Memorial To Honor Dogs That Served In War

War Dog memorialLegislation moving through Congress would create a national monument honoring the military working dogs or “war dogs” that sniffed out booby traps, guard military bases, track down missing service persons, and other numerous brave acts.

“Having a dog in the service is, I think, why I’m still here,” said Bruce Wellington of Camarillo, who served in the Marines in the Pacific during World War II with his German shepherd mix Prince.

A corporal in the 2nd War Dog Platoon, Wellington said war dogs and handlers in his platoon led more than 500 patrols into enemy territory.

“There would be thousands more American grave marks in Vietnam, World War II, Korea, even today without these dogs,” said John C. Burnam, author of “Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen and War Dog Heroes in Vietnam.”

Burnam has made it his life’s mission to seek recognition for the estimated 4,000 dogs who served in Vietnam.

More about the memorial after the jump.


It could take years for the memorial to be actually constructed, but the first step came in May when the House approved the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill instructing the Pentagon to make way for a monument at a U.S. military installation. Burnam’s nonprofit group National War Dogs Memorial Inc. would pay for and maintain the monument. The measure could go to President Bush by October.

Smaller monuments to war dogs have been erected at March Air Force Base in Riverside as well as at Fort Benning, Ga. But Bennett [former mayor of Corona] called the possibility of a national memorial “spectacular.”

“It’s time,” he said, recounting stories of dogs sniffing out Viet Cong hiding underground, or diving off patrol boats and emerging with an enemy soldier loaded with explosives in their jaws.

“Nobody really understands the role these animals played in fighting our wars,” Bennett says.

Burnam said he, too, can scarcely believe national recognition for war dogs is almost a reality. He has just one requirement: that the memorial be pet-friendly.

“You definitely want dogs to come,” Burnam said.

7 Responses to “Memorial To Honor Dogs That Served In War”

  1. Gary says:

    I read a report a while back about how they are killing or leaving behind, service dogs that served in Iraq rather than bring them back because they cannot “fit into” society. Is this true?

    If so, seems there is something terribly wrong somewhere.

  2. JustMe says:

    re: War Dogs of Vietnam

    I seem to recall over the years reading that our soldiers were forced to abandon and leave behind most of the brave military dogs used in Vietnam rather than bring them back home with them.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Yes, I’ve also heard that the military dogs of Vietnam were left behind…I think it was program on the History Channel? Not sure. But seems incredible — all the training and expense to get them there, then they serve honorably and bravely, then they are left behind? Glad now that war dogs will get some recognition.

  4. Lynne says:

    Recognition is fine and all but how about if we stop using the dogs and then discarding them like some broken piece of equipment? If the monument serves to change this practice I’m all for it.

  5. Lynne says:

    Better yet, how about if we stop starting wars in the first place?

  6. Jenny Bark says:

    A dog saved my brother’s life in nam. He found the german shepherd and it was his dog for the rest of his time there. He did everthing in his power and offered all kinds of money but he was not allowed to bring that baby back. That is not right and in my mind will never be right.

  7. petsrfamily says:

    I agree with Lynne:

    Lynne says:

    June 26th, 2007 at 12:09 pm
    Recognition is fine and all but how about if we stop using the dogs and then discarding them like some broken piece of equipment? If the monument serves to change this practice I’m all for it.
    Let the dog stay with someone it was close to in the unit. At least bring the dog home instead of letting it fend for itself to survive when it was fed and watered by a caring human at one time.

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