From Richard Abell
"We had just completed the construction of Firebase Blondin on the border with Cambodia, when I was sent
out on a two squad recon patrol to circumnavigate our firebase. (We had both Vietnamese and Cambodian
scouts in our company at that time.) There were a total of 19 of us of which 9 were from my squad. We
walked into an ambush in the jungle. In my squad there were two WIA (to include myself) and seven KIA. Bad
day! We were a click from the Cambodian border."

*****Note:The following pages include email correspondence (with photos and more) between two remarkable
and distinguished men,The Honerable Richard Bender Abell (United States Army Corporal) and Dr. Kendall
McNabney, United States Army Surgeon. After Richard was critically wounded on April 5, 1970 near Firebase
Blondin in Vietnam, Dr.McNabney operated on Richard at the
45th Medical Unit Self-Contained
Transportable (MUST) at Tay Ninh, Vietnam thereby saving Richard's life. The first email is from Richard
Abell to his daughter on Rachel on June 11, 2003
.*****/JB/Alpha 2-7 CAV Website Designer
                                                                         
From: Richard Abell
To: Mrs. Rachel
Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 10:52 AM
Subject: Vietnam,
Requiescat in Pace (*1)

My Dearest Daughter:
At 11:55 am on Monday, June 9, 2003 I received what by any estimation was the most intense telephone call
of my life to date. The US Army surgeon who first operated on me in the Tay Ninh MUST Hospital for seven
straight hours called me from Kansas City, Missouri, after tracking me down on the Internet. He retired two
years ago. He had a copy of my April 1970 medical records on his desk, the records that he hand-wrote.
There is still no medical explanation for why I survived my multiple gunshot wounds in the viscera. Of the
literally hundreds of slabs of hamburger that he operated upon during his tour of duty in the "Land of the
Lilliputians," he remembers mine.

To say that I am thunderstruck is an understatement. That he decided to look me up on the Internet and track
me down is humbling. I owe my existence to Divine Providence, but Dr. Kendall McNabney was God's willing
instrument. I owe him my life. He was the one who put Humpty-Dumpty back together again! In all candor, I
would never have anticipated the intense emotional reaction that his call has engendered. As I am getting
older, I am beginning to realize that nothing really passes. Like original sin, our history is always with us.
Godspeed.
Deo Vindice! (*2) ~ Father

P.S.  By the way, he takes full indirect credit for YOUR birth inasmuch as David was already here and
Christian was "in the oven" when I went to Vietnam.

Email Correspondences Between:
The Honerable Richard Bender Abell and Dr. Kendall McNabney, U.S. Army Surgeon

From: Richard Abell
To: Kendall McNabney
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 7:51 AM
Subject: Re: RSVP

Kendall:
First, my beard is now "salt & pepper" and the top of my head is "follicle-challenged."

Second, my quidnunc neighbor can prove nothing! I did not tip-toe over to his house at 5:00 am on Christmas
morning in a driving rain to install those beautiful pink plastic tasteful flamingos!  Godspeed. Deo Vindice!
~
Richard

Kendall McNabney replied:
Richard:
"Sojourns of a Patriot"(*3) has arrived! After I read it, I will undoubtedly have questions for you as this is
new territory for me. By the way, your photograph now puts a face on the name. I favor high foreheads and
full beards myself.  Also received email from your neighbor, who incidentally has a different take on yard
flamingos and your possible complicity. In a way it is kind of like the lost sponge
Res ipse loquitor (*4). In all
seriousness, I suspect the sponge was not lost as they found it when they closed your colostomy or it was
under the drapes or on the floor. Your son will tell you that these revelations are taken much more seriously
now than when you have incoming rockets, mortars and waiting patients in pre-op. I retired as Colonel
although I was on BG list. I just couldn’t find a unit close enough to Kansas City. According to Times magazine
"Confederates in the Attic" is on the required reading list for incoming Brandeis U. freshmen. I found it to be
original in its approach and also descriptions of re-enactor activities were hilarious. Doesn't seem possible
our renewal is only one week old. It will take some time for me to digest all of this and let it soak in. I have at
least a thousand questions. Thanks for the book and picture and all your observations. Will be in touch.
~
Kendall

From: Richard Abell
To: "W. Kendall McNabney, M.D."
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 1:48 PM
Subject: VA Disability, etc.

Kendall:
You haven't asked, but perhaps you should be aware that I was retired for disability at a Veterans
Administration rating of 100% for two years, and then my disability rating was automatically lowered to 80%.
Several months ago it was raised to 90% due to my diabetes which has been determined as the
sequela (*5)
of exposure to Agent Orange (I am not thoroughly convinced of this but that was their decision). I have had
Diabetes Type II since 1995. I also have a serious problem with kidney stone formation in my one kidney, skin
cancer, arthritis in several joints, and now blood pressure. I am not complaining  but I presume that as my
"former physician" you might find all of this of academic interest!

You have one current wife. How many children? Ages?  Vocations?  Your family had been in Coffeeville since
when? Before? My great passions are genealogy and history. I agree with you that there is quite a quantum
of information for us jointly to digest. I really am not certain where to begin so I will just "hit or miss" with these
emails providing that is acceptable to you. Godspeed. Deo Vindice!
~ Richard

From: Kendall McNabney
To: Richard B. Abell
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 9:09 AM
Subject: We were younger then

Richard:
Here is your OR crew. I am the one with blood on my scrub suit. Behind my right shoulder is John Kearns,
your OJT anesthesiologist (6 weeks) and Duff Walker is right front. Interestingly all of us have head bands on
and all of us are draftees. More to come later.
~ Kendall

From: Abell Richard
To: Kendall McNabney  
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Roots

Kendall:
If feasible, I would like to read Sgt. McNabney's book. I do not know if you are aware of my Tay Ninh post-
surgical history or not. I suspect not. I stayed in the Third Corps Hospital in Saigon for about three weeks (I
have NO recollection from when I landed at the MUST hospital and was placed on the gurney to go in to visit
with you and when I woke up in Saigon a week or more later). I was then transferred to a hospital in Japan for
three-four weeks and then sent to Valley Forge General Hospital for a year and then retired for wounds
received in action. While in Japan, I was diagnosed with malaria (the hot and cold flashes got my attention).
Also, I was diagnosed with hepatitis A at some point in Japan or Valley Forge. I also became Librium
dependent and eventually took myself off this tranquilizer. Apparently you or someone had correctly placed
me on these at either Tay Ninh or Saigon. I was supposed to be on them for a month or two. Nobody paid any
attention to my prescription for over six months when my then physician (a Dr. Lowry from Shaker Heights,
Cleveland, Ohio?) noticed that I should have been off them a long time prior. He just took me off. That night I
had the dry heaves and extreme nausea. I was administered atropine (?) and the next morning placed back
on the Librium (10 mg. four times per day?). No one said anything further on the topic so when I took a month
convalescent leave I simply reduced my dosage daily from 4 to three for a week then 3 to 2 for a week then 2
to 1 for a week and off! I have many other reminiscences but I will pass them onto you as I remember.
Trusting that all is well with you and your family. Godspeed.
~ Richard

In reply, Kendall McNabney wrote:
Richard:
Coffeyville, Kansas is one mile from Oklahoma border in the very poor part of Kansas. Southwest Missouri,
Northeast Oklahoma and Southeast Kansas have suffered economically because the coal, lead and zinc
mining of the early part of 20th Century are all gone with many ghost towns in its wake. My grandfather
started a wholesale grocery business about 1901, which was passed on to my father and my two uncles when
he died in 1930 (before I was born). He was 10 years older than my grandmother. All of my grandfather's
siblings were born in North Ireland.  His older brother William fought at Vicksburg [that would be Yankee] in
1863; one year after my grandfather was born. My father was born in 1901, too young for WW1 and too old
for WW2. My younger uncle was drafted in 1942 [North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Austria and Germany]
returned home in 1945. My aunt published his letters after he died in 90'. He was a Julliard trained pianist-
organist and was able to find an organ in virtually every town 45th DIV occupied.  My father had no military
experience but was very supportive of my experience in Vietnam.  I must say he was less supportive during
Desert Storm. I have four children ages 44 Carrie, 42 Anne, Matthew 40 and Luke 11.

I was divorced when three older children were young, but Elaine and I raised three of the four (Luke of
course, is hers). Luke is auditor for Ferrell Gas, Carrie is married to Columbia, MO city horticulturist, Anne is
a painter and Matt is Geriatrician at Johns Hopkins. I have 4 grandchildren. As you know most people infected
with hepatitis C don’t know it, but in the arena of blood borne infections it is considered to be a greater risk to
health care workers than HIV, therefore universal precautions. Your wife, like many of my own patients got
hep C before it was known or before there was a reliable blood test for it. The clinical course is variable and
can be very benign or chronic with sequelae of active hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. The
unanswered problem:  which patients can be obviated from developing the chronic active form.  A lot of
patients are just being followed with periodic liver biopsies. It is nice to know there is a potential drug out
there that doesn't have the side effects of interferon.  I will try to find a copy of Sgt. McNabney's book.
~
Kendall


From: Richard Abell
To: "W. Kendall McNabney, M.D."
Sent: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 11:31 AM
Subject: Viet-Nam, Requiescat in Pace!

Kendall:
I am at last responding to your communication of 27 June after having had a multi-day trial. Regarding your
query of re-operations, I predictably had several! However, to my recollection there were no serious ones in
either Saigon or Japan.  I do recall that there was a lot of death in my ward at the III Corps Hospital in Saigon.
When I first awoke in Saigon (after having no recollection of the first two weeks from Tay Ninh to Saigon), the
one 7.62 mm bullet that stayed in me - rather than passing through - and was presumably removed by you,
was taped to my pillow. Someone explained to me that it had been immediately under the epidermis of my
lower back, was presumably the cause of a hairline fissure of one of my vertebrae, and "was popped out
manually like a pimple."

An interesting vignette occurred in my transfer from the III Corps Hospital to the airport for transportation to
the 249th General Hospital at Camp Drake, Japan. Two corpsmen showed up to explain to me that I was now
to be placed in a military ambulance for transit. They were only marginally attentive to what they were doing in
disconnecting and/or closing off the five to seven tubes in me (including an IV). I recall that they were quite
absorbed in their conversation about something. As you would know, the IV line has a feeder valve. They
disconnected the IV from the overhead apparatus (and presumably plugged the end?) wrapping it in a coil on
my chest. They then wrapped me tight "as a bug in a rug" in an Army issue wool blanket for transport. Of
course at one end the IV was still in my arm (or wherever). However, instead of turning the feeder valve to
"off" or "close" or whatever, they turned it so that it reversed itself presumably permitting a slow blood
leakage (at least I presume that it was slow, I never actually saw it).

After we arrived at the airport in Saigon, they placed me in a military transport with many other
patients/evacuees. Before the plane took off a Red Cross girl (or at least I think that she was Red Cross)
came around to distribute shaving kits or whatever. In the process she asked me if there was anything that
she could do to make me more comfortable. I replied that my blanket was "too tight and I felt hot and sticky."
She removed the blanket and presented a most concerned countenance summoning a corpsman! Apparently
enough blood had seeped out of the IV to make a real mess! The corpsman realized the problem and closed
the feeder valve correctly. I believe it was a seven to nine hour flight to Japan. If she had not asked me ...    

I was in Japan at the time of the American incursion into Cambodia in May of 1970. I recall a nurse coming
into our ward to announce the invasion of Cambodia. At first you could have heard a pin drop. There was
momentary utter silence ... then a massive spontaneous cheer. It was only later that we learned that there
was a "mileage restriction."

By the way, my original unit, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) had
both Vietnamese and Cambodian scouts. I was wounded only a few clicks from the actual border. I will furnish
you those details in future.












I should mention that after I had returned to the States, I found out from my wife that after she had gone to
bed on the night of either 5 or 6 April 1970 (I was wounded at 10:20 am on 5 April 1970), that she awoke with
a start having had a dream that I had been "wounded and was lying in dirt" - an accurate description. Never
before or since has she ever had such a realistic and scary dream. It was on the 7th that the
telegrams
(see bottom of page)
began to arrive (we still have them). I should mention that she has had several
occasions of prescience - all of which she denies just before she relates them! As I understand it, you pulled
my abdominal cavity together with some heavy duty plastic cord, but did not actually suture me up - for the
obvious reason to permit rapid re-entry. You then taped me up tight to hold everything together.

After I had been at Valley Forge for a week or so, my doctor decided to cut off the tape to see how I was
doing. He only cut through a couple of inches - starting at the top right under the sternum - when he realized
that it was "tape and fishing line" holding me together. That led into my first operation - to suture up my 12
inch abdominal incision running from the sternum to mid-bladder. There was another operation for my large
colon resection. I had my right side colostomy for about six months at Valley Forge. There was at least on
other major surgery, but I do not now recall why.

By the way, I was at Valley Forge for at least a month before I was placed on an adjustable incline and over a
period of several days adjusted to being able to again sit up in bed after being prone from Tay Ninh.  At some
time my physician had me on a prescription of beer. He said it was good for my remaining kidney.

I also recall that my external bladder tube was not removed until I had been at Valley Forge for a week or two,
but whether this was before, during, or after my permanent abdominal suturing, I do not now recall. At some
point the urethral catheter was removed but then replaced on several occasions for sundries reasons. I have
had recurrent problems with urethral strictures ever since and perhaps three surgeries to cut through them. I
do not recall precisely when my left side kidney drain was removed. This coming week-end we are planning
on attending the commissioning ceremony for the carrier USS Ronald Reagan at Norfolk.

Of interest, I suspect, I just found a letter from your wife to me dated 18 July 1970! A copy is in the mail to
you. Godspeed. Deo Vindice!
~ Richard
                                
Richard Bender Abell, Corporal
Alpha 2-7 CAV
NAM 1970
Arrived NAM Mar 1970
Wounded April 5, 1970


Email Address
richard_bender_abell@yahoo.com

Posted: February 2014/JB
     BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Special Trial Judge/Special Master
HON. RICHARD BENDER ABELL

Judge Abell was appointed to the Federal
judiciary in 1991 and served through 2010
on the Vaccine Bench of the United States
Court of Federal Claims. He graduated
from The George Washington University
receiving a B.A. in International Affairs in
1966 and The George Washington
University School of Law with a J.D. degree
in 1974.

Judge Abell served as the Assistant
Attorney General of the United States for
the Office of Justice Programs (he was
appointed by President Ronald Reagan
and confirmed by the United States Senate
in 1986 serving until 1990), prior to which
he was the Deputy Assistant Attorney
General within the Department of Justice
for the Office of Justice Assistance,
Research and Statistics (1983-1986).  He
previously served as an Assistant District
Attorney in Chester County, Pennsylvania,
as an associate with the law firm of Reilly &
Fogwell, as a Deputy Sheriff of Chester
County, and as a member of the adjunct
faculties of Delaware Law School,
Wilmington, Delaware, and West Chester
State University, West Chester,
Pennsylvania. He also served on the staff
of Senator Richard Schweiker of
Pennsylvania.

Judge Abell  served as a volunteer in the
Peace Corps in Colombia, South America
(1967-1969) and as a volunteer for the
United States Army serving in Vietnam in
1970. He also served  with Co. A, 2nd
Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry
Division in Vietnam being awarded the
Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army
Commendation Medal for Heroism, and the
Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He was
retired from military service for wounds
received in combat.

Judge Abell has served on the following
Presidential Boards & Commissions
(having been appointed to each by
President Ronald Reagan): Commission on
Agricultural Workers (1988-1993);
Interagency Task Force on Adoption (1987-
1988); and, to the Board of Directors of the
Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (1985-
1991). He has also served as: Chairman of
the National Crime Prevention Coalition
(1986-1990); Vice-chairman, Research
and Development Review Board for the
Department of Justice (1987-1989);
member of the National Drug Policy Board
Enforcement Coordinating Group and a
member of the National Drug Policy Board
Coordinating Group for Drug Abuse
Prevention, and Health, The White House
(1988-1989); Vice-Chairman of the
Advisory Committee for the National Center
for State and Local Law Enforcement
Training (1987-1990); member of the
Advisory Board of the National Institute of
Corrections (1986-1990); and member of
the Federal Coordinating Council on
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention (1986-1990).

Previously he served as Director of the
Office of Program Development for the
Peace Corps, Washington, D.C., from
1981-1983.

Judge. Abell has co-authored two books:
PETER SMITH OF WESTMORELAND
COUNTY, VIRGINIA (DIED 1741) (1996)
and SOJOURNS OF A PATRIOT, THE
FIELD AND PRISON PAPERS OF AN
UNRECONSTRUCTED CONFEDERATE
(1998). Additionally, he has authored over
thirty articles and book chapters on law
enforcement and legal topics (to include
two law review articles) and numerous
articles and book chapters on historical
and genealogical topics. He is a member of
numerous historical and genealogical
societies having served as an officer in
many. Mr. Abell is also a member of many
Masonic and veterans associations. He is
also an avid hunter and hiker.  

In addition, Judge Abell served as the
Chairman of the Young Republican
National Federation and a member of the
Executive Committee of the Republican
National Committee (1979-1981). He also
served on the Board of Directors of Young
Americans for Freedom (1979-1983).

Judge Abell was born 2 December 1943 in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Lon
Edward Welch, Jr. and Charlotte Amelia
Bender - stepson of Ernest George Abell.
He is married to the former Lucía del
Carmen Lombana-Cadavid of Medellín,
Colombia. They have three children, David,
Christian, and Rachel, and ten
grandchildren. He is Anglican Catholic by
faith.
        Side Bar
(*1) Requiescat in Pace:
 
  
    Rest In Peace.


(*2) Deo Vindice: With God (as our)
defender/protector.The translation is
open to some interpretation. The
phrase was the motto of the
Confederate States of America.


(3*) " Sojourns of a Patriot"
Co-authored by Richard Abell:
Confederate corporal Augustus Pitt
Adamson of Jonesboro, GA enlisted
in Company E, 30th Georgia
Volunteer Infantry in 1861,
steadfastly serving his country until
the spring of 1865. Over 80 letters,
carefully edited with commentary,
reveal a keen insight into the military,
political and social scenes of a
war-torn nation struggling to achieve
its independence.

(*4) Res ipse loquitor: The common
law traditionally required that "the
instrumentality or agent which
caused the accident was under the
exclusive control of the defendant."

(*5) Sequela: is defined as an
aftereffect of disease, condition, or
injury : a secondary result..
(*) Refer to Side Bar for Meanings and Commentary.