Remembering Timothy Allan Fox

Remembering Timothy Allan Fox

(July 4, 1948 to February 21, 1971)

I knew Tim Fox briefly during his stay at the 981st in Cam Ranh Bay in 1970, and we had a few opportunities to speak with each other. His stay was short but he had an indelible impact on 981st headquarters when he spared the life of a very small helpless pup and brought her to us to be our new unit mascot.

This is what happened. Tim was part of the 212th, serving in Long Binh and Vinh Long during his Vietnam stint, from 1968 to 1970. While I was 981st Company Clerk in 1970, Tim came to CRB prior to being sent back to stateside and discharged. This is my recollection of why he was in CRB — many soldiers having first arrived in-country in CRB, no matter where they served subsequently in Vietnam, came back to CRB when they were ready to rotate home. While waiting to do so he performed various duties. One day he and a partner were pulling dog-shooting duty (a sort of vector control procedure to stem the proliferation of local Vietnamese dogs), and when they came back Tim had a live pup for us as a replacement for our prior mascot Billy who had been accidentally killed by a jeep that ran him over while he was napping under it.

She was young, she was tiny, she was adorable and immediately won the hearts of all of us who saw and fell in love with her. In Tim’s honor we named her Foxy.

Tim’s stay with us was short so he missed Foxy’s transformation from a pup who was abruptly separated from her mother into a beautiful and highly personable dog. When she first arrived she had fur that in texture and length resembled that of a troll doll. Shortly thereafter she lost all of this longish fur and now resembled a thief wearing a black mask covering her face, with very short light brown fur over the rest of her. Then, in a stunning transformation she began to grow very long fur in colored layers of light brown, beige, and black, and right before our eyes turned into a beautiful long-haired dog with a plumed tail — a far cry from what she looked like when Tim spared her life.

Bob Biss, who served with Tim in Long Binh and Vinh Long remembers him as “one of the nicest people I ever met while serving.” Bob went home in April of 1970 and first heard that Tim was very sick and was being sent home, and then later got word that he had died. My recollection of Tim stems from around spring of 1970, but I do not remember him as being sick at all. This might have happened after he went home, or perhaps my recollection of precise dates is not correct or Bob’s memory of what happened and when could possibly be subject to error. However our recollections of Tim are not mutually exclusive and the fact remains that he died in early 1971, shortly after his service in Vietnam. I did not know this until I came across his obituary a year or so ago.

Tim’s Find A Grave obituary contains a photo from probably a high school yearbook, taken a few years before his Vietnam service. In the photo, I was startled to find that I recognized the planes of his face. The obituary also mentions that his rank was Spec 5, a possible indication that in the 212th he may have been a vet tech who was promoted. And in a 2010 obituary of his mother there is mention of the disturbing fact that in a family of six children, a total of three predeceased their parents — two of them alone having died in 1971.

By the time Tim left Vietnam, Foxy was flourishing and I continued to take care of her during the rest of my stay in Vietnam. I fed her, groomed her, rubbed her belly (she loved this and woud bliss out until I stopped), and protected her from sexually insistent males (we used a water gun for this — very effective) and from danger of suddenly moving vehicles. In fact, the first time I saw her snoozing under the shade of our parked jeep, I pulled her out and rubbed her nose smartly against one of the jeep’s tires. She got the message and never went near a jeep again.

I often afterwards thought that if it weren’t for Tim’s thoughtfulness and compassion, we never would have known and loved Foxy. She brought happiness to those who knew her and that was Tim’s doing as well. I’ll remember you best for that, Tim, for the day you brought that little bundle of pure joy into our lives. You will never be forgotten.

Submitted by Steve Dragovich, Company Clerk, 981st, 70/71.

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https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=67603130

One thought on “Remembering Timothy Allan Fox

  1. On 9/1/17 and 9/5/17 Allen “Rick” Young remembered Tim Fox, and the lack of promotions to NCO rank in the 212th in 1968 and 1969:

    I knew Tim Fox. We went through MP AIT together (February-April 
    1968) and MP Sentry Dog School on Okinawa (May-June 1968). While 
    at the dog school Tim and I were sent to Yomatan with half our 
    class, while the other half stayed at Machinato. After dog 
    training we went to the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dogs) together, 
    first at Long Binh and, later, at Vung Tau (July 1968 – May 
    1969). Spent many a night chit-chatting out on post (and, off 
    duty, a beer or two… maybe more). He was a great guy. A natural 
    leader. 

    When we got to dog school the DIs offered one mean, nasty 100+ 
    pound brute of a dog to whomever wanted it. No one was required, 
    you could just pick a “regular” dog if you wanted to; it was, 
    their word, “optional.” Tim volunteered right away, courageously 
    got “in” on the dog the very first morning, and showed his K-9, 
    up-front, who was going to be the boss of the team.

    Tim’s father owned a farm in Indiana. He would talk about how 
    his dad worked almost incessantly during growing season and then 
    did maintenance on equipment and buildings, etc., during the 
    winter. Being a city-boy from New Jersey, and completely 
    ignorant of such things, I asked him once what the farm was 
    worth. Smiling, and in his usual off-handed manner, he replied, 
    “At least a million dollars.” I had to look him in the eye to 
    make sure he wasn’t kidding. (He wasn’t.) That was 1968-dollars, 
    when they were worth a lot more, so I felt justified in being 
    incredulous.

    Tim went to a small rural high school where he played football. 
    As he put it, they could barely scrape together 12 guys for an 
    11-man team. By default, he once told me, he was a starter. 
    Based on his size and strength I think he would have been a 
    starter even if it was a 50-man roster.

    Tim and I both extended. I was leaving the sentry dogs to go up 
    north to Qui Nhon on the Central Highland coast to work on the 
    river patrol boat detachment of the 127th MP Company. Tim had 
    worked out a deal with the 212th in which if he extended they 
    would make him a sergeant and send him to Vinh Long. The fact 
    that he is listed as a SP-5 doesn’t surprise me. The 212th was 
    the bastard child of the 720th MP Battalion. The 720th brass 
    safeguarded its E-5 sergeant’s hard-stripes for their own. Not 
    one person in the 212th ever got promoted to sergeant during the 
    year I was with them. My guess is that the 212th wrangled a more-
    easily-obtained SP-5 slot, probably citing the need of it for a 
    vet tech, gave it to Tim, and then issued temporary “acting” 
    orders for E-5 sergeant stripes. This way Tim got his 
    (promised?) stripes, as well as E-5 pay.

    The last time I saw Tim was at Vung Tau in June 1969. We had 
    both returned from our special 30-leave (granted to those who 
    extended their tour-of-duty). He was there to get his gear 
    before being sent to Vinh Long. I was there to get my gear 
    before going up to Qui Nhon. We compared notes on our respective 
    leaves: Tim had gotten engaged to a girl he knew from high 
    school on his (I had NOT on mine). We chatted amicably, each of 
    us reflecting on our past together… and the future uncertainties 
    of another six months in the war zone. We parted the next day, 
    wishing each other well. That is the lasting impression I’ve 
    carried of Tim Fox all these years. Indeed, fond memories.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Hi Steve,
     
    I want to thank you for your initial writing on the Sentry Dog Alumni site. It has been a long while since I reflected on all this, and to do so specifically on Tim provided a good nostalgia. And in your entry (#1), it also jogged my memory that Tim was the only son… with a bunch of sisters. It is a shame what the family had to endure with so many deaths, especially of children. With Tim’s death, any hope of passing the farm on “to the son” died with him. I grieve for his parents having to have dealt with all this.
     
    Your observation in #2 is so very solid. Any sergeants coming into the 212th were those that arrived with that rank from stateside. And, it seemed, they were, for the most part, losers who no other MP company would want. As you noted, I don’t know one of them who had sentry dog training or experience. As an aside, we also had officers who were not thrilled that they had been assigned to some “damned dog company,” preferring instead to be “where the action was” with a regular, line MP unit. That attitude translated itself into how they dealt with us “dog flunkies.”
     
    In the 212th, rather then promote, the need for NCOs was handled by making dog handler SP-4 individuals into “corporals.” Same E-4 pay, but now at an “NCO” level. For most of these guys (at least at the Long Binh company HQ) this new distinction went to their heads, treating us as if they were now superiors. Most of us dog handlers saw this as a significant betrayal. One more thing adding to an ever-lowering drop in morale.
     
    In my book Combat Police: U.S. Army Military Police in Vietnam, I have a chapter on the dog companies. I tell it like it was, not being too gentle on these NCOs and officers. In the 23 years since the first Limited Edition publication (1994) and subsequent Second Edition (2003), I have yet to be confronted that what is written isn’t true.

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