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            John started his Military service  on 26 May 1969 in the United States Army.
He did his basic training at Ft. Knox, Ky. Then went to Ft. Polk, La. for advanced
infantry training. Then he was sent to Ft. Benning Ga. to attend NCO school.
While at Ft. Benning, he was given the opportunity to volunteer for Scout Dog
School. After the completion of Scout Dog School and a short leave, he was
ordered to Vietnam and arrived 13 April 1970. Upon his arrival at the dog detach-
ment center at Bien Hoa, he was given a dog named Artus (KO12) Artus had
arrived in Vietnam in 1966 and John became his 6th handler. Now as a team, they
were assigned to the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon attached to the 101st Airborne
Division. Artus and John worked in the I Corp area. Sadly, after faithfully serving
his 6 handlers with Loyalty and Courage, Artus was Killed in Action 11 Dec. 1970.
John returned home and was given an Honorable Discharge on 22 Mar. 1971.
John was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal,
Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star. While
John was with the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon, the Platoon was awarded 2 unit
citations, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm and the Civil Actions
Honor Medal.
            Upon his return back to civilian life, John concentrated his time and effort into his family and his career as a firefighter. In 2007, John joined his first military organization, VFW Post 1152 and immediately became a member of the Military Rites Team. He has served as the post's Quartermaster and presently is the Post Commander. Today he is also a member of the DAV Chapter 28, 40&8 Voiture 1103, American Legion Post 94, the Howard County Vietnam Veterans Org. and the Vietnam Dog Handlers  Association.
            John takes his position as Commander of VFW Post 1152 very serious and cares about it's members, Veterans, his community and the obligations of the VFW. Being a member of the other organizations is also important to John, but his true passion is being able to support our Military Working Dogs. He has traveled hundreds of miles to be a part of a War Dog Memorial dedication and over 600 miles just to give a presentation. He has also traveled to Military facilities and talked with the K9 handlers about his experiences and Chapter 3.  He has used his own money to purchase equipment and items for care packages, travel expenses and upgrades to his fundraising displays. One very special highlight as Executive Director was being able to meet in person one of the handlers he was able to support and they continue to be in contact with each other. He has also dedicated the Chapter and all of his work to his dog "Artus"
            In 2010, wanting to tell his children, grandchildren and even his wife somethings about Vietnam, John started writing. It did not take too long before he realized his story was not just about him, but also his partner in Vietnam, Artus, his dog. The more he wrote, the more he wanted people to know about Artus. So with encouragement by family and friends, John had his story published in 2012. "Before, During & After Vietnam" The story of a scout dog handler and his dog. 




































                                                                                                    Linda is the Administrative Assistant at the Veterans Service Office in                                                                                                       Howard County. She is also an Officer for the Disabled  American                                                                                                             Veterans Auxillary. She is very dedicated to helping our Veterans.                                                                                                               Linda is always there to help and volunteers a lot of her time in making                                                                                                     our projects become a success.









"Birdie"and John have been together since 1969. She is

very devoted to her family and her dogs. She has spent many hours running

errands, keeping track of merchandise, setting up and working at the Chapter's

fundraising events.



























assistant director
mary wilborn-rouse

Mary is the President of Pals for Paws, Inc. a 501c 3 non-profit

Corporation. For 20 years, she has dedicated her life to rescuing

homeless dogs.Many of the dogs have required some major medical

attention and countless hours of care. Over the years, the dogs she

has placed in new homes has numbered in the tens of thousands.

Mary played a huge role in getting "Operation" Support our Paws

off the Ground.

linda ritchie
roberta "birdie" meeks


     For all he had done for me, the men that was with us and making it possible for me to come home without a scratch. I would like to dedicate this website and all that our Chapter's does in supporting and aiding our Military Working Dogs stationed all over the world. Artus was a Great Dog. He served his Country and all of his handlers with distingtion and superior performance. As with all, he served with Courage, Loyalty and Honor. He was My Buddy, My Partner and he was My Protector. He will never be Forgotten.

KIA 12/11/1970





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