FORKS — More than 30 years ago, a man and his dog bonded on the battlefields of Vietnam.
Each night they would walk the main line of resistance at Phu Cat Air Base together, Flop sniffing the air for approaching enemies with his handler, Jim Hart, at his side.
After a year as a team, Hart had the chance to leave Flop and return to the United States, but the bond almost kept him there.
“I was going to get in my cage with my dog and say, ‘I’m not leaving until you let me take him home,”‘ Hart said this week in Forks.
In the end, Hart said he did what every handler did — say goodbye and head home.
Only recently did Hart discover that his dog — and thousands of other dogs who served on the U.S. front lines — were deemed surplus and euthanized or given to the South Vietnamese Army at the end of the war, rather than sent home to their handlers or owners.
————-The rest of the story appears in Thursday’s Peninsula Daily News.