Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
The passing of two notable 1st Cav veterans
has occurred since my last writing. LTG (Ret.) Elvy B. ROBERTS (1917-
2005), whom I and many others had served under as CG in '69- '70, and who
was with the Division Chief of Staff in '65.
Also passing was LTC (Ret.) J.D. COLEMAN who died on 4 October 05
after a battle with cancer, at his home in Kalispell, MT. J.D. was a
member of the President's Advisory Council and served two tours with the
division in Vietnam. He was the Assistant PIO in '65, commanded B 2-8
Cavalry in '66, and was the Division Public Information Officer in '69.
J.D.'s is the author of: Pleiku, The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in
Vietnam and Incursion: From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to
the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries. J.D. and several of the
troopers who served with him in Vietnam held a reunion in Montana this
past August. His funeral was scheduled for Monday, 10 October.
had asked J.D. at the '88 1st Cav Reunion about being interviewed by
S.L.A. MARSHALL for the book: Battles in the Monsoon which describes
J.D.'s command of B 2-8 Cav when they were surrounded on a hilltop where
he earned a Silver Star. J.D. clued me in on how S.L.A. MARSHALL put
things into his own words, as has been confirmed by other 1st Cav
veterans whom I have spoken to who were also written about by MARSHALL
in his many books. J.D.'s books are much more documentary and do not take
the same journalistic liberties. R.I.P. to both distinguished 1st Cav
At the end of the last column I mentioned Medic Dale T.
MCGUFF's book: So That Others May Live. Shared Saber space did not permit
me to include the publisher's notes on it. The book review is as follows:
"D.T. MCGUFF has crafted a deft account of his struggles as a Combat
Medic in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. The powerful narration inserts you in
the middle of the complexities of the Vietnam War and life in the
boonies with the First Air Cavalry Division's [1-5 Cav] Bravo Company,
2nd Platoon and later with harrowing MEDEVAC rescue missions. You'll feel
as if you're right alongside 'Doc' MCGUFF whether walking the endless,
mind numbing jungle trails or falling from one hundred and fifty feet in
a bullet riddled MEDEVAC.
"So That Others May Live chronicles the
strangely compelling adventures and personal struggles of a nineteen year
old caught up in a battle to save human lives in a world bent on
destroying them. This painfully honest account of the mind- blowing roll
of a Combat Medic takes you on a terrifying, confusing and sometimes
humorous journey that depicts how one American son evolves from naive
nineteen year old to disillusioned combat veteran.
Author: In the years following his service Dale was forced to fight
another battle with depression, nightmares and a feeling of being
disconnected from the world. It took years to realize that he was in the
grip of Post Traumatic Stress [Disorder] from his experience in
Vietnam. Dale floundered through a number of jobs but eventually time
began to heal the painful memories and eventually he was able to pull his
"Dale found his way to Flagstaff, Arizona where he
attended Northern Arizona University on the G.I bill. It was here, in
this beautiful mountainside community, amongst teachers, students and
friends that he again, found himself. After graduating he moved to Tampa,
Florida to be near his family. In Television, Dale finally found an
outlet for his creativity. Working for a local television station, he
received accolades as a producer/director and won several Emmy awards. At
the same time Dale acquired a master's degree in communication from the
University of South Florida and since then has been a communication and
marketing consultant for major corporations. Dale currently lives with
his wife Debra and their two cats in St. Charles, Illinois.
Preview: 'Next to me Dave [PARKS] leaned forward, swinging his sixty back
and forth, scanning the jungle. I knelt by the hoist, leaning out the
door. I put my left hand on it to steady myself. In my right hand I held
the hoist control. I ran the cable down through the trees, making sure
that it didn't get tangled or snagged. The JP made it all the way down.
The moment it touched the ground all hell broke loose. Everything
happened at once. Reality went into slow motion starting with machine gun
fire. It was so loud it sounded like it was right next to me. I looked
up, assuming Dave had opened up, but it wasn't him. As I glanced at him
he started firing. I turned and looked behind me. Right behind my legs
I saw a dozen small holes across the brand new aluminum floor. We'd been
hit! Mike [VINYARD] fired his gun on the other side. In that instant,
something hit me in the back of the neck. I slapped my hand on the spot
and when I pulled it back, I could see small flecks of red covering my
"''Shit, I'm hit, I'm hit!' I hollered on the radio. I
turned to look at the pilots and saw the windshield had a line of
bullet holes across it.
"''MAY DAY! MAY DAY! This is MEDEVAC One
Niner, we're going down.' When I heard Charlie [HOLMES], it was if an
electric shock swept through my body, panic and disbelief competing
"'The machine gun fire continued as the helicopter,
which was now shaking violently, began to slip down and to the left. As
my senses came back I realized that the cable was still out with the JP
dangling like a hook. If it got caught in a tree it could pull us right
out of the air. I grabbed the hoist control and looked down while
thumbing the trigger hard to bring the JP back up. I could see it
swinging wildly below us as the ship continued its left-hand turn.'"
The ISBN is: 1420859315. Use that to check your favorite online, or
local bookstore. I did find it at <BARNES&NOBLE.COM>for $10 less than the
publisher's price, when combined with other books for a $25 order which
includes free shipping with B&N.
I have received the book and
started to read it. I don't read books like I used to and so it is very
slow going. After the first two chapters I of course so far am finding
Dale's experiences similar to my own in the same M.O.S. and role, but
very uniquely different. Each infantry battalion, etc. can be uniquely
different although similar, and each develop and vary it's own culture
with the coming and going of individuals. I'm sure many veterans have
I have never considered writing a combat book like this,
although I have read, and own stacks of them. I could never elaborate
like I see Dale, and others doing as I read his book, because I think
that these authors remember too well. I can only remember a fraction as
much and subscribe to the maxim: believe half of what you hear, and all
of what you see-which equates to books. Notwithstanding; Dale's book is
very entertaining, a lot of work on his part, and excellently done; what
can be expected from an Emmy winner in the broadcast industry, and a
veteran who was there. It may all be true, discern for yourself.
will try to write a formal book review for the Saber A.S.A.P.-which will
probably be next year at my current rate of reading. So, don't hesitate
to obtain a copy; and if you are so compelled, submit your own book
review. All 1st Cav Assn. members are encouraged.
Also, in the
last issue I mentioned where you can buy a MEDEVAC patch pin. While
browsing the Crossed Sabers Chapter Souvenir Shop Web site I found that
they also sell this pin, for even less money than the site that I had
mentioned. So, BE SURE AND BUY YOUR 1ST CAV MEDEVAC PIN FROM:
I received a local phone call
from 8th Cav veteran Billy BRYAN, who was in the U.S. Navy in WWII, but
later joined the Army and was with the 1st Cav at Camp Omia, Japan in
'46, and before Korea. Billy is hanging in there, with new tubes to
aid the aging process. Contact the 1st Cav Assn. for his contact
Bill STEWART BOPDADDY@CHARTER.NET Morganton, NC
signs in as being in A Co. 15th MED Bn. '65-'66.
DOMMOM007@SBCGLOBAL.NET of Bridgeport, CT, also mentions he was a Medic
with A Co. 15th. MED Bn., Feb. '67 to Feb. '68.
Silver Wings Saber
correspondent Hank LLEWELLYN e-mailed: "Mike, I recently had an all day
visit from someone who went through basic training with me 40 years ago
in Texas. John ZWALINSKI, ANKHEDISP@HOTMAIL.COM and I went in different
directions after Basic to attend AIT, but both ended up in the Cav.; John
with the 15th MED, and I assigned to the 229th Avn Bn. Although four
decades have passed us by I found it amazing his recollection of names
and events from our time at Ft. Jackson, Ft. Bliss, and the Cav.
"John spent most of his tour at the 15th MED Dispensary in downtown An
Khe treating the villagers and spreading goodwill for the Cav. He
mentioned, Sp4 BABCOCK; Sp4 SIMPSON; SSG ROZZELL; SFC CARNEY; Sp4 KAMENS;
DUC, PF Tech; SGT TINH, Interpreter; A.J. CHMIEL, Capt MC., and VICTOR
"He doesn't receive the SABER but I'm sure he would like
to hear from anyone from the 15th MED who may remember him and the An
Khe Dispensary. First Team!"
I noticed some new photos posted which I
would like to subsequently include and wrote to the photographer, Tom
GROVE EPARK8@YAHOO.COM , to find out more about him. He replied: "Hi
Mike, In MEDEVAC I was a WO-1 pilot just doing the job. I've had about 10
jobs since then ('68-'69) and MEDEVAC was the best one yet.
currently work for the FAA Aeronautical Charting Office in Silver Spring,
MD WWW.FAA.NACO.GOV and like it a lot - regular hours, good pay &
benefits. I had 3 corporate flying jobs flying Learjets from Niagara
Falls, NY; Lears, a Helio-Courier, and Falcon 50 in Youngstown, OH, and a
Falcon 50 and Challenger at Dulles Int'l, Virginia. They were mostly fun
jobs but with little time for family life. Thanks for the e-mail."
A lot of commo has come through about members who have been effected
and affected by the recent hurricanes. With that, a lot of support has
gone out to them.
When rebuilding, I wanted to mention my own
thoughts. Years ago while living across the street from the 1st Cav Assn.
in Copperas Cove, TX, I used to sit through the many storms that are
common to Central TX. I would always be on the edge of my seat watching
the P.H.D. TV weathermen in Waco describing the Doppler Radar which showed
the dangerous rotations in each storm cell.
I was aware of the F5
tornado that completely wasted Jarrell, TX, on 27 May 97, just down the
road south from Ft. Hood going towards Austin. I also annually followed
the devastating results of many other tornados in the U.S. since then
and was on the visual tail end of the death black multi- tornado cell
which swept through Oklahoma. It was nothing new to them but rarely that
many at once, which bothered the most hardened.
During this time I
thought to myself of the geodesic dome design of Buckminster FULLER as a
way to protect against these storms, which could deflect the uprooting
wind, and its debris as projectiles, like the turret of a tank. After a
couple of years of Internet searches I found a company called Monolithic
Dome Institute http://MONOLITHICDOME.COM , out of Italy, TX, which matched my
thinking and have perfected their product a long time ago.
autumn of '04 I finally got around to signing up for their hands-on
workshop. I was told that the fall courses were the least attended so
there was opportunity for more attention from the instructors.
the time of the classes though, we were informed that there were so many
who would be attending that they were full, and they even had to schedule
another autumn workshop for those who wanted to attend. This was because
of the 2004 hurricane season which had overwhelmed Florida.
fact, almost half of the class that I attended were those who had
survived Hurricane Ivan which wrecked the FL Panhandle. One of the
attendees whom I met was the son of a Monolithic Dome owner which was
featured on the NBC Nightly News; before and after. It had survived with
flying colors while most dwellings around it were rendered splintered
piles of wood, save a few missed by chance and perhaps with the best
construction possible. Their only concern there was if the land beneath
them did not disappear.
I completed the week long course and earned a
certificate. Other people from around the U.S. and all over the world had
attended. We all learned how to construct the Monolithic Dome, which
starts with an outside airform, is sprayed with polyurethane foam inside,
then latticed with rebar, and sprayed with a final coat of shotcrete, all
on a secured foundation. This is the rock hard shelter that can withstand
the worst that nature can offer. It is easy to control the inside climate
because of the hemisphere shape and foam insulation, and they are usually
less expensive than comparable, presently conventional houses. I now
actually shudder whenever I see square and rectangular buildings!
Monolithic builds multimillion dollar domes around the world, as well as
affordable single units. We visited local school gymnasiums built by
them, as well as they are contracted to build churches, produce storage
facilities, hospitals, civic centers, etc., etc. They are only limited by
your imagination, and they will likely increase that. I just heard
discussed on television about how houses could be constructed to float at
anchor when in floods. Monolithic will probably develop that concept, if
they haven't already.
They have a staff team of experienced
designers, engineers, and construction workers. They are always available
to help and advise you. President, and lead mastermind, David B.
SOUTH, told us that they give away more technology than anyone in
industry. They do not fear competition, which surprisingly does not seem
to exist. They only stress that their name is heavily copyrighted, and
they retain the rights. They are truly amazing people. This is my
suggestion to those thinking of rebuilding from natural disasters. The
future is what you make it.
Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on
duty around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE