Saber Article Index

2017 May-Jun

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.“’


Super King Medevac helicoper.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.

On one 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.

Super King Medevac“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 helicopters.

“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 base camp.

“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.

“Despite 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.

“Few 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