Military Dogs Have Long Service History

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Military Dogs Have Long Service History - Military working dogs have long service history...
Military working dogs have long service history BY R. NORMAN MOODY FLORIDA TODAY Dogs have been part of fighting troops for more than a century. Their use in early wars was limited, but they have been used regularly by the military since World War I, mostly by the Germans, French and Belgians. It wasn't until the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II that interest rose in the use of dogs for sentry duty. The need was emphasized early in 1942 when German submarines began to operate near the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and landing of saboteurs became a possibility, according to U.S. War DogAssociation. Dog owners pointed out that the animals might be extremely valuable if they were attached to Coast Guard beach patrols that were being organized to prevent such landings, and as guards at industrial plants and Army installations, according to the War DogAssociation. World War II was the start of more extensive use of dogs by U.S. forces. Most of the animals were pets that were donated by American citizens proud to have their animals serve with troops in a program called Dogs for Defense. Trainers volunteered their time. "The dogs are trained to find things that we can't, on hearing and smell," said Johnny Mayo, a dog handler in Vietnam and author of "Buck's Heroes." The dog is so important in certain situations." By the time of the Vietnam War, dogs were an integral part of many squadrons. The dogs were being used as sentries and trackers. In about a 10-year period during the Vietnam War, more than 4,000 dogs worked with about 10,000 handlers. Hank Gregor of Cocoa was one of those handlers. Gregor has no doubt Lobo, his military working dog, saved lives in Vietnam. "We'd go in before sunset and come out before sunrise," Gregor said. "You had to play the wind. If the enemy was tryingto encroach on that perimeter the dog would alert." Handlers such as Gregor, who is a member of the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association, however, point to a sad chapter for military working dogs. "The military establishment treated them as equipment," he said. Only about 200 of the more than 4,000 dogs sent to Vietnam ever returned. Contact Moody at 242-3651 or

Clipped from
  1. Florida Today,
  2. 26 Apr 2005, Tue,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 14

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  • Military Dogs Have Long Service History

    staff_reporter – 23 Apr 2018

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