Saber Article Index

2002 Nov-Dec

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

I had spoken to Don MORRISON on the telephone, (254)547-4812. Don lives in Copperas Cove, TX, and owns a feed store. He says that he was a PSNCO in 15th MED in Aug '68-'69, under LTC Guthrie L. TURNER. A PSNCO is a Personnel Staff NCO, 71H MOS.

William J. SMITH, SOFTBALLBILL2002@YAHOO.COM signs in as being in A Co 15th MED Bn., Dec '66 to '67.

Alan P. POLIVKA ALLENPOLIVKA@EARTHLINK.NET posts: "I am Alan P. POLIVKA, now a chiropractor in Los Alamitos (near Long Beach), CA, and I was in RVN from 3/66 to 3/67.  For the first 3 months or so I was with HHC 15th MED.  After I broke a sergeant's leg while we were sparring, I was transferred to C Co 15th MED for the remainder of my tour.  Any member should feel free to call me at (562) 234-5672 (cell phone) or at my e-mail address. Look forward to hearing from you. Doc"

Bruce S. LEWY USMC-RVN, '67-'68 LEWY153@COX.NET wrote to tell us: "Friend of mine is a former member of 15th MED, 1st Cav. He isn't doing well, physical problems. Know you guys are tight knit, thought I'd contact you to see if there are more members of 15th MED here in Southern California."

Jim LONGTHORNE JLONGTHORNE@YAHOO.COM from 7232 Provincial Ct., Canton, MI 48187 comments: "Assigned to 1st Cav unit. 15th MED from 82nd Airborne Div. in '65-'66. Departed Oakland, CA late Dec '65, returned to CA Dec 19, '66. Served in field hospital units, and base camp (An Khe) as a medical corpsman, lab tech, and dispensary clerk."

George TRIPLETT GETRIP1@VERIZON.NET signed the Guestbook and says: "Hi, everyone." Henry "Captain Hook" LAND CAPTHOOK1STCAV@NETSCAPE.NET  forwards a note from Frank L. ALVERSON, Jr." FLA17.31@JUNO.COM A\HHC 1\9 Cav '68: "From a college friend who was also in the 8th Cav, 1st Cav in '65. He and I met in the Philippines as we were being MEDEVACed. He was later in SF's, got out, and is retiring from the reserves this year. From Randy GIVENS-roommate at Bragg in late 60's:

Helo Talk

1. Why did they call it Collective Pitch? I never collected any. Usually I ran out of it about the same time as altitude and airspeed.

2. Why didn't Ma Bell add more left pedal and aft cyclic? I always had lots of right pedal and forward cyclic. It seems like they could have reduced those and added to the ones we needed.

3. Why do they put the only radio (KY-28) that had to be recovered if you went down in the most inaccessible part of the aircraft?

4. Why do the pilots have armored seats but the chief and gunner didn't?

5. Why did situations that called for all the torque the engine could produce also require full use of the anti-torque pedal followed by that damn flashing red light? (Seems contradictory)

6. Why did they call them Hammerhead stalls? Maybe because only a hammer head would try one in a helicopter.

7. Why did I always get an aircraft with a major 1 to 1 when I had a hangover? (For you non-rotor heads, a '1 to 1' is a vertical vibration that pounds you into the seat and quakes through your body one time for each revolution of the main rotor - usually at a rate of app. 294-324 RPM, and the faster you fly, the harder it pounds. After a while it begins to hurt, ---even if you don't have a hangover.)

8. Why doesn't Ma Bell make the skin out of duct tape so it would match the patches?

9. Why did they make a main rotor system that could cut down small Sequoia trees, and a tail rotor system that self- destructed if it encountered anything bigger than a bumblebee?

10. Why are they called landing skids? Were they intended for landing or skidding?

11. Why does the amount of time spent in an LZ increase exponentially with the amount of fire being received?

12. Why didn't 33 beer taste any better cold than it did hot?

13. Why does the smoke from the s**t barrel always blow towards my tent/hooch?

14. Why is the PX always out of everything on my day off?

And the biggest question of all.......

15. Why does a Bell helicopter have unusual noises that can only be heard at night or while in the clouds?

Dominic CAVALIERI <DCAVALIE@ROCHESTER.RR.COM>of Batavia, N.Y. 14020 signed SNORE's 15th MED Assn. Guesbook: "Just wanted to say THANKS for cleaning & stitching me up when I tore my rt. knee up. Quan Loi early '70, I was with the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron 9th Cav. Just down the road a bit from your Medical Battalion. THANKS AGAIN!"

Lori DURNO <LORIDURNO@AOL.COM>sent e-mail saying: "Mike, Hello my name is Lori DURNO, daughter of Peter DURNO. He has asked me to ask you if you know Mess Sgt. BLANCHETT who was in Vietnam '65 to '66 with the 15th MED Bn. My father was in Vietnam '65 to '66 with the C Detachment, 27th Maintenance, which he was also a cook, but my father, I think, was an E- 5. He was just wondering if you new of anyone by that name. Well I would like to thank you in advance. Dad and I will be in Washington from Nov 9 thru the 12th and staying at the Hyatt, please look us up if you get a chance. Sincerely, proud daughter of a Vietnam vet Lori L. DURNO"

Jack DUBE <JACK@RELMA.COM.AU>of Sydney, Australia says that he, "Was in B Company 15th MED Bn, Dec '67 to Sep '68. Transferred to 15th Admin Co., 1st Cav Div HQ, Sep '68 to Dec '68."

MEDEVAC PSG '70-'71 James MCDONALD (SGM ret.) <CSMRET@TDN.COM>authored the following:


"The MEDEVAC call was, a trooper hit.....We went out on a, balls to the wall, pick-up, and wound up with a Shepherd in a rigid litter that was passing as a GI.....It seems the scout dog had a head wound, dressed with an abdominal patch bandage (APB) on like a bonnet and he looked like the 'grandmother character' in Little Red Riding Hood. Truth: you won't believe this........the handler had accidentally cut the dog with a machete, while they were tracking the enemy. No one had thought of complications or SOP (standard operating procedure) and, because of their love of the dog, the ground-pounders wanted an immediate pick-up. The patrol leader called in a WIA (wounded in action), MEDEVAC request. We picked up a Blue Max (gun bird) escort, as the AO (area of operations) was known to be periodically hot.

"After we boogied to the coordinates, we established ground radio contact and called for smoke. The gunner identified the smoke color as 'goofy grape,' which was verified, and, as the crew chief and gunner directed the AC (Aircraft Commander) down through the canopy, I kicked off a rigid litter through the hole in the triple canopy jungle and started lowering the hoist. "On the ground the patient was strapped in and then hooked to the hoist cable. I spoke to the pilot, over the intercom: 'Patient is hooked up, I'll take the slack and you take the weight' (which he did). ' he comes....half-way to the the skid......(then, a long pause)....the patient is half-way back down.......the patient is back on the ground.' The gunner and I had gotten the hell scared out of us, for as we reached to grab the canvas handles of the litter of the hooded rigid litter, all I could see was the biggest rack of teeth (chacking-chacking), in my life; I think I pissed my Nomex pants.

"The pilot roared, 'What the hell is going on back there!' I said, 'Tell them to un-hook the litter and I'll retrieve the cable and send it back down with the jungle penetrator for the dog handler to ride up on so, we can get that 'Big Bad Wolf' in the aircraft......'

"Everything went smooth, as the handler came up and sat in the gunner's hell hole and assisted in getting the patient inside the chopper. The dog's handler apologized, saying that he didn't think there would be a problem, considering that he had sent the dog up in a secured litter. I said, 'Yes, like a barracuda in a row boat.'

"All went smooth, after that, except when we came over the FSB (fire support base) wire and landed on the pad. The battalion aid station's dog ran out to jump in the aircraft, because we sometimes gave him a ride to the fuel point (POL) and back when we'd drop off a patient. We'd let him get in a little flight time and return him to the pad.

"This time, however, as he was in mid-jump to enter the aircraft, he caught sight of that big 'rack of grandma's teeth' and was confronted with a 'snarl' like he'd never heard. That dog did 180 in mid-air, butt scrunched, paws paddling, and did a spectacular, Olympic gold medal winning, side-roll flip and hit the ground running, in the other direction, of course. Not only did he get points for his acrobatics, but was graded highly for his swift sprint back to the aid station. I never saw that dog, again.

"Ironically, the scout dog was an active duty soldier, complete with name, serial number, 201 file, as well as medical and dental records. I think, as an SFC, I did outrank him. After all, he WAS a dog, but on this run he was a Priority 2 pickup, which graded him above Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. If they had only known......................I'm sure Vietnam-American relations would have been greatly affected. By: Flight Plt. Sgt. SFC James MCDONALD (Content Edited)"

Gordon RUSSELL, MEDEVAC PSG '69 GRDNRUSSELL@AOL.COM inquired by the last Saber if anyone knows if A Co. 15th MED, or any other medical company, was on jump status, or Airborne, when the Airmobile Division was created.

Some photos were submitted to the 15th MED Assn. "What's New" site by Al (Ace) JOY who gives his unit as A Co., 15th MED (Airborne) '66-'67. That seems to confirm what Gordon was asking about.

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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