47th IPSD 2002 Reunion: Pedestal Dedication Speeches

Sacrifice Field, Fort Benning, Georgia
Saturday, May 11, 2002

Americal Division

Unit History of the 59th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog)

The 47th and 59th were formed at the same time at Fort Benning, Georgia in late January and early February of 1968. The members and the dogs were trained at the USAIC DOG TRAINING facility.

Contact Bert Hubble to submit additions/changes/corrections


Date


Events-Recollections-Memories


02/12/51 The 59th Infantry Counterfire Platoon was constituted in the Regular Army.
10/28/51 After participating in the UN Summer Fall Offensive Campaign in Korea the unit was inactivated.
10/19/67 The 59th Infantry Counterfire Platoon was redesignated as the 59th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog).
1/02/68 The 59th IPSD was activated at Fort Benning Georgia in compliance with General Order Number 341, Third U.S. Army, Fort McPherson, Georgia
4/04/68 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at age 39 by a sniper in Memphis Tnn. The event was followed by a week of rioting in urban black ghettos. New York City remained calm but Washington, DC was seriously disrupted. Kings funeral in Atlanta, GA, on April 9 was attended by an estimated 75,000 people.
4/11/68 The installation POM inspection was conducted on this date.
4/29/68-4/30/68 The unit participated in an Operational Readiness Test (ORT). The test was evaluated by the Commanding Officer, Headquarters Detachment Scout Dog, US Army and the unit was rated combat ready.
5/03/68 The 59th IPSD graduates as part of Class #3 from Scout Dog Training School, 197th Infantry Brigade, Fort Benning, Georgia. Personnel are issued two weeks leave with orders to report back to Fort Benning by 5/15/68 to prepare for deployment to the Republic of South Vietnam.
5/10/68 Peace talks opened in Paris with W. Averell Harriman representing the U.S. and Xan Thuy representing North Vietnam.
5/16/68 A unit readiness inspection was conducted by a Third US Army Team. The unit is considered operationally ready to perform its TOE mission. The inspection team consisted of Col. D. L. Benton, Jr. and LTC J.T. McGuffie.
5/28/68 After three months training at Fort Benning GA the 59th IPSD departs from Lawson Army Airfield for the Republic of Vietnam under the leadership of 2nd LT Stephen J. Misajon and First Sergeant Romaine Otto. The Unit is assigned to support the 11th Infantry Brigade of the 23d Infantry Division (Americal Division) under the command of Col. Oran K. Henderson. The unit consisted of 4 squads of 6 dog teams each, a Platoon Clerk, Veterinary Technician. Platoon Sergeant and Commanding Officer.
1SGT Otto and 1LT Misajon
After stops at Elendorf AFB, Alaska, and Yakota AFB, Japan the platoon arrives at Cam Ranh Bay RVN at 07:30 AM on 05/28/68. The temperature at time of arrival is reported to be 94 degrees and got up to 108 degrees in the sun that day. The platoon is told that this is the hottest place in Vietnam. The dogs are put in quarantine for 10 days and two men are assigned to stay with the dogs.
6/02/68 Sgt. Otto arranges for special air transport to have the trucks and most of the men flown up to Duc Pho where the platoon established their first Base Camp at Fire Support Base Bronco just outside the hamlet of Duc Pho about 70 km south of Chu Lai, RVN..
6/04/68 The rest of the platoon members are transported up county and arrive at Duc Pho.
6/05/68 Lt. Misajon and 18 of the men begin a one week in country training coarse at Chu Lai (required for all new people in country). The Army Corps of Engineers are working from daylight to dark to have the kennels completed by June 15.
6/05/68 Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed by Sirhan B. Sirhan in Los Angeles after delivering a victory speech after the June 4 California Democratic Primary.
6/10/68 General William C. Westmorland turns over command of the U.S. forces in Vietnam to General Creighton W. Abrams. Westmoreland had been appointed Chief of Staff, a move interpreted as reflecting disappointment with the conduct of the war.
7/24/68 Handler Russell M. Erickson and his Scout Dog Silver X101 were the first to become KIA from the 59th IPSD. Silver is believed to have tripped a wire that set off an explosive device.
8/08/68 The Republican National Convention nominated Richard M. Nixon as their candidate for president.
8/29/68 The Democratic National Convention nominated Hubert H. Humphrey as their candidate for president. The convention was the most violent in U.S. history. Antiwar protesters clashed with police and National Guardsmen. Hundreds of people, including bystanders and the press were beaten by police, some in full view of the cameras.
Clarence Hickson was in a dead sleep on perimeter watch one night when the camp was attacked by a sapper attack. Clarence woke up in time to let his dog loose to go after the sappers. The next morning the dog returned with a mouth full of human butt. The dog was awarded an Army Commendation medal for his actions that night. (Date of incident is not confirmed-to be determined)
10/25/68 Scout Dog Sergeant Bilco 8X00 KIA.
10/31/68 Bombing of North Vietnam was ordered stopped by President Johnson.
11/01/68 SFC Perry Bethune replaces Platoon Sgt. Otto. (Date Approximate)
11/05/68 Richard M. Nixon elected President of the United States.
12/1/68 James Morris' dog alerted. Jimmie heard a pop and immediately knocked the three men immediately behind him to the ground, just before a 250 pound booby-trapped bomb went off. Jimmie was wounded severely but lived and his dog was uninjured. The 9 men in the unit behind Jimmy's group were all killed. He and his dog saved at least four lives that day. It is not known if Jimmy ever received any recognition for his actions. The date of this incident is not exact. (It occurred sometime in late 1968 or early 1969.)
3/30/69 Replacement Handlers to the unit included Sgt. Malinowski from Chicago and Osvaldo Algarin & Julio Gonzales both from Puerto Rico. (Date Approximate)
4/03/69 U.S combat deaths in Vietnam since January 1961 reach 33,641 topping the 33,629 killed in the Korean War.
7/19/69 Lee Scarborough is in a bunker when it blows up. He is decorated with a Bronze Star but is sent home early due to memory loss.
7/19/69 Scout Dog handler Heether becomes WIA (reference After Action Report dated 8/8/69).
7/19/69 Scout Dog Major #375M becomes WIA and is sent to Hospital 764 at Cam Rahn Bay (reference After Action Report dated 8/8/69).
7/20/69 Cornell Horne and his dog Andy #032M (the Rock Chewing Dog) becomes WIA. Cornell and Andy were on their first mission together. The unit they were with had captured two VC and were on a hilltop in an unreported position. Some South Vietnamese soldiers saw them and called in mortar file. Cornell gives credit to Andy for saving his life that day by shielding his head from the incoming rounds. Cornell received the Purple Heart and Andy is sent to Hospital 764 at Cam Rahn Bay. The hilltop turns out to be over an underground VC Hospital (reference After Action Report dated 8/8/69).
7/22/69 Scout Dog Toby #X363 dies. Details not known.
8/3/69 Andrew Delucia becomes WIA. Details not known.
10/15/69 The first Vietnam Moratorium Day was observed by millions with prayer vigils, candlelight processions, mass meetings, and black armbands. President Nixon ignored it. Vice President Agnew on October 19 called Protest Leaders "an effete corps of impudent snobs."
10/18/69 2Lt Paul LaFontaine Marchant became a casualty as a result of burns received in a non-hostile incident. His name is located on the Vietnam Wall Panel 17W - Line 88.
10/28/69 Charges that an illegal war in Laos was being conducted without congressional knowledge or consent were leveled against the administration.
59th IPSD sign
11/00/69 Jerry Compton's dog does not alert on a booby trapped artillery round while on patrol. The explosion causes Jerry to loose both legs but he survives the incident. (Date of incident not confirmed-to be determined).
11/03/69 Nixon said that the secret U.S. Peace Proposal had been rejected by the North Vietnamese. Nixon asked the nation to support his plans to "Vietnamize" the war, that is, encourage South Vietnam to pursue the war on its own, and withdraw U.S. troops.
11/10/69 Scout Dog Mile 760M KIA.
11/11/69 Pro-American demonstrations in support of U.S. policy in Vietnam by U.S. citizens whom President Nixon called the great silent majority mark this years Veterans Day observances.
11/20/69 Henry Cabot Lodge resigned as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks.
12/15/69 President Nixon announced U.S. troop strength would be cut by 110,000 to 434,000 by April 12, 1970.
1/1/70 In January of 1970 2nd Lt. William L. Eberle is known to have been in charge of the unit and signed Monthly Action Reports.

The Commanders comments for January were as follows:

SDT during the month of January were employed generally in perimeter defense and perimeter patrol. Constant training program has been initiated. Missions consisted of 147 Perimeter Defense, 3 Combat Assaults and 3 Village Patrols. One captured VC/NVA turned out to be a sapper instructor who was on the 10 most wanted list in our AO. He escaped from POW Camp LZ Bronco and was at large for 24 hours on LZ before he was killed by a bunker guard.
  59th IPSD, early 1970, Lt. William Eberle, center standing - others unidentified
 
59th IPSD
2/13/70 Handler Lawrence W. Yochum and his Scout Dog King 7A65 were KIA from a boobytrap while working with Co. A 4/21. SP4 Yochums dog did alert on the boobytrap according to the other SD Handler present but Yochum went forward to check it out and detonated the boobytrap with his rifle. Sgt. Zimmerman and his dog Fritz 3M21 received minor shrapnel wounds from the blast.

Platoon Commander William L. Eberle promoted to 1LT.

February Missions consisted of 39 Searches, 28 Recons, 6 Outposts, 45 Perimeter Patrols, 8 Combat Assaults and 2 Village Searches.

3/01/70 Sgt. Snow was wounded while on an operation with A 4/21 in the same general location where SP4 Yochum was killed. The company Point Man was in front walking point for SGT Snow and he had walked over what is believed to have been a mine. Sgt. Snow's dog Brutus walked over it also and Sgt Snow stepped on it and it exploded.
3/05/70 The men of the 59th IPSD write a letter to the Animal Foundation Institute of America in Sacramento CA protesting the Army's policy of treating the dogs as property & equipment and prohibiting the dogs to return to the United States under any circumstances.

Commanders Comments for March are as follows:

Training program is continuing in order to keep handlers and dogs alert and also to train newly assigned personnel. Due to the number of handlers and observers scheduled to DEROS within the next 60 days, 5 replacements are required to maintain present strength. Scout Dog support days increasing due to the constant increase in enemy activity which is believed will continue over the next few months. No Vet Tech has been received by the platoon as of this time. The OJT handler is doing very good job at this time. Replacement input continues to be very good.

March Missions consisted of 33 Searches, 11 Recons, 2 Outposts, 2 Combat Assaults. Dogs reported to have detected 4 enemy ambushes, 2 cashes, 4 Tunnels, 6 Spiderholes, 4 Camps, 2 Bunkers and 1 Cave.

4/29/70 A military invasion of Cambodia, called an incursion by the White House was launched by some 50,000 U.S. and Vietnamese troops. The operation aimed at destroying Vietcong and North Vietnamese sanctuaries, was announced by President Nixon in a television address on April 30.
4/30/70 Commanders Comments for April:
Training program has been improved by the use of firing devices for sound effect on booby traps. Training is a continuing thing due to the number of booby traps in the area. Unit strength is at a very good level at the present time. Their are 4 EM departing by July 1, at which time, replacements would be very valuable. No replacements requested at this time due to the limited area and kennel space. The larger number of support days for the month was due to the Bde Commander committing Scout Dogs to the perimeter in support of the normal perimeter guards. This has resulted in 2 VC KIA and disrupting a Sapper Attack.

April Missions consisted of 42 Searches, 44 Recons, 109 Perimeter Operations. Scout Dogs reported to have alerted on 6 Ambushes, 12 Booby traps, 6 Base Camps and 6 Tunnels.

5/04/70 Four students were killed at Kent State University in Ohio when National Guard troops fired on some 600 antiwar demonstrators, some of whom had been throwing rocks at the guardsmen and taunting them.
5/15/70 Two students were killed at Jackson State College in Jackson Miss. when city and state police opened fire on demonstrators.
5/31/70 Commanders Comments for May are as follows:
A more strenuous training program has been initiated to attempt to better prepare dogs and handlers for the heat. The commitments for the past week has resulted in 4 dogs and one handler being dusted off from heat. Having enough water for dogs is one of the biggest problems of this platoon at this time. Using units are not assisting in support of the dog teams in getting water for them, and not calling dust off helicopters as they should. Recommend that a letter from DTD be sent to all major using units, with instructions on proper use and priority of dust off for dogs. This platoon has given classes to two of the using battalions on use of Scout Dogs.

May Missions consisted of 52 Searches, 51 Recons, 36 Perimeter Patrols. Dogs reported to have alerted on 6 ambushes, 14 Booby Traps, 2 Cashes, 1 Mine which was a 105 round which was blown in place and 2 Tunnels. As a direct result of Scout Dog Alerts 3 enemy were KIA and a 1000 pounds of rice was detected.

8/00/70 First Lieutenant Tommy Prisoc takes over as Unit Commander. It is reported that his hooch is shot up one night when he is at the Officers Club. (Date of his arrival is approximate. Date of incident not known).
9/2/70 Scout Dog Buddy 6M61 was KIA when he hit a boobytrap. His handler who is believed to be Tom Blanton was slightly injured.
10/26/70 Scout Dog Prince 288A was KIA (Details Unknown)
01/00/71 Lom Song 719 is the South Vietnamese attempt to convince the American Politicians that they can engage and win battles with the North by invading an NVA stronghold in Laos (West of the DMZ). The 59th IPSD is sent to a hill Northwest of Hue as part of the support for the invasion along with parts of the 11th Brigade. The 59th IPSD is transported to Hue by LST (WWII Assault Landing Ships). After landing at Hue, the 59th IPSD is temporarily assigned to guard a warehouse of soda and beer, before moving to the hill. The handlers of the 59th IPSD engaged in numerous actions. One handler is WIA and his dog killed. Exact Date unknown.
3/13/71 On or about this date the unit moved to LZ Hawk Hill, 34 km south of Da Nang to assist the mission of the 48th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog).
4/12/71 On or about this date the unit returned to Fire Support Base Bronco to resume their current task with the 11th Infantry Brigade.
4/24/71 Sergeant Richard Maurice Beauregard is KIA with his Dog Heidi X017. (See following entry dated 4/27/71 for details).
4/27/71 First Lieutenant Howard David Payne is killed. Two Dog Teams were requested by an Americal Company. The two handlers assigned to the mission were relatively green so Sgt. Dean Harrison and Lt. Howard David Payne III were to accompany the teams into the field acting as "shotguns" Harrison and one dog team were dropped by a resupply helicopter at one of the platoons. Payne and the other Scout Dog Team (Richard Maurice Beauregard and his Dog Heidi X017) were dropped at another platoon which had the CP. As evening approached, the platoon with the CP climbed a hill into its night position in Quang Ngai Province, an abandoned 50 Cal emplacement. As the platoon entered the night position, with Beauregard. at point and Lt. Payne his slack man they walked into a "Daisy Chain" of 105mm rounds that were set up in a rocky area that the trail went through. Richard Maurice Beauregard and his dog were killed instantly. Payne survived and was evacd, but died several days later. Other soldiers from the unit were killed and injured also. The trap may have been detonated by remote control. After Lt. Payne is killed, Homer I. Still is assigned as Platoon Commander. He was trained as a tank commander and is eager to take command but his has no background with Scout Dogs.
5/03/71 In what was called the Mayday antiwar protest in Washington D.C., the culmination of several weeks of antiwar activities in the nations capital, thousands of demonstrators were arrested and confined when they tried to stop government activities by blocking traffic in the city.
5/31/71 Scout Dog Blitz was KIA (Details Unknown)
6/05/71 The Unit was moved to Chu Lai when FSB Bronco was given to the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. Reports tell of the local Vietnamese taking over the 59th IPSD compound and converting the kennels into a series of cooking establishments. The Unit continued to support the 11th Infantry Bridage from Chu Lai. A few weeks after the move, the Vietnamese (Luc, Tom, Pop) who used to clean the kennels, wash the cloths and keep the 59th IPSD compound clean suddenly appeared at the new compound at Chu Lai. He says they have sold all their possessions and converted the money to gold. He says they are going to Saigon where it is safer.
7/00/71 Scout Dog Buddha was considered to be one of the oldest yet the meanest dog in the unit. He is reported to have gotten out while his handler was on R&R. Commanding Officer Homer I Still tries to catch the dog and is badly bitten on the arm. (Date Approximate-Confirmation of Date to Follow - if possible)
8/00/71 Barnett (First Name not remembered), a lifer Staff Sergeant is reported to have beaten another soldier with a hammer over a drug issue and is given the option of a Court Martial or Resignation from the Army. He chose to leave the Army. (Exact date to be confirmed but this is considered a close date to the actual incident.)
8/16/71 Scout Dog Duke and his handler SP4 Robert S. Wilson were searching a trail as the point element of D Co. 1/52 Infantry when Duke detected and sprung an ambush that was believed to have been able to wipe out the entire company. Duke was wounded but lived but his handler was unhurt. The Veterinarian in Chu Lai (Capt. Tom Gillaspie) saved Duke's life. Because of the bravery of this team SP4 Wilson was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device and Duke was put up for the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and the Battalion was so impressed by Duke and his great effort that a new Landing Zone was named after Duke (LZ Duke).
8/30/71 Scout Dog Taro 287M KIA (Details Unknown)
9/30/71 One Scout Dog that arrived in country with the Original Unit on 5/28/68 was still alive and well and pulling missions when the unit stood down. That Scout Dog was named Fritz (his last handler was known to be (Sgt. Jonas N. Worsham. Two other Scout Dogs believed to be two of the oldest dogs in Viet Nam were Andor (assigned to Sgt William Whitehouse III) and Little Duke (assigned to SP4 Gregory Strauch)

Andy (named after his dog's name) Worsham and his brother Jonas Worsham both served as Scout Dog handlers with the 59th IPSD at the same time. Andy was the first one to join the unit and his brother arrived later. They were not twins and the circumstances of their both serving are not remembered.

9/30/71 The 59th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog) was deactivated in Chu Lai , ending the units service in the Republic of Vietnam. Announcement of the 59th IPSD standing down hits everyone hard. Some will be going home early, some will be reassigned to other Scout Dog Units or Grunt Units. The trucks are cleaned and turned in, the CAR15s were traded to a Ranger Unit for clean M16's. Ruck sacks, LRRP rations and extra equipment were sent to other units. Steven Flikke remembers that he and Jay Allen were assigned by Sgt. Rodriguez to stay and do the final clean up. The dogs were transferred to Ben Hoa. We hear that the less aggressive dogs will be given to the South Vietnamese Army, the rest will be put down.
Post Script As the 59th IPSD was being disbanded, Robert S. Wilson did not want his dog, Duke to be given to the Vietnamese, so he gave Duke to a local MP Unit then filed a report showing Duke as kia. It is unknown what happened to Duke. VDHA records show a dog named Duke brand 84A2 from the 59th IPSD being kia on 1/21/72 well after the unit deactivated.

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