September 24, 1969
7th Air Force Newspaper Banner
Vol. 5, No. 39      Headquarters Seventh Air Force     September 24,  1969

New War on Dope in Vietnam
Dogs' Noses Sniff Out Narcotics

By Sgt Bob Palmer
TAN SON NHUT --- The young Army specialist led his dog into a warehouse filled with pallets of mail awaiting shipment from Saigon Air Mail Terminal here to points outside the Republic of Vietnam.

Removing the steel choke collar from the German Shepherd, Specialist 4 John W. Barnett placed a special shoulder harness on the dog and gave a command.

At first the dog, Smidget seemed confused by the number of people around him and the flashbulbs popping in his eyes.  But in less than two minutes he had uncovered the small package containing marijuana planted a few minutes earlier by his trainers.

Smidget and a fellow "marijuana sniffer" are the first of a corps of specially-trained dogs to be employed by the U.S. military in an attempt to reduce the flow of marijuana out of Vietnam.

Smidget (Drug Dog)
(U.S. AF Photo by SSgt. Paul J. Harrington)
Specialist 4 C. Murdough
Reward for Smidget

The dogs and their trainers gave a demonstration in the mail terminal to prove their effectiveness in ferreting out concealed caches of marijuana.  The dogs eventually will be used extensively at Air Force installations throughout the Republic, as well as other service locations, explained Lt Col. Walter E. Sears, Marine Corps narcotics suppression officer for Military Assistance Command.

Colonel Sears said the dogs are on loan to MACV from their training unit in Ryuky Islands.   "Initially the dogs will be used here and at 9th Infantry Division locations in the Mekong Delta," continued Colonel Sears.

Colonel Sears also added that the introduction of the dogs in Vienam represents the first extensive use of the dogs by the military in overseas areas.

Army trainers say the dogs are capable of smelling out caches through almost any packaging material.  SFC Enos L. Cooper, chief trainer for the dogs, claims they can pick up the scent of the drug through several thicknesses of plastic or sealed containers.

The trainer also said the dogs are conditioned to respond to the scent and are rewarded only when they find the drug.  "The dogs look thinner than other shepherds because they're move active," he said.  "We get better results from an energetic dog."

SPs Get Larger Network

TAN SON NHUT --- The first four-channel non-tactical radio network in the Republic of vietnam recently became operational here.

An 1876th Communication Squadron project replaced the 377th Security Police Squadron's two-channel networks with a completely new four-channel system.

The $ 3.3 million system incorporates many new features designed to improve law enforcement and security operations.  It has increased both range and reception on security police radios.

The radios are more compact and 30 per cent lighter and equipped with an optional, external speaker-microphone that clips on the outer garment which permits quick accessiblity.

One of the most important features is the capability to select and operate on any of the four available frequencies.  This ability provides the security forces with a back-up capability in the event primary frequencies become over-crowded.

Another new feature is the special unit designed for sentry dog handlers.  The "K-9" unit radios are fully transistorized and include a helmet-mounted voice-actuated microphone.  The set is designed to free the operator's hands to handle both weapon and dog while still having instant communication with the command post.

Shadow Men Aid Local Orphanage

TAN SON NHUT --- During the night, men of C Flight, 17th Special Operations Squadron here, take their AC-119 Shadow gunships into action against the enemy in support of Allied ground troops.

During the day, they fight a different kind of enemy - poverty.  The "troops" they support are the children of Thong Thien Hoc Orphanage in Saigon

The orphanage has 40 children ranging in age from two months to three years.   Most are orphaned by war, but some are simply abandoned by poverty-stricken parents.   Many are sick when they arrive at Thong Thien Hoc, and all are hungry and poorly clotherd.

The orphanage staff consists of a nurse, eight workers and the director.  Mrs. Phan Thi Hang.  Mrs. Hang stated, "My eight helpers are really adult orphans who decided to stay here to assist me with the babies.  In return, they receive room, board and a small salary."

The Republic of Vietnam government contributes money to the orphanage each month.   The building is provided and maintained by a nearby church of the Thong Thien Hoc religion, a combination of Buddhist and Catholic philosophies.

Every two weeks, men of the 17th SOS visit Thong Thien Hoc and deliver powdered milk, diapers, baby vitamins and clothing.  Often, toys are included.  Capt Moritmer J. Hall remarked, "When these special gifts are distributed, the expressions on the faces of the little children are indescribable.  For most, it is the first toy they have ever been given."

The Air Force men always visit with the children, when delivering the gifts.

Most of the items given to the orphanage are furnished by citizens in the United States.   People from Kansad, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia contribute.

As a result of this combined effort, the babies and young children are healthier and stand a good chance of growing up to be worthwhile citizens of the Republic of Vietnam.

Bowland Honored For Recon Flight

TAN SON NHUT --- Lt. Col. Jack C. Bowland, 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons former commander, was presented the Silver Star during recent ceremonies here.   Gen. George S. Brown, Seventh Air Force commander, made the presentation.

Colonel Bowland distinguished himself, " ... by gallantry in action while engaged in military operations against an opposing armed force in Southeast Asia on Jan. 1, 1969.  On that date, he flew his unarmed and unescorted reconnaissance jet on a low level attack against four heavily defended targets in the A Shau Valley."

The citation continued, "In spite of a serious malfunction in his primary camera system and in the face of heavy ground fire, Colonel Bowland made a second pass on each of his targets to insure mission success.  The intelligence data gathered from his photographic confirmation of enemy movement of supplies and troops in the A Shau Valley contributed significantly to the air interdiction mission against the North Vietnamese logistics network."

Colonel Bowland is a command pilot with 4,400 hours of flying time, 3,545 of which are in jet fighter aircraft.  His previous awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

While with the 45th, he served as flight commander, operations officer and squadron commander.  He is now assigned to the 29th TRS at Shaw AFB, S.C.