Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: Bubbles, the dog who led planes in Vietnam
By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent In the early 1970s, pilots taxiing their planes on the east ramp of Bien Hoa Air Base may have been ferried to their final destination by a dog named Bubbles. The odd mix of golden lab and dachshund, whose 40-pound body reminded at least one airman of ...
By Rebecca Frankel
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
In the early 1970s, pilots taxiing their planes on the east ramp of Bien Hoa Air Base may have been ferried to their final destination by a dog named Bubbles.
The odd mix of golden lab and dachshund, whose 40-pound body reminded at least one airman of a Heinz 57 bottle, belonged to Staff Sgt. John E. Molnar, whose job it was to marshal in aircraft along the flight line marked by a yellow stripe. Bubbles, having watched Molnar do the job and apparently not afraid of the large planes, began to mimic his routine and took to walking ahead of them. "Once in awhile we put a headphone set and sunglasses on him and it really cracks up the pilots," Molnar told Stars and Stripes in 1971.
The job did come with certain hazards — Bubbles had a close call with the "prop blasts of a C130 and was blown 15 feet through the air." Another time he "was almost sucked into the turbine of a commercial 707."
But that didn’t stop Bubbles from taking the occasional nap on the runway. So at home was this dog among the planes and pilots that he often refused to budge. The pilots who had had grown fond of their assistant and mascot knew how to get him to "move in a hurry" — revving up a nearby engine was all it took.
Tip of the hat to Tom who spied this gem earlier this week in Stars and Stripes‘s most excellent daily feature, Archive Photo of the Day.
Rebecca Frankel is away from her FP desk, working on a book about dogs and war.
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
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