By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
Vietnam veterans with the 552nd Military Police spent their 50th anniversary with a reunion tour of Fort Benning’s military police facilities, including the working dog kennel Sept. 20.
The veterans had the opportunity to talk with military policemen and view military police vehicles and firetrucks.
The height of the tour was the working dog kennel, which included a demonstration of the dogs’ capabilities.
Staff. Sgt. Gloria Greenidge, the kennel master, led the veterans through the kennel and explained how much effort is put into training and caring for the dogs.
“Each dog has their own different measurements for the food that they need so we can watch their weight,” Greenidge said. “Their weight is recorded monthly to the vet to make sure they are exercised correctly. Some of the older dogs receive medication for hip and back issues. They get great health care here.”
Greenidge explained to the veterans that the breeds they have include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and a chocolate Labrador.
The working dog presentation included a display of obedience training, fetching and an attack dog demonstration.
Retired Lt. Col. Dave Kennedy, 552nd Military Police, explained that Main Post looked similar to what it did back when he was there, but Harmony Church has changed.
“I deployed from here 50 years ago to Vietnam,” Kennedy said. “Most of the guys here were with me, some came later…They came here knowing each other. They knew who they liked and didn’t like.”
Kennedy explained that the requirement to be a military policeman was to score over 100 on the General Technical test.
“Ours averaged over 110, which was considered really high,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy recounted that the 552nd Military Police were charged with securing the corps headquarters, provided security and sent platoons out with divisions that were under the core.
Retired Spc. David Olsen and his wife, Sandy Olsen, both expressed gratitude about the reunion tour.
“What wasn’t there to like,” Olsen said. “Seeing the training and the demonstrations were very impressive. I know I don’t want to mess around with a police dog.”
Olsen explained that he was in Vietnam in 1969 for 10 months.
“I don’t think most Vietnam veterans felt any kind of appreciation when we came back. We just kind of went undercover,” Olsen said. “We didn’t want to wear our uniforms or anything, but 9/11 changed that.”
Today Olsen wears his Vietnam veteran hat in public.
“After 9/11, the country became very appreciative of the military and that’s when people started having an appreciation of the guys who were at Vietnam,” Olsen said.
“These guys share stories that they can’t share with anybody else. They share stories with each other and there is this commonality,” Sandy Olsen said.
“You get here and you have that commonality and that background with each other,” Olsen said.