History of the 236th Medical Detachment (RA)
(c) Copyright by Mark M. Hough
Used by permission
The unit was redesignated on 3 May 1968 as the 236th Medical Detachment (RA) and activated on 1 July 1968 as a helicopter ambulance unit at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The 236th was organized by then-Maj. Kenyon L. Forrest at Fort Polk, Louisiana, after being activated on 1 July 1968. Initial personnel included nine warrant officers. Five new UH-lHs were received and training began. Missions included inter-hospital transfers of patients at the post hospital. After an inspection in November 1968, the unit was declared combat ready, even though it lacked half its authorized number of medics. The main body of the detachment departed Fort Polk on 26 November and arrived in Danang, Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1968. Personnel consisted of four officers, ten warrant officers and 34 enlisted personnel. Aircraft were five UH-1H Hueys.
In Vietnam, the 236th was located at Red Beach, Da Nang. It was colocated with a transportation battalion and other maintenance support units, and was under the command and control of the 67th Medical Group, also located at Da Nang. Disposition instructions for casualties came from the 67th Medical Group and casualties were most often delivered to the 95th Evacuation Hospital at China Beach, Da Nang, the Naval Hospital at Da Nang, or RVN civilian or military hospitals.
The 236th maintained aircraft at a field site at LZ Baldy, between Chu Lai and Da Nang in direct support of one Brigade of the Americal Division. It provided area support from Da Nang, not only for Army units, but for Marine, ARVN and Korean military units. When pickup sites were insecure, the 236th was provided gunship cover from an Army aviation unit at Marble Mountain. The aircraft of the 236th were not armed except for the crews’ individual weapons. Because of its location at 67th Medical Group Headquarters, many VIP missions were flown around I CTZ.
Being in one of few Army units at Da Nang, the pilots of the 236th took pleasure in beating Marine medevac helicopters to Marine pick up sites. The single ships of the 236th responded immediately, while Marine procedure was to dispatch two CH-46s and two gunships on each response.
By 1970, the 236th was grouped under the 571st Medical Detachment (RA) along with the 237th Medical Detachment (RA), all under the 61st Medical Evacuation Battalion. During the Laotian Incursion in February-April 1971, the 236th backhauled patients from the 18th Surgical Hospital at Quang Tri to hospitals at Da Nang and Phu Bai.
The 236th stood down in Vietnam on 1 April 1972, deploying to its new station at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. On 27 March 1973, the main body of the Detachment departed from Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina to Rhein Main Air Base, West Germany. It was located at Gablingen Kaserne, about 10 miles north northwest of Augsburg under the command of the 421st Medical Battalion and the 7th Medical Brigade. Its mission was to evacuate patients from Bavaria, the Alps, Italy and Austria.
With the transition to UH-60A Blackhawk helicopters in 1986/87, it was redesignated the 236th Medical Detachment (RG). It was reorganized and redesignated as the 236th Medical Company (AA) on 16 October 1989, using assets of the 15th, 63rd and 236th Medical Detachments and moved to Landstuhl, Germany. It is under the command and control of the 421st Medical Battalion (Evacuation) and the 7th Medical Command. It owns 15 UH-60A helicopters. Because of its theater of operations coverage, it is known as, “International Dustoff,” the name which it inherited from the 63rd Medical Detachment.
The 236th deployed to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield on 4 December 1990 and returned to Germany on 5 May 1991. It flew over 900 missions and evacuated over 650 patients. It also deployed for Operation Ellipse Bravo in October 1991 in England.
The 236th was awarded campaign credit for EAME, a silver band without inscription, Vietnam Counteroffensive, Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive, Phase VII, Consolidation I, Consolidation II, Cease Fire, Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait. It received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam 1970-71.
Thanks to Lt. Col. (Ret.) Kenyon L. Forrest, first commander, who left the unit in early June 1969 to become S-3 and Group Aviation Offcer of the 67th Medical Group, in which capacity he exercised operational control over the five medevac units in I CTZ; Col. (Ret.) Gerald D. Poe, who helped activate the 236th and deployed with the unit to Vietnam, leaving when wounded in May 1969; (Ret.) Ronald Huether, commander from __ to __; (Ret.) Charles Bris Bois, Operations Officer from __ to __; CW2 Elton Clark, pilot 1994; Chris Miller and Joe Licina.