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,
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!*