Today is Veteran’s Day, a national day of gratitude to all the soldiers who have served our country in the armed forces: men, women, and now, dogs.
In January of 2013, the U.S. Working Dog Team National Monument will be erected in California to commemorate all dogs that have served in combat since WWI. Since the first Great War, when dogs were used as trench mascots, there have been many unsung canine heroes. Today, we would like to salute them.
Five Great American Dog Soldiers:
1. Sergeant Stubby, WWI: Sergeant Stubby was a short tailed bull terrier who was part of the 1917 Yankee forces in Connecticut’s 102 infantry. His friend-beast was Private J. Robert Conroy, who smuggled him aboard the S.S. Minnesota bound from Virginia to France when he was just a puppy.
Stubby served in the front line trenches where his keen sense of smell worked as an early detection warning for gas attacks. He excelled at locating wounded soldiers on the battlefield, and even captured a German spy. Sgt. Stubby was awarded a gold medal, as a wounded hero of war, from General Blackjack Pershing in 1921.
2. Chips, WWII: Part of the 1940-1950’s “K-9 corps” War Dogs Program, Chips served in Virginia’s 3rd infantry division from 1942-1945. A German shepherd and collie mix, Chips was the most decorated WWII dog soldier. He served as a sentry in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Germany, and France. After assisting in capturing 10 Italian POWs, Chips was awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart, both of which were later revoked due to canine military service discrimination.
3. York, Korean War: York served with distinction in Korea’s 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon from 1952-1953. This, scout dog's skills were used to seek out and silently alert soldiers to hidden enemy locations. General Samuel William’s awarded York with the Distinguished Service Award after he served in 148 combat patrols without a single life lost.
His platoon was also given a citation for outstanding service, “Throughout its long period of difficult and hazardous service, the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon has never failed those with whom it served; has consistently shown outstanding devotion to duty in the performance of all of its other duties, and has won on the battlefield a degree of respect and admiration which has established it as a unit of the greatest importance to the Eighth United States Army.”
4. Nemo, Vietnam: Nemo was the most famous of over 4,000 dogs to serve during the Vietnam conflict. The Air Force sentry dog saved his handler, Robert A. Throneburg, from four hidden Viet-Cong soldiers who had infiltrated the Tan Son Nhut base in December of 1966. Nemo also prevented untold further casualties by ferreting out the enemy soldiers, earning his until the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its "heroic valor," according to Seventh Air Force News, August 9, 1967.
5. Cairo, War on Terror: Air Force Captain Jeffrey Mckammey told the AP that the number of military dogs has grown by 20% since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The most bad-assed dog to serve in the current conflict is Cairo, who aided in the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Cairo stood sentry, alerting the elite SEAL Team Six of anyone who tried to escape or approach the bin Laden compound.