Saber Article Index

2010 Mar-Apr

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

Jim CALIBRO, Secretary 15th MED Assn., , Modesto, CA, says, "The Reunion in Boise, ID, is about two months away-4/15-4/18. Mike SMITH, and Velma, have put a lot of work and planning into the upcoming Reunion. Please try to attend if possible.

"This will be our 13th Annual Reunion. Previous Reunions have been successful and a lot of us have reunited with old friends, and made new friends.

"This year Mike and Velma have scheduled a memorial service on Saturday, 4-17, for all departed members. If anyone knows of any members who have passed away since returning home, please let us know. We have a list established already, but don't want to miss anyone."

I got a phone call in response to the last column's request by Ron STRUB for anyone who deployed to Vietnam in 1965 with the 1st Cav's advance party. J.R. KAYS called from Las Vegas and said that he was a mess sergeant in that advance party. J.R. mentioned knowing the C.O., John J. HENNESSEY, whom the Assn. confirms as later becoming the 1st Cav's 1st BDE C.O. in '66. J.R. says that when he looked him up later in the states, he was a general. J.R. then had trained at West Point, to become a Food Services Warrant Officer.

15th MED Assn. Webmaster\Database Operator, Murray GIBBS, MEDEVAC '67-'68, writes, "It has been a long while since the last newsletter. During that time I moved out of an apartment into a rental house. The land my wife and I were going to buy didn't happen so we are searching for another to build our new home. Now that some things have settled down I am able to focus on a newsletter. "The year 2009 wasn't a good year for the economy and some of our members. We had two of our members die during the summer months. Now, I am sorry to report out that we had two other members pass away during the month of Dec., 2009.

"On 11 Dec., 2009, Clifford DAVIS passed away from pancreatic cancer. He attended the 2009 Reunion at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He and his wife made a big effort to attend the Reunion. Cliff DAVIS was in good spirits. There are some pictures of Cliff DAVIS on the 15th MED Assn. Website. If any of you wish to contact Clifford DAVIS' wife, the address is: Sherri DAVIS, 8639 Deerwood Drive, N Charleston, SC 29406-9761.

"Cliff served with the 15th MED Bn. during 1966-'67. According to the e-mail I got from his wife he had received four Purple Hearts during his time in the Armed Services. I searched for her e-mail and could not find it because my ISP lost some of the e-mail I saved, spanning from Oct. 2009 to Dec. 2009. Otherwise, I would display any e-mails concerning Clifford DAVIS.

"On 15 Dec., 2009, Roger BADERSCHNEIDER passed away from cancer that he had struggled with for several years. Roger was a pilot from early 1967 to early 1968. I had the opportunity to fly with him during the Tet Offensive in 1968. He was an AC on MEDEVAC 447 when I flew as door gunner. He was a very good pilot up to the time he had to leave. He never refused a mission even when he had about a week to go. This is one of his last missions: Crew Chief Randy BREWER has labeled MEDEVAC 447 as 'Teflon 447.' We hardly had any bullet holes. Years later I found out that Randy BREWER was color blind, like me. We could see almost anyone who shot at us and returned effective fire with our M-60s. Roger was very fortunate to have us as his crew along with Cpt. COOPER, and Medic BALDWIN. There are some pictures of Roger with others on the Website.

"Pilot Larry HATCH, Dec. '66-Dec. '67 sent me some Statements about him and pilot Eldon IDEUS. I found them to be very interesting. Each one of them is on the Website to view: Eldon IDEUS' 'Statement,' Larry HATCH's 'DFV,' and 'Running Landing,' described by Larry HATCH.

"The 2010 Reunion is less than three months away. Time has passed very quickly for most of us, and we need to be reminded of it coming. If you plan to come, please make all the necessary reservations.

"I just received two e-mails, one from our Reunion Coordinator and the 2nd from the Ladies Aux Group Coordinator. From Reunion Coordinator Mike 'Smitty' SMITH: 'Registered at the Oxford Suites: Larry BOWEN, Clarence COOPER, Corky WALSH, Tomas GROVE, David COOPER, Dave HUSER, Floyd JACKSON, Dan KORTY, Mike SMITH, Leo WILLIAMS.'

"From Ladies Aux Group Coordinator Velma SMITH, 'Hello Murray, I just received an e-mail from Linda BROOKS. Looks like they are going to make it to Idaho. She will be making the name tags for all who attend. She also is going to make name place cards for the memorial service. Please e-mail the list to Mike. Looking forward to seeing you guys soon. Thank you, Velma.'

"Velma sent me an e-mail about having a memorial service for all those who have passed away. I made up a list and will send it to Mike. This memorial will take place after the Reunion Meeting on Saturday.

"If you need another registration form please send me an e-mail and I will send one off to you. You can also print one off the Website by clicking on 'INDEX PAGE 2,' then 'CURRENT REUNION INFO,' and then click on 'REGISTRATION FORM.' Right click on 'Registration Form,' then click 'Print Picture.'

"Well, this year has not been a good year for my computer. I had to replace the video card. Later I had trouble with the liquid cooling system. I had to replace it with a large fan. One problem was that I had to order a fan retention module to mount the fan since it was removed when I custom ordered the computer in Jan. 2008. Now that most of my unnecessary and necessary problems are behind, I will be able to focus more attention to the Website. If any of you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me."

Someone had forwarded an e-mail around about a tour package to Vietnam, so I heard about it from '70 MEDEVAC gunner Richard GOODSON , and C 2-7/MEDEVAC Medic Bill WALSH .

Bill also sent a "Now they give me all this vital information 40 YEARS LATER!" list: "Vietnam Army Helicopter Lessons: EVERYTHING I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW IN LIFE I LEARNED AS A HELICOPTER CREW IN VIETNAM; Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea. It is a fact that helicopter tail rotors are instinctively drawn toward trees, stumps, rocks, etc. While it may be possible to ward off this natural event some of the time, it cannot, despite the best efforts of the crew, always be prevented; it's just what they do. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy. The engine RPM and the rotor RPM must BOTH be kept in the GREEN. Failure to heed this commandment can affect the morale of the crew. Cover your buddy, so he can be around to cover for you. Decisions made by someone above you in the chain-of-command will seldom be in your best interest. The terms 'Protective Armor' and 'Helicopter' are mutually exclusive. Sometimes, being good and lucky still is not enough. 'Chicken Plates' are not something you order in a restaurant. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised. Loud, sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention. The BSR (Bang Stare Red) Theory states that the louder the sudden bang in the helicopter, the quicker your eyes will be drawn to the gauges. The longer you stare at the gauges the less time it takes them to move from green to red. No matter what you do, the bullet with your name on it will get you. So, too, can the ones addressed 'To Whom It May Concern.' If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need. If you are wearing body armor, they will probably miss that part. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon. Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative. If you are allergic to lead, it is best to avoid a war zone. It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time. Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations which, in turn, are better than cold C-rations, which are better than no food at all. All of these, however, are preferable to cold rice balls, even if they do have the little pieces of fish in them. Everybody's a hero...on the the club...after the fourth drink. A free fire zone has nothing to do with economics. The further you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become. Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better. Being shot hurts. 'Pucker Factor' is the formal name of the equation that states the more hairy the situation is, the more of the seat cushion will be sucked up your asshole. It can be expressed in its mathematical formula of S (suction) + H (height) above ground) + I (interest in staying alive) + T (# of tracers coming your way). Thus the term 'SHIT!' can also be used to denote a situation where high Pucker Factor is being encountered. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded. Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly. There is only one rule in war: 'When you win, you get to make up the rules.' C-4 can make a dull day fun. There is no such thing as a fair fight-only ones where you win or lose. If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don't care. Nobody cares what you did yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. What is important is what you are doing-NOW-to solve our problem. Always make sure someone has a P-38-uh, that's a can opener for those of you who aren't military. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these, however, are better than extraction by a Med-Evac, even if it is, technically, a form of flying. If everyone does not come home, none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either. Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. A grunt is the true reason for the existence of the helicopter. Every helicopter flying in Vietnam had one real purpose: To help the grunt. It is unfortunate that many helicopters never had the opportunity to fulfill their one true mission in life, simply because someone forgot this fact. If you have not been there and done probably will not understand most of these.

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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