Saber Article Index

2004 Jul-Aug

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

WOW! What a Reunion in Portland! It seemed like everyone was there; but not enough of everyone! Those who signed in were: Jim and Holly CALIBRO, Bob and Sandra MCKINLEY, Corky and Kathy WALSH, Leroy ESPANIA, Tim and Kathy KIRWIN, Dan WEAVER, Rich and Brenda LEHMAN, Arthur & Yolanda MARTIM, James & Chris MCDONALD, Dennis & Kathy CASEY, Gus & Patsy BENSENHAVEN, Norm ROBERGE, Murray & Kathy GIBBS, Damien & Joy VIERRA, Roger & Margie BROYER, Mike BODNAR, Richard & Dorothy MELLON, John O. JORGENSEN, Tom GROVE, Jerry DICK, Doug CAMBELL, Larry & Sue HATCH, Mike & Velma SMITH, James J. ONG, Jim MINISH, Chuch DOUGHERTY, Dennis G. GUTHERIE, Edward MIRANDA, Randy BURKHART, Jim VICTOR, William MEEKS, Bruce MARKOSEN, Art JACOBS, Randy CAVANAUGH, Ty CHAMBERLAIN, Larry (BRAINARD) JACKSON, Steve VERMILLION, James VAN DOREN and Paul & Debbie SCHNIEGUAHT.

If there are any misspellings, that's the way it was sent to me, and copied. Let me know if any corrections are necessary.

One name whom I do not see on this list and whom I talked with for a long time after the general meeting was William R. "Bill" DOWNEY II. Bill was the 15th MED Bn. XO from mid '66 and has quite a distinguished Army career.

He filled us in on the proper information about the "Pods" that quite a few had contributed to remembering in a previous column. After what Bill told us, those other stories seem like rumors. Bill said that he would send a lot of valuable information to me about 15th MED history, which I am still waiting for. I can't be too impatient when he's paying for the postage. Bill was also elected the 15th MED Assn. Historian, at the meeting.

Jerry DICK was a MEDEVAC door gunner in '68. On July 24, 1968, he was shot in the head during a mission into and out of a hot LZ. He is in a wheel chair and made a great effort to attend the 2004 Reunion. His brother, Wayne, brought him.

Jerry has been invited in the past to attend and now had the spirit and willingness to come and meet with his old buddies and the membership. Murray GIBBS personally remembers Jerry being the sergeant of the door gunners. This is the kind of spirit that the 15th MED Assn. membership has.

Alpha 1-12 Cav 11B, MEDEVAC door gunner, Assn. officer Larry ASH "LASH" notified us that the reason he was missing for so long and could not attend the Reunion was because he just went through surgery. We all wish him a solid recovery, and you can contact him.

The 2005 15th MED Assn. Reunion will be at Ft. Hood with the 1st Cav Assn. Reunion. This will give more an opportunity to attend those Reunions that they have not yet attended, both at the same time, and home with the 1st Cav. '70 MEDEVAC door gunner Tim KIRWAN, who lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, is the Reunion coordinator.

From Bill MCCLUNG [JJCUS] BMCCLUN@CORUS.JNJ.COM  "Hi Mike, I just read your 15th MED column in the May/June 2004 Saber. I was a Combat Medic with E Co (Recon) 5-7 Cav, 1st Cav from June '69 to January '70. I was then transferred to A Co 15th MED (Tay Ninh) and was there from January through June of '70. One of the guys I got to know there was Bruce BLAKESLEE, who's picture I saw in your column. I would like to get in touch with Bruce but didn't see any contact information (e-mail address or phone). If you have it, I'd appreciate you sending it along and/or passing my information on to Bruce...mine is below in my auto signature.

"Besides reading the 7th Cav column, I read the 15th MED column of every Saber issue. I know the effort it takes to do a column like this and would like to thank you for doing it. Keep up the great job! Garryowen!"

"Greetings to all. I'm trying to locate Edward F. WALKER, a pilot in '65-'66, and Jerry SAULS, PSG '65-'66. The last time I saw either of them was in '77-'78 in the 30th Medical Group, Germany. Any information you have is appreciated. Kyle L. WORRELL." <HTTP: 15med.htm units html>

<HTTP: ConwayJT01a.htm dc> The point-of-contact for this memorial is a friend who served in Vietnam with him, Lawrence M. MOSS, Dorchester County, SC. ANDREWJEDI@IWON.COM 2 Jan 2004, flying crew chief for UH-1H tail number 68-16429."

The following reads:

1. Be it known that Master Sergeant (Ret) Gordon RUSSELL-'69 MEDEVAC PSG-is appointed as a Distinguished Member Of The Regiment (DMOR)-in the Army Medical Department Regiment, in recognition of multiple, significant, contributions to regimental continuity, tradition, esprit de corps, and mission accomplishment. He has been an outstanding soldier who has significantly contributed to the proud heritage of the United States Army and the AMEDD Regiment.

2. He has served meritoriously in the following War and Conflict:

 A. WWII with General George PATTON 3rd Army, MED Det     assigned to the 204th FAB.1944-1945.

 B. Vietnam War:

     (1).  Medical Company B, 15th Medical Bn., 1st Cav Div. 1965 -1966.

     (2)   Advisor, Military Assistance Command Vietnam.            1968.

     (3).  MEDEVAC, 15th Medical Bn., 1st Cav Div., 1968 - 1969.

3.  Attached is a picture from of the ceremony, on 29 May  2004, pertaining to Master Sergeant (Ret) Gordon RUSSELL.

A. MSG RUSSELL's laudatory remarks were directed at his commanding officer and other fellow brave soldiers with whom he served. 4.  MSG RUSSELL's name will be added to the AMEDD Regiments  Historical Rosters.

Gordon said to me, "This Distinguished Member Of The United Sates Army Medical Department Regiment, was made 29 May '04, at Days Inn Alexandria, VA, in the Hotel conference room with 40 of my friends from Columbus, GA.; Tom SCOFIELD, Jim RAMSEY, and Bill PICKLE, all of whom I served with in MEDEVAC, Vietnam, '68-'69. SCOFIELD was the platoon leader, then a CPT, now a retired LTC, RAMSEY was a Medic, PICKLE was a door gunner, and is now SGT at Arms of the United States Senate; great to see these guys after over 30 years, they are the best, I'll always remember them."

This award was presented by BG Richard URSONE from the Surgeon General Office. Gordon made me aware of the AMEDD Web site through this notice: <HTTP: default.htm>

Looking it over reminds me more that anything that I have seen since, of going through the U.S. Army Medical Training Center, as A.I.T. It brings back many buried memories and just how they grilled us for the critical M.O.S. of U.S. Army Medic. At the Portland Reunion, one of many whom I spoke to was MEDEVAC crew chief Ed MIRANDA. Everyone knows how easy it is to be given gray hair by those who work for you. Ed told me that those in MEDEVAC in '69 once gave PSG Gordon RUSSELL red hair. Figure that one out, or talk to Ed. Ed also told me that 11B Bill PICKLE was in 2-8 Cav before becoming a MEDEVAC door gunner.

Seeking more support to preserve the sanctity of the Combat Medical Badge, C.M.B., from being usurped by anyone who desires by campaigning for in Congress, I have contacted the National Infantry Assn. <HTTP: main.htm>. I forwarded, my letter to Sen. Arlen SPECTER about this, to the National Infantry Assn. President: MG (Ret) Jerry A. WHITE, and Executive Director: COL (Ret) Richard A. NURNBERG, to explain. I received the following: "I am dead AGAINST. This has been tried many times and failed.  We will join the fight. JWHITE"

I also spoke on the telephone to the National Infantry Assn. Programs/Awards Director: Stephanie SEFFERNICK, who told me that there is a funds drive going on right now to raise seventy million dollars for a new Infantry Museum. I had walked through the present one twice, while at Ft. Benning for the 1990 1st Cav Assn. Reunion.

The Infantry Museum has priceless rare items on display such as VON STEUBEN's hat, Reichsmarschall Hermann GOERING's family bible, and his diamond encrusted Field Marshal Baton- described at: <HTTP: tml>, PATTON's "acquired," bronze, hollow center, HITLER bust, "paperbasket," as well as many other captured Nazi artifacts which I couldn't believe if I hadn't seen them. It's spooky in there! There is endless, historical U.S. infantry memorabilia throughout, and a sacred meditation area with U.S. infantry theme, stained glass. Truly an unforgettable experience to visit, and a must to improve and preserve. You can contribute.

Another great incentive for me to rise and go to Portland in May, was that a fellow Vietnam Combat Medic, Andy VAN DUINEN, lives there. I was originally assigned to the same ambulance company with Andy in Long Binh. He saw me immediately 1049 to the 1st Cav, and saw me come back wounded on May 01, '69.

I was MEDEVACed to the 24th Evac with a severely wounded soldier whom I had helped to keep alive through the night. I was treated and released but in such obvious pain, that when I visited my "old" ambulance company on the way out, Andy had me admitted to the 93rd Evac.

I was laid up with an infection and could not even go to talk to the casualties that I saw coming in from my company, C 2-7 Cav, days later. I even ran into my Senior Medic from C 2-7, Rodney TRANTHAM, who had been shot in the arm. That happened to be my last day there and I knew that I was needed back in C 2-7, where I returned, and stayed until I DEROSed in December.

Andy later followed my lead by inspiration, and put in for the 1st Cav himself, "To see what it was like." He ended up finishing his extended, for an early out, tour with D 1-8 Cav working out of such famous places as LZ Rock, LZ Wescott, FSB Jerry, and FSB Ellen, in the Bu Dop area.

Although he did not attend the 15th MED Assn. Reunion, Andy's original intention for transferring to the Cav was to fly on MEDEVAC, but he said that he liked the grunts so much that he stayed with them. Andy managed to pass on a story to me about when his platoon was off on their own, surrounded, and had a badly wounded point man. He said that the MEDEVAC came in, even when the enemy was in contact with them, he was out of smoke grenades, hoisted his man, and took off.

I saw orders that Andy had earned a Bronze Star with a "V" on one occasion, so I am sure that he was appreciated, and his tour was not unfulfilling. Andy is now a successful designer and contractor, and a brand new father.

I watched on the evening network news on the night of June 29 where CBS's Dan RATHER and NBC's Tom BROKAW accompanied the 1st Cav out on a nightly patrol. It was satisfying to see the other side take some casualties, and be assured, it is still the 1st Cav that we all know. The next day, ABC's Peter JENNINGS talked with 1st Cav troopers. Compared to the other units that I have seen over the months, the morale in the 1st Cav is EXHILARATING! What is it with the 1st Cav? WOW!

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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