Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

I've written before about how proud I am of my dad and his commitment to fighting for our country in the United States Navy. Today is a day you humans set aside to honor those who have fought for our freedoms and I'm thankful for all of you who have done so, and continue to give of yourselves so willingly.

However, we can't forget the unsung heroes of the military -- the military dogs of course!

There are currently about 2,700 dogs throughout all branches of the miliary but plans are in place to increase that number significantly by September 2012. Most of the pups come from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and are from a wide range of breeds including German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador Retriever. Though the cost of breeding, raising, and training the military dogs can be expensive, it seems to be worth it. According to Foreign Policy,
"In October 2010, the Pentagon announced that after six years and $19 billion spent in the attempt to build the ultimate bomb detector technology, dogs were still the most accurate sniffers around. The rate of detection with the Pentagon's fanciest equipment -- drones and aerial detectors -- was a 50 percent success rate, but when a dog was involved it rose 30 percent."
Dad moves to the Naval Special Warfare Command later this week and, lucky guy, they have dogs! The dogs are outfitted by K-9 Storm Inc. in "high-tech canine devices, from storm lights to long lines and leads to an assortment of vests" including assault, patrol-SWAT and aerial insertion.

Perhaps the best part of the military is that they always take care of their own. Even when military dogs must be retired they are found the very best adoptive homes, often with a military member (human, of course).

So here's to ALL of us who fight for freedom and protect the U-S-of-A! For more pictures of working military dogs click here, here, or here.

*Mom also recommends the two books by Jay Kopelman, a Marine who befriended a dog in Afghanistan. The first is about their adventures in the war zone and the second is about how they both worked hard to adjust back to life in the U.S. after deployment. We have both so send me an email if you want to borrow!*

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