The Section

Air Force Security Police provided security for part of the base, while the Marine 3rd MP Battalion secured the majority of the perimeter. The Da Nang AB kennels, known earlier as the K 9 Growl Pad, had been located near the Air Force area on base, known as Tent City. In 1969, the kennels had been moved to the side of the base near the terminal and the main compound housing base headquarters.

The new kennels was located just off of the main perimeter road that circled the base, behind a SAC detachment. A large POL tank farm was, located on the north side. Charlie Company's last bunker was near the rear of the kennels. The new kennels had a steel roof over the cinder block and chain link dog runs on a concrete slab. Gutters allowed the kennels to be cleaned by washing stools into a drain system. An air-conditioned kennel support building housed the office, supply room, kitchen and the veterinarian's office. A huge sandbag bunker was located to the rear of the kennel and vet offices.

By late 1968 & 1969, the Air Force Sentry Dog Section at Da Nang AB consisted of approximately 45 sentry dog teams, a kennel attendant and the Kennelmaster, SSgt Carl Wolfe. He was known as "Chow Soi" ("wolf" in Vietnamese). He later taught at the Dog School at Lackland AFB, Texas in the mid-70's.

The dog teams worked on the base perimeter between defensive M-60 machinegun positions and the actual perimeter fence. The machine gun bunkers were at the rear corners of our posts. We had only one post located on the Air Force side of the base and 37 posts alongside three Marine companies from the 3rd MP Battalion. There were also two posts located in the off base bomb dump. This dump was located near an ARVN camp and the Marine ammo dump. Twice this dump was blown up by the VC. From time to time, special posts were developed, as needed. Such as the temporary post located in the interior of the Napalm dump. This was not a popular post during a rocket attack. In earlier years dogs had been posted along the flight line, when bombers stationed at Da Nang AB were taking off. Several teams were close to the scene of a tragic airplane crash involving a loaded B-57 that crashed on takeoff.

In Dec 69 or Jan 70 the section was reduced to approximately 7 dog teams. Handlers that were nearing completion of their tours were moved to Security Flights. Some handlers and dogs were shipped to other bases. The teams were broken apart in most cases. Within a year the mistake had been recognized and the section was increased to approximately to 25 dog teams.

The designation of the squadron at Da Nang AB changed several times over the life of the base.. The unit remained named the 366th Security Police Squadron for almost six years, before being sent to its final base in Southeast Asia.  On 27 June 1972, the unit was transferred to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base.  When Da Nang AB Air Base was turned over completely to the Vietnamese, the dogs were shipped to the PACAF Dog School located at Kadena Air Base. Okinawa. The dog section at Takhli was increased with Da Nang AB handlers and a few Da Nang AB dogs were shipped back to Takhli.  This stay at Takhli proved brief, however, with the squadron departing for assignment to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho on October 31, 1972.

The dogs were the seasoned veterans and deserved all of the credit. The VC feared the dogs and bounties were placed on the lives of handlers and dogs. The bounty for dogs was higher than for handlers. Handlers came, spent a year and rotated home. The dogs stayed forever.

Unlike many people in Vietnam, Air Force personnel did get days off. The number of posts and the number of dog teams available determined the frequency of these breaks. If there were 38 normal posts and 40 dog teams available, then 2 handlers would be off every night. There was not too much to do at night on Da Nang except catch the evening movie and a burger at the club. We usually ended up at the kennels.

The two photos below were taken at the old kennels, located near "Tent City".

Photo Above Courtesy Of Don Poss

Photo Above  Courtesy of Marc Petty, 
Sentry Dog Handler & Dog School Instructor

Photo: Handler Billy Gramlin and King at the new kennels. Circa 1968

 

 

                      

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