|War dog monument comes closer to creation
|02/11/2010 By ERICH HINER, Scripps Howard News Service washington
WASHINGTON - Vietnam War veteran John Burnam has fought for almost a decade for a monument to honor his closest friend from the war.
Burnam's buddy spotted enemy patrols, scouted hostile territory and led a platoon of Marines through an orchard laced with hidden explosives -- all using little more than his sense of smell.
Burnam's friend, Clipper, a German shepherd and military working dog, was among the thousands of U.S. war dogs to serve in Vietnam. He and other dogs have yet to be honored for their service.
Burnam, a Vietnam War dog handler and president of the John Burnam Monument Foundation, met with military officials Jan. 15 to finalize a design for the nation's first national war dog monument at Fort Belvoir, Va.
"This monument represents all wars, all services and all dog handlers of all wars," Burnam said. "It represents a piece of the military that hasn't really been memorialized."
Burnam started pushing for the monument in 2001. He has traveled the country to rally support for the project.
"I ... cried my heart out for these dogs," said Burnam, a technical writer from Bethesda, Md. "They don't have a voice. They need that to keep this story alive."
The military has used dogs since World War II as scouts, trackers and guards. Dobermans landed with U.S. forces at Iwo Jima, while German shepherds helped liberate Sicily. During the Korean War, dogs served as sentries. Several thousand dogs served in Vietnam as trackers and scouts.
Dogs have played an integral part in the war on terror. In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces use dogs to detect roadside bombs or hidden weapon caches, often saving the lives of U.S. and NATO troops.
Ron Aiello, Vietnam dog handler and president of the United States War Dog Association, said war dogs have saved thousands of lives while sometimes giving their own.
"They've been shot; they've been blown up," said Aiello, a china restorer from Burlington, N.J. "After all these years and all the lives these dogs have saved, these dogs deserve recognition."
As a military monument, the project required approval from the departments of Interior and Defense and numerous congressional subcommittees. It also needed a congressional sponsor, which Burnam found in Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
Jones introduced a bill calling for a national war dog monument in 2006. It was approved in 2008 as a part of the DOD budget. Jones said the monument has wide, bipartisan support in Congress.
The memorial will be about 100 square feet. At its center will stand a bronze statue of a dog handler surrounded by statues of the four most common war dog breeds: Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian malinois. A granite wall etched with war dog images and history will be placed behind the statues.
Burnam said the monument foundation, a non-profit, will pay for the $850,000 monument using donations. He said he hopes to break ground by Veterans' Day 2011, but donations for the monument have slowed because of the poor economy.
Aiello credited his partner, Stormy, a German shepherd, with saving his life and keeping his fellow soldiers in high spirits.
"You trust your dog to save your life, and your dog trusts you to take care of your dog," Aiello said. "You work together. You play together. You eat together."
Because dog teams rotate among military units, the only lasting bond some handlers make is with their canine partners, Burnam said.
"I understood nothing about the bond of man and animal until I served with one in a war," said Burnam, who was a sergeant with the Army's 44th Scout Dog Platoon, part of the infantry. "These dogs have these feelings. You see it in their eyes; you see it in their body gestures."
Jones said the monument will recognize the role dogs play in boosting morale.
"I see how these dogs can bring a quality of life to a wounded soldier," Jones said. "There is a role for these dogs to be a companion, wartime or not."
The monument will also help handlers grieve, Aiello said.
Most handlers in the Vietnam War were forced to leave their dogs behind. Only recently has the military allowed handlers to adopt their dogs after returning home.
Aeillo said the monument allow handlers to a say "a final goodbye" to their fallen friends.
"It's not going to be to the statue -- it's going to be a goodbye to the dog they served with in Vietnam or Iraq," Aiello said. "It's going to be to Stormy, or Duke or Kaiser."
To reach The John Burnam Monument Foundation:
http://www.jbmf.us/ The United States War Dogs Association: http://www.uswardogs.org/
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
Dog surge joins troop surge in Afghan war
|The following article was published on January 23, 2010 and has been circulating around the internet. I have had numerous emails and phone calls regarding this article. People concerned that our U S Military Working Dog as starving, because of a shortage of dog food.
Let me put this story to rest:
Our Military Working dogs are not starving and there is no shortage of dog food. If you read this story carefully you will notice that this story is about a Civilian Company named, " American K9". This is a civilian contracting Company who has a contact with our US Military to supply Explosive Detection dogs to our Military in Afghanistan. They are only projecting a possibility of a food shortage at the peak of the surge in Afghanistan. I have contacted the office Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey who is looking into this matter and I have also contacted a major Dog Food Company who supplies our US Military with dog food to see if they in anyway can help to make sure there is no shortage in the future for these canines.
January 23, 2010 KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan has led to a dog surge — and unexpected problems in procuring high-quality dog food with enough protein and nutrients for hundreds of canines used to find explosives and perform other energy-intensive missions.Along with about 37,000 U.S. and NATO troops, the number of military working dogs being brought into the country to search for mines, explosives and to accompany soldiers on patrol is increasing substantially, according to Nick Guidas, the American K-9 project manager for Afghanistan.Guidas, a civilian contractor who primarily oversees dog operations in southern Afghanistan, said he has 50 dogs on operational teams and about 20 more awaiting missions. He expects that number to go up to 219 by July.”It may go as high as 315 dogs in Afghanistan,” he said Saturday at a crowded kennel full of highly trained German and Dutch Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and L abradors on this air base, the hub of U.S. and international security forces' operations in the volatile Kandahar area.”Because of the surge there is more need for working dogs. But one of my main problems is getting dog food,” he said. “It's hard to convince people sometimes that it's a priority, but it's a necessity if we are to keep these dogs working.”Guidas said because of the energy-intensive demands of their missions, the dogs require special food and can't just eat scraps.The dog food, which is made commercially in the United States and has extra protein and nutrients to keep the dogs healthy while working in the heat and cold, must be shipped to Pakistan and then trucked to Kandahar.But space on trucks is limited and prioritized. Food and supplies for humans come first, and logistics planners are still adjusting for the eating needs of the bigger pack of dogs to be put to work.”It doesn't get a higher priority than a Coke or s ome potato chips,” Guidas said of the dog food. “It moves when it moves.”Even so, the dogs have become an essential component of many units because of their versatility. They can be trained to search for a wide variety of explosives and parts used in making improvised bombs.In the past month alone, military dogs in southern Afghanistan have made 20 finds of unexploded devices, weapon caches and other materiel.The U.S. has about 2,800 military dogs, the largest canine force in the world. It has used dogs in combat since World War I.The dogs don't come cheap. It costs about $40,000 per dog a year, and each goes through about five months of training. This year, Guidas expects the cost of the dog food that he needs to reach $200,000, up from about $80,000 last year.He said each dog can work for five or six years, but the demands of the terrain and of the mission are harsh, particularly on the dogs' joints. If a dog is injured or sick, it is not sent out o n operations.Only two military dogs have been lost in southern Afghanistan in the past five years, Guidas said.”We take very good care of these dogs,” he said. “In some cases they are treated better than us.
|” JBMF, Inc. selected to "LEAD" National Monument project. for our Nation's Military Working Dogs and their Handlers.
|THIS IS BREAKING NEWS…
JBMF, Inc. selected to “LEAD” national monument project for the nation's military working dogs and handlers.
Washington DC, October 28, 2009 – President Barack Obama signed into law, H.R. 2647 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, establishing JBMF, Inc. as the principle authority to build and maintain a national monument to honor the United States Armed Forces Working Dog Teams. H.R. 2647 amends H.R. 4986-561, Section 2877 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.
America's military working dog teams have saved countless thousands of lives since World War I and continue to save lives today in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.
JBMF, Inc. is eager to work directly with the legislative sponsor, Congressman Water B. Jones (NC-3), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Pentagon) to process the monument's architectural design and acquire a suitable site within the Washington DC metro area.
The congressional legislation stipulates that the monument must be paid for by public donations and grants. Please help us raise the estimated $850,000.00 needed to build and maintain this long overdue monument to the heroic military servicemen and servicewomen (dog handlers) and their incredible military working dogs. JBMF, Inc. is a 501c3 tax exempt charity and all donations are tax deductible.
The goal is to dedicate the monument on Veteran's Day 2011. Please help make this dream come true with your charitable donation.
John Burnam - JBMF@verizon.net
Larry Chilcoat - Larrdj@gmail.com
Richard Deggans - firstname.lastname@example.org
The JBMF Team
web site: http://www.jbmf.us/
The Life and Times of Herman Lippman
| Learn more about: Herman Lippman a Marine raider who served with the Devil Dogs Platoon in WWII.
| "The Fallen Handlers Ceremony"
| "The Fallen Handlers Ceremony"
Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas
For full coverage go to:
| Please send me feedback. Tell me what you would like to read about, such as stories from handlers and their dogs in Vietnam or the Middle East. If you have any questions, just email me and I will answer them in our next Newsletter. Email at: email@example.com or Phone Ron at: 609-234-4539