Forgotten heroes: U.S. Military Dogs

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on November 09, 2010 with No Comments

Military Working Dogs have been used by the U.S. Military since World War I. The dogs were originally enlisted by the Quartermaster Corps, and a diversity of breeds where accepted

Once knowledge and experience was gained, the dogs of choice became the German Shepherd and the Doberman. Due to the nature of work to be accomplished, the Labrador eventually replaced the Doberman.

The German Shepherd remains the most frequently used dog. These dogs are commonly referred to as War Dogs, however, the correct term is Military Working Dogs. The specially trained canines such as German and Dutch Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador Retrievers are used to sniff out and find explosives and perform other high-energy intensive missions.

They have saved countless lives and casualties since the beginning of their military service and they continue to do so today.

On 21 July 1994, a War Dog Memorial was dedicated at the US Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery on Guam, to honor the dogs that served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. In the battle for Guam, a Doberman named Kurt saved the lives of 250 Marines when he warned them of Japanese troops ahead.

Kurt is honored by a life-sized bronze and granite at the War Dog Memorial on Guam. Carved into the stone are names of 25 other Dobermans who gave their lives liberating the island and who are buried nearby. An exact replica of this memorial is located at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

On Feb. 21, 2000, the first official War Dog Memorial was unveiled at March Field Air Museum in Riverside, Calif., and an identical second memorial was dedicated Oct. 8, 2000, at the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning in Columbus, Ga. The 19-foot high bronze memorials depict a soldier in combat gear with a dog at his side. The inscription reads:

ìThey protected us on the field of battle. They watch over our eternal rest. We are grateful.”

Although uncompleted at the time, the USAF Military Working Dog Monument was dedicated on Nov. 9, 2002 at the U.S. Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute. Engraved plaques funded by handlers carry the names of their dogs. Several bases raised enough funds to list all of their assigned dogs.

A U.S. War Dog Memorial is planned by the U.S. War Dog Association, to be located on the grounds of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Holmdel, N.J.

The oldest memorial to War Dogs in the United States is a private site at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, in the northern suburbs of New York City. This memorial was dedicated following World War I to honor dogs who served in that war. The inscription reads:

ìDedicated to the memory of the war dog. Erected by public contributions by dog lovers to man’s faithful friend for the valiant services rendered in world war, 1914-1918.”

There are many more private or regional memorials to War Dogs in the U.S. as well as those in other countries honoring their canine soldiers. The bond of affection for these dogs will no doubt give rise to more over the years.

The United States War Dogs Association, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization of Former and Current U.S. Military Dog Handlers and supporting members committed to promoting the long history of the Military Service Dogs, establishing permanent War Dog Memorials and educating the public about the invaluable service of these canines to our country. For more information, visit

Vet Gazette says

According to a 2010 issue of The Vet Gazette, a newsletter from the Porter County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 905, the following is information about combat canines serving in the U.S. Military today:

– Number of dogs serving in the U.S. Military: 2,800

– Cost per dog, per year, to the military: $40,000, putting the amount spent on dogs at about $112 million

– Number of dogs serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan: 50

– Number of dogs killed while serving in Afghanistan since 2005: 2

– Projected cost of dog food at Kandahar this year: $200,000

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