Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
This column has achieved field grade status
in the fact that there are major error corrections to note from the last
issue of the Saber. They are immediately as follows: There was a photo
of three MEDEVAC crewmen, i.e. Mike SMITH, LT Dennis SCHMIDT, and LT
Steve MODICA. The caption read incorrectly. Gunner Mike SMITH is still
very much alive as noted in the beginning of the last Saber issue. It is
Dennis SCHMIDT and Steve MODICA who are deceased since Vietnam; R.I.P.
I flew with both LT SCHMIDT and LT MODICA quite a lot. LT SCHMIDT
somehow liked me enough to take me up in the co- pilot's seat with him at
Song Be to show me how to fly a UH- 1B, with or without a gunner or crew
chief, I do not remember.
I understand that is what the pilots did with any E.M. if they liked
them enough. At the time I could not have cared less about the thrill of
piloting a UH-1B but I went along with the experience which ended as
quickly as it had started while I felt the squish of the flight controls.
I do not know what I had done to impress LT SCHMIDT for him to like me
enough to do that with me. At that period the only person that I was
trying to impress was the Grim Reaper. I do remember getting into some
kind of, at that age, rare dissertation, in the MEDEVAC crew members tent
at Song Be and holding LT SCHMIDT's attention. That could have been
what did it. LT SCHMIDT was not easily impressed and he was a hard-core
soldier as well as an excellent pilot having been promoted from Warrant
LT MODICA wrote an article, which appeared in various places in Army
publications called, "MEDEVAC Meadows" about when his aircraft got shot
down during the Cambodian Incursion but in Vietnam up by Katum in War
Zone C. That was also when we had our only combat K.I.A. while I flew on
MEDEVAC from January until July of 1970. That casualty was door gunner
Gary L. TAYLOR.
That was also when the Medal of Honor was won by then
SFC Louis R. ROCCO who was in MACV and flying out with LT MODICA's crew
to ARVNs who were to be medically evacuated. That date of incident was 24
May 70 and only one combat K.I.A. during those six months was an
indication of good FIRST TEAM work.
Back on earth; SNORE mentions that, "We made it to the History
Channel! Retired pilot and a friend to us all, Hank "Oakie" TUELL [COL
ret.] was recently seen on national television telling the story of
MEDEVAC and the Vietnam experiences of crew members and their plight in
rescuing and caring for the injured."
I flew with then LT TUELL a lot and I knew him to be, as well as an
excellent pilot, a consummate professional who never said anything to
anyone except in the line of duty, and in the line of duty he led by
example. He was most popularly known as "Okie" because he was from
Oklahoma but I see that everyone spells it "Oakie."
There were actually two "Okies" in MEDEVAC when I was there. Then LT
TUELL was "Little Okie" and CW2 Phillip "Big Okie" GIBBONS who DEROSed in
February 70 was the other and "shorter" because he had been in country
longer "Okie." My first mission on MEDEVAC out of Phouc Vinh, a hoist,
was with both "Okies" as pilots. Gunner Tim KIRWAN should remember
LT TUELL had the notable bad habit of chewing tobacco EVERYWHERE that
he went probably because of his Oklahoma heritage. I feel guilty because
I worked for the supplier; I picked that stuff in the Connecticut River
Valley for a summer job when I was younger.
Of course "Oakie" did not think that it was a bad habit and literally
"passed it around" to everyone in MEDEVAC as a sort of cultural exchange.
I saw his fellow pilots and crew members of every ethnic and cultural
background chomping on the same "Oakie" chaw when it came time to
My opinion was that was one foul wad of junk, and getting shot at was
enough partying for me! In consideration for the crew chiefs LT TUELL
always had a number ten G.I. can-not G.I. number ten-next to him by his
pilot's seat. We had enough to do to clean up the blood, gunpowder, and
Next, SNORE mentions that the 1st Cav Air Ambulance Platoon motto for
MEDEVAC: SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE is being imitated and his exact comments
are, "In case you missed it the Air Force's Elite Recovery Group in the
Balkans has adopted our logo almost to a 'T': THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE."
If imitation is the highest form of tribute then that must be a
tribute to the originals, who of course are the FIRST TEAM's MEDEVAC. Not
believing some coincidence I would testify to the 1st Cav MEDEVAC's long
legend and honorable reputation.
The only coincidence that I will believe is the fact that another
correction to the last Saber issue is the publication error of that same
motto at the end of the column, incorrectly printed the way that our new
heroic U.S. military rescue team is using their motto and not the way
that it was in the FIRST TEAM: SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE. I specifically
mention this because as in the combat arms whom we were a vital life line
for, our motto meant everything to us. We busted our butts and many gave
their lives, or went home with holes in them that they were not born
with, to get to those combat soldiers and keep them ALIVE!
SNORE also wanted to add, after their MEDEVAC\15th Med Reunion,
"Welcome back from Vegas, had a great time and wish to thank everyone who
attended and made this a very exciting week. I would also like to thank
John TABOR once again for the fine job and all the hard work he did in
setting up everything. Mr. RAMSEY will be the Reunion Chairman for the
3rd Annual Reunion in San Antonio, TX."
Other mail from the cyber red nylon mail bag: Paul STROESSNER
<FIRSTCAV1@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>of Warwick, RI, just wanted to send a "thank
you" to MEDEVAC for "your help" in Phan Thiet, July, 1966-July, 1967.
Paul also says, "I served with the 2\7."
Our own John TABOR from Waxahachie, TX JTABOR@AZMAIL.NET email@example.com adds his comments: "LZ Vegas was a BLAST, I hope
everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I've started my countdown to LZ San
Antonio. I hope we see more new faces there as we did this year in Vegas.
Crayton MORRIS CGHTM@AOL.COM of Portland, OR says, "WOW! after all
these years I didn't know there was the "15th Medical Bat. Org."...I was
a chopper pilot for a short time (July and August, 1966) before being
transferred to C Trp. 1\9th Cav-1st Air Cav Div. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!
I have some slides of our base headquarters at An Khe if anyone is
Gail MONCIVAIS from Clark Summit, PA writes again to say: "At the time
of my original posting I has having trouble with the Windows 98 program.
Since then a softpack has been installed and my e-mail has straightened
out. I have e-mailed people all over and even from the women's Web site.
You can contact me at <GMM347@AOL.COM>and I will answer this time. I
receive so much e-mail now I have to go in every few days and clean out
things I have already answered.
I was in 15th Med from February 78-Feb 79. My oldest son was born at
Fort Hood while I was on active duty. I was stationed at HQ & A Company
because the original unit I was assigned to had shipped to Germany with
their assigned unit for maneuvers. I was due to deliver so I was
transferred." Jimmy G. DILLARD DOC2CAV7@NETDOOR.COM of Pontotoc, MS
writes and is looking for old friends from Tay Ninh and Phouc Vinh. Jimmy
served with A 2\7th Cav Oct 69 through Oct 70. He adds, "Any response
appreciated." GARRYOWEN from and to Jimmy!
Art JACOBS AJVALKYRIE@AOL.COM writes from Lawrence, MA, "I was a
Warrant Officer with the 15th Med in 1968. My call sign was MEDEVAC 21. I
arrived in January of 1968. I was CPT Jake MAST's co-pilot at LZ ENGLISH.
Then I went north and was CPT Ray KINNARD's co-pilot at LZ SHARON. MAJ
GOODMAN, our platoon leader, made me an AC (aircraft commander), and on
my first day as AC (7 April) with CPT Ron CLAUER as my co-pilot, got shot
in the foot during a MEDEVAC mission northeast of EVANS.
When I returned to duty I was an AC at LZ JANE and then went back to
EVANS. On 24 July, I lost three different aircraft during hoist missions
with 1LT Steven BEALS (K.I.A. 26 November), CPT Ron CLAUER, and WO Paul
HUSTON. I was shot in the arm on that third mission, we lost our engine,
and crashed in the jungle. WO James MAGIN again was in the aircraft
that came out to get us.
Our CO, LTC Guthrie TURNER was on board that ship. I never forgot what
it meant to see how much he cared about the MEDEVAC Platoon. I was
classmates with WO James DORAN (K.I.A. with BEALS), both in flight school
(67-17) and the Medevac School at Fort Sam Houston. I would like to
hear from other members of 15th Med, especially those who were there in
1968, and, those who were in the MEDEVAC Platoon."
My comments are in the next sentence. Thank you for everything Art: SO
THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE
Chuck EASTERLING BIDDY@FROGNET.NET 1-740-989-2033, says that he was
with Co. B 15th Med. Bn. 1st Cav. Div. from Dec.66-Dec67 and was glad to
find fellow 15th Med. He says that he has been looking for a long time.
Chuck is also searching for a fellow comrade from the same company: the
Company Clerk by the name of Jack DRAKE from CA. If anyone has info
please contact Chuck, who says that he spoke to someone from his old unit
very recently for the first time since 1967 through contact with us; and
found Jim SCHLAAK. "It was great talking to him, I appreciate his time."
Lee DORSEY CLDORSEY@EROLS.COM
, Bel Air, MD, "178th, 179th, B\228(Cav),
and the 362nd ASHC(Cav) all Hook and mostly Cav," spent 3 tours in Nam,
two were with the Cav, and he says, "I look at every [Web] site that
pertains to the Cav. I have a close friend from high school and we met in
Sin City one Sunday in 67. We still meet on Sunday after church. I was
in B\228 ASHC (Hook Unit) and I can't tell you how good it made me feel
to see you guys run to our bird to take care of our wounded. Bless You
and All Of Yours." Thanks for the benediction Lee, here is mine: FIRST
Lastly, Louis RIVERA-LUGO, C Co 15th Med, called on June 10th, was a
91ZULU and the First Sergeant for, as he remembered, "Charging Charlie,"
in Quan Loi. I repeat, the First Sergeant; and Louis says from 1969 to
1971. Louis says that he enjoyed the command of "Colonel" MCNANEY, and is
looking forward to seeing him, if not at this year's reunion, then I
would think at the 2000 Reunion because it will be where Louis lives by
Louis says that he remembers MEDEVAC pilots "Oakie," whom Louis says
had a degree in biology, and Mr. ZEPP. If you would like to contact Louis
you can call the 1st Cav Association at 1 800 234 9313 for his
Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE