Name:Harrison Location:United States

The Original Lovable Little Fuzzball

Here's the straight stuff.

The adventures of Harrison are true.
Try a few of his Crunchy Bites for a taste.
--Alpha Human Mom

Sunday, October 02, 2005

National Dog Week - VII

  Over the past few days I've written 'bout lots of
  canines--from the loyal policeman's companion
  Greyfriar's Bobby and the reluctant celebrity
  dog Balto, to war dogs like Stubby and Rags
  in WWI Europe and Russian rescue dogs of

the Great War; to Smoky in WWII's Pacific theater, Horrie, the Aussie dog of WWII's Middle Eastern campaigns, and SAS parachutin' dogs.

National Dog Week is over, but there are lots more stories to tell. Like Judy, the English Pointer, POW,
and Dickin Medal Winner.

"Judy was…born in Shanghai in 1936 and adopted as a mascot by the Royal Navy… She was torpedoed, captured by the Japanese and spent two years as their prisoner of war… During that time she distinguished herself by her devotion to Leading Aircraftsman Frank Williams…by her hatred of the Japanese guards who several times tried to shoot her, and by threatening and distracting them on many occasions when they began to beat their prisoners.

"She was finally liberated, together with her fellow prisoners, in 1945... Her citation reads: "For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, thus helping to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and for saving many lives by her intelligence and watchfulness."

Then there were the Korean and Vietnamese Wars as well.

In Korea, …[o]n 27 February 1952 the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon received a citation for its service, reading in part: "The members of the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon while participating in [hundreds of] these [combat] patrols were invariably located at the most vulnerable points in the patrol formation… The unbroken record of faithful and gallant performance of these missions by the individual handlers and their dogs…has saved countless casualties through giving early warning to the friendly patrol of threats to its security."

And Desert Storm and the Afghan/Iraqi War:

Fluffy - Gulf War II - A twelve-man U.S. Special Forces unit serving in northern Iraq had successfully used dogs as sentries in Afghanistan. They had no official dogs in Iraq so… Sgt. 1st Class Russell Joyce, in charge of supplies for the unit, asked the Kurds for a dog. They brought him a scarred, underweight, abused German Shepherd once used by Iraqi police.

Never heard about that abuse from PETA, did ya'? Wonder if all those loonies out there who think Sadaam was an okay guy would change their tune if they knew he abused dogs?

"The Kurds called him “Tariq Aziz,”…an unsuitable name for a soon-to-be U.S. Military Working Dog. Joyce renamed him "Fluffy", [Fluffy?!!] and while not a traditional warrior's name, Fluffy rapidly showed he had the heart of a soldier.

When Joyce's unit concluded its work in Iraq, they returned to the Special Forces base at Fort Bragg, NC. Since Fluffy was from Iraq, he had to be left behind. Health and customs laws created barriers to bringing him into the United States. Although Fluffy was in the care of an Air force Squadron at Kirkuk Air Base, Joyce became alarmed that Fluffy might be euthanized… He wrote to Senators, the Pentagon and the State Department as well as using the Internet to get public support. There was a tremendous out-
pouring of support and the red tape was cut. On 1 June 2003 Fluffy was flown…to Charleston Air Force Base, SC, where he was reunited with Sgt. Joyce.

  But d'ya' know it wasn't until 2000 that there
  was any sort of memorial to canine warriors
  here in the U.S.? In February of that year one
  was opened at March Field Air Museum in
  Riverside, CA, and in October an identical
  memorial was unveiled at Fort Benning, GA.
  They're 19 feet high, made of bronze, and show
  a combat-attired, Vietnam era soldier with a
  dog at his side. The inscription reads:
  "They protected us on the field of battle.
  They watch over our eternal rest.
  We are grateful."

  Here you can find a partial list of all the dogs
  that have served our soldiers in war. Sadly, as
  you read the list, you'll discover far too many
  were abandoned when their service was done,
  'specially in Vietnam. As the webmaster of
  one site wrote: "If only the leaders of this
  nation could serve us so well and so honestly,
  maybe this world would be a better place."

A small samplin':

BOB, Collie mix, WWII, led more forays into German territory than any other U.S. soldier in WWII, human or canine.

CHIPS, German Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix, WWII, Tank guard dog and the most decorated dog in WWII being awarded the Silver Star for Valor and a Purple Heart.

Shortly after Chips and the men had made their way ashore [in Sicily, July 1943]…the soldiers…slowly inched their way to an abandoned pillbox where they decided to take a short rest. …Chips, however, could not relax. His senses told him there was danger nearby and suddenly he broke away from his handler - violating a sacred rule - dashed across a stretch of No Man's Land. A bullet pierced his body, but he ignored the pain and threw himself into an enemy machine gun nest. The firing stopped. There was deadly silence, and for a moment Chips was not seen or heard. When his comrades got to the scene, they saw Chips holding onto the throat of the enemy gunner, and five other terrified men with their arms raised in surrender.

The U.S. newspapers called him a hero. He was personally thanked for his services by General Eisenhower. Chips' military honors were removed because the the commander of the Order of the Purple Heart determined that decorating a dog was "...demeaning to servicemen."

Definitely a fe-lyin' person, 'specially since servicemen have never agreed with that "determination."

SUZIE, German Shepherd, Vietnam. Her handler gave her his Bronze Star.

CARLO, Belgian Malinois, Desert Storm. During a ceremony in which Carlo's handler received the Bronze Star for his service in Kuwait, his handler removed the medal from his own uniform and pinned it to Carlo's collar, saying, "Carlo worked harder than me. He was always in front of me."

I could keep on for another week or two talkin' about dogs like Bruce, who charged at three Japanese soldiers who were poised to finish off two wounded GIs, and Nemo.who attacked the charging Vietcong, then--wounded himself--crawled to his wounded comrade and covered him with his body, protecting him until help arrived. For their devotion to their handlers and country, many of these dogs were left behind because our government considers 'em "military surplus" and wouldn't let 'em come home.

If ya' wanna' help create a national memorial in Washington for these soldiers, the Vietnam Dog Handler Association is workin' to do just that. Personally I think a small dog park with a grove of trees in Arlington would be most appropriate, but the Department of Veteran Affairs considers honorin' dogs at the national cemetery to be a sacrilege. (No comment on whether they consider same-sex marriage in this country a sacrilege, though.)

I'll leave ya' with what this trainer/handler wrote about the memorial and his dog:


PRINCE 347E, German Shepherd, Vietnam. He
served our country his entire adult life and was
put to rest on October 2, 1968, at the War Dog Hospital, Long Binh, Vietnam.

"I have remembered him every day for the last 39 years and will continue to do so until I join him.
Thank you very much for honoring those that the military/politicians in DC forgot so many years ago."

- Robert L. Ott, Initial Trainer and Handler.

It's about damn time.

posted by Harrison at 3:19 PM


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