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Old 10-04-2002, 06:07 PM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 4,601
Cool "Always Faithful"

The Story of Marine War Dogs in World War II

Story by Cyril J. O'Brien

Photos courtesy of the author

Scored along the spine with grenade fragments, Private First Class Allen S. Jacobson forcefully and painfully waved off corpsmen until they could first take care of Kurt, his lean, black Doberman pinscher. Jacobson and Kurt were caught during the Battle of Guam in the fierce opening fires of what was to be the greatest Japanese banzai charge of the Pacific war.

"He wouldn't let us move him 'til we first took the dog," reported the litter bearers delivering the grenade-shredded Doberman to veterinary surgeon and war dog platoon leader Marine Captain William W. Putney. In vain persistence, Putney worked on Kurt until the wee morning hours amid the crash of mortar and machine-gun fire until "Kurt died in my arms," he said. Actually, Putney cradled Kurt in his arms to relieve the extra pain hammered by the resonance of exploding l4-inch naval shells.

If this is a monumental example of the bond between man and dog, remember that it is only one among the many which would wet an eye. Putney has chronicled some of the most noble stories of World War II in his book "Always Faithful."

As for WW II Marine war dog training and combat, Putney was there at the creation?the gestation of the war dog platoons?at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, N.C., in 1943.

Third Marine Division war dogs and their handlers were photographed with leathernecks of 9th Marines during the Guam Campaign in 1944.

The Marine Corps melded the eternal affinity between dog and man into a mighty defensive weapon that saved countless lives of Marines, GIs and sailors in the Pacific during the war.

Recruited by Marines, with the assistance of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, American Kennel Club and Professional Handlers Association, these household pets went to war from the hearths of family America, just as their enlisted handlers did. The dogs also endured the uncompromising rigors of boot camp, and just as anything else made of flesh and blood, some failed.

When boot camp was over, the dogs got their beloved title of "Marine" and the respect that came with it.


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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