Hawaii Lightning News

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General Westmoreland Visits Tropic Lightning - Pleiku

Gen. Westmoreland fires the first artillery round to be sent off by the 25th Inf. Div. Artillery in combat zone since the Korean War.

General Westmoreland salutes the national colors and the 25th Inf. Div.’s 3rd Brigade flag during his visit to the brigade area near Pleiku. To General Westmoreland’s left is col. Everette A. Stoutner, the brigade commander.

PLEIKU, VIET-NAM—The first round of artillery fired by a Tropic Lightning unit in a combat zone since Korea was sent off by the highest ranking American military leader in Viet-Nam , Gen. William C. Westmoreland, during his recent tour of the 25th Inf. Div. 3rd Brigade area near Pleiku.

The grey-haired general landed in the brigade area by helicopter with a three helicopter escort. Col. Everette A. Stoutner, 3rd Bde commander, escorted the general throughout his tour.

After a brief meeting with the brigade staff, General Westmoreland and his party were escorted to the 2/9th Arty area where the general fired the first artillery round to be sent off by the 25th Inf. Div. in Viet-Nam.

‘Aloha Charlie’

Col. Everette A. Stoutner, commanding officer, 3rd Bde., presents two pineapples from Hawaii to general Westmoreland during the general’s visit to the brigade.

2nd Battalion., 9th Arty – Mighty Ninth’

General Westmoreland autographs the first artillery round to be fired in a combat zone by Tropic Lightning artillery since the Korean War.

The Viet-Nam commander told the soldiers of the "Mighty Ninth" that he was very happy to have them here, as well as the other men of the 3rd brigade.

"You men have a great reputation carried over from World War II and Korea and I am sure you will live up to it here in Viet-Nam," General Westmoreland told them.

"During my visits to Honolulu for conferences, my friends in the 25th Division would tell me that they felt kind of bad not being in this (war) over here. So when the need arose for troops in this area, I specifically asked for a brigade from the 25th Division to secure the Pleiku area.

"Now with you men here, I feel very secure," the general added.

"I kind of wish that the North Vietnamese would send a couple of PAVN divisions down here so you could chew them up," he closed.

Lt. Col. Edward F. Callanan (right kneeling), commanding officer, 1st Bn., 35th Inf., hands the first promotion of the 3rd Bde in Viet-Nam to SSgt. Charles E. Norris.

General Westmoreland talks to the men of C Btry, 2nd BN., 9th Arty.

With that, the general and his party went to the 1/35th Inf. command post where the American Forces in Viet-Nam commander met Lt. Col. Edward F. Callanan, the "Cacti Green" commander and the 1st Bn. staff.

When he arrived at the chopper pad, Colonel Stoutner presented the four star general with two fresh Hawaiian pineapples, hand carried from Honolulu specifically for that purpose.

"Those are two of the largest pineapples I have ever seen," General Westmoreland stated, "thank you very much Colonel Stoutner.

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