Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Researching for accuracy to the Cavalair
article in the last Saber column, called: "Those Cav MEDEVACS; They Just
Won't Give Up" by PFC Nick MATUSZECK, I got feedback from a couple of
valid sources. Straight from the horse's mouth-no Cav pun intended-I
heard from the commander of that MEDEVAC mission, Joel MORRIS
AIRMORRIS9@IOLWEST.COM MEDEVAC 26, who said:
"Mike, I was the Mission Commander for that particular story and Barry
BROWN was the co-pilot. You mentioned extra crew....there was a brand new
door gunner who had just been in country a few days and we took him along
for some 'OJT' training. That made a crew total of six. I have never seen
nor talked to Barry BROWN since Vietnam but I thought I saw him in one of
the reunion pictures on the MEDEVAC Web site. I believe the OJT door
gunner's name was VALENCIA, but not positive. I remember the mission well
so let me know if you need more info. I still keep in touch with some of
the other pilots in the unit but otherwise the Web site has been the
most useful historical information."
That would definitively answer
our questions to the accuracy of that article after '69-'70 MEDEVAC door
gunner and present MEDEVAC\15th MED Assn. President Mike SMITH forwarded
my inquiry to '70-'71 MEDEVAC door gunner and MEDEVAC\15th MED Assn.
Historian Larry ASH LASH@BLRG.TDS.NET who sent Joel MORRIS' e-mail
address to me. In that article it also mentioned a crewmember only by his
last name, VICTOR, but I managed to include his first name "James" from
SNORE's Web site roster. Larry ASH confirmed and clarified that and the
following to me:
"Mike, Joe KELLY was indeed a medic and, now that I
think more about it, Jim VICTOR was a crew chief. Again, as for extra
personnel, if it was a scramble for a Mayday or if they were en route with
mail, personnel change in the field, or training, that would account for
the extra person."
I, in a previous Saber column, had mentioned Larry
ASH and that he had been a 1st Cav 11Bravo in the field before his
joining MEDEVAC. I was not sure of his grunt unit but I somehow
remembered from asking him once in SNORE's online chat room that he was
in 2\12 Cav. Larry replied with this latest information:
indeed, with A Company (Ace High) 2\12th. Your memory is excellent. Yes,
I cherish the CIB that I earned, along with my flight wings. MEDEVAC was
no Dustoff. In my tenure with MEDEVAC, I know of no mission that was ever
scrubbed due to hostile fire, weather, or any other excuse. Please, don't
misunderstand me; crew safety was paramount, but retrieving wounded and
keeping them alive superseded our personal safety. That was the nature of
the job and 'you,' either, did your job or found another unit.
the way, if you'd like to reach Joe KELLY his e-mail is:
JFK2559@AOL.COM . Just mention that I referred you to him and I'm sure
he'll be glad to help you. He was at this year's reunion and we shared
some mutual memories. Mike, you should try to make the June 2001 reunion.
Check here for some info and feel free to post anything you wish; as long
as it's in good taste, of course. Believe it, or not, we have
grandchildren and school children checking us out so, I'd like to keep it
G-Rated. <HTTP: medevacreunionpictures communities.msn.com> <HTTP:
communities.msn.com 15thmedassociation> These sites are not to replace
SNORE's Site, but to enhance our ability to communicate and promote our
yearly pilgrimage. Check them out.
"Currently, I'm the unofficial
historian of the association and serve as vice president and secretary.
Mike SMITH (Smitty) is president. However, these are frivolous titles
and when all is said and done; I'm just an old MEDEVACer, and damned
proud of it. Clear Right!"
Larry added that Jim VICTOR does not have
e-mail, to his knowledge, but can be contacted through Larry and that
Jim's nickname was "Festus." Larry also recalls that Bob VALENCIA's
last known whereabouts was Fairbanks, AK. Bob came up from 15th Admin and
was his roommate at Phuoc Vinh, so Larry remembers, and reiterates that
the new gunner in training, Danny WEAVER, was training with VALENCIA and
bounced with the bird, shot down on his very first mission. Bob only had
about a week and a half left to DEROS. Those would be Larry's
corrections to Joel MORRIS' best recollections.
INGRAMRMTNG@AOL.COM from La Vista, NB, wrote in and mentions that he
served with 15TH MED as a Medic on MEDEVAC '66-'67. Good to hear from you
Reginald (Bud) DAVIS MEDEVAC791@AOL.COM one of our famous
original MEDEVAC door gunners from Jan '66 when MEDEVAC first added M-60
machine guns wrote in with his new address: 8602 146TH St. Ct. E.
Puyallup, WA 98375 and Phone # (253) 840- 5492. Thanks Bud for making
these change known to us all.
MEDEVAC PSG from '69 e-mailed just after the last column went to print to
say that he and others would be attending the WWII ceremonies for the
new memorial which was Nov 11th, Veterans Day, at 1 P.M. at the Rainbow
Pool on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That memorial is long
Jack (Kid) FOSTER RFOSTER240@JUNO.COM from Machesney Pk,
IL, comments: "I'm looking for a pilot name Ray ZEPP who used to fly with
A Co. 229th before going to this unit [MEDEVAC, A.A.P., HSC 15th MED],
because he flew me from the 45th Field Hospital to 12th Evacuation
Hospital in Cu Chi in Sep of '69. I was a crew chief with A Co. 229th,
crewed helicopter 501, and my nickname was 'Kid'. The info you have on
your site is the wrong number; if anyone knows where i can find him
please e-mail me or call at (815)636-8501). Thank You."
GRONE PPCL2000@AOL.COM from Modesto, CA wrote to say, "Hi All, Served
with the 15th MED from Mar '68 to Nov '69. Great to see some of the names
on here...and Hello To Ray ZEPP."
Another correction to the last
Saber column was my mention of the motto of the U.S. Air Force's
Para-rescue Jumpers which is: "THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE." They drop the "SO"
that 1st Cav MEDEVAC uses. For those who like to read books about
military rescue there is one with the same name as their motto, by
Senior Master Sergeant Jack BREHM and Pete NELSON, about that same unit.
Speaking of the U.S.A.F. Para-rescue Jumpers, there was one member of
that unit in Vietnam, A1C William H. PITSENBARGER, who just last month
had his posthumous Air Force Cross upgraded to the CMOH for his heroism
on April 11, 1966, while performing aeromedical evacuation for the 1st
Infantry Division. He was K.I.A. when he volunteered to join the Big
Red One troops on the ground to better assist their evacuations. His
personal sacrifice for which he was credited with saving numerous lives
was well in the tradition of, SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE!
COLE, Jr. ODUFFIE@BELLSOUTH.NET who was a member of HHC 15th MED in
'66\'67 in RVN and also again in RVN '69\'71 wrote to know if there is a
photo of Hon Cong Mountain (the hill next to Camp Radcliff at An Khe)
available. Duffie expresses that in '66 it was a jungle, and when he
returned in '69 it was completely bald, for good reasons.
with burning and artillery, to rid the hill of foliage, a defoliant would
have had to be used, he would think. The skirmishes on Hon Cong mountain
took his friend's life and he believes in theory the mountain is still
taking our brothers lives today due to Agent Orange. He thinks a
comparison of these photos in '66 against the photos around '69 should be
interesting to say the least.
I referred Duffie to a couple of those
photos which I found on the 1st Cav Assn. Web site photos page but if
anyone else has any more photos along the lines of what he may be looking
for then he should be happy to hear from you. I also referred Duffie to
B.G. BURKETT'S book: STOLEN VALOR, and his discussion of the "myth" of
Agent Orange which I mentioned in the last Saber. Perhaps BURKETT is
wrong on this but he offers convincing evidence.
BMULLEN@INFOCOM.COM from Richmond, IN wrote to say, "I was with the 5th
Bn 7th Cav in '68, with both HHC and A Company. I want to thank you all
for sticking your neck out to save me and a lot of others." Notes like
that to MEDEVAC and 15th MED personnel are always appreciated, but I am
sure that we did what we did for all calls for help regardless. GARRYOWEN
Claude NEWBY, wrote in to remind us that he was chaplain of
the 15th Medical Battalion (1966) and recently his two books were
released, the first titled: "It Took Heroes: A Chaplain's Tribute to
Combat Veterans and Those Who Waited for Them. The second: It Took
Heroes: Volume II: Continuing the Story and Tribute to Those Who Endured
the Darkest Days of Vietnam. He quotes Kregg P. J. JORGENSON, former
LRRP, who Claude says he helped rescue during his baptism of fire.
Claude informs that Volume I included three months with the 15th MED
(MEDEVAC). Both volumes contain incidents involving Medics and MEDEVAC.
He adds that author, Ranger, and Apache Blues trooper Kregg P. J.
JORGENSON writes, "Claude NEWBY writes compelling history and: It Took
Heroes, Volume II, is by far THE best book I have read on the Vietnam
War. It is well documented and researched, fast-paced and moving. It is
one that I will have on my bookshelf, and treasure for its scope, its
honesty, and style."
To get autographed, numbered copies of Volume I,
send $16.00 per book (which includes $2.05 shipping and packaging) to:
641 West 3300 South, Bountiful, UT 84010. For Volume II, send $18.25
(which includes $2.30 shipping and packaging); Claude NEWBY
Doc L. Don BARTON
MUDMEDIC@USWEST.NET SFC retired, MEDEVAC PSG '69-'70 who was Gordon
RUSSELL's successor, wrote in to say that he reads and enjoys this Saber
column. Doc BARTON was my PSG while he and I were in MEDEVAC and I know
that he would not say that he enjoys reading this column unless he
really does. To my memory he was always there making sure that we were
well trained for MEDEVAC. He even flew as door gunner once while I was
flying as the Medic on a pitch black night mission and he helped me to
keep one Skytrooper alive when it took two to make it easier to do that.
Doc BARTON was also in the 5th Cav in '69 and now lives in Tucson, AZ.
Great to hear from you Doc!
Always remembering our 1st Cav troops
on duty around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE