~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
Scout Dog Unit
Vietnam Era Index

212th Military Police Company (Sentry Dog)
This Page Last Updated
9 November 2017
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     This Unit History is proudly dedicated to the veteran's of the Scout Dog Unit and their K9 partners who walked point relentlessly stalking the enemy day and night throughout the Tactical Area Of Responsibility with the squads of the Ambush & Recon Platoon of B Company, 720th MP Battalion.
18th MP
89th MP
720th MP
     Specific timeline operational events of this page of the Scout Dog Unit history were incorporated (with the exception of many of the photographs and information of its historical origins) into the "combined" 720th MP Battalion Timeline where they can be identified with the prefix "TAOR" and or "Scout Dog Unit."
The Tactical Area Of Responsibility
TAOR Area Map

September Under the command of CPT James T. Reily the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) moved its 1st Platoon and Headquarters, consisting of approximately 90 personnel to Long Binh Post in Bien Hoa Province from Pershing Field in Saigon, Capital Military District, Gia Dinh Province, III Corps Tactical Zone.

20 October The 720th MP Battalion made military history when It was the first time in the history of the United States Armed Forces that a military police unit was assigned a counterinsurgency/pacification infantry mission in a war zone. The 18th MP Brigade operational plan was code named Operation STABILIZE.

          With the approval of MACV the 18th Military Police Brigade assigned the 720th MP Battalion a 22 square mile Tactical Area Of Responsibility [TAOR] along the southern perimeter of Long Binh Post, and tasked it with the unique responsibility of fighting as infantry when required in support of Operation CORRAL then Operation STABILIZE.

     Four village Popular Forces outpost's were staffed with liaison squads of MP's, a River Patrol Unit was assigned waterborne security duties, and Ambush & Reconnaissance squads were formed and given a crash course in small scale unit infantry tactics by members of the 5th Special Forces Group headquartered in Bien Hoa.

     The goal of their mission was to provide a dedicate U.S. force to root out the local enemy infrastructure and deny the enemy their traditional logistical supplies, support and route of approach to the Bien Hoa / Long Binh area.

The need is established and the Scout Dog Unit is formed
     It was also during this time that the 212th MP Company, who were under the operational control of the 89th MP Group, and subordinate to the 95th MP Battalion (for logistics and administration), requested volunteers for the formation of the new Scout Dog Unit to be housed at the Long Binh HQ Detachment. Their assignment was to work with the 720th MP Battalion Ambush & Recon squads in the new Tactical Area Of Responsibility.
29 November, 1000 hours The 720th MP Battalion Operations Officer, CPT Steven J. Vass, conducted a staff meeting with all company commander's and operations NCO's of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie Companies, and the 615th MP Company regarding operational utilization of the Scout Dogs. The meeting took place in the Battalion Chapel.
     The new handlers and their K9's, cross trained as both Sentry and Scout Dogs, worked side by side with the members of the 720th MP Battalion Ambush and Recon Squads in their separate areas of operation within the TAOR.
     The mission assignments, depending on their goals, could last anywhere from one evening to five days in length. Each handler was not only responsible for carrying his own weapons, gear and rations, but also enough to sustain his K9 partner. In those situations where the operational goals would unexpectedly be extended, the needed provisions were delivered along the Dong Nai River by the 720th MP Battalion River Patrol Unit or via ground transport to the nearest joint Popular Forces / Military Police outpost.

     At its inception, Operation STABILIZE was operated as a joint mission involving all three organic companies of the battalion and the 615th MP Company (attached). A combined ambush and reaction squad was formed to provide roving support while the battalion headquarters and the 89th MP Group coordinated all civic action programs to promote the pacification goals.

     Later the combined squad was disbanded and each company formed their own ambush & recon squad while still continuing liaison duty at the outpost's and civic action security in their own areas of responsibility. Alpha Company's Area of Operations (AO) encompassed the northwest area of Long Binh Tan Village and their Outpost-4 to the Rach Bien River, Bravo Company the southwest area from the Rach Bien River to the tip of the Boot that included Lon Hung Village and Outpost-2 and An Xuan Village and Outpost-1, Charlie Company the north central area of Long Hung Village to the Rach Bien River and Outpost-3, the 615th MP Company the unpopulated northeast area along Highway-317 east to Highway QL-15 and south to the Buong River.
10 February   The 615th MP Company was detached from the 720th MP Battalion and reassigned to the 95th MP Battalion on Long Binh Post with its primary duties changed from direct combat support to a discipline, law and order mission. Responsibilities for their AO in the TAOR was assimilated by the 720th MP Battalion's organic companies.
28 March   The 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog), with a total strength of 218 personnel, was detached from the 95th MP Battalion and reassigned to the 720th MP Battalion for administrative and logistical support with the 89th MP Group still maintaining operational control.
     The Scout Dog Unit mission in the TAOR continued, however, with the company's staffing requirements for existing and new remote detachment responsibilities growing, the 89th MP Group still maintaining operation control of the company, the scout dog missions were at times curtailed and the handler teams assigned to other Long Binh area sentry dog missions when manpower needs dictated. Their assignment to ambush squads was also dictated by Battalion TOC depending on the ambush squad's specific daily mission needs.

21 June  Logistical, communication and operational integrity problems in staffing, equipping planning for four separate areas of operations developed, and resulted in the battalion consolidating the operation into a single company mission.

     Bravo Company was assigned and assumed control of the mission and all related facilities.
23 February  The enemy's Post Tet Offensive attack along the southern perimeter of Long Binh Post was soundly defeated and Bravo Company ambush & recon squads, including a two handler Scout Dog team assigned to Squad-76, that played an instrumental part in disrupting the attack. The fact the NVA Regiment avoided using the heavy populated western sector villages of the TAOR as cover to launch their early morning rocket, mortar and ground assault didn't go unnoticed by higher headquarters on Long Binh Post and in Saigon.
     To counter any future ground attacks along the southern perimeter of Long Binh Post, Bravo company constructed two new remote outpost's in the unpopulated area of the eastern sector of the TAOR. One on the crest of Hill-15 and a second with a command bunker on the north side of the Finger of Land. Handler teams of the Scout Dog Unit provided added perimeter security in addition to their routine duties of walking point on the ambush and recon patrols conducted from each outpost. They also participated in the construction and maintenance of each. Duty at the outpost's was on a rotating basis that could last for up to several weeks. Supplies were brought in by truck, helicopter or boat and living conditions were Spartan.
     As the operational goals of STABILIZE were met the two remote outpost's were dismantled and abandoned, Bravo Company daily village squad patrol missions and the outpost's were returned to the local Popular Forces and National Police operational control, and the ambush squad / Scout Dog missions were increased to platoon size and changed to screening tactics to prevent the enemy's close strike rocket and mortar attack access of Long Binh Post along the north banks of the Buong River and on the unpopulated Finger of Land.


July  Enemy activities in and around the villages of the TAOR were almost nonexistent, Operation STABILIZE  was considered a success, and Bravo Company operations began to stand down with the implementation of the MACV Intensified Vietnamization Program. Within weeks all facilities and operations were assimilated by the local Village Popular Force's and National Police.
    Still under operational control of the 89th MP Group, the handler teams of the Scout Dog Unit were assigned to other duties.
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