1st MIBARS In Vietnam!

Didi's Legacy

May the Spirit of 

"B" Detachment's War Dog

Live On!

Photo Credit: Bill Smedley, "B" Detachment, Reproduction Section and Detachment Clerk, 1965-1966.

Above: "B" Detachment's mascot, Didi, as a puppy, enjoys a day at China Beach with a 1st MIBARS Trooper in 1966

Photo Credit: Bob Crowell, "B" Detachment, Delivery Platoon, 1966-1968


It Was a Dangerous War For Dogs, Also

". . . Sang invited me to the . . . compound for a traditional beer and dog meat feast to celebrate our victory over the North Vietnamese.  Sang himself was an ethnic North Vietnamese; their cuisine was unique and featured the consumption of dog meat.  Most South Vietnamese frowned on this custom, insisting that dogs carried leprosy.  But Sang had assured me that as long as the dog was carefully selected, there was absolutely no danger of disease.  Actually, my educated friend continued, it was a well-known fact that dog meat increased a man's virility and strength.  Only dogs with a curled tail or a spotted tongue were to be avoided.  But correctly cooked, short-haired dog was one of the tastiest entrees known to man.  . . . Before I left the compound that evening, I checked to be certain that our two dogs were safely on duty.  In Duc Hue we had lost at least two advisory team pets to the Vietnamese cooking pot . . .   But our Bao Trai canines were too smart to stray into harm's way . . . both were at their posts as I headed out the gate."

Stuart A. Herrington, Stalking the Vietcong, Presidio Press, 1982.

The Younger Generation Carries On the Fight!

Above:  Didi and pup in 1968.  What ultimately became of Didi, we know not.  Postings on the World Wide Web give no clue to her eventual fate, but we look back on her and her contributions to MIBARS during the Vietnam War with poignancy and a smile.  Soldiers fighting in foreign lands have adopted dogs in all wars, the canine qualities of attachment and unconditional love perhaps balancing out homesickness and a need for quiet companionship unconnected to violence.  "B" Detachment "adopted out" all of Didi's offspring in 1967.  One, as indicated below, was taken in by "B" Detachment's officers.  We know that Didi "soldiered on" throughout 1968 and that she continued to be a prolific producer.  Two subsequent male offspring, who remained on duty in the I Corps Compound, were named "Sergeant Sh*thead" and "Ace."  At least one other of Didi's progeny is believed to have been stolen and cannibalized by Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops on the Compound in 1968.  Right:  SGT Sh*thead learns to stand at attention in the I Corps Compound in 1968.  Mother Didi must have been proud.

Photo Credit: Gene Zwarycz, "B" Detachment, Imagery Interpretation Section, 1968-1970

No Trooper Was Ever Left Behind!

Photo Credit: Don Skinner, "B" Detachment, Reproduction Section, 1969-1970

Beloved Mascot -- Unfortunate Name

". . . SGT Sh*thead . . . really was a nice girl, she was much admired by the Marines at 1st MAW [NOTE: Marine Air Wing -- Site Administrator] where we delivered the missions after we read them out.  Once she was riding in the jeep and she got stolen when we were delivering the missions on the day shift.  So, when I came on duty at night, Ken Fuchsman told me that we had to get Sh*thead back when we brought the midnight missions over.  So, like a jackass I deliver the packages and ask the jarheads where they put Sh*thead?  Blank stares all around.  So I go outside and, as I recall, there were hooches all around the place, and I start calling for Sh*thead.  Midnight, on Freedom Hill,  and I am standing in the middle of the Marine compound yelling, "Sh*thead . . . here Sh*thead, c'mere Girl."  Needless to say, that didn't go down very well with the local residents who thought I was somehow calling them out to fight!  I beat a strategic withdrawal under duress as they say.  The next day the guys on the day shift got her back but I almost got killed for her!  Years later, a guy who was contracting to build my swimming pool turns out to be a guy who was stationed over there, and he told me he actually remembered the incident and they were seriously pissed that an Army puke would have the audacity to insult their beloved Corps in such a flagrant manner.  He thought shots were fired, but I don't remember that at all!"

Mike Garemko, "B" Detachment, Imagery Interpretation Section, 1969-1970

Photo Credit: Don Skinner


Above, Top:  Sergeant Sh*thead, one of "B" Detachment's mascots, seen serving as the first line of defense behind a concertina wire barricade.  Above, Bottom: Ace, Sh*thead's sibling, nuzzles a Reproduction Section specialist in the Repro Facility in 1968.

. . . And Ace Takes a Holiday

"I remember {Ace} would ride over to China Beach with us and either hang around the jeep or stay in the jeep and wait for us to return. One time he wasn’t waiting for us and we looked all over the place for him. We had to get back so we left without him. Everyday or two someone would come up with an excuse to go to China Beach and look for Ace. About two weeks later we were back over there and when we got back to the jeep, Ace was waiting for us. He was thin, dirty, stinky . . .  We figured he was on R&R and had a real good time. What a dog!"

Don Skinner

A Casualty In 1967

"B" Detachment warrant officer holding "Bear," from Didi's second litter

Photo Credit: MIV

Above:  This burley little fellow, posing here with one of "B" Detachment's Imagery Interpretation section chiefs is "Bear," from Didi's second litter.  Bear was adopted by "B" Detachment's officers and went to live in town.

"Bear," a burley little guy who ran out into the street and was fatally injured by a bicyclist

Photo Credit: MIV

Above:  Bear poses in the "day room" of the officers' villa.  Unfortunately, Bear ran into the street on Quang Trung and was struck by a cyclist who, wisely, quickly melted into the crowd.  Bear was put down by the military vet because of severe internal injuries.  A sad day -- all mourned the loss of this absolute sweetheart of a little guy.

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Body Count:  Didi In Action!

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