Saber Article Index

2000 Jul-Aug

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

I received an e-mail from LASH, who is Larry ASH, LASH@BLRG.TDS.NET GUNNER2@BLRG.TDS.NET , one of our MEDEVAC Eleven Bushman door gunners from '70-'71. Larry says, "Mike, I understand you met Henry LAND (Cpt. Hook). We had a mutual friend, Dave MURPHY, who passed away year before last (from an overdose of alcohol and V.A. supplied prescription drugs). I sure hope you encouraged Henry to attend this year's reunion in San Antonio. I have spoken with him on the phone, but have yet to meet him in person.

"I sure hope you make the reunion, too. I see that you have been working hard to assist SNORE's site and I, for one, really appreciate your hard work. Hope to see you in San Antonio."

Larry also posted, forwarded by Mike SMITH: "I'm excited all to heck. I had sent a letter out to Ken "Doc Nose" FLOWERS & he called me back this A.M. Says he'll be at the reunion on that Saturday. One of our best Medics. Came in the unit from a couple of previous grunt units, around August of '70. He left about the time I did in April '71. He's, definitely, a true MEDEVACer. I turned him on to the Web site and he'll contact [Jim] RAMSEY and the La Quinta. At least, some of this is shaping up. He has boucoup pictures and will bring them with him.

"Man, I'm getting excited now. He killed the biggest hog in Vietnam (yes, they did have some big ones, not just those little pot-bellied kind). He was, also, one heck of a deer hunter & a great Medic. Can't wait. A week and half; tell David [PARKS] he'd better prepare for these crazy cats. Have you heard from SNORE? Negative contact here. See you in about a week, or so. It's gonna be a ball. Send cc's to everyone on this message. I don't have my e-mail address installed yet so, I'll rely on you."

That Reunion is now history and from what I have read because I could not attend it was a successful gathering of new and old attendees. Larry, also being the 15th MED Assn. historian has started a Web site for that purpose called the "Historian's Corner" <HTTP: ~lash personalpages.tds.net />.

Larry explains, "The purpose of this page is to document the history of the 15th Medical Battalion Association - MEDEVAC and those brave souls who lived and died at the whim of fate. I wish to recognize those who have worked so, very, hard to bring this association together, search for their brothers-in- battle, become productive human beings and, most of all, remain the best of friends through the decades following their service.

"We salute you for your continued efforts to serve your faith, your family, your country, your community, and the good of all mankind.  In the original M*A*S*H movie, they had a phrase: "Finest Kind." You shall forever remain in the annals of history as the: FINEST KIND."

Larry ASH is the prime example of a Combat Infantryman-and there were many others like himself-who volunteered to fly on MEDEVAC, to look out for their own. Thanks LASH, and now on to Fayetteville for the 53rd Annual 1st Cav Assn. Reunion.

I need to make a correction to my last mention in the SABER of 1\8 Cav and MEDEVAC Medic Joe DENNISON'S second tour Vietnam War unit, from the 196th, which I incorrectly stated, to the 198th L.I.B. Both of them ultimately comprised the Americal Division along with the 11th L.I.B. All of those brigades originally deployed to Vietnam as separate units and then were assigned to the 23rd I.D. i.e. Americal Division. My D.I. in Basic wore alternately with the 25th I.D. patch the 196th L.I.B. patch which has on it a match, lit on both ends indicating Infantry and readiness, for the matchlock, on a Roman shield patch silhouette. Comparably, the 198th L.I.B. patch has on it a bayonet, for combativeness and fighting ability, on flames which suggests firepower, on a Roman shield patch silhouette.

Just for complete information to not confuse any of them, the 11th L.I.B. has on a Roman shield patch silhouette three arrows forming a trident suggesting amphibious assault. The colors on all of them add to their heraldry. Y'all know what the 1st Cav patch looks like.

James L. (Jimmy) MINISH JLMINISH@BELLSOUTH.NET from Greensboro, NC, comments: "I was crew chief with MEDEVAC in '69. Anyone I served with drop me a line. Cav reunion is in North Carolina this year anyone needing a place to stay let me know. Its in Fayetteville, NC. Read SABER where ZEPP & WHEELER are still kicking, that is good. Got to go for now. SNORE-great site

In response to my mention of Chuck LAWHORN's-of 1\9 Cav and MEDEVAC-letter in the March\April SABER, "Hey Mike!!!!!," writes MEDEVAC gunner and newly elected 15th MED Assn. president Mike SMITH, "I have been enjoying your articles in the SABER. They have been very good and bring back a lot of memories!!  ...Also if I am remembering right I am pretty sure we voted for Vietnam era vets of the 15th MED. Those are the only ones we have been searching for. Don't get me wrong but any 15th MEDer is welcomed to join in just don't have time to extend the search back another 10-15 years [anyone can volunteer those efforts]. Mike "tater" SMITH Door Gunner '69-'70 MEDEVAC 1st Cav 20181 Top Rd. Greenleaf, ID 83626 PHONE: 1-208-459-9592 <MVANDCO@AOL.COM> <HTTP: 4700 base pentagon www.geocities.com Medevac-Nam.html>."

I also heard from our incarcerated fellow 1st Cav Vietnam veteran Bill HELTON, TDOC #79751 BMCX/Unit 9/23 P.O. Box 2000, Wartburg, TN 37887 who forwarded to me a copy of his rebuttal or self explanation to those SABER letter writers about him. He offers a good defense of his human errors and appears to be another worthy individual whose pleas for help were ignored if there was any human help available. He as well indicated to the 1st Cav Association his desire to cancel his complimentary subscription to the SABER in response to the misunderstanding by those who feel that he is undeserving, and that is his final act of separation from the Division which he "truly loved, and cherish as a family," and that he served with honor.

For the sake of example and to illustrate that anyone in our society can be wrongly convicted-justice is blind, sometimes too blind and sometimes not blind enough; which I do not think that it is a black and white issue but a gray scale human situation; and the point of the law can be a thin line; I just wanted to say do not just let our fellow once honorable servicemen rot in jail and be forgotten as well as all Americans who may be unjustly accused; never give up in finding the truth.

A recent PBS program on D.N.A. testing use to help fix our "broken" legal system had one of the contributors comment that, "The criminal justice system is the only place where innocence is irrelevant." To any defenders of our democracy who are concerned with more than just, "What they got comin'," this all should matter.

For the example of that I would like to mention an incident that breaking news has prompted me to want to mention but was too lengthy to print in the last SABER. Although I did not serve with him in Vietnam, the 9th Cav SABER columnists have written about to remember as one of their own: a.k.a. Elmer "Geronimo" PRATT, who now uses the name of Geronimo ji JAGA and who had spent twenty- five years in prison for a murder that he did not commit. But, because of new evidence found by those who would not forget and not give up, and also because of conscientious former jurors speaking out, a new trial was won and he was released from prison to pursue that.

The Los Angeles D.A. finally agreed to drop the case and it was just announced that Geronimo ji JAGA was awarded a 4.5 million dollar lawsuit which he is planning to use in his hometown in Louisiana for a youth center. If anyone would like a copy of the newspaper article where I got this information from I can e-mail one to them on request to me.

I have noticed in the SABER many typographical errors in my own column. I just wanted to let you know that I take great pride in being grammatically correct; that I am not just some ridge runner who left his articles in the outhouse.

I spoiled myself when I went into the Army right out of high school because upon E.T.S. and then higher education was a choice, I could not lower myself to learn in the presence of the military objectors at the time after my experiences with best who were THE FIRST TEAM!

So, necessity being the mother of invention-and the father for that matter; necessity deemed that if I wanted to communicate properly, the way that the U.S. Army had instilled in me to do in all things, I picked up a copy of Warriner's Grammar and Composition and studied hard to master those principles. I am constantly, conscientiously working at that for the SABER readers' higher thoughts, with no blatant, poor writin'.

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