Saber Article Index

2007 May-Jun

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

I received snail mail from C 1-21st artilleryman Frank BINGHAM , in response to the mention of the ground attack at Quan Loi, in June of '69. Frank wanted to know if anyone in MEDEVAC remembers 03 Nov 69, when the VC-NVA attacked many LZ-FSBs. Frank was at LZ Ellen, which took 57 casualties. He was one of them, MEDEVACed for minor shrapnel wounds of the hand and shoulder.

Frank remembers an enemy soldier found in the perimeter being kept alive by 15th MED doctors, and sent to the rear. As well as Ellen, Frank spent time on LZs Carolyn, Cindy, Wescott, and up by Bu Dop. Frank writes from Roslindale, MA, and would like to also hear from those in the Boston area.

Shalon SLEDGE (Col. ret) of Florence, AL, wrote via mechanized pony express, and said he was extracted by jungle penetrator on 17 Oct 70 near LZ Snuffy, where he was an LT with 5-7 Cav. MEDEVAC brought him into LZ Buttons to B 15th MED. Sent immediately to the 24th Evac in Long Binh, he recalls it was the most "pedal-to-the-metal" flight he ever had. He says it saved his life. Peace to all.

Dave PARKS, MEDEVAC door gunner '69-70 sent over the following from the 1st Cav Division's periodical, CAVALAIR, dated 18 Feb 1970: "'BIRD FLIES SO' OTHERS MAY LIVE'" By SP4 Ron MERRILL: TAY NINH - A helicopter descended into the tiny clearing, ignoring the green tracers flying up at it. Two men dashed into the clearing escorting a badly wounded buddy and waved to the bird with the big red cross painted on its door. The scene has been repeated thousands of times in the 1st Air Cavalry's area of operations and reflects the motto of the 1st Air Cavalry's 15th Medical Battalion 'So That Others May Live.'

"'Sure we go in if a guy is hurt badly and it is a question of life or death. The only thing is that if the PZ (pickup zone) is hot we just fly a little differently that's all,' emphasized Specialist Four Dave PARKS, a MEDEVAC door gunner. "Within three minutes of a call from a ground unit in contact, the MEDEVAC crew has hastily scampered aboard its aircraft, quickly fastening pistol belts and pulling on shirts, and are on their way. Aircraft commander Warrant Officer Richard TANNER is tuning the craft's radio to the variety of artillery frequencies to get reports on any artillery that may be firing in the area, then returns to the ground company's frequency to get a report on the contact.

"'Between the time we leave Tay Ninh and reach the pickup site, a lot can happen - and usually does,' said Specialist Five Bill KELLER, the Medic on board the MEDEVAC chopper. 'We may get a secure pickup (indicating that contact no longer is flaring) when we leave Tay Ninh but by the time we reach the company's location they are back in contact.'

"Although the bird runs the risk of getting shot at every time it flies, the most hazardous mission is the one involving the use of the jungle penetrator to hoist a wounded man out of dense impenetrable jungles. 'For 10 or 15 minutes we are nothing more than a hovering, sitting target,' said crew chief Specialist Five Rodney WILEY. Specialist KELLER acts as another set of eyes for the pilots on the hoist missions, guiding the patient through the foliage and into the helicopter while the pilots position the craft according to his instructions.

"The 1st Cav MEDEVAC bird varies from other medical choppers in Vietnam because it carries a pair of M-60 machine guns, but the guns, according to Specialists PARKS and WILEY are primarily for the defense of their patients. With the pickup or hoist mission complete and the patient safe inside the bird, the race begins to get the man back for medical attention immediately while Specialist KELLER applies emergency first aid. He also decides in mid-flight whether to take the patient back to Tay Ninh for 'stabilization' before taking him to a hospital, or to take the man immediately to 45th Surgical Hospital. "Then the mission is over as suddenly as it began. The crew stops to refill the bird with aircraft fuel and flies over to the MEDEVAC pad for a rest, ready to go again on a moment's notice, risking danger so that others may live."

Richard "Sully" SULLIVAN from Hollywood, FL posted: "Gunner on MEDEVAC 748, June '66-June '67 with John MOYES and the 'Monk.'"

Garry DUBACH , Clinton, NY, says, "Just wanted everyone to know you are NOT forgotten!!!"

Car (Ed) BRUER in Colorado Springs, CO, signed in: "I was the Medical Operations Assistant (1st LT) in the 1-7 Cav in 1968. Worked with Charlie Company during most of my tour. The TET Offensive kept all of us busy. Great MEDEVAC pilots and doctors in Charlie Company."

'69-'70 MEDEVAC gunner and past 15th MED Assn. president Mike "tater1" SMITH e-mailed out: "In Canby, OR, Mike BRESHEARS, who was rescued by MEDEVAC, and 300 helpers, has erected a site to honor MEDEVAC. They have just mounted a UH-1H with red crosses, on a pedestal. I called and talked with him, and yes, it is for 1st Cav MEDEVAC, not DUST OFF. The Website is: .

'69 MEDEVAC PSG Gordon RUSSELL notes, "Mike, hope all is well, just so you will have my new e-mail address; <>. Thanks Mike, and keep up the good work you do for the Team, and all the men of MEDEVAC. Gordon"

The 2007 15th MED Assn. Reunion will be history when this is read. Past president and Webmaster Murray GIBBS comments, "Even before the 2007 Reunion will take place there are many members thinking about where to host the 2008 Reunion. We have a few individuals that have given us interest in making that happen.

"It is recommended that the member(s) who host the Reunion live in the area, or close to the area, of the next Reunion. It will be busy for that individual until all plans are completed. Hosting Reunion coordinator must find a hotel willing to give discount rates and other amenities associated with our Reunion. Transportation is very important especially from the airport to the hotel of the Reunion. We need a hospitality room where everyone can meet, and also hold our meeting. The last thing is a place for our dinner banquet, and at a reasonable price. Getting information for entertainment where the Reunion is held provides a good place for members and family to visit." A USA map of all the Reunion past locations is available.

Robert IRELAND of Willits, CA signed the Guestbook as a door gunner, MEDEVAC '69-'70.

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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