Saber Article Index

2013 Sep-Oct

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

Terry McCarl sent over, "Mike: I served with HSC 15th MED Bn. from 11/'68-11/'69. I was a 1LT, MSC, the Division Sanitarian. I worked with the Preventive Medicine Officer, primarily in water supply, food service sanitation, waste disposal, rodent control, mosquito control and malaria control. The mission was to keep the troops healthy.

"I was located at Phouc Vinh, but traveled frequently to Quan Loi and Tay Ninh, and to almost all of the Division's operating LZ's. MEDEVAC backhauls were my most frequent mode of transportation.

"I arrived in RVN on Thanksgiving Day, 1968. I spent several days at 90th Replacement waiting for my orders. I remember checking the bulletin board one day, and there was my assignment: 1st Cavalry Division. I knew very little about any of the divisions in VN. I asked the guy standing next to me, whom I judged to have had a previous tour in RVN, if he knew anything about the 1st. Cav. He said, 'All I can tell you is that the Cav is the division that they always send in when nobody else can get the job done. They operate in the crummiest places and most dangerous conditions-almost as bad as the Marines.' That really raised my spirits!

"The men that I served with in 15th MEDICAL Bn. were the most courageous and admirable people that I ever worked with. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who was there in the 11/'68-11/'69 time frame ).

"In March of 1969, a couple of colonels, I believe from USARV, came up to Phouc Vinh to do an inspection, in their nicely starched and pressed fatigues. LTC Turner asked me to go along on the inspection. LTC Turner was driving the jeep around the camp and I believe we were inspecting a Class I (Food Storage) yard. The visiting colonels, as I recall, were super critical of what they deemed to be poor sanitation, etc. At about 10:00 AM on a bright, sunny day, we suddenly heard an extremely loud 'boom.' A rocket had landed about fifty feet away from us. We all rolled out of the jeep onto the ground. The shrapnel apparently all went over us, and we and the vehicle were completely unscathed. In any case, the visiting colonels suddenly decided that they had infinitely more pressing business back at HQ, and decided to cut their visit short immediately!

"In retrospect, what was really humorous was that LTC Turner seemed completely rattled by the occurrence, acting as if it was an everyday happening. He and I had a little chuckle after the colonels boarded their aircraft to return to Long Binh. That was the only time that I remember incoming at Phouc Vinh during the daytime. I have often thought that if it had to happen, it couldn't have been at a better time!

"One of my tasks was to conduct the testing (urine) of the troops to determine if they were taking the malaria prevention pills. In about July of 1969, testing became a very hot topic because of huge numbers of malaria cases. I believe that we tested each of the companies in the Cav combat battalions. Some of the initial units tested as low as ten per cent positive, resulting in tighter supervision of the pill-taking primarily by NCO's and Medics. The later units tested were about ninety per cent positive.

"I am looking for a few of my compadres who are not on the FOUND list in the 15th MED Bn. Website. They are: CPT Richard Russ, MSC, Asst. BN S-1, '68-'69; CPT Paul Kittinger, MSC, Division Medical Supply, '69-'70, and CPT Ken Moro, MSC, XO, Charlie Co., '68-'69. If anyone knows even their middle initials, that would help to find them. Please contact me if you have any information. Thanks."

From Allan E. Jeska, LTC RET. U.S. Army Special Forces, "Hi Mike... I met Corky Walsh yesterday at his Lowell, OR, H.S. Reunion. Great guy and he was handing out 1st Cav Stetson's to some of his fellow classmates who survived Vietnam with the 1st Cav. "After our conversation, one of them mentioned that he had written a book? Do you have any knowledge of how I may obtain a copy?

"I 'googled' his name and your attractive Website appeared, so perhaps the data on the book is known? Thank you for the research and you Service."

I e-mailed Allan that I think the book may be: "The Conflict That Was a War; In Vietnam & At Home," mentioned in the NOV\DEC '12 Saber.

New 15th MED Assn. President Corky Walsh has his August 2013 President's Message on the Website in the newsletter. As well, is mentioned, "We all gathered together for dinner on Friday evening at Beef O'Brady's. We had one member we had not seen in 45 years, Pilot Harold Hicks.

"I have a lot of pictures that I and my brother-in-law took. I will be putting together a Mini Reunion with all the pictures I have and any from the members who attended. Many of our members flew on MEDEVAC 803 which has be restored and in flying condition. It was an UH-1D and now it has be restored as a UH-1H. "The American Huey 369 did a Vietnam reenactment with three helicopters engaging the VC. I took several pictures and videos of it on both days of the show. After the reenactments everyone who had lifetime memberships or paid the $100.00 took a fifteen minute ride on either helicopter 369 or 803.

"2014 Reunion has been posted on the Website under the pull down menu Reunions. It will be held in Orlando, FL from April 2 to 6, 2014. The 2014 Registration Form has been drafted and will be completed when Reunion Chairman sets up final items for the Reunion. When that happens it will be posted on the Website and e-mailed and snail mailed to the membership. "The 2014 Reunion will be at Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel 5445 Forbes Place Orlando, Florida 32812 Telephones - 1-407-240-1000, Toll-Free: 1-888-236-2427 If calling by phone reference MEDEVAC Reunion 2014 to get our rate or book online. Book Deluxe at Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel for $88. per night. Deadline to book your reservation is March 3, 2014."

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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