It has been said that some 4,235 dogs served in various capacities in Vietnam, and that they had saved more than 10,000 American lives during the conflict. Scout dogs were used to track enemy troops, sniff out ammo stashes, mines, booby traps, trails, and other enemy actions. Sentry dogs, of course, were vital to guarding the perimeters of our military installations. Other canines provided various different duties and services.
Of the more than 4,000 dogs who honorably served in Vietnam, only about 200 of them left Vietnam alive to return to the United States. The war dogs basically suffered the same fate as the troops they served with. They were KIA, died of natural causes, disease, heat stroke, and some were MIA. A number of them were turned over to the ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam) whose troops really didn’t know how to use them. If you know the culture of the indigenous people, you can probably guess what happened to many of the dogs. But the true travesty was that more than 2,000 of the dogs were euthanized. They were considered excess equipment.
Perhaps you worked with a war dog during your tour, or were even one whose life was saved by man’s best friend.
On Sept. 28, 2019, at Motts Military Museum near Columbus, Ohio, there will be a ceremony to officially dedicate a memorial to these dogs and their handlers. Bronze life-sized statues have already been completed of an Army soldier and the dog he trained and spent his tour with. Surrounding these will be a black granite wall that is being etched with the names and tattoo numbers of all 4,235 dogs that served and also the names of 300 handlers who were lost in Vietnam. The black granite used for the memorial was actually quarried in India from the very same quarry that was used for “”The Wall” in Washington D.C. Of course, presenters will tell the stories of what happened to these dogs during and after their tours of duty.
Admission to the museum and ceremony will be free to all attendees, but donations will be appreciated. Also, the museum is still raising funds to pay for this incredible memorial. The museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so contributions are fully tax deductible. We encourage you to visit the website to learn more about the museum: mottsmiltarymuseum.org.