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Old 2 May 2015, 22:24
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Iowa City, Iowa...
Posts: 10,077
VietNam memories...

VietNam memories...
I have been somewhat moody the past couple of days, my wife generally leaves me to my thoughts when I'm grumpy. However Nancy is a smart lady and knew I was dwelling on VN. I am not ashamed to say that she caught me with tears in my eyes a few times.

Why are you doing this to yourself, she asked as she hugged me. I didn't have an answer.

Click here for more information about this incident
Name: WO1 Larry Allen Bodell
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 02/19/1969 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 21.1
Date of Birth: 01/18/1948
Home City: Wyoming, MI
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 235 AVN, 307 CAB
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 68-13/68-21
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 32W-057
Short Summary: Small arms fire near Rach Gia in IV Corp W/Terry J Gwinn, PIC.
Aircraft: AH-1G tail number 66-15331
Service number: W3161627
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 062B = Helicopter Pilot, Utility and Light Cargo Single Rotor
Primary cause: Small Arms Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: co-pilot
Started Tour: 10/04/1968
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - other aircrew
Location: An Xugen Province IV Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
I was the A/C and fire team leader that day: I certainly remember the round entering the forward canopy, blood all over, and flying directly to Rach Gia, where there was a SF MD on the ground: I watched the MD pull his helmet off with half of his brain in it, hearing the MD tell me that there was nothing that could be done, feeling frustrated to the extent that I told one of the pilots to retrieve my Car 15 from behind my seat, with the intent of forcing that MD to do something: I eventually came to my senses, realizing the futility of doing anything: Terry J Gwinn

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: warrant officer
This record was last updated on 03/02/1901

The above listed incident was bothering me. There is more to the story which I'll post here. I posted this story on another website, and may have posted it here but could not find it.

When Mr. Bodell reported in to the platoon, I asked him WTF he was doing there. He looked like he was 15 years old, not even old enough to drive a car.

He said "Sir I am here to fly Cobras, I want to do something for my country". I shook my head and told him he would be flying my front seat; my intent was to teach him everything I knew about flying gunships in the Delta, thus keeping him safe. My nickname was "Magnet ass" because I just about always came back with bullet holes in the aircraft.

The day of the action was a pretty routine day, right up til the forward canopy exploded, blood and gore, grey matter everywhere, I could barely see out of the very front of the windshield. I attempted to communicate with Mr. Bodell, but got nothing, he keyed his intercom several times (foot Button), it was a totally frustrating miserably helpless feeling, I couldn’t even see him, couldn't assess his injury. I radioed Rach Gia, informed the tower that I had a seriously wounded (American) co-pilot, and I would pull the guts out of that cobra to get him there as fast as possible.

The tower came back up the net a couple of minutes later, informing me that their MD was in a meeting, and would get there when he could...That totally set me off, I informed the tower that we were the guys who had saved their ass on more than one occasion, and if their MD was not on the PSP when I landed I would hover over every fucking tent, and building they had looking for him. The tower came back up in about two minutes and said that we would be met on the runway by the MD. I landed just short of the medic vehicle, WO Bodell was lifted out of his seat, and laid on a litter his helmet was removed, with half his brain in it.

The MD just stood there, and I told him to do something, he stated that there was nothing he could do. I could not hear that, at that time. I told one of my Warrants to get my Car-15 out of my aircraft, he said I don't think that is a good thing to do, sir. I said "Get my f@cking Weapon". He did, and I crammed the barrel into the MD's mouth, "Fix him, or join him!" I said. He just looked at me, and eventually I came to my senses, removed the weapon, and told the Doctor "You are right, I was wrong." I gave him my name and unit, and told him I would fully understand if he wanted to press charges. He said that he would not, that he didn't want to add to my troubles.

The rest of the story.

I was not gentle when I crammed the barrel of my CAR-15 into that Doctor's mouth. When I came to my senses, I was sorry, but the deed was done. God bless him for understanding the situation.

My CO queried me about the incident when I landed back at Can Tho, I told him the truth. He asked if I was alright, if I needed anything. I responded that what I needed was payback. I stopped at ops after leaving the CO's office to insure that they knew I was ready to fly.

Several years ago, I rec'd an email from a relative of Mr Bodell, asking me what really happened that day, and requesting a phone call with me. His family had been informed that he was MIA. They never rec'd closure. When his casket returned home it was obviously closed. All those years they were in denial re their son's death.

For several reasons I dreaded speaking directly with his family. After all the shit I had been through, this seemed like a daunting task. I asked Nancy what I should do, she said call them, tell them what they need to hear, tell them he died a Hero. I did, and I finally gave them closure.

A goodly proportion of the names on THE WALL are helicopter crew members, and I lost many, many good friends there, but this one still haunts me. I had set out to keep him safe, and in that I failed him. If we had been in a Huey, and he had sustained the same injury, at least the CE, or DG could have tended to him. If nothing else they could have held his hand while he expired.
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