Remembering Military Working Dogs

The US War Dogs Memorial honors our nation's war dogs and their handlers - past, present, and future. The memorial, designed by sculptor Bruce Lindsay, consists of a bronze statue of a kneeling soldier and his dog, set on a black granite base. It was dedicated on June 10, 2006. (www.njvvmf.org/united-states-war-dog-memorial.html)

Memorial Day is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, and not all of those heroes have stood on only two legs. The United States War Dogs Association estimates that during the Vietnam War alone, military working dogs and their handlers saved more than 10,000 lives. Below are brief bios of four, four-legged American soldiers whose dedication to protecting others is an inspiration to all of us.

Sergeant Stubby, WWI

Sergeant Stubby & The Dough Boys (Original Oil by Terry Waldron)

Sgt. Stubby is often considered the first American war dog hero. He joined the 102nd Infantry 26th Division in 1917 and participated in 17 WWI engagements. He saved countless lives during his time with 102nd. His first battle injury was from gas exposure, which heightened his sensitivity to this form of warfare. Only a few weeks after returning to the battlefield, he saved his fellow soldiers from an early morning gas attack by running through the trench barking at his sleeping comrades. Sgt. Stubby’s sensitivity to noise also allowed him to locate wounded men in the “No Man’s Land” between trenches, and he even captured a German spy who was making a map of Allied trenches. Sgt. Stubby received numerous awards for his service, and his remains are currently preserved at the Smithsonian Institution.

Chips, WWII

Chips, Decorated War Hero (www.military.com)

Chips was the most decorated war dog of WWII. The German Shepherd Sentry Dog first served in General Patton’s Africa campaign, and it was during the 3rd Division of Patton’s Seventh Army siege on Sicily that Chips made his mark. After breaking away from handlers, Chips attacked an enemy machine gun nest and forced the German crew to surrender despite being wounded during his assault. Chips received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his heroism, but his awards were later revoked due to an Army policy at the time that prevented official commendation of animals.

YORK, Korean War

York practicing an attack on Virgel E. Price of the 26th ISDP. Taken at Fort Riley prior to deployment to Korea. National Archives Photo

York was a U.S. Army Scot dog who served two years with the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon in Korea. Between June 25, 1951 and June 23, 1953, York performed 148 combat patrols. General Samuel T. Williams awarded York with the Distinguished Service Award for saving countless American lives by silent alerting patrols to numerous enemy locations.

Gabe, Iraq War

Former military working dog Sgt. 1st Class Gabe and his handler (now owner) Sgt. 1st Class Charles Shuck shake on it between explosives detection missions (www.army.mil/article/88894)

Specialized Search Dog Gabe served from 2006 to 2009 and was the 2012 American Hero Dog. During his service, Gabe completed more than 210 combat missions and had 26 explosives and weapons finds. By the time he retired, Gabe had earned more than 40 awards and coins of excellence for his work. While not on a combat mission, he visited wounded troops in Army hospitals and school children in elementary schools. He continued to visit schools, local retirement homes and community events until he passed, February 13, 2013.

 

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