Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes
By Maria Goodavage, Narrated by Nicole Vilencia
Audiobook, 8 hours 6 minutes
Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Soldier Dogs describes the lives and experiences of Military Working Dogs and their handlers in the U.S. Armed Forces. It details the dogs’ acquisition process, screening, training, medical care, deployments with their handlers, and eventual retirement. This is augmented by interviews and anecdotes from those involved in the training and combat deployments which adds a human (and canine) perspective and keeps the narrative interesting.
The dogs receive specialized training and are categorized based upon their abilities. Many of these take advantage of the dogs’ exceptional sense of smell, such as explosives detection, tracking, and narcotics. There are also patrol dogs which would be the equivalent of “guard” or “attack” dogs. Dual-purpose dogs combine the two. The two most common MWD breeds are Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, although many other breeds are used as well. Altogether, there are approximately 13,000 dogs serving with U.S. forces.
There were several details which surprised me in this book. The majority of the dogs are purchased from European breeders, who also give them their names. The dogs are usually not purebreds for health reasons. After passing their screenings they receive an alphanumeric tattoo in their left ear which becomes the equivalent of their last name. The dogs are considered “equipment”, and are assigned to different handlers for each deployment. They are generally not housebroken because they live in the field with their handlers or in kennels on bases.
I enjoyed this book. The dogs bond with their handlers, and often become the unofficial mascot of the units the dog teams are attached to. For the soldiers they are considered comrades, sharing the same food and foxholes as the other members of the unit. Recommended for both military history buffs and dog enthusiasts.
… and Tamiya, and Eduard, and Revell, and Airfix. So nothing really dangerous save the occasional slip of the Xacto knife. Nothing of general interest to average folk either, but if you are one of the modeling fraternity then hopefully you will find these pages enjoyable. I have had an interest in modeling as long as I can remember, and a corresponding interest in military history. Early on I focused on 1/72 scale due to the wide variety of subjects available in that scale and my desire for commonality. The name “Inch High” is a reflection of that, a six foot tall man is an inch high in a 1/72 world.
With the desire for accuracy comes the need for research, modelers tend to collect reference material by the truckload. I am but one example of that among many. Half the fun of a modeling project is the research. When I come across a particularly useful reference I will cite it, when I can I will offer a brief review. Hopefully I will be able to present some material which is new to many readers, and also to dispel some persistent misconceptions. Much of what you will see here is the result of my own curiosity and efforts to research a potential modeling project. Sometimes that results in a model, sometimes it simply results in interest in another rabbit hole.
The internet has opened up additional avenues for research. History must be preserved in order to be understood, and the internet affords a remarkable opportunity to enhance our knowledge. I believe in the legal doctrine of Fair Use, but I also believe in attributing due credit wherever possible and acknowledging the research of others, along with any historical information regarding the time, place, or military service members involved.
Errors or omissions are my own, but they can be corrected. I will edit posts as needed to correct any factual errors or include amplifying information. If you notice a problem please contact me, my desire is accuracy.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson