Awesome United States Army Dogs
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942, the US military joined the American Kennel Club to establish Dogs for Defense. The American Kennel Club recruited dog owners to donate quality canines to the military. The Quartermasters Corps was responsible for supplies, food service, and materials management. On March 13, 1942, the Army Quartermaster Corps took it upon themselves to turn these pets into soldiers. The US Marines also trained handlers and canines to be soldiers in the Pacific during World War II.
Initially, more than 300 breeds of dogs were accepted into the program, but eventually the list was narrowed down to German Sheepdogs, Belgian Sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers, Farm Collies, and Giant Schnauzers. Of the 19,000 dogs tested for the program between 1942 and 1945, 45% were rejected. At first, the civilian volunteers trained the recruits, but after the first training center was opened in Front Royal, Virginia, the training was conducted by soldiers from the Quartermaster Corps for the Army and the Marines trained their own canines. .
The training lasted 12 weeks. He started with basic obedience and progressed to training with gas masks, muzzles, military vehicles, and shooting. Once basic training was completed, the dogs moved on to task-specific training.
Sentry Dogs: They walked on short leashes and warned their handlers with growls and barks. They were always on patrol with their handlers.
Scout dogs or patrol dogs: these dogs fulfilled the functions of the sentinel dog, but were trained to work in silence. They detected enemy snipers or ambushes. These canine soldiers saved the lives of many of their caretakers.
Messenger Dogs – These dogs required extreme loyalty because they were used to silently carrying messages between their two handlers.
Mining Dogs – These canines were trained to find tripwires and mines. There were 140 dogs trained as mining dogs during WWII, but the dogs were found to have trouble finding mines during combat.
Most of the dogs were trained as sentinels. Of the 9,300 dogs trained, 3,174 were used by the Coast Guard. These dogs were used to protect the coastline, harbor defense, and protect industrial plants and airfields.
In 1944, the military began using canines for combat. Sentry dogs in combat could detect enemy soldiers up to 1,000 meters away. To alert their handler without revealing their positions, the dogs stiffened and the hair on the dog’s back stood on end. Over the years, military working canines have been used not only in WWII, but also in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and are currently deployed to Iraq. It is noted that in Vietnam, canine war dogs saved up to 10,000 lives.
One of the first war memorials was erected on Guam’s Asan Beach in 1944. It was moved to the United States Naval Base on the island in 1994. This particular memorial is dedicated to the Dobermans who served with the Marines during the Second World War. The inscription on the commemorative statue reads … “always faithful.”