Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Initially I need to correct an omission from
the last Saber of one of my contacts. If you thought that you were losing
your marbles you were not. We just had lost a paragraph somewhere between
a Pentium III 450, and the printer. It should have read to include the
follow up which is always worth rereading:
Robert Thomas CAMPBELL RRCOLL2@ADAMS.NET from Golden, IL wrote, "This
is the first time into our Web site and need some time to look around. I
did make the first 2 reunions and it was great seeing everyone and
meeting their wives. Hope to make San Antonio but not sure at this
It was good to hear from Tom as I knew him as he
was a famous MEDEVAC Medic when I was there-re: THE FIRST TEAM magazine
Volume 2 Number 3 from the Fall of 1969 and the article on pages 17 to 24
entitled: "MEDEVAC: They will be remembered."
"There's something about saving a life-and the way MEDEVAC does it,
defying the odds-that makes it appealing." And, "It's like a
brotherhood." They quote: "...Nor shall I deny any man's call, whether
for hazard of health or inconvenience or danger, but go to him."-
Hippocrates 425 B.C. And finalize: "They will be remembered as long as
men fly and the hurt cry out for help." Tom flew buku.
door gunner Dave PARKS '69-'70 writes: "Due to a mail server change, we
now have a new address and any mail that you have sent late Jan 31 thru
Feb 03 was not received. If you really want us to have it please resend
it to the new address: WILDPARK@W-IDAHO.NET Thank you, Dave & Connie
PARKS." Knowing Dave, if you try to contact him where he is not then you
will not find him.
"Hey Mike!!!!!," writes MEDEVAC gunner 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. That is
the only ones we have been searching for. Don't get me wrong but any 15th
MEDer is welcome to join in just don't have time to extend the search
back another 10-15 years. 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: Medevac- Nam.html>."
Mike also adds
that he just talked to Leroy CAUBARREAUX, MEDEVAC 3, one of our pilots in
1970 phone: (318)253-8754. He thinks he may be able to make the reunion.
For any of you who flew with him, he would love to hear from you. I think
that I did, but not so often that I knew him so well as some of the
other pilots. Notwithstanding, it is good to have MEDEVAC 3 back in
contact with us all.
Bruce D. PLUMB
Michigan signed into the 1st Cav Assn. Web site Guestbook on 04-23 -
2000 and said that he was in-country with MEDEVAC '68-'69 as a crewchief.
He goes on to say, "I also served with the 9th Cav at Fort Hood '71 to
'74." I passed Bruce's name along to Mike SMITH who said that he e-mailed
notice of the reunion to him and notified Denny CHERRY who is maintaining
the MEDEVAC\15th MED data base. Also notifying Bruce of SNORE's Web
site, he signed in with his crewmates there as well.
going to press with this, Mike SMITH put out notice of a book called:
MEDEVAC by Hugh M.MCCLURE. Although fiction it probably could be Hugh's
autobiography. From what I see, the book is least expensive if you order
it directly from the publisher, AmErica House, for $12.71 + S&H:
<HTTP: mcclure fiction browsebuy www.ericahouse.com /> or call
1-877-33ERICA toll free. The publisher lists Hugh MCCLURE as being an Air
Traffic Control Specialist in Leesburg, VA and having multiple awards of:
the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal,
Army Commendation Medal and numerous campaign medals and foreign
decorations. Thanks again Mike for your dedicated research.
BRIGHAM <JBRIGH6566@JUNO.COM>HHC 2\7 CAV-Search Team Leader-Vietnam
'65-'66 e-mailed to say "many thanks" for the plug for <HTTP: 7thcav
presents www.naples.net>. Jim says that he cannot take the credit in any
way for the naples.net site, this is all the work of a very dedicated
trooper named Jim SAVAGE, D Troop 3\7 Cav '67-'69; he is the Webmaster
responsible for all that is up and running. Jim, BRIGHAM that is, does
say, "I guess I can take some credit in finally putting the site where it
will bring attention to the fact that it is long overdue in being part of
the 7th Cav Assn."
Speaking of the 7th Cav which was the subject of
much of MEDEVAC's and 15th MED's time in Vietnam I just finished '65-
'66 XO of A 2\7 Cav Larry GWIN's book: Baptism which I got the Copperas
Cove Public Library to buy for other readers there to know that it
exists. It is an informative book with a different perspective, and I
have read most of the books written about the Vietnam War, not to mention
After reading Larry's book you are left with the impression
that war ain't heck, that there are better things to do in life. War is a
necessary evil to fight evil, and anyone who likes it has to be a madman.
On the cover Lt. Gen. (USA ret.) Harold G. MOORE adds a liner note
that Larry's book is: "Forcefully written, engrossing narrative, and
heartfelt description of some of the bloodiest battles of the war." I
wondered what would constitute "forcefully written" and after reading
Baptism I almost think that "forcefully" is a phonetic euphemism for the
"f" word which Larry uses like a trooper, or at least as much as I use
when I talk to myself. I do not think that Hal MOORE used the "f" word
one time in his book: We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, yet I thought
that it too was forcefully written.
I just read an article in the
on-line New York Times called: "A Case Study in Disaster for Tomorrow's
Generals," that mentions that Lt. Gen. (ret.) MOORE was just at his alma
mater speaking to a packed auditorium and signing his popular book for
long lines in the book store. I can e-mail a copy of that article to
anyone who requests it from me.
I should mention that it has been
noted that someone whom I and many others knew, lied his way into the
pages of "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" who was never at LZ XRAY nor
even in the 7th Cav but was written up in that book as having been
wounded fighting next to the brave men who were. I think that means that
one should rethink-as well as I should rethink-the accuracy of the
stories in that book. Like S.L.A. MARSHALL's books which I have
discovered from talking to veterans that he wrote about, accuracy may be
sacrificed by interviewing participants of combat actions and the author
not knowing the real truth one way or the other. Knowing Lt. General (USA
ret.) MOORE as well as I do, I know that his general intentions and
sincerity are solid.
I thought that I would scan through Hal MOORE's
book to see if he did in fact use the "f" word somewhere, even at least
to quote someone who was in the heat of combat. I know that he is a
refined and disciplined graduate of West Point ('45) and that they do not
use the "f" word, except when they have to. I was not about to reread the
book even though I would like to but I have too many new books to read
for, their shot at glory. I read "We Were Soldiers..." in 1993 after it
first came out and although I read it thoroughly then, there are
always details that I forget and need to compare after reading other
books and accounts.
So, I started to flip through the pages, of which
I have a personalized autographed copy-an advantage of being in the
1st Cav Assn., and low and behold I found someone using the "f" word. The
following is full of irony, an important figure of speech. It is also a
coincidence that the person whom I first found using the "f" word in "We
Were Soldiers...," just flipping the pages, was someone whom Larry GWIN
mentions in his book.
It is ironic that the person, Cyril R.
"Rick" RESCORLA, who is always noted as the bravest of the brave, and the
most aggressive, was on a CA bird going into LZ ALBANY with B 2\7 Cav
to reinforce the rest of 2\7 Cav when the descending helicopters not
quite near the ground started taking fire. The book says that Rick
withdrew somewhat and saw that one pilot was hit and had sprung a leak
which may have caused the ship to drop slightly in altitude but Rick
hesitated on his exit whereupon the pilot yelled at the door gunner and
he in turn yelled, "Get the "f" out!" Rick then went airborne with
Class-4s but after regaining his integrity he proceeded to kill some
N.V.A. in the immediate wood line.
For even more coincidence and
irony, just a page over from this last account I found something that I
had been looking for which I did not find when I wrote about it
previously, but then I had only used the index to find the subject
matter. It was mentioned that during the fight at LZ ALBANY that the 2\7
Bn Surgeon Captain William "Doc" SHUCART was dismayed with MEDEVAC whom
he said would not come in because the ground units were taking fire and
that is precisely when they should come in, which he then had to rely on
a couple of Huey slick ships for his needs. Doc SHUCART is quoted as
saying, "I don't know where those [MEDEVAC] guys got their reputations.
The Huey slick crews were terrific."
I do not know what actually
happened there, and if it did happen as Doc SHUCART says I would also be
greatly disappointed. I DO know where MEDEVAC got their reputations
from because I saw it happen and I could say that I was a part of it.
There were pilots at my time in MEDEVAC alone who had numerous
helicopters shot out from under them and that was not some kind of
Nintendo game, not everyone survived to fly again with those pilots.
At the very early days in the Vietnam War S.O.P or personal courage
might not have been what it developed into, MEDEVAC taking on many of
those volunteer slick pilots who wanted to put their daring do to better
full time use. The exploits of a unit often evolved and were inherited by
its successors. If you the readers would like to see a list of MEDEVAC
K.I.A.s for the 1st Cav in Vietnam you can find them at: <HTTP: SNORE
www.vabch.com Web7.htm mssb> Scroll down past the "Members Found" to see
all who gave their lives, SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.
SHUCART was quoted as having said what he did at the time of LZ ALBANY in
Nov '65 then MEDEVAC may not have had any reputation to speak of; that
only stands to reason. If he was only just recently quoted when that book
was written then, as I have mentioned to others, human life was
important enough to me to make a major complaint at the time of combat to
prevent further callous disregard for the wounded and dying.
would have been high ranking and something like that happened I would
have made sure that the highest brass brought smoke and that heels would
have been locked, and that commands would have been relieved if
necessary; not, years later, just make some derogatory statement, if that
is all that ever happened. Someone who did only that would have been a
part of the problem. FIRST TEAM!
When U.S. Senator J. Robert KERREY
recently announced his plan to retire from political life he was
interviewed and asked about his courage when he earned the C.M.O.H.
Senator KERREY said that night that he earned that medal he just
happened to be brave, and that there were plenty of times when he was not
I just read a comment that those helicopters that we flew
on in Nam had about as much ability to stop a bullet as a beer can.
That also brings to mind one time when I was flying on MEDEVAC out of
Song Be in III Corps in 1970. I and some of the other crew, the pilots,
were in the 15th MED emergency room to check on one of the wounded that
we had just brought in which we did not always have time to do and rarely
did. For some reason, we did. One doctor in there came up to us and
said something like, "What you guys do is nothing, let me go out with you
sometime and I will prove it to you."
So, on one of our next missions
we took the doctor with us and it just happened to be a hoist mission,
which most of them were out there. I was suited up in my flight armor and
tethered in and I was letting down the hoist cable to bring up the
wounded grunt. While doing that I just happened to look over to see this
brave doctor, who thought that it was nothing to be doing what we did,
low crawling on the floor of the helicopter to take a peek over the side
to see what was happening. He looked like he was about as low as he could
possibly get, what with his buttons in the way, on the floor of that beer
can. I do not recall ever hearing from that doctor again, shooting his
mouth off, after that.
Larry's GWIN's book reminded me a lot of when
I was in 2\7 Cav especially at the very end of Baptism when he described
the aftermath of a firefight just before he left Vietnam after his year's
tour of duty. His vivid description of the desperation of trying to keep
the wounded alive after violent contact with the enemy also reminded me
of just how important the damn Medic is in that situation. What a
flashback! As well, his description also confirmed my realization of how
reassuring it was to know that MEDEVAC was inbound so that when you told
the wounded guys that they were "going to make it" then you were not
Thanks Larry for your reminisces; FIRST TEAM! GARRYOWEN!
And, thanks MEDEVAC, you, the pilots and crewmembers, SO THAT OTHERS MAY
Nick DOHERTY D1611@HOTMAIL.COM wrote in to say that he was
in-country '67-'68 as a cook. I assume somewhere in 15th MED.
ALLEN ALLEN@LCSHERIFF.COM comments: "My friend Jim TILLEMA was a 91-C
with 15th MED, Bien Hoa. We went to 91-C school together at Ft. BRAGG
'69-'70 and on to RVN '70-'71. He got 15th MED, I got 1st Bn 12th Cav 1st
Cav. I saw him a number of times during our time but never new if he made
it all the way. Does anyone remember him? I was also wondering about
if anyone knew about an incident that happened in Phouc Vinh in Fall of
'70 when a blade from a taxiing slick hit another parked slick at 15th
MED's pad and a guy was killed who was working on top of the parked bird.
I ran over there but there was nothing anyone could do. I think about
that guy and wish I knew his name. Thanks and Best to all 'Doc'
Another ALLEN whom I heard from was John ALLEN whom I got a
call from on April 20th, at going on 7 PM. John lives at 8706 3rd Ave in
Brooklyn, NY 11209 phone: (718)238-2890. John was in 15th MED '65-'66 and
says that he had something to do with the 7th Cav. You will have to ask
him about that. He says that he became a R.N. and worked in the V.A. John
says that he is trying to get out of the city and back up to the
country where living is easy.
I mentioned to John knowing some 1st
Cav people from N.Y.C. and one in particular who was a real New Yorker
whom he could not have missed but who just died a few years ago. I
mentioned that this associate had risen to the top of the ranks in the
1st Cav Assn. but was discovered to be not what he had said in the 1st
Cav. John said that he did not know him. John did mention a "heavy set
guy" who said that he had promised to get John a XRAY\ALBANY 1st Cav
patch. I said that sounds like him! I also said that with that type of
person you have to remember, "caveat emptor."
John said that he
was looking for information about the DUSTOFF Association whom he had
given money to but has never heard from since. If anyone has any
information let John know, would you? I just said, "more caveat emptor."
I am just starting to read the book: Stolen Valor, which well
illustrates the kind of fraud that is perpetrated around the veteran
In closing, if that is possible, I wanted to comment on a
letter that was sent to the Saber, because I thought that it was
important to remember our own who served with us. My last Saber column
was too long and I wanted to avoid the controversy which ended up being
so by other letters to the Saber in response. Something else happened the
other day which prompted me to respond.
The original letter was
from William M. HELTON, TDOC # 79751, BMCX, P.O. Box 2000, Wartburg, TN
37887 who wanted to not be forgotten, while he is incarcerated, by those
whom he had served with honorably. Then, the last Saber had wait-a-minute
letters from writers who cited emotional responses to a convicted
criminal and flaws in statistics.
Having been burned by the criminal
justice system myself while, in my case, defending myself from a criminal
as well as not doing something that I was accused of, and knowing that
others in the 1st Cav Assn. had also been unjustly treated, whom I spoke
to about that, plus having learned the hard way that people in law
enforcement do make mistakes, if they are not just more concerned with
personal gain, I originally wanted to say, do not forget. If you know of
an incarcerated fellow trooper then drop them a letter of
encouragement; that it could just as easily be YOU in some jail, justly
I am no bleeding heart and nobody could hate crime more
that I do having been victimized as much as I have been having lived
in Los Angeles. You can see what goes on there by recent coverage in the
news. Everybody can be wrongly convicted even the good police. I do not
think that it is a black and white issue but a gray scale human
situation. 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.
As another example of that I was going
to mention an incident that breaking news has prompted me to not avoid
commenting on all of this. Although I did not know 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 rotting in prison for something
that he did not do. 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.
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 article I can e-mail them one
like the other mentioned above, on request to me.
remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE