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War Stories

The VC Dog - 1967

by James "Mike" Vaughn

I would like to share a story about one of the many Checkmate missions our troop flew.  This story was told to me by, Curtis Michael "Mike" Young, a slick door gunner at the time.  

For some reason, their helicopter was to land and have the infantry search a grass hooch at the edge of a tree line somewhere near Dau Tieng. After they landed, the infantry guys unloaded and proceeded toward the hooch. According to Mike, the guys hadn’t gotten very far, when small arms fire erupted from the hooch. One of the infantry guys was hit, and the others returned fire. All this action was taking place on Mike’s side of the helicopter. He returned fire on the hooch and they all got the Hell out of there and let the gunships handle it.  

I ask him if he thought he had killed the VC/VCs in that hooch. He said, I don’t know about the VC, but I killed their damn dog. I remember we all got a good laugh out of his story. 

At that time, some of the gunship guys would make a cutout, on masking tape, of a Cooley Hat and stick it on their helicopter for each Confirmed Kill. (We weren’t allowed to paint on the outside of our helicopters.)  

So, I came up with the idea of cutting out a Dog on tape. I put it on Mike’s helicopter as a joke. When he noticed it, we all had a big laugh about the whole deal. I started to take the tape dog off his helicopter, and he stopped me. He said to leave it on there. When others would ask him about the small dog on the side of the helicopter, it gave him a chance to tell the story all over again.