04 June 2014

Four-legged Marines being retired

A Marine Corps Times article about the IED dogs the Corps trained - they too are being retired as part of the post-Afghanistan/Iraq draw down. Grateful that the Corps is finding new homes for all the dogs for all their service and hard work. 
Marine Cpl. Sean Grady, a dog handler and pointman with Echo Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and Ace, an IED detection dog, post security during a patrol in Afghanistan's Khan Neshin district in 2012.
(Sgt. Alfred V. Lopez/Marine Corps)
There is a grand history of service dogs in the Corps.  During WWII, most dogs were used as messenger or scouting/combat patrol dogs. The U.S. National Archives states, 'How each dog found his or her way into the Marines is not normally revealed in the records books. However, folded into the book of one Rex, a German-Belgium shepher, was his original enrollment application, addressed to the Marine Corps Commandant and dated August 11, 1943. Although the form does contain the signature and address of Rex's owner, it is clearly designed to be the dog's application, commencing with the statement: 

"I hereby apply for active service in the Marine Corps. If I am not adapted to military training or if at a later date my services are not required I do (do not) desire to be returned to owner. I agree to perform active service without pay or allowance, other than subsistence." [Who says the military is bereft of humor?? I like that there was an application and a selection process, even for the dogs - gotta appreciate that the Corps still only selected the best applicants!]

(Records of the United States Marine Corps, RG 127)
'Then, in addition to providing various basic personal details, each applicant was required to provide answers to a number of personality-focused questions, including: "Are you nervous?" "Gun Shy?" "Storm Shy?" "Do you run away?" "Have you lived in-house or kennel?" "What is your attitude toward strangers?" The only thing lacking [was] a short essay explaining the applicant's reasons for wanting to join up.' 

A salute to the closing of this chapter for our four-legged Marines and to their future work as man's best friend. 

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