Saber Article Index

2012 Mar - Apr

MEDEVAC 15th Med\15th FSB
Mike Bodnar
307B N Main Copperas Cove, TX 76522
1704 254-542-1961
E-mail: mbodnar27@juno.com

Art JACOBS e-mailed info for the 2012 15th MED Association Reunion and mentions, “I am the Vice President of the Association this year, and, at the Reunion in May, will become the President. Here are the particulars: 15th Med Battalion Association Annual Reunion  Dates: 2-6 May 2012 Place: Cool Springs Marriott Hotel, Franklin, Tennessee Contact: Art JACOBS (MEDEVAC Pilot 1968), Reunion Chairman Telephone: (615)430- 0950  E-mail: ajacobs@valkyrieconsultinggroup.com .

Art also posts: “It is with much sadness that I inform you of the death of Marty WALKER, age 69, in Sanford, NC. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on August 25, 2011 after a two-year illness that he handled with strength and grace - qualities we all knew him by in Vietnam. Marty was one of the best pilots and one of the most beloved men in the MEDEVAC Platoon in 1967-1968. I will never forget seeing his smiling face at LZ Jane when I replaced him as he was getting ready to go home. He was proud of what he accomplished and gave to MEDEVAC. He taught us all how to conduct ourselves and to never forget our crewmen. Marty was born in Takoma Park, MD, on June 4, 1942, and married his high school sweetheart Betty WRIGHT in 1961. After the Army, Marty worked for IBM for 31 years and then ten more years at Stanley Works. In over 40 years of employment, Marty missed only four days of work. He was a long-time volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and in 2007, Marty and his son Duke traveled to Guatemala to help build a church. “His death reminds us all that we are a dwindling crew. I hope his passing has us reflect on how precious our friendship is, and that we shared and endured a unique experience in Vietnam that binds us together for all our days.”

Randy CARSON, 9484 N. Highway 99 SPC 38 Stockton, CA 95212-1610 writes: “Dear Saber, My name is Randolph Byron CARSON, Randy for short. I served with 15th MED for one Asian vacation ‘67-‘68. I was a door gunner in An Khe, Vietnam. I was proud to have helped save a lot of lives.  

“While there, I met a first sergeant by the name of Pat SWAIN. We became good friends in a short time. He was the best friend any man could ever have. There was a thing going around between us. He was called ‘Papasan’ and I was called ‘Babysan’ because he always looked out after me making sure that I brushed my teeth daily and saved my life. When I came home he was serving his second tour.

“Sometime later, he called me at my mother’s home. He was in an accident and wanted to see me. So I went to Oklahoma where he, his wife, and two sons were living. I did not make it in time and my ‘Papasan’ died in the hospital. It tore a great deal out of me because the only man I ever loved died before I could say goodbye.

“Many years have gone by and even now at sixty-five, I still think of him and his family.  I know his two sons would have been proud of their dad.

“If there are any old 15th MED people out there that know Randy CARSON, alias ‘Babysan,’ drop me a line. There was [is] a saying, ‘Once CAV, Always CAV’; also, ‘If you were not CAV you weren’t squat’; only we used another word which was slang for excrement!

"I will always, until I die, remember the only time in my life that I was ever proud of myself.  I came from a family of fourteen. Most are dead and I will be next. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of you. Sincerely, Randy ‘Babysan’ CARSON.”

Larry G. HATCH campingout@comcast.net  just signs,         “Olympia.”

John MCFARLANE mophair@aol.com from St. Louis, MO comments:  “My first look at the Website and it's great.  Brought back many memories, good and bad. Mostly sadness at losing touch with those who shared such an intense\insane time. I was a Medic in ‘67\’68. I'd like to hear from anyone who remembers the lift missions up north and at Phan Thiet, the ammo dump blowing up, and English; Tet up north, supporting the jarheads, or the times we were hit.

"I can't remember everyone but I flew with LAND, HATCHER, BADERSCHNEIDER, RUIZ, VINING, DIBBLE, BEHM, WELLNER, I think KORTY also. I was there for part of the time with CRESPI and GIBBS. Finally, remember, in DIBBLE’S words, ‘You call, we haul, that's all!"

Tim BECKER tbecker@martinmusic.com says, “Member 15th MED Dec ‘68-Dec ‘69. Air Ambulance Platoon Medic; Aug ‘69-Dec ’69 attached to 2-7 CAV so CMB could be awarded. I'm still sad from the experience.”

David COOPER dcooper533@comcast.net of Dallas, GA, inquires, “Has anyone heard or had contact with Clay KEYES, crew chief ‘70 – ‘71 MEDEVAC?”

Mike TAYLOR mtaylor@farmersbankgroup.com in Warren,  signs in, “Thank you for your service. Thank you for flying into Hell to get our boys out.”

’69-’70 MEDEVAC gunner Dave PARKS shootdown@yahoo.com notifies, “Devil Dan WILKERSON has passed to FIDDLERS GREEN.”  Dave says there is a number to call his daughter on the FB 15th MED page or wall, for any information you might need. Contact Dave to clarify.

The first installment of 1st Cav Vietnam reminisces came in from Al JOY: “Surprise Attack (JOY and PRICE) by Al JOY.

“ We were on the perimeter near what was called the ‘Tea Plantation’ near Pleiku . It was our first night there, and although there was an open area two hundred yards to our right,  probably a quarter mile across, there was a line of high brush and scrub trees just twenty-five yards in front of us, which in our minds looked like the ideal spot to infiltrate the line.

“We had pre-dug foxholes, dug with a backhoe, just the width of a backhoe blade, probably three feet wide (just the width of a wooden pallet) and armpit deep, maybe seven to eight feet long with a pile of dirt two and a half to three feet high, behind the hole.

“Our first job was to build a castle wall of sandbags on the front edge of the hole and cover the whole thing with a tarp to deflect any grenades that might be lobbed in. The second phase was to set multiple trip flares, rattle traps and claymores.

“By the time we finished it was dark and we settled in for the night taking two hour shifts. Although the foxhole had water up to our knees, we had bailed out the water dug sump holes and were high and dry (four feet below ground) thanks to the wooden pallets. I had completed an uneventful shift and had turned the watch over to my buddy and settled into a well earned sleep.

“Suddenly, I was awakened by a burst of automatic M-16 fire, and jumped up to face what I believed to be a full attack  of at least a battalion of North Vietnamese. When I looked down the barrel of my M-16, I could see that all of our flares and booby traps had been set off. The jungle ahead of us was lit up like a county fair and the guys on both sides of our position for two hundred yards were letting loose like it was a ‘mad minute.’ I let loose with four magazines killing every shadow and bush that caught my attention and every other trooper on the line for a quarter mile followed suit. “After a couple of minutes things quieted down and I finally asked what had happened, I was told, ‘a cat.’  I was really frustrated and lit into my partner about how we had spent all that time camouflaging our position, setting up the wires and positioning the flares so we wouldn’t be surprised in the middle of the night, and he ruined it all by shooting at a cat.   

“When he finally calmed down a bit, he said ‘Yeah, but that cat was this big” indicating a two foot height. It seems that there was just enough light for him to see what he thought was a V.C.  crawling towards him on his hands and knees, and just as he was about to put him on the ‘used to be list,’ the cat discovered that what he had been stalking wasn’t edible and let out a scream.

“My buddy was so surprised he missed the cat and went ballistic, emptying his rifle. The cat spun around and although he had come through all of our wires, grenades, and flares without setting any off, he set them all off on the way out. “The cat escaped which was probably a good thing. If the SPCA /PETA ever found out we had tried to kill a furry little kitty, they would probably have shut the whole war down.”

Always remembering our 1st Cav troops on duty around the world; over and out.

FIRST TEAM!
Garryowen,
Mike Bodnar C 2\7 '69
MEDEVAC 1-7\70
SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE