Bedford County is honoring a local Vietnam hero and his canine soldier with a larger-than-life memorial statue.
It’s been nearly 50 years since Sergeant Robert Hartsock lost his life in Vietnam.
Bob Hartsock graduated from Everettt High School in 1962 and entered the army as a dog handler, teaming up with canine soldier, Duke. The dog handlers walked point 100% of the time and they detected enemy explosive devices. “The dogs were even trained to see a trip wire,” said Sculpter Wayne Hyde.
Hyde knows his subjects well. He’s spent a good amount of time with them, recreating Bob and Duke from styrofoam and clay, 25% larger-than-life.
“It’s like I get to know them and I read the accounts of what they did and the genuine sacrifice of these young men, it’s amazing.”
The county is proud of its Medal of Honor winner. Sgt. Hartsock is the only dog handler to be given the award for heroic actions during the Vietnam War. The young sargent sacrificed his life to save his commanding officer when the two came under attack from the Viet Cong.
“He threw himself on the explosive device,” said Hyde. “It blew up, mortally wounding him, throwing him from the foxhole. He crawled back regained his weapon and continued to give cover fire for the other man until he died from his injuries.”
Hyde says Duke who was in his kennel at the time, was killed during the same attack.
Right now, the statute is 70 % complete. When completed, the statue of Sergeant Robert Hartsock and his dog, Duke will stand at the Vietnam War Monument in Bedford.
All Vietnam vets are invited to become part of the memorial by putting their thumbprints in the base of the monument when it’s put in place.