Sunday, 26 June 2011

Celebrity Dog (10)

Hi Everyone.

Today we remember four celebrity dogs. Rebel, Cubby, Toby and Nemo.

Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam was attacked by a large force of Viet Cong commandos. Once inside the base, the enemy divided into smaller groups to attack their targets. Several sentry dog teams stationed on perimeter posts gave the initial alert and warning almost simultaneously. This early warning enabled security forces to successfully repel the attack, minimizing damage to aircraft and facilities.

During the initial assault, one handler George M Bevich Jr and three sentry dogs were killed.  Sentry Dog Rebel, was the first to be killed. At an adjacent post, Sentry Dog Cubby, alerted and was killed by gunfire. Another sentry dog, Toby, also alerted as the infiltrators advanced, and was killed by gunfire. The attack had been thwarted.

Just before total darkness on December 4th, 1966 after Sentry Nemo and his handler were posted, Nemo alerted to an attack by Vietnamese troops who had evaded earlier detection. Nemo and his handler were both wounded. Nemo's injuries included the loss of one eye and a gunshot wounded that ripped into his nose. 

Nemo in Recovery
Before help could arrive, Nemo, an 85 pound German shepherd, although severely wounded, protected his handler by crawling across his body, and guarding him against anyone who dared to come near. When help arrived, they were able to convince Nemo to leave his handler, who was then given first aid. Nemo, suffering from a gunshot wound to his face, and the lost of his right eye, was relieved of sentry dog duties.

Nemo A534 Returns Home
On 23 June 1967, Headquarters, USAF, directed that Nemo be returned to the United States as the first sentry dog officially retired from active service. His permanent retirement kennel was located at the Department of Defense Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas.  Sentry Dog Nemo was one of the few Military Working Dogs that returned home. Nemo died in December of 1972 at Lackland AFB shortly before the Christmas holiday.  The Vietnam War Hero was laid to rest on March 15, 1973 at the DoD Dog Center at the age of 11. 

Later the United States began to pull their armed forces from Vietnam. But, there would be no homecoming for the dogs.  Military regulations prohibited the return of these heroes to the United States.  It was against military policy for war dogs to re-enter civilian life after they had served in combat. It was also declared that the dogs were military equipment, thus classifying them as expendable.

The dogs that had so valiantly served their country and survived were abandoned in Vietnam and Thailand.  Many were given to the Thai military who already had an excess of dogs. No one truly knows what happened to these heroes.

Today we salute four celebrity dogs. Rebel, Cubby, Toby and Nemo.
Yip Yap.

XX Poppy

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