Here are some of the greatest military working dogs in history.
It’s no secret that the military holds a special place in their hearts for our furry, four-legged counterparts. There’s something about just seeing a dog in a war zone that (when you’re on the same side) can brighten your day, even if only for a few moments.
The history of the military working dog dates back thousands of years, when Mastiff-type dogs and other large breeds were armored and trained to break through enemy lines or be released on retreats for exhausted survivors. Most major powers have documented cases of dogs being used for warfare, from the Achaemenid Empire in their campaigns against the Egyptians to the Spanish conquistadors in their conquest of the New World.
Although we have moved away from using dogs in direct combat roles (for the most part), military working dogs have had a place on American battlefields since the early 19th century, when they were used to send messages and guard prisoners of war during the Seminole. and civil wars.
During World War I, when artillery regularly cut communication cables and snipers eagerly targeted repair crews, dogs were commonly used to relay messages between command nodes. Unfortunately, their casualty rates were often higher than those of their human masters. It is estimated that over one million were killed in combat or due to combat-related events.
On today’s battlefields, military working dogs are more often seen in bomb and narcotics sniffing roles, although attack dogs are still used in specialist teams. Although their loyalty to their masters and allies is unwavering until death, they are not animals you want to face as enemies.
While most people can name some of America’s most famous heroes of the past few centuries, far fewer are likely to know the military working dogs who performed equally incredible deeds.
Stubby was a Boston Terrier pooch who was smuggled to the front lines by an American corporal who found him while training in 1916. In France, he served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment. Wounded twice, the dog’s exploits have gone down in legend. Having been fitted with a special gas mask, he would warn his unit of mustard gas attacks, and since he could hear incoming artillery before his human companions, alert them with enough time to take cover. During a campaign, he was responsible for the capture of a German spy. Because of this act, his unit commander promoted Stubby to sergeant. During his career, Stubby fought in 17 separate battles with the men of 102n/a.
After returning home a hero, Stubby died in his sleep at the age of 10. After his death, it was then preserved and donated to the Smithsonian by its lifelong owner.
Chips was a German Shepherd-Collie who was donated to the War Dog Training Center for service during World War II.
Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, Chips followed that unit from Africa to Germany, serving as a guard and attack dog.
During Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, Chips and his men were pinned down by an enemy gun crew. He charged their fortification and attacked the four soldiers inside, who quickly surrendered to the Americans. Wounded in combat, he still participated in the capture of 10 other Italian soldiers, earning the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. He survived the war and returned to his family after the end of the conflict, passing away in 1946.
A German Shepherd-Malinois, Lucca was a military working dog assigned to a US Marine Corps dog handling team. During her career, she deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, performing more than 400 combat patrols and detecting thousands of pounds of explosive ordnance. Saving the lives of countless thousands of service members, his career ended in 2012 while on patrol in Afghanistan. She discovered a large improvised explosive device and had moved to clear the rest of the area when she set off a secondary explosive. While she lost a leg due to the explosion, her master was able to provide care and stabilize her until a medical evacuation arrived. Lucca continued to live with another Marine until his death in 2018 at the age of 14.
The incredible and true stories of these furry heroes are larger than life and represent only a small sample of the thousands of American dogs who served in wartime. Countless others have given their lives for their fellow humans, and it’s that sacrifice that’s honored with the Hero Dogs series on Fox Nation.
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