May 27, 2022 2 min read
This Memorial Day, in addition to all the courageous human heroes who have served our country, we commemorate and celebrate the brave dogs who have saved countless lives, rescued soldiers from trenches, alerted their human partners to danger, sniffed out mines, and put their lives on the line to be best friends and heroes to those that protect our way of life.
We put this list together to honor a few of the military dogs that have served our country during some of the most challenging moments.
Sallie Ann Jarrett American Civil War (1861)
Sallie was the canine mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry, accompanying the soldiers throughout nearly the entire American Civil War until her death. She became a hero in the Battle of Gettysburg. While on duty, Sallie disappeared for 3 days prompting a search team to go after her. The pup was found standing sentry, guarding her wounded and dead companions. Sallie later died in the 1865 Battle of Hatcher's Run. Nonetheless, a statue in Gettysburg still stands to honor her bravery and sacrifice.
Conan Syria Raid (2019)
Conan is a Belgian Malinois that helped US military special forces track ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi down a tunnel during the final raid in Syria. Conan was injured during the mission but made a full recovery and was even honored at the White House for his valiant contributions.
Nemo Vietnam War (1966)
We cannot celebrate canine war heroes without mentioning Nemo, the brave German Shepherd who served in the Vietnam War. Vietnam War dogs were known for their agility and ability to sniff out enemy lairs, ambush snipers, and thwart enemy ploys. So much so that Vietnamese bombers frequently targeted kennels when raiding US army bases.
Nemo stood out for his bravery in rescuing his handlers from the blazing Air Base in Tan Son Nhut following a mortar attack, saving the life of airman Bob Throneburg. Throneburg later wrote an inscription for a war dog memorial capturing his feelings for Nemo:
Brave beyond words.
Ferocious without self-regard.
Bonds never broken.
Loyal till death.
Defender of the night.
He was a war dog.
Stay back, handler down!
Morgan 9/11, Katrina
An English Springer Spaniel named Morgan was one of the unsung heroes that uncovered perished souls from Ground Zero after 9/11 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Morgan served as a cadaver dog with the West Jersey K9 SAR Unit. She risked her life wiggling through dilapidated concrete slabs with jutting metal spikes sniffing for survivors.
Morgan also served as a therapy dog for the 9/11 rescue team, providing comfort amidst all the despair.
Bretagne 9/11, Katrina
We had to honor Bretagne on this post as one of the last surviving dogs that responded to 9/11 and Katrina, until she crossed the rainbow bridge in 2016. Bretagne, a golden retriever, was part of the Texas Task Force 1 that aided rescued missions during 9/11. Bretagne also served with the FEMA Search & Rescue team to retrieve people whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina.
On September 11, 2017, a beautiful bronze statue was erected in Cypress, Texas, in memory of Bretagne and her legacy. You will also find Bretagne's name listed at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum as one of the heroes of the rescue efforts.
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