Joe Didn't Tell, either! 01/21/2019

Updated: Jan 26, 2019


1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited!


I wasn't the only one having a problem that first night working with our dogs. Joe Barbarise was having fun with a lizard.


But this lizard could say 'fuck you' in English and it sounds human-enough that Joe was fooled enough into thinking that Mr. Charlie, VC or Mr. NVA, somebody, was

talking shit. Shouldn't talk shit to a teenager with a Car-15 in one hand and MWD in the other. Joe, opened fire on that lizard, hit the damn thing, then, that's when all hell broke-lose. Joe had know idea what havoc he had started. First the radio and base operation wants to know what happened.


Joe replies, "I have gooks on my post".

"Did you investigate and see what it is, Airman!"

"Well, hell no I didn't check nothing out!

"Check it out and report back!" Says the man on the radio.

"I'm hearing voices, and they are telling me, "fuck you", in English!


What happened next, set in motion, several reaction teams, light armor, Spooky and a chopper or two into the air, Joe had opened fire and killed the damn lizard, that had taunted him. A K9 reaction team was first to arrive and drove directly down on Joes post and pull up next to him. "What's going on out here, Airman!", Sergeant Frances asked, getting out of the jeep.


"Sergeant, I been hearing voices hollering 'fuck you' all night. Sergeant, I killed it over by the tree line."

There were several K9 people walking the post looking for a body. Flairs lit up the sky and a chopper hovered above the ground, focusing light on the search area.

Joe, still utterly still and didn't say another word!


"Sergeant Frances, we found what this fucking new guy been shooting at and killed! A lizard. A lizard that is known for saying, fuck you!" Said a young three stripper, as he approached Frances.

"What is your name Airman? Frances asked.


Over the side of the berm road came a jeep with mounted M-60', and 2 M113 APC/ both had mounted 50's and M-60's. Men poured from the APC and moved towards the few trees still standing and looked at the body of a lizard, or what was left of a lizard after Airman Joe Barbarise open fire and emptied two twenty round magazines, on full auto into that poor thing.


"Who man's this post?' asked the Captain!

"Airman Barbarise". Said Sergeant Frances.

"Barbarise, Airman Barbarise, you've any idea the utter chaos you created here?" asked the Cobra Commander.

Phy Cat Air Base was a major location for transporting, storing and spraying Agent Orange. Over a million Vietnam Veterans have suffered and died from this poisioning.

Joe didn't say a word.


"Airman, you're responsible for all this man-power on your post, because you say a lizard say's 'fuck you'? Really, I think you are fucking with me, Airman Barbarise"! Spooky is flying because of a lizard. Choppers are in the air, all to defend the base from a lizard. Your lizard war has cost the taxpayer a not-so-cool million dollars."

Sergeant Frances, I want this Airman brought up on charges, Article 15."

"Captain," Sergeant Frances broke-in, "This Airman is manning his first post, tonight! He has no experience, and should not be charge because he is so new."

"Damn, what a cluster-fuck this is!" With that the Captain got behind the wheel and drove off without another word being said.


In five minutes time, Joe's post was emptied of armed men and armed-vehicles and as the last flair burned itself out Frances departed and the night got back to being normal. Dark and lonely. Except for one dead lizard.


So you see? Not such a favorable story about Joe's first night working his Noble Canine! Lizards telling you to fuck off! Oh my!? It took several months before Joe owned-up. I never told my story until I wrote about it 50 years later.

When I first got to Phu Cat, there were many fence-lines that looked like this and wouldn't stop a determined enemy.

Joe and I, both experienced the unusual. From here on the story settles into day-time off duty time and night-time, or our working hours. It didn't take long to fill like and old hand at this dog thing, our edge.

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