Saber Article Index

2018 Mar-apr

I received a phone call from Bob Tortolani in reference to his diary about a Valorous Unit Award citation for A Co. 15th MED, 11-12 Aug 69, which I had mentioned in the Saber previously. Bob was 1-7 Cav Battalion Surgeon ‘68-’69 and finished his Vietnam tour of duty in 1969 at A Co. 15th MED in Tay Ninh.

I called him back to clarify what he had mentioned to me. Bob read from his diary, that after returning from a leave in Japan, things got very busy at A 15th MED August 8-16, 1969. He said that it got very depressing seeing all the casualties.

When he first called, Bob read that on August 15th there were a lot of casualties from Jamie. I said that my battalion, 2-7 Cav, was on LZ Jamie, which surprised him because he didn’t know that. I said off the top of my head that I thought my company, C 2-7 Cav-was working down by the river then, Song Saigon-and I didn’t remember any notable activity or enemy movements. Later in the day I remembered that C 2-7 was on Jamie once when it got hit. My platoon was on the NE corner sector, and the attack seemed to be concentrated on the corner in the next platoon’s sector. That was at night, and our RTO said that Ligons was killed.

I then looked up on the C 2-7 website on the Memorial page which lists those KIA in Vietnam  and found: Raymond Ligons, 2nd Platoon, KIA 8/15/69, Panel 19W, 46. So, that did confirm that C 2-7 Cav was doing base security at the time. I don’t recall anything else happening after that, which seemed to be a brief period of flashes. Bob had read from his diary that Jamie had a sapper attack. That would explain why my platoon’s sector was seeing no activity. And, that the NVA sappers were probably concentrating their attack trying to get to the artillery.

The National Archives e-mailed complimentary copies of the Daily Staff Journals to me for 2-7 Cav and 15th MED for August 15th and I see that the attack happened at 0325 listing the SW portion of the LZ taking small arms fire with bunker 15 taking a direct hit with a B-40 (RPG). Other B-40s (09 listed) and Chicom grenades being thrown by seven NVA thirty feet in front of bunker 14 and were returned with artillery, 81mm mortars, small arms and frags. It says Blue Max (ARA Cobras) arrived and expended.

Results were 07 NVA KIA, 01 US KIA, 10 US WIA, 02 KCS (Kit Carson Scouts) WIA. 04 US were MEDEVACed at 0350 listing all by name and line numbers, but I do not see any of them on the C 2-7 website. The Daily Journal wouldn’t just make them up. Something doesn’t jibe. More to research.

The 15th MED Daily Journal does not mention MEDEVAC to LZ Jamie. I have to consider their journal not helpful for this information. At 0920 2-7 Cav Bn. Aid requested MEDEVAC for 04 individuals, three from C Co. and one from A 1-30. Names and line numbers are given, but again I do not see them on the C 2-7 website. It also mentions that E 2-7 was using a lot of radar effectively, adding 05 NVA KIA at 0650. At 0810 A 1-9 Cav saw one NVA S of LZ and killed the same.

I did find one website < date=08-15-1969> that lists all KIA on 15 Aug 69 in RVN. As well as Raymond Ligons, I found two artillerymen, Frank Charles Armijo, and Chester Leon Goins, who are listed as 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Battalion, 30th Artillery, Battery A. I also found on the 1-30 Hard Chargers’ website that those Troopers were KIA on LZ Jamie, as I suspected.

Bob read that Jamie was mortared later. I do remember a day, if not later, on the 15th and then on the 16th, that the LZ took incoming. I had no memory or diary to know when that happened; probably then, but it all just blurs together. While doing this research I read that LZ Becky, about fifteen clicks northwest of Jamie and closer to the border, was badly attacked on 12 Aug 69. The attack was termed by a gunship pilot as “the most intense stand-off attack on a firebase I’ve seen since the Cav moved to War Zone C.” Some four hundred enemy mortar and rocket rounds repeatedly riveted holes in the surface of the LZ, as the enemy battalion launched a ground attack from the north. 2-8 Cav was on LZ Becky and A 1-30 Artillery again suffered. All casualties were MEDEVACed to A 15th MED in Tay Ninh. All this is why Bob and staff were so busy and shared in the Valorous Unit Award citation for 15th Medical Battalion mentioned.

Bob was very “short” at the time. He read from his diary that all previous DEROS drops were suspended because of the activity. Tay Ninh itself was expecting an NVA attack. He read that he left Tay Ninh on the 19th. He said no notations on the 20th. Bob said he plans to attend his first 1st Cavalry Division Association Reunion in West Virginia. You can talk to him there if all attend.

I also received a phone call from Ron Rousseau. He called to mention PFC Frank David Garrett being added to the 15th MED Bn Assn Memorial Wall. Ron said that he and Frank David Garrett served together in the 11th MED which was in the 11th Air Assault Test Division which became the 15th Medical Battalion when the 11th Air Assault Test Division and the 2nd Infantry Division became the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and deployed to Vietnam.

Ron said he was with Frank David Garrett on 28 Oct 65 when he was killed in an accident. They were picking up a water blivet, which is quite heavy and bulky when filled. They had it on a mule or US Army M274 Truck which is a small flatbed transporter. Ron stepped inside a building and didn’t see what happened. When he came out, the bladder had rolled over on Frank David Garrett impaling him to the mule. The water blivet was not properly secured.

Ron says they would not let him see the body because it was so badly mauled. Ron says that he was a proud Combat Medic and had been in 2-8 Cav. He said that he also was chosen to serve as General Kinnard’s orderly. His phone number is: (480)203-1289. He gives as his e-mail.

Ron was just ready to return to Vietnam to revisit when I returned his call. If you can get ahold of him he will have a lot to talk about. He did anyway.

I was notified of the death of MEDEVAC Medic SP5 Kenneth R. Flowers, AKA “Doc Nose”. He is listed on the 15th MED website page “FINAL DEROS” <>. I see many other names I did not know about.

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

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