Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dogs of War.....Vietnam to Afghanistan

More winter-like weather is here, but even that is not supposed to be anything severe, or to even stick around for any length of time...rain by Monday, and mid to upper 40s by the middle of next week.  On average Saturday is not only the day of the shortest amount of daylight in this part of the world, it is also on average the coldest day of the year...meaning, beginning Monday, the average high and low temperatures will start to rise...the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel{winter}.  I can't say I won't be happy for warmer temperatures, but as mild, as opposed to the dire predictions, as this winter has been, without much snow, I cannot complain so far.  Love me some Global Warming!

Less than two months away from my first baseball scrimmage umpire gig, and my schedule for the coming spring season, is pretty well full....topping it off yesterday contracting for a March 31st Triple Header{weather permitting} at Delphos St. Johns on that Saturday.  Meanwhile, with three of the last four days off, I am back to basketball tonight with a girls JH double at Crestview, tomorrow north to Columbus Grove for a JV boys game, and finishing off the weekend with a morning 7th grade tournament double at Wayne Trace.

The Dogs of War_____

 Being a member of the Air Force Security Police from 1968-72, I had a chance to see the working dogs of war, especially during my time at Tan Son Nhut in 1970, working both perimeter security and the Blue Flight protection of the inner workings of that largest of Air Bases in Vietnam during the war.

When assigned to SP School at Lackland AFB, Texas, in the summer of 1968, we were given the opportunity to be dog handlers, and even though my family had always had dogs, from Coon Hounds, to Airedales, to toy types, to mutts of all varieties, I wasn't inclined to be a dog handler.  One main reason, I knew where dog folks ended up....that would be Vietnam, working the outer and inner crevices of bases such as Nha Trang and TSN...if I was going there, and I did, I wanted to be in a somewhat safe handlers did not get those "perks".  Being an Air Force SP Dog Handler was among the most dangerous of duties one could draw in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

The regular Sky Cops, both Law Enforcement and Security didn't hang around the puppy patrol guys much during the war, they were their own click, and any conversation we might have had, was usually reserved for my time on Jeep patrol, when I would stop and give the handler a cup of coffee...from what I remember, the dogs provided better conversation, than many of the handlers.

fast forward to 1999 the VSPA____

When I found and joined the Vietnam Security Police Association, I noticed that many of the members, and most of the founders of the organization were from that group of Dog Handlers at Tan Son Nhut and other bases in Vietnam....and to this day, 13 years later, they are still the heart and soul of the VSPA.  John Langley, who signed me up, Phil Savage, and Doug Davis, are among the former handlers that I consider friends, even though we never met until after Vietnam, and see each other only on occasion at Dayton or Kokomo, during reunions.  Yesterday I received an e-mail from Doug concerning the hotel accommodations for this March and our annual Mini-Reunion at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton.....while we were exchanging e-mails he sent me a short video and photos of Remmy.

Here is the e-mail I received, along with photos and a short video of Remmy, from Doug Davis:

"Don’t forget to mention that these Retired Military Working Dogs and Contractor Dogs are available for adoption.

I didn’t have a dog until November 08 since I got out in September 70. My last dog was 831F Bullet at WPAFB 6-69 to 9-70. (Mike M401 6-67 to 2-68 Lackland (dog school)  & SJAFB- Smoke 978X Phu Cat 3-68 to 3-69)
November 08 we got Ringo C261 and had him until 2-11. (unfortunately we had to put him down due to illness) In 6-11 we got contractor dog Remmy. These two dogs have changed our life. They give so much to families with their hearts. Both dogs have at least 100+ friends because we take them everywhere and tell the story about their duty.
These dogs are so happy to be free and able to roam in the house and not be stuck in a run. Most dogs are in a run six months before they end up with their family from adoption. Like anyone, freedom is a big deal and they show it after reaching a home". 

 When meeting men like Doug, Phil, and John, you realize that even though it has been 40-45 years since they were Air Force Dog Handlers, they never really stopped being one.  They remember the dogs they trained and handled during the war years, even for a short time(usually less than one year), they never stopped remembering those days and dogs....

Frankly the dogs from Vietnam were treated like shit when it was time to retire them, not by the handlers, but by the Military and the US Government....the same so called "leaders" that treated the men of war like crap, treated the dogs that saved many a life, like so much disposable garbage...just one more reason I have no respect for military authority, or our Government...but most of my regular readers know my thoughts on those, so I will move now is a video of Remmy in the war zone.....

The cousins of the Vietnam dogs of war are now treated much better than those of my era....and by chance if you would like to give one a home.....I am sure Doug will be glad to help you....e-mail here{no spam please}:

Contact Doug if you are interested in helping out one of these heroes of war.

Photos-"Remmy" in Michigan this past fall, and Remmy in Afghanistan  Doug at the Dayton Reunion last fall, and with Remmy shortly thereafter in Michigan, and Remmy with his American Contractor handler in the Afghanistan front.

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