Memorial Day originally was established to honor Americans who gave their lives in service to our country. In recent years, it has also been a time to remember those who are currently serving in the military. And a lot of servicemen and women would include America’s military canines among the heroes to be remembered.
Often called War Dogs, the Military Working Dogs were first used by the Quartermaster Corps in World War I, but did not become officially recognized until World War II. Over the years dogs have performed a variety of services for their two-legged comrades. They have helped to track down wounded G.I.s and downed pilots. Sentry dogs have monitored perimeters on alert for intruders. Scout dogs have searched out booby traps, snipers, or enemies waiting to ambush passing troops.
Today there are more than 2,500 dogs on active duty with American military forces. They still perform functions for combat, protection, and search and rescue, but their greatest talent is their ability to sniff out explosives. No matter how sophisticated a man-made device may be, it cannot out-perform a dog’s nose, which has an average accuracy rate of about 98%. There are countless members of the U.S. military, past and present, who owe their lives to a dog’s sense of smell.