In the news/Vignette: Let slip the dogs of war

Faria Valley, New Guinea, during WWII---Aussie soldiers making a fuss of Sandy, a military scout dog trained by the United States Dog Detachment for the Australian Army [public domain, Australian War Memorial]

Faria Valley, New Guinea, during WWII—Aussie soldiers making a fuss of Sandy, a military scout dog trained by the United States Dog Detachment for the Australian Army [public domain, Australian War Memorial]

Cry ‘Havoc’, and let slip the dogs of war—as Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony so famously said.

Seventy-one years ago today, the United States Army did exactly that. On 13 March 1942, they began to train dogs for the War Dog Program, the ‘K-9 Corps.’ It has been suggested that 13 March become National War Dog Veterans Day. (The idea has already been accepted in New Jersey, where it received the blessing of the state legislature).

The use of war dogs goes back to ancient times. In the United States, the idea was abandoned after World War I, but reintroduced during World War II in the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

The pictures of Sandy—who was perhaps named after Little Orphan Annie’s dog—were taken in New Guinea. Sandy was trained by the US Dog Detachment for service in the Australian Army.

Australian Private J.G. Worchester removes a message that Sandy has brought in his collar.

Australian Private J.G. Worchester removes a message that Sandy has brought in his collar.

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