War Dogs Remembered

In 1942 the United States Army established the

K-9 Corps

In the United States the practice of training dogs for military purposes was largely abandoned after World War I.

When the USA entered World War II in December 1941, the American Kennel Association and a group called Dogs for Defense began a movement to mobilize dog owners to donate healthy and capable animals to the U.S. Army. Forming the ‘War Dog Programme’ in March 1942, training began and the Quartermaster Corps was given the task of training dogs for the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Historic Note: Well over a million dogs served on both sides during World War I, carrying messages along the complex network of trenches and providing some measure of psychological comfort to the soldiers. The most famous dog to emerge from the war was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918. Taken to the United States he made his film debut in the 1922 silent film The Man from Hell’s River. As the first bona fide animal movie star, Rin Tin Tin made the little-known German Shepherd breed famous across the USA.

Five Famous USA War Dogs Remembered. By Mike – Dogtime.com


Chips was a Collie–German Shepherd–Siberian Husky mix who was the most decorated dog in World War II. Chips

The pooch saw action in Germany, France, North Africa, and Sicily. Among the animal’s heroic exploits are his assault on an Italian machine-gun nest and helping take 10 enemy Italian soldiers captive. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions; unfortunately, the commendations were revoked as military policy at the time didn’t allow such recognition for animals. The dog returned to his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 1945.

image: www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/2015/05/file_10959_column_famous-war-dog-chips.jpg


Kaiser was a German Shepherd who served in Vietnam under his handler Marine Lance Cpl. Alfredo Salazar.

KaiserKaiser and Salazar did more than 30 combat patrols and participated in 12 major operations together. After the pair joined “D” Company for a search-and-destroy mission, they were ambushed by enemy forces while on patrol in 1966. Kaiser was hit in the initial barrage and died while trying to lick Salazar’s hand. Kaiser was the first war dog killed in action during the Vietnam War.

image: www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/2015/05/file_10959_column_war-dogs-kaiser.jpg


On December 4, 1966, Nemo and Airman 2nd Class Bob Thorneburg were on patrol at a cemetery near the company’s airbase in Vietnam. Nemo

The two came under enemy fire: and the German Shepherd took a round to his eye, and Throneburg was shot in the shoulder after killing two Viet Cong guerillas. Undaunted, Nemo still attacked the enemy, which gave Throneburg the precious minutes he needed to call in reinforcements. After Throneburg fell unconscious, Nemo crawled on top of the soldier’s body to protect him from harm. The dog didn’t let anyone touch his fallen handler; it took a veterinarian to remove Nemo (Nemo and Throneburg later recovered from their wounds). Nemo was later given a permanent retirement kennel; he died when he was 11 years old in December 1972.

image: www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/2015/05/file_10959_column_famous-war-dog-nemo.jpg



SmokeyA Yorkshire Terrier who saw action in the Pacific during World War II, Smoky was initially found in February 1944, abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea. The dog was included in a dozen combat missions and survived more than 150 air raids. Like famous World War I veteran Stubby, Smoky used her sharp sense of hearing to warn of incoming artillery shells. One of Smoky’s most famous exploits was at a crucial airstrip in the Philippine Island of Luzon. The dog pulled a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe, saving construction time and keeping workers and engineers safe from enemy fire. When not in harm’s way, Smoky entertained troops with a variety of tricks and self-taught antics. The dog died on February 21, 1957; she was 14 years old. Smoky’s exploits are chronicled in detail in the book Yorkie Doodle Dandy, written by her adoptive owner William A. Wynne.

image: www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/2015/05/file_10959_column_what-were-famous-war-dogs.jpg


Probably the most famous war dog.

This American Pit Bull Terrier was the only dog to be given the rank of Sergeant.Stubby

Stubby was found as a stray on the Yale campus in 1917, and smuggled to France during World War I by his adoptive owner, Cpl. John Robert Conroy. The dog’s heroic acts include participating in 17 battles, four offenses, and improving troop morale. He also used his keen senses to warn his unit of poison-gas attacks, incoming artillery fire, and to locate downed soldiers on the battlefield (they were also put to good use when he sniffed out and apprehended a German spy lurking in the trenches). Stubby is remembered today: the Pit Bull-centric website, StubbyDog.org, is named after him, as is the Stubby Award for Canine Heroism. Stubby died in his owner’s arms in 1926.

image: www.dogtime.com/assets/uploads/2015/05/file_10959_column_famous-war-dogs-stubby.jpg

Read more at www.dogtime.com/dog-health/general/10959-five-war-dogs-for-memorial-day

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