47th IPSD Diary

"A collection of platoon members' accounts of the times and events of the 47th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog)"

Select Year:1968|1969 |1970|1971

Contact 47ipsd@47ipsd.us to submit additions/changes/corrections


Date


Event/Comments


January 1971
01/20/71 Doug McCoy's tour ends.
01/30/71 Scout Dog Prince #74X1 killed. While leading a patrol through triple canopy jungle near Firebase Brick in Northern I Corps, Prince, handled by Dan Tupper, ran ahead of the patrol and stopped in the middle of the trail. Dan moved up to investigate and spotted a 60MM mortar round. He signaled his dog to return and began backing down the trail when the round was detonated by the enemy who had planned to ambush the unit. Prince was killed from the blast but no American soldiers were killed. Dan received the Bronze Star medal.

Dan recalled the events 30 years later (in a 1/30/01 e-mail) as follows:

"It was 30 years ago today that Prince 74x1 was blown up in an ambush. He realistically saved an entire platoon on that day. We were in an NVA basecamp and couldn't get out, but had their bunkers for our protection. It took until 8Feb71 for us to get out of it. We tried every day and were hit every day. They finally brought lots of help from outside to get us out. Prince made it possible for us to not lose a single life, even though there were some injuries after he was killed when we tried to move out. An amazing dog he was and a great job he did. 30 years and Prince still lives, at least in my memories."

Bob Altieri was the infantry platoon leader during this incident and described the following in a 07/31/01 e-mail to this web site:

"I was the platoon leader of 3d platoon Charlie Company, 2d Battalion 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne on the day Tupper describes in his diary. I was 5 feet behind Tupper when Prince was blown away by a mortar round signaling the start of an ambush. I am eternally grateful that Prince sacrificed his life by tripping that round. Otherwise, I and the rest of the lead element of my platoon would have walked into a well staged ambush. That day is my most vivid memory of Viet Nam."

Walter R Murley (Ronnie) who served with C Co 2/501st 101st, signed the Platoon Guestbook on 11/11/2007 and wrote the following:

"Just want to say thanks to all the handlers and let you know how much difference you made during the war. Jan . It was my turn to walk point but we had Dan Tupper and his dog Prince with us, we walked into an ambush and because of Prince they blew the ambush early Prince was killed but all of 3rd platoon made it. I was talking to Don Jestes in DC Sat and told him I was planning on posting this.Thanks Dan you did make a difference, I am forever grateful."
View the press clipping describing this event.
February 1971
02/11/71 The Army Commendation Medal "For exceptionally meritorious achievement" is awarded to PFC Richard T. Murray, PFC John Pinezaddleby, SSG Jon C. Wilde, PFC Paul M. Miller, and SP4 Kenneth Nywening.
March 1971
03/??/71 Cass Casimano returns to the States a few months early due to a death in his family.
03/08/71 Draft exemption for conscientious objectors, the Supreme Court ruled, must be based on opposition to all war, not just the Vietnam War.
03/15/71 While supporting Company D, 1st Bn (AMBL) 502nd Infantry Spec 4 Edward Reeves with his Scout Dog Prince 986A and James P. Kuezek with his Scout Dog Fat Albert 7K10 discover an incredible 12 enemy booby traps which prevented possible death or injury to a platoon of infantrymen. Reeves and Prince 986A discovered eight booby traps and Kuezek and Fat Albert 7K10 replacing the Reeves team discover another four earning them both the Bronze Star with "V" device. Fat Albert literally blocked Kuezek from advancing into the danger area. The 4 booby traps were rigged to go off simultaneously.

This incident is documented in the March 15, 1971 issue of the Screaming Eagle.

03/??/71 On a mission with his handler Frank Steinhebel, Scout Dog Bullet 6M29 falls down a waterfall and is unable to pull any further missions. Bullet also has a bad case of Red Tongue. Frank recalls that Bullet "bit quite a few people, but he did his job."
Frank is assigned Scout Dog Fritz who, according to Frank was "fat and out of shape so after two missions with him getting a bloody nose and walking behind me, I ended up walking slack for a few new guys until my time was up."
April 1971
04/??/71 John Pinezaddleby heads to Bangkok, Thailand for R&R. Dan Tupper leaves for Thailand on his R&R 3 days later.
May 1971
05/03/71 In what was called the Mayday antiwar protest in Washington D.C., the culmination of several weeks of antiwar activities in the nation's capital, thousands of demonstrators were arrested and confined when they tried to stop government activities by blocking traffic in the city.
05/??/71 Scout Dog Duke 96M0 WIA. While on patrol with his handler Steve Lemish, Duke stepped into a hole on a trail that some say was designed for a scout dog. It was on a "red-dot mission*." Duke and Steve were medivac'd via jungle penetrator to Phu Bai, where the dog was attended to in the MASH unit. They were then flown to Danang to catch an Air Force C-130 to Cam Rahn Bay, where Duke spent 5+ hours in surgery. He recovered fully after a period of physical therapy.

*red-dot mission defined (Steve Lemish):
"The last part of April 71 or the first week in May, a map was found (we heard it was on a dead enemy). It was determined to be an area near Hue out in the jungle. It had red dots on it and the first two grunt units sent to the "red dots" hit very big enemy caches. I remember one was an underground hospital. They also found all the trails leading to the "red dots" were heavily booby trapped, so they decided to take a scout dog to each of the remaining ones. There were approximately seven total. To my knowledge, all the scout dogs came from the 47th.

On or about the first of May the first scout dog went out to a red dot and was killed. I believe it was a guy only known to me as J.D., a guy from Texas. We received news the second was injured, but not to what extent, when I was packing up Duke for the chopper for the third red dot. I don't remember if I ever found out what was at the third red dot, but I think another dog was injured while I was in Saigon waiting on Duke in the hospital."

Steve was assigned to Scout Dog Lobo X958 during Duke's recovery time. Steve's Lobo recollection:

"Lobo was a very cool dog. Everyone thought he had wolf in him... By the time I got him, he could see out of one eye only. He was also an intense and very predictable dog-fighter. He always had an attitude, but then so did his handler."
June 1971
06/01/71 Scout Dog Dug #112M killed. His handler Lewis Paventy sent him out to walk the first leg of a mission. That afternoon Dug didn't go more than 300 meters before he was killed, saving his handler from harm (report from Sgt. Frank Stevens who was also on the mission with his dog King).

(e-mail from Lewis Paventy's wife to Bill Sawyer, Dug's first handler with the 47th, dated 4/15/06):

"My husband was in NAM 70-71.
My husband was leading a platoon down a downhill trail. There was an intersecting uphill trail at a right angle that couldn't be seen. Dug was off leash and as soon as he allerted an ambush took off up that right trail. There was shooting and then an explosion went off down that trail. Later my husband went up to see what happened to Dug and he had been shot in the chest before the blast had gone off. My husband burried him and booby-trapped the grave. Dug saved everyone in the platoon: No wounded and No dead. Dug was the only casualty. According to my husband, he was the best dog in his platoon. A few days later my husband found out that they were close to an underground hospital.

I hope this gives you peace of mind that Dug was not left behind, did not suffer was a true hero."

06/04/71 Scout Dog King #72M4 killed off of Firebase Tomahawk. Charles Frank Stevens with his dog Scout Dog King #72M4 were on patrol ahead of a unit of about 90 men who were following a map that had been found on an enemy officer. Twice King stopped and laid down on the trail in front of his handler and growled. Twice Stevens praised his dog until King got up and moved forward. The third time King left he did not return. The men were ready to go down a hill, when Stevens heard rustling off to the side. Stevens followed the noise and saw King pulling a North Vietnamese soldier out of a ditch. He had the man by the neck and was shaking him. Stevens started firing at the other men in the ditch and at that point "the whole world blew up". Machine gun fire ripped through the jungle killing King and wounding Stevens and his slack man. Stevens reported that his dog, "in his act of bravery (he) saved my life and the lives of countless others..."

Sgt. Stevens was sent to the 95th Evac. and from there to Japan. Once he left Japan he was sent to the hospital in Ft. Gordon and when released he finished his duty at the MP Dog School.

06/13/71 The New York Times begins publication of the 'Pentagon Papers,' a secret Defense Department archive of the paperwork involved in decisions made by previous White House administrations concerning Vietnam. Publication of the classified documents infuriates President Nixon.
July 1971
07/01/71 6,100 American soldiers depart Vietnam, a daily record.
07/02/71 Edward Reeves returns to the States.
07/??/71 HQ sign 2Bde 101stIn anticipation of the platoon stand down, the dogs are prepared for shipment and sent down south to Bien Hoa to an uncertain fate. The two mascots (Flexible and Sally-J) were sent to the 2nd Brigade Headquarters Company where they became mascots of that unit. Their ultimate fate is unknown.
07/21/71 47th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog) officially stands down, ending the platoon's service in Vietnam.
Postscript

Selix casualty infoSSGT James Selix Purple Heart


Vietnam Wall

Received from the Department of the Army:

Department of the Army
The U.S. Army Center of Military History
Organizational History Branch
101 Third Avenue
Fort Lesley J. McNair DC 20319-5058

STATEMENT OF SERVICE

47th INFANTRY PlATOON

  • Constituted 1 June 1945 in the Army of the United States as the 47th infantry Scout Dog Platoon
  • Activated 11 June 1945 at Fort Robinson, Nebraska
  • Inactivated 21 November 1945 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • Redesignated 31 October 1967 as the 47th Infantry Platoon and allotted to the Regular Army
  • Activated 2 January 1968 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Inactivated 21 July 1971 in Vietnam

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT

Vietnam
Counteroffensive, Phase IV
Counteroffensive, Phase V
Counteroffensive, Phase VI
Tet 69/Counteroffensive
Summer-Fall 1969
Winter-Spring 1970
Sanctuary Counteroffensive
Counteroffensive, Phase VII
Consolidation I

DECORATIONS

Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered QUANG THUONG DISTRICT
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968-1969
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1971
Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968-1970

Thanks to Veteran 58th IPSD Handler Robert Kollar for obtaining the above Unit SOS information


Select Year:1968|1969 |1970|1971

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