Though war dogs served with distinction in World War I, and in countless campaigns and conflicts before that — delivering messages, comforting frontline troops, and biting enemy soldiers on the ass — on March 13, 1942 the U.S. Army began training dogs to serve in the newly created War Dog Program, referred to as the K-9 Corps. The War Dog Program marked the beginning of modern military working dogs as we know them.
Freddy, a military working dog (MWD) with the Directorate of Emergency Services, Area Support Group - Kuwait, searches for a training aide during a demonstration of MWD capabilities at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on Mar. 7, 2017.U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Dalton Smith
After the United States entered World War II on Dec. 8, 1941, the American Kennel Association and a group calling itself Dogs for Defense, encouraged dog owners back home to donate healthy canines to the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army for training, notes History. Training the new war dogs began in earnest in March 1942, and by the fall, the Army Quartermaster Corps was given the task of providing war dogs to the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard as well.
K-9 Corps war dogs serving during World War II.Department of Defense
Though the K-9 Corps initially accepted some 30 breeds of dogs, that list was soon whittled down to seven, many of which are still used today: German Shepherds, Belgian sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers, collies, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and Eskimo dogs.
Just like their uniformed handlers, the dogs went through their own rigorous basic training, which induced basic obedience training, before going off to a four-legged of MOS-school, with specialized training for messenger, mine-detection, sentry, and scout dogs.
Among the ranks of WWII war dogs, a German Shepherd and scout dog named Chips even earned distinction under fire, after he broke away from his handlers and attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart — though the Army later rescinded the awards, due to a policy preventing the official commendation of animals.
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.