Saber Article Index

2018 May-Jun

I received an e-mail from Mike Ingram who was in 2nd Platoon C 2-7 Cav ‘69-’70. Mike said that Raymond Ligons, whom I wrote about in the last Saber, was one of the first people Mike met when he was new to the company. Mike said that Raymond Ligons took an interest in Mike welcoming him because Mike was from Charlotte, N.C., and from what he said, so was Raymond.

Mike said Raymond Ligons was moved to 3rd Platoon by the night of the attack because they were short. Mike had to go over and join 3rd Platoon because they were now short again with all the wounded, and one dead. Seeing what was left of his friend was not good.

Mike eventually returned to 2nd Platoon where he ended up carrying the M-60. Mike also then knew well Bill Walsh who came in as Medic. Bill later followed me into MEDEVAC. Mike Ingram was the only name Bill mentioned from C 2-7 Cav when I knew Bill stateside. I had only met him once when he came in for the MEDEVAC interview with the Platoon Leader, Captain Hagerty.

I also got a phone call from Howard Anderson who was the RTO I had mentioned telling us Ligons was killed. Howard said he just started getting the Saber again, so I knew he had read what I wrote about the sapper attack on LZ Jamie,

 15 August 69. Howard thought that Raymond Ligons was in 2nd Platoon, which is now clarified. Howard read to me what he had written in his diary. Howard was meticulous and thorough with every detail. I didn’t remember none of it-or not like he wrote. He got everything down for all his time in Vietnam-and most of mine. Glad he wrote it down. It was mind boggling to hear it all.

Howard said when I asked that he wrote on just the stationery they gave us in the sundry packs. While the rest of us were writing letters to home, Howard was documenting his grunt Vietnam, to a T. When I asked he said that a girl he knew preserved these papers in a binding for him. Howard confirmed LZ Jamie got incoming later on the 15th, which was what killed the artillerymen from 1st of the 30th. Howard also mentioned that E 2-7 Cav combat assaulted into LZ Becky on August 12th as a reactionary force because 2-8 Cav there had five killed and thirty-two wounded. That was a contributing factor why A Co. 15th MED and MEDEVAC got put in for the Valorous Unit Award doing their job with all those casualties.

Howard was the main reason why I extended to fly on MEDEVAC. He was so impressed with the way the MEDEVAC pilots came in for our wounded on 20 Jun 69, with nowhere to land but on a giant tree felled between giant bomb craters, he couldn’t stop talking about it. Two days earlier on 18 Jun 69 we had combat assaulted into a large field which I have marked on the map. That was four clicks from where they put LZ Becky, just south of Bo Tuc on then Route 246 which Route 244 ran perpendicular to with LZ Jamie ten clicks south. We had received 120 mm incoming on the 18th when we landed and a burst in the tree line wounded our then RTO Joel Smith. When I got to him his spleen was sticking out, so I had to put it back in as best I could. Our battalion surgeon was on the Command and Control helicopter with the battalion commander, so he jumped off to take over and also earned his Combat Medical Badge. The NVA also had anti-aircraft pits dug like reverse donuts using an ant hill in the center for their gun, just on the other side of the wood line. One of our machine gunners yelled they were firing at the Cobras- but, not for long. We didn’t even wait on MEDEVAC and sent Joel out with the battalion surgeon on a slick ship, under good care. MEDEVAC apparently picked him up at Jamie. Only a click from that location was where our Alpha Company had worked over an NVA hospital complex with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Montana Raider when we built LZ Jamie. We relieved our A Co. as the 11th ACR were moving out. We were badly mortared that night on May 1st. Throughout May and June 1969, we worked that area. I have all notable locations marked on the map from the 2-7 Cav Daily Staff Journals. Looking on Google Earth now I see that jungle hell and roads are lined with houses (shacks) and shopping malls called out. They look like endless farming fields squared off, with irrigation coming from if not the monsoons, Lake Dau Tieng which was created damming off the Song Saigon. War zones made habitable. When my DEROS time came I had a year and a half left in the Army, so I extended six months to fly on MEDEVAC. The 1st Cav had gotten things under control where we were in War Zone C, so MEDEVAC seemed like a good outlet for my MOS. 2-7 and 2-8 Cav didn’t stay quiet and both moved west of Tay Ninh.

2-8 Cav built FSB Ilingworth (shown on the 1st Cav Assn April 2018 calendar) and 2-7 Cav built FSB Jay (later named Hannas after the BC killed on Jay). I remember flying out to Hannas one night on MEDEVAC. Those firebases were ringed by dirt berms. After being poised on fixed vulnerable firebases which the NVA could attack from sanctuaries, President Nixon allowed the 1st Cav to spearhead an incursion into Cambodia in May 1970. The vulnerability was decreased when the attacked became the attacker.

I also received an e-mail from Dick Niesen of Madison WI, who wrote: “HHC 2-7, 1st Air Cav Great job with the last article in the Saber. Hard to believe it’s fifty years. Your article brought back some memories from my time in Nam. Some good and some not so good. Raymond Ligons looked very familiar but then, can’t be sure if I knew him or not. I was over there in the last part of ‘68 (Camp Evans) all of ‘69 and first part of ‘70 (I extended six months to get out early). For the first year or so I was a cook then ended up doing the baking at night. I got out to LZ Jamie and some of the other LZ’s a few times when we brought chow out in the containers (whatever they were called). Most of the time I got to fly back to Tay Ninh or wherever at night.

Don’t know if you knew Jim Spurley, C 2-7. Died on Jamie 5-12-69. We lived about a mile apart and went to the same schools. One of my good memories was the first time we saw each other in Nam. He came through the chow line. Can’t even explain what it was like to see him. When he got killed on Jamie I think there were five others killed that night (D Co. and Arty). I don’t think the rest of Charlie Company was there. He got a rear job a couple of weeks earlier and was damn glad to get out of the field. That’s life.

The pic is Spurley, Me, Brad (Bruce) Hartman C 2-7 KIA 1-9-69. Always had a beer or three waiting for these guys. Wasn’t always cold but it was always good. Back then Schlitz was hard to get. Most of the time it was Carling Black Label. That’s it for now. Thanks for what you did and do for the Cav. Dick

Another submission is: “MEDEVAC MISSION-28 June 1971. On 28 June 1971, Scout Dog Handler, Carter ‘Curley’ Bowman and his Scout Dog, Cap, of the 34th Scout Dog Platoon were attached to C Company, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry which was on patrol near LZ Fanning, East-Southeast of LZ Mace. The patrol unexpectedly encountered a well-defended resupply point, manned by both NVA and VC. In the ensuing firefight, Curley was shot seven times over a three-hour period, including a sucking chest wound. His Scout Dog, Cap, was killed by enemy fire. Three members of C 2-8 were KIA: SSG Willie James, Mobile, Alabama; SGT Gerald Dowjotas, Hillside, Illinois; and CPL Bernard F Brzezinski, Clearwater, Florida.

The eighteen wounded were taken by MEDEVAC to the 15th Medical Bn. clearing station at LZ Mace, after a rigorous series of events! LTC (then CPT) David Sheets, aircraft commander; Mark Holiday, SP5 crew chief; and Kevin Raftery, SP5 Medic, were there and remember much about the events and the persons involved.

According to their recollections, there were three aircraft involved in this incident. No. 1 was attempting to pick up the wounded when it was hit by four RPG’s and destroyed. No. 2 picked up and evacuated all five of the crew of No. 1. No. 3 was a hastily assembled crew who picked up the wounded infantrymen and transported them to the 15th MED Bn. clearing station at LZ Mace.

After stabilizing medical treatment, Curley was transported from LZ Mace to the 24th Evac Hospital in Long Binh for about a week, then to the Philippines for about a month, and then back to the U.S. He has been on a quest for as much information as possible on the incident, hoping to be able to express his appreciation to as many of the persons involved in saving his life as can be found.

This amazing story will be written up in detail and published as a ‘War Story’ on the 15th Medical Bn. Association website, and in a future 15th Medical Bn. column of Saber once some additional information about the persons involved can be gathered.

Below is a summary of the personnel involved. ‘In contact’ means that we are in communication with that person:
Aircraft No. 1:
Aircraft Commander: CPT David Sheets (In contact)
Copilot: 1LT William Cooley (Looking for)
Crew Chief: SP5 Ray Flynn (Looking for)
Medic: SP5 Larry Lund (Looking for)
Door Gunner: SP4 Richard Dubray (Looking for)
Aircraft No. 2:
Aircraft Commander: CW2 Warren G. Jackson (Deceased)
Copilot: 1LT Jack Powell (In contact)
Crew Chief: Unknown
Medic: Unknown
Door Gunner: Unknown
Aircraft No. 3:
Aircraft Commander: Unknown
Copilot: Unknown
Crew Chief: SP5 Harry Halle (In contact)
Medic: SP5 Kevin Raftery (In contact)
Door Gunner: SP5 Mark ‘Doc’ Holiday (In contact)
Additional Aircraft?

We suspect that there might have been additional aircraft also involved that day, due to the number of wounded that had to be taken to LZ Mace. Does anyone know? Medical Treatment Personnel at 15th MED Bn. clearing station at LZ Mace: Unknown.

If anyone was in or knows anyone that was in any of these three aircraft, or additional aircraft involved that day, or in the clearing station at LZ Mace when eighteen wounded were brought in on 28 June 1971, or knows who the unknowns were, or has any contact information for the people we are looking for, please send an e-mail to: or call (402)457-9807. Of course, if you believe any of the information presented above is incorrect, please let me know! Thank you!”

From MEDEVAC CE Randell J. Brewer “Fifty years ago (at least) two  people got shot. I was one of them, MLK was the other, but he didn’t have (door gunner) Jim Calibro watching his back. Jim saved all five of us. Three of those have gone to the great landing zone in the sky. Sky 6 left Jim and I around to tell the tale.”

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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