Saber Article Index
1500th infantryman to the rear for medical
treatment. The Cav’s Super King is usually in the air minutes after being
requested by an infantry unit.“’
Once we’re in the air we find out the
unit’s location, the enemy location, nature of the contact, number of
injured, and the extent of their injury. Also we have to coordinate with
our companion gunship, and the air controllers whose areas we pass over,’
said Lt. Dennis Schmidt, the pilot of Super King. Approaching a pickup
spot, the five men function as one. If the terrain prevents landing,
Goodson and SP4 crew chief David Morse lean out of their gunwells to guide
the ship as close to the ground as possible. “’We’re in a constant state
of correction when we’re hovering. It’s the time when we’re most
unstable. That’s why the people on the ground have to be ready and do
their best,’ said Schmidt. “The infantrymen on the ground can make the
job easier for Super King’s Medic, too, said SP5 Mike Bodnar, who spent
seven months in the field as a medic with the 2nd Bn, 7th Cav, before
extending to fly Medevac. “’We often have to keep him breathing when he
doesn’t want to breathe, and keep him living when he doesn’t want to
live. The more they can do on the ground for him, the better chance the
serious patient has of making it,’ Bodnar said.
“Although the crew’s
credo is that you shouldn’t commit yourself to a mission unless you think
you can get out once you’re in, many 1st Cav infantrymen are alive today
because of the men of Medevac.” Super King was Medevac crew chief
Danny Smith’s assigned aircraft. He dubbed it that name. Danny took
pride in using his Army trained MOS to “supe-up” his aircraft to
maximum potential-or beyond. I flew with Danny a lot because the
crew chiefs were allowed to specify which crew members they preferred
assigned to their aircraft and he picked me and gunner Ricky Goodson
because he liked the teamwork he saw when we were together.
occasion, although Rick Goodson wasn’t with us, we had to pick up some
wounded ARVNs. These Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldiers were in
contact and were trying to get their wounded extracted. There were no
critically wounded, but those who could qualify wanted to get the hell
out of there. When we sat down they started to climb on. We counted
eighteen of them; stuffed in the “hell holes” with the gunners, and every
square foot of floor space. I could only stand where I was and push
against the ceiling to support myself. I didn’t have to perform any
medical work because, as I said, none were critical and already bandaged
enough to qualify as wounded to go.
The pilots yelled, “We can’t take all
these!” But Danny came on through the intercom with, “Yes we can! This is
Super King!” So, the pilots gave it a try and we started to take off.
They pulled pitch and the engine smoothly whined into flight, past the
initial strain of load. Danny came back on the intercom and yelled, “See!
I told you we could do it! This is Super King!” Always remembering our
1st Cav Troops on duty around the world; over and out. FIRST TEAM!
Garryowen To: The Officers & Men Of The 15th Medical Battalion, From:
Bravo Company, 2-8th Bn., 1st Cavalry Division: “It is well known that
for every infantry Soldier in the field, over ten support personnel
are needed to carry out combat operations. However, if you asked any
grunt, on the top of that list are the Medics, the doctors, and the staff
back at the base camp.
“In the Vietnam War however, there was a unique
element that we counted on for survival. That was the Medevac helicopters
that flew into hell to rescue and retrieve our wounded and get them to a
Medical facility or surgeon for treatment.
“If you or one of your
brothers was wounded during a firefight, the first call heard was,
‘Medic!’ I think every infantry unit called their Medic Doc. While Doc
performed his miracle among all the whizzing bullets, a radio call
also went from our command post to nearest base that had Medevac
“In the 1st Cavalry Division that meant that within just
a few minutes, a helicopter, equipped to extract and treat the
wounded was bound for your location. For those of us on the ground,
the call for pop smoke was quickly followed by “Medevac chopper
inbound,” and we knew that the 15th MED was coming to take our wounded
comrades to safety. “For us, no sweeter sound existed than that staccato
‘wop-wop-wop’ beating the humid jungle air. You guys were coming to help.
You guys were going to hang your ass out to come get us. There is no
doubt in any of our minds or in the 1st Cav, that our best friends were
our Medics, the Medevac crews, and all those in the 15th Med back at the
“On behalf of all the Troopers of Bravo Company, 2nd
Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, of the 1st Cavalry Division, we wish to
extend our undying gratitude to all the members of the 15th Medical
Battalion for their dedication and sup- port. The knowledge that if any of
us were hit – that you guys would be on the way – gave us a certain peace
of mind, allowing us to perform our duties under almost any conditions.
“As we celebrate our Bravo Company Reunion this year in Washington, DC at
the same time you are meeting in Franklin, Tennessee, we extend our
gratitude for your actions from over forty years ago. We wish all your
members the best for the incredible job you performed so well, and so
bravely. “Rest assured that this week we will toast you, our comrades
forever. To good health, to good friends, and to many more reunions!”
“From Your Grunt Brothers,” By Pete Genecki, Eager Arms, Bravo, 2-8th
Cavalry 1st Air Cavalry Division, Republic of Vietnam, 1968: “On July
24th, 1968, our Bravo Company, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry was attacked by a
numerically superior NVA force near LZ Carol (Hill 927) in the southern tip
of the dreaded A Shau Valley on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. “Their initial
attack resulted in us taking several casualties, and the call went out
for medical evacuation. The enemy had already closed in on our position
along three sides, and would soon have us surrounded. Then rain, along
with a hazy mist, closed in over Hill 927.
Things were getting bad.
Within minutes, above the clatter of the heavy small arms fire, we could
hear the sound of a single helicopter approaching. Medevac 21 was
responding to our dire situation and was coming to get our wounded. I was
his radio contact on the ground; call sign Eager Arms 26 India.
the adverse weather conditions and the intense enemy fire, the chopper
continued its steady approach to help us. Unfortunately, the heavy fire
quickly took its toll on the Medevac bird. The co-pilot took shrapnel
wounds in his arm from bullets ricocheting off the aircraft commander’s
seat, and the door gunner, Specialist Jerry Dick, was shot in the head.
The enemy hits also resulted in multiple systems failures in the
aircraft, forcing the Medevac ship, with no alternative, to return to
Camp Evans. “Although we have not met, we know that Jerry carries the
wounds inflicted that day, almost forty-four years ago. We are all
certain that if you asked him, Jerry would tell you that he was simply doing
his job. Well, the men of Bravo Company, 2-8th want Jerry, and his entire
crew to know that we are damn glad you were doing your job.
things are more important to a grunt than knowing that if you are wounded,
that the angels called Medevac are coming to get you, no matter what. As one
of those guys on the ground, I want you to know that we remember what you
endured on July 24th, 1968, coming to our aid. “On behalf of the entire
company, I would like to say that we will never forget you, and you shall
always remain in our hearts and prayers. Jerry, God bless you, brother.”
E-mail from Medevac gunner Rick Goodson-my long time cover fire. “Ann and
I are enjoying retirement, and doing a lot of traveling. Leaving Friday on
our seventh cruise with some friends. Finally got to Hawaii for R&R. Ann was
pregnant during my second tour and we postponed it for forty plus years.
“Flying into Jackson Hole, Wyoming in June for a road trip through
Yellowstone and Glacier National Park; then, back down the Rockies
through Idaho to Jackson.
Trying to cross a bunch off my bucket list
while I can still go.” “Super King Saves Lives,” By Medevac pilot John
Lonon: “FSB David, Cambodia: ‘The Super King is the strongest ship we’ve
got,’ said SP4 doorgunner Rick Goodson of the 1st Cavalry Division
(Airmobile). ‘It’s always been able to do everything we’ve wanted it to
do.’ “Super King Medevac helicopter. On the last day of May, the Medevac
bird for Co A, 15th Med Bn, working for the Cav’s 1st Bde, ran its 747th
mission of the month and carried its