Today is National K9 Veterans Day! Why today? Glad you asked. On March 13, 1942, the US Army first began training dogs for its newly established K9 Corps. Since that fateful day, we’ve come to learn of several dogs who have become full-fledged heroes.
Sergeant Stubby was the original war dog, serving in World War I, even before the official program was started. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, he was the first dog ever given rank in the U.S. Army. The brindle Bull Terrier mutt was awarded medals both from France and from the US.
Chips was honored for his actions during the 1943 beach landing in Sicily. According to U.S. soldiers, Chips raced into an Italian machine-gun nest, attacked an enemy soldier by the throat and pulled the gun from its mount. The Shepherd-Husky mix had been donated to the war effort by his family and was returned to them after his service ended. Although US policy at the time didn’t allow dogs to receive medals, he was nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. Decades later, he received the Dickin medal from England for his service in protecting Churchill and Roosevelt during the Casablanca Conference.
Kaiser, one of 4,000 dogs to serve in Vietnam, was the first K9 fatality of the war.
Nemo’s story is particularly impressive. According to military.com, On December 4, 1966, Nemo and Airman 2nd Class Bob Thorneburg were on patrol near an airbase in Vietnam when they suddenly came under concentrated enemy fire. Nemo took a round to his eye while Throneburg was shot in the shoulder after killing two Viet Cong guerillas.
Nemo viciously jumped at the enemy, giving Throneburg time to call in reinforcements. After Throneburg fell unconscious, Nemo crawled on top of his body to protect him. The dog didn’t let anyone touch his handler, and a veterinarian had to sedate Nemo so medics could attend to Thorneburg. Both survived, and Nemo lived until 1972.
Cairo was the Navy SEAL K9 who helped raid the Bin Laden compound and take down Osama. The Belgian Malinois is the subject of the book “No Ordinary Dog” penned by his handler, Will Chesney.
Doggies.com and breeders.net offer their sincere appreciation to all military dogs and their handlers for their service to the country.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!