Saber Article Index
MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Dan TOOTHMAN (Fang)
Newport News, VA, signed the Guestbook: "Pilot 1\69-1\70. Best 'job' I
had in 29 years flying for the Army. Would welcome contacts from
anyone willing. Would like especially to find Jack DAHLMANN, CE '68-'69."
Ralph MC GREW RACS@RACS.NET from Mt. Horeb, WI, also signed the
Guestbook: "I was in the 15th MED in Korea in 1963, and with the 35th
Eng. in Vietnam in 1966."
Terry GARLOCK sent over what he terms a
long shot, trying to identify a MEDEVAC crew. "If anyone knows the
MEDEVAC pilots or crew who flew near Lai Khe in III Corps in December 1969,
please ask them to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Cobra helicopter was shot down in a firefight near Lai Khe Dec 17, 1969,
and we went down hard. I had a broken back, legs paralyzed (until after
surgery) and the broken bird had to be destroyed by rocket fire from the
air to keep the weapons, ammo and radios out of enemy hands.
would like to know who was flying MEDEVAC to pick me up. It is not an
entirely rational desire, and I have passed on similar messages myself
from grunts who want to find the MEDEVAC crew who saved their ass, while
I knew the chance of finding them was small.
"In my case, maybe a
broken Cobra on the ground would stand out in memories among so many
missions. Maybe someone even took a photo.
"Please pass it on, and
to all MEDEVAC pilots and crews who see this message, you will never know
how many guys think of you with gratitude for the rest of their life.
Terry L. GARLOCK."
Jim CALIBRO, 15th MED Assn. past president
2006-'07 "Marchetti9" email@example.com had written, "I just wanted to
comment that I'm looking forward to the Reunion in Biloxi. (April 3rd to
April 6th). The Reunions are always special to Holly and me, because we
reunite with old friends, and make new ones. Everyone we've met, is
special to us. I have a lot of friends, but it's hard to explain to them
the bondage we share, unless they were there. We're all brothers, all of
us, regardless of your job description. This Reunion will be extra
special this year; I will be able to reunite with Randy BREWER, this
year's Reunion host. It will be our 40th anniversary on Friday, April
4th, 2008, to the day, April 4th, 1968, that we were shot down flying a
mission into the Ashau Valley. Randy and our pilot Larry FENSTERMACHER
were both shot up that day. By the grace of God we were saved. I'll let
Randy buy me a beer or two to celebrate on that day.
that some of our brothers won't be able to make it this year, especially
Corky and that funny guy Casey. He kept us laughing in Portland. You may
not be there in body, but you're not forgotten. Normally I don't get
sentimental, but I have had several health issues in the last two years
like a lot of others, so I just wanted to say what was on my mind.
After the Reunion, Jim wrote: "First of all I would
like to comment that we had a great turnout for the Reunion in Biloxi,
MS. Holly and I got caught up in the SNAFU with the airlines flying home.
We went through five airplanes, in two days, but made it home safely. Two
of those planes were grounded before we had a chance to back out of the
gate. We had to get off and re-board another plane twice. Our luggage
caught up with us four days later.
"Regardless of the SNAFU, we had a
great time and everything was worth it. Our next Reunion will be held at
Myrtle Beach, SC, in April 2009. If you haven't been to a Reunion yet,
and live east of the Mississippi, this will be a good time for you to
go. You'll never regret it.
"There was a member of the 15th MED Assn.
at the Reunion who has made several trips back to Vietnam and is putting
together another trip for a Vietnam tour in Feb. '09. I can't remember his
name, but he was a former supply Sgt. in the 15th MED Bn. around the '66-'67
time period. If anyone has any info. regarding this trip or the member's
name and address, please forward that info. to me or post it on the Website.
We have several members interested in taking this trip. "Congratulations to
the new officers of the 15th MED Assn. I'm sure after talking to Murray, he
will be putting out a newsletter in the next week posting all the
information. Jim CALIBRO, Secretary '08-'09." PEGGY LUSK
firstname.lastname@example.org writes, "I would love to hear from
anyone who knew my brother, SFC James Harrison BROOKS Jr., in Vietnam. He
was a crew chief, killed April 25th, 1970. That is all we know. If anyone
knew him; worked with him; I would like to hear from you.
these years, I have believed he is still alive. But, time has a toll on
"I miss him. I would like to know what he was like over
there. Just general information. Thanks, his sister, Peggy."
BREWER, MEDEVAC 458\578 SP/5 CE Vietnam '67-'68, compiled a message,
especially for the 15th Medical Battalion\MEDEVAC brothers who attended
the 11th Annual Reunion at Biloxi. He wanted to thank one and all for
coming and sharing with him in "Katrinaland." He says he believes it
was the most inspirational event in his life.
Randy said talking with
Jim CALIBRO, who confided in Randy that the three times in their tour
together that they thought was the "last," "He and I were
together-although we did not 'hang' together that much. It was true, and
Randy says their Marine friend, Frank PLASS,
regressed back to the night Tet '68 started, and that he and his friends
who were left alive, eleven out of seventy, were lying there in the rice
paddies, wounded and not daring to move, lest they be shot, having given
up all hope of living. Above them in the night sky appeared three 1st Cav
gunships, who immediately dispatched the enemy, and low and behold, an
angel of mercy in the form of a 1st Cav MEDEVAC appeared and rescued
Frank and his wounded companions.
From that time on, there was no
"inner-service" rivalry between himself and the Army's 1st Cav. Because
of MEDEVAC he says he is alive and well today. The motto of: "SO THAT
OTHERS MAY LIVE" is just as strong and as much alive today as it was 40
years ago- Jan. 31, 1968.
Charleston, SC, makes contact and mentions he was "in country" Jun
'68-Sep. '70. Larry served in 15th MED Bn. during Jan.-Sep. '70 as a
MEDEVAC crew chief. He just wanted to say hello and would welcome any
Larry wrote a journal about his experiences in Vietnam
several years ago. Here is once excerpt..."As I said in my last post I am
going to tell you about the bravest person I met both in Vietnam and in
"When I first met Glenn SHUMWAY, I was serving in the
MEDEVAC platoon, 15th Medical Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division. Our
home base was in a little Vietnamese hamlet called Phouc Vinh. It was in
the III Corps region of Vietnam. I had been 'in country' for over fifteen
months and I was a flying crew chief on a MEDEVAC (acronym for medical
evacuation) helicopter. A crew for a MEDEVAC chopper consisted of a
pilot, a co-pilot, a crew chief, a Medic and a machine gunner. The
battalion would forward deploy our units to three different fire support
bases nearer where the troops were fighting and being wounded. That way
the transportation time to the doctors at the field aid station was
"Glenn was a Medic. He and I were about the
same age, nineteen years old. He had been drafted and sent to Army
Medic training before being assigned to duty in Vietnam. Glenn was a
quiet and soft spoken young man. We became friends as we flew on the same
chopper crew for some of the missions. The crew chief and gunner were
assigned to the same chopper but the medic and pilots rotated between the
choppers. This system gave the crew chief extra incentive to take care of
the maintenance of his chopper.
"There was one thing unique about
Glenn. Army medics were allowed to carry weapons to protect their
patients and themselves if they came under enemy fire. The unique thing
about Glenn was he was a conscientious objector. His religious beliefs
would not allow him to kill another human being even if he was fired
upon. So when he was drafted, he volunteered for Medic duty so he could
serve, but would not have to carry a weapon. Now, all the other Medics in
the platoon carried and fired weapons when they were in danger, but
not Glenn. Being a MEDEVAC crew chief I had fired the machine gun mounted
on the side of the chopper many times when I took enemy fire on the way
into a hot landing zone to pick up the wounded.
"So while all the
rest of us carried weapons and fired them when under fire, Glenn would
not. His beliefs were so strong he would rather die than take another
human life. He flew the missions like all the rest of the Medics, came
under fire many times, but never once wavered in his beliefs.
one particular mission, the bravery of Glenn was graphically
demonstrated. The MEDEVAC chopper that Glenn was the Medic on was called
to the site where some wounded infantryman needed to be MEDEVACed. As the
site was in the trees, the chopper could not land. The helicopter hovered
about the wounded men, taking fire all the time. Then Glenn used a small
hoist mounted in the helicopter to go down into the jungle to take care
of the wounded. To evacuate the wounded, Glenn had to give them first aid
and then get them into a semi-rigid litter so they could be hoisted out
of the jungle. They would then be MEDEVACed to an aid station. All the
while the helicopter was hovering, the Viet Cong soldiers were firing at
the chopper. After hoisting the wounded into the chopper, Glenn then rode
the hoist back into the chopper. Fortunately the wounded made it back to
the hospital and survived. All the time Glenn took fire, he never
hesitated to help the wounded even though he didn't carry a weapon.
"Glenn was awarded a Silver Star for bravery for the above action.
And for all the times he took fire and risked his life to save wounded
but would never fire back, I call him the bravest person I know."
When I questioned Larry he replied, "As best as I can remember I flew
with Glenn out of Phouc Vinh, Quan Loi, and possibly Tay Ninh. I believe
it was in the first part of '70 when Glenn got his Silver Star. I think
there was a story in Stars and Stripes about it. I was not flying with
Glenn that day.
"Not sure if you knew, but I also flew as a crew
chief with the 1st Aviation Brigade out of Bien Hoa in '68-'69; 118th
Assault Helicopter Company. I extended after one year to fly with B Troop
1-9th Cavalry in the last half of '69. I was shot down in a LOH in the
fall of '69 and was MEDEVACed by 15th MED Bn. While healing from my
wounds, I extended again for six months to transfer to MEDEVAC in January
'70. I worked in the maintenance platoon while my broken arm healed.
When I got the cast off I started flying again."
Larry says he
believes he remembers meeting me in the 15th MED Bn. He says my name is
familiar. I may have met Larry briefly, but I never flew with him, and I
know we were both very busy. I was also in MEDEVAC concurrently with
Glenn SHUMWAY, but I rarely, if ever, spoke to him, like other Medics
in MEDEVAC or the infantry during my time. We were all just too busy, and
I made a lot of commo with Larry MOSS over his initial
contact. I will post more from Larry in subsequent columns.
and past president 2003-2006 of the 15th MED Assn, Murray GIBBS, sends
the elected and appointed 15th MED Association Officers for 2008-2009:
President: John CRESPI; Vice President: Fred MC KELLER; Alt Replacement:
John BELAIR. Secretary: James CALIBRO; Webmaster/dBase Operator: Murray
GIBBS; Search Coordinator & Chaplin: Paul TROOP; Snail Mail Coordinator:
Norm ROBERGE; Reunion Coordinator: Pete MULFORD; Historians: Paul TROOP &
COL William DOWNEY.
Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty
around the world; over and out.
Bodnar C 2\7 '69
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE