Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Kenneth W. SIERS, Civ AFRL/VSOSR
KENNETH.SIERS@HANSCOM.AF.MIL e-mailed: "Hi Mike, Read your article in
the Saber regarding the MEDEVAC crash on 5 Jan 1970. I was a squad leader
with D 2-5. On that day, as a matter of fact, I was about 20 feet away
from the crash.
"I remember a couple of door gunners hopping out to see if they could
help with the wounded. Never got to know their names, but I think they
came from Quan Loi because this crash happened about 1 click from LZ
Ike....I knew Doc MOORE, but not real well....hope this information
helped, Ken SIERS, Chelmsford, MA."
Guy C. LAMUNYON
GLAMUNYON@AOL.COM Vietnam '71 comments:
"PRESS RELEASE: For immediate publication in newsletters and online
postings: letter writing campaign for retroactive Air Assault Badge.
The Air Assault Parity Coalition has begun a letter writing campaign
requesting the new Secretary of the Army make the current Air Assault
Badge retroactive to the Vietnam war for former airmobile and air cavalry
combat veterans. The Army previously considered and rejected the
retroactive award of the current Air Assault Badge to former members of
the air assault units.
"The Air Assault Parity Coalition is also
seeking a congressional sponsor for a Retroactive Air Assault Badge
Bill. For more information and sample letters, visit the Air Assault
Parity Coalition website at: HTTP://airassault.bizhosting.com
"Please help obtain this long overdue recognition for the pioneers of the
current Air Assault technology (Put The Air in Air Assault). Submitted by
Guy C. LAMUNYON, Coordinator, Air Assault Parity Coalition
PAWBER@AOL.COM of Woodbridge, VA.
22192 notifies: "I was a MEDEVAC pilot from Jul '66-Jul '67, Mercy 35;
and served with a great bunch of pilots, Medics, crew chiefs, and gunners
during that year."
James Clay KEYS Jr.
OH, writes: "I am looking for Monty HALCOMB. I have met him, and I think,
his wife. On a movie I took at LZ Mace I have found some that are in the
movie, but am still looking for others."
I noticed a Guestbook
sign-in by one of the best MEDEVAC Medics that I knew of, Bill KELLER
WMKELLER1@NETZERO.COM now living in Bozeman, MT. He signed:
"Medic...MEDEVAC, 1969- '70. Flew with Mr.ZEPP, Mr. TANNER, Mr. RICHARDS,
door gunner PARKS, mainly out of Tay Ninh. Stationed with Doc Dew, Gus
and TRUCKS. Anyone know any of these guys?"
Having known that Dave
PARKS had mentioned that Bill KELLER was the Medic on the MEDEVAC that he
had crashed with on Jan. 05, '70, I contacted Bill. He replied:
"Tuesday Evening, Good Evening Mike. Yes, that was me. I've lived in
absolute fear and dread to hear/see the words that we killed not just one
grunt, but in fact two, or so you say, on that unforgettable day. God,
how sorry I am to hear this. I just can't express the way I feel, have
felt, for the past 35 years. I don't know what to say so I'll try to tell
you what I remember.
"Dave PARKS was the best gunner there was. He
helped me a lot when I first came into the unit to be a good Medic. The
peter pilot was a Capt. (a fat little FNG that I had never flown with)
and a weaney. He had a little shrapnel in his back and the back of his
head. Nothing big but he cried the whole way out to the LZ that night. A
"After quite a bit small arms fire we made our second
approach and I was operating the hoist when everything became very quiet,
as in not a sound could be heard. There was a brilliant orange light and
smoke all around me and I think I was outside the aircraft (but I did not
go far because for the first time I was wearing my monkey vest tethered
to the floor of the aircraft).
"I remember thinking that I did not
know what was going on but that I knew that something was very, very
wrong. Then I realized that I was in mid air and that this was really
going to heart when I hit the ground. I was telling myself to remember
to unhook the monkey vest before I tried to get out of the aircraft.
"Once outside I started yelling at Mr. LEONARD as to why he did not
'pull max collect' to brake our fall. He just looked at me and pointed to
the lack of rotor blades (cut off by the trees as we fell). I then went
and started doing my Medic thing. First wrapping up the crew chief's ribs
and dealing with the peter pilot, then tending to some of the grunts.
But, here I felt like an uninvited guest with these guys, knowing that I
had just f'ed up big time.
"I went back to the chopper but the second
bird came over head and dropped a hoist line. I looked at the grunt I was
with and we both took off running like hell with true fear in our eyes
knowing full well neither of us wanted to be under the chopper when this
one came down too. We made O.J. SIMPSON look slow that day.
have not been to a 1st Cav reunion nor called Dave PARKS back when he
once called me several years ago. The memories of that pile of trees
under our chopper and the two grunts trying to pull their comrades free
is just more that I think I can deal with at this time (ever?). Sorry.
Say hi to Dave and Mr. LEONARD if your ever hear from them. To this day I
truly love, remember, and respect the people I met in the Cav and
MEDEVAC. We did not lose the war in our AO. Bill KELLER."
I told Bill
that the only ones to blame for that incident were the NVA. How anyone
could feel different is beyond me, but that is the way conscientious
I had seen Bill's name on a '70's MEDEVAC roster posted
on SNORE's old Web site, which I have saved. It shows that Bill KELLER
had received a Silver Star, amongst other decorations, so I asked Bill
about that, and some other things compared to Dave PARKS' recollections.
Bill said, "24 March 05, Good Morning Mike. As far as I remember Mr.
LEONARD was fine and not injured at all. In fact, he and I were pushing
each other late that night as we boarded the last MEDEVAC out of the LZ
to see which one of us would be the last to leave that god forsaken
place; he won and was the last to board.
Capt. Winnie was hit in
the back and neck and we carried him out on a stretcher, he just whined
too much. We did NOT lift one WIA, but on the second approach we were at
a hover just starting to hoist up the first WIA when we rotated the tail
due to too much small arms fire, and opened up our side to the B-40
coming right over the crew chief's head. The blast went at about a 33
degree angle hitting the peter pilot in the head and me in the low back
(thank god for chicken plates), both of us minor.
"I'll have to
think about going into more detail as this is still very painful. Not
because of the trauma that we experienced, but that we didn't get the job
done to help the real heroes, the grunts on the ground, but just made
things worse. Yes, I got an SS for this but as I've read other
accounts of SS recipients, this was truly a light weight action for such
an award. Thanks for the picture. Boy, what a mess. BK"
that Bill KELLER had imparted some wisdom to me when I had met him when I
had first joined MEDEVAC; in essence, don't cower, don't try to hide
behind the hoist, it doesn't do any good. He was right about that on
those aluminum cans. As well, I learned that courage goes a long way.
I think that I had read in the past somewhere that Bill KELLER left
Vietnam early on another shoot-down, also because of an RPG. If anyone
reading this knows more, let me know.
STEPHEN.DIBENEDETTO@AMEDD.ARMY.MIL Olympia, WA wants to say: "HHC 15th
MED Bn. 4-'66/4-'67. Flt Medic MEDEVAC AC #802 then #856 (after 802 got
'broke'). Is anyone still out there?"
Terri HASSELL BRYAN
BRYANHORSES@YAHOO.COM from Andalusia, AL, writes, "Looking for any info
on my dad, Jimmie Joe HASSELL. Flew 15th MED Battalion 1967-1968.
'70-'71 MEDEVAC PSG James E. MCDONALD, Database Operator 15th MED Bn.
Association CSMRET@TDN.COM Tel: (503) 743 2692 contacted me:
"Mike, Norm ROBERGE e-mailed me in reference to the miss spelling of the
words 'SARGEANT' (6 Times) on John's [HOLCOMB] bronze memorial plaque.
ROBERGE tried to get them (officials in Oregon) to change it but they
can't find the MOH insignia that is on the original design. Could you
pass this on to the 2-7th Cav and let them coordinate with ROBERGE and
the MOH Association to resolve this problem. POC: ROBERGE:
This would be in reference to D 2-7 Cav 11B
John Noble HOLCOMB, who was born in Baker City, OR, and joined the Army
in Corvallis, OR. John Noble HOLCOMB was posthumously awarded the
C.M.O.H. for heroism on 03 Dec 68, in War Zone D, RVN, at LZ Bitch.
"Sargeant" is properly spelled "sergeant." Is it too late now? The
memorial plaque is cast in bronze. The word is now out to the cavalry.
Saddle up! And, get this corrected. Who has that insignia?
remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE