Saber Article Index

2002 Sep-Oct

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

A correction to the last Saber is that the first letter was from Duffie COLE, not OLE. Again, he is our very own Duffie E. COLE, Jr.  of Barlett, TN, HHC 15th MED, '66-'67.

Jim CALIBRO MEDEVACHOPPER@AOL.COM of Modesto, CA comments: "MEDEVAC door gunner 6 '67 to 6 '68...Just got back from Denver, it was my first reunion...Took the wife, Holly, who also had a good time and had a lot of fun. We met a swell bunch of people and made new friends. Looking forward to the next reunion in 2003...Ask Jim RAMSEY to show you his prized cigar case...Reunited with Corky WALSH & Murray GIBBS, and met some great people...Pineapple, Gus, Jim, Jim, and a few others 'Jims'...Not to mention LASH, Weaver and Smitty...Also General Guthrie Turner...My 'Replacement'...Catch you all later..Jim"

Jim also signed into the 1st Cav Assn. Guestbook as JIMCC4@AOL.COM with more: "Just stopped in to visit and see if I recognized any new names...I was a door gunner on a MEDEVAC, 15th MED Bn., 1st Cav. 6 '67- 6 '68...Often shared my seat with many a brave soldiers."

Ron STRUB REDHOT_RON@HOTMAIL.COM from La Crescent, MN wrote, "Just went to my first division Reunion at Colorado Springs. It was great. Everyone should experience it. Met old friends from 1965 & 1966. Ron STRUB, Co C, 15th MED (Advance party from Benning)."

Murray GIBBS MRMADMUR@AOL.COM of Berlin Center, OH, says, "Hey Guys was at my 1st Reunion and was glad to meet the ones that attended. Saw some of the TET GUYS I knew (gunners), Corky WALSH and Jim CALIBRO. My wife and I had a long conversation with General TURNER. Missed him by 13 days left being MEDEVACed myself or would have spent a month under his command. He is a great guy for those who were under his  command. I was wounded 6-17-1968 and he arrived 6-30-1968. I had almost 1 1/2 months to go. Met a lot of 'Jims' and other swell guys there. Ask Jim RAMSEY about his Cigar Case and that special CIGAR. He said he is saving it for the next Reunion. He told me to let Jim's wife Holly and my wife Kathy, know he is saving it...haha!! Later Gunner GIBBS"

Joe KELLY JFK2559@AOL.COM MEDEVAC 1970, signed in, but left only his year of flight duty.

Nathan E. BALL TTUMARINE@COX.NET wrote, "My father is James E. BALL and served with 15th MED Battalion in 1969."

Randell "Randy" J. BREWER SP/5 RJBBILOXI@YAHOO.COM  <HTTP: /rjbbiloxi/Randell_Johnson_Brewer.html> of Biloxi, MS mentions: "Served in MEDEVAC Oct 3 '67 - Oct 3 '68. Arrived in An Khe at Camp Radcliff; from An Khe to Bong Son; then to Camp Evans; then to Khe Sahn; and points between. Crewchief of MEDEVAC 458 and 578. Major Dorris GOODMAN was platoon leader at the time. Rex DAVIS was battalion commander followed by LTC Guthrie L. TURNER. Would like to hear from anyone I've served with!" LTC (Ret) James H. NICHOLS STNICK@ALAWEB.COM Elba, AL signed the Guestbook with, "Saw the address in the Saber, last tour in 'Nam in the Cav '66-'67 as platoon leader, MEDEVAC. Would like to hear from anyone from that era."

I spoke with Quinn BECKER (LTG ret) on the telephone after he had called me about a photo that he thought might have MEDEVAC pilot Bill SALLENGER in it. Several people and his family had written about Mr. SALLENGER so Quinn thought that the photo would be of interest. Quinn was the 15th MED battalion commander from '70-'71. Henry "Captain Hook" LAND CAPTHOOK1STCAV@NETSCAPE.NET e-mailed me in response to my mention the last time of the adventures of Danny SMITH, and some other things. Apparently Henry had flown a super king before Danny's. He said, "Mike: Keep up the good work, it's a tough job but we're all glad that you do it. To correct LASH in the paper on my quote, there were over 140,000 people [not 14,000] in the 3 day Vietnam Veterans Reunion at Melbourne, FL. It will be bigger and better next May ('03). Hope lots of people will come on down.

"On another note, not to brag, but one day during Tet of '68 in the sandy area, south and east of Quang Tri city (north east of Camp Evans), my MEDEVAC crew had a total of 23 on board. The ARVN's were shot up real bad and scared to death and they all piled on our Huey H model (it had less than 100 hours on it). We came out of the LZ listing to the right because our CG (center of gravity) was so off center because the ARVN's were just jumping on and leaning against the little cargo door. We barely cleared the tree line on the edge of the LZ. Things would not have been complete without my looking back at the mess in the cargo area and I noticed that the Medics had even thrown one of the ARVNs' foot (still in his boot); like we were going to be able to reattach it, or maybe they felt the guy might die and it would be there to bury with him. I even had a civilian back stateside ask me if I knew where my hand was and I told him it really didn't matter because it was no longer where it belonged, on my right wrist. This payload may have beaten out Danny SMITH's mission with his 18 ARVNs. Capt. Hook clear for now, please do not pop any more smokes at this time."

Gordon RUSSELL PSG MEDEVAC '69 GRDNRUSSELL@AOL.COM sent e-mailed to find out if anyone knows if A 15th MED, or any other medical company, was on jump status, or Airborne, when the Airmobile Division was created. Please contact Gordon if you have knowledge of it. Gordon also wanted an e-mail address for Edward MIRANDA, if anyone has one. Again, please contact Gordon.

"11th Airborne Air-Assault Badge, 15th Medical Battalion, Becomes a Reality With The First Cavalry Division - Origins Firsthand Account By: Gordon RUSSELL

"I joined the 11th Medical Battalion when there was only Headquarters Company. The first sergeant was 1SG BOYLE. Later, A Company was added, and I was sent there to get things going. Again, B Company was added, and C Company came in from the 2nd Infantry Division, almost intact. They added the Air Ambulance Platoon, later.

"I was with the First Air Cavalry Division in 1965, when we sailed into Vietnam. I was working out of the support command with SGM BOYLE when the Ia Drang battle started, and then I was sent along to Major HALEY, at Quin Nuon, to make sure the 1st Cav Division got all the supplies they needed. I worked the night shift loading C-130s, and Major HALEY had the day shift.

"The reason I was in the support command was because my replacement had arrived for B Company. These were some trying times and one of the largest battles of the First Cav Div. I went back to Vietnam in June of 1968 and back to the First Cav, HHC Company, 15th Medical Battalion. Then on to MEDEVAC where a Major GRIDER was in charge of the Air Ambulance Platoon. I had known him at Ft. Benning, when he was a second lieutenant, and he wanted me in his command.

"Later on, I was with CPT WOODS and CPT SCOFIELD. I was with SCOFIELD when we picked up Medic Garry BOWDER and door gunner James MEGEEHEE, as well as others on a downed ship. An RPG had ripped her open under the seat where MEGEEHEE was sitting. Most of the crew were badly burned and MEGEEHEE was thrown from the chopper, suffering from a back wound.

"MEGEEHEE took some time to get out of my mind, as he was one of my best friends. He had planned to go to OCS, here at Ft. Benning, and visit with me. I remember Robert SCHOMAKER, as a very nice guy, too.

"The last time I saw Kirk WOOLEY, he was having problems carrying too many bags on the chopper on his way back to the world. A lieutenant was giving him a hard time so, I stepped in, and after a few words with the LT, WOOLEY left with all his bags.

"Even though I was a platoon sergeant, I was on flight status, had a lot of missions, and was in some mighty hot areas with SCOFIELD and WOODS. I have seen quite a few men, in my time in service, both in WWII as a first aid man in PATTON's Third Army, but I was never closer to anyone than the men I served with in Vietnam."

This story was borrowed from the new 15th MED Web site HTTP:// and was followed by: "We are grateful to Gordon RUSSELL for sharing these memories with us. Let us hope that he has much more to share.-LASH-"

He does have more to share; "Note: This really did happen, in 1965. As the first sergeant was giving out details, he instructed a, new arrived, PFC to go burn the outhouse. Of course, the PFC did just that. He torched the building, burning it to the ground. The commanding officer made it clear, that when giving orders, to be a bit more specific. - Gordon-"

In closing, you know the saying, "It's not the price you pay to be a member its the price you paid to become eligible, that rings true."

Gordon RUSSELL MEDEVAC PSG '69 GRDNRUSSELL@AOL.COM had inquired by the last Saber if anyone could confirm if there was a 15th MED unit, in the early days, on Airborne status

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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