TAN SON NHUT --- Battle scarred from
wounds suffered in the Vietnam War, Nemo has received first class
medical care and is well on the road to recovery.
The Vietnam War is over for Nemo -- an Air Force
Sentry Dog credited with saving his master's life during a battle
with four Viet Cong in South Vietnam.
The heroic canine left Tan Son Nhut AB for retirement at
the sentry dog training school, Lackland AFB, Tex. Nemo
boarded an Air Force C-141 Starlifter at Tan Son Nhut with A2C
Melvin W. Bryant, 21 of Port St. Joe, Fla., who is accompanying the
dog to Lackland.
Returning to Lackland, Nemo will be a symbol of the
professional training sentry dogs receive and the job they are doing
in war-torn Vietnam.
The event that altered Nemo's life began on Dec. 5,
1966. He and his handler, A1C Robert A. Throneburg of
Charlotte, N.C., were on patrol at Tan Son Nhut AB. The
proceeding day, Tan Son Nhut had been hit by a Viet Cong mortar
attack. During the attack about 60 VC swept through an
opening they made in the base perimeter's barbed wire fence.
The infiltrators were stopped and turned back by the 377th
Security Police Squadron's main line of defense. But four
VC eluded discovery by earlier search parties and were hiding within
the base's perimeter. It was the sentry dog's job to find
In the silence of darkness, the two sentries walked
cautiously forward. Suddenly their search
ended. Nemo had alerted them to a group of hidden
VC. "Watch him," said Airman Throneburg. The
dog's muscles tensed for action. "Get
him!" -- was the next command and Nemo lunged savagely
forward, into the enemy's nest. Airman Throneburg
followed close behind.
In the first moments of encounter, Airman Throneburg killed
two of the VC. But, before additional security police
could reach them, Airman Throneburg was wounded in the shoulder and
Nemo's snout was creased by a bullet. The remaining enemy
were soon killed by other security police.
Nemo was credited not only with saving the life of Airman
Throneburg, but indirectly prevented further destruction of life and
property at Tan Son Nhut.
The 377th SPS was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit
Award for its "heroic valor," against the Viet Cong infiltration
| CANINE HERO RETURNS TO
Nemo, a 95-pound Air Force sentry dog who served
in Vietnam since January last year, is held by A2C Melvin W. Bryant
of Port St. Joe, Fla., who is accompanying the dog back to the
United States. The 5-year-old K-9 is returning to
Lackland AFB, Tex., for retirement. (Air Force
The battle was over for Airman Throneburg and
Nemo. Master and dog soon parted. Airman
Throneburg was airlifted from South Vietnam, Nemo remained at Tan
Son Nhut For treatment by the base veterinarian, Capt. Raymond T.
Huston, of Roseville, Ill.
"When Nemo was brought to me," Doctor Huston said, "he was in
pretty bad shape. I had to do skin grafts on
his face and perform a tracheotomy to help him breathe.
His right eye had to be removed, but even this didn't
lessen his ability. It only made his other
senses -- hearing and smell -- more sensitive.
Now, eight months after being wounded, he is on his feet
and ready to go."
The medical care Nemo received is typical of treatment given all
sentry dogs serving in Vietnam. Whether it is a minor
ailment or major surgery, all received first class medical care.
Most dogs used by the Air Force for sentry dog duty were former
house pets. Nemo belonged to Samuel Cooks Jr., an on-base
resident of K.I. Sawyer AFB, Mich. Nemo attended a
special sentry dog training course at Lackland AFB, prior to coming
Coincidentally, the man taking Nemo home --Melvin
Bryant -- has the same last name as Nemo's original
handler, A3C Leonard Bryant who picked him up at Lackland and
brought him to Vietnam in January 1966. Six months later,
when Airman Bryant assumed other duties, Airman Throneburg became
the dog's handler.
Taken from Seventh Air Force News --Date: August