Forgotten Soldiers

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MtnBiker, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Carl Adams knew his friend Andy would never return from Vietnam.

    The two spent the better part of a year and a half on patrol by themselves outside the Phan Rang Air Force Base, near the South China Sea. They had such a dangerous job during the war that it was done on a volunteer basis only.

    They were the first line of defense and held the safety of the base in their hands.

    Andy never complained about spending every night on watch, trying to detect enemy movements in extreme darkness. He never showed fear and would give his life to protect his fellow soldiers.

    Carl got to know Andy those nights on patrol. He knew him so well Andy didn't have to make a sound if he spotted something -- body language said enough.

    When the time came for Carl to leave the base in 1968, he knew Andy would stay behind and help someone else through those nights.

    Like many who left or were transferred, Carl parted from his friend without knowing what became of him, but he was certain he never came back to the United States.

    Years passed before a breakthrough. In 2000, Carl found out what happened to his friend. Andy had died in Vietnam in June 1970.

    There was no ceremony for the fallen hero. No name etched on The Wall in Washington D.C.

    Carl and other Vietnam veterans have not forgotten the sacrifices Andy, and others like him, made for their country. And they are trying to get a dog handlers memorial erected in the nation's capital to pay tribute to the forgotten canine heroes estimated to have saved some 10,000 lives.

    Andy was one of 4,000 dogs used in Vietnam -- most were German shepherds like Andy.

    "Our real mission was to save lives," Carl said from his suburban Chicago home.

    Carl is joined by 1,800 other Vietnam vets who were dog handlers there and are now part of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association. They are trying to raise money and gain government approval for a war memorial. And when Carl speaks today at the Columbia County Humane Society Banquet at the Blankenhaus, he will tell his and Andy's story, and how they need your help.

    When Carl was 19, he and his friends thought that the fastest way they could get to Vietnam and help their country was to join a military program as a dog handler.

    So they joined the Air Force.

    "The dogs that we went through with, in dog school, were sent separately to Vietnam," he said, noting that they were assigned dogs once arriving overseas.

    Andy was in Vietnam for a year when Carl was assigned to him. There were five different programs to which he could have been assigned. There were scout dogs, a mine and booby trap unit, water dogs that could smell the enemy 30 feet underwater, track dogs that were lab retrievers, and sentry dogs, highly aggressive dogs that patrolled areas with only their handlers at night.

    "There was 20 miles of perimeter and 53 dogs, and we worked 1 to 2 miles from the base," Carl said.

    Any sound by Andy could give away their position, so Andy would relay activity to Carl through body language, and then Carl would radio back to base for help if needed.

    "I could tell with Andy if he was alerting to an animal, a snake, another human being, and if it was an American or Vietnamese," he said.

    Andy had four handlers before he died in Vietnam. He contracted a disease from a tick and was put to sleep.

    Had Andy not gotten the disease, he still wouldn't have come home. Carl said no dog came home even when the troops left. "They were considered excess equipment," he said.

    Dogs that weren't put down were given to the South Vietnamese and never heard from again, Carl said. About 250 dogs were transferred to other bases.

    The quest to build a memorial has been an uphill climb. But through his book, "Remember the Alamo, A Sentry Dog Handler's View of Vietnam from the Perimeter of Phan Rang Air Base," and speeches, Carl and others are trying to make the country aware of their cause. So far the National War Dog Memorial Fund has raised $100,000, but Adams acknowledges that there is a long way to go.

    "We're lobbying very actively," he said.

    For Carl, Andy was so much more than the ID number -- 314F -- stamped on his ear. He was a soldier, a protector and a friend -- one worthy of remembering for a lifetime.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    The forgotten soldiers: canines who served in Vietnam

    By Craig Spychalla - Daily Register




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  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    What a sad story.

    I'm a HUGE animal lover and I think they should do something for the dogs. They might not have been human, but I know some dogs who are more loyal than most humans! Most dogs WILL give their lives to protect their "master". They earned whatever praise they get.
     
  3. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Another loyal soldier.

    Reminds me of my labrador, I better go and give him a big hug.
     
  4. SLClemens
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    What a fascinating story. I'm especially intrigued by the notion that a dog has no sense whatsoever of national loyalty, only human loyalty (and I guess fellow canine loyalty as well). Is the army still using dogs in a combat roles? I know the navy got into some hot water some time ago for training dolphines to be suicide bombers. It's interesting that dogs are maybe the only military technology we still share with the Romans.
     
  5. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    I don't have a specific reference to dog use in today's military, but I'm sure they are used for many tasks. I don't believe a dog has any notion of national loyalty, only to their handlers. Dogs do serve man well, from resuce, gaurds ,guides and many other duties as well as freindship.
     
  6. MtnBiker
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    BUSTER - A REAL DOG OF WAR
    A real Dog of War has been hailed the hero of a British Army raid on an Iraqi stronghold.

    Explosives sniffer dog Buster unearthed a hidden cache of arms from an enemy camp in the southern Iraqi village of Safwan writes Nick Parker of The Sun, in this shared report from the front line.


    The Springer Spaniel's find was followed by the arrest of 16 Saddam Hussein supporters.

    Brown-eyed Buster, who is five, took part in a raid launched by 200 troops.

    His handler, Sergeant Danny Morgan, 37, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps said: "The soldiers had found nothing so I unleashed Buster and sent him in.

    "The rule is that the dog always goes first in case there are booby traps and I was obviously concerned for him as he started his search. Within minutes he became excited in a particular area and I knew he'd discovered something.

    "The Iraqis we spoke to had denied having any weapons. But Buster found their arms even though they'd hidden them in a wall cavity, covered it with a sheet of tin then pushed a wardrobe in front of it.

    "I'm very proud of him."

    Buster's haul included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, grenades, ammunition and bomb-making equipment.

    Suitcases full of cash, a suspected stash of heroin and crack cocaine and pro-Saddam Hussein Ba'ath Party literature were also discovered in the buildings used by the mafia-style gangs.

    Sgt Morgan keeps Buster at his home in Aldershot, Hants, where he doubles as a family pet for his five-year-old daughter Emma and wife Nicki.

    "I trained him by teaching him to fetch weapons like guns and ammunition instead of sticks and balls," he said.

    "He loves his job simply because he thinks it's a game and obviously has no idea he's going into dangerous situations.

    "I end up doing all the worrying because he's not only doing a job out here - he's my best friend. Buster is the only arms and explosives search dog working in Iraq right now and has been worth his weight in gold today.

    "But my daughter Emma is missing him terribly - even more than she misses me!

    "She was upset when I went off to war but wept buckets when she was saying goodbye to Buster. She's been sending him more treats than me since we arrived."

    Buster is so valuable to the army that he has even been given his own protective gear in case of chemical or biological attack.

    When Scud or gas attack warning sound, he leaps into a special sealed pen equipped with an electric motor that pumps air through a gas mask filter.




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  7. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    It's definitely true that animals have been serving mankind for almost as long as there's been a mankind. Typically all they ask for is food, shelter and a romp around with toys. They truly are amazing creatures. During September 11th, dogs worked tirelessly as humans in trying to ferret out (pun intended) those who could be saved. I remember going to the lines and watching these doggies literally lying all over the place with scorched muzzles and paws. There were so many veterinarians donating their time to help them too and handlers giving them the first sips of water others brought out.

    I cannot think of it without bawling!
     

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