By Diane Forrest
Dogs have bled, suffered, and died while serving in all our wars, to include this war on terror, and they have done so in ways that do us all proud. Dogs were there in the trenches of France in WW I, and the slopes of Iwo Jima in WW II, and though many were pure breeds, some others were mixed breeds, and our troops didn’t care either way. They were simply grateful to have one, and they treated them with respect as a fellow soldier. Of course dogs also served with honor in Korea, and Vietnam, and wherever our Country has called them to serve. And unlike other so called weapons, dogs served not to take a life, but to save them.
It was reported that there was a dog along with the SEAL team on the Osama Bin Ladin Attack. The dog, reportedly trained to sniff out explosives, is believed to have nosed around the compound, looking for explosives and booby-traps. Had bin Laden been hiding in a secret room, the dog could have been used to sniff him out. He could also have chased anyone fleeing the compound.
Military sources say it was most likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Maligns, another type of large shepherd. Both breeds, the two most commonly used by the military, can run about twice as fast as a human, and, according to a military fact sheet, "have the best overall combination of keen sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition." That said, Labrador retrievers are also becoming increasingly popular; they're used to check the safety of a route by wandering ahead of a patrol.
The Pentagon currently employs some 2,700 dogs, up from 1,800 before the September 11 terrorist attacks. About 600 of those dogs are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are no longer listed as equipment, and some that are killed in action are even awarded medals and buried with full military honors. March 13, 1942 is the official birthday of the United States K9 Corps, and so it seems only right to annually honor their service on that date. They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.
Today is K-9 Veteran's Day, for ways you can help promote this occasion, visit this website: http://k9veteransday.org/
(All images from Google)