This Memorial Day Day weekend as we all remember those who died while serving in the Unites States’ armed forces, it’s also a good time to honor those canine heros that gave their lives for our country.
Dogs have a long legacy of serving the world’s military for centuries. Dogs have visual and olfactory sensory abilities that are superhuman, can go where a soldier cannot, and can often subdue or intimidate a foe more quickly with non-lethal force.
According to USWarDogs.org, the first modern push for the use of dogs in the military in the US came in the late 1930’s and early forties as many influential breeders had formed groups to urge the military to use dogs. One of the most famous groups was “Dogs for Defense,” which came into being immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
After that hundreds of dogs were used in military service and the training of the dogs was divided into eight distinct areas:
Some of what the dogs are trained for in current times has evolved and expanded (explosive detection, tunnel exploration, etc.) but the important role these canines play in the military is undeniable.
The vast majority of U.S. military working dogs in recent times are German and Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois, breeds chosen because they are very aggressive, smart, loyal and athletic.For specialized roles, detector dogs in particular, are primarily Retrievers (Labrador, Golden or Chesapeake Bay). All dogs trained and used by the U.S. military are procured and trained by the 341st Military Working Dog Training Squadron, Lackland AFB, TX.
So, while every civilian dog is a hero to its human companion, take a moment to give thanks for those dogs that serve and protect our nation and work along side of our human troops.