Saber Article Index

2003 Sep-Oct

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

I had a couple of replies to my mention of the Air Assault Parity Coalition in the last Saber. Edward C. EMENHISER, Ft. Wayne, IN, SSG E 2-12 Cav '69-'70, called me and mentioned that the commanding generals of the 101st and 1st Cav Divisions had commented on the situation. You can call the 1st Cav Div Assn. for the most recent contact information for everyone noted in this column if none is listed.

Barry WILLIAMSON of the 8th Engineers attached to the 7th Cav who was a long time Saber 7th Cav columnist sent a clipping from the Army Times. It says that a new combat badge for the pilots and crews of aeromedical evacuation would be created under a bill introduced by Rep. Tim HOLDEN, D-PA. The badge, which would be designed by each service, would be provided to anyone involved in medevac flights under combat conditions since June 25, 1950, a date selected so that Vietnam and Korean veterans would be included.

HOLDEN's bill, HR 2587, was referred to the House Armed Services Committee for consideration. It was introduced too late in the session for consideration as part of the 2004 defense authorization bill, which passed the House. So, it will sit without action until Congress takes up the 2005 version of the bill next year. There has been a lot of new discussion on the 15th MED Web site: <HTTP: 15thMEDASSOCIATION _whatsnew.msnw>-address, as posted above, in each Saber. This is due to the fact that many, new MEDEVAC\15th MED veterans have found the associations and MEDEVAC door gunner Murray GIBBS was elected president of the 15th MED Association, bringing in a renewed vitality.

One of recent discussions was the awarding of the Combat Medical Badge, or CMB, to 15th MED personnel, be they MEDEVAC crewmembers, pilots, or otherwise. This is an Army wide issue and not just about 15th MED veterans. The above congressman's bill, if signed into law, would bring some deserving award to combat aeromedical evacuation crews and pilots.

I had submitted to the online discussion what I knew, and the following Web addresses for the Army Regulation, each, or A.R.s, concerning the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Paragraph 2-6, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards)25 February 1995 <HTTP: combat_infantryman_badge.htm www.ranger25.com>, and it's companion, Combat Medical Badge, Paragraph 8-7, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) 25 February 1995, <HTTP://www.ranger25.com combat_medical_badge.htm>.

If you read the A.R.s, which I have now, numerous times, you will see that unless you have an infantryman's 11 M.O.S., corresponding officer's, warrant officer's, or special forces', you are not deserving, qualified, nor eligible to wear that badge. Special circumstances apply if another branch commanded an infantry unit or some foreign infantry troops in Vietnam, for a period of time.

MEDEVAC door gunners cannot be awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge if they got shot down and spent any period of time with an infantry unit in battle until they were rescued. Likewise, a MEDEVAC Medic, or pilot, cannot receive the Combat Medical Badge if they got shot down and spent any period of time with the infantry unit in battle; or lost life or limb.

Reading those Army regulations showed me how extremely exclusive, and stringent, the requirements are for them. Much more stringent than I had thought. You have to be an infantryman, only, as mentioned above, been under intense fire in combat, or a Medic who was assigned or attached to an infantry unit, experiencing the same, usually for a period of time, and no higher than brigade level. The 15th Medical Battalion was division level medical support.

Seriously read those A.R.s and you will know. There were orders issued in error for these infantry combat badges and only a new badge can rectify that for combat aeromedical evacuation.

I always defend MEDEVAC crews when they are viewed as cowards, and I know different. I now defend the grunt Infantryman and Medic. Not the General of the Army nor the President of the United States can take away the exclusiveness of those infantry combat badges by misawarding them for what other awards or medals were intended. Read those A.R.s and familiarize yourself with the law.

We have had enough frauds and wannabes in the veteran community, to include the 1st Cav Div Assn. Do not let error and ignorance add to it. Of the other new, recent, abundant, online chatter we hear from: LZSharon68 AJACOBS@VALKYRIEMGT.COM "Hello Guys: Just signed up today. Murray GIBBS and Randy BREWER had tracked me down this year. Call sign MEDEVAC 21.

"Arrived in An Khe early January '68. Sent to English to fly with Jake MAST. Then to Camp Evans and LZ Sharon in I Corps to fly with Ray KINNARD. MAJ GOODMAN made me an AC the end of March. Just saw Henry LAND (Capt. Hook) at the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association reunion in Orlando this 4th of July (in fact, when Henry was wounded I was put into the left seat). Still looking for Paul HUSTON (from Zanesville, Ohio) who was shot down with me on 24 July...can anyone help?"

That must have been from Art JACOBS because the reply that I saw was: "Hi Art. Thanks for joining the Web site. Yes, Randy and I can be persistent. Saw Randy at the 2003 reunion. Haven't seen him in 35 years. I flew a lot with him, KINNARD, and many of the other pilots. If you ever get a chance, ask KINNARD about the radio knob shot out between his fingers. He never asked what I was shooting at after that happened. Saw Henry LAND after the Reunion. We had a long conversation. I was at most of all the places you were, Art. Just didn't stay long at each. We will do what we can to find Paul HUSTON.....President Murray (GunnerGIBBS)"

Some of the very newest arrivals to the 15th MED Web site asked about the background of the unit. James MCDONALD, scree name "FLTPLTSGT1" CSMRET@TDN.COM contributed: "A Bit Of History"

"In 1965, the 15th Medical Battalion accompanied the Division Support Command when it was deployed to Vietnam, arriving on 12 September. As Cavalrymen underwent their baptism of fire, the advantages of an aeromedical evacuation became more and more evident. The organization participated in all major campaigns and distinguished itself in battle, writing new chapters in its history.

"The 15th Medical Battalion saw action at Happy Valley, Binh Dinh, Ia Drang Valley, Pleiku, Kontum, Bong Son, An Loc Valley, Plei Mei, Yut Hoa, A Shau Valley, Hue, Khe Sanh, Quang Tri, Tay Ninh, Quan Loi, Song Be, Binh Hoa, Loc Ninh and Phouc Vinh. In every area of operation, the dedication of the assigned personnel remained focused on their foremost task of rescue, giving aid in the field, evacuation, and providing appropriate medical services in the field and base hospitals.

"The move south to III Corps in 1968 brought many changes in methods of operation for many sky troopers, but not for the medical battalion personnel. Their job remained the same; help those in need and help they did. The Headquarters Service Company located in Phouc Vinh, conducted MEDEVAC support, daily sick call, ran a dental clinic and administered to local nationals. Companies of the battalion were co-located at the three brigade headquarters of the division so that forward area personnel could get routine medical aid. "26 March 1971, officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the majority of the 1st Cavalry Division. On 29 April, the Support Command along with the 15th Medical Battalion departed Vietnam for Fort Hood, Texas.

"President NIXON's program of 'Vietnamization' required the continued presence of a strong U.S. fighting force. The 215th Support Battalion, (215th Medical Co) constituted in the Regular Army, activated and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, remained in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Regiment, 1st Battalion of the 7th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the 8th Regiment and 1st Battalion of the 12th Regiment along with specialized units as "F" Troop, 9th Cavalry and Delta Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion.

"These units were reorganized under the 3rd Brigade (Separate) at Binh Hoa and were commanded by Brigadier General Jonathan R. BURTON. The Bde. was assigned a primary mission to interdict enemy infiltration and supply routes in War Zone D.

"Thus MEDEVAC (Six Air Ambulances with Guns) stayed when the division took the colors home. They continued to fly (HQ Flt Plt) as part of the 215th Medical Co 3rd Bde. (Separate)

"By 31 March 1972, only 96,000 U.S. troops were involved in the Vietnam combat operations. In mid June 1972, the stand down ceremony for the 3rd Brigade was held in Binh Hoa and the colors were returned to the United States. The 215th Support Battalion returned to the States in 1972 and was inactivated on 30 June at Oakland, California.

"Note: The last trooper left from Tan Son Nhut on 21 June, completing the division recall that had started on 05 May 1971. With the 3rd Brigade completing their withdraw, the 1st Cavalry had been the first army division to go to Vietnam and the last to leave.

The Old Plt Sgt of The MEDEVAC Plt. 1SG (E-7) HSC, 15th MED Bn. 1st Cav Div. MEDEVAC PSG (E-7) HSC, 15th MED Bn. 1st Cav Div MEDEVAC PSG (E-7) HQ Med CO 215th CS Bn. 3rd Bde." George R. RUSSELL <GEORGE_RUSSELL55939@YAHOO.COM> Harmony, MN 55939, in reply to my question if he flew on MEDEVAC wrote: "Mike, No I was in charge of the ward at Phouc Vinh, Hq Co 15th MED Bn. See, I went over there a Sp/5 in Dec '67, made E6 After 3 months, got busted after 3 months, and transferred to C Co. 15th MED, Quan Loi. Worked on ward there. Was there when C Co. first sgt. got hurt with our own incoming. I left there with out a scratch."

Jim BRODIE <RA9895A@AOL.COM>from Oregon comments: "Air Ambulance Plt. 15th MED '65-'66, A 227th '68-'69." David FLOYD <SADSACK6970@YAHOO.COM>Warren, MN wrote in the 15th MED Assn. Guestbook: "Several troopers from A 2/7 Cavalry are seeking a Medic (a dear friend) that served with the unit in 1969. The last name is believed to be QUAMME, the first name used was David, which may have been a middle name. One of the Troopers seeking David is in real bad health and won't last long. I would love to see them get together one last time. Thanks guys."

William S. GREENE FANCYROOSTER@BEAUFORTCO.COM of Washington, NC signs in SNORE's Guestbook: "Was MEDEVAC pilot June '67-Jan '68. Flt Class 67-6."

Rick MEDELOCK LOCKRICCON@CS.COM Dawsonville, GA writes, "I was MEDEVAC Hotel & Scapel Switch Commo at Phouc Vinh HHC 15th MED Dec. 70 to Mar. 71."

I had received a telephone call from Ben TAINATONGO who was with C 15th MED '68, asking about any upcoming 15th MED Assn. Reunion. The 1st Cav Assn. office tells me that Ben is listed as Vincent, is a retired SGM in Huntsville, AL, and was with 1-12 Cav in '65.

Gary HAUSER of Tacoma, WA, A 2-5 Cav 12-'68 also called me to inform me of an e-mail address for Clifford DAVIS which is CLIFFDAVIS@COMCST.NET . Gary mentions that Clifford said something about flying on MEDEVAC out of LZ Oasis. I may have been contacted by Clifford years ago but the information the 1st Cav Assn. has is different so check with them. More from MEDEVAC PSG James MCDONALD '70-'71 CSMRET@TDN.COM  "The Army found they had too many pilots and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any pilot who volunteered for retirement a bonus of $1000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points in his body. The pilot got to choose what those two points would be.

"The first pilot who accepted, asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at six feet and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

"The second pilot who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked out with $96,000." "The third one was a grizzly old MEDEVAC pilot who, when asked where he would like to be measured, replied 'from the tip of my penis to my testicles.' It was suggested by the pension man that he may want to reconsider, explaining about the nice checks the previous two pilots had received.

"But the old MEDEVAC flyer insisted and they decided to go along with him providing the measurement was taken by a medical officer. The medical officer arrived and instructed the pilot to 'drop 'em', which he did. The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the pilot's penis and began to work back.

"'My God!' he suddenly exclaimed, 'Where are your testicles?' The MEDEVAC pilot calmly replied, 'Vietnam.'"

And now a word from your 15th MED Assn. president: "Hey Guys, The 2004 Reunion has been set for the week after Mother's Day. The Reunion will be at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Dates will be from Wednesday, May 12, 2004, to Monday, May 17, 2004. One great feature is the free shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel and back; in fact free shuttle to the major attractions in the Portland area. Full detail information will be e-mailed out at the end of next week. The Reunion info will also be posted on our Web site.

"I thank Corky WALSH, our reunion coordinator, for his time in putting together next year's Reunion. Corky has also put together a pleasure dinner on a river boat for Friday night May 14. The meeting will be held on Saturday around 10:00 AM. The Reunion dinner will be later in the evening.

"I would like as many as possible to come to this Reunion. At present 40 rooms have been reserved. That number can and will be changed if we can get an accurate count on who is coming. Those who decide at the last minute to come will still get the Reunion rate even though we go above our estimated room reservation.

"I still recommend that all 15th MED Bn. members join our Web site. It is free and it is very informational. <HTTP: 15thmedassociation " target=_blank>http://communities.msn.com/15thMEDASSOCIATION/_whats new.msnw>

"Read all the past messages and see what the members are writing about. Create your own discussion and even reply to the ones that are posted. If you have any poems, we have a discussion started for that. "Guys, this is a great way to participate and get to know others before you go to the Reunion. You can even post some of your pictures. They may even be used by our Saber paper writer Mike BODNAR who writes articles for the Saber paper. Mike is very respectful and will ask you if he can use your pictures. Last issue had a half page article about the 15th MED Bn. Please e-mail me or Corky at MEDEVAC454@AOL.COM . President Murray"

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