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15th Med Bn article

15th Med Bn article

15th Med Bn article


By Terry A. McCarl, Historian, 15th Medical Battalion Association

(This was read by John Tabor at the 15th Medical Battalion Association Reunion in Kokomo, IN on 12 June 2021.)

You may have noticed that at this reunion, we have two 15th Medical Battalion flags on display. The "brownish-colored" flag (referred to hereafter as the "old flag") is the one our Association purchased in 2011. The reddish-colored flag (referred to hereafter as the "new flag") was donated to our Association by the family of the late COL Edward G. Bradshaw who passed away on 14 September 2020 in Boerne, TX (San Antonio area) at the age of 78.

COL Edward G. Bradshaw

COL Bradshaw had two assignments with the 1st Cavalry Division; the first being a Platoon Leader in B Co., 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam in 1965, and the second as the last Commander of the 15th Medical Battalion when it was deactivated at Fort Hood, TX in 1985. At a final ceremony in 1985, the 15th Medical Battalion presented the flag to COL Bradshaw as a keepsake, which he treasured.

When he passed away, his family decided that the flag should be returned to a "military home." They contacted a family friend living in San Antonio, MAJ (Ret.) James Ramsey, who had served as a Medevac Flight Medic with 15th Medical Battalion in Vietnam 1968-1969. He suggested that the flag be offered to the 15th Medical Battalion Association.

In January of 2021, one of our members, COL (Ret, NMNG) James McKay (who also served as a Medevac Flight Medic 1968-1969), with whom I had been in contact regarding 15th Medical Battalion history, notified me that his friend, James Ramsey had been asked by the Bradshaw family to offer the flag to the 15th Medical Battalion Association. This offer was gratefully accepted, and James Ramsey sent it to 15th Med Battalion Association President Jim Ferguson.

Besides the color, the only difference between the two flags is that on the old flag, the motto on the ribbon in the eagle's beak says , "Standing By," whereas the motto on the new flag is “Service Above Self.” “Standing By” was the original unit motto when the unit was activated in 1926. In 1976, the unit motto was changed from "Standing By” to "Service Above Self." The detailed history of both flags is unknown, but the "Standing By" motto on the old flag suggests that it was made prior to 1976, and the "Service Above Self" motto on the new flag suggests that it was made after 1976.



The fate of the original battalion flag created when the battalion was activated in June of 1926 is unknown, but is believed to have been "misappropriated" at some point in time.

According to the Dustoff Association, who inducted COL Bradshaw into the Dustoff Hall of Fame in 2009, following his tour as in Infantry Officer in 1965., he went through helicopter flight training and returned to Vietnam for a second tour during which he commanded three Dustoff Units: the 237th, 68th, and 54th Medical Detachments (Helicopter Ambulance).

He held a total of 11 commands during his nearly 30-year Army career, the final being the Fort Sam Houston Army Garrison.

Our Association extends its sincere appreciation to COL Bradshaw's family for donating this flag, and to MAJ Ramsey, for sending it. Both flags will be displayed with pride at all future reunions.

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