On National K9 Veterans Day, Salute Some Of America’s Finest Military Working Dogs


Monday, March 13, marks National K9 Veterans Day, a day to honor and commemorate the service and sacrifices of American military and working dogs throughout history. According to American Humane, it was 75 years ago today that the U.S. Army first established the War Dog Program, or “K9 Corps,” to train man’s best friend to become the military’s best canine asset. The dogs of war who have served alongside soldiers throughout history aren’t just good dogs — they’re great dogs.

The most well-known working dogs include Smoky, the female Yorkshire Terrier rescued from a foxhole by Cpl. Bill Wynne during World War II who visited injured soldiers and helped string communication lines between military outposts in the Pacific Theater; Gander, the enormous Newfoundland “promoted” to sergeant of an Royal Canadian rifle team who terrified the bejesus out of unsuspecting Japanese soldiers and saved his unit by literally playing fetch with a Japanese hand grenade; and Lex, the German Shepherd, who faithfully served alongside owner Cpl. Dustin Lee until the corporal’s death in Iraq in 2007. And who can forget Sgt. Stubby, the original war dog:

The four-legged trailblazer earned fame for his battlefield heroism while attached to the Army’s 102nd Infantry Regiment, 26th (Yankee) Division, during World War I. A stray at the time, Stubby met his best friend and handler, Cpl. Robert Conroy, during training in Virginia. Smuggling Stubby aboard the SS Minnesota in October 1917, the two set sail for France.

On the battlefield, Stubby distinguished himself with the uncanny ability to detect incoming artillery, mustard gas, and even enemy soldiers. The war dog once latched onto a German infiltrator that was dressed as an American soldier. He was battle tested, even sustaining injuries in combat, but it was Stubby’s friendly demeanor among his fellow soldiers that endeared him to his unit.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Sgt. Stubby visits the White House to call on President Calvin Coolidge in November 1924.

As of 2015, there were about 2,500 war dogs operating in service of the U.S. military, with around deployed 700 overseas with U.S. troops at any given time. Below, we pay tribute to some of America’s finest canine warriors. And remember: When things get tough, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war:

1. Tarzan

Photo via DoD

Tarzan, a German Shepard military working dog assigned to the 100th Military Working Dog Detachment practices controlled aggression with his handler, Sgt. Jessey E. Csech at the Panzer Kaserne military working dog compound near Boeblingen, Germany, Feb. 23, 2017.

2. Ali

DoD photo

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Macdonald, dog handler, poses for a photo with military working dog Ali at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2013.

3. Jerry

DoD photo

Pfc. Heaven Southard, an Army military working dog handler with the Directorate of Emergency Services, Area Support Group - Kuwait, releases her military working dog “Jerry” during a demonstration of MWD capabilities at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on March 7, 2017.

4. Elmo

DoD photo

Elmo, 628th Security Forces military working dog, sits beside his handler Senior Airman Trey Weston, 628th Security Forces military working dog handler, before starting his workday, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Aug. 17, 2016.

5. Lara

DoD photo

Army Spc. Ian Long, a military working dog handler from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, reassures Lara, his military working dog, while she is being examined by U.S. Army Central medical personnel Dec. 19, 2016 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

6. Bak

DoD photo

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Woodall, 820th Base Defense Squadron military working dog handler, poses with her dog, Bak, Feb. 19, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

7. Joker

Photo via DoD

Joker, a 4-year-old military working dog assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama, grabs hold of Sgt. Oscar Rodriguez, military working dog handler, 483rd Working Dog Detachment, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, during a demonstration for students at Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix, Feb. 8.

8. Raider

DoD photo

Lance Cpl. Joel A. Garcia runs a box search with his military working dog Raider at Combat Town, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 24, 2017.

9. Prada

DoD photo

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Glover, 99th Security Forces Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, rewards his military working dog Prada for discovering hidden explosives by giving her a toy, Nov. 10, 2016.

10. Jop

DoD photo

Jop, a military working dog with the 49th Security Forces Squadron, poses for the camera during a “play time” session at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, on Dec. 7, 2016.

Who's a good boy? You're all very good boys.

Photo by DoD

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

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(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

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After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

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(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

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Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

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