2019 Reunion

The 15th Medical BN Association Reunion held in San Antonio, TX April 3-7, 2019 was a Texas-sized success! Reunion Coordinator, Ron “Baby Huey” Huether pulled out all the stops in planning and executing a truly outstanding and memorable reunion!

The Holiday Inn Downtown, which sold out all 60 rooms reserved for reunion attendees, did a first-rate job of hosting our group! The rooms at $111.89 per night including taxes and fees, were a real bargain, especially considering the outstanding free buffet breakfast every morning, and the free shuttle service for guests to and from tourist attractions in the downtown area. The hotel staff was particularly accommodating and helpful.

The reunion was attended by 53 15th Med BN Veterans, surpassing the all-time record of 47 set at the 2017 reunion in Branson, MO and tied at the 2018 reunion in Williamsburg, VA. There were four Guest Veterans from other units, one Honorary Member, and 67 spouses and guests for a total attendance of 125 shattering the total all-time attendance record of 103 set at the 2018 Reunion.

TOURS

There was never a dull moment at the reunion! The tour of the Airmen's Museum at Lackland Air Force Base was “Hog Heaven” for fanciers of vintage aircraft.
The tour of the AMEDD (Army Medical Department) Museum at Fort Sam Houston provided insight into the history of military medicine, and also the opportunity to see the plaques for the four individuals from the 15th Med BN inducted into the Dustoff Hall of Fame: Eldon Ideus, 2004; Hank Tuell, 2011; Tom Scofield, 2012; and Ron Huether, 2013.

The visit back to Fort Sam Houston brought back lots of memories to those of us who got our training in military medicine at the Medical Field Service School 50+ years ago.

GROUP MEALS

There were two outstanding group dinners at County Line Barbecue on the famous San Antonio Riverwalk and La Margarita in Market Square. Both were well-attended.

BUSINESS MEETING

Approximately 40 members well attended the Business Meeting. President Richard Medlock was unable to attend the reunion due to foot surgery. Vice President Jim Ferguson presided in his place.
An amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws was approved that changes the requirement for membership from serving a minimum of 30 days assigned or attached to the 15th Medical Battalion to a minimum of 30 days assigned or attached to the 15th Medical BN, Medical Co., 1st Composite Service Support Battalion, and Medical Co., 215th Composite Service Battalion (Support). Detailed information will be posted on our Facebook page and in a group e-mail.

Two locations were considered for the 2020 Reunion: Boise, ID and Branson, MO. Boise was selected, and Mike and Velma Smith will host the reunion.

Elected Officers for 2019-2020 are:
President                   Jim Ferguson
Vice President            Barry Brown
Jr. V.P                        Ron Ingram
Treasurer                   Ron Huether
Secretary                    Jim Calibro
2 -Year Trustee           Fred McKellar
1 -Year Trustee           Richard Medlock
President's Appointments are;
Webmaster                  Ron Huether
Historian                      Terry McCarl
Chaplain                      John Crespi
Asst. Chaplain              Fred McKeller
Parliamentarian            Bob McKinley
Sergeant at Arms          Dan Korty
Photographer                Clyde Moore

SATURDAY AFTERNOON CEREMONIES

Group photos were taken followed by the posting of the Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, and the Chaplin's remarks.

RECOGNITION CEREMONY FOR FRIENDS OF 15TH MED BN

At the past two reunions in 2017 and 2018, we have had visitors from other 1st Cavalry Division units attending expressing their appreciation to the 15th Medical BN for life-saving Medevac rescue and treatment at 15th Med BN facilities. This year, we turned the tables and expressed our gratitude and appreciation to individuals from other units who have provided life-saving services to the 15th Medical BN.

SFC Louis Richard “Richard” Rocco, then a medical adviser of a MACV advisory team stationed at Katum in northern Tay Ninh Province along the Cambodian border, was hitching a ride back to Katum on Medevac 2 on 24 May 1970. The AC of Medevac 2 was 1LT Steve Modica, the copilot was 1LT Lee Caubarreaux, the crew chief was SP4 Pat Martin, the medic was SP5 Terry Burdette, and the door gunner was SP4 Gary Taylor. In flight, Medevac 2 received an emergency call to pick up wounded. They landed at Katum to drop off supplies, but instead of getting off the aircraft, Richard Rocco offered to ride along on the mission to lend his assistance as a highly experienced medic. His offer was gratefully accepted.

As Medevac 2 was landing to make the pickup, Modica was shot in the leg, and the aircraft crashed and caught fire. Although seriously wounded himself, Rocco dragged Caubarreaux, Modica, and Burdette away from the burning aircraft, saving them from certain death. Martin was thrown clear of the aircraft and received back and shoulder wounds. Sadly, Taylor could not be rescued from the burning aircraft.

The story continues with several Medevac crews attempting rescue of Medevac 2 until about a day after the crash when the crew could finally be picked up. This incident has come to be known as “Medevac Meadow.”

After returning from Vietnam, Lee Caubarreaux resolved that Richard Rocco should receive the Medal of Honor and successfully undertook that effort over a three-year period. In 1974, Rocco was awarded the MOH. He retired in 1978 at the rank of CW2 but sadly died in 2002.

Richard Rocco's daughter, Theresa Rocco Short, attended the reunion along with Duane Jackson, a long-time friend of her father who had served with him. Theresa was presented with Honorary Membership in the 15th Medical Battalion Association by Association President, Jim Ferguson.

Lee Caubarreaux and Pat Martin are the only surviving members of that crew. Lee was present and introduced Theresa. Pat Martin was unable to attend due to a death in the family. Special tribute was given to the memory of SP4 Gary Taylor who gave his life in the incident.

During the Vietnam War, members of C Battery, 2nd of the 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery BN (better known as “Blue Max”) provided invaluable service to the 15th Med BN by providing aerial firepower enabling Medevac crews time to make pickups of wounded.

Following the presentation to Theresa Rocco Short, Monty Halcomb introduced Blue Max Aircraft Commanders George Alexander, Paul Garrity, and Jesus Bustemonte.

During the Reunion, members of the 15th Med BN Association had the opportunity to express their appreciation to Blue Max for the support provided.

Alexander, Garrity, and Bustemonte were awarded Honorary Membership in the 15th Med BN Association.

MISSING MAN CEREMONY

Fred McKeller read most of the names of the 45 15th Medical BN KIAs during the Vietnam with 23 of the names read by seven individuals who volunteered to read the names of individuals they were personally close to.

Tribute was also paid to Dave Cooper, Randy Brewer, and Holly Calibro who passed away since the 2018 Reunion.

BANQUET

The banquet was an outstanding buffet dinner with a wide selection of entrees, salads, and desserts.
The Banquet Speaker was COL (Ret.) Dr. Dan Gower, Executive Director of the DUSTOFF Association and 2008 Inductee into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame. COL Gower 's presentation was on the legacy of modern-day MEDEVAC in Afghanistan.

CHARTER MEMBERS

The following Charter Members/ 1st Reunion Attendees were recognized at the banquet: Barry Brown, Jim Ferguson, Ron Huether, Mark Holiday, Bob McKinley, Mike Smith, John Tabor, Tom Trifiro and Corky Walsh.

AUXILIARY AWARDS

Following the banquet, Auxiliary President Velma Smith presented the Auxiliary Angel of the Year Award to Susan Huether for her outstanding service to the Auxiliary.

Velma also presented Linn Vercheski with a token of appreciation for all the work she does with name tags, printing of programs for the banquet, and of agendas for the members business meeting, and also presented a token of appreciation to Cindy Lundquist for all her work throughout the year mailing birthday, sympathy, get well and anniversary cards.

AUCTION

The Saturday evening festivities closed with the fund-raising auction where members contributed items to be auctioned off to raise operating funds for the Association. As traditional, Jim Calibro served as the auctioneer, and as usual, it was a lively and fun event! The amount collected was $3500.

“STRAGGLER SUNDAY”

Approximately 22 “stragglers” hung around on Sunday and enjoyed a relaxing day with more socializing and war stories, finishing with a group dinner at Pat O'Brien's restaurant.

PHOTOS

Reunion photos have been posted on the Web site. If you have additional photos, please send them to medevac2@15thmedbnassociation.org.