Saber Article Index

2005 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

Fred MCKELLAR FDMCKJR@AOL.COM Plain Dealing, LA 71064 comments: "Was MEDEVAC pilot July '66 to 19 June '67. Was glad to find this site and see so many familiar names of those I thought I may not hear or see again. Would like to hear from you."

Mike COMSTOCK SIXGUN7022@BELLSOUTH.NET Fort Polk, LA says, "I was with C Co. 15th MED Bn. 2-7 [Task Force] (Garryowen) at Phan Thiet 1966-1967 August. Like to talk with anyone from there and then. Bob TOMICH, Bill BRUNNE, Cpt. SCHWARTZ, anybody?"

J.D. HOLLEY, of Huttig, AR writes: "I served in Korea 1951 with the 15th MED Bn. 1st Cav Div." Joseph H. SLAUGHTER, Jr. ROLLINGTHUNDER@CHEK.COM Danville, VA requests: "I would like to hear from anyone who knew my Dad, SP5 Joseph H.(Buddy) SLAUGHTER who served in the 15th MED. He sailed over in Oct.'65 with the division."

Marco A. ENDARA, Ph.D., M.B.A., Ret. MSG MARCO.ENDARA@SBCGLOBAL.NET San Antonio, TX notes, "It is a shame it took me more than 30 years to contact the First Cav. I served with the 15th MED in 1970, and then I signed-up for a life membership with our association. Today, I just wanted to find out the status of SABER as I was reading a copy from Sep-Oct '70, Thanks, your Web site is phenomenal!"

'69 MEDEVAC PSG Gordon RUSSELL GRDNRUSSELL@AOL.COM e- mailed: "Mike, I have found Jerry SAULS. I met him at the Ft. Benning Post Exchange, he is fine. His wife passed on a few years ago. I have known Jerry since we both served in the 3rd Field Hospital in the late '50s. He has moved back in the Columbus area now and I hope to get with him for a long get together."

Gordon, a WWII vet also e-mailed: "I have a letter from the Consulate General, DE France A. Atlanta. They plan to give me a 'Thank You America' Certificate for my service in WW2, if you want, I'll send you a copy of the letter."

The letter about the certificate reads: "Gordon, The presentation will be Wednesday, September 21st, 2005 at 2:30 PM at the Members Room, MCELREATH Hall, Atlanta History Center, 130 W Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305-1366 and says: 'Dear Mr. RUSSELL, In recognition of your noble contribution in World War II, and in remembrance with endless respect and affection to those who sacrificed their lives for the cause, the Consulate General of France will organize a ceremony at which time the 'Thank You America' certificates will be bestowed upon.' Sincerely, Rene-Serge MARTY, Consul General."

'70 to '71 PSG James MCDONALD <CSMRET@TDN.COM>asks: "Who was the Medic and gunner in the 1st Cav Assn. calendar, April 2005, picture? Maybe we can run a picture quiz in the next 15th MED space on the Saber. Mac." If anyone recognizes the MEDEVAC crew members, let us know.

James also sent the following link where you can buy a MEDEVAC: SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE lapel pin\tie tack: <HTTP: 6020_15288 product fourarmedforces.com>Or just go to http://FOURARMEDFORCES.COM and click on the unit; 1st Cav stuff.

15th MED Assn. President Murray GIBBS informs: "FYI, If you look along the side of the screen when you come on the Web site you will see 'Add Find Members.' This is available to all who have joined this Web site. Any member can add a person to the 'Add Find Members.' Our Database Operator will check to see if any members added a person to be added to the FIND Members List. When the Database Operator sees the added name he then transfers it to the FIND Members List. The Search Coordinator looks in the FIND Members List and searches for whomever he can Find. Therefore, if there is a certain buddy you are looking for, please add him to the Add Find Members. You can also create a discussion to locate a person. Please take the time to look at the FIND Members List. There may be a person that you know the whereabouts, and can forward that information to me, or the Database Operator, John CRESPI.

In response to my question to gunner Murray GIBBS GUNNERMADMUR@AOL.COM , when I saw overlapping tours, the president replied, "Hi Mike, Yes, John CRESPI was with us when I was there. He was a Medic on one of the MEDEVACs I flew in. I remember doing some weird missions with him. One time there were several guys in a mine field. We put in a jungle jacket backwards and I lower him down to the wounded guys. I watched his hand and head signals to do the right things. Once he had grasped the wounded guys he would nod his head. I would tell the pilot he is okay and to lift it up to feel the weight. We moved the wounded to a receiving ground Medic, and get the next guy, until we did all of them. John and I had worked, and flew together."

Norm ROBERGE, Co. C 15th MED, 4-'68 to 3-'69 NORMKARENN@WVI.COM wrote: "Hi Mike...As you may know, I have long taken a special interest in the welfare of our injured comrade, Mr. Jerry DICK. This special interest emanates from having some shared experiences on 24 July '68, the day of his injury. Anyway, here is a special story of an occurrence at the '05 reunion...

"Jerry's brother, Wayne, made the needed arrangements so that he, Jerry, and Wayne's wife Cheryl, could be seated at the 15th MED table at the banquet on Sat. 25, June. A huge event attended by many, many, past and present Cav. troopers, including the Div. CG & Div. CSM, Neal CIATOLA.

"Well, since Mr. MURPHY's law continues to prevail whenever and wherever possible, there was a glitch in the master seating arrangements. When the DICKs and I arrived at the banquet, Wayne was told by a staff member there that seating them at the 15th MED table was not possible due to an apparent mistake in seat assignments and that all 15th MED seats were already assigned to other 15th MED members. Wayne said to the attendant that if it was not possible to seat his brother with the 15th MED, they would leave the banquet.

"This, in spite of having explained Jerry's special WIA story as a 15th MED member. Sooo, I told Wayne to be patient as I would find someone to help us solve this, it WOULD NOT stand as is.

"I sought out the Div. CSM whom I noticed was real busy greeting his soldiers and their families, as you might imagine. In spite of that, I approached him and introduced myself and noted that I was a retired 1st Sergeant who desperately needed his assistance and influence to help resolve this injustice to Jerry-I told the CSM Jerry's story. He immediately excused himself from his guests and asked me where Jerry was. I told him and he marched directly to where Jerry was seated in his wheel chair, bent down in front of Jerry, introduced himself, and promised Jerry that the problem would be resolved favorably for Jerry and his family within a few minutes.

"Further minor delays ensued that caused Wayne DICK to become angered, at which time he took Jerry and left the banquet hall in disgust. Just at that time, the CSM appeared saying that seating was now arranged. I told him that Wayne had just left with Jerry, just fuming with anger. The Div. CSM immediately ran out of the building, reaching the DICKs just before they got to the parking lot. In short order, the CSM, Henry 'Cpt. Hook' LAND, and I were trying to convince Wayne to come back. It took awhile, but he stayed there until the DICKs returned to the banquet with him, where the DICKs were indeed seated with honor, at the 15th MED table.

"There you have it. CSM CIATOLA deserves incredible accolades for taking this time and opportunity to ensure that justice and honor was rendered to a very deserving 'Nam' wounded vet. To you, CSM CIATOLA, we all thank you one more time: Vietnam Vets of the 15th MED Bn., 1st Air Cav. Division." And Norm adds: "Hi again Mike, I thought you might like this. When Wayne was pushing Jerry around at the museum static display, he asked Jerry if he'd like to climb back up to a door gunner's seat one last time. Needless to say, ever enthusiastic Jerry said 'YEA AHHH!!!' Sooo, Wayne asked a pilot if they could help out to accommodate Jerry's wish... immediately done, with the help of the pilot and other crew members; POOF, Jerry was back in the gunner's seat. From all visuals, he loved it. Once more, thanks to the help and enthusiasm of today's 1st Cav troopers, a brother from the Nam era got his wish."

Jim CALIBRO, VP/2006 Coordinator MEDEVACCHOPPER@AOL.COM  posts: "The 2006 15th MED\MEDEVAC Reunion has been finalized for Reno, Nevada. Date; 6/22-6/25/2006. Checkout our Web site for details: <15thmedassociation@groups.msn.com> Hope to see you there. Location is: Silver Club Hotel & Casino, 1040 Sparks, NV 89432 (775)358-4771; (800)905-7774. WWW.SILVERCLUB.COM " Joe DODSON JOED1949@HOTMAIL.COM 1309 Hall Lane, Seagoville, TX 75159, announces: "Just wanted to say Hi to all you guys. I was with B Co. 1-12 Cav. from Dec '68 till May '69. I was re-assigned to 15th MED in May of '69. While I was processing in at the S-1 office I let them know that I could type, so bingo, I got a job right there in HQ, which wasn't that bad. I had 6 months in the field being a Medic already, so the break was nice. I didn't get to know many of the people on the flight side, only the desk jockeys in HQ. I do have some pics of the buildings around Phouc Vinh at that time, and a few of the guys who served with us then. I'll dig them out and send them along. Looking forward to hearing from any of you."

Joe replied to me, "Mike: Well thanks for getting back to me, good to hear from past Cav guys, especially Medics. Yes, I was with B 1-12th from Dec '68 till June '69. I was the 2nd Plt. Medic first, and then moved to the 4th Plt later on.

"The area we worked was around Song Be. We did the normal Cav and infantry thing; walked all day and set up ambushes at night. For any of the guys who were in the 1-12 at this time I bet they remember LZ's Cindy, Jake, Dot. A few of the ones I remember. We also worked the rubber plantation some. "I do have some photos from the area and I am going to dig them out and see if any of the guys at the 15th MED would be interested. I will also get them to you too. I did have one story that I would like to pass on. I do need to think on it for a few, if you don't mind."

Almost immediately, Joe e-mailed back: "Mike: Well I've thought about it some and decided to share with you one story that has bothered me for all these past years. This happened in late March or early April of 1969. We were working in an area that had lots of slick trails and lots of NVA moving through the area. As with most units at the time we where very under strength. We had only 3 Medics in the entire company so I was covering both my 4th Plt., and also the 3rd.

"We set up close to one of these trails and had stayed there for several days. We put out a couple of ambushes on the trail, day and night both. The platoons took turns switching out with them. One would go out all day and the other would stay out all night. Since we where short on Medics, I was doing both days and nights. I did this for 3 daytime and 2 night time ambushes. "During this time we got a new Medic in, who was to take over the 3rd Plt. job. He had been in the field for one or two days only and it was the 3rd Plt.'s time again for a daytime ambush. The 3rd Plt. Sgt. asked me if I thought that the new Medic ought to go out, or should I? I told him I was beat at that point, and since we had had no contact with the NVA anyway, the new guy might as well learn sooner, as later.

"So, he agreed with me, and told me to go get him and tell him he was going out. I told the dude that he would have to learn as we all did, and to get moving out with HIS platoon. He had no problem with it, and was more than willing to go.

"Well, as you can guess where this is going, the NVA had been watching us for all this time and were waiting for the next group to move out. They ambushed them, and the new Medic was the first guy hit, and killed. We had two others wounded.

"After all these years I have finally realized that his death was not my fault. I spent years and years, though, thinking it was my fault. I just knew that if I had went out instead of him, he would be alive. I have often wanted to try and contact his family and do, what I don't know for sure? I just wanted to tell them, something? I never knew what that was, but I felt I needed to say, something to them? I could not tell them that I should have went instead of him, I know that would not work, but I still wanted to tell them something.

"Well, that's it pretty much in a nut shell. You're the first and only person I have told this to. I really have gotten to the point of being OK with this. It does still cross my thoughts sometimes, but not like it did, and not to the point of hurting me like it did. I have accepted it, and like all the brothers we lost, I feel for them, and their families. Maybe if by some strange chance I did get to meet someone in his family I would just like to tell them that I was there with him at the end, and that he was a very brave man?" Thanks, Joe DODSON"

Those of us who think that they know how Joe feels, because we know that war is hell; does not choose its victims; will kill anyone in its course; give our support; as we would get Joe's. Hell is for heroes.

Dale MCGUFF DTMCGUFF@AOL.COM St. Charles, IL signed in the 15th MED Guestbook, "Been awhile since I've been to the site. I was with 15th MED from March 1969 to March 1970. First seven months with Bravo 1-5 2nd Platoon and the last five months with MEDEVAC. Just published a book about my experiences with the Cav. If you're interested you can get it at: www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=31821 ."

I e-mailed Dale because he indicated that he finished flying on MEDEVAC during my first three months in the same. I could not remember him, if only extremely vaguely. That also happened with crew chief Pat MARTIN, who was there all the time that I was, but I did not even know of him. Dale replied:

"Hi Mike, Thanks for including the book. It is just released so it will take a bit to get released to the normal sites. I was with MEDEVAC from October '69 to March '70. We must have crossed paths. I flew a lot with Dave PARKS and Mike VINYARD; Charlie HOLMES, ZEPP, and a number of others. I knew Gus, Doc Dew, etc. Like you it seems I don't remember too many names. It was a long time ago. However, I have a bunch of photos that may trigger some memories. I think BARTON was the Sgt. but I'm fuzzy on that. I should know because he was also in Bravo Co. 1-5 with me. I was part of the group that put together the MEDEVAC and Holding Co. we started when we built the bar in the new barracks. The book might trigger some memories. However, even as I said in the Forward, I may have gotten some names wrong or mixed up.

"Anyway, I'm hoping to make the next reunion so maybe we can hook up then. If you can use the photos let me know and I'll scan them in and send them to you. I'll attach one of me, maybe you'll recognize it."

I let gunner Dave PARKS know that I had found Dale, and he replied: "Hey Mike. Dave, shoot-down here...yes I knew Dale. We flew together quite a few times. He roomed with [gunner] Mike PARSONS. If you read the review of Dale's book, the 'Dave' he spoke of was me. VINYARD was crew chief, Cpt. HOLMES was AC, and I think, oh hell, I can't think of the PP's name, DAMN; and Dale was Medic!! Don't remember much about that time. Know we made it to IKE before the ship gave out. Landed-I say landed cuz we all walked away, that's a good landing in anyone's book!!-in the outer perimeter wire. Don't even remember how we got back to air ops. Later Mike, keep up the good work with the SABER. Enjoy your writings whenever I read one! Dave, SHOOTDOWN@YAHOO.COM "

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