(Archive - Week of November 7, 2004)

War Dogs in the Marine Corps in World War II

In the late summer of 1942, the Marine Corps decided to experiment with the use of dogs in war, which may have been a new departure for the Corps but not a new idea in warfare. Since ancient times dogs have served man in various ways: the Romans used the heavy Mastiffs with armored collars to attack their enemies in the legs, thus forcing them to lower their shields; first aid dogs were used in World War I; and, of course, all kinds and breeds of dogs have been used for centuries for pulling small carriages and sleds or as pack animals to transport light loads over difficult trails.

In addition to the Bougainville operation (1 November to 15 December 1943), the Marine Corps used war dogs in the Guam (21 July to 15 August 1944), Peleliu (15 September to 14 October 1944), Iwo Jima (19 February to 16 March 1945), and Okinawa (1 April to 30 June 1945) campaigns, in the mopping up operations on Saipan, and in the occupation of Japan. A number of dogs were cited for outstanding performance during the various operations in alerting enemy ambushes and positions, thereby saving the lives of many Marines.

Private first class Matthew Cole (Concord, NC), admin clerk and Lance Cpl. Armando Perlaza, wireman, both with headquarters and service company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, lead the way for a team of pack mules used to resupply America's Battalion's companies during a field exercise last week at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.

PARTING SHOT: Prescience

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents,
more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."                       
                            -H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

H.L. Mencken
Born Sept. 12, 1880, Baltimore, Md., U.S.
Died Jan. 29, 1956, Baltimore

Henry Louis Mencken controversialist, humorous journalist, and pungent critic of American life who powerfully influenced U.S. fiction through the 1920s.

Mencken attended a Baltimore private school and the Baltimore Polytechnic. He became a reporter for the Baltimore Morning Herald in 1899 and in 1906 joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun, where he worked at intervals…


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