Saber Article Index

2014 Sep-Oct

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

National American Huey Museum
To: 15th Med Association Members From: Art Jacobs, Past President Subject: Attendance at The Gathering Date: 8-11 August 2014

The National American Huey Museum held its annual “Gathering” this past weekend at the old Grissom AFB (now the Grissom Aeroplex) in Peru, Indiana. And what a “gathering” it was.

Two fully restored UH-1H aircraft from Vietnam flew a combat assault (inserting the Blues) demonstration with The Wolfhounds (re-enactment team) and performed a medevac rescue mission with an OH-6A scout ship flying high cover. The two aircraft were “803” which was originally with the 15th Medical Battalion in Vietnam and a veteran of the Battle of The Ia Drang Valley (LZ X-ray) in 1965. 803 was a “D” model then and later transferred to the 336th Assault Helicopter Company and became “Warrior 11” as an “H” model.

Outfitted with two M-60’s, 803 in its Warrior 11 colors (but with a Medevac 1st Cav Patch on the tail) inserted the Blues. Aircraft 369, which was originally with the 498th Medical Detachment as a Dustoff bird, performed the medevac during the demonstration. Both aircraft then made “member flights” for those in attendance who joined the National American Huey Museum. The entire crews on 803, 369, and the OH-6 were all Vietnam veterans.

The 15th Med Association was well-represented: In attendance were myself, Corky Walsh, Fred McKeller, Dan Korty, Clyde Moore, and Art Martin (and their beautiful wives). In addition, I had three special guests with me: Pete Genecki and Steve Bird from Bravo Company, 2/8th, 1st Cav. These gentlemen were on the ground on 24 July 1968 during three hoist missions I flew as an AC near LZ Carol in the mountains west of Camp Evans.

On the third mission we were shot down and I was wounded. By the way, it was through Pete and Steve’s efforts that our Door Gunner Jerry Dick (severely wounded on mission one) and Stephen Beals (my co-pilot who was also wounded on mission one and Killed In Action on 26 November 1968) were made Honorary Members of Bravo Company.

Guest number three was a World War II Army Air Force veteran, my Dad! I was able to take all three “special” guests for a member flight in 803. I cannot begin to describe the thrill it was for all four of us. We even managed to get in a little low level flying over a few tree lines (no one reported any tracers). And all of the excitement and nostalgia that it brought back was all because of the National American Huey Museum and John Walker and his brother Allan, the founders, whose mission it is to preserve the history and the legacy of the venerable Huey helicopter in Vietnam.

Dave Barron of 9th Cav ‘75 who has been researching the MEDEVAC helicopter crash that occurred in 1969 that killed Gary Lynn Dubach (crew chief), and Stephen Lawrence Shumacher (Medic) inquired if I had any info on a SPC Tutroni serving in 15th MED in 1969. Dave said he is listed on the Division Duty Officer’s log as having been in the aircraft when Dubach and Schumacher died.

I sent Dave the name E-5 Ralph Tutroni from a 15th MED roster. Dave spoke to Ralph who was the door gunner on that aircraft. Dave also asked about a pilot, LT McNees. From the roster I sent a CPT Walter J. McNees. Dave spoke to him and said Walt remembered very well.

The short version is they took fire in the LZ, flew out and the pink team saw fuel, then fire. They landed at an abandoned airstrip and got shot up as they were on approach. The crew exited to set up a perimeter and the ship fell to the left on broken skids taking out Gary and Steve. A sling ship extracted the crew but Ralph took one in the hand being pulled up.

I was contacted by Eric Berla , CW2, MEDEVAC 26, 1968, who is working with Dave Barron on this mentioned project. Eric said, “Mike, I’m looking for information about a loss on 14 February 69 in which a crew chief and Medic were lost. Any information, including anyone who was in the unit then would be appreciated. I had DEROSed just before that happened and came back after my extension leave for a visit when I heard the story. I was, I think, their AC until I left but memory with survivor guilt isn’t good. I’m in contact with the crew chief Gary’s family and they don’t have much information about what happened. I told them what I remembered but it has been a long time and I’m not sure of the details. I know that many folks have better memories than I do so someone might know more. Any help will be appreciated.”

Weber Borrell who was SP-5 Johnny Glen Gregg’s 1SG in Vietnam ‘68-’69, the First Sergeant of Co. A ,15th MED, sent over a photo of SP-5 Gregg who was KIA on MEDEVAC 18 with 1LT Stephen Carl Beals, WO1 James Donald Doran, SP-4 John Stephen Alling Jr., and PFC Robert Earnest Jones, 26 Nov 68. Weber says he has more photos he will send and said to give his e-mail address so some of the men that were in his company will send e-mail to him.

CE Randy Brewer e-mailed, “Hi Mike, just got a second issue of the SABER yesterday for July/August. I called Ms. Beaver at the Star Beacon and was connected to an answering machine. I told her she had my permission to use the photo of Gary Dubach (published in the SABER) and left my phone number, but she did not return the call. (228) 436-0935.

“John Alling, Jr. and I served separate aircraft at ‘A’ Co. at Camp Evans for quite a while so I knew him fairly well. He was pleasant, took his job seriously, and was a good crew chief. On the other hand, Gary Dubach had been there such a short time when I left, I knew very little about him other than that he was an extremely nice guy, seemed to be a good crew chief, and was very young. I was 22 because I went to college for two years before going into service.

“That may very well be the only photograph of him taken while he was there. I know I couldn’t find anymore. I know how Alling’s death came about from Gil Gatto [MEDEVAC 20], but have no idea of what happened to Gary other than that he was KIA. I have absolutely no other information on him. I do remember Dr. Barton as CO of ‘A’ Company. He was here for the 2008 Reunion. I had his e-mail address, but his wife passed away and he quit answering any e-mails. I have no idea whether he is still alive or not.

“I don’t know about the pilots, but flying for the EM was strictly voluntary. We all had the same MOS which was 67N20 (rotary wing aircraft mechanic) later changed to 67A10F. Most with that MOS chose to stay on the ground with maintenance, but I chose to fly because my Dad was a fighter pilot in World War II. Sorry I have no more info on Dubach - but I wasn’t around him long enough to really get to know him. My Best Regards, Randy Brewer MEDEVAC 458/578 10-’67 to 10-’68 Crewchief\Gunner.”

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

Mike Bodnar C 2\7 '69
MEDEVAC 1-7\70

Bottom border for page.