Saber Article Index

2005 jul-aug

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

I received snail mail from Gerald D. MCDANIEL, E 2-5 Cav 11C '69-'70 who had originally contacted me about his hometown buddy, D 2-5 Cav Medic Tom MOORE, who was K.I.A. in Jan '70. Gerald thus initiated the story of the MEDEVAC shot down while trying to pick up the wounded from D 2-5 on 05 Jan 70, revealed by those participating, in the last couple of Saber columns.

Gerald wanted to say thanks, as we all do, to gunner Dave PARKS, and MEDEVAC Medic Bill KELLER, for reminiscing. Gerald said to read that, was both breath taking and heart breaking. Gerald, who does not use e-mail, said to pass on to Bill KELLER, his and the MOORE family's reassurances to take pride in the Silver Star justly awarded.

Gerald also said that he was in soul inspiring contact with D 2-5 squad leader Kenneth W. SIERS, who had responded to the Saber story. Kenneth has since forwarded to me the following:

"Hi Mike, Just a few thoughts after reading the article in the Saber regarding Bill KELLER,...ken." Original Message---- From: SIERS Kenneth W Civ AFRL/VSOSR Sent: Friday, June 17, 2005 1:42 PM To: Subject:

"Hi Bill, Just finished reading the article in the Saber regarding the MEDEVAC crash on Jan 05, 1970. I was a squad leader at the ripe old age of 20, with Delta Company that day; doesn't seem like 35 years ago wow!

"I just want to let you know that you guys are the bravest, and most respected troops to us on the ground. I remember that chopper hovering, thinking, those guys are nuts, then all hell broke loose. What I saw was the door gunners hopping out to see whom they could guys were awesome that day, and when we made it back to LZ Ike, the buzz was how brave you guys were.

"Please don't blame yourself...your efforts were what counted that awful day. You guys were heroes to us then, and you remain heroes to us to this very day...I'll never forget the sacrifice your crew made that day, and I know I can speak for anyone who's ever needed your help, you are truly heroes, thanks again. Ken SIERS, Chelmsford, MA."

I feel the same way Ken. That's why I had extended my tour six months to fly on MEDEVAC, just to try to contribute even more.

Mark "DOC" HOLIDAY Valencia, CA signed in the Guestbook and comments: "Just surfed on, its been some time since I have looked on this page, good to see some new names. Keep up the good work, crew chief '70-'71. Clear left Mark "DOC" HOLIDAY."

I saw on PBS's History Detectives an investigated story about a Revolutionary War cannon that a Boston woman was fascinated by, kept in a local national park storage facility. She had heard that in 1774, members of the Boston Militia stole the cannon from the Boston Armory and hid it on her ancestor's land. She wanted to know if the attempt by British forces to retrieve this and other cannons was one which precipitated the first battle of the Revolutionary War.

The answer, I believe, was yes, and an intact duplicate was found on display in Boston's Bunker Hill Memorial Tower. The British had sent troops out to Lexington and Concord, MA, to find those weapons. We know the rest of the story. For her historical contribution, the series detectives awarded her a visit to a Revolutionary War reenactment group who were cannoneers and gave to her a medal of the patron saint of artillerymen, Saint Barbara.

I mention this because there was an LZ\FSB St. Barbara in South Vietnam's III Corps which was a fire base that was also home to 2-8 Cav in early '69, about six klicks north of Nui Ba Den, in Tay Ninh Province; XT274680, or XT276678. I always wondered why they had named it that. I figured that you just had to be Roman Catholic to understand. You probably still do.

Thanks to J.D. COLEMAN: Incursion: From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries, An Insider's Account; New York: St. Martin's Press 1991, p. 67 and p. 203, for specifics, and '69-'70 D 2-7 Cav SSG Peter COLE for coordinates. If anyone knows more about this all, right or wrong, e-mail me.

Kevin T. RAFERTY writes in the Guestbook: "I've got to tell you guys who are signed in, it is so great to hear about the great men of MEDEVAC, i.e. COOPER, HOLIDAY, and Baby HUEY. I was with MEDEVAC '70-'71 @ Phouc Vinh at the main base before standing down to Bien Hoa. I am hoping to finally make the 1st Cav Reunion this year. Would do my mind some good; you guys know what I mean; later."

SFC (Ret) Jeff DANIEL says, "My father served from Aug '65 to Sep '66 in An Khe. His name was SFC James (Jim) DANIEL, and I believe at that time he was in HHC or Charlie Company 15th MED Bn., 1st Air Cav.

"He passed away in 1985, and I never got the chance to know him. I have bits of information from his partial service record, such as; he was with the 15th MED in An Khe part of '65 and '66.

"I know it is a shot in the dark; however, I thought I would ask if any of you knew him and/or you could tell me more about the role of the 15th MED during that time frame. Thank all of you for your service, and I hope all is well. Sincerely, Jeff DANIEL."

About SFC James DANIEL from Bob MCKINLEY (SFC Ret) MEDEVAC '67-'68 "Vetsgtmac1" : "Maybe Clyde BENSENHAVER would know him. He was in B Co. '65-'66. Bob."

15th MED Assn. President Murray GIBBS e-mailed: "Hi Guys, The 2006 15th MED Association Reunion will be in Reno, NV next year. It will most likely be sometime between 15 June 06 to 15 July 06. Our Vice President/Reunion Coordinator will be making the arrangements. As soon as we have the information set it will be posted.

"Going to the 2005 1st Cav Div Association Reunion was fun along with being a good learning experience. We met a lot of 1st Cav Div Assn. members that we would have not met if we didn't attend. Our plans are to attend the 1st Cav Div Assn. Reunion every other year when it is at Fort Hood. We also met some old faces, but new to the Reunions this Reunion. Hope to meet more."

Murray adds, "There were more 1st Cav Div Assn. members attending this reunion than the previous one. We had about 20 15th MED Assn. members attend. It was a fast 4 or 5 days for most of us. We had our meeting at Big Al's and elected/appointed the officers for 2005-2006: ELECTED OFFICERS President--Murray GIBBS ; Vice President--Jim CALIBRO ; Treasurer--Robert MCKINLEY ; Alt-Replacement--Mike SNITH .

"APPOINTED OFFICERS Secretary--Maurice (Corky) WALSH ; Reunion Coordinator 2006--Jim CALIBRO ; Database Operator-John CRESPI ; Search Coordinator--Norm ROBERGE ; Historians--Art MARTIN , Tim KIRWIN--, Paul TROOP--when computer available.

"This year will be more challenging and new plans of action will be developed to help promote better communication, involvement, and revealing information; past, present and future. Next year's Reunion will be in Reno. Dates and place for the Reunion will be determined ASAP. We will make contact with every known member by either: e-mail, snail mail, or phone. President 15th MED Association, Murray GIBBS, MEDEVAC '67-'68. SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE"

And, last but not least, Murray sent: "Jim CALIBRO sent me the minutes from the 2005 Reunion. Copies also went to Corky WALSH and Bob MCKINLEY. Just want to let Corky, Art MARTIN, and Mike BODNAR know we missed them at the Reunion.

"It looks like we have a strong group of officers this coming year. One of our biggest objectives this year will trying to get the 17 foot lockers in Washington, of the 15th MED Bn., moved to Kansas City. John CRESPI is our new Database Operator. The information in these foot lockers will greatly help. John expects to find all the rosters and Morning Reports. There should also be all the orders for promotion and awards. We also hope to find orders for awards that were turned in but shot down by selfish individuals. If we do find this we want to get those awards that were refused, for whatever selfish reasons, awarded to those who deserve them. This will be a step by step progress.

"Next year's Reunion will be in Reno. Jim CALIBRO is going there next week to see what he can start setting up for us. The dates for next year's Reunion will be sometime between 15 June to 15 July, '06. Once the date is set we can start making this reunion as good as the 2004 one, if not better.

"I plan to draft up a Reunion application similar to the 1st Cav Div Assn. I like the way they do it. We don't need a repeat on what happened to Corky at the 2004 Reunion. He was left with a $1200.00 bill due to an over estimate on the dinners. Thanks to all those members who chipped in $100.00 each, it help reduce the indebtedness to Corky. When I come up with this draft I will present to you all for approval. Once approved, I will e-mail it out to all members, or snail mail it out to those who don't have an e-mail address.

"Updating our members' database will be another objective to work on this year. We have many members in our database with bad, or no e-mail addresses, no mail addresses or wrong addresses due to moving, no phone numbers or wrong numbers. Our database has grown from the 200 known members in 2003 to about 575 known members in 2005.

"Finally, these objectives will be worked on by John CRESPI: 1. Reproduce the old MEDEVAC patch. 2. Check into the cost of a 'Challenge Coin' 15th MED\MEDEVAC. 3. Research the history of the 1st MEDEVAC squad by mailing letters to other organizations.

"The CAB/CMB has been passed by the House. We are waiting for the Senate to pass it and it looks very strong that it will be sometime shortly. Any help our members can provide by contacting their Senators will be very much appreciated. Will keep posted on any update and progress as we move forward. By the way.....Happy Birthday to: Bob MCKINLEY & Jim CALIBRO."

Also, happy birthday to all applicable, at this time, as long as we're at it. I had read in the forwarded news of the passing, of any combat aeromedical evacuation badge, the Army has opposed awarding a group-specific medal. "To attempt to identify soldiers in specific categories has an adverse effect on team concept and uniformity of purpose," Lt. Col. Kevin V. ARATA, an Army public affairs officer, said previously. I may have more on this in the next Saber column. If you couldn't have done it just for the fulfillment of doing it, then you shouldn't have done it.

In reference to the last column's mention of the need to correct the memorial plaque in Oregon for '68 D 2-7 Cav CMOH recipient John Noble HOLCOMB, Norm ROBERGE wrote: "Mike...Acquisition trail was lost years ago...However, problem HAS been solved, a new memorial with correct spelling is now being made. Thanks to all for assistance. Norm"

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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