This Memorial Day we pause to remember those who served and died fighting to protect our freedoms and liberties. Often overlooked are the military dogs who served alongside their humans…and often died in their efforts.
In World War II, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American Kennel Club encouraged dog owners to donate dogs to the war effort. The “War Dog Program” became known as K-9 Corps during the 40s and 50s. While nearly 30 breeds were initially accepted into the program, eventually German Shepherds and four other suitable breeds made up the program.
Dogs trained for 8 to 12 weeks on everything from basic commands like sit and stay to intense training to become accustom to gun fire and riding in military vehicles. After basic training dogs were entered into one of four programs…
Sentry Dogs - Most dogs were trained for sentry duty working with a guard and warning them if any stranger approached. They were especially valuable in the dark.
Scout/Patrol Dogs -These special dogs were trained to perform their duties in extreme quiet in order to detect snipers and enemy forces.
Messenger Dogs - Only 151 messenger dogs were trained during WWII and they were extremely special dogs. Their loyalty was paramount as they were required to work with two trainers.
Mine Dogs - I think the name says it all. These dogs were trained to detect mines and trip wires.
They saved lives and helped defeat our enemy through several wars. The incredible work that these dogs did cannot be forgotten.