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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Canine, K9 or K-9

This Day in History: March 13, 1942

Dogs have had a strong connection to the U.S. Army since its inception mostly as a mascot or other unofficial capacity. Dogs, however, did have a vital part to play in WWI as the complexes of trenches spread throughout the Western Front. Many European countries employed thousands of dogs in warfare but America didn't use dogs except to utilize a few hundred from the Allies for specific missions. The photo shows one of the first scout dog patrols to be used on Luzon in WWII.

70 Years of the K-9 (Canine) Corps
Not until WWII, however, did the dog obtain a major role in the military. With war raging in Europe and fear of it escalating across the ocean to America, a civilian organization called Dogs for Defenses was formed by members of the American Kennel Club and other dog lovers. The purpose was to train dogs to perform sentry duty for the Army along the coast of the United States. 

War Dog Scout

This venture led to following protocol via the proper chain of command whereby the Quartermaster Corps (OMC) of the United States Army petitioned that the Army use the sentry dogs at supply depots. On March 13, 1942, under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, the petition was approved and thus began the training of dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or "K-9 Corps." 

By fall of 1942, the OMC was given the task of training dogs for the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as well. Dogs serve a vital purpose in the Armed Forces having proven to be among the most cost-wise investments the government has ever made for "war equipment."

Proud to Serve
Have you ever wondered about the program's name, K9 or K-9? Most obvious thought is probably from the word canine itself. The pronunciation implies 'k' for ca and the number 9 for nine. Could there possibly be more to its derivation than readily meets the eye? Is it an acronym? Is it an initialism? 

Check it out on Grammarphobia. The article is entitled ‘What kind of abbreviation is K-9?

K-9 Heroes

In World War I, after a chance stowaway, the USA produced the most decorated and highly-ranked service dog in military history, Sergeant Stubby. Stubby became the crowning glory of the U.S. Army.

The most famous dog to emerge from World War I was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918. He was taken to the United States where he made his film debut in the 1922 silent film The Man from Hell’s River.

The top canine hero of World War II was Chips, a German Shepherd who served with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. Trained as a sentry dog, Chips broke away from his handlers and attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy, forcing the entire crew to surrender. The wounded Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart–all of which were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals.
Gabe, a retired military dog who completed more than 200 combat missions in Iraq, was named American Hero Dog of 2012 at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Los Angeles.