Just after the PA-NJ state line I saw a sign for the "Pennsylvania War Dog Memorial." I made a mental note to visit that on our way back home. It was a simple memorial, a tear jerker (for me!), a noble thank you to our service dogs and a reminder to people of just how much those dogs did and still do.
"All gave some, some gave all."
"Few Americans are aware of the invaluable service given by War Dog teams during the Vietnam War. Dog teams consisting of Scout, Combat Tracker, Sentry and Mine and Tunnel dogs saved thousands of lives. Routinely braving danger these intelligent and adaptable dogs would locate injured GI's, search out Vietcong weapon caches, locate deadly booby traps and would alert and thwart enemy attacks and ambushes.
The handlers responsible for the dog teams lovingly cared for these brave animals. These soldiers literally carried food and water into battle for their faithful friends and protectors. Despite the impassioned pleas of the handlers these Valorous animals were classified as "expendabale equipment" at the end of the Vietnam War and were abandoned to unknown fates in South Vietnam. The Courage and Loyalty of these dogs are honored only in the memories of the soldiers whose lives they protected.
The War Dog teams were so effective and efficient that the Vietcong High Command issued a bounty on them! Hundreds of War Dogs gave their lives in combat. This Memorial is dedicated in honor of all the brave War Dogs from every military conflict. Let us never forget the thousands of War Dog heroes that served with Valor during the Vietnam war..."
I am grateful to all of our serviceman and woman, and I am grateful to their fellow canine officers. Thank you. All of you.
For even more information, Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin is a fabulous book that includes a lot more history about our heroic war dogs.