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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


Personal Histories of the Platoon

The 42nd IPSD in Vietnam
by Larry Limer, CO

The 42nd Infantry Platoon Scout Dog was activated in May of 1966. 2nd Lt. Larry Limar was assigned as commanding officer. Initially there were only sixteen privates and one NCO assigned to the unit when training began at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Several more would be added until there were thirty-two enlisted men and one officer. They would go through 12 weeks of training conducted by the NCO’s of the 26th IPSD. The training was completed in early August, 1966. The unit was reduced to the allotted strength of one officer and 26 enlisted men and then deployed to Vietnam at the end of August.

They arrived at Tan Son Nhut and spent their first month waiting to be assigned to a unit. Eventually they were assigned to the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division whose main base camp was Phan Rang. The platoon finally arrived at Phan Rang on Oct. 2, 1966. Once in Phan Rang they began training and conditioning the dogs and then completed the mandatory preparatory training for all new arrivals to the 1st. Brigade. Once finished with the training they moved to the forward area located at Tay Roa on Oct. 21, 1966.

The first operational assignment received by the unit was to assist in Operation Geronimo I. During the month of November the unit logged 311 days in the field with Patrick Copeland logging the most at 26 days. It was during this operation that the unit sustained its first dog casualty. Dog handler Gerald Corrigan lost his dog Sarge to hostile fire on November 2, 1966. This operation ended Dec. 3, 1966.

The unit then moved to Kontum to assist with Operation Pickett which began Dec. 9. There was a short break in the operation that began Dec. 23 and ran through Dec. 27. During the month of December the platoon logged 204 days in the field.

Sometime early in 1967 the units home base was established in Phan Rang. Initially the camp consisted of two tents, a vet shack, kennels, an out door latrine and a shower with an outside stand to shave at. The camp was named “Camp Bost” after dog handler Michael J Bost, who had been killed May 14, 1967. Mike's dog, Lady, was also KIA.

During 1967 the unit participated in Operation Seward/Tuy Hoa, Operation Malheur I & II/Duc Pho, and Operation Wheeler/Tam Ky. These operations were all planned as part of a multi task force operation of which the 1st Bde. 101st. Airborne Div. was a part.

During 1967 the unit also lost Gary Allen Rathbun and his dog Rex 8X60 on May 25th and Howard Lee Webb and his dog Dox on June 8th.

By 1968 many upgrades had been made. There were at least four semi permanent buildings with wood floors. The kennels had cement floors with a much needed roof. The shower and latrine had not improved.

In March of 1968 the 1st. Bde. relocated to Camp Eagle near the city of Phu Bai. The 42nd moved with them. The units compound consisted of two GP medium tents for the handlers, one GP medium for the vet tech, and smaller tents for the CO and platoon sergeants. There was also a shower and a two or three holler next to it. It was located on the side of a ravine and it even had some trees that offered some shade. The kennel area for the dogs was not as nice as it was in Phan Rang. Individual shelters for the dogs were built using ammo boxes, sand bags and a piece of plywood. Bunkers for the handlers were built and demonstrations were conducted to protest the slave labor. The unit would relocate within Camp Eagle sometime in August or September, 1968. There were significant upgrades in the living facilities with this relocation. The dog area was about the same. This new compound was located directly across from the kitchen facilities for the brigade. This came in handy for foraging parties to conduct midnight raids on the kitchen. On some occasions ice was obtained to cool down sodas and beer.

The 42nd IPSD participated in several different operations during 1968. When the 3rd Bde of the 82nd Airborne Division arrived it was under the operational control of the 101st. and the 42nd supported it along with the 1st Bde. The major operations in 1968 were Carentan I & II, Delaware, Somerset Plain and Nevada Eagle. Handlers from the 42nd played a significant role in these operations. Most of the missions during 1968 were conducted in the A Shau Valley and surrounding mountains. A Shau Valley was a major staging area for the NVA and a very dangerous place.

The following year, 1969, the unit also found most of their missions supporting operations that focused on trying to slow down the supplies, weapons and men coming into South Vietnam through the A Shau Valley. Operation Nevada Eagle continue through the month of Febrauary, 1969. Operation Kentucky Jumper began in March and ended some time in August 1969. The unit also supported 2/327 in Operation Massachusetts Striker during the same time that Kentucky Jumper was being executed.

The unit was also supporting an operation that was being conducted by the 5th Cav. located in Chu Lai. Several teams were sent. They spent about three months there. During this support operation with the 5th Cav. Elmer Ireland was killed.

We still need information for 1969-1971. Please email us with any information you might have.



The 42nd IPSD in Vietnam
by Mike Beaver

The unit was the 42nd.Scout Dog Platoon, assigned to the 101st. Airborne
Div.(42nd.IPSD). We were the second scout dog platoon to arrive in Nam and
stayed 5 years (66-71). Our base camp was originally in Phan Rang and was
named Camp Bost after a dog handler that was KIA in 67 (Mike Bost). Our original
mascot was a monkey named BOOM BOOM (caught later on by one of the dogs).In
67 the base camp consisted of two tents ,a vet shack, kennels, an outhouse,
and a stand out side to shave and wash your face and a shower. We were at
the outer edge of the perimeter of Phan Rang set up 50 yards from a ROK
artillery battery. After about a year in country some of the guys traded out
some poncho liners to the Air Force for a refrigerator (cold beer). We would
rotate to the forward area for whatever operation was going on and be sent
out via chopper to join the unit you were working with at the time. Handlers
usually spent 10-15 days in the field at a time. Dogs would wear out and
lose so much weight they needed to come out of the field and recover. An
operation usually lasted 1-3 months so you would be in the forward base camp
that long before going back to the base camp in Phan Rang. Most of the
guys carried 8-10 canteens of water because the info. you got before going
out was usually wrong and you couldn't afford to run out of water for
yourself or the dog. Ruck sacks weighed roughly 90 lbs. The 101st. normally
operated in the mountains, which usually meant more jungle than rice paddy
(fine with me). Biggest problems were leeches, not getting any air and staying
wet for 6 mo. at a time. Jiffy Pop, cool aid and cookies from home were
something that made you very popular. We were a very tight group even though
you didn't get to see some of the guys for months if you were out of
rotation. The grunts didn't know your name but they usually knew the dog's
name. Otherwise they referred to you as "dog man". Average weight of all the
guys at the time was 150-165 lbs. Only knew two of the CO's.
Capt. Langdon and later Lt. Bircumshaw.

Mike Beaver and King 67/68


The 42nd IPSD in Vietnam
by Harold Bircumshaw, CO

This is a narrative history of my experiences in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) with the 42nd Infantry Platoon Scout Dog. Very few names are known, and even fewer dates can be recalled for this narrative. It was a long time ago; nearly forty years, and a lot has been forgotten, or pushed out of memory. I am sure that some of the memories I am writing about here are erroneous in some ways, but I will write as truthfully as I can. It is my hope that some of the men of the 42nd will read this and be motivated to write of their own memories of that time and that place, years ago.

I arrived in Vietnam after going through Scout Dog Training School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was toward the end of April as I went through Indoctrination Training (Indoc) at the Tan Son Nyut Air Force Base near Saigon. This was a week-long training session to acclimatize and indoctrinate incoming soldiers. After about four days, I noticed a bloody jungle boot in the 1st Sgt's office. It had a large gaping hole where there used to be someone's ankle. This reminded me that we were told back in Ft. Benning that a handler named Bost was just recently killed in action (KIA) from the 42nd IPSD. Vietnam was indeed a dangerous place, and my training days were over. I asked what happened to the man with the bloody boot and was told that the owner shot himself with an M-16 rifle. "Good morning Vietnam! Welcome"

Back in the U.S., I was told that I would relieve Capt. Langdon in Phan Rang. While en-route, my orders were changed to the Hue/Phu Bai area to where the 42nd relocated. Hue is the imperial (ancient) capital of Vietnam. The Perfume River runs through Hue and it is the greenest river I have ever seen. If it weren't for the ugliness of war-concertina wire, sand bags, reinforced bunkers, weapons on every corner, and trash everywhere-the Perfume River would be the most beautiful river I have ever seen. Later, I accompanied several members of the 42nd to the Perfume River where we swam and cleaned up before we were kicked out by the MP's. They thought we were nuts. I must have blocked the incident out of my mind for all of these years until I saw slides of all of us in the river, smiling sheepishly.

Phu Bai is the village next to Camp Eagle. Camp Eagle was the headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division. The 101st became the Airmobile Division at some time in history, but I don't remember when. The 42nd IPSD was assigned to support search and destroy operations of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Dog teams from the 42nd usually traveled with the point company of one of the battalions, providing silent, early warning in the direction of movement.
A dog team was composed of a handler and his dog. A "slack man" was usually assigned by the host company to follow the dog team and provide small arms support for the team since the handler has his weapon shouldered, and his attentions on his dog, and is fairly defenseless should a fire fight break out.

Dog teams were rotated out of the field and into the base camp after a week of patrolling. This allows the handler and his dog to recoup and be retrained. Retraining for the dogs was necessary to keep their focus on work, and for the handler to keep in "tune" with his dog. Sometimes two teams would support the same company if there was significant enemy activity. One team was kept in reserve, and then rotated to point after a period of time. Walking point with a dog is stressful, to say the least; and dangerous, to say the obvious.

When I arrived at Camp Eagle, Sgt Woods was platoon sergeant. Staff Sergeant Woods rotated (DEROSED) to the U.S. a couple months later. It seemed that I would just get to know the soldiers and they would rotate and be replaced by someone new. SSGT Woods had an assistant, SSGT Wallace who received a field commission, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and went to the U.S. for training and further deployment.

Platoon SGT Woods was replaced by SFC Armijo (pronounced Armeeho), who became "Army-Joe" to those who knew him. He could play a mean harmonica and could get more things done using a fifth of Jack Daniels for bartering than anyone I knew.

The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) made a huge combat push starting in February, 1968, that involved all of South Vietnam, from the Northern I Corps, to the Mekong Delta. Little did I know what was going on until one night we were playing cards, and I heard this "wooshing" sound go overhead. It sounded just like the underwater propeller sound a boat makes when it drives by. The wooshing propeller sound was in the air and could only mean one thing: Incoming! My card-playing partner, a Chief Warrant Officer assigned to the Brigade, said "No way," and I thought he was right because I couldn't hear any thud, or explosion, until about 10-20 seconds later. Then, BOOM! We grabbed our helmets, weapons and clothing and headed for the bunkers. The next day, there was a large crater in the Brigade area.

Our bunkers were trenches dug with a back hoe, then covered with metal corrugations, and then covered with sand bags. I was in Saigon while the work was being done on the bunkers. When the back hoe severed the main land line between I Corps and the rest of Vietnam, all hell broke loose. I guess there were Generals and Sergeant Majors, helicopters, MP's, and construction workers all over the place trying to figure out why there was no communication in all of I Corps. There was never a dull moment in Vietnam, in 1968.

There were monthly meetings of the dog units, held in Saigon. One such meeting, I went with several handlers who were about to DEROS. That is where I experienced a scene right out of "Apocalypse Now". We were on the tenth floor of a hotel. Cute Vietnamese ladies were serving drinks to the military and drinking "Saigon Tea" themselves. I learned that Saigon Tea really was tea, but it looked like whiskey and cost just as much. One waitress confided in me that she "drink Saigon Tea; drink some more, as long as someone buy for me."

On the outskirts of Saigon, where the lights of the city formed an arc, beyond which was forested blackness, there was a firefight going on and we were witnessing it as though watching it on television. The helicopters and C-130 gunships were spraying the area with deadly M-60 rounds. The tracers made an un-interrupted stream of red from the muzzles to the ground. It looked like red liquid flowing down from the sky. Every fifth round was a tracer bullet, so you knew that the fire was unbelievably intense. There were tracers coming from the ground and flying off into the sky as well. These were the NVA shooting back. Tet was still in progress. People were killing, and being killed, at the edge of the city as we sipped our rum and cokes, and the waitresses drank Saigon Tea.

Back at Camp Eagle, Ivan Roldan DEROSED and his dog, Mandy, was without a handler for quite some time. I inspected Mandy and found she was full of ticks. That night I spent hours with her in my tent pulling off ticks and drowning them in water. Mandy didn't like it much and eventually escaped my hold and ran for freedom. It was raining hard and I was running through muddy fields bare-footed trying to find and catch Mandy. I don't recall how we got Mandy back, but we did. Later, she was joined by Bivona, her new handler. Mandy liked him very much and they bonded well. She must have held a grudge against me, though, from the time I pulled off her ticks, because one day I got inside her chained area. When I saw the look in her eyes, I knew she was going to attack. I was able to jump back just in time as she lunged at me. Lucky for me, she just bit my fatigues and tore them off. I often thank my lucky stars for her missing the parts of my anatomy she was after.

Sometime in 1968, we were joined by a tracker platoon. The tracker handlers all seemed to have "woods savvy", like they grew up on farms or in the mountains. The 1st Lt. really enjoyed his R&R in Australia. As soon as he got back, he said he had to go again. Sure enough, he did.
Tracker teams were injected into an area where contact with the NVA was broken off, and the commander on the ground wanted to re-establish contact. The teams were dropped off by helicopter, usually by being repelled from the chopper. The tracker dog, usually a black lab, would get the scent and away the team would go. I have to give credit and honor to all scout and tracker dog men. They all deserve our support and admiration.

SFC Armijo and I went out with the dog teams occasionally. I remember one team I accompanied. We were assigned to a platoon who took refuge on a hilltop studded with bunkers. It was dark and I searched for and found the Lieutenant in one of the bunkers. Problem was, everyone in his outfit was in the bunker with him. This made me nervous, so I inspected the security of our perimeter. There wasn't any. No one was on watch. One satchel charge thrown into the bunker could have wiped out the whole platoon. I didn't sleep at all that night.
Another time, we showed up at a fire support base (FSB) at night. We found an empty briefing tent and decided to sleep there till morning. Before midnight, a battery of Quad 40's started firing just up and behind the briefing tent. They were firing at a mountain side a click away, across the valley. The Quad 40's fired with a deafening roar and we jumped two feet in the air. That was another night of no sleep.

Artus K012 must have been our biggest, and most beautiful dog. I believe he was teamed with Sgt Bolden for most of the year. One night a battery of 155's stationed at Camp Eagle opened up fire and caused a commotion with the dogs. Artus K012 wouldn't calm down, so I tried to keep him company. Just then the 155's fired another salvo and Artus bit me. I'm sure that he bit me out of a reflex reaction to the noise.

I remember of somber memorial held for our fallen handler Gyulveszi. He was KIA while on patrol. At his memorial, his M-16 was fitted with a bayonet and stuck in the ground, and his helmet was placed on top. His dog was leashed to the weapon while the Chaplin gave the eulogy. The 42nd stood at parade rest. Some memories never fade.

Some of our wounded went through the hospital ship, Mercy, which was moored in the bay off Da Nang. I was able to visit one wounded handler on board the Mercy. I don't remember his name. Could have been Robert Greenfield.

My last memory of Vietnam was of a jeep ride out about five miles to FSB Bastogne. I wanted to show the new Lt. Shelly Henry around. I was due to DEROSE the next day. When we arrived at the FSB, the SMAJ came over and said, "I guess the road must be safe since you guys just cleared it." I was too short to be clearing roads!

I boarded the plane to America the next day. As it lifted off the tarmac, every soldier on the plane gave a big sigh of relief, and then everyone yelled a hardy YEAH!

Now, nearly 40 years after my stint in Vietnam, there are certain sounds and smells that instantly transport me back to that war torn country. Huey helicopters were used so much in Vietnam that they became as familiar to us then as taxicabs are to visitors in Manhattan now. They were constantly overhead, and when I hear one today, it gives me reason to pause. Droppings from outhouses were collected in half-barrels and burned frequently. The smell of burning refuge and diesel oil was ever present around the camps and fire bases. For years after returning home I would flinch and duck my head down at a loud noise like the backfire of a passing car. I don't do that anymore.

Thanks to Mike Beaver and Walt Hamel for supplying the initial information that spurred me to write this. Beaver wrote of facts from letters to home and back. The time lines expressed in his letters were very helpful to me. Walt sent a wealth of information on the names of operations, dates and units involved in action.

Finally, thanks to Jackie McIntyre for pursuing a written history of the 42nd. She has been like a mother (many handlers call her "mom") and historian, counselor, and buddy to many of us. Without Jackie and her husband, Tom, this history would not be written; and contact amongst members of the 42nd would not be so special or so extensive. Thank you Beaver, Walt, and Jackie!

Harold Bircumshaw, LCDR, RET.


The 42nd IPSD in Vietnam
by Tom Shea

July 29, 1967 - Bien Hoa - 18th Repl Co.
7-30-67 - 101st Airborne
8-02-67 - Phan Rang - 2nd BN 327th Inf.
8-11-67 - Duc Pho
8-25-67 - 40 miles south of DMZ - Phu Bai
9-10-67 - Chu Lai
10-06-67 Thien Phouc
10-18-67 - Left Thien Phouc
11-67 - in Dog Handlers
12-01-67 - Bien Hoa
12-09-67 - left Phan Rang
12-13-67 - Bien Hoa
12-31-67 - Phan Rang (Song Be)
Letter of 2-07-68 - CIB and Purple Heart
3-08-68 Between Phu Bai and Hue
4-02-68 - Bien Hoa
4-07-68 - Phan Rang
5-24-68 - Outside Phu Bai
Before that - mouth of A Shah Valley
7-05-68 - Bien Hoa

On operations:
Bear Cat, Duc Pho, Chu Lai, Song Be, Thien Phouc,
Phan Rang, Phan Thiet,
(Bo Lot, Saigon, Long Binh, Camron Bay-up until 2-22-68)

Tom Shea and Moe X363 67/68


The 42nd IPSD in Vietnam
by Walt Hamel


During Operation Randolph Glen (7 DEC 69 - 31 MAR 70) most of the 101st Airborne Division was on shield / security and pacification. The ARVNs (Army of the Republic ofVietnam) were supposed to be in the mountains doing most of the Search & Destroy missions. The 42nd IPSD continued to scout for the infantry battalions in the mountains, piedmont area and the lowlands. By March it was obvious that the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) had been able to move out of their sanctuaries in Laos and the Ashua Valley and had constructed / repaired numerous bunker complexes and base camps in the mountainous jungle between the Laotian frontier and the piedmont area Scout dog teams were making more and more contact with the NVA and finding occupied and unoccupied bunker complexes and hidden supply caches of food, ammo, weapons and medical supplies.

Operation Randolph Glen cost the 42nd IPSD : 2 scout dogs (KIA)
2 scout dog handlers (KIA)

Following Randolph Glen was Operation Texas Star (1 APR 70 - 5 SEP 70)Operation Texas Star was a total offensive operation of the 101st Airborne Division. Seven of the Ten infantry battalions would conduct offensive operations against the communist NVA. In a number of small operations elements of infantry battalions CAed (combat air assaulted) repeatedly all over the AO (area of operations).

The AO of the 101st Airborne Division was northern I Corps (military region 1)and since the Marines were all pulled out and at DaNang the 101st was responsible for the entire AO with the exception of a small area of flatland by the coast at the DMZ. (this was the AO of the 1stBde., 5th Infantry Div. (Mechanized).

The AO in "Eye Corps" was mostly double and triple canopy jungle with mountains up to1000 meters high , some with sheer almost vertical cliffs. In one or two days you could go from 4-6 foot razor sharp elephant grass to 4-6 inch diameter bamboo "forests" to double and triple canopy jungles, so dark it was almost like night, filled with giant elephant ear-like leaves, vines and bushes with 2 inch thorns, young trees, old 100 foot plus Teak and Mahogany trees, streams, rivers, dry river beds, waterfalls and of course the mountains. Within all this lived poisonous snakes, tigers, rock apes (baboons), large hairy leeches, land leeches, red and black biting ants, tarantula-like spiders, 12 inch walking stick insects, "banana" spiders with 1/2 dollar size bodies and long thin 6 inch legs, large orange and brown centipedes that bit/stung and left a huge welt, nests of stinging wasps and hornets and of course millions of ticks and mosquitoes. On top of all this there were companies, battalions and regiments of NVAs.

The dogs suffered from the high heat and humidity, from cuts on their paws and legs from the elephant grass, bamboo and thorns, bites from various insects that closed up eyes and leeches hanging all over including up their nose. They would be covered with ticks.

The temperature was very high most days and would drop down to the 60s at night. In the mountains it rained almost every day, even if just for an hour or two. Thunderstorms came with close-up lightning strikes. During the night you could hear large trees crashing to the ground, weakened by so much shrapnel.

The fighting was intense and constant , we were in the NVAs backyard and they had the advantage. Walking point was nerve wracking but the dogs did their job alerting us to the presence of enemy, bunkers and booby traps. It would be impossible to calculate the lives saved because of our scout dogs.

During Texas Star the 42nd IPSD was mainly in the FSB Veghel area, Hill 714, Hill 882, the Ashau Valley, Rhoung Rhoung Valley and Elephant Valley. We also went on missions around FSB Brick, FSB Jack, FSB Tomahawk, FSB Bastogne, Leech Island and others. We were also put on ambush patrols with various units. We would go outside the Camp Eagle perimeter a short distance and set up for the night. We also pulled guard duty for the CO of HHC 1st Bde.

The 42nd IPSD , 557th IPCT , and "L" Co. Ranger were used as a ready reaction force. On these missions no dogs would be used , only people from the 3 units that were in the rear.

Documents were captured during Texas Star proving that the NVA had a reward or bounty for both the scout dogs and the scout dog handlers. Stacks of paper were found, in a bunker complex , with crude drawings of a dog with a severed head and also a handler with a severed head and the Screaming Eagle and Scout Dog scroll removed from the sleeve. The Kit Carson Scout translated the writing and the dollar amount was $1000.00 for the dog's head and the same for handler's head and shoulder insignia.

Operation Texas Star cost the 42nd IPSD : 7 scout dogs (KIA)
3 scout dogs (WIA)
2 scout dogs (non-combat deaths)

Texas Star was followed by Operation Jefferson Glen (5 SEP 70 - 8 OCT 71).This was also known as OP-ORD 13-70.

Operation Jefferson Glen cost the 42nd IPSD : 6 scout dogs (KIA)
1 scout dog handler (KIA)
2 scout dog handlers (WIA)

Walt Hamel and Smokey 58A8



Mike Beaver

Mike Beaver





Mike Beaver