Saber Article Index

2000 Jan-Feb

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

I received the following e-mail from: Derrill M. DOTY DSTER1@ACCESS1.NET and Mike SMITH MVANDCO@AOL.COM  and I thought that it would be of great interest to the 1st Cav Association membership. I thought that it would be twice as appropriate after reading in the last Saber the more than sobering 1-9 CAV POW story of and by Dr. Hal KUSHNER:

"I, too, remember Hanoi Jane...please pass this on, it's not a hoax or a Web-joke, it's all too true; Derrill.

Hanoi Jane

Looks like Hanoi Jane may be honored as one of the "100 Women of the Century." JANE FONDA remembered? Unfortunately many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our 'country' but the men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Jane Fonda's participation in what I believe to be blatant treason, is one of them. Part of my conviction comes from exposure to those who suffered her attentions. The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry DRISCOLL, a River Rat. In 1978, the Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a former POW in Ho Lo Prison-the "Hanoi Hilton."

Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJs, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment" he'd received. He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward upon the camp Commandant's feet, accidentally pulling the man's shoe off-which sent that officer berserk. In '78, the AF COL still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying days) from the Vietnamese COL's frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1983-85, COL Larry CARRIGAN was the 347FW/DO (F-4Es). He spent 6 years in the "Hilton"-the first three of which he was "missing in action." His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned/fed/clothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation" visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his SSN on it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and "Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?"

Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge...and handed him the little pile.

Three men died from the subsequent beatings. COL CARRIGAN was almost number four. For years after their release, a group of determined former POWs Including COL Carrigan, tried to bring Ms. Fonda and others up on charges of treason.

I don't know that they used it, but the charge of "Negligent Homicide due to Depraved Indifference" would also seem appropriate. Her obvious "granting of aid and comfort to the enemy", alone, should've been sufficient for the treason count. However, to date, Jane Fonda has never been formally charged with anything and continues to enjoy the privileged life of the rich and famous.

I, personally, think that this is shame on us, the American Citizenry. Part of our shortfall is ignorance: most don't know such actions ever took place. Thought you might appreciate the knowledge. Most of you've probably already seen this by now, only addition I might add to these sentiments is to remember the satisfaction of relieving myself into the urinal at some airbase or another where "zaps" of Hanoi Jane's face had been applied.

To whom it may concern: I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese Communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.)

We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp Communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as "humane and lenient." Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me; her former husband, Tom Hayden, answered for her. She was mind controlled by her husband. This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as "100 Years of Great Women."

After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement. I said that I held Joan Baez's husband in very high regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and went to prison in protest. If the other anti-war protesters took this same route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended the war much earlier, and there wouldn't be as many on that somber black granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is a democracy. This is the American way.

Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to Hanoi, wore their uniform, propagandized for the Communists, and urged American soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs murdered, she called us liars. After her heroes-the North Vietnamese Communists-took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head forever. Shame! Shame! (History is a heavy sword in the hands of those who refuse to forget it. Think of this the next time you see Ms. Fonda-Turner at a Braves game).

Please take the time to read and forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that "we will never forget." Lest we forget..."100 years of great women" Jane Fonda should never be considered."

E-mail from Jim BRIGHAM  2-7 CAV Search Team Leader-Vietnam Subject: Time Magazine Person of the Century;

"I normally do not send out things like this, but as of right now the American GI is in the lead. As well he should be! Vote early and often. To date 10 million people have voted. In this Century 600,000 GIs have died, millions more wounded. All of us have had a dad, mom, sister, brother, friend, relative or yourself that has served in the military. We are voting for all of us.

Forward this to all your friends and relatives. Make a difference and help to influence Time Magazine to name the real person of the century. Time is of the essence as Dec. 20 is the deadline. Go to the following to cast your ballot. <HTTP: century.html poc time100 time> Type in "American GI" and then submit." This will be after the fact when this is read in this Saber edition but it is the thought that counts.

Thanks to the 1st CAV Division Association and our President Roy C. BLUMENAUER for drafting and printing in the last Saber the statement in response to the Associated Press and their story of the Korean War incidents concerning 1st CAV troopers. It is good to see some firmness in a position taken against criticism of what had to be done in good conscience so that our soldiers could fight those who would deprive us of that free press.

Also in the last Saber I noticed in the SILVER WINGS of the CAV column a story about an impromptu medical evacuation by means other than MEDEVAC and what seemed to be a reference to probably myself, being the writer-and herald-of this 15th MED\MEDEVAC column. If that reference was to me, I must say that I do not speak for any veteran of these units.

I am very privileged to be able to return the favor of the brave deeds that were rendered to my 1st CAV and U.S. Army buddies, before, during, and after-my own time served in MEDEVAC-by many who were the best of the best, i.e. 1st CAV and U.S. Army Aviation pilots and crewmen. Most, if not all of those pilots, I could not even speak to outside of the line of duty because they were so good.

Many of those pilots, as well as crewchiefs, door gunners, and medics came to MEDEVAC from other units, where they had already more than proved themselves, because of a sense altruism that I have mentioned before. I sure the heck did not want ANY of those MEDEVAC pilots digging into my s___ telling me that I could not do my job which I always made a point of doing, more because I personally was doing it for my grunt buddies than for any other reason. But, those MEDEVAC crewmembers that I have written about and that I have yet to write about were also doing it for the same reasons, trained me to function in their capacity, and could only be as fervent as I, not more so-yet many, many, have the wounds to prove different.

Many of our pilots were MSC-Medical Service Corps-Officers and many if not more were the best of the best Warrant Officers. Many of them would tell us that as pilots they had a choice of what type of unit they wanted to fly in, so to choose medical evacuation, and MEDEVAC, shows their sense of altruism. One of our pilots when I flew, LT George SCHNEIDER, had an Armor U.S. Army Branch of Service which for a combat arms officer is living proof of that commitment to his fellow G.I.'s. (LT SCHNEIDER use to tell us that if we ever served in Europe and wanted a good time to go to Amsterdam, which indicated to me his love for life.) We also had many, many crewmen with C.I.B.s; you guys know who you are, and why!

For anyone to bring or to imply any discredit to this unit, I say that you should speak to all of the veterans of MEDEVAC individually, not bring it up to me, as I was only a very, very small part of it all. I am supplying the names and addresses of those brave, and worthy MEDEVAC veterans, so please, talk to them about your concerns if you have any. Also, contact the men whose names I have had printed who wrote to say "thanks" for saving their lives.

When a word like "gospel" is used to describe an inferred discrediting story, I am even more suspicious. The dictionary says that "gospel" comes from the Middle Anglish word "godspell" derived from the Old Anglish "godspel"-which sounds like superstition-but it meant "good news." Being an American and not "respecting an establishment of religion" I use the lower case for the words "gospel" and "god" in "godspell." But, if it is "good news" that an honorable unit like MEDEVAC was found or thought that they "could not" nor "would not" do their job then I would think that there is some kind of rivalry to discredit.

I know that it is always possible that any discrediting incident can happen in any unit and I know that with a long war like Vietnam it did happen to most units and probably could have happened to MEDEVAC as well. My own infantry field unit, 2-7 CAV, which has two Presidential Unit Citations from the Vietnam War was accused of discrediting mistakes in the Ia Drang Campaign. Perhaps some commanders could have committed citable errors, but should the unit be discredited? I have spoken to many Ia Drang Campaign veterans about their time and someone said that they were "green," but who is not during their first experience in combat.

I had spoken to LTG (ret.) Hal MOORE when his book: We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, first came out and there was mention of the use of the brave "slick" pilots to extract the wounded as well as resupply. There was some mention that MEDEVAC could not nor would not go into LZ XRAY and received the evacuated wounded farther out. He told me his perspective. Any commander in combat wants what he wants when he wants it, and when he does not get it then he would be mad about that. As far as the true facts go, again, one needs to research through those involved and existing documents.

I had spoken to Bud DAVIS and Mel ALLEN at one of the 1st CAV Reunions about those early Vietnam MEDEVAC days because they were original MEDEVAC doorgunners and they told me, like the other Ia Drang Campaign veterans, that those were developing days. But, the rest of MEDEVAC's history finds few if any less than desirable incidents. Again, talk to the many individuals veterans if you have any doubts. I sat with John CRESPI at the Vietnam Veterans' Luncheon at the last Reunion and listened to his interesting stories as an E-6 MEDEVAC medic about one particular "career" pilot who ironically critically risked all "just" for the highest medal, and got it.

I personally know that in combat if there were wounded, and if there was a helicopter on station and could be spared, then they would evacuate those wounded, in a FIRST TEAM manner. Not, that MEDEVAC necessarily "could not."

My company, C 2-7 CAV, was involved in a helicopter combat assault or "Charlie Alpha" on 18 June 69. From the Daily Staff Journal of that day that I received from Peter COLE, D 2-7 CAV '69-'70, who got those from the Nation Archives, it shows that "Charlie" Company was at map coordinates XT415801. That was very close to the Cambodian border.

My platoon was on the first lift and we landed in a long field surrounded by tall trees. I noticed when I was leaving the lift ships and heading to the wood line that there were explosions walking down the field towards us. I thought that maybe it was still the artillery prep going on but it turned out to be incoming NVA 120mm mortars. I heard cracking rounds in the trees by where my platoon had entered the wood line and then I heard voices yelling the "M" word so that was my cue.

When I got over to where I was called to I found one of our best 11Bravos who had become one of our RTOs, Joel SMITH, doubled up on his knees with his PRC-25 on his back. I did a quick inspection of him and found a moist, dark bulge in his O.D. T-shirt which I lifted up. Apparently he had caught a shard of one of the 120mm rounds that exploded in the trees and it had cleanly cut across his abdomen because I found his spleen had popped out.

I did what I had to wrap it in place with the largest size field dressing and our Senior Medic, Doc DIAMOND, came over to help me. Just then also, the 2-7 CAV Battalion Surgeon who apparently was on the "Charlie-Charlie" bird got off and took over from me, us. He approved a shot of morphine when I asked him and became quite startled by the gun fire on the other side of our perimeter. I remember one of our machine gunners Tom VINCIGUERRA yelling, "The stupid NVA are shooting at the Cobras!"

But, just as soon as the next lift came in we put Joel onto my portable litter that I was humping and carried him to an awaiting "slick" and sent him out with the Battalion Surgeon. The Daily Journal confirms that at 12:15 "MEDEVAC requested at 1130H for 01 litter patient with frag wounds in chest [sic]. Patient was Line #122. MEDEVAC #07 conducted the medevac. Skids up 1155H, down 1212H. LZ-LZ JAMIE (Returned to LZ JAMIE by C\A Bird), mission complete at 1215H. Ground contact was JAMIE control. Patient was medevaced to Tay Ninh." So, should I say that MEDEVAC "could not" get our wounded out? At least, I supplied the evidence.

Joel told me years later when I received a letter from him that he was addicted to morphine after years of operations in the V.A. and that he "rarely had a good day." He also told me that he had named his first son after me which was quite an honor, but I lost contact with him after that. If you are reading this Joel, we all would like to think that you are feeling better.

Of course, as I mean to say here, many military veterans like to maintain rivalries. Another personal experience of that was when I went on R&R at the end of the eleventh month on my first tour of duty. Thinking that I had to go, off to Sydney I went. With a young nineteen year old's naive pride-albeit a recent hardcore combat veteran-I wore my Khaki uniform with my CAV patch on the pocket. When we got to customs in Sydney I watched as all the other American Vietnam veterans in their civilian clothes ran through the checkpoint while the Australian customs agent held me up and thoroughly searched everything that I had. While taking my transistor radio apart this Aussie proceeded to chastise me about when: "The First CAV pulled out on us [his unit] in Korea." Tell me, would anyone in the FIRST TEAM think that could happen?

In addendum: After that R&R nonsense and with no real thoughts of the rewards of female splendor nor anything else when I went, only concerns for my buddies to keep their heads down that I had left breaking bush in Nam-two of whom did not keep their heads down good enough and caught "stray" rounds in the head and their names are now on the "Wall," I did not even bother with R&R when I was on a six month extension with MEDEVAC. I was happy to be with and do all that I could with and for my buddies and let others worry about rivalries. For all of the above, this defense rests-until the next time.

Hamilton C. SMYTH HCSMYTH@EARTHLINK.NET Newhall, CA wrote and says, "I served with the Hq & Hq Co, 15th Med Bn in 1954- 55-56, at the time I was a Sgt. E-5. I would like to contact others that served with the Bn. during that period."

From Oklahoma, David NOE  CAV2@KIWASH.NET writes and says, "Just saying hi to some more brothers. I served with the Jumping Mustangs of the First CAV D Co 2/8 Honor & Courage."

Bob KON KON@MSU.EDU whose Website: LZ Rally; A Directory for 1/7 Cav Vietnam Veterans: <HTTP: Page_1x.html web kon o k user> and from Michigan comments: "If any of you wonderful medics served with B, 1/7th Cav, you have another home on the Web at LZ Rally. Come over and sign in."

Bruce GRANZOW from Hobart, IN TIRESMOKE@WEBTV.NET also has a Website: BRUISER'S WORLD <HTTP: BRUISERSWORLD TIRESMOKE /> and writes to say, "I have been checking out Web sites listed in the Saber and dropped in [to SNORE's site] for a visit. I like what you have done with your site. I served with the 1st Cav. as a medic with Co. C 8th Engr. Bn. from Nov 66-Nov 67."

Fred MYERS FREDM@MYMAIL.EMCYBER.COM writes from Tunkhannock, PA, "No words can express the feelings of seeing some of where I was also. I was in the First Cav. 8th Engineers. My name was Sargent Mick while I was there. I may have seen you in passing from time to time but I know you. Some of the pic's are of places I been and seen. I can't get my mind to remember names and it feels so empty. I worked with explosives and opened and closed firebases. Booby traps were my specialties. Now I can't remember things. Bless and thank you for a walk back in time. If you find time one day, maybe you can write a note to say hello. I am a Skybeaver too. Worked with First Brg., Second Brg., and Headquarters Third Brd. from 69-70."

I noticed in the previous Saber that Mike SMITH a.k.a. tater (small "t") MVANDCO@AOL.COM as previously mentioned from Idaho-where else with that screen name-finally just rejoined his bros in the 1st CAV Association. Way to go Mike! He also writes: "I just talked to a MEDEVAC door gunner by the name of Jerry DICK. He was with MEDEVAC when he was shot in the head July 24, 1968. He has been 100% disabled since then. He was excited to hear from someone from MEDEVAC even though he has never met me! If someone from 1968 remembers him I am sure he would love to hear from you. 1-307-856-2829 tater."

Larry JACKSON JACKSONS3@NETSCAPE.NET from, Portland, OR writes to say, "Please put me on the found list too. I served from March 69 until Feb 70, as a Door-gunner. I was SGT Lawrence BRAINARD then, but changed my name to honor my adoptive parents to Jackson. I was nick named "Smokey the Bear" from dropping a smoke grenade into the doorway of the MP Station on a fly over at Quon Loi. I had come over from the 545 MP Company and had been stationed there for a short time. I happened on SNORE's site on a link from the Fort Hood U.S. Army Web page and some help from Dan BRADY. Someone at the college where I worked had commented the choppers I flew on were like MASH. I was looking for an H-Model to show them. I still have my "SO OTHERS MAY LIVE" patch, but mine says Door Gunner on it. It was nice to see the names of people I flew with and I am happy to know that they survived to come home. I don't have many memories of that time, but only recall flying 36 hours straight on August 11, 1969. I was in Tay Ninh at the time and all hell broke loose all over country. I do remember Gene WHEELER's chili pepper\C-Ration stew and Ray ZEPP collection he used to hang on the back of his seat every time he stayed over in Saigon. You have a nice Web page and wonderful to see the old pictures. Do you have records of the class of 1969. Also, did crazy "3 tour" SSG HALL survive? My Best Wishes for all Larry JACKSON."

Larry BIRD DCSTRNG@EXCITE.COM writes, "Happy Holidays all!! Just popped back for my weekly visit -- Hope Santa is good to all Troopers everywhere. Larry -- Medic 70-71."

Ron FINDLAY KAWA@PORTUP.COM from Marenisco, MI writes, "I was with Alpha Co 15th Med from 66-67. I have been in contact with David LANE and others. Spec.5 FINDLAY."

Ft. Hood's local PBS's The Army News Watch had a story about SP/4 Ryan CLARK who was awarded the Civilian Medal of Valor by the National Association of Police Organizations when they made him a "Top Cop" for "going above and beyond the call of duty" in Los Angeles and rescuing a downed fellow police officer when he also was one in 1997. SP/4 CLARK said,"I found out that a lot of people on the civilian side of things do not understand what values are. They claim to be public servants maybe being police officers but they have no conception of what actual public service is. Whereas, in the Military, and especially the Army, I think there is no greater public service then that, then as a solider."

When asked about if he felt odd and out of place being the only person there, and even at the White House for the same ceremony, in Army "Dress Blues," he said that everyone else there should feel out of place because they are not wearing the Army uniform. I will leave it to the reader to deduce what this story says about civilian civil service in comparison. I noticed that SP/4 CLARK, a former Infantryman, now wears the Medic's caduceus which indicated his present M.O.S.

As I mentioned in the last Saber the use of the Julian calendar, which was suggested for use to Julius Caesar as an improvement for the then Roman calendar by the astronomer Sosigenes 2045 years ago, and that was slightly improved upon by the Gregorian calendar some 1,627 years later developed by the astronomer Christopher Clavius, and which calendar we use today, i.e. the New Style calendar, this is a slight improvement on that information. I mention this so that you, my fellow veterans, are more informed than those who do not serve, as I know you do not necessarily have the time to research these things, especially when you may not even know about them.

Contrary to what I had implied, the Julian calendar also used a leap year but was found still to be slightly longer than the tropical solar year with the result that the solstices and equinoxes drifted from their calendar dates. This created discrepancies in the Catholic Church's holy days such as their Easter so eleven days were added to restore the actual vernal equinox to March 21 and to reposition ecclesiastical holidays.

Even with that slight improvement the Gregorian mean year is eleven minutes and fourteen seconds longer that the mean solar year. To equal the tropical year it retains the Julian calendar leap year but deletes the leap year at the end of the century, unless the year is exactly divisible by 400.

A U.S. Army style synopsis would be: a tropical or mean solar year is 365.2422 days; the Julian or Old Style calendar is 365 days and six hours; and the Gregorian or New Style calendar is 365.2425 days. Thus the need for leap years to equalize the tropical solar mean year.

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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