Saber Article Index

2009 May-Jun

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

A correction to the last Saber column comes from '67-'68 MEDEVAC Crew Chief Randy BREWER: "Mike, That photo in the March\April 2009 edition of the SABER is not me. That is pilot 1st Lt. David FENSTERMACHER. I am the one who took the photo. Two MEDEVAC aircraft were sent into an LZ, by ourselves, near Khe Sanh, as the 1st Cav prepared to relieve the Marines at Khe Sanh. David was shot through both thighs on Apr. 4, 1968. I was hit in the left side, as we tried for the second time to rescue a wounded Marine on the side of a mountain. The other aircraft had been shot up by a .51 cal. Chicom machine gun. CWO Martin WALKER was able to make a forced landing at a 105mm firebase. The Medic was SP\5 WORD, who was able to save Lt. FENSTERMACHER. SP\5 Jim CALIBRO was the gunner and the one who silenced the enemy, and saved the aircraft.

"The 15th MED\MEDEVAC Reunion was held here in Biloxi, MS, Apr. 3-6, 2008. I hosted it, and it was well attended. Jim & I were able to toast each other Apr. 4, 2008, on being shot down forty years ago. Five of my former pilots also attended: Art JACOBS, Clarence E. COOPER, Pete MULFORD, Henry LAND, and Tom GROVE. Also, two of my best gunners were there; Murray GIBBS and Jim CALIBRO. I talked to David as late as 2004, but he had Parkinson's Disease so badly, he had to quit work. All efforts to contact him since then failed. Last known address: Capt. David FENSTERMACHER, 9 Bradford Place, Augusta, GA 30904-6132. Phone (706) 733-5840. I do not know his status.

"We were sent to that LZ [Pony, I think] totally alone, in advance of the coming combat assault. There were supposed to be Marines in the mountains around us. Our ONLY protection were the M-60's we carried on the aircraft-no ground troops! That photo of David reading by candle light-all we had-was taken by me with a 35mm Konica. I still have the original photo as well as two huge photo albums I took during my tour with MEDEVAC, Oct. 3, '67- Oct. 3, '68. Those who attended the 2008 Reunion were able to view all those photos. MY BEST TO ALL, FIRST TEAM, 'SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.' MEDEVAC 458 & 578." Randy's e-mail is: randelljbrowdr@bdllsouth.tidt .

15th MED Association Webmaster/Database Operator, MEDEVAC '67-'68 Murray GIBBS  posts, "Greetings 15th MED members, The 2009 Reunion was a great Reunion at Myrtle Beach, SC. The dates were Apr 2-5, 2009. Our Reunion Coordinator Pete MULFORD arranged three hospitality rooms on the first level, all connected together. Each room had some displays in them. One room had a map where members put a little name tag on to show where they live. Another room had all the recent documents retrieved from the archives. The hospitality rooms opened up early in the morning and usually closed about 11pm or midnight. We had a lot of members attending, and there were also new members who attended for their first Reunion.

"Our annual meeting was held in the conference room Saturday morning, at 9am Apr 4th, 2009. We discussed the old business, then went on to new business. We elected and appointed or re- appointed officers. The meeting was a big turn out with wives also attending the annual meeting.

"Our Saturday Evening Banquet was in another conference room next to our Annual Meeting room. It was a great buffet. You could have seconds, or even thirds, if you so desired. We had our Ladies Aux Coordinator give out rewards to our members, member wives, and Honorary Guests (members of the Lance family). Holly CALIBRO was our outgoing Ladies Aux Coordinator, and Velma SMITH is taking her place. Velma assisted Holly during this awards ceremony.

"Next, we had Richard 'Tiny' MELLON be the auctioneer. One of the coveted items auctioned off was an Aircraft Armor Vest with backplate. Nickname for this item, while we were in Vietnam, was 'Chicken Plate.' Art JACOBS had the highest bid on the 'Chicken Plate.' Our highest bid item was a hand made belt buckle with a 1st Cav patch and a Huey helicopter on it. "During the Reunion, Treasurer Bob MCKINLEY asked me about the map I had made with the Reunion locations on it a couple years ago. I found it, and added 2008 and 2009.

"Member Bobby BROOKS' wife, Linda, brought her laptop and scanner equipment to the 2009 Reunion. She made memorial pictures of members who brought a picture of them, in Vietnam. I appreciate the memorial picture she made of me. I hung it over my computer as soon as I got home. You can view her Digital Beauty Designs by clicking on the icon in the second index page of the Website. There you will find information to contact her.

"We lost the MSN Website in Feb. I don't know if I will be able to create another one, but I am working on that possibility. When you look at the Status Report you will notice how incomplete we are when it comes to e-mail addresses, and next are phone numbers. The members are divided into four areas of the US. You can see how many are in each state. It is a big challenge to update this ongoing information. Hopefully, we will be able to get a few members to help update our database by regions. This is currently being worked on. "One of the important objectives that I wanted to come from the Reunion was to mentor one of two members to be Assistant Webmaster. I believe we should have a few who know what to do with the database, Website, and forums. We don't need to lose our Website/s again.

"Member David HUSER will be visiting me next week and I will be setting up his laptop with all the information I have with our main Website. I will teach him all the things I do, in an easier manner than I learned them. Being self taught does have its drawbacks, which is trial and error, along with time. I will be able to show him the best methods I use. There are several different computer programs I will teach him to do that I use. Soon he will also be setting up the Voice Over Internet Provider that I spoke about at the Reunion. We will use that to communicate with, over the Internet. It is called GSC and you can download it by clicking the bottom of the GSC banner below or on the front page of the Website. Once installed and having the proper equipment, one will be able to talk to other members across the US, and it is FREE.

"The GSC Banner shows who is online in our GSC server. You can see it on the front page of the Website to see who is online. If you feel like voice chatting with another member you can boot the GSC program. All you have to do is download it and install the program. You will need to search for the '15th MED Association' channel to enter it. If you have questions about it please feel free to contact me."

Gilbert "Gil" GATT0 of Weatherford, TX, says, "I was a MEDEVAC pilot CW-2, call sign 'MEDEVAC 20,' Mar '68-Mar '69. I am grateful to have been a part of 15th MED."

John P. RUNKEL from Lake Havasu City, AZ, writes, "I am an associate member of the 1st Cav and served with the 5th Army Reserves from 1966-1974. I have always felt a sense of guilt because I was married and had a kid on the way, but wanted very much to serve on a MEDEVAC team. You guys are real heroes. At age 62, I don't think I will make it, but who knows."

Corky WALSH in Eugene, OR, signed the Guestbook: "Good job Murray. I miss all of you guys and I will be at the next Reunion."

Mark "DOC" HOLIDAY , MEDEVAC CE '70-'71, 459 "Cheap Thrills," Llano, CA, notes, "It's good to finally get the correct address. Sure miss all you guys. Hope all had a good time at the Reunion. I'll be at the next. Take care."

Jim BRODIE at Columbus, GA, updates, "I am getting older and forgetting stuff. Did I see some photos on this site awhile back? Are there any photos of the 15th?"

Murray GIBBS at Nile, OH, updates, "Hey Jim, If you were browsing the MSN Website, you saw pictures. We lost all of them when Groups/ went down and I could not migrate it to the new one. Refer to Feb. newsletter on the main Website."

Mike "Face" MAGRANE , signs, Amesbury, MA, "Co. A 15th MED Bn. 12-'67 to 12-'68."

Al TANNENBAUM-"Baum"-  signed, Charlotte, NC, "Nice to see SNORE's old Web site back in action. I need to change my e-mail address. Can someone point me in the right direction?"

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

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

Bottom border for page.