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The United States War Dogs Association

War Dogs Remembered

First Marine Scout Dog Killed In Action
By: 2nd. Lt. Mike Pitts, 1966


DA NANG- They met at Fort Benning, Ga. On Deccember 3, 1965. For Marine Lance Corporal Alfredo Salazar and his dog named “Kaiser” it was the beginning of a close friendship.

Salazar volunteered for duty as a dog handler in the newly formed First Marine Scout Dog Platoon at Camp LeJune, NC. Last year.He was the tranfered to Fort Benning where he met the 85 pound German Shepherd that would be his companion for the next seven months.

He came to me and licked my hand, “ Salazar said “ and from then on we were a team.”

The two learned a lot about each other in the following months During their training with the Army’s 26th. Scout Dog Platoon.
Then Salazar and Kaiser traveled to Camp Pendleton, Calf., for the final training before being sent to the Republic of Vietnam.

Once here the team went right to work. They participated in a dozen major operations and made more than 30 combat patrols.

Early this month Salazar and Kaiser joined “D” Company, First Marines, 3rd. Marine Divison for a search and destroy mission.

The Marine and his scout dog were leading a patrol through
heavey brush toward a small village. Just as they broke through the undergrowth they were hit by heavy automatic fire and hand grenades.

Kaiser was hit almost immediately.

Salazar and the other Marines returned fire and as the patrol moved into attack the Viet Cong, Salazar knelt by his wounded companion.

“He tried to lick my hand, “ the Marine said, “ but then he died.”

Kaiser was carried back to the company area.

They buried the gallent scout dog under a shade tree near their tents.And as a tribute to the first Marine Scout Dog Killed in action in the Republic of Vietnam, they named their camp,” Camp Kaiser.“

A dog is a man’s best friend, they say, and LCpl. Alfredo Salazar will echo the statement, for he lost “ one of the closet friends he ever had.


" Nemo " Remembered

No. A534, 377th Security Police K-9
Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam. 1966

Airman 2nd.Class Bob Thorneburg and his K-9 Nemo were assign duty near an old Vietnemese graveyard about a quarter mile from the air base's runways. No sooner had they started their patrol... Nemo alerted on something in the cemetery. But before Thorneburg could radio the CSC, that "something" opened fire.

Thorneburg released his dog and then charged firing into the enemy. Nemo was shot and wounded, the bullet entering under his right eye and exited through his mouth. Thorneburg killed one VC before he too was shot in the shoulder and knocked to the ground.

That might of been the sad end of the story. But Nemo refused to give in without a fight. Ignoring his serious head wound, the 85 pound dog threw himself at the Vietcong guerrillas who had opened fire. Nemo's ferocious attack brought Thorneburg the time he needed to call in backup forces.

A Quick Reaction Team arrived and swept the area but found no other Viet Cong. However, security forces, using additional sentry dog teams, located and killed four more Viet Cong. A second sweep with the dog teams resulted in discover of four more Viet Cong who were hiding underground. They, too, were killed.

Although severely wounded, Nemo crawled to his master and covered him with his body. Even after help arrived Nemo would not allow anyone to touch Thorneburg. Finally separated, both were taken back to the base for medical attention. Thorneburg was wounded a second time on the return to the base.

Lt. Raymond T. Hutson, the base vet, worked diligently to save Nemo's life. It required many skin grafts to restore the animal's appearance. Nemo was blinded in one eye, After the veterinarian felt Nemo was well enough, the dog was put back on perimeter duty. But it turned out his wounds needed further treatment.

On June 23, 1967, Air Force Headquarters directed that Nemo be returned to the United States with honors, as the first sentry dog to be officially retired from active service.

Thorneburg had to be evacuated to the hospital at Tachikawa Air Base in Japan to recuperate. The handler and the dog who saved his life said their final goodbyes. Airman Thorneburg fully recovered from his wounds and also returned home with honors.

Nemo flew halfway around the world accompanied by returning airman Melvin W. Bryant. The plane touched down in Japan, Hawaii and California. At each stop, Air Force vets would examined the brave dog for signs of discomfort, stress and fatigue...after all he was a War Hero!

Finally, the C-124 Globemaster touched down at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, on July 22, 1967. Captain Robert M. Sullivan, was the officer in charge of the sentry dog training program at Lackland, and was the head of Nemo's welome home committee.

"I have to keep from getting involved with individual dogs in this program," Sullivan said, "but I can't help feeling a little emotional about this dog. He shows how valuable a dog is to his handler in staying alive."

After settling in Nemo and Captain Sullivan made a number of cross country tours and television appearances, as part of the Air Force's recruitment drive for more war dog candiates, until the US involvement in Vietnam started to wind down.

Nemo spent his retirement at the Department of Defense Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. He was given a permanent kennel near the veterinary facility. A sign with his name, serial number, and details of his heroic exploit designated his freshly painted home.

Nemo died December 1972 at Lackland AFB, shortly before the Christmas holiday: after an failed attempt to preserve
his remains, the Vietnam War hero was layed to rest on March 15, 1973, at the DoD Dog Center, at the age of 11. Until then, his presence at Lackland reminded students just how important a dog is to his handler - and to the entire unit.

Hahn's 50th AP K-9, West Germany


" War Dog Hero from World War II "

Probably the most famous War Dog was Chips. Chips was donated by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, New York, was trained at Front Royal , Virginia in 1942, and was among the first dogs to be shipped overseas. He was assigned to the 3d Infantry Division and served with that unit in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. His assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Casablanca in January 1943. Although trained as a sentry dog, Chips was reported on one occasion by members of Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment, to have broken away from his handler and attacked a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun crew in Sicily. He seized one man and forced the entire crew to surrender. He was also credited by the units to which he was assigned as having been directly responsible for capture of numerous enemy by alerting to their presence. In recognition of his service Chips was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, both were later revoked. In 1993 Disney produced a TV move about Chips called "Chips the War Dog".



"Sgt.STUBBY" image25.gif

America's first war dog, Stubby, served 18 months 'over there' and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, located and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants. Back home his exploits were front page news of every major newspaper.

Stubby was a bull terrier - broadly speaking, very broadly! No one ever discovered where he hailed from originaly. One day he just appeared, when a bunch of soldiers were training at Yale Field in New Haven, Ct; he trotted in and out among the ranks as they drilled, stopping to make a friend here and a friend there, until pretty soon he was on chummy terms with the whole bunch.

One soldier though, in particular, developed a fondness for the dog, a Corporal Robert Conroy, who when it became time for the outfit to ship out, hid Stubby on board the troop ship.

So stowaway Stubby sailed for France, after that Cpl. Conroy became his accepted master, even though he was still on chummy terms with every one else in the outfit; and in the same spirit of camaraderie that had marked his initial overtures at Yale.

It was at Chemin des Dames that Stubby saw his first action, and it was there that the boys discovered he was a war dog par excellence. The boom of artillery fire didn't faze him in least, and he soon learned to follow the men's example of ducking when the big ones started falling close. Naturally he didn't know why he was ducking, but it became a great game to see who could hit the dugout first. After a few days, Stubby won every time. He could hear the whine of shells long before the men. It got so they'd watch him!

Then one night Stubby made doggy history. It was an unusally quiet night in the trenches. Some of the boys were catching cat naps in muddy dugouts, and Stubby was stretched out beside Conroy. Suddenly his big blunt head snapped up and his ears pricked alert. The movement woke Conroy, who looked at the dog sleepily just in time to see him sniff the air tentatively, utter a low growl, then spring to his feet, and go bounding from the dugout, around a corner out of sight.

Afew seconds later there was a sharp cry of pain and then the sound of a great scuffle outside. Conroy jumped from his bed, grabbed his rifle and went tearing out towards the direction of the noise.

A ludicrous sight met his eyes. Single-pawed, in a vigorous offensive from the rear, Stubby had captured a German spy, who'd been prowling through the trenches. The man was whirling desperately in an effort to shake off the snarling bundle of canine tooth and muscle that had attached itself to his differential. But Stubby was there to stay.

It took only afew moments to capture the Hun and disarm him, but it required considerably more time to convince Stubby that his mission had been successfully carried out and that he should now release the beautiful hold he had on that nice, soft German bottom.

By the end of the war, Stubby was known not only to every regiment, division, and army, but to the whole AEF. Honors by the bale were heaped on his muscled shoulders. At Mandres en Bassigny he was introduced to President Woodrow Wilson, who "shook hands" with him. Medal and emblemed jackets were bestowed upon him for each deed of valor, plus a wound stripe for his grenade splinter. Not to be left out, the Marines even made him an honorary sergeant.

After the Armistice was signed, Stubby returned home with Conroy and his popularity seemed to grow even more. He became a nationally acclaimed hero, and eventually was received by presidents Harding and Coolidge. Even General John "Black Jack" Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces during the war, presented Stubby with a gold medal made by the Humane Society and declared him to be a "hero of the highest caliber."

Stubby toured the country by invitation and probably led more parades than any other dog in American history; he was also promoted to honorary sergeant by the Legion, becoming the highest ranking dog to ever serve in the Army.

He was even made an honorary member of the American Red Cross, the American Legion and the YMCA, which issued him a lifetime membership card good for "three bones a day and a place to sleep."

Stubby At Georgetown!

Afterwards, Stubby became Georgetown University's mascot. In 1921, Stubby's owner, Robert Conroy was headed to Georgetown for law school and took the dog along. According to a 1983 account in Georgetown Magazine, Stubby "served several terms as mascot to the football team." Between the halves, Stubby would nudge a football around the field, much to the delight of the crowd.

Old age finally caught up with the small warrior on April 4th, 1926, as he took ill and died in Conroy's arms.

It's said, that Stubby and afew of his friends were instrumental in inspiring the creation of the United States 'K-9 Corps' just in time for World War ll.

Hahn's 50th AP K-9, West Germany


Caesar, a messenger dog, with his handler during World War II.
Wounded during a Japanese attack, Caesar carries the scar
of a bullet wound to his left shoulder.

(War Dogs-A History of Loyalty and Heroism; National Archives)

Smoky:  Smoky was a Yorkshire Terrier who belonged to William Wynne of Ohio.  Mr. Wynne adopted Smoky while serving with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific Theatre.  Mr. Wynne trained Smoky to perform various tricks to entertain himself and his comrades.  Smoky was later entered in Yank Magazine’s Best Mascot Contest.  She won first prize and had her picture on the cover!

Smoky became a war dog when she used her small size to her advantage and helped to “run” communication wire through a culvert that was under a runway.  Without Smoky’s assistance, the runway would need to be excavated while the cable was laid.  The runway would have been inoperable for several days.  Smoky was deemed the most famous dog of World War Two.  She returned home to Ohio with Mr. Wynne where she continued her “entertainment” career. 

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