Saber Article Index


I received an email and the two photos below from 1968-’69 MEDEVAC 21 Art Jacobs in response to the last column who wrote: “Mike: An excellent recap of the tragedy of 26 November 1968 in the April Saber.

“Some additional information on the three guys I knew the best: Jim Doran and I were in the same flight school class, graduating the end of October 1967. We attended the Medevac School at Fort Sam Houston together, and were on the same airplane from Travis AFB to Vietnam. For one short week in April 1968, after I made Aircraft Commander, he was my co-pilot at LZ Sharon. He was within a month of going home when he was killed. Three years ago, I was in touch with his nephew in New Jersey, exchanging information about Jim.

1st Cav Div Medevac crews“Stephen Beals was my co-pilot in July 1968 at Camp Evans. We flew together for almost two months. He was wounded on 24 July 1968 on a hoist mission in the mountains near LZ Carol for Bravo Company, 2/8th Cavalry. His wound was from a bullet that ricocheted off the back of my seat and hit him in the left forearm. It was on that same mission that SP4 Jerry Dick, our door gunner, was shot in the head and 100% disabled. Two hoist missions later to the same coordinates I was shot in the right arm, our engine was shot out, and we crashed in the jungle. Stephen Beals attended the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore, OK. When he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame, I was invited to give his induction speech. I have been in touch with his sister Anne over the years. “John Alling was my crew chief at both LZ Sharon in April 1968, and Camp Evans in July 1968. He was on the first and second hoist missions with me on 24 July 1968. He was a quiet but very competent crew chief. You could always rely upon John to have his aircraft ready to go and to go the extra mile. He was genuinely liked and respected by everyone who knew him. Best regards, Art Jacobs ‘Medevac 21’.”

I also received email from Thomas Ginop <> A 2-8 Cav 1968-’69. He said, “I just read your article in the Saber. I was a member of A 2-8 from 7-26-68 to 7-26-69. I was with the company on Thanksgiving Day in 1968 when we recovered the bodies from the chopper crash. I am not sure how
much I can remember but would help in any way I can. Tom.” I ask Tom if he could write, and about anything he remembers, and if he was at LZ Rita. He said, “Yes, we were working out of Rita at that time. I did make the big move south. No, I do not think I am much of a writer, but I can try. It may take a few days. I am also in contact with a couple of other guys that were there also [and responded]. No, I have not talked to Leif Aamot. Tom.”

1st Cav Div Medevac crewsThanks to Leif Aamot of A 5-7 Cav who wrote to me in February 2014 a concise account of the events that led up to MEDEVAC 18 being shot down with all crew and extracted casualties consumed by fire. I was able to look up all the coordinates on the maps of that area I have and know where everything he mentioned was. In June of 1969 my company, C 2-7 Cav, on one occasion humped up that road (244) which both our LZ Jamie and LZ Rita were on. Rita, nine klicks north of Jamie, by then was an abandoned remnant, as we walked through. Its strategic location by the junction of road 246 which went from Quan Loi to Bo Tuc and on to Katum to the west parallel with the border of Cambodia at most eleven klicks to the north gave it a violent history with different names previously, which I will mention another time.

Weber Borrell <>, former 1SG of A Co 15th MED Bn ‘68-’69, wrote, “Hi Mike, Weber Borrell here. Your articles in the Saber brought back a lot of memories, good and bad. What a great article that you wrote of such brave men so long ago. We should never forget what men like Greg did-and others did. Again, thank you for not letting us forget. Weber.”

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

FIRST TEAM! Garryowen
Mike Bodnar 2\7 '69
MEDEVAC 1-7\70

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