Or, the Dog From Hellat Quantico
I knew many dogs during my career as a Marine. Friends and neighbors often owned dogs, and most of them were pleasant to be around. I owned dogs while on active duty as a Marine and since retirement from the Corps. Some of them were smarter than others, but all of them fit the role as “man’s best friend”. In Vietnam dogs often attached themselves to rifle companies or aircraft squadrons and became loyal mascots. Recently a former Marine wrote a wonderful story of his company’s mascot, Brown Dog. (http://www.mofack.com/Brown_Dog_Reflections.htm ) However the most memorable dog I knew during my days as a Marine was Muggs.
After completing a 13 month tour on Okinawa with the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion in 1973-74, I was assigned to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia for duty. Shortly after arriving in August 1974, my family was assigned base housing. We moved into the lettered apartments on the ridge above mainside. These sturdy red brick apartment buildings had been constructed in the early 1930s and lined the ridge. They were identified by letters and we lived in Building “H”. Each building housed six families, and each apartment had two bedrooms, a large living and dining room, a kitchen, and a sun room along with 10 foot ceilings. One of the families in Building H was headed by a Captain who was an instructor at The Basic School. Tom and Pam had two young children, a boy and a girl, and two dogs. One was a scruffy, old, decrepit mutt named Cleo, and the other a big young Boxer named Muggs.
Quantico’s Lettered Apartments
It seems that Muggs couldn’t stay out of trouble. His various antics had attracted the attention not only of the neighbors in adjoining apartment building, but of the base Military Police as well. His reputation was well established before our arrival at Quantico. Dogs were supposed to be on a leash at all times when outside, but somehow Muggs managed to escape on a regular basis in spite of Tom’s and Pam’s best efforts.
On one of these excursions he happily returned home dragging a small female poodle. It seems that the poodle was in heat and had escaped her quarters only to be accosted by a very horny Muggs. While he was having his way with her, they became “hung up” as dogs will sometimes do. After he finished the poodle was still hung up, but Muggs decided it was time to go home, so he brought the little dog along. Was he carrying her in his mouth? No she was bouncing along on the sidewalk being dragged along underneath Muggs. This happened before our arrival. I’ve always wondered what the puppies looked like.
End View-Lettered Apartments
At the bank in Quantico town there worked a cute little teller who always attracted attention when customers did bank business. She didn’t try to bring attention upon herself, but she was so attractive that you couldn’t help looking at her. How did she get entangled in this story? Read on. Tom and Pam had a party in their quarters that included a number of Basic School instructors that worked with Tom. They were usually young, hard charging Captains and some were not married and brought dates. My wife Marcia and I were in attendance at this affair. One of the Captain’s dates was the perky little teller from the Q-town bank. She was dressed in a very short mini-skirt that very favorably displayed her wares. Everyone was sitting in a semi-circle around the living room, and the finger food was on a low table in the center of the room. We sat around nibbling at the food, sipping on drinks, and shooting the breeze. Then at one point the teller got up and bent over the table to get some more finger food. I was sitting directly behind her and she had more on display than I think she intended as she bent over. At this point Muggs, who had not been seen all evening, burst out of the kitchen and ran right past me and straight for the teller, inserting his nose deeply into her rear end and sending her flying into the food table. The living room instantly turned into pandemonium. Tom dragged Muggs out of the room and started beating on him, we fished the girl out of the food and calmed her as best we could, and everyone else started picking up food and spilled drinks. The whole time it was all I could do to keep from bursting into wild laughter, and I suspect I wasn’t the only one. The humiliated cute teller and her Captain left, having had enough of Muggs, and the party went on, such as it was after the dive into the food. Muggs was not seen again on that night.
Among other minor incidents getting the attention of the MPs, there is one more that you’ve got to hear about. This was Muggs’ crowning glory in Quantico. Fortunately Tom and Pam transferred to San Diego soon after this incident and Muggs was spared a terrible fate. Building H was part of a horseshoe of apartment buildings on the ridge. In the building behind ours, and across a small playground, lived a Lieutenant Colonel and his wife, who had a cat that she would take for walks on a leash. One afternoon the lady and the cat were walking near the playground, and in his usual fashion, Muggs burst out the back door of our building. He headed straight for the cat. When the cat saw him it jumped straight into the air and landed on Mrs. Lt Col’s head, firmly wrapping itself around her head and digging in with claws to hold on for dear life. Muggs was jumping up and down in front of the poor woman trying to get to the cat. She was still holding onto the leash and screaming bloody murder. Pam came running out of Building H and tried with varying success to get Muggs back into the building. After about five minutes of dragging, kicking and screaming herself, she succeeded in getting the door shut behind them. Tom and I were at work so we didn’t witness this debacle. Thank God for small favors.
Pam frantically phoned Marcia and asked her to drive her and Muggs off the base before the MPs arrived. Pam and Muggs were in the back of their old station wagon under a blanket as Marcia drove them out the main gate and into Triangle, the town outside the gate. Pam had a friend who lived in Triangle who agreed to keep Muggs when the MPs gave chase. I can’t remember if he ever made it back on the base again before they transferred soon after that. I know that he was a fugitive from Marine law at the time they left Quantico.
About a year later I finished school at Quantico and was assigned to the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) home ported in San Diego. Tom and Pam were living in Coronado at that time and put us up until we found housing, so we saw Muggs again. I don’t remember him pulling off any antics of the magnitude as at Quantico. Maybe he had settled down as he aged. A number of years later Pam told us that he had to be put down. It was a sad time, but Muggs had left his mark, and as far as I know, is still among Quantico’s most wanted.
Dirck Praeger sends