Animal Stories

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    Indybear57
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    (5/15/01 8:55:05 am)
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    Animal Stories
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    "F**k you" lizard and "Re-up" frogs-quite a combination! Are there any other animal stories out there? I understand there were lots of snakes and rats. What other critters were part of every day life?

    Mike L

    Mithrandir
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    (5/15/01 12:40:42 pm)
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    OK........


    “BEN” the LRRP dog.

    In late ’66, our AO was host to a myriad of small groups that needed to keep a low profile and a safe haven for in-country R&R. We, at least, had an NCO club, a small PX, a small SVN ran tailor shop and a larger PX close by in the Marines AO.

    We had known for some time that as TET approached, the LRRP’s were not seen very often as they were always “out on mission”.

    One of these “teams” had a dog with him. He and his dog were the MOST reclusive of all the LRRP dudes. He & the dog, which we found out later was named Ben, always ate after hours, when no one else was around.

    Since I, and my trick, worked rotating shifts at that time, we began seeing them at the mess hall quite often; usually about 4 or 5 in the morning.

    We could see that they were just getting back in about that time from wherever they had been that night.

    They also headed straight for the wash-rack in the back of the mess hall, cleaned up, then ate and got some rest before the sun came up.

    After a time, he allowed himself to talk to us. BUT we had to stay at least 10 feet from him or Ben would attack.

    And, indeed, one guy made the mistake of getting too close one night and Ben took a piece of his boot for breakfast. After a flurry of HOLY SHIT!!! GOODDAMNMMUFUKERASSHOLEGEESSJ and so forth, Ben let go of him. Our guy always ate on the other side of the hooch after that.

    I wonder why??

    TET came, and we did not see him or Ben for months. We assumed that he & Ben had their work to do, so no one bothered to inquire of them.

    Long about June, I had returned from a trip into the valley and had returned to the old base for paperwork and mail for my people. (Mail got very sporadic there for a while). We also were in a refit mode, so we going to make this our AO for a while longer.

    Since I and a couple of my buddies did not had a place to stay anymore, We held up in the bunker that we had originally been assigned to before TET hit. It had a nice concrete shelf in it that I could sleep on and it was much cooler in there than in the hooch’s. It was also had two rows of ten foot high wire out in front of it with many, many anti-personnel mines in between the fences.

    One morning, as we walked over to the mess hall, Tom (I have mentioned him one time before in another post) noticed that something was tracking us. It was still very, very dark, but since we were inside a seriously protected area, we were sure that it was not VC/NRA (or, at least we HOPED so!!) As we entered the back side of the mess hall, Ben appeared and was sitting by the table that he and his handler had used many times before. But there was no handler.

    The cooks told us that the dog had shown up about a week earlier without his team mate and that Ben had attacked the MP’s when the cooks called to have him taken away from the mess hall. Ben was obviously hungry but he would not eat the food that the cooks had left for him.

    When we inquired of the MP’s as to what was going to happen to Ben, they said that they were waiting orders to shoot him, since no one could get anywhere near him without getting bit.

    We talked to our SGM and he to the MP’s and the LRRP SGM. They decided that if we could get him to eat and stay away from people, they would not have him shot until the LRRP unit moved to their new AO in about two months. If we failed, then Ben was dead.

    So every morning we talked to Ben and tried for get him to eat. Not an easy thing to do with a 75 pound German Shepard that knows how to kill.

    Oh…. Yeah… and don’t try to reach for your rifle or a knife while LOOKING AT HIM!!!!!, AND NO SUDDEN MOVES!!!!

    The first two weeks were very frustrating, Ben would not eat, and he would always leave at sunset. Always came in before sunrise and always stopped at the wash-rack, then moved to the mess hall table.

    Twice Ben came into the wash-rack absolutely covered in someone’s blood. The first time we saw that, we thought that someone (or the MP’s ) had shot him.

    He wouldn’t let us near him, but he would let us turn on the water for him (it was one of those overhead wash-racks, the kind that you drive a vehicle under and then wash the vehicle). When he was clean and somewhat dryer, he would go to the table and lay down.

    Finally, he started eating for us; not much at first, but then more as time wore on.

    The SGM told us that, since Ben was eating, and not harming anything (or anyone as the case may be) he could stay with us. BUT, if he “got out of line”, he would be shot. Well, he stayed with us. Or you could call it that as he would always follow us and not let us get too close to him. He always crawled into the ammo bunker and slepted there during the day.

    It turned out to be a GREAT boon for us, as every time someone tried to get close to the bunker, Ben was up and on guard!!!

    One particularly nasty rainy night, we awoke to hear Ben growling very, very low and looking out over the minefield. The next thing we knew he jumped up, ran out of the bunker and actually went through the wire!!! AND THROUGH THE MINEFIELD!!

    While we ducked (you didn’t expect us to follow did you!!!) waiting for a mine to go off, we heard him in a fight…. the towers turned on the searchlights and he had something on the ground just beyond the outer wire boundary……. a sapper……. and he was deader than roadkill on a highway……… Ben look at the lights and headed out into the darkness.

    We then thought that we would never see him again. He had navigated a mine field for God’s sake! None of us would do that even in daylight!!!!.


    In the morning, no Ben. Just a report on the incident and a body in the back of one of the MP’s jeeps. They guy had four of our Claymores, and about 30 pounds of C4 and no throat. If he had gotten through the wire & mines, we would have been toast! The engineers came out a declared that they could see NO WAY for the dog to get though that field……but he did.


    More later… got to do work now….



    wait.







    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 5/16/01 3:37:13 pm

    Copr6
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    Mith...great story! Tell more!!

    dap22
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    Absolutely a fantastic story.........would love to hear more about Ben......thanks much for sharing it.

    Mithrandir
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    (5/15/01 1:44:38 pm)
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    “BEN” the LRRP dog.


    Time marches on……. and we were due to go to a new AO farther northwest.

    Now….. Ben had been with us for about two months and had begin to show trust……

    A thing not easily given nor won in this hellhole…….by any man or beast…..


    The Marines had crossed the Perfume river and re-taken the Citadel…..

    The NVA were pushed back…

    The VC ceased to exist…. (If we didn’t get ‘em…. the NVA did!!!)


    We moved to the new AO and Ben was ‘out and about” for about three or four days before he would come in. Geezzz…. we STILL couldn’t get very close to him……


    We knew that he a scoped out the area…. and maybe…. just maybe…. had cleared it ……

    We hadn’t been in the new AO very long, when an MP showed up and told our SGM that the dog had to go, that the AO commander would “Not have stray animals in HIS AO”. Our SGM suggested that he do one of several things…

    01. Go back and call the SGM of the LRRP group about the dog.

    02. Go back and talk to the MP’ commander back at our old AO.

    03. Go tell the AO commander to talk to out SGM

    04. If your so smart.. YOU GET HIM outta here!!!!

    Option four was tried first….. much to the chagrin of the SIX MP’s that tried to “get” him…

    Number one tried to put a rope over Ben’s neck….Ben had his arm in his mouth in a flash!!!!

    Number two then aimed his M16 at Ben and Ben took a piece of his hand/finger and the glove he was wearing….. all while holding down number one!!

    Numbers three & four immediately retreated to their jeep and suddenly pretended that they didn’t see that was going on!!!!!

    Numbers five & six suddenly found themselves with eight M16’s , a M79, two M60’s, A .50 Cal and a crossbow pointed at them!!!! (the guy with the crossbow was GOOD!!)

    Ben let go of number one and moved behind us…..

    The MP’s left yelling and cursing…

    at Ben …

    at us……

    at life….

    at God and whatever else they could think of.

    All the while threatening to “shoot that SOB dog & arrest us for ….. well….. everything!!!!

    By the way…. a little side story……

    When the MP’s left, in a hurry… I might add, they also left their rifles/pistols on the ground…… A few hours later, they came to reclaim them, they told their OIC that we “had threatened them and then disarmed them by force”. Our SGM saw the whole thing and knew that they DROPPED THEM AND RAN!! We had left them on the ground and it was raining….. you know the kind of rain that floods the area…….. and it did too….. every see what happens to an M16 when it is laying in the mud for hours??????


    Well… no one ever attempted to “get” Ben again…….

    However, soon after this, Ben now let us actually touch him…. not much mind you… but enough to pat him on the back… touch his head and you would lose a finger……

    As the month of August wore on… we were given a chance to go into Hue.

    So we took Ben.

    He was really responding to minor commands now like,

    Sit Ben…

    Stay Ben;

    and stuff like ….. Ah Ah Ah….. let us open the “C” first for you, don’t eat the can!!!…..

    Don’t kill that MP Ben (it got to the point that when he saw an MP arm band… he would charge and scare the shit out of them. Our local MP’s would always remove it when coming into our AO, but the stupid base MP’s never learned at all!!)….

    and leave Co Sisi Di alone Ben (THAT is another story)…..

    SO into Hue we went…. with a checklist of things to do & to buy..

    01. Booze
    02. Women
    03. Food
    04. Booze
    05. Women
    06. Women

    repetitive isn’t it????


    Buy the time we got to number 05….. we noticed that Ben was responding to the action….. (He liked to watch!!)… SOOOOOOOOOO the team decided to buy HIM a number five or number six!!!!

    This was NOT an easy process……. someone FINALLY found an old mama-san that would do it, BUT for an OUTRAGIOUS PRICE of 1000p (About $10.00 !!!!!!!). THIS is also another story

    But it was safe to say that Ben was now “sated”

    I think he slepted for two days instead of going out at night!!!!


    ………….Continued later




    wait


    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 5/15/01 2:50:55 pm

    Mithrandir
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    (5/15/01 2:18:46 pm)
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    “BEN” the LRRP dog.


    August had gone….. October was waning…. and Ben left during a mortar attack and firefight…….


    THIS attack was not really upon us…. but we were pinned down by it…..

    Caught between NVA mortars & rockets and dueling Marine artillery with a little Aussie hardware thrown in for good measure. The Aussie’s had all the 105’s in the AO at that time and the Marines had the 155’s.

    SIDE NOTE : DID NOT LIKE BEING THAT FRIKKIN CLOSE TO KAI SAHN DAMMIT!!!!!!!! FRIKKIN MARINES DROPPING SHIT ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!!!!

    Well…… when it was over …

    Ben was nowhere to be found…….

    No one had seen him….

    The only signs the LRRP guys could find were the 10 bodies in and close to our wire……..

    WE DIDN’T DO ANY SHOOTING (too dark and could see only the inner wire…. the bodies were in the outer wire….. and because of the noise… we heard nothing!!!!!

    The reports from the field in November site several NVA found dead on different trails….. obviously killed by an animal….. all of the bodies were within 2 clicks of us…..


    Still no Ben…..

    December comes……

    The SGM calls us all together…….

    Ben had been found by the LRRP’s…

    They found him at the edge of an “Archlight”……….

    The LRRP guys claimed him as one of their own…. and took him for burial….

    We never hurt so much as a team…….


    SO….. somewhere in SVN is a grave… that may be unmarked…. it contains one of the best soldiers I ever knew… I do like to dream that they sent him back to the World for burial…….and he is under one of those white markers …. someplace……..
    ……………………………………

    This is only the second time in twenty-five years that I have related the story of Ben…….

    Some holes are never filled…….

    Remember this story…..

    Remember him…..and all those other animals that were and are “soldiers”




    out





    Mithrandir
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    (5/15/01 2:19:52 pm)
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    Sorry guys....

    I know that this was a long one...

    but I had to get it out...

    thanks for listening......

    out

    dap22
    Senior Chief Moderator II
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    No........thank you more than words can describe. What a great story. Enjoyed the shit out of it. I told the story and I'm not sure whether it was on this board or the old MSNBC board how we classified and prioritized our casualties for dustoff. Of course, our first priority was Americans, our second priority.. scout dogs, our third Australians, Vietnamese, Koreans, Vietnamese civilians, and our last captured NVA or VC. It goes to show the value and importance of dogs.......sadly, when we left Vietnam, those dogs still left there weren't properly taken care of..should have been a crime and someone responsible should have payed for that assbackwards decision....the rat bastids.
    Thanks again Mithrandir......hope to hear some more stories when you reload!!

    gorourke
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    Thanks for sharing that story, I put work aside to finish reading and told those around me I'd be with them in a few minutes.

    We worked with Scout Dogs on a number of missions. Among other things, the dogs were trained to sniff out booby traps. The dog and his handler would walk point, and on those days I can tell you we never lost a man to a booby trap. My fellow grunts and I owe much to those dogs, and their handlers, thanks for telling their story.

    P. Gary


    Indybear57
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    Mith-Sounds like he was one hell of a fine soldier. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. Welcome home.

    Mike L

    hope6970
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    (5/15/01 4:39:16 pm)
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    Mith,
    Throughly enjoyed reading that memory. Perhaps there are more where that came from??

    Its a shame how our dogs were sent for duty and not recognized as they should have been. I can remember seeing the dogs and handlers lined up one time in front of USARV and thinking at the time what was going to become of all of the dogs once the whole mess was over. Never did I imagine they would be left behind like some were. They were animals that had something different about them, once you looked at them, you never forgot them.

    Hope

    longshot1
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    That was good Mith, that was very good. Thanks

    NickG

    Tac401
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    Mith,

    Thank you so much for telling that story, I commend you
    my friend!

    JD
    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    Copr6
    Senior Chief Moderator III
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    (5/15/01 10:45:21 pm)
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    Hey Mith..."stupid base MP's"? Surely you jest!!

    Mithrandir
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    yeah COPR6 I DO jest.........but there is a reason I classify MP's.....

    We had two classes of MP's around us....

    Class zero...no clearances.....drafted.....LEO wanna-bees....were not going to be cops/LEO's in the World.....
    only suited to direct traffic....common sense was an oxymoron when describing these guys.

    Class One.... Professionals BEFORE they were drafted or joined....were going to be LEO's back in the World...had TS clearances or better....had lots of common sense....

    The class zero MP were not allowed into our AO... when they did come in.. the Class One MP's arrested them......

    It was these same class zero MP's that later removed puppies from another compound by tying the dogs to the jeep and driving away...... How would you react??


    Now..... tell me that these two classes of cops do not exist in America today????

    It happens in all jobs... but seems to to promonent in the LEO area more so than others...giving respect to the uniform does not necessarily mean having respect for the person that wears it....

    and certainly not after witnessing what the class zero MP's did in VN....Matter of fact.... the class zero MP was no better than the SVN QC's....but that's another story in itself....


    I'm Sorry COPR6... my rant is not really directed at our police in the World... only the MP's of my past.....sometimes memories are more real than current events....



    out

    gene29223
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    (5/16/01 10:05:55 am)
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    Great Story and Mith you told it so well. Ditto all the remarks about the dogs and their handlers. Crying shame what we did to the poor animals when we left.

    Take care, Gene

    Mithrandir
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    Thanks one and all.....

    out

    Copr6
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    I am somewhat amazed as to your two classification of the Military Police. Where did these classification come from? Were there ever any Infantry that could fall within this classification? I count myself as being a wannabe when I went in the Army. I wanted to be a MP. I signed on the dotted line. Six years after returning to the States...I became a cop('75)

    Mithrandir
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    Please understand.... this classification is not an insult.... just the way things were....

    then you must be a class one......you BECAME a professional...you had the drive and desire to do it and follow through with it.....and used your army time to do it.. or at least to prepare for it.....

    zeros were draftees that never served more than two years and were never going to do LEO work on the World...by their own admission... and most never even could get more than a confidential clearance.....

    However... I did not set these classes..... the army did..

    you see.. the group that I ran with was always attached to an ASA unit or detachment.....EVERYONE had to have Top Secret or better clearances or they did not work for us....SOME of these better MP's were also NSA or CID guys... NOT MI (in those days- these days they are one and the same)....

    In signal... three groups existed then
    01. ASA/NSA (TS & higher)
    02. Stratcom (secret was the highest)
    03. Regular signal (confidential)

    confidential only meant that they breathed air .....


    Yes... there were leg & GIRB MP's that were considered class ones......

    out...



    hope6970
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    (5/16/01 10:04:15 pm)
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    Mith,

    When did it happen that STRATCOM had Secret as the highest clearance??? - Hope

    Copr6
    Senior Chief Moderator III
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    Mith...No class zero grunts? What "group" did you run with?

    Mithrandir
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    Good morning....

    HOPE6970..... prior to '69 or '70... Statcom in the areas I was in ... that is... panama and VN.... had no one with a TS or TS&C or TS/SBI....they may have had them in EU....


    Just as the MI guys rarely had TS&C or TS/SBI's


    all that changed after the pull-out... by '79 ASA ceased to exist as a division and was pulled into the MI (maybre even earlier).... and Stratcom was elevated into the MI & NSA...
    remember... things change..... but in the time frame I speak of....we saw no one with a TS or better.....


    COPR6..... elements of both the 3rd & 4th MARDIV.....I must admit that I never did see a marine MP anywhere near us.. but they MUST have existed as we were right next to them at Phu bai & Ja Lai... just never saw any......


    over

    Copr6
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    (5/17/01 5:39:17 pm)
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    So Mith...are you talking Army MP's or Marine MP's?

    homer4
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    What a tremendous story Mith and what a dog.

    I find it hard to believe that they would leave those dogs to a death sentence as it's been said...simply terrible!!! Not doubting your word Hope...just flattened by the incredulous decision to abandon them.Rat Bastids!!! as Dave would say.

    I had a dog! Named him Gippy...had a bum rear leg and would 3-leg it around.Got him from a Papa San and he was a real joy to have about...everyone seemed to like him and was getting to be a chubby little sucker from everyone feeding him.Had to end up leaving him to a buddy that promised to take care of him when I left for Long Binh,and would hope that someone shot him instead of abandoning him like the above.

    I have a picture or two around here and one day will try to get it posted.Not that it's very interesting to most,but he was very important to me back when.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    dap22
    Senior Chief Moderator II
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    I hear you on that Homer.........and ya, they were RAT BASTIDS!!!!!!!

    106RR196LIB
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    (5/24/01 4:04:57 pm)
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    Mith -- Great dog story! In an Infantry unit the MPs are used to guard prisoners. That's about the ony time I saw them. We had two assigned to our battalion. They slept in a safe area and did not engage the enemy. The VC prisoners were delivered to the ARVNs for "interogation" most were never seen again. The NVA went to POW camps.

    Our Dog George

    Delta, 4/31, 196th LIB had a mascot named snowball and one of her puppies was our AT platoon mascot. It was amazing to see the most battle hardened grunts give up their rationed water to bathe that puppy. George couldn't take the heat when he was little. None of us had kids but we noticed that the Viet mamas always rinsed the baby off at midday. The baby could nap after the rinse. So we rinsed George in a steel pot. He became a great mascot although he would often hump your leg if you weren't watching. When we were moved up North the order was given to kill all mascots. Person or persons unknown were able to smuggle George into Chu Lai in the back of a gunjeep. He was adopted by an engineer unit. When we came back to Chu Lai to ETS we looked him up. He ran out and humped the platoon sergeants leg. He was real happy to see us and we were real happy that he survived. Many of the guys in the platoon didn't make it.
    Mike H

    homer4
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    (5/24/01 8:53:08 pm)
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    Hahahahahahaha! Should have renamed him Humper! Hahahahahaha!

    Hope that wasn't a learned behavior Mike!...grunts can be a little crusty at times.Hahahahaha!

    Good post! Ah Me!
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.