Saber Article Index

2013 Jul-Aug

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

I received an e-mail from Terry McCarl who said he would like to send some stories, etc., and has read all the Saber columns on the Website. Also, he says he has some photos to e-mail. All this would be welcomed for the readers. Everyone is always encouraged to do this.

Terry asked about a CPT (in 1969) Robert Wood. He was a MEDEVAC pilot '68-'69. He sent an e-mail to him with the address on the FOUND list and got no response. Called his number on the list and got a message that the number is no longer in service. Terry just updated that he found out that CPT Bob Wood passed away last year.

Another e-mail, from Steve Cook said, "Mike, This is Steve Cook. I was the senior Pathfinder that opened LZ Becky. I need to confirm a MEDEVAC date. On\about July 15, 1969, LZ Becky received several mortar and various rockets. Several soldiers of the 2-8 Cav were wounded. One soldier from the mortar platoon was seriously wounded and we had to MEDEVAC him. Because we thought a ground attack was imminent I decided not to go outside the wire, and landed the MEDEVAC inside LZ Becky near the TOC. I need anyone from the MEDEVAC crew, 2-8 Cav staff, medical platoon or mortar platoon [artillery] to verify the date. Need the exact date for a claim.

"Really would like to talk to either pilot to see how I did that night ground guiding them with my patrons. My contact data: Steve Cook Phone 304 636-7240 currahee67@suddenlink.net ."

Continued: "Mike, more on this combat MEDEVAC action on LZ BECKY. You may put this in the Saber also. 'On\about July 15, 1969, around 2300 hours LZ Becky received a mortar and rocket attack. One soldier had a severe wound-think it was a sucking chest wound. Someone from the TOC came over to my little Pathfinder hooch and told us that a MEDEVAC had been requested. I did not go outside the wire to the helipad to land the MEDEVAC because I knew a ground attack sometimes followed a mortar and rocket attack. I told the 2-8 CAV commander that I would land the MEDEVAC near the TOC. The commander didn't believe that I could do that.

I quickly organized a small detail and laid down all the 292 antennas near the TOC so the MEDEVAC would not hit them. I contacted the MEDEVAC on the radio and told him to turn off his lights and approach the east side of LZ Becky. I also told the MEDEVAC that at one hundred feet I wanted him over the east side of Becky and to assume my visual guidance. When he was over the east end of Becky I ground guided him with my batons forward and down to about a five foot hover very near the TOC. We lifted up the wounded soldier and put him onboard. I stepped back and gave him the take off signal.

The MEDEVAC immediately ascended to one hundred feet, did a left pedal turn, and departed at LIGHT SPEED. I swear the pilots hit the after burners. I would love to talk to the pilots or crew. This was not just another routine MEDEVAC mission. No such thing as a routine MEDEVAC mission; every mission was critical, difficult and dangerous. This MEDEVAC crew that flew the LZ Becky mission that night was superb and followed my instructions precisely. They flew the last part of the mission with no lights, descended to a five-foot hover in a very tight spot that had just received mortars and rockets, and this peril was still a possibility with ground attack; picked up the wounded soldier and departed the area quickly.

That entire crew deserves an award. I want to thank them also for saving a soldier's life and to ask them how I did that night. Just another night in PARIDISE. Pathfinders always had a special bond with the Cav pilots especially the MEDEVAC crews; they were always there and supported us.' Steve Cook, Team 1, 11th Pathfinder Company, 1969-70." I would add, that MEDEVAC crew did get an award as we always did. Just doing what was needed was the award every time.

Albert Benamou "Frenchy" alben248@me.com wrote, "Hi Mike haven't heard from you in awhile! Went to the Sacramento Reunion - was great to see at least one person from C Co., Leo Williams.

"James Calibro also was the one who contacted me for this one. Hope all is well with you - Took lots of Pics! Would love to share them."

From Jimmy Pearson, "My name is Jimmy Pearson and I have been searching for Medics that served with us in Vietnam. I was with D-CO 2-8 Cav, Cat platoon 1970, 1st Air Cav. William Walker from California Cat-3 Medic, African American. Mitchell Davis from Illinois, Cat-3 Medic, an African American, who did received the Distinguished Service Cross; and Edward Parks from Texas, Cat-1 Medic, African American. "My e-mail address is JPearson226@comcast.net . My phone number is 1-781-294-8804, I'm from Hanson, Massachusetts. If you don't know of them maybe you can help me in a different direction."

I had to tell Jimmy-like I do everyone else-15th MED did not control line unit Medics, and I didn't know many. But, if anyone reading this does know who he is looking for, please contact him.

Corky Walsh is the new 15th MED Association President. Visit the 15th MED Assn. Website to read new and old president's messages, as well as all other news.

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