James Robert Bodish
Jim and I arrived in-county at about the same time and we bunked together for our first few months in the 213th. I think Jim arrived a day before me. We worked for Sergeant Sexton in the maintenance platoon for two months and then volunteered for the flight platoon. Sergeant Sexton didn't want us to leave his group (his wisdom was much greater than ours) but we appealed to his sense of fairness and he let us go. We seldom flew together since we were both at the same level but I do recall one day Jim and I were together and we were "bombing" a river with cans of hydraulic fluid from about 5,000 feet (hey, flying around all day hauling trash got boring after awhile!!). Jim was lying on the ramp and let three cans fly. I was watching from the right door when, to our horror, a Huey came into view flying below us in the other direction. It seemed like the cans just missed the Huey by a few feet. Jim and I both had quite an adrenalin rush and we were quite content to just watch the scenery from then on.

Our company had one helicopter that had a blade strike and landed hard on some blivets. (Tail #222) Some time after it was repaired from that accident and returned to our company, I was flying on it as crew chief. I was working the hook when we were trying to pick up an APC. I say "trying" because we had just refueled and the weight was too much for us. We finally got it off the ground about 20 feet and one of the engines apparently blew and took out the hydraulics. We all made it out o.k. (the pilots were banged up pretty well - one had a broken leg, I think) and we were sitting within the armored group's circle listening to the ammo cook off from the fire consuming 222 when one of our sister ships landed to pick us up. As I was walking to the rear of the Chinook I saw that Jim was crewing it. I can't describe the feeling I had when I saw Jim and his look of concern.

For this 19 year old kid that had just had the most harrowing experience of his life, Jim's smile and slap on the back was like a mother's hug. I always wished I could have provided Jim the same comfort when his helicopter later crashed.

- Ron Eckhart


JAMES ROBERT BODISH was born on April 18, 1951 and joined the Armed Forces while in PITTSBURGH, PA.
He served as a 67U20 in the Army, and attained the rank of SP4/E4. He began a tour of duty on March 10, 1970.
On September 16, 1970, at the age of 19, JAMES ROBERT BODISH perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Tay Ninh.

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