Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Cary SACCENTE CARYTS@ATT.NET of West New
York, NJ, wants to know, "Anybody from 15th MED Bien Hoa '70-'71??" Let
'70 MEDEVAC crew chief Damien VIERRA responded to my
request of who may have been on the MEDEVAC that went down on 05 Jan
'70, picking up for D 2-5 Cav. Damien suggest that door gunner Dave PARKS
may have been on that flight. Ironically, and very eerily, I just
happened to e-mail Dave and he responded with an affirmative, on 05 Jan
05, which was thirty-five years to the day of that incident.
In his own words, Dave remembers: "North out of Tay Ninh, way past
Grant or Ike. Picked out their smoke. Went in the first time. Kicked out
the rigid litters and went back up. Also about 10 other gunships doing a
daisy chain trying to cover things. Went back and just got to a hover,
the cable part way out. Had the pilot move the tail to the right, as we
were getting way too much fire from that side. Cable about 50' down
and then we beat it down. RPG up and behind the crew chief. Was surprised
we didn't land on more guys than the two we hit. One fellow was right
under the ship, the other had a skid across his chest. Helped the grunts
use a tree limb to lift the ship up so they could pull him out. By that
time both had expired! Pulled the pin on my gun and set up next some
grunts. They just laughed. Seems they didn't think my gun would work on
the ground. WAS kind of hard to shoot it off the bipods but it sure did
work. Guess I set up the gun first, then helped with the two under the
ship. Then went over and turned off the ignition to the turbine. Motor
was still running. Wasn't too long before another of our ships showed
up. Told Mr. LEONARD that they should get out of there, was too hot. Was
Mr. ALBRIGHT, AC, and SPARKMAN was gunner. Not sure who else was on the
ship. They also took way too much fire and crash landed in a clearing a
short distance away. Another of our birds picked them up pretty quickly.
Dropped them off at C Company. Another bird tried to hover, but Mr.
LEONARD said no, still too hot. Was bullets flying all over the place.
Sure you know how that is? Was dark by the time things calmed down any.
The grunts sent out some guys to find a clearing a short distance away,
so we could stroll over there and get a ride. Got off the trail right
away cuz of the dark. Had two guys in rigid litters so we could carry
them. Ended up having to drag them most of the way. Couldn't stand up,
was easier to crawl. Actually, we got lost. So Mr. LEONARD shot one of
them little pocket flares into the air, and one of our birds told us
which way to go. We all thought them little flare guns were dumb but they
did the job that night. Was not my idea of a good walk in the country
side!! Not sure just how many of our birds were involved but there were
at least three!
By the way, Mr. LEONARD was AC, can't remember the
peter pilot's name, know he was a Capt. Medic was Bill KELLER, Crew
chief was Rodney WILEY. Rod was out of maintenance. Pissed someone off
there and they made him go fly for his last two weeks in country. Rod was
blown out of the ship, the pp was trapped inside the ship. Mr. LEONARD
was hit between the helmet and the back of the seat with a bunch of frag,
all in the back of his neck. Lucky it didn't mess him up more. Then me
and Keller just hurt from the crash, bouncing around inside, ya know. If
you want more let me know running out of paper on this one. Later, Mike.
'they are never forgotten, but sorely missed' Dave
We have to thank Dave for that reminisce and
his courage, throughout. That cannot be easy to have to remember after
all these years and under those conditions. If anyone else has more to
add to this story please send e-mail or snail mail to me.
MEDEVAC PSG Gordon RUSSELL GRDNRUSSELL@AOL.COM wrote: "Hi. Mike, If you
watched the inaugural today, you did see our own Bill PICKLE escorting
the president. He was on the left as they came forward, his name was
mention on the PA system. Bill, as you know, was a door gunner, MEDEVAC
'69." To reiterate, Bill PICKLE is presently the U.S. Senate's
Sergeant at Arms. He was also an 11B in 2-8 Cav. HTTP: sergeant_at_arms.htm office reference
"Hi Mike: I was
curious if I could share my time with the Cav with you. I was with HHQ
Co. at Camp Howze in '60-'61, under Lt. Col. Spencer REID. Although I
worked with Medical Records as my primary job, I also worked with the
Div. Preventive Medicine Officer. We rode with the MPs ViDokey Posse,
boy could I tell you some wild stories.
"I wish that I could make the
reunion this year, but I am on O2 24/7 and it is difficult to get around,
but I would enjoy hearing from anyone. Please ask the guys and gals to
keep in touch. Joe GUDICE, SSG, 65 Round Hill Road, Washingtonville,
NY 10992 (845)496-0226 JJG@HVC.RR.COM ."
On Thursday, 02/10/2005
2:44:16 PM, one of our best, MEDEVAC 1 (Okie) '69-'70, Hank TUELL
INSREDLODGE@EARTHLINK.NET signed the 15th MED Assn. Guestbook, from Red
Lodge, MT. When I had joined MEDEVAC in Jan. '70, my very first mission
was a standby call out of Phouc Vinh with two "Okies" as pilots, a Chief
Warrant Officer, "Big Okie," and Lt. TUELL, who simultaneously had to be
"Little Okie." From the '70 Roster, that may have been CW2 Phillip
GIBBONS, who DEROSed 02-'70, just after I had joined.
subsequently flew on successful hot missions with Lt. TUELL in '70, who's
nerves of steel were accompanied by a shotgun and his ubiquitous wad of
chewing tobacco. "Okie" had to always carry a #10 can with him on board
because expectorating out of the window was not possible. If he has
now relocated to Montana then perhaps we should call him, "Monty."
Nevertheless; it's great that he signed in.
Gordon RUSSELL, and then
Murray GIBBS, notified me of news that after sixty years of debate, Army
officials have finally decided to create a badge for non-infantry
soldiers that recognizes their direct participation in ground combat.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter SCHOOMAKER presented the new Close
Combat Badge, or CCB, to a cadre of senior officers recently, during a
regularly scheduled meeting of four-star Army generals, according to Lt.
Col. Bryan HILFERTY, an Army personnel spokesman.
The new badge
will be the equivalent of the Army's Combat Infantryman Badge, which was
created in 1943. The CIB, in the form of a rifle surrounded by a wreath,
is reserved for infantry and Special Forces soldiers only.
Close Combat Badge will be awarded to soldiers with military occupational
specialties in armor, the cavalry, combat engineering, and field
artillery. Officers must have a branch or specialty recognized in Army
regulations as having a high probability to routinely engage in direct
The CCB will be presented only to soldiers who are engaged in
active ground combat, moving to contact and destroy the enemy with direct
fire. All soldiers are allowed to wear their unit patch on their right
shoulder as a combat patch after spending 30 days in an authorized combat
theater. While prestigious, however, the wearing of this unit patch as a
combat designator does not necessarily indicate that the wearer was
involved in direct ground fighting.
The purpose of the Combat
Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medical Badge, which has been reserved
for Medics serving with the infantry, is to indicate that the wearer has
come under direct enemy fire. These were the only two Army symbols for
that, and as a morale incentive since WWII. "The creation of the new
Close Combat Badge closes a debate that soldiers have been talking about
since the 1940s, when the CIB was established," HILFERTY said in a Monday
telephone interview to news sources.
"Soldiers and their leaders
have argued over the years that the infantry and Special Forces are not
the only two branches of the Army that get into firefights. The Army has
periodically reviewed the criteria for the Combat Infantryman Badge, but
it wasn't until the conventional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan turned into
insurgencies that the non-infantry soldiers' point of view gained
increased momentum. So, at the request of commanders in Iraq and
Afghanistan, last year SCHOOMAKER approved the creation of a task force
to look at creating a new combat badge to widen the pool of soldiers
recognized for their actions under fire," HILFERTY said.
about the new Close Combat Badge, including its design and the procedure
for soldiers to request the award, will be unveiled after this initial
press release. A March administrative message will follow that formally
outlines the exact rules and regulations, officials said. The new badge
should be available this fall through unit supply and also for purchase
in military clothing sales stores. Effective date: Sept. 11, 2001
(retroactive) Note: As of Feb. 14, this criterion was pre-decisional,
meaning that it has not yet been fully approved by Army or Defense
As I have mentioned in previous columns, the
recent rewording of the Army Regulation awards the Combat Medical Badge
to some combat Medics not just serving in the infantry under fire. The
creation of the Close Combat Badge for other soldiers under fire
justifies any break with original intention, and recognizes all. Our
next badge of recognition should be the Combat Aeromedical Badge, CAB, or
some version thereof; stay tuned.
'70-'71 MEDEVAC PSG James MCDONALD
(CSM ret.) sent out a photo of the plaque for the MEDEVAC helicopter at
the 1st Cav Museum, quizzing, "What is wrong on this sign?" Many found
errors in the information; bad grammar; bad spelling; etc. Murray GIBBS
was assigned the task by the director to improve that plaque. The last
revision I saw had not been finalized, but getting there, with feedback
from pertinent veterans. Murray sent out revised versions which you can
also get updated from him: GUNNERMADMUR@AOL.COM
facsimiles of the M-23 Armament Subsystem with M- 60 machine guns,
including the Huey helicopter machine gun mount, are also sought. You can
also contact Henry LAND CAPTHOOK1STCAV@NETSCAPE.NET about that if you
are creative., and want to contribute. Real ones will get stolen.
In response to a posting by Dennis O'DONNELL "Radar-15th_Med"
DEVINODONNELL@MSN.COM , Michael AHERN (WO '67) "MikeAhern1"
AHERN001@COX.NET wrote, "Hey Dennis, this is Mike AHERN. Saw your note
referencing a lack of 'old' guys ('67). I was one of those, and know that
there are a few still around. Bumped into a few. Roger BROYER, Bud GREEN,
JORGENSEN, BATERSNIDER. Is interesting to see what the old group is up
to these days. Was wondering if anybody had any knowledge of the whereabouts of one Ken ARCHENBAULT (WO-1 pilot '67). Would love to visit with
you all. Hope I can make it down to the reunion in Texas this summer."
"medevac68_69" MEDEVAC_25@YAHOO.COM sent over: "There is another
list at: <WWW.VIETNAMDUSTOFF.ORG>, complete KIA for all DUST OFF and
MEDEVAC units both by name and date." Where which, I found a thorough
roster for 15th MED but I did notice some names missing. I did not see
gunner TURNER and a Medic, ARMSTRONG, whom I knew of both in '70. When I
inquired, Database Operator James MCDONALD CSMRET@TDN.COM supplied on
Master Find Roster: SP/5 ARMSTRONG, Joseph E. HSC, 15th MED 1970 MEDIC,
and TURNER, Rodger, 15th MED 1970.
VICTORJADAMS@YAHOO.COM replied, "If this is the same TURNER you are
talking about, I was friends with him while in Vietnam. I was a Medic
with 15th MED at An Loc or Song Be in '69. This must be the same guy that
we are talking about. Yes, he was with the Big Red One, I still remember
seeing him with the 1st Infantry Patch on his shoulder. He lived with me
in the same hooch that I was in. Between missions he was always cleaning
his M-60. We visited many hours between his missions and my shifts. If
this is the same guy, here is one piece of information that will prove to
be the test:
"I think it was his uncle back in the states made a
deal with him. That he (TURNER) was to stay in the Army for a 20 year
hitch, then he would get 40,000 dollars. I think that was the amount that
his uncle and he agreed to. I can remember that he was dreaming when he
got out that he would buy a little farm and have a horse and such in his
I had seen gunner TURNER on a MEDEVAC pickup for C
2-7 Cav in '69 when we had to extract one of our wounded out of War Zone
C. I later spoke to him in the MEDEVAC hooch in '70 at Phouc Vinh and he
mentioned to me having been in the Ho Bo Woods on a previous tour. That
was a nasty haunt of the Big Red One before the 1st Cav moved down to III
Corps in '68 to screen to the border regions for '69 Tet, rendering the
enemy infested areas closer to the cities less important. It was very
stressful for 11B and MEDVAC gunner TURNER to speak about that to me,
saying, "It was bad," about which all accounts I have read, confirm.
Gunner Mike SMITH "tater1" MVANDCO@MSN.COM posted, "Roger TURNER was
one of the first to train me. He is the nephew of General TURNER. He
works on Wall Street in stocks. Was about to retire when I talked to him
a few years ago. General TURNER can get in touch with him. tater"
Dave PARKS adds: "tater is right. Remember TURNER. The medic is new to
me, unless he was the medic that got a field commission and went on to
bigger and better things." Dave also asks "Anyone remember a medic,
'70 MEDEVAC PSG L. Don BARTON "Don Bartpm"
MUDMEDIC70@HOTMAIL.COM says, "Mike, I was thinking about the MEDEVAC in
Jan. '70..The one Cpt. Michael HAGERTY and Col. LOWE wanted to go see and
pull the radio's..I told Col. LOWE he was not going to go without me to
take care of him. Anyways, Mike set down and LOWE and I went to the
site... there were some Rvn & SF in the area, that had some security
but not much...LOWE wanted to get inside...as he was walking up to the
craft...I pulled him back...don't go there it may have a booby-trap...we
moved up for a look with SF guys and yes, there were 2, attached by
trip-wire. We both dropped a load in our shorts...Col LOWE told me that
if there was ever anything he could do for me in the future...just give
him a call...and he was true to his word. He was at DA in '73...& I
needed to get off recruiting duty and they were sending me to Fort Polk,
LA. I did not want to go there at all. I called Col LOWE from my station
in Sheboygan, WI. I said 'Help me if you can.' All he asked was where do
I want to go. I said Denver Fitzsimmons. Go there, your orders will there
when you arrive...I packed my family and made the trip on his word
only. When I reported in, the Personnel Sgt., ' You made this trip
without orders, are you nuts?' I had him call DA & they told him the
re-assignment had been approved by a higher up, and orders would be in
within a few day's..Col Lowe was a very good man to know..I don't know
where he is now, lost track of him over the years...but, if you know,
e-mail me back a note. The old DOC, Don, PS remember I was 32 years old
when I was trying to keep up with you kids. LTC LOWE was the XO of 15th
Mark "Duck" DRAKE <WWIFUP@YAHOO.COM>writes, "I met a vet who
is a member of the Elks in Colorado. He gave me a pair of deerskin gloves
to use when in my wheelchair, which I was in at the time. They have a
service project which is to give gloves to veterans that use adaptive
equipment such as wheel chairs, hand cycles, and exercise equipment, but
they are mainly designed for wheelchair use. I will be working out the
details with the Elks and will post more information on 15th MED as I get
logistics worked out. I will also post information on our web site
HTTP://handbikeamerica.com as it is available. Take a look at the
Web site. I
actually have a buddy that is doing all the work on the site, his name is
Denny and also a Viet vet. Duck"
PBS's FRONTLINE just aired a ninety
minute program about the 1st Cav in Iraq called: "A Company Of Soldiers."
Their reporters were embedded with the 8th Cav and showed what daily
life and work was like while with them. It can be seen in it's entirety
online at: <HTTP: company shows frontline pages wgbh
DVDs and VHS tapes can be purchased through them and you can also
download the transcript for free.
Always remembering our 1st Cav
troops on duty around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE