Saber Article Index

1999 May-Jun

MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
Mike Bodnar
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
1704 254-542-1961
E-mail: mbodnar27@juno.com

Make right the master of might. Neither service to treason, dereliction of duty, perjury, adultery, hypocrisy, lying, deception, nor contempt shall keep the Black Knight from doing his duty-and picking up his paycheck. A correction is noted to this column in the previous Saber issue: "All flights with specified wounded were to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital." Long Binh had two evacuation hospitals: the 93rd Evac and the 24th Evac. To say the 94th Evac in the last Saber issue was apparently a mnemonic slip on my part.

MAIL CALL! Since the last issue gunner Mike SMITH writes in to remind everyone about the 15th Med Association Reunion, May 1-2, in Las Vegas. That will be history when you read this.

I flew in MEDEVAC at the same time as Mike-or tater as he goes by on screen, being from Idaho-until he went stateside prematurely due to wounds received when his helicopter was shot down on 16 May 70. You can view Mike's Web site: <HTTP: index.htm page2 mvandco members.aol.com> or send e-mail to him: MVANDCO@AOL.COM to find out about their reunion.

 I was contacted by Randy CAVANAUGH who was a medic in C Co 15th Med in '68 and he wanted information about that same mentioned reunion so I put him in touch with SNORE. Randy's address is: P.O. Box 87161, San Diego, CA 92138.  I should mention that I got a letter from Marc "Doc" LEVY who was 3rd platoon medic for D 1\7 Cav in '70. He says that he was on LZ COMPTON, GREEN, FRANCIS and UNIS, briefly on GRANITE, briefly at Bo Dop. In Cambodia he was on LZ RANCH (overrun) BRONCO and CORRAL. He says he humped mostly in Song Be Province; An Loc, Loc Ninh, Tay Ninh.  Marc wrote to tell me that he liked my photos that I have posted on the Internet which can be viewed and start at: <HTTP: galler12.htm snore mssb www.vabch.com>. Marc then told this incredible story to me about going back to Vietnam in '95; he backpacked thru Asia for 6 months.

Marc says that he stayed six weeks in Vietnam. He went from Hanoi down the coast; in Saigon he took a civilian bus for 60 cents and was back in An Loc in ninety minutes. He stayed a week, for $2.50 a night, at the Binh Long Hotel. He went out to the rubber, slung his GI hammock in it (it was actually someone else's); he says that he used his original one to evac Mike WILSON on 16 June 70 from Cambodia.  Marc says that he went to Quan Loi, too: "It's just a corn field now." He says that he met some peasants there, one guy told him in pretty good Anglo-Saxon that he had worked with 2\8 Cav. Marc says, "You know that blew my mind because he probably wasn't lying." Marc then grabbed another bus (30 cents) and went to Loc Ninh, where the cops threw him out. He says, "They were very uptight, there hadn't been a tourist there ever, or a long while."

 Marc adds that he didn't know it then but these last two towns were part of the Easter Offensive of '72, possibly the biggest battle of the war. There are pockets of An Loc that are still bombed out. Loc Ninh is a gritty spot on the map. Marc says that he had many adventures, and one too many flashbacks. GARRYOWEN, Marc!

H. Taylor BURLESON of Deerborn, MI BURLESOH@TACOM.ARMY.MIL writes that he was at Camp Evans, I Corps, Jul-Oct '68; also at LZ NANCY during the same period. He was a clerk for the Air Ambulance Platoon-MEDEVAC, and Dental Assistant was his M.O.S. Randall KOINZAN PANAMA@INETNEBR.COM writes from Nebraska, says that he was a MEDEVAC crew chief, bunked together with fellow "newbee" R. Fortenberry, and "misses him."

 Floyd THOMPSON from Boston, MA SR71US@AOL.COM writes and says, "HEY GUYS! GREAT to see some of us are still alive. I was medic, Jan '68-July '69. Flew with gunners Rick FREEMAN, Bob HATCHER.. pilots Danny TOOTHMAN, Bill MAGIN. I'd fly to hell and back with any of you guys..Love you all. I miss my friend Jim MCGEEHEE..: (Remember his calling the pigs for the pig farm he was inheriting from his uncle if he stayed in the Army for 13 years? Also Looking for Tom DI BASIO from Providence, RI area. Bless you all. You've been there.) A bientot Floyd."

Word from Tim HAVERLY from Hawaii <TIMHAV@GTE.NET>is that he was with 1st Air Cav, MEDEVAC, from '67 to '68, based in An Khe, and operated out of Phan Thiet, Bong Son, Pleiku, and surrounding area.  An interesting letter comes from J.W. MORAN <JWMORAN@NET1PLUS.COM>of Ashburnham, MA: "Former BLUE MAX pilot covered MEDEVAC out of Quan Loi, Song Be, LZ MACE. Was friends with Oakie, Monty, TT... Huge set of brass ones on every one of those guys. Many memories of flying low and slow watching you guys work. Also remember a few of the characters...One guy liked to wear cut-off fatigues, a white scarf, and a beret! There was also a crazy S.O.B. who liked to take off backwards at MACE. Can't recall his name, but I used to get a giggle out of that move. I could spend a year telling MEDEVAC stories. You guys were the best." Donald W. FREDERICK from Ganzales, LA SPARKGAP@QUIK.COM sends his address for his ARMED FALCONS 1ST CAV PAGE: <HTTP: Pentagon www.geocities.com 4169 Quarters> and says that he is still looking for whoever flew the MEDEVAC on August 08, 1966, in the Ia Drang Valley who picked him up and dropped him off at the Plieku air strip where he went back to An Khe on a Caribou to the 2nd Surgical Hospital.

Dennis MABEE from Oskaloosa, Iowa MABEE@KDSI.NET says that he was with A Co 15th Med. July '68-July '69.  He says that he is looking for others in that same company.  Robert T. WILKINS, Jr. writes from Vaughn, WA and can be e-mailed at BEEDUB@AOL.COM . Robert says that he was with Headquarters Company in Quang Tri during Tet '68. He was with 15th Med from May '67 to May '68.

A letter comes from Jim SCHLAAK of Camarillo, CA. JIMSDOC@AOL.COM . Jim says that he was with B Co, 15th Med Bn at LZ ENGLISH on June 6th, 1967. "Anyone remember that day?"

Wayne NUTSCH in Virginia NUTSCH@DC.NET  has a Web site: HTTP://nutsch www.dc.net  and is looking for anybody that knew or now knows anything about CW-2 Jay D. HUBBARD-or "Pappy" HUBBARD. Wayne says: "Jay flew for the 15th Med at An Khe, say from March 1966 thru March 1967-all over II Corps. He was a graduate of Army rotary wing flight school class 66-2. I suspect he died after tour some place and nobody can find him. I'd like someone to confirm it one way or the other. Thanks, Wayne, C\229, 1 Cav -same class/time."

One of our female soldiers, Gail MONCIVAIS, in Clark Summit, PA GMM347@AOL.COM , writes that she joined 15th Med Bn at the end of her tour of duty and was discharged from there after the birth of her oldest son. She would appreciate it if anyone who was assigned at the same time and knows her would give her a call at (570)587-5336 or use her e-mail. You should check with Gail about her specific dates of duty.  My time in the Army, 1968-1971, had no women soldiers other than WACs, off in the distance, and officer nurses, off in the distance, so I am not use to the thought of service alongside women. It was just not so during my time of service. At least, no one that I served with gave childbirth. If they did, they would have probably gotten an Article 15 for screwing around!

Scott FENWICK of Pacific Grove, CA BLUEMAX@REDSHIFT.COM says, "I was a Cobra pilot with D 229th and C 2\20th in '70-'71. The most rewarding mission we had was covering the MEDEVAC crews of the 1st CAV. You guys did a great job! D 229th call sign: "WOODSTOCK;" C 2\20th call sign: "BLUE MAX 11."

Speaking of BLUE MAX, I remember one hot hoist that I was pulling and there were two BLUE MAX Cobras on station discharging their ordnance in a confused manner. I was thinking to myself while I was letting down the hoist cable, "Why don't you guys co-ordinate that stuff?"

The next thing I immediately observed was those two BLUE MAX Cobras in perfect tandem like precise clockwork, rolling in, expending their bursts; one first, and then he would roll around while the second one dove and expended, before the first one followed the second one again, and so on until we were finished with our job and we left. I felt more comfortable knowing that they were giving an organized, cover attack against our potential hostile, enemy fire.

That was not the first time that someone seemed to have read my mind in combat, and improved their covering procedure. Common sense must be cosmic.

In response to the last Saber's mention of Clifford DAVIS and his gruesome task of identifying casualties after a fight with the enemy by 2\5 Cav, information came in from Putnam P. BREED, M.D., who gives his location in Hampton Falls, NH PBREED@MASSMED.ORG and was a doctor with HHC 15TH Med at An Khe, Aug '66-Aug '67, with time with C Co at Phan Thiet and A Co at LZ ENGLISH.

Putnam says that the incident reported by DAVIS may be one that he was associated with, if it ended at An Khe at HHC off in a little clear area where a Huey could land and unload away from common view. There, he says, they had to identify and tag too many KIA from one platoon. "I well remember the Lt. with only a single frag wound in his chest, and others. That detail (job) was one event never to be forgotten." Putnam goes on to say that there were a lot of good times with the guys of 15th Med. "DAVIS may have mentioned that we had twelve 1st Cav Hueys that would go where DUSTOFF would not go; but never seemed to have all in flyable condition. The side door gunners helped get in and out of hot LZs. Those crews did a great job."

Putnam also says that they sponsored a Clinic in downtown An Khe, where civilians and people from sin-city could get medical care. "My best time was in Phan Thiet where we could sit on the bluff at night and look out over the ocean and listen to songs of GARRYOWEN. We could volunteer at the Provincial Hospital downtown, where a Chinese medical team was working with the local doctors and nurses. The nuoc mam factories downtown added a flavor/smell not to be forgotten. Keep up the 15th Med Column!"

Of further interest, I find, is this extended resume: Putnam P. BREED, Capt., MC, HHC, 15th Med Bn, 21 Highland Ave, Newburyport, MA 01950. "I was a D3150 (partially trained surgeon) in RVN. Now a general surgeon at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, MA."

Just to make him feel as though I knew a little something about where he was from I mentioned to Putnam that, although I was born out by Buffalo, NY, I was a graduate of high school in Northampton, MA, and then, off to Vietnam in 1968. I admitted that the eastern and western ends of that state are worlds apart.

I did mention associates whom I know who are proudly from up by him though. They being notably, a good buddy, Jon WALLENIUS B 2\7 Cav '65-'66 from Gloucester, MA, his wife Nancy-well known by most everyone in the Ia Drang Association-from Reading, MA, and Larry GWIN A 2\7 Cav '65- '66 who has written articles in the Saber, whom I have only spoken to briefly on occasion, and presently lives in S Hamilton, MA. I figured that information was a good ice breaker.

Putnam replied that he went to Amherst College from Lynn English High School, Class of '60 at Amherst. That surprised me and indicated that he well knew the western end of MA. Putnam says that he then went to BU Med School in Boston, and Trained at Boston City Hospital '64-'66 and '68-'71-with Uncle Sam Ain't Released Me Yet in there somewhere, including more accurately: in 15th Med '66-'67 and then at Oakland Army Terminal '67-'68 doing separation physicals-"Were those guys glad to get home."

Thank you Putnam for STANDING BY; and being there for us lowly grunts; and brave men who needed you. Sir!

L. Don BARTON DOCBARTON@AOL.COM had to have been my MEDEVAC Platoon Sergeant and now lives in Phoenix, AZ. He was with 1\5 Cav April-November '69 as a "Grunt Medic" and then the SFC in MEDEVAC, November '69 to April '70. He retired in 1976. He can also be reached by telephone at (602)956-8787.  I received a letter from Gordon L. RUSSELL, 2511 Blan Street, Columbus, GA 31903; telephone: (706)699-7038. Gordon was the MEDEVAC PSG from December '68-'69. Apparently L. Don BARTON took over as PSG from Gordon. I came into MEDEVAC in January '70 so I did not know Gordon. Gordon says that he also joined the unit at Fort Benning when the 11th Air Assault was training.

Gordon asked for the list of MEDEVAC and 15th Med members found that was too long to print in the previous Saber issue. When he gets that he said that he will try to provide names that are not on there.

For those who are online and if you do not have time to look around the sitemap, you can go directly to SNORE's page for the recent updates of those Members Found: <HTTP: snore mssb www.vabch.com web7.htm> A year ago in May of '98 I received a letter from James MCDONALD JMCDONALD@TDN.COM 2747 Taylor Avenue, Longview, WA 98632; telephone: (360) 577-8471; James took over as MEDEVAC PSG from probably SFC SCOTT who was MEDEVAC PSG in my later months in MEDEVAC. I did not know James because I left MEDEVAC in July of '70, but he sent his lengthy resume to me of his long and valuable Army career.  1\8 Cav Doc Dan GREENBERG now in Catskill Mountain's N.Y. State...can be reached by e-mail: JEAN@PIONEERIS.NET His Web site is: SKYDOC; <HTTP: dan /danindex.htm>

Dan reiterates, "Once Cav, always... Served with 1st Bgde.(Abn.) 1\8th Cav Charlie Co. 1st Platoon...1965-'66 Ia- Drang survivor, Gia Duc, Camp Radcliff etc..." Joseph M. DENNISON was at the 15th Med in late '69 and '70. From about February '70 thru June or July '70 he was a medic with MEDEVAC. In '71 he returned to Nam and was wounded while serving with the 198th L.I.B., Americal Division. Joe says that he only recently entered the computer world and has seen my name on one of the sites. Recently, Joe says, he joined the 1st Cav Association and saw my article in the March\April issue of Saber. "I have also been in contact with John DENNISON (no relation) who was in the Cav at the same time. I even had a copy of the orders which we both received of our CMB and forwarded a copy to him." John DENNISON 1st_cav_medic@geocities.com  was in 1\8 Cav in '69 and maintains a very popular Web site called "1st Cav Medic" at: <HTTP: 3179 Bunker Pentagon www.geocities.com> Joe says that he also remembers Mr. LEONARD at least the name. "It has been a long time since I have heard a lot of the names from back then."

I flew on MEDEVAC at the same time as Joe and I remember him quite well. Just to illustrate how busy we were while flying on MEDEVAC, even though I was there at the same time, I never remember saying one word to Joe.

I do remember while during the Cambodian Incursion we had quite a few helicopters get shot up. On one particular occasion my fellow crew members told me to come and look at the bullet holes in one of those helicopters.

I looked at where the bullet holes hit and they were in a ring right around where the medic stood, perfectly outlining his silhouette! They told me that the medic was DENNISON.  When I reminded him of that Joe responded with, "I remember the helicopter that got shot up. That was in Cambodia and I think it was a picking up for the 25th Infantry. That day was the first and last time I didn't wear my chicken plate. I remember the pilot got the bird back to the pad just as we ran out of fuel. I always thought someone upstairs [Jupiter] was watching out for me. Things like that happen a lot. Even when I got shot I had just moved when it happened. If I hadn't I would have taken the burst full in the back."

That part at the end when Joe says that he got shot was in the 198th L.I.B. Joe had a paradoxical tour of duty. He tells me that by just missing going to Artillery O.C.S. right out of M.T.C., A.I.T., because he was poor in math, he got a free trip to Vietnam and ended up in D 1\8 Cav. Joe then re-upped to get out of the field and got a clerk job in 15th Med. He says that he did not like the rear job so he volunteered for MEDEVAC-across the street. If that was not enough, after being reassigned in CONUS he did not like the stateside duty so he put back in for Nam. Joe says, when I asked him how he did there, "Actually I didn't do as well in the 198th. I got hit! I returned to Nam in early 1971 and went to a line company.

I took a five round burst from an M-60. Yes, I was shot by our own guys by mistake. Took a round thru my thigh which broke my femur and hit the sciatic nerve. Three rounds, including a tracer, went into my buttocks and back and the last round nicked me in the head. The sciatic nerve got infected so I ended up wearing a brace and with 3/4 inches missing from my height. The tracer went into my buttocks and I lost most of my left side so for a number of years I could really claim to be a 1/2 ass.

It could have been a lot worse though so I can't really complain. That round that hit me in the head could have been a little to the left and I wouldn't be here now. I ended up with an 80% disability from the VA, but I have been able to work full time. For the last twenty-five years I've been a parole officer for the state of Ohio. It's a little amusing but after all these years they gave me a Purple Heart in March of this year."

When I asked Joe about doing a second tour, and about the S.N.A.F.U. when he got wounded, he said, "As far as going back to Nam the second time, I felt I did more in MEDEVAC than any other time. That, and I hated the Micky Mouse s___ stateside.

I got wounded when I was shot by a friend. The usual s___. Our platoon split up for ambushes. The group I was in stopped for lunch and radioed the other group that we would stop, then move on to an ambush site.

The Lt. then decided to stay put but didn't radio the other group. The other group split up and left their radio at their night location and sent out a patrol. They got to where we were not suppose to be and when they heard us, so much for noise discipline, they opened up. They hit me and two others. The guy who shot us was a friend and I never blamed him. It was just a series of Army screw ups. By the way, who the hell does a medic call for when he gets hit? That thought actually went thru my mind at the time once I realized what had happen. Silly, I know."

Joe told me, when I inquired who did patch him up, that they trained certain 11Bs in their platoon to be assistant medics. So, that was who rendered the life saving first aid to him.

He also concurred when I said that safety was of prime importance with my platoon in C 2\7 Cav and I inquired about his 198th L.I.B. accident: "When I was in the Cav things like that didn't happen quite that way. There were accidents but usually air to ground type things. One thing about the Cav, we were professional! Unfortunately the 198th was less than that."

Joe says, "I still have my MEDEVAC patch from the unit and even have my flight records if you can believe that. Don't have many pictures, they got stolen by a guy who left Nam before I did."

Joe DENNISON, D 1\8 Cav '69, MEDEVAC '69\'70 can be contacted by snail mail at: 439 E. 4th Street, Dover, OH 44622-1821 or email: DENNISON@TUSCO.NET . Thanks Joe, for your HONOR AND COURAGE.

Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over and out.

FIRST TEAM!
Garryowen,
Mike Bodnar C 2\7 '69
MEDEVAC 1-7\70
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE