War Dogs

If you would like to add your memories to this thread please email them to David J.


War Dogs Support Group Photos

My last day in the field was doing a recon with my squad, a dog and his handler. The mission ended abruptly when we encountered a large wasp nest (improvised NVA weapon system :-)) Everyone was stung at least once, but the poor dog was brutalized by the attack. I lost consciousness due to an allergic reaction and was medivaced. I don’t know what happened to him and I checked the link to the 47th’s log book and there is no mention in the July 70 stats. Maybe there was another unit of dogs?
Yankee Jim


Web-site for the 47th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog. It has a listing for the scout dog Baron.
ATR
Mike Carretero


There was another dog unit and I don’t remember who they were. They were located close to our battalion area in Camp Eagle.

As you turn into our battalion area from the main road of Camp Eagle; to the right there was a Vietnamese store and the 1st Brigade HQ area behind them there was a helipad for and with small choppers (Lorchs ??); across from the choppers area on the other side of the road, was the dog unit, and as you continue on the road then you came to our battalion area. I remember the dog handler’s pulled their own guard duty on their area. I was told they guarded the dogs to keep some of us from feeding and playing with the dogs and also to keep the Vietnamese workers away from the dogs.
No Slack Forever,
HERB


The 42nd Scout Dog Platoon was also at Camp Eagle.
Dave Bronson


Talking about dogs does anyone recall “Boom-Boom”? The little mutt that caught chopper rides around Nam. My first encounter with him was in the Chu Lai area at the first firebase I was sent to getting ready to go on line. Every once in awhile when we were at a firebase I would see him again. I recall a door gunner telling me the dog went all around the country catching rides whenever he felt like it. I recall him coming in on a chopper one day staying a couple of days and then seeing him jumping on chopper to leave. I don’t recall seeing him after spring of ’68, but he may just have been traveling in different circles than I was at the time.
Jim Webb


Did ya ever notice that you’d see some of those Nam dogs (not the scout dogs) as pups and they looked like they would grow to be large dogs, then you’d see’em in the rear 3-4-5 months later and the damn things hadn’t grown more than 2 inches. I don’t think any of them grew to more than 7-8-9 inches tall.
John
NFS!


Even the larger bodied ones I saw were not very tall. The breed must have had short legs? It must be a specific breed because I also recall that the dogs all had a curl near the end of their tails somewhat like a ? mark. I wonder if anyone knows.
NS/ATR!
YJ


They should have eaten Purina instead of rice. The dogs I saw in Saigon running in packs probably were around 20/25 lbs. Same/same the ones in the boonies. Don’t remember what their tails looked like. Did see a German Shepard running loose one time but it might have been a scout dog that got loose.
Dewey


I don’t know about Camp Eagle, that was after my time but in 66 & 67, the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon was with Above the Rest. Handler Michael Bost and K9 Lady were KIA on Mother’s Day Hill. Bost got his jump wings while serving with us.
ATR N/S
Friz


A LOT OF RESPONSE TO DOGS STUFF. I HAD ONE OF THE CURLY TAILS, GIVEN TO ME BY A KID WHO KNEW HE COULD NOT CARE FOR IT. COOL MUTT. I NAMED HIM “DAMMIT”……..WE SPENT A LITTLE TIME IN PHAN RANG AND LIKE ANY SENSIBLE CO WOULD DO HE DECREEDED THAT ALL PETS HAD TO GO….I LEFT DAMMIT IN NAH TRANG——–I ALWAYS WONDERED WHY ALL THOSE DOGS LOOKED ALIKE.
Tim


My name is Gene Chase 42nd Infantry Platoon Scout Dog 7/67 -7/68 attached to the 101st Airborne.
Guess none of you remember a dog named Buck. Mr. Buck inflicted as many causalities on you guys as you did on the V.C.. We also saved many an ass while on point with various units of the 101st. Seem’s there was no problem calling up a dog handler when you started running into booby traps or getting ambushed. Call for the sacrificial dog handler. All those little dog’s as you so kindly remember them saved many a life. And instead of mocking them you should be thanking them for their hard work. After all they payed the ultimate sacrifice they remained there.
Gene Chase
42nd Infantry Platoon Scout Dog


I just got an email from Jackie McIntyre, of the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association, reference your web site for the 1st/327th. I started out in A Co, 1/327th, out of a place I can’t recall the name of in June, July & Aug ’67.

Seems like it was something like Phu Doc? I do recall that I was glad I wasn’t in “C” Company during that operation. Then we were lifted to a TOC CP out of Chu Lai, and in Sep ’67 I transferred to the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon; which meant I got to go back in every 2 to 3 weeks. I recall the FO’s name was Mike Anderson, and we shared a bunker on the TOC CP out of Chu Lai once or twice.

I still have my 1st/327th challenge coin that I was given. It isn’t much of a coin by today’s standards, but I like it. I have breakfast every Friday morning with two 1/327th veterans, and one was even in A Co, at the same time I was. We all live here in Riverside, California. I hear Lt. Col. Morris, “Ghost Rider,” is still alive too. I got a couple of rides in his helicopter around Chu Lai, he was quite a little terror in his own chopper with his own M-60.

I’ll always remember the highlands out of Chu Lai, with the florescent mold on all the fallen leaves and the fire flies at night. Not to mention the leaches. I’ve also ran into another A Co man named Joe DeMarco. He owns a shoe cobbler business in San Bernardino, California. He was also “Tiger Force.” I returned home and ETS’d June 24th, 1968.

Before that I was in HQ Admin, Ft. Campbell, and I’ve always been proud to be a Double Eagle veteran. I knew SGTMaj Huff, first Paratrooper to be awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor during WWII. He was a good man and pulled my bacon out of the fire once. He’s dead now though. But I hear tell the 101st isn’t “Airborne” anymore. They’re “Airmobile.” 3 weeks ago I pulled KP for the cadre at an Iraqi Village Training site outside of Riverside, California. Mostly Marines. It was a send off to Iraq sponsored by my VFW Post. We had the Budwiser Girls there and a live band as well. KP was good. We all had a good time. I was sure glad to be an old veteran instead of one of them young riflemen on my way to Iraq though.
Jim Camp


I was one of the first dog handlers at Camp Eagle. I was transferred there from Base Camp at Phan Rang, via a civilian LSU (smaller than an LST) ship from Cam Rhan Bay to DaNang. Then trucked to Phu Bai. We set up in a gulley on the perimeter, just below a large culvert under the road. A nice little creek dribbled through the site and we used to bathe in it. That was the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon. Around March or April 68, after the Tet Offensive when things didn’t go too well in Hue with the Marines. In 1968 the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon was the only dog unit serving the 1/101st. I think the 59th Scout Dogs served the 2nd Bat. I was also out with a platoon from A Co, 1/327th, Chu Lai around December 67, when I got fired up and lost my dog over the ridge. I looked for him for a day or two and then had to return without him. The Lifers went crazy and sent me back out to the TOC CP to look for the dog and not return until I found him. Hopefully before he killed women and babies. Chu Lai was a free fire zone then and one night about a month later, the dog came through the wire at the TOC CP and right to me in my bunker. I spent a couple of days picking off the leaches and ticks from him and then returned to our Base Camp. The Lifers couldn’t believe it. That’s a famous story amongst the 42nd, although I embelished it to get to the Lifers and spread it around that I was actually laid up in a Saigon Whore House. Truth is, I got a couple rides with Ghost Rider to look for the dog. Rest of the time I was on patrols when I wasn’t in a TOC CP perimeter bunker.
Jim Camp, Airborne
42nd Scout Dog Platoon
Formerly of A Co, 1/327th
67-68


Thanks for adding this thread to your site. I arrived in Vietnam in January 1968. While we were going through our P-Training at Phan Rang I was assigned to some detail making a bunker up at the 42nd’s compound. Myself and a few others began to talk with some of the handlers. They asked if we were interested in volunteering for service in their unit we said we were and left our names. A week later I was shipped off to B Co. 1/501. I spent about a month and a half with them. One evening at LZ Sally my plt. Sergeant told me that orders had come for me to transfer to the 42nd. The next day I left LZ Sally for Phan Rang. I received about three weeks of training and then we all moved up to Camp Eagle. Camp Eagle became our base of operation from then on.

We walked point for the 1st. Brigade of 101st and also the 3rd Brigade for the 82nd. The 47th IPSD handled the same chores for the other two brigades of the 101st. They operated out of LZ Sally. We didn’t have much contact with them. There were some missions I remember much better than others. I can only remember one outing with the 1/327th. I was with the Tigers. We were in the lowlands and all I can remember is that the Tigers always wanted me to turn my dog loose on some of the locals. I’m sure that a few of the locals were hostile. For that matter they may have all been hostile. I liked being with the Tigers because they were fearless.

I’m sure there were many other missions with the 1/327th because in my old footlocker I have about a dozen or so Ace of Spades along with other calling cards. Most of my recollection of missions have run together. I wish I would have kept a journal. I was always treated well by the units I worked with. We had great soldiers and pretty good leadership most of the time.

Thanks again for your efforts to help remember the service that the dogs rendered.
Bob Sproul, 42nd Inf. Plt. Scout Dog


Here is the web site for the combact tracker teams. Thought you may be interesed.
Bill Bodnar

Combat Tracker Team

Photo’s contributed by Bill Bodnar @ War Dogs Support Group


I’ve just read your message board regarding the 327th and the Scout Dogs. I was a Dog Handler with the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon at Camp Eagle during 1971. I worked many a mission with the 1/327 and the 2/327. The dog handler that Yankee Jim was referring to was me. My dog, Sam, went under a log as we were humping it in the mountains. He disturbed a huge hornet’s nest that attacked us all. I got stung 3 times and my dog almost died he got stung so much. The M60 guy of the platoon had been to Vet School and he gave Sam a shot that he got from the Doc which probably saved Sam’s life. He was laid up a couple of weeks after that mission. I had one dog, Brandy, KIA in June but it wasn’t with the 327th. Brandy saved me and an entire squad of 101st Troopers. Another Dog Handler, Mark Taylor, was KIA along with his dog while walking point with a “No Slack” platoon. No one else was hurt. I worked with the same platoon about one month later. I caught jungle rot in my hand on that mission from a briar infection, got blood poisoning and was in the hospital for a week. At Camp Eagle, your rear area was just up the hill from our Platoon area. We were down the hill near a little creek isolated from everyone else.There are many 101st veterans walking around today thanks to Brandy, Sam, and other Scout Dogs. Take Care.
Mike R.


Here’s a recent article I did about the lousy fate of most of the scout/tracker/sentry dogs who severed so wonderfully in VN. I never crossed paths with the 101st’s dog platoon (I think the 47th Inf) but I did see some great black labs at work attached to other units. Feel free to post it if you think anyone is still interested.
Regards,
Steve Shewalter, Sr. SSG 101st Airborne Div ’68 – ’69
WAR DOGS OF VIETNAM – BETRAYED HEROES

About the time Veterans Days shows up on my calendar, my black lab Beau reminds me it’s time for him to flush some pheasants for me to shoot. Beau, is an excellent gun dog and a joy to shoot over. And surprisingly, at age 11, this past pheasant season, his field work was almost flawless. We usually take other hunters with us, but our last time out – it was just Beau and me. Without the distraction of others, I could relax a bit and admire Beau’s fine field work. What I observed was a military like precision I’d never noticed before. He brought back memories of the fine scout and tracker dogs I occasionally encountered in Vietnam. Like Beau, these War Dogs did their job with eagerness, and also like Beau, when tired, their favorite way to rest was with their head in your lap.

Joey too, was a black lab who performed brilliantly in the field, er, bush. He was a tireless, dedicated and well trained professional. He was also a loyal friend and playful companion. Weather did not slow him down, neither did impossible terrain, or the shortage of food and water. And was he a good dog to shoot over? Yes – but he also had to endure grenades, land mines, booby traps, and incoming artillery, without complaint.

Inherent in the make-up of all black labs is their knowledge that they are smarter than you. If they don’t perform well for you, it’s likely because they don’t respect you. You see, you don’t actually train your lab, he, in reality, trains you. If you stay on task, put in the quality time they require of you – the result will be most gratifying. You end up as a team that can accomplish near impossible missions.

Denzil Lile, a resident of Elizabethtown, KY was an Army dog handler with the 61st Infantry Platoon, Combat Tracker, 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) during the height of action in the Vietnam War – 1968/69. As a tracker team, Denzil and Joey were as good as any the Army put in the field. They performed courageously in the most difficult combat situations. It was the usual job of the tracker team to pick up the trail of an enemy force after contact had been broken off, and pursue that enemy and see to it that the enemy force would no longer be any threat to “friendlies”. There were many variations to that theme, however.

Roughly 4,000 dogs saw service in Vietnam as either, trackers, scouts, or sentries. Because uncaring military administrators, far removed from the realities of Vietnam, determined that these fine animals were expendable military equipment, almost all dogs were ultimately destroyed or otherwise disposed of. Almost all handlers pleaded with Government agencies to allow them to bring their team mates home with them. The Vietnam War was the only war in our history where this reasonable request was almost always denied. Some 250 fortunate War Dogs did actually get reassigned to military installations in the U.S after their Vietnam service.

These were rare instances where a handler did, with perseverance and a lot of luck, bring his loving friend home with him. I hear of Vietnam vets who to this day hunt birds with the off-spring of these long laid to rest friends, to a man these vets realize how truly lucky they are to have successfully brought their dogs home. Denzil Lile hunts pheasant every fall, but he doesn’t shoot over a black lab. The only black lab Denzil has room for in his life and his heart is Joey.

It’s unfortunate the military never adopted Denzil’s War Dog Repatriotazation Test. Denzil could show that a dog possessed the humanity and temperament to adapt to family life once again in the U.S. . His test is simple – throw a tennis ball, and if the dog fails to retrieve and toss it back to you, the dog fails. I’ll put my money on Joey every time.

Everyone reading this account has a Joey in their neighborhood. Daily, driving or walking down your street, you’ll see a lab named Prince, Duke, or Tippy sitting in a yard with a tennis ball nearby. Their heads are proudly held high, as it’s in their nature to keep watch and ensure that all is well on their street.

Denzil Lile thinks often of Joey these days. Later this year Denzil and dozens of other combat tracker team members from Vietnam, are packing their memories and old photographs and will attend a reunion in Milwaukee to remember and honor old friends (both two and four legged) who never made it home. Vietnam vets attend hundreds of reunions across the country each year, and all are very special. But this one in Milwaukee, I really hope to attend. Where else can I take Beau along and experience the pleasure of seeing him treated as an honored guest?

Must see web sites to visit are;

http://www.vdhaonline.org/ and http://www.combattrackerteam.org/

There are hundreds of others.
Steve Shewalter, Sr
101st Airborne Div 1968 – 1969
Batavia, IL


In late 1966, we had a handler (I can’t remember his name) and German Shepherd named “Meatball” that worked with us (A Company 1st Platoon, 2nd 327th) for a while in Kontum, as I remember. He was a smart dog and did his stuff. I still have a picture of him and his handler. The dogs got a raw deal over there. I heard Meatball was shot due to getting leaches in his ears.
Jerry Rogers
2/327