Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day: Honoring the Brave Soldiers, K9 and Human, Who Bravely Served

Today is Memorial Day - a day of remembrance for fallen United States servicemen, women, and canines, who bravely served our country. While it unofficially marks the start of summer in many areas, with family get-togethers, picnics, barbeques, pool time, and more, we can not forget the true meaning of the day and take a few minutes to pay homage to those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice throughout the years for our country.

Siberian Husky "Buck," War Dog Amabasador
War Dogs: Husky Heroes  

Did you know that the Siberian Husky and Malamutes were used as War Dogs during WWII? If you are a reader of my blog, you have read my previous posts about their important role during the war. I also talk about Buck, pictured above. If you are a newcomer,  Buck was the U.S. War Dogs Ambassador, and along with his handler, Vietnam veteran Johnny Mayo, Buck traveled 25,000 miles across the country being the voice for heroic War Dogs who served in Vietnam. Buck journeyed North of the Rainbow Bridge on March 23, 2006, but his service and story will always be remembered. You can read a great story with beautiful illustrations in the book, Buck's Heroes pictured above with our Harley.

Chips ~ A Four-Legged WWII Hero
 Photo by Herson Whitley. Courtesy of Mary Ann Whitley.

Chips, a Husky, German Shepherd, Collie mix, was the first dog to ship overseas as a Military Working Dog in WWII. He belonged to the Wren Family from Pleasantville, NY. When WWII broke out, U.S. families volunteered their pet dogs into the service as part of the K-9 Corps. Overseas, he trained as a sentry dog and assigned to a Military Police platoon and traveled throughout Europe, and saw fighting in Africa and Sicily. While he served on many missions, he is best known for when he attacked enemy troops who were in a pillbox shelter in Sicily, and even though he was wounded himself, he rushed into the shelter and bravely fought by biting the enemy troops, until they surrendered. Chips even met General Eisenhower! 

Book Cover
Chips became the highest decorated war dog and was lauded in newspapers, for receiving the the Silver Star for bravery, and the Purple Heart for being wounded while in service, and the Distinguished Service Cross, but later on those awards were revoked as it was against Army policy to give those prestigious human awards to a canine, who at that time, fell under the title of "equipment." Chips was unofficially awarded a ribbon by his unit for his service in eight campaigns. Chips was eventually returned to his family in New York. A book was written about him, a comic book starred Chips, and there's even a movie about him! To read more about Chips, see the Defense Media Network Story HERE.  

A very interesting personal story about how in 2006, a newspaper copy editor, Mary Ann Whitley, read Chips' story that had been submitted across the wire, only to have it spark a recollection of a photo of a dog that her dad, Sgt. Herson L. Whitley, coincidentally had in his photo album (the photo of Chips above). Turns out her father knew Chips! You can read Mary Ann's story, A Dog Called Chips, on the United States War Dogs Association page HERE.

For more information on the U.S. War Dogs, visit the United States War Dog Association HERE.

But for so many other K9 soldiers, their handlers, and human soldiers, sadly did not return home. And today, Memorial Day, is a day of reflection, respect, and honor for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedoms we do each and every day. We thank you for your service. You will never be forgotten.

War Dog Video by Paul Pytlowany. With Special thanks to Phil Weitlauf, U.S. Army Veteran- 1962-1968- Vietnam Era.

History of Memorial Day
History Channel 

This Memorial Day post is dedicated to my late Dad, who served with the U.S. Army's "Big Red One" 1st Division, 16th Infantry and his second tour with the Rainbow Division, 42nd Infantry. This photo was taken of him during WWII on base with two of his furpals. His compassion for, and love of, dogs is just part of his legacy.While my dad survived two tours in WWII, we did lose him way too early, just 34 years after his honorary discharge. This Memorial Day, I'd like to remember and honor my Dad for his brave service.


  1. A beautiful tribute to all who served so well, human and furry!!! Many thanks to your Dad for his contributions to our freedom!

    Happy Memorial Day!

    'Woos - Ciara and Lightning

    1. Thank you so much, OP Pack! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, too!

  2. Have a happy Memorial Day
    Lily & Edward