42nd IPSD 42nd IPSD - Hell on Paws Hell on Paws...









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Unit Anecdotes, Headlines & Stories

Page 1A | Page 1B | Page 2 | Page 3A | Page 3B | Page 3C | Page 3D | Page 3E | Page 3F | Page 3G | Page 3H | Page 4A| Page 4B | Page 4C | Page 4D | Page 5A | Page 5B | Page 5C

Page 1 - Orders and Misc. Documents
Page 2 - Poems
Pages 3A through 3H - Stories & Letters
Pages 4A, 4B, 4C & 4D - Newspaper Clippings
Page 5A, 5B & 5C- Personal Histories of the Platoon

Remember These

1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971



Stories & Letters

(Story #1)

Dear Jackie,

Hello. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christopher D. Price. I am the son of Tommy D. Price-42nd IPSD, Vietnam-1971. My Dad thought you would enjoy getting a son's point of view of a dog handler. The more I thought about it (which took all of about 20 seconds), it did seem to be a good idea. Maybe even a whole new chapter for the 42nd IPSD.
As a child, when my Dad was in, I do remember more than many give me credit for, and more than I have told anyone else. I remember seeing the news and wondering, "My Daddy will fix all of it, don't worry." I admit, at that age I didn't really understand the full scope of all that was going on in "The Nam", but I knew that it was something big......and my Dad was there.
I remember seeing my Mom, glued to the TV, waiting for a sight of him, eyes welling with tears. Only years later did I realize that she was hoping to see Dad, and praying that she wouldn't. There were a lot of late nights, prayers, tears and most importantly hugs. Dad was gone for a long time......when is he coming home?
I remember so vividly the day we met Dad when he came home. I was so short and those buildings were so tall. At my height, the floor actually formed a horizon to me. I could only see his head at first, but I knew......that was my Daddy. I ran to meet him, not exactly half way (laughing), but I was all there. My Daddy was finally home!!
Life after he came home was.....how shall I put this.....an adventure to say the least. He was so different. I couldn't figure out why my Daddy was different than he was when he went away. But, I put that aside and learned to deal with the "oddities" and went on. Though our "father/son" relationship was not to be the same for some thirty years.....I loved him without question.
It has taken many years to gain some of the stories that happened to him while he was there. I knew not to "prod" because I DIDN'T know the repercussions if I did. He became very withdrawn, and it took my own experiences to understand why. I could see the pain and even fear in his eyes for a long time after he came home. This later turned to pain and exhaustion. I could never tell him just how much I DID understand his pain. I could (and still) only wait until he is able to reach out himself.
I know that I am rambling, I know.....but there are so many memories, feelings, emotions......it will take a lot to be able to convey them all to you. I hope that we will be able to correspond further on this, as I too (as Dad does) have no outlet at this time to the things I have experienced as the son of a dog handler.
(There will be another story by Tommy Price about the injuries suffered in Nam)


"A TRIBUTE TO ALL WAR DOGS" - by Gene Wimberly

I heard a story once about all the animals in the world. God was talking to them. He said, Who will stand with Man? The dog spoke up and said, I will. It has been that way through history.

The relationship between the Scout Dog Handler and his Dog is a special one. Our lives were entrusted to each other skills. Mistakes meant death or somebody being wounded. Where you walked -everybody else would walk, if they were smart. Nobody wanted to get close to you. If you tripped a mine the grunts did not know you that well and it did not hurt them as bad as it would if one of their guys bought it. While you were in the field they loved you. You were the man! You were going to walk point for them. They felt safe because you and your dog were there to guard them from the unseen danger. You find a mine, or pop an ambush, and they love you. You miss, well, I have been over that already.

That brings up a nice question. Why did we do it? I for one felt safer having my dog in front and knowing what was going on. I felt my best chance for surviving was was with my dog. I was right. The dog teams that were KIA more than likely had that same point of view. When we took point it was because we could do it better than anybody else around us. It takes a lot of guts to do that job. After a fire fight it was not unusual to hear the Lt. say, Dog Handler check it out. Now the SOB has you on a hot trail and you know it is just a matter of time before contact again. Why do you go down the trail? You trust your dog and you know your chances are better than the grunts.

The teams that died----GOD BLESS THEM! They gave their lives so that other may live. The dogs gave theirs out of love to their handlers and some of the handlers out of love for their dogs. We were a team. We worked as a team. We played as a team. We were different--more independent than any GI in the war. We fought the war with our best friend by our side. To Bad we could not take our friends home.

Gene Wimberly, 42nd IPSD 101st Airborne


"POINT MAN" - by Ken Olson

My best friend sits beside me on the chopper. The early morning fog which still covers the highlands is finally lifting. Huey flying over tree tops with dark green jungle below.

On the ground. people asking questions. Same questions and "does he bite"? Which way should we go?

Walking carefully. Watching eyes, ears and nose. Looking left, front and right with quick glances. Wondering where did the enemy go?

Soldiers following. Talking loudly. Line grunts! Kicking C-Ration cans. I'm wondering. Will I ever make it home?

My friend speaks silently. With his eyes, ears and nose. Sounds of movement. The jungle moves. A flash. A bang. Automatic weapons fire breaks my ear drums as I look for my best friend ahead.

More firing. Grenades exploding. Fear grows inside me. My heart feels empty. Wondering if he's there. Being purposely still. Or is my best friend dead?

Explosions getting louder. Green tracers and red. The jungle is moving. Elephant grass weaving. Soon I see my best friends eyes, ears and nose. Finally I am elated seeing his Belgian Shepherd head.

I smile. Then silence. All is still. I check my M-16. Magazine empty. Don't remember firing. Wounded crying around me. Ours and theirs. Smoke lingers near the jungle floor. Slowly lifting as the noon sun rises. Some American soldiers look. And count their toes.

Dog Handler!

The silence is broken. My best friend is already at my side. Sniffing me all over to see if I'm alright. I pat his head softly. Whisper "good boy" and "Search". And so it begins again. I think of home for a brief second. Until I realize my thoughts must wait if I'm to return home. So my thoughts return to my best friend. My eyes fixed on his eyes, ears and nose.

Sound of choppers. Pop smoke! Phu Bai, Chu Lai, Saigon. Silver Bird! Going home. Happy but sad. At the kennel. Trying to say good-bye to my best friend. Tears, in his eyes and mine. Whispers of thanks my friend. He knows I must go and silently wishes me and my family well with his eyes, ears and nose. I don't look back. I look at my patch. 101st, 42nd Scout Dog Platoon scroll. I know I must go. My heart is saddened at this good-bye.

I'm on the plane. Homeward bound. I see the dark green jungle below fade away as we climb above the clouds. I think of my best friend. And I start to cry.

I get home. Brain tumor and surgery. Agent Orange? Finish a career with the Army. Successfully I might add. Stayed Infantry and I'm damn proud of that. Talk to other soldiers who were unaware of the best friends some of us Viet Nam Vets had. Scout Dog Handler? What the hell is that?

20 years. Retirement. New job. More stories of a past Army career. Old photos come out from time to time. My best friend always appears. Memories!Laughter! Sadness! Then tears.

Then God appears and says: Dog Handler! Look who's here!

The smell of a kennel is near. My best friend Fritz, 1K14 is here. I'm smiling. His tail is wagging. And more tears.

God Bless them all. Dog Handlers and their best friends.

Ken Olson



I was sent from Germany to Ft. Benning and at that point no one knew what the IPSD meant on my orders. Classified???

I arrived at Ft. Benning and was soon to find out. We were sent to the kennels to pick out our dog. I got by a kennel and saw the name Sgt Bilko and there in the back of the kennel was a dog just standing there. I said to the dog, If you are as stupid as the damn name you are my dog! The dog then lifted his head up and looked at me the way only a German Shepherd Dog looks at you. Wondering which one of us was the most stupid! That is how my dog got the name "Stupid" This was a name given with affection.

He was far from being a stupid dog and was responsible for saving my life many times and the lives of many others over the next few years. We went to Nam the last of Aug or 1st of Sept. Flew over in a C141 . 3-4 plane loads. Each plane had a 2-1/2 ton truck and trailer, people and dogs. Our plane had the LT's jeep and trailer, all extra dogs along with our own dogs and LT Limer, Harry Brown, Melander, myself and a few more. Left Warner-Robins AFB in GA . One aircraft at a time in a 3-4 day period, then on to McCord AFB in Seattle-Tacoma area, then to Alaska and on to Japan . From there another small island where we had to have the hydraulic system in the airplane repaired. From there we went toTonsunute AFB in Saigon.

The dogs were excercised in Alaska and Japan and when fed they were given a tranquilizer in their food. We ended up in tent city Bravo,Saigon.. The dogs were kept in old kennels that had been used by the Air Force. An Air Force Vet (Captain) attended to the dogs everyday for about a week.From there we were moved to Phan Rang to the 1st Bde 101st Airborne Div. We were put out on the perimeter near a garbage dump. The first night we slept under the stars. Helmets were used as water bowls and we had large aluminum bowls for the food. We had to dig holes to put the helmets and bowls in so the dogs did not tip them over.

There were three concrete pads for 3 GP tents. The NCO had one and the E4's and below had 2 tents. Limer and Cohenour shared a small Hex tent. We then had to build a wall of sandbags around the tents, 2 bags wide and 6-8 bags high. :Later on the engineers came in and poured concrete floors for the
vet shack and kennels. After that they built a vet shack and put up kennels. A new shower was built from a gasoline tank off of an airplane. Cleaned
out good and placed on top of a wooden frame. The engineers also help to build a small place for the guys to shave and wash. An AirForce 10KW Generator and a walk in refer was "FOUND" just laying around and the engineers helped set these up and then put electricity into the tents.

Handlers went to the field for at least 7 days and the average time was 25-30 days. Resupply of food for dogs and amno came in with the Infantry resupply chopper.. The longest time I spent in the field was 39 days. I was out for 22 days, came in long enough to get the mud off (about two days) and then back out for the 39 day period. Sgt. Bilko and I transferred to the 34thIPSD in May of 1967. to 1st Calvary Division. I left Nam July 1967, went to Ft. Campbell then Ft. Bragg and retired from the Military November30, 1978
I always wondered what happend to my dog and found out in March of 2002 that Sgt. Bilko was KIA in Oct of 1968 as was his handler Richard Banaszyski of Wisconsin while serving with the 34th IPSD. After all these years to find out my dog was KIA I sat down and cried.


The Turtle
by Gene Wimberly

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Rock Apes
by Walt Hamel

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The Great Protest
by Mike Beaver

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The Great Protest
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Phan Rang Raisin Bread
by Eddie Stott
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