1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
I don't have any choice, really? This is going to be tough, talking about a dog I was responsible for being euthanize.
I can't justify my actions. We're at war, this is no time to have a break-down, I was the one who would decide for this Noble beast, live or die! As I watched the colored fluid traveling the distance through a tube attached to his neck, I knew right then and their that Duke didn't have to die. But he did die, on a ice cold floor, the only ice cold anything this dog had ever know.
I've worked 25 nights with Duke II, and this dog is a threat to Jimmie's life. He don't alert, no way, no how. Tet started today, the Vietnamese New Year. We had our finger's crossed, no action tonight, we hoped.
Duke's behavior has always been strange. Lagging behind me must all the time now. After change-over, I give the command to 'watch-em boy', didn't faze Duke one bit. No matter how much I talked and encouraged Duke, it was like he ignores me. Never have I seen his ears move, never have I seen his nose in the air, sniffing. I was feeling paranoid, and it's easy to imagine things in the shadows. I was nervous as hell not having a real MWD. This is not what I trained for. Certainly not 'the edge' I had in mind at Lackland.
Every night you step onto any post out here, you have know idea what is before you.
Is this the night Charlie decides to visit. Is he waiting for me, shit-dog! Will he just shoot me or is this the night to be stealthy. My dog would not defend me, I was pretty sure about that. So here I am walking a post without a Sentry Dog, instead, the lifers send my ass out here with a damn hippy-dog. Duke did not even play or pretend to be a MWD, he was a dud. The old timers knew it, and didn't say a word. So what can I do!?
A couple nights after Tet I had just dismounted and set changing Duke into his working collar. I continued to set and started talking at Duke. I was being mean to Duke, I was cussing that dog for all he was worth. Duke just set and stared at me. I don't know if he had heard all this before and just didn't give a crap, or he was thoroughly screwed-up. Maybe retarded? You think I might be better off setting in a bunker? a whole lot safer, for sure.
I don't understand how a under-achiever like Duke II could get from Lackland Sentry Dog School to Vietnam and be such a dud!
I was so involved, engrossed getting on Duke II case, I had forgotten to load my weapon, I had forgotten to 'call in', and poor-ole Duke was setting and looking up at me, still dressed in his fear custom, wondering, 'what is this fool talking about!?'
Vinny, walks out of the darkness onto the berm road were I'm still setting on my bucket and inquired, "who the hell are you talking to, man".
"What?" I gazed, I guess I asked.
"You're talking a hundred miles an hour, to your dog, YOU SHITTIN' ME?! What's going on? Jim, you never called in."
That stops me cold, what? "Its ok", Vinny had called in for me! Holy Shit. I'm screw.
"Relax man! Your covered. Airman!? you dumb-shit your weapon is not loaded, your dog is still in his muzzle and choke chain. Hells bells. Lets get going, I've cleared your post, but I'll walk with you and let you take a look see."
I could see down the road, that some big lights were headed this way and I'd bet money its K9. I took off, my dog and bucket and my weapon and got clear of the road and disappeared down the side of the berm.