Saber Article Index

2003 Nov-Dec

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

MEDEVAC PSG '69 Gordon RUSSELL e-mailed: "Mike I was reading your note about CIB and CMB, you mention Lt Gen. L.J. MCNAIR [mentioned in the A.R.s about those]. You may not know the general was KIA 25 July 1945. He was watching the B-17 bomb raid over St. Lo, France, some of the bombs fell short. That same day the 30th Inf. Div lost two hundred men due to bombs falling on them.

"Me, I was watching w/field glasses about 3 miles behind, I saw three of the bombers shot down. General Ike stated at the time he would never use bombers that close to his troops. Gordon"

Jerry D RASCO JDR@RASCOS.NET of Castle Rock, CO, was in Hq & Support Company 15th MED Bn. May '66 - May '67.

'69-'70 MEDEVAC crew chief Pat MARTIN, MEDEVAC121@HOTMAIL.COM , who was in the crash on May 24, '70, when a C.M.O.H. was earned, announces: "I am doing a memorial for Richard R0CC0, Gary TAYLOR [KIA], Terry BURDETTE and Steve MODICA. It is going to be an image of the panel on the wall that has Gary's name on it along with images of the others in the background, along with a MEDEVAC. What I need is some nose pictures of a MEDEVAC in a nose high condition, like coming in for a landing. If anyone has any that they can send or scan and send I would appreciate it. Richard died this past Halloween ['02] leaving only Lee [CAUBARREAUX] and myself as the last survivors. Pat"

I read this and did not know if Pat was a pilot with what looked like a call sign. I thought that I knew everyone in MEDEVAC in early '70 but I found out that I did not. Pat MARTIN was there while I was, and I do not even recall his name, as well as some of the others whom he mentions below. He explained to me what I had inquired about: "The tail numbers of the aircraft that day [May 24, '70] were 69-15121. I was also on the platoon sergeant's [SFC BROOKS] shit list most of the time and he made sure I spent most of my time out in the field [in a different part of the A.O. than where I was] which may have been the reason you missed me. "Started with 11th GS Aviation (same unit as Sherman BREEDEN [SNORE]) and transferred over to MEDEVAC in October of '69, then DEROSed home in August of '70. The crew chiefs I would have been familiar with were, HODGES, PAYTON, ODUM, CURTIS, SMITH, and VINYARD. I flew quite a bit with [pilots] ZEPP, LEONARD, TUELL, SCHMIDT, MODICA (in fact I lost my cherry with him and SCHMIDT out in Tay Ninh in '69, got our tail boom shot all to hell and lost the 42 degree gearbox) and TANNER to name a few. "I didn't get medevaced home, just spent 2 weeks in the hospital at 3rd field and lost contact with everyone after that. I didn't talk to Lee or Richard till a few years ago after learning of Terry's and Steve's deaths. I finally entered treatment for PTSD and started to come to grips with the incident in '70. Kinda strange after all of this time I start meeting quite a few people who knew Richard, some who were personal friends, one that was in the PTSD program after me, and one that is a counselor up at the program.

"I ended up with prostate cancer and blame it on the incident in '70. I drank a steel pot full of water an ARVN gave me right when we were being evaced the next day. I ended up with a very high temperature while in the hospital for 4 or 5 days that couldn't be explained, but I now think I know why.

"Anyway, I am doing research and collecting documentation on the whole incident and may decide to put a book together, besides it keeps me off the streets. Just doing that nothing thing as they (VA) have me being treated for the third time for this prostate cancer, but other than that life is good. Pat" Also in response came: "Hey Medevac121, Us guys get left out on things that happened to us in '67-'68. That is a well documented story of ROCCO. It had to be very emotional for you to post it. It is a shame that it took so long for ROCCO to get what they put him in for. There must be a lot of us guys who were told they were put in for a certain medals and never got them.

"I have had the opportunity to read letters dating back to my time. In them many of our guys were put in for awards and never saw them because-of a personal opinion-of certain powers to be. Thanks to that pilot, ROCCO got his MH.

"Questions came up at the last reunion about why certain individuals didn't get certain medals when other guys around us know they deserved it. When you get labeled a certain way, or your commanding officer (LTC) doesn't get it, neither do you. Our documentation during the first half of '68 was absolutely terrible.

"I have spoken with certain pilots about that and they said that things were happening so fast there was no time to document. Actions like what ROCCO did, and what others did, need to be known. It is our HISTORY and I thank you for posting this.

"I live in my time of '67-'68 and I am learning what really happened before and after that. It is good to know that we carried that kind of spirit when we were all there. SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE, President Murray"

'70-'71 MEDEVAC PSG James MCDONALD CSMRET@TDN.COM wrote: Pat please note: "I found ROCCO's MOH write up in the Flight Operations Office. It was jammed in the back of the large file drawer, of the portable field desk, in the Flt Opns Office at the MEDEVAC Building at Phouc Vinh.

"I can only assume that the 'person' tasked with gathering the witness' statements, and doing the 'write up,' forgot about it, or thought somebody else processed it. A couple of times I kept banging my shin on the open file door that would not close.

"Finally, I decided to fix it. As I took out the drawer I found the reason why it wouldn't close properly. There was a tight roll of yellow (legal size -12 Inch) paper tied with rubber bands. It was bent V shaped and crushed a bit, it must have fallen out of the file and landed behind the back of file drawer. Thus that was the problem the drawer would never close properly. I did see and recognized ROCCO's name (I knew him from our MACV days and trips to Saigon).

"In late January '71 I took it across the street to the 15th MED Bn. S-1 and gave it to the clerk for processing, and that's why it was delayed/lost. James E. MCDONALD, Flight Platoon Sgt. MEDEVAC 15th MED Bn."

To which was responded, "Hey James, Thanks for sharing that with us. It is guys like you that help make the 15th MED Bn. what it is supposed to be. No doubt there must have been more awards that was filed in the trash can without even knowing it.....Murray"

MEDEVAC door gunner Jim CALIBRO MEDEVACCHOPPER@AOL.COM wrote, "On this date, Sept. 08, '67, MEDEVAC 457 crashed en route back to LZ Uplift after a pick up. The 5 crewmembers lost their lives. But not forgotten. They were CWO Roger ROSE, Warrant Officer Kurt KUHNS, Francis GLAZEBROOK, Dalton GOFF, and Larry LANCE. Two were short timers, and one had not met his baby yet, that was born after he left for Vietnam. REST IN PEACE." "Thanks Jim, FYI, I became a door gunner right after this happened. Just losing one member is tragic but losing a whole crew is very devastating. Dennis CASEY spoke of CWO Roger ROSE a lot. No doubt many looked upon the members of this crew with admiration. Their loss will always be remembered. I for one, who replaced the door gunner.  President Murray"

Someone wrote: "Its great we are having a reunion, but it leaves me to wonder, how did we ever get split from the 1st Cav Reunions? We could always have a separate dinner/functions but be part of the Division's function also. We are authorized to wear the Cav Combat Patch, served with many a trooper, and supported operations; additionally we are SKY TROOPERS.

"Since we are going to be in the Williamette Chapter's area don't you think it would be polite to contact them. Maybe we should ask President Murray to invite (their president) to our function as a courtesy.

"They should be proud of MEDEVAC and what the 15th MED Bn. did in days gone by, even if it's just to hoist a salute and have a beer. What do you think?" For your info, Re: Saber, Chapter Index, Portland OR Area Chapter, 1st Cav Div Assn.

I wrote to the 15th MED Assn. forum: "I have just received two e-mails from two former MEDEVAC PSGs. Both mention the concern of being a part of the 1st Cav Assn., and even their big Reunion. Personally, I had brought this up with SNORE at the start, and I probably mentioned it to Mike SMITH and LASH, of having the 15th MED Reunion at the 1st Cav Assn. Reunion.

"I've been a 1st Cav Assn. member since 1985, and I went to numerous, successive Reunions. I saw many satellite unit associations have their 'mini-reunions' at the big 1st Cav Assn. Reunion. Someone would usually get a suite in the hotel where the Reunion was and have a hospitality suite for their mini-reunion.

"One of the board of directors at the 1st Cav Assn. Board of Directors' meeting, that I had attended to observe, at the 1st Cav HQ at Ft. Hood a few years back, tried to introduce a by-law banning those hospitality suites so that it would not drain the main Reunion of members off on their own. That was defeated, actually because of opposition by Board of Director Doc McNaney, who, and others agreed, did not want to inhibit anyone's freedom, and thus keep attendance up by letting people do what they want.

"SNORE gave me the impression that he wanted to organize his own Reunion, and did so quite well. He said that he would consider having one at the 1st Cav Assn. Reunion, but he never got to that point. [R.I.P.]  Others have said that they would consider it.

"You guys are doing so well in organizing the 15th MED Reunions the way that you want, so as long as it happens, then that is the most important thing.

"Some, like Henry LAND, who told me that he cannot afford to attend two Reunions, and tends to favor the 1st Cav Assn., but would like to go to both, would like to see the MEDEVAC\15th MED Assn. Reunion at the big 1st Cav Assn. Reunion. That, of course can change if the 15th MED Assn. has more to offer. It's all up to you. I just thought that I would run it by everyone again because it was mentioned to me now, twice.

"As far as I'm concerned, do what you want and be happy; whatever works. Keep up the good work. FIRST TEAM! Garryowen, Mike BODNAR C 2\7 Cav '69 MEDEVAC 1-7\70 SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE"

That was replied to with: "Hey Mike, I think you are reading some of our minds. I did have a discussion with one of the 15th MED Assn. officers.  We were going to bring it up at the 2004 Reunion.

"You are right about us attending our parent's association reunion and being a part of that. The 2004 1st Cav Div Assn. Reunion will not be in TX. The 2005 will be in TX and when we have our reunion we will vote on it. By alternating every other year we can have ours anywhere we want then back to TX with the 1st Cav Div Assn.'s Reunion.

"I have had some challenging issues that some of the prior presidents have not. I have spoken to 2 of the prior presidents in the last month and both said that they didn't have the challenges I have had. When any issue surfaces I will address it and make it part of our meeting at the 2004 Reunion.

"I know on this message board our messages reaches those that have joined. There are so many members that have not joined. I will continue to invite them and at the same time send them e-mails of importance. Since you have brought up this issue I will e-mail all the members I have e-mail addresses for.

"Attendance at any reunion regardless the unit is important. If this will increase attendance then we should endeavor to make the 2005 Reunion with the 1st Cav Div Assn. As with any information that is imparted to the members it must be timely in nature. At present I have not contacted all members regarding the 2004 Reunion. I am doing snail mail to the remanding members that I have addresses for, but no e-mail addresses.

"Mike, I appreciate your concerns and issues you bring up. They help us take a better look at the association. By addressing these concerns and issues, more and more members will get involved. That is the hope, and continuing to achieve our Mission Statement is always of utmost importance. President Murray"

MEDEVAC crew chief Corky WALSH MEDEVAC454@AOL.COM was asking about Doc BARTON, and past president Mike SMITH MVANDCO@MSN.COM mentioned to me that Doc BARTON is at JOANBARTON@WEBTV.NET . Not to be confused with '69-'70 MEDEVAC PSG L. Don BARTON.

I was told that Corky WALSH had flown with recently deceased MEDEVAC pilot Eldon IDEUS, who's obituary I had published in a past Saber. Corky sent over the following reminisce.

"Yes, Eldon and I flew several missions together and I got to know him better at the reunions, we were very good friends, and I always referred to him as Captain. We flew out of LZ Uplift, Two Bits, and English.

"I remember he was always thorough in his inspections of the aircraft. He checked, and double checked, and would ask me if I had found anything wrong with the aircraft.

"While flying he was always cool, calm, and collected, and never got excited when we drew fire. I remember him talking to the RTOs and saying 'You pop smoke and we will identify.' We were friends there in Nam, but really became closer at the reunions, and got to know each other.

"I always referred to him as Captain Ideus, even after we were out of the service. He always gave a straight, forward answer and treated one as a person. I want say that I was proud to have served and flown with Eldon, plus having him as a friend. Corky WALSH crew chief '67-'68."

Irvin W. STEWARD ISTEWARD@AOL.COM Enumclaw, WA. signed the 1st Cav Assn. Guestbook: "'65-'66 HHC 15TH MED Bn. Vietnam Emerg. Room MED."

Chris BURGESS CHRISW@CONWAYCORP.NET in Arkansas signed Snore's Guestbook: "MEDEVAC Medic from Nov '69 to Oct '70."

MEDEVAC door gunner Dave PARKS SHOOTDOWN@YAHOO.COM responded: "Well, its about time BURGESS got involved. Me and tater called him every day for a month when we found his phone # and he never returned any calls. Thought he was mad at 15th MED guys for some reason. Will contact him and see what's up. Flew with Cris lots and was a real good Medic."

I received a telephone call from Dr. William BARNETT of Annapolis, MD, who was in the 1st Cavalry Division, 15th MED, in Korea from the spring of '59-'60, or so. He says that he was an eye doctor in the Army, and still is, in private practice.

I mentioned that was "peace time duty," caught myself, somehow knowing, that there, it never is, and he informed me that they were still taking casualties there from attacks by the North Koreans. He commented to me on the very early form of aeromedical evacuation that they used.

Doctor BARNETT said that he is always looking for those from his time in the 1st Cav. For updated contact information on anyone mentioned here that has none, check with the 1st Cav Assn. office.

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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