n«k I 00 Heal Hot Harcain SCHWEIGER CLUB CHAIR Brown Hvecd cover — T cushion Floor .Sample, 1 only REAL BARGAIN Matched pair Hotpoint Deluxe AUTOMATIC WASHER and deluxe electric dryer. Avocado color—Chipped lleo- $579.95 Slashed to Rocker Recllner— CONTOUR CHAIR Reg. $90.50 Reduced $fiQOO to *68° '350° Both Pieces 5-Pc. Round DINETTE SET Extension Table—1 leaf—with 4 Chairs Reduced. $C I 00 to $C I U I Reduced $| to 69 00 S 78 Re«. SH!U)5 lieilllced .SO | COO lo 316 DINETTE SET :MI in. Uomul Talile 1--I1 1 " Ic.n. copper li't..,_. Walnut word .•! .nn phr. lie loo — I lliji ll.ii k cli.ni • Ki-H. $1511.115 REAL BARGAIN ti.K. Swivel Top Vacuum cleaner Complete \vil!i Attach meats Ui'U. S5D.W5 Slashed lo Spanish Style SOFA By Avers. Wood Irfm — very tin- cst quality ................. Res. $1105 [{educed *OCQ no Johnson Oirpcr Spanish Style CLUB CHAIR Beautiful velvet covers, 1 only Res. $11)7.1)5 Hoov SuiiiMlo $ I O COO Reduced to IWV 2-l'c. Ilidc-Away BED SUITE Complete with rubber mattress. Res. !ji3!)l).05 Clearance $|QCOO i.,.j..e lao 7- PC. chromcral'l DINETTE SET Bin 2 leal' Table — (i (.'hairs — Hues! Quality Reg. ,SI8!U»0 Reduced $ I QQ°° SIMMONS HIDE-A BEDS Floor Samples— As $AAOO Artistic HIDE-AWAY BED Colonial High Back Maple wood trim Res. $370.00 Reduced to Complete stock of Lazy-Boy RECLINER CHAIRS Re'duced — Some As $AAOO IMW As vJf Posture Form HIGH BACK CHAIR 1 only—Floor sample Rvg. $110.95 Reduced to BABY CRIB $ WITH WATliRl'KOOl- INNliRSI'lUNU MATTH^SS—BEO. 39 95 THOUSANDS OF OTHER ITEMS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION-REDUCED SOME BELOW COST-COME SEE AND SAVE NOW!!! FREE PARKING EMART 145 E. FERGUSON AVE.-WOOD RIVER, ILL—PHONE 254-0631 EASY TERMS — OR — 90 DAYS SAME AS CASH!

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