Saber Article Index

2004 Nov-De

David COOPER COOPER1279@COMCAST.NET MEDEVAC '70-'71 GUNNER/MEDIC, Dallas, GA, wrote to say that he reads the Saber column.

15th MED Assn. President Murray GIBBS GUNNERMADMUR@AOL.COM writes: "Hi guys, the 2005 Reunion Invite Letter to the Association is being sent out. I have sent e-mail to almost everyone who has a good e-mail address. We have had some changes and I have made the corrections of the ones that I know of. I have also updated my address book. Snail mail is being sent out to all those for whom we don't have an e-mail address. If we encounter a bad e-mail then we snail mail that member. We have these members working on them: President Murray GIBBS, Vice President Jim CALIBRO, Secretary Corky WALSH, Search Coordinator Norm ROBERGE, and Database Operator James MCDONALD.

With all of us working on them we should get all of them out shortly. James MCDONALD has over 555 members on record and I just noticed that I have a couple in the e-mail address book that have not been recorded with James.

That 2005 Reunion Invite Letter reads: "Greetings, We are having our 2005 Reunion with the 1st Cav Div Association at Killeen, Tx (Ft. Hood). It will be next year in June. If you are planning to attend, the dates will be, June 22 to June 26. You will need to make your reservations before December 2004. The rooms fill up fast so don't wait until the last minute. Presently there are 50 rooms reserved for the 15th MED Association at the Howard Johnson Hotel. You must be a member of the 1st Cav Div Assn. to attend. Avoid the long registration lines at the Reunion. Contact the Hotel at: Howard Johnson Hotel, 803 E. Central TX Expressway, Killeen, TX 76541 1-800-648-6551: Front Desk; Room Rates are $69.00 for a King. When making reservation please state you are with the 1st Cav Div Assn. and the 15th MED Bn. Assn."

Murray continues, "One thing we need for our Association is a FLOW CHART of the 15th MED Bn. while it was in Vietnam. Who were the battalion commanders and when did they serve? Likewise, who were all of the company commanders of all the companies? One key item will be the location of the battalion at the different camps it was at. Another, is the locations where all the companies were at during the six plus years when in Vietnam; LZ locations from July '65 to May '72 for each company. You guys have the information to help put this FLOW CHART together. I have not listed here all of the information that would be on it, but this will be the starter. It will be a time line with the areas of operation, major battles, and K.I.A. losses, etc. Any replies will be documented to help put this together.

"COL DOWNEY suggested that I get copies of the Morning Reports. One for each month while the battalion was in Vietnam. Morning reports were turned in daily with a roster list of all personnel. Getting these Morning Reports will also help us find more 15th MED Bn. members. I don't expect the Morning Reports to show everything, that is why we need all the input we can get from the membership.

"We started this History FLOW CHART of the 15th MED Bn. So far it is James MCDONALD, COL DOWNEY, Art MARTIN, and myself, that are aware of this. We plan to spearhead collective with basic information of the 15th MED Bn. from the years '65 to '72. Although, May '71, I believe, marked the end of the whole 1st Cav Div in Vietnam, the MEDEVAC\Air Ambulance Platoon split and 6 aircraft were attached to the 215 CSB in June '71.

"The Flow Chart will have battalion commanders, company commanders, battalion sgts. major, battalion XOs, many of the main sgts., location of the battalion and companies during all the time in Vietnam. It will display simple structure of each company and the Air Ambulance Platoon ('MEDEVAC'). It will also have the ID numbers of all the helicopters used.

"We don't have all the information  of all the leaders, officers, and NCOs. This is going to require the input of all of us. We don't have the very first helicopters that started from July '65 to Oct '66. If any of you have the information please pass it on to  me.

"COL DOWNEY suggests that I get copies of the Morning Reports/Roster Lists from the Army Archives. I will be working on that. It will provide us with more information about who was in the unit. I plan to get at least one Morning Report/Roster List for each month that the 15th MED Bn. was in Vietnam. "Guys, this is going to be a worthwhile project that may take several months to complete at a summarized level. Putting more detail may take a couple of years and with the help of the membership that can be made possible, and possibly shorten the time to gather all the information. We should have a rough copy in about a month.

"As we progress in this historical project I will send copies of it to you guys via e-mail. Hopefully, you all have Microsoft Excel. Excel makes it possible to spread out this flow chart. When complete we can  make a banner of it and have it for the 2005 Reunion. Being in a time line, all of us can relate to it; comparing our personal tours of when and where we were with the unit.

"James MCDONALD started working on information of who were the officers and NCOs during each year. When I saw that, I piggybacked onto his idea, to start this FLOW CHART that all of us can have some input on. I will put this information in the next newsletter and hopefully we will get a lot of responses for any missing information we don't have. Time to get back to the History FLOW CHART.....Later." News came that 2005 Reunion Coordinator Tim KIRWIN broke his arm. He did it while riding what is believed to be his new motorcycle. From the source of the information, it was within the last two months of this writing. No word yet on the exact details of how he broke it. From what was reported, he was trying to demonstrate how to ride-or not ride-a motorcycle. We wish Tim a speedy recovery from this incident with no instant replays. He has work to do, for the good of all.


Search Coordinator Norm ROBERGE, "Normr1" NORMKARENN@AOL.COM writes, "Hi all......Wife & I just returned from a very pleasant visit with Jerry DICK and family in Riverton, WY. For those of you who attended our Portland Reunion, Jerry is doing about the same. Tough daily existence, but with an ever pleasant smile.

"He will be going to our Reunion in June also, with the help of his family and whatever else may be needed; he's determined!!! He sends his greetings to all you brothers and looks forward to the Reunion...As ever, stay well out there...Ps...He's always very exited to hear from any of us, his e-mail is: JDICK@BRESNAN.NET .

Some of the recent 15th MED Assn. Guestbook signers, for those of you who are not online, are:

Dennis FOXWORTHY NAMVET28@HOTMAIL.COM Whittier, CA, who comments: "498th MED Co. (AA) Vietnam, Feb '69-Dec '70 Flight Medic.

Robert E. WILL RWILL@SATX.RR.COM wrote:" Evac Pilot/Maint Off., MEDEVAC Platoon, 215th MED Co., Nov '71 to June '72."

Larry ASH Webmaster DOORGUNNER2@YAHOO.COM says, "Sorry I went away and my love to Terry and Murray for keeping it up for me. I miss my old friends and hope to make new ones. Keep 'em Flyin'."

Dan BRADY, "doc bra" STILLWATERMINING.COM Absarokee, MT, "Thought I'd say hello. I miss all of you guys, guess I just need to get in touch more. Neat to see our old chopper 'Blood Sweat and Tears' on the opening page. Figured that if I saved that pic it would make it somewhere. It looks better than the last time I saw it on May 23rd, 1970. Ron 'Baby Huey' HUETHER, and (I think) Tom 'terrific' TRIFFERO, pilots; Jon HODGES, crew chief; Mike PARSONS, gunner; myself, Medic. Drop a line if you can, I just can't get this page to work very well, might be my computer. Hope to hear from you."

Bill JUNKINS <HTTP:> PEDRO71@PEDROAIRRESCUECHOPPER.NET Grafton, WI, says, "Great site. Thanks for the ride."

John TABOR JTABOR@ACADEMICPLANET.COM Waxahachie, TX, writes, "Larry, Please add my e-mail address. You've done a great job keeping this Web site going."

Robert WOOD RWOOD@OUTDRS.NET left, "Weatherford, Parker County, TX."

T.J. (BADDHA) WHELAN TJLPRS@AOL.COM Norwood, MA, was "Aircraft tech insp. Apr '70 to Oct '70. Transferred in from 15th Maint. The best unit and bunch of crazy guys I ever served with.

Ret. SFC Garroll L. AAMODT Sr. GARROLL_AAMODTSR@YAHOO.COM  Divide, CO 80814, "Was with C company 15th MED April '66-'67."

William D. BURNS BBURNS@ALAWEB.COM Geneva, AL, said, "Came by looking for names from A Co. during Aug '65-Aug '66. Great site."

Raymond BROUSSARD  RMELBROUSSARD@BELLSOUTH.NET Shelbyville, KY, comments: "I was assigned to HHC, 15th Medical Bn. from 1969 to November 1969. My nickname was 'Pvt. Peaches.' Most of my experiences during that time are blacked out: I remember little other than a fractured skull in August 1969."

Dennis DEPPEN  SINNEDNEPPED@YAHOO.COM Pittsburgh, PA wrote, "Alive and well here in the 'Burgh.' Have kept in touch with many from A Co., 15th MED., 1st Cav 1970. Would like to hear from any of my old buddies." Mike "Doc Needles" ALFE  MIKEALFE@COMCAST.NET from near Seattle, WA writes: "Medic at aid station LZ Mace Jan-Apr '71. Before that, 2-5 Cav. Headquarters Company."

Alan POLIVKA, D.C. HTTP://  ALLENPOLIVKA@EARTHLINK.NET Los Alamitos, CA (near Long Beach) says, "RVN HHC 15th MED 3/'66 - 6/'66. Cell phone (562) 234-5672. Looking forward to seeing any of our brothers and sisters in the area."

Robert KRIKAVA HTTP:  VNTIME66@MSN.COM San Antonio, TX, writes, "Hi, I am trying to find the three Medics that were from the 1st Cav out of Nam, that were at HQ Btry., 8-6 Arty., Fort Riley, in '69, '70, before I went to B Btry. 1-30 Arty., 1st Cav. I would like to have a reunion with them. We lived in the same house off base. Thanks for any of your help."

John DEES JTDEES@COX-INTERNET.COM Conroe, TX signed in: "Served with B Co., 15th MED '69-70 at Song Be on FSB Buttons."

Michael HERRERA INTREPIDMIKE_H@HOTMAIL.COM of Westchester, CA wrote, "Gentlemen, I was assigned to HSC 15th MED at Phuoc Vinh from May '69-August '69. I was finishing up the last four months of my second tour. I have been working on a book and have completed an entire section of Phuoc Vinh since it was the shortest assignment in country. I have some articles posted on the Internet if anyone is interested."

Barry WILLIAMSON of 8th Engineers, assigned to the 7th Cav in Vietnam, and one of our former SABER 7th Cav columnists, sent an article to me from the ARMY TIMES about recent changes in the awarding of the Combat Medical Badge. It in essence says:

"More Can Earn Combat Medical Badge-

"Created as a companion to the Combat Infantryman Badge in March 1945, the Combat Medical Badge provides recognition to field medics who accompany infantrymen into battle.

"But there has been some confusion as to eligibility in a war characterized by the frequent use of combined arms task forces, with medics going into combat with units to which they are not officially assigned and that may not be pure infantry.

"During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the criteria were expanded beyond infantry units, to include armor and ground cavalry units of brigade size and smaller.

"Still, 'there never was any intention to award the CMB to all medical personnel who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area, that is, a division-level medical company supporting a maneuver brigade,' according to the regulation governing military awards.

"Now, in recognition of the battlefield realities of the global war on terrorism, which officially began Sept. 11, 2001, the criteria include other types of ground combat units.

"'We have authorized some changes to the Combat Medical Badge to make the award criteria conform more to today's battlefield,' said Lt. Gen. Franklin HAGENBECK, Army G-l, in a recent interview. 'In the past, it was more of a linear battlefield, and where you were assigned and hung your hat determined if you were even eligible for the CMB.' The changes became effective July 15 and will be included in a revision to AR 600-8-22 (Military Awards). The expanded criteria include military medical personnel in the grade of 0-6 and below who 'are attached to or under operational control of any ground Combat Arms units (not to include members assigned to or attached to Aviation units) of brigade or smaller size, who satisfactorily perform medical duties while the unit is engaged in actual ground combat, provided they are personally present and under fire.' Retroactive awards are not authorized, and CMBs will not be awarded to general or flag officers.- Jim Tina"

Personally, that sounds like double talk to me. Like, what is linear; combat is combat. There have always been Combat Medics in the other Combat Arms in WWII and since, as well as those who have been under fire in the U.S. Army in combat. They never received a CMB, as of the other Combat Arms, the only combat badge authorized is to the infantry, i.e. the Combat Infantryman Badge.

So why now? It had meaning, and a purpose, but now, like everything else of value, it is coveted. If those who want it so bad knew what those it was originally intended for had to go through to earn it, they wouldn't want it.

Jim BRODIE of the Air Ambulance Platoon, Nov. '65-'66, and A 227th Feb. '68-'69 <RA9895A@AOL.COM>had signed into the 1st Cav Assn. Guestbook. I thought that I could get some information about the early days of MEDEVAC, and I didn't see him at the Portland Reunion even though he lives in OR. He did e-mail back:

"Hi Mike, You published an article I sent to somebody about two friends of mine that I had served with for a number of years. O'Niel BONIN and Carl RAY died a few years ago from complications with Agent Orange. Also, I was the one that asked about the Surgical Pod.

"Can't help you with the M60s. John BUBELA and I were the Tech. Insp's for the helicopters. Only remember they were hung on a bungy cord.

"I recall being at Pleiku Air Field where the aid station was set up, one hell of a mess. I think that was from the Ia Drang battle. I was there to work on the choppers. "One day out in front of the operation tent, a Capt. was talking to a couple of people from either Look or Life magazine. They wanted to fly with MEDEVAC. This Capt. was pissed about an article written in one of those mags. and sent a letter to them about the article.

"I recall him telling these guys with the cameras that if they went and they had to pick up wounded the camera crew may get kicked out in a hot area. Sorry I don't remember the Capt.'s name. I think his wife sent him the article from the states. There was a Medic named SWEARENGIN that flew with them.

"John and I slept in a CP tent across from the latrine. I was told we got the privilege of having our own little tent because it was originally set up for the CO. However, a patrol out near Hon Kong Mtn. found a log with notches cut in it. And when the grunts laid a rifle in the notches they were aimed right at the mentioned tent. Don't know if that's true or not. But there you have it.

"I didn't  make it to Portland because I wasn't feeling well. Doing fine now."

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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