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A Four-Legged Friend in Wartime

A Vietnam vet remembers Ramo, his loyal scout dog

spinner image Jim Brim landed in vietnam in July 1970 and became the handler for Ramo, a German Shepherd,
Jim Brim poses with his wartime buddy Ramo.
Courtesy Jim Brim

Vietnam War, 1970-71
by Specialist 4 Jim Brim

Jim Brim landed in Vietnam in July 1970 and became the handler for Ramo, a German shepherd, when he joined a scout-dog platoon assigned to the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division.

The sergeant told me I was lucky to have Ramo, because he was so good at what he did. He was a scout dog; his assignment was to detect ambushes and find booby traps.

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You’d work for seven days, then come back in. That was the longest a dog could stay out. You’d carry his food and canteens for him, as well as your own gear, such as an M16 rifle, mags of ammo, hand grenades, a blanket and my food. We’d get on a helicopter to fly to an infantry unit, and they’d drop us off.

I got attached to Ramo. Sometimes he slept in the hooch with me. He was always next to me: standing, sitting or lying down. We had an unspoken bond. And we had some close calls — came under mortar and small arms fire — but Ramo stayed right with me.

When their tour was up, our dogs would be euthanized or handed over to the South Vietnamese Army. But in 1971 the U.S. decided to send dogs back to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio. Ramo was one of the first  to leave. It was tough to see him go, but I was glad he wasn’t left in Vietnam. I never saw him again. I hope he filled out his days in a cool, shady place.

Brim, 70, became a financial planner and investment adviser in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

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