Saber Article Index

2001 Mar-Apr

MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
Mike Bodnar
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
1704 254-542-1961

 have the sad news to inform to all about our SNORE, MEDEVAC crew chief '69-'70, who had been ill for the last year or so. This notice was sent to me by MEDEVAC door gunner and current 15th MED Assn. president Mike SMITH MVANDCO@AOL.COM :

"Sherman BREEDEN passed away Jan 28, 2001. As you know he was the founder and Web master of the 15th MED Assn. If I can, I am requesting all former members of 15th MED and MEDEVAC to please send a card of condolence to Ann his wife, and family. Thank you very much!"

Their address is: The BREEDENS, 858 Manning Rd., Suffolk VA, 23434-8548. Telephone: (757)539-6158."

Sherman BREEDEN was an extraordinary U.S. Army crew chief and a great friend to us all, during and after the Vietnam War. I know because I flew at the same time and with him.

Most of us know what he has done to bring us MEDEVAC and 15th MED veterans together in the last few years. I would not have been inspired to contribute with this column if not for him.

SNORE always lived up to and carried on the altruistic MEDEVAC motto: SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE. R.I.P. Sherman!

This is SNORE's last message to us all, and he was again thinking of others: "Please read message and respond to Monty. Please read all; very important message!!! Miss you all and hope things are going fine. Sorry I have been unresponsive. I'm still getting treatment and have lost a lot of time at work. I have been put on new medication and I am getting much better. Love you all and will get back in the grove soon...SNORE"

The note from Monty HALCOMB is, "Subject: Help needed; Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2001, 1:23 PM: Sherman, I just received word that Stu ROBERTS passed away yesterday, after a long battle with Parkinson's. He was a good friend to several of the pilots, including Ray ZEPP, Hank TUELL, and others during the '70-'71 era. Please notify those folks by e-mail ASAP of Stu's passing; give my e-mail address for additional information, if you want: MHALCOMB@CAFES.NET ."

Stu was an inspiration to many of us, and a true Vietnam vet we need to honor. Thank you, Monty."

I received a year end greeting card from Karl M. ZINSMAN, 87- 164 Maipela St., Waianae, HI 96792-3153. Karl says that he was a crew chief out of Camp Evans for HHC 3rd BDE, Feb. '68- '69.

The following note came from Claude NEWBY (Note new e-mail address) CDNEWBY@EARTHLINK.NET : "Mike, I really appreciate the lengthy blurb in Saber, for my books. I'll let you know what sort of response I get, provided those who respond identify the source of their information. Take care." But really Claude, we owe you the thanks for remembering all who worked hard and sacrificed while in service to their country and countrymen.

I received e-mail from Jim BLACK of 1\9 Cav fame, C & B Troops 1\9th Recon CAV, '67-'68 and '72-'73, "Headhunters" HEADHUNTERS9@HOTMAIL.COM who in his own words writes: "Hello Mike, Just a note to ask you if there is a chance of any 15th MED people that could help me with something. I'm trying to get the V.A. to approve my claim for parasites. It seems the one dose I received of medicine for parasites, at the An Khe hospital ('67) may not have killed all of the parasites I had because as I write I am having the same symptoms (slimy mucus in stools, bloating stomach, stools that are the size of marbles stuck together with the limy mucus stuff, constipation with maybe one bowel movement a day)."

The better half, who is having to do the type of this for me, has been receiving (and finding through Internet searches) input on her computer about parasites and has found out that only one dose wasn't enough (contrary to what the gastro doctor has told us recently). I do remember taking a large gel-filled capsule in which the next four days was spent mostly on the crapper taking samples and sending them to the lab. My wife has been finding out that a second, third, or fourth dosage may have been needed (a week or two apart)."

So far I've not found any parasites in my stools, but all symptoms are leading me and my wife to believe that the dosage may not have killed all the parasites I had. Other Nam vets I've spoken with feel the same as I do-some have even had the same symptoms and found out their parasites were lying dormant for as many as 30 years also)."

Could you perhaps add anything in this matter? Any and all information that might convince the V.A. that I am not lying. My medical records do not have anything in them (so far of what we've received through my service officer) about my almost 2 week stay at the 15th MED, Oct or Nov '67. Also, could you affirm or deny that any MEDEVAC choppers had M-60's on them? When did this come about? I remember seeing 60's on most MEDEVACs (mostly CAV MEDEVACs) in my tour of June '67- '68. A controversy is looming over this and I would like to put an end to it. Others say it was against Geneva Convention to have weapons mounted or personal carried on a MEDEVAC unless it is the patients'. I'd appreciate any information on this matter also. Thank you, Mike, for letting me bore you for a while. FIRST TEAM!! WE CAN, WILL!!"

If there are any doctors or medical technicians reading this who can help Jim, please volunteer. I know that Jim will be your friend for life and also pass on your information to others. Also, I did answer Jim's question about M-60s on MEDEVAC, in the last Saber. Original MEDEVAC door gunner Mel ALLEN had confirmed to me that M-60s went on in Jan '66-and stayed on. 1st Cav MEDEVAC were the only aeromedical evacuation helicopters in Vietnam with M-60s. The ordnance shot at MEDEVAC, killing and maiming crewmembers, had no Geneva Convention written on it.

In response to Larry ASH's mention in the last Saber of his being in A 2\12 Cav in '69 I received a letter from Larry HUTCHINS, P.O. Box 764, Tishomingo, OK 73460. Larry says that he was also in A 2\12 Cav '68-'69 and comments that MEDEVAC was appreciated by the grunts beyond words. I would second that motion from out in the field.

Larry witnessed MEDEVAC coming in under fire and hovering until all the wounded were extracted. Larry remembers an incident around Apr\May '69 when they were in contact for several days straight and in triple canopy jungle. They agreed to have one wounded trooper, whom he thinks was named Charles GRAY from the S.E. U.S., hoisted out using a ridged litter like in the photo in the last Saber.

While the MEDEVAC was hovering and hoisting they took fire and the S.O.P. was to cut the cable and leave. The MEDEVAC A.C. had a cable cut switch on one of his controls, as did the Medic operating the hoist I barely recall, for that purpose. But, on that occasion they left the litter dangling with the wounded man when they left. Larry says the enemy got in a lucky shot about 300 meters away and severed the hoist cable.

The casualty fell from above the trees and spent the rest of that day, night, and the following day alone before he could be reached. Needless to say, he was in worse shape then when first hoisted. Larry says that the wounded man could talk and said that the enemy was all around and looking for him. MEDEVAC was recalled and finally extracted him.

One hates to hear of those types of incidents but that is the risk involved in combat. The decision to evacuate wounded ASAP, as an "urgent,"  can be not worth the worst consequences.

Larry says that he still does not know the final outcome of the wounded trooper mentioned and would like to hear from anyone who might know. He also reiterates that MEDEVAC was greatly appreciated and says that if anyone ran into someone from MEDEVAC on R&R then the drinks were on the grunts!

I forgot to mention in the last Saber that I got a call from Richard CAMPBELL of 416 E & W St., Minder, LA 71058 CAMPBELL@CWIDE.NET who was a lieutenant in B 2\7 Cav in '70. Richard called to inquire about my mention of Bob HACKNEY's P.I.O. documentary that I had mentioned.

There was an infamous scene running around the televisions and is still included in some documentaries of the Vietnam War of some soldiers smoking dope on duty out in the boonies. Richard says that the higher ups wanted everyone to view that so they would know what activity was not sanctioned.

I said that I did not think that was part of Bob's, or the CBS News crew's whom Bob escorted, footage. That would be a dead give away as to where that activity was and what unit to punish, as if being an 11B in combat in Vietnam was not enough punishment in the minds of many.

Richard also mentioned some names in our conversation whom he has talked to recently. One was Dale VESSER whom Richard says was, if my notes are right, a battalion commander in the 7th Cav, maybe his BC, and ended up a LTG.

The other was a name that rung a bell with me, Guy MELOY, a LTC whom I have read about when he was a major in the 25th ID during Operation Attleboro, a battle by Dau Tiang in III Corps in Nov '66.

Dau Tiang was a relatively rear area for us in the 1st Cav in III Corps from '68 to the end but never ceased to be a problem spot with active VC. Thanks Richard, for your call and information.

Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over and out.

Mike Bodnar C 2\7 '69
MEDEVAC 1-7\70

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