On Memorial Day some of our most frequently forgotten soldiers are our silent sidekicks. Dogs have had key combat rolls with US soldiers in every major conflict since the civil war but weren’t officially recognized by the US military until 1943. War dogs, as they’ve been come to be known, have held a variety of roles from Casualty Dogs, Messenger Dogs, Mine Dogs, Pack Dogs, Silent Scout Dogs, Sledge Dogs, and are still our best tool in bomb, weapon and drug detection.
The grandfather and most famous and highly decorated of Veteran dogs is Sergeant Stubby the American Pit Bull Terrier. Sergeant Stubby’s WWI heroics include; catching a German spy, locating numerous injured soldiers in the battlefield, participation in 17 battles and four offenses, and constantly warning his unit of incoming artillery and poison gas attacks. During his military career Sergeant Stubby took shrapnel from two hand grenade attacks and a poison gas attack. For his service and bravery Sergeant Stubby was awarded a Purple Heart, 3 Service Stripes, French Medal Battle of Verdun 1st Annual American Legion Convention Medal, New Haven WW1 Veterans Medal, Republic of France Grande War Medal, St Mihiel Campaign Medal, Chateau Thierry Campaign Medal, met three presidents and was made a lifetime member of the American legion.
There are currently about 2,500 dogs in active service today, about 700 deployed overseas. If a dog of war is lost in combat, their feeding dishes are symbolically placed upside down and the entire squad honors him or her. On this Memorial Day, take a moment to honor all the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and thank those that honor us still.
“Trust in me my friend for I am
I will protect you with my last breath
When all others have left you
And the loneliness of the night closes in,
I will be at your side. “
-Guardians of the Night
The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument at Joint Base San Antonio.
Sergeant Stubby “in uniform”, embroidered chamois blanket embroidered with the flags of the allies, presented to him by admiring French women.
Continuing the long tradition of Military working dogs Valdo took the brunt of an RPG blast, saving four lives.
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile, Alabama.