Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
I heard from MEDEVAC gunner Richard GOODSON
firstname.lastname@example.org who updated commo from pilot Henry "Okie"
TUELL. Rick says he is putting in one more year, then retiring. He will
golf for a living; hunt, and fish.
From Henry TUELL email@example.com , "Rick, great to hear
from you. I haven't kept up with many of our crew except Dan BRADY, Monty
HALCOLM, and Lee CAUBARREAUX. I guess we were the lucky ones - I came
back without any problems and kept plugging away in the Army trying to do
my thing to make it better. I flew for lots of years then became a
hospital administrator. Had a great career and ended up a full bird and
was the chief of staff for the Army Medical Command. When I retired I
consulted for CDC and helped them build their response programs. Got to
be part of their 9/11 and Katrina response efforts. Last year I traveled
with the World Health Organization team to help countries prepare for
the pandemic influenza. Had a great time but got a little tired of the
international travel. Ended up spending the last month in Africa.
"Retired from everything except an occasional WHO trip and really having
fun. My bride of forty-three years and I live in a little town in Montana
called Red Lodge. We don't have any stop lights in the county and are
about an hour from Yellowstone Park. We have three horses and spend lots
of time in the high country going to remote trout fishing spots. I
didn't get my antelope or elk this year but did get eight deer. We have
both white tail and mulies here and really like going after the big mulie
"Am doing some great volunteer work with wounded warriors. We
bring groups out from Walter Reed to hunt and fish - gives them a good
break from treatment. Reminds me every time we do this how lucky I am.
By the eighteenth of November is when November usually kicks
in for me, and I always remember that I forgot that it was Jon WALLENIUS'
birthday on November 17th. It seems every year I e-mail him for the
belated "Happy Birthday." I tried again this year as usual, but the years
seem to be getting to Jon who mentioned it's just another reminder of
what he went through in Vietnam on his birthday in 1965.
an 11C with B 2-7 Cav which became a reinforcing company with 1-7 Cav at
LZ Xray on Nov. 14th-16th, '65. When that fight was over and other units
including the rest of 2-7 Cav came in to relieve, 1-7 Cav and B 2-7 Cav
went into the rear to stand down.
The next day, Nov. 17th, 2-7 Cav
and 2-5 Cav moved on to extractions at LZ Albany and LZ Columbus,
respectively. 2-7 Cav walked into an ambush at the PZ designated LZ
Albany, and were decimated. Jon had told me he was in the rear getting
drunk at the time, celebrating his birthday, when B 2-7 Cav was mustered
as quick response to the rest of his battalion at LZ Albany.
Jon had told me years ago, and anyone can read about, wasn't pleasant.
I'll try to remember, not only Jon's birthday in the future when it
happens, but not to remind him.
Although it's too late now, Jon
mentioned to notify of: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20 from 9 PM ET, SHAKEY'S HILL
(Encore Performance) on the Military Channel. "In 1970, CBS News
cameraman Norman LLOYD followed a battalion of American soldiers [B 5-7
Cav] into the jungles of Cambodia. The mission was to seek out
substantial weapons and supply caches being used by the North Vietnamese
Army during the Vietnam War. As the battalion closed in on the location
of the caches, they encountered a growing resistance from the North
Vietnamese forces. Rarely seen footage and first-hand accounts take the
audience through each firefight leading up to the operation's climax,
which came to be known as the infamous taking of Shakey's Hill. By
melding field interviews from 1970 with retrospective interviews from 35
years later, SHAKEY'S HILL explores not only the events leading to this
successful mission but the effects of war decades later. SHAKEY'S HILL,
winner of the 2007 G.I. Film Festival's Best Documentary Award, is
produced and directed by Norman LLOYD."
If you missed this you should
be able to buy the DVD called: "Commitment & Sacrifice-A True Story-The
Soldier's Story" from the Website:
That is where I had gotten it back in 2005.
It documents B 5-7 Cav
in Vietnam and Cambodia, while they pursue caches in Cambodia, one extra
large one which became known as Shakey's Hill-named after the first
trooper KIA whom they had nick named "Shakey," because he had a slight
stutter. It also follows up by documenting the veterans of that period,
years later at their reunion. Then, the documentary goes on to Iraq with
5-7 Cav, to show the continuing commitment and sacrifice.
have mentioned it in a previous Saber column after I had first watched
this, that it could have been the incident that we were monitoring on the
radio on MEDEVAC. My crew was just flying around, like on call, at the
outset of the Cambodian Incursion. The pilots had the radio on the
intercom, which wasn't common, and I heard a unit in contact with voices
yelling and screaming something like, "They're coming down on us!" Then a
lot of shooting. I just thought to myself, "Poor guys!"
When I saw
this DVD I realized it could have been this incident-and if it was, they
were not so surprised because they were on the attack. I don't remember
going in for any pickup right at that time. Of course, if they, or anyone
called, we went. Somebody did, for them. Probably, when they finished
what they were doing, and had time to evacuate casualties.
does show what I can confirm is MEDEVAC, because the door guns are
visible. 1st Cav MEDEVAC was actually the only frontline aeromedical
evacuation during the Cambodian Incursion. We picked up for all units. I
remember extracting wounded from the Big Red One, i.e. 1st ID, 25th ID,
199th LIB, 11th ACR, and whoever else was out there, e.g. ARVNs and
civilians; NVA if they were POW.
The one identifiable MEDEVAC crew
was on a ground pickup. I can't identify which crew, but MEDEVAC. On one
of the hoist missions it's hard to see the door gunner but it looks like
MEDEVAC. I even thought it could have possibly been me, I certainly did
it plenty-could have been, as well as any of us.
shot makes me wonder, because the hoist is on the wrong side of the
aircraft. It looks like the crew chief's side, and I wondered how that
could be. Not knowing whom else to ask, I ran it by Rick GOODSON, and
CCed it to Henry TUELL. Rick said, "Never saw one on the crew chief
side, always on the gunner's side. Don't know about Dust Off. Did you
see 60's on the chopper?"
I got to the where I said to Rick that the
film maker could have just spliced in a clip from some other time and
place. Documentary film makers will do that to illustrate their point
and maintain the intensity. Military documentaries do that a lot, so I've
noticed, maybe because footage isn't available. Often, I can tell that
something shown is not where or when they say it is. If anyone has ever
seen a situation on MEDEVAC where the hoist was on the left side-
looking forward to the front of the Huey, let me know.
also added, "I remember leaving from Quan Loi the early morning in May of
'70 along with everything else that would fly heading for Cambodia.
Remember picking up a general that went down and he used our ship as a
command ship for the invasion. Flew in and out of Cambodia for quite
awhile. We even picked up LRRP's a few times when we were not suppose to
be there prior to the invasion. It all looked alike to me. Flew for about
twenty-four straight hours one time and was starving by the time we got
back to Song Be. All they had to eat from the mess tent was tomato
sandwiches. I remember them bringing them out to the chopper and they
were the best sandwiches I ever had.
"Don't remember which
infantry unit was where. I just remember picking up a whole bunch of
troopers from every unit from everywhere. Friendly and unfriendly alike."
I got an e-mail from Daniel TOOTHMAN "Fang"
who sent a link for a video of a contemporary SHook doing some fancy
maneuvering to make an extraction:
"I am sure you have all seen this before, but it's worth another viewing.
Should be a thriller for all you Hookers...anytime!! With a little
editing, a great ad for Chinook!!!! Among the best I have seen!
"Glad to see the troops approaching the ramp from the side!! An Army
helicopter pilot doing his job-The ole CH-47 still going strong after
fifty-two years. Aren't you glad the Transportation Corps was in charge
of R&D and procurement back then?"
"Here's some excellent helo
crew coordination work for a tough extraction. Make sure your sound is up
so you can get the full effect. Love and miss those sounds...the engines
singing, all those gears meshing and straining to turn the rotors to beat
the air into submission. I can almost smell the hydraulic fluid too!
"This is good. Sometimes in MEDEVAC we'd have to hold one skid of the
Huey on the side of a hill while the crew would pull patients up into the
helicopter from under the skid on the downhill side. We'd have to move
them to the uphill side of the passenger compartment to keep the main
rotor from hitting the ground. The lift-off was fun also.
night in May 1969 (I think), LZ Grant, NE of Nui Ba Den, was taking a
ground attack and we couldn't land at the log pad outside the wire. We
put one skid on top of a bunker inside the LZ and loaded patients from
that side. As I remember we did that five times with illumination-Puff or
Arty-the only light, 105's firing continuously, Cobras working out, and
tracers everywhere making it a challenging hover. We had two birds
working that mission, but I don't remember the name of the AC of the
other aircraft. He was of Middle Eastern extraction and in our typical
sensitive military manner, we called him Camel Merchant, or something
like that. On one trip in they took fire from a .51 cal, but he didn't think
they had taken any hits. We finished the mission and while they were hot
refueling at Tay Ninh, they heard the tell-tale 'Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh...'
of a compromised main rotor blade. After shut-down they found that a bullet
had entered from the bottom of one blade near the aft end near the middle of
the span, and exited the top about an inch or two behind the spar. The blade
had definite unnatural bend in it so the aircraft stayed there for the
night. All in a days work in MEDEVAC." With the new year, get serious about
gearing up with your veteran buddies in Chicago for Welcome Home 2011, a
Chicago Vietnam Veterans' Welcome Home Parade, June 17-19, 2011." Go to:
for the info.
Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around
the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE