Updated: Jan 21, 2019
1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
I was happy to be going to work with my very on Sentry Dog. I was proud of Duke and glad he hadn’t attacked me, but tonight would be an all-nighter and I had no idea what to expect. This is what I signed up for, and for better or worst I will do this job.
I didn’t make the trip out to the kennels to work with Duke, we were told to rest up and be ready for the long night coming up. I would be working the late shift, starting duty 2 hours after first shift went to work. First shift covered ever-other post and would clear (secure) all the posts in the late evening light. It would be dark-time when the late shift arrived. In the morning the early shift would exit 2 hours before the first hint of light in the eastern sky made itself known. I would fine that time to be the longest two hours of the night.
When the first shift departed, they left big gaps in the coverage, like every-other post was up and deserted so now, late shift would secure those post, and baby ‘it’s dark outside’ and handlers and k9’s are dog-tired. haha!!
But for right now I didn’t know nothing!
I will work for the first time, my dog Duke, whom I’m calling Duke II. I had a Duke who trained me at Lakeland and this new Duke looked a lot like the old Duke, so Duke II.
Nine new handlers would work tonight, allowing nine tired and exhausted handlers and Noble Canines some needed time off. Again, at guard mount a cheer went up in celebration of expected time off.
FYI-time: those men and animals had been working 90 nights minimal to a hundred+plus nights in a few extreme cases. No wonder they were so glad to see us arrive. I can’t imagine working 90 straight nights with no relief. But, by the time I rotated out of Vietnam I would have done the same, at least three, maybe four times. Think about the numbers?!! Only a nineteen year old can withstand the pressure.
I gathered up Duke II and got aboard the truck, after, I let Duke II relieve himself. Duke didn’t pee or poop in his kennel, so I made sure to give him a bathroom break. He had been holding himself all day, so he was ready to pop!
I would be posted, last tonight, so I moved to the front right behind the driver and settled in. It only took one night without a bucket to remedy that. So, I’ve a German Shepherd in one hand, a Car-15 and bucket in the other, so I guess I’m ready for war. Last night I had trouble staying on my feet carrying only the Car-15. It seems the ride took forever, but the time was used to get your mind right, being new, I didn’t know what that meant either. As the truck left the next to last man off, I watched as he disappeared into the dark. I noticed we were leaving the berm road for a smaller winding road what seem to go on forever. I watch the forward movement over the shoulder of the driver. All I could see of the road was right in front of the headlights. I couldn’t see the tower or the bunker we had past somewhere in the night, but in the corner of the field of light I caught the opening of the fence line and we were going through it. Oh shit! Where is my post, I can’t see a thing! Are you wondering if the hair is standing up on the back of my neck? It was!
I was last of tonight. During morning pick up I would be first.
I dismounted the truck, set my bucket down, slung my weapon over me some way or other and lifted Duke II off the truck and gently set him on the ground. With dog, gun and bucket I walked to the driver side for a little conversation.
I spoke first, “how in the world do I clear a post I can’t see.” I asked.
“What’s your name Airman”, the driver asked.
“Moore, Jimmie Moore”. I answered.
“All I can tell you is, go slow, there’s no hurry, the nights are very long. Meet the coffee truck and meet up with the other handler, he’ll be able to show you around, there are two post out here.
“Hey Moore, which dog did they give you? He asked.
I’ve got Duke, and I’m calling him Duke II because I had a Duke at Lackland.
“Oh, shit Moore!x! Listen! go slow out here tonight.”
As he drove off his final words was “why is a new guy being put on this post, off all post!”
Jimmie - The Noble Canine