Saber Article Index

2016 May-Jun

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

Another honor was bestowed on a 1st Cav MEDEVAC pilot. Hank Tuell, 'Little Okie,' MEDEVAC 1 Hank (Okie) Tuell, was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. In addition to being inducted into the DUSTOFF Association Hall of Fame in 2011, the notorious tobacco chewing Oklahoman, who flew as 'Medevac 1' in the 1970 time frame, was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in November 2015. 'Okie' now resides in Red Lodge, MT and has been doing great things for our wounded warriors through Operation Second Chance.

The other-'Big Okie'-was CW2 Phillip K. Gibbons. If I'm wrong, someone who knows, correct me. I'm looking at a saved copy of 15th MED Assn. founder SNORE's original Website with the 1970 roster. I had to pick a name I thought was possible and it says he DEROSed in February '70, which would work, because I never saw him-'Big Okie'-later. As a new MEDEVAC Medic in January '70 coincidentally my very first mission was with both these 'Okies' flying together-probably inseparable.

Terry McCarl sends in his account of the 2016 15th Medical Battalion Association Reunion: "The 15th Medical Bn. Assn. 2016 Reunion was held in Olympia, WA, April 11-16. Reunion Coordinator (and now new Assn. President) Larry Hatch began planning for the Reunion immediately after the 2015 Reunion in Boise, ID. He put together an incredible program, and publicized the Reunion widely in periodicals of interest to veterans including the 1st Cavalry Division Newspaper (SABER), and the 15th MED Bn. Association's new Website, .

"The turnout was incredible! A total of forty-two veterans attended; along with spouses, family, and guests, over eighty people from twenty-one states were there! For many veterans, this was their first Reunion, and others had not attended for years. Attached is a group photo and identification of the veterans in attendance.

"The Red Lion Hotel is a superb reunion/convention facility with a spectacular view of Capitol Lake and the Washington State Capitol. Rooms were spacious and luxurious for a daily group rate of only $94. per night. A free hot breakfast was available for guests every morning. Service to guests in all areas was outstanding. "There was never a dull moment at the Reunion. When participants were not on one of the tours, at a meeting, or group dinner, they could always go to the hospitality room and visit with old friends and make new ones. "Tours included the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (eighty-five historic air and spacecraft) , the LeMay Family Auto Collection (over 2,500 vintage cars, trucks and other vehicles), NW Helicopters (200,000 square feet of hangar space filled with helicopters), and the Olympic Flight Museum (historic rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and other flight memorabilia). "There was a group dinner Tuesday-Saturday evening. On Friday night, a Banquet Barbecue Dinner with music by an outstanding group, the Oly Mountain Boys bluegrass band.

"A Saturday auction of donated items raised almost three thousand dollars for the Assn. The auction lived up to its reputation as being fun and lively.

"Some review comments by participants were: 'We had a blast;'  'Never seen such a fun auction at Reunions;'  'Fantastic Reunion;' 'BBQ banquet and entertainment fantastic;'   'Tour options great.'  Even the Red Lion Hotel Staff said, 'We never had such a fun group in attendance!'

"The 2017 Reunion will be held in Branson, MO. Dates will be established soon. Visit the Association's Website at for details. Make plans to attend for a fantastic time.

"Quoting Larry Ash, MEDEVAC door gunner, '70-'71, who was unable to attend the Reunion for health reasons, 'Only a very special event in one's life can continue to bring so many together so long afterwards. 'So That Others May Live'.... That pretty well sums up the 15th Medical BN Assn. Reunions!"

Larry was one of the many MEDEVAC door gunners with a Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB)-looking out for his own. He had been in 2-12 Cav "Ace High." 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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