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I couldn’t let Veteran’s Day pass without taking a moment to honor all the dogs that have served in the US Military since World War I.  

Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and Russia are among the countries that have formally honored their canine military with a memorial. Not so with the United States.

Nearly 4,000 dogs served in Vietnam saving as many as 10,000 American serviceman’s lives. Yet when the United State withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, the military deemed these brave service dogs “surplus equipment” and abandoned these dogs. Despite objections by the handlers only a handful of dogs made it safely back to the US.

Today the US military still regards their service dogs as “equipment“. They are “drafted for life” into the military and are euthanized when they are old, injured or no longer able to do their jobs. The US military continues to claim that these dogs can not make the transition to retired life. Since police dogs are given much the same training as military dogs we know this to be untrue.

I am not sure what we can do to change the fate of these brave canine soldiers, but I wanted to honor them today and give you some links where you could find out more about these remarkable dogs.

Here are just a few of our heros:

STUBBY , Bull Terrier mix, WWI. The most decorated war dog in U.S. history. As a small, stray bull terrier, he was smuggled aboard a troop ship to France. There he was wounded in no-man's land but recovered and still served in battles at Chateau Thierry, the Marne and the Meuse-Argonne with the men of the 102nd Infantry. One night in February 1918, he roused a sleeping sergeant to warn of a gas attack, giving the soldiers time to don masks and thus saving them. Gen John "Black Jack" Pershing awarded him a special Gold Medal. He was given Life Membership in the American Legion and the Red Cross. He met Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge. He died of old age in 1926. Stubby is now on display as part of American military history in the Hartford Armory in Connecticut and is called "Sargeant Stubby".  

SMOKY , 4 pound Yorkie. WWII's littlest soldier . Read about Smokey at [Link Removed] 

NEMO , German Shepherd, Wounded in Vietnam. Depsite losing an eye to gunfire, he threw himself on 4 Viet Cong to save his handler in 1966. Both survived. One of the few Vietnam war dogs given passage back home to the United States.  

CARLO , Belgian Malinois, Desert Storm. During a ceremony in which Carlo's handler received the Bronze Star for his service in Kuwait, his handler removed the medal from his own uniform and pinned it to Carlo's collar, saying, "Carlo worked harder than me. He was always in front of me."

CHIPS , German Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix, WWII, Tank guard dog and the most decorated dog in WWII being awarded the Silver Star for Valor and a Purple Heart. When he and his handler was attacked by a concealed machine gun in July 1943 during the invasion of Sicily, he streaked for the Italian machine gun pillbox, capturing 4 Italian soldiers and saving his handler. He suffered powder burns and a scalp wound - proof that the Italians had tried to kill him. That same night he helped capture another 10 Italian soldiers. The U.S. newspapers called him a hero. He was personally thanked for his services by General Eisenhower. Chips' military honors were removed because the the commander of the Order of the Purple Heart determined that decorating a dog was "...demeaning to servicemen."  

Suzie , German Shepherd, Vietnam. Her handler gave her his Bronze Star.

Pfc. Kory Wiens of the 94th Engineer Detachment and his dog Cooper , 94th Engineer Detachment, Iraq. Korry and Copper were both killed in an IED explosion.

 To find out more about these dogs please visit [Link Removed] 

[Link Removed] another excellent web site that has a complete history of dogs in service to our country and the brave men that fought beside them.

Although I have painted a negative picture here of how the US armed forces seemed to have let htese dogs down, I am sure as we go forward that these dogs will soon get the recognition and consideration that they deserve. I have read so many articles in the past year about soldiers that have gone through great obstacles to recue dogs that they have befriended in Iraq.

Who can forget the story earlier this year of Marine Major Brian Dennis who rescued his dog Nubs from a life of cruelty and pain in Iraq. [Link Removed] 

Here is the story of Army Specialist Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis who rescued her dog [Link Removed] 

Anskyann, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darla5 wrote Nov 12, 2008
    • Anne,

      What a great post!!!

      I am a dog lover. I have four dogs who are just an extension of my family. I talk about them as much as my children. This really hit home for me.

      I will be reading up on all the other sites you mentioned. I did not know about how the dogs are treated. My heart just breaks. I have to find out how we can help more of our Canine Soldiers.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne Gormely wrote Nov 12, 2008
    • I never knew how the dogs were treated either. I had this idea to write about dogs in service for Veteran’s Day. When I Goggled this topic and was shocked to find out how poorly these dogs were treated.
      My husband told me that there was a PBS documentary on the dogs left behind in Viernam several years ago. He never told me about because he knew how upsetting it would be to me.
      I am not sure where to begin, but there must be something we can do to have this policy changed. If anyone has any suggestions I am ready to do whatever I can.

      Anne Gormely
      Brown Dog

            Report  Reply

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