Saber Article Index

2013 Jan-Feb

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

Ron Strub 11th Air Assault & C 15th MED 1964, '65 & '66, replied regarding Gordon Russell: "Yes he was with 15th MED when we went over in '65. Gordon and I e-mailed back & forth and talked on the phone. My last e-mail from him was 1-23-12. He was in 11th Air Assault at Benning before that ['65]. I did not know him back in the day because I was only a PFC, then SP4. We connected a few years back because we know a lot of the same people."

Don Hays writes, Hi Mike, I was in Co. C, 15th MED 1966, Ahn Khe. I just started getting the Saber a few months ago. I always read the 15th MED section...hoping to see a story or picture that I knew about. I noticed the little part about 'nose art' on the choppers. I have around five hundred pictures of that year. I will check to watch for nose will give me something to do, as if I don't have anything to do. Would like to hear from you. I know people who were with me, that I would like to find, or see. (509)844-2047, thanks."

Albert Benamou e-mailed, "Hi Mike: I saw your Saber page. Hope you still have the same e-mail. I served from June 1969 to March '70 in C Co 15th MED in Quan Loi. Trying to locate friends still at large. I did touch base with Bob Cannon from Long Beach. Hope to hear from you. Thanks, (Frenchy) 29 Palms, CA.

Don Barton notifies, "A great book is PATRICK BRADY: Dead Men Flying, Legend of Dust Off. I know it is not MEDEVAC but one great read. Charles Kelly was one hell of a pilot, the founder of Dust-Off..Have a great day. Doc."

A free read, for those who don't know, is: DUST OFF: ARMY AEROMEDICAL EVACUATION IN VIETNAM . A former Government Printing Office book, now out of print, but available free online. This covers all U.S. Army aeromedical evacuation in Vietnam from the beginning to the end of the war.

You can go to the 15th MED Assn. Website and read the latest "President's Corner" by Art Jacobs. In part he says: "When some of us came home from Vietnam, we only wanted to forget that we were ever there, especially given the social climate at the time and the opinion and attitude of many of our fellow citizens. Some of us were bitter. Some of us were sad, depressed, or regretful. Some of us had wounds, both visible and hidden. And some of us still battle those wounds and the personal conflicts to this day.

"I’ve noticed lately that when I wear one of my jackets that has a 1st Cav patch, that more and more people will tap me on the shoulder and say, 'Thank you for your service.' At first, I would be slightly embarrassed, caught off-guard, and finally mutter a meek thank you. After one such encounter (a nice old lady who was a clerk at the grocery store) I drove home thinking, 'What should I say when someone does that?' Somehow just saying 'thank you' felt lacking, incomplete, and even strangely inappropriate. I didn’t join the Army for anyone’s thanks. "Like you perhaps, I joined the Army because I saw it as my duty to serve, just like my father, his brother, and all my uncles who survived World War II and Korea. In the mid-sixties with the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev saying the USSR would 'bury us,' and JFK’s 'Ask not what your country can do for you' inaugural speech fresh in my mind, I saw enlisting as simply my turn to do my part.

"Having re-hashed all that logic and emotion in my head on the way home from the grocery store, it came to me what I 'should' say and do, what I 'would always' say and do going forward whenever people thanked me for my service. Now, I take their hand to shake, look them in the eye, smile, and I say: 'It was my honor. And, I would do it again! Thank you.'

"With some who have stopped me, we’ve had brief and enjoyable conversations. I’ve found out that they have fathers, relatives, and sons who have served, or are serving – from World War II to Afghanistan and every war, conflict, or engagement in between. For us, like those before us, we were called, and we answered. There were many our age at the time that took another course, made a different decision and did not serve. You may even have envied them at the time (during Basic Training).

"I trust that with all the years that have passed, you have discovered as I have that many of those men who did not go to Vietnam actually 'envy' us. Just over 3.5 million served in Vietnam during the war. There are fewer than 1.7 Vietnam veterans alive today. Interestingly enough, the last US Census somehow shows that over 8.5 million Americans indicated that they were Vietnam veterans!"

The 2013 15th MED Assn. Reunion will be in Old Sacramento, CA April 17 - 21, 2013. Go to the Website for info or contact Jim Calibro . Telephone (916)446-0100. Ask for Jim.

If you don't see any notice in this column, check the Saber "Other Reunions." The 1st Cavalry Division Association 66th Annual Reunion will be in Killeen\Fort Hood, Texas 5-9 June 2013.


a.. Once you are in the fight, it is way too late to wonder if this is a good idea.
b.. 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.
c.. NEVER get into a fight without more ammunition than the other guy.
d.. 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.
e.. Cover your Buddy, so he can be around to cover for you.
f.. Decisions made by someone above you in the chain-of-command will seldom be in your best interest.
g.. The terms Protective Armor and Helicopter are mutually exclusive.
h.. Sometimes, being good and lucky still is not enough.
i.. 'Chicken Plates' are not something you order in a restaurant.
j.. If everything is as clear as a bell, and everything is going exactly as planned, you're about to be surprised.
k.. Loud, sudden noises in a helicopter WILL get your undivided attention.
l.. 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.
m.. 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.'
n.. If the rear echelon troops are really happy, the front line troops probably do not have what they need.
o.. If you are wearing body armor, they will probably miss that part.
p.. Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.
q.. Having all your body parts intact and functioning at the end of the day beats the alternative.
r.. If you are allergic to lead, it is best to avoid a war zone.
s.. It is a bad thing to run out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time.
t.. Hot garrison chow is better than hot C-rations which, in turn, is better than cold C-rations which, in turn, is 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.
u.. Everybody's a hero ... on the ground ... in the club ... after the fourth drink.
v.. A free fire zone has nothing to do with economics.
w.. The further you fly into the mountains, the louder the strange engine noises become.
x.. Medals are OK, but having your body and all your friends in one piece at the end of the day is better.
y.. Being shot hurts.
z.. '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)
aa..Thus the term 'S***!' can also be used to denote a situation where high Pucker Factor is being encountered.
ab..Thousands of Vietnam Veterans earned medals for bravery every day. A few were even awarded.
ac..Running out of pedal, fore or aft cyclic, or collective are all bad ideas. Any combination of these can be deadly.
ad.. There is only one rule in war: When you win, you get to make up the rules.
ae.. C-4 can make a dull day fun.
af.. There is no such thing as a fair fight-only ones where you win or lose.
ag.. If you win the battle you are entitled to the spoils. If you lose you don't care.
ah.. 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.
ai.. Always make sure someone has a P-38. Uh, that's a can opener for those of you who aren't military.
aj.. Prayer may not help . . . but it can't hurt.
ak.. Flying is better than walking. Walking is better than running. Running is better than crawling. All of these, however, are better than extraction by MEDEVAC, even if it is technically, a form of flying.
al.. If everyone does not come home, none of the rest of us can ever fully come home either.
am.. 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.
an.. 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.
ao.. If you have not been there and done that you 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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