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Friday, November 11, 2016

Dog Veteran Facts

1. Dogs have been in combat with US soldiers during every major conflict, but they were not officially recognized until WWII
2. They are trained in bomb, weapon and drug detection, tracking, and to attack the enemy
3. Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX has been training sentry dogs since 1958
4. Today, more than 1,000 dogs are trained at any given time by a staff of 125 from all branches of military service
5. Complex training techniques are designed to utilize the dogs' natural gifts for focus and aggression to their advantage
6. There are about 2500 dogs in active service today and about 700 deployed overseas
7. 85% of military working dogs are purchased from Germany and the Netherlands
8. Bloodlines of these dogs go back hundreds of years, making these pups literally "born for the job"
9. Currently the other 15% of working dogs are USA born and bred, and the military hopes to increase this number
10. A fully trained bomb detection dog is likely worth over $150,000, but really these animals are priceless
11. With an average of 98% accuracy in their detection skills, the peace of mind they provide to the troops is immeasurable
12. Only about 50% make it through training
13. Military working dogs are not just chosen for their breeding or the keenness of their sense of smell, they must possess several other qualities
14. They must be free of physical issues like hip dysplasia and being highly reward motivated, and they must also be able to attack on command
15. Pups have actually been dropped from the program due to extreme stress at having to bite a human
16. Military dogs must have just the right level of aggression and excitability
17. They can get PTSD, war dogs experience severe emotional trauma during deployment, and for some it becomes too much
18. They mourn the loss of their handler and vice versa because of the remarkable bond that develops between service dog and handler
19. If a dog of war is lost in combat, he or she is honored by the entire squad. Feeding dishes are symbolically placed upside down and a poem called "Guardians of the Night" is read in their honor

5 Famous War Dogs

1. Chips (Collie-German Shepherd-Siberian Husky mix) who was the most decorated dog in WWII. He saw action in Germany, France, North Africa, and Sicily. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions. He returned to his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 1945.

2. Kaiser (German Shepherd) served in Vietnam under his handler Marine Lance Cpl. Alfredo Salazar. They did more than 30 combat patrols and participated in 12 major operations together. During 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.

3. Nemo (German Shepherd) served in Vietnam under his handler Airman 2nd Class Bob Thorneburg. While on patrol at a cemetery near the company's airbase in Vietnam, the two came under enemy fire! Nemo 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. Both recovered from their wounds. Nemo was later given a permanent retirement kennel; he died when he was 11 years old in December 1972.

4. Smoky (Yorkshire Terrier) saw action in the Pacific during WWII. She was initially found in February 1944, abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea. Smoky was included in a dozen combat missions and survived more than 150 air raids. Smoky used her sharp sense of hearing to warn of incoming artillery shells. Her most famous exploits was at a crucial airstrip in the Philippine Island of Luzon. Smoky pulled a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe, saving construction time and keeping works and engineers safe from enemy fire. When not in harm's way, Smoky entertained troops with a variety of tricks and self-taught antics. She died on February 21, 1957; she was 14 years old.

5. Stubby (American Pit Bull Terrier) is probably the most famous war dog. He was the only dog to be given the rank of sergeant. Stubby was found as a stray on the Yale campus in 1917, and smuggled to France during WWI by his adoptive owner, Cpl. John Robert Conroy. His 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 died in his owner's arms in 1926.

Thank you to those that have served and continue to serve. Both two and four-legged.

Check out more pictures from today by clicking on the link below!

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