During the Vietnam War, the defense of
Air Force bases mirrored the conflict itself: There was no rear echelon once
the entire country became a battlefield. Air Force bases relatively,
unaffected by ground forces in past wars, were no longer considered safe
havens. They, too, suffered from costly ground assaults and mortar shelling.
Within easy reach of North Vietnamese troops, Air Force bases in Vietnam and
Thailand were attacked 478 times from 1964 to 1973. One hundred and
fifty-five Americans were killed and 1,702 wounded, along with 375 allied
aircraft being destroyed and 1,203 damaged. In fact, more U.S. planes were
lost in ground action (101) than in dogfights with MIGs (62).
Bien Hoa Air Base, located 15 miles north of Saigon, was the first U.S. air
base in Vietnam to taste the damage a small, well-trained force can inflict.
A hit-and-run mortar attack destroyed five B-57 bombers and damaged 15
others. The Viet Cong, in less than five minutes, wiped out an entire
The attack hammered home a hard message. To fight in the air, the Air Force
had to be able to fight on the ground."
Above Published in AF Times
Monkey Mountain is located on the end of a peninsular, near the city of Da
Nang. The 366th SPS and Marines provided security for the radar and communications facility
located on top. In the late 60's, Sentry Dogs (from the US Navy Sentry Dog
Section) were used to enhance security. Handlers rotated for a week tour
on the mountain and enjoyed the cool weather.
The Navy kennels was
located on China Beach. They hosted a party for I Corp dog handlers in mid
1969, shortly after the bomb dump blew up (the second time). Air
Force handlers from Da Nang & Marine Dog handlers
really enjoyed their hospitality.
James Escobedo, Naval
Security Guard, Da Nang1968-69 has an 8 mm film with footage of an unknown
handler and dog team. The description fits the the dog Brandy, according
to Richard King. Please contact James if you are the handler. The film has
footage of Da Nang's bomb dump exploding .
At the end of the American cavalry era, the Army disposed of its
horses by machine gunning them to death. In our war, the dogs were treated the
same way. Only it was done in a more “humane” manner. Some excess dogs were
reassigned to other bases in the Pacific but most were killed. The US Military
has pledged not to dispose of military working dogs in such a manner again.
Death of a Warrior.