A friend of mine co-hosts this podcast, and I thought this episode, in particular, might be of interest.
Who here has heard of the K9s left behind in Vietnam? This episode is in honor of a very special MWD Stormy, and her lasting legacy.
Episode 144: The Pledge with Ron Aiello
Your Working Dog Radio hosts, Eric @vanessk9 & Ted @ted_summers, sit down with US Marine Vietnam Veteran, and co-founder of The United States War Dogs Association, Inc., Ron Aiello.
Aiello had the honor of serving with the First Marine Scout Dog Platoon from 1964 to 1970. He and his dog Stormy were one of the first thirty Marine Scout Dog Teams to be deployed to Vietnam in early 1966, and the gents discuss what it was like working with a 6’ leash and a pistol, having her literally save his life, as Aiello recounts harrowing tales of Stormy’s abilities, to find, alert, and protect her team from weapons, booby traps, and enemy soldiers. And ultimately, what it was like to give Stormy to her next handler, future unknown, and leave her behind.
In 2000, Ron and four other Vietnam Veteran dog handlers formed The United States War Dogs Association, Inc. in Stormy’s memory and honor. USWDA is a nonprofit organization of former and current US military dog handlers and supporting members. The USWDA is committed to promoting the long history of the military service dogs, establishing permanent war dog memorials, and educating the public about the invaluable service of these MWDs.
Aiello has been guiding his organization as president, ensuring that our deployed US MWD Teams receive complete support (especially post 9/11) through “Operation Military Care, K9” through care packages and letter-writing correspondence. The organization has sent more than 25,000 care packages to teams, and has helped adopt hundreds of retired dogs to date. The work the USWDA doesn’t end there, as they provide follow up care for medical expenses for the dogs as well, which can be lifesaving and a huge relief for the adopters. Aiello has also been a consultant for numerous, film producers, screenwriters, book authors, and national and local newspapers.
Aiello has also been on numerous television shows and has done many radio interviews, promoting Operation Military Care, K9, explaining why MWDs are an asset to the Armed Forces of America. Ron’s background in military war dog service and his dedication to honoring the memory of the service and sacrifice of the US MWDs gives him a unique perspective that he can use to educate the public on the history of military war dogs.
Sadly, Ron doesn’t know what happened to Stormy after the war, but luckily, many laws have gone into ensuring our MWDs are taken care of, and brought back home after their service. So sit down, and reflect on our country’s long standing use of MWDs. Help us honor Stormy, and all the dogs before her and after her, and check out Aiello’s website, and consider donating! www.uswardogs.org
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Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!