A Special Presentation From Hahn's 50th AP K-9, West Germany
Korea And Before!
Stettin in the Baltic to
Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.
Winston Churchill, March 5, 1946.
Post World War II Dog Program
--- 1946 ---
The demilitarization of the armed forces following World War II was both sweeping and deep. This became real apparent as the various dog programs in the different services disappeared and the scout dog platoons were deactivated.
The War Department had intented that scout dog platoons be continued in the postwar years.
Even during a conference held at Fort Benning, in June 1946, the army's Committee on Organization met to debate the situation. Chairman, Brig. General F. McCade discussed the contributions dogs had made during the war and the General recommended that the Infantry War Dog Platoons be retained and be attached to infantry units for training and operations.
McCade even went further, personally recommending that the army's "experimentation be continued with scout dog units, especially breeding, improved training methods and extending the practially use of the dogs within the military establishment."
Unfortunately, as is often the case, implementing a plan in the military can be much harder than just suggesting it. There was a general lack of interest because the war was finally over and the fiscal cuts, and manpower reductions snuffed what ever attention the US Army once had for the dogs.
A New Dog Purchase Policy!
In 1946, the Quartermaster Corps discontinued the World War II method of acquiring dogs on loan from patriotic citizens, it had proved to be impractical and uneconomical, due to the large percentage of animals, that had to be returned when they were found unsuitable; it was decided, that dogs would be purchased, thereby becoming the sole property of the Federal Government, as had been the practice with other type animals (horses and mules) for many years.
Who's In Charge?
--- 1948 ---
With the discontinuance of the Quartermaster Remount Depot System in July 1948, dog training within the United States was transferred from the Quartermaster Corps to the US Army Field Forces, and also the 26th Scout Dog Platoon; and the one remaining dog training center, located at Front Royal, Virginia, was relocated to Fort Riley, Kansas.
However, the Quartermaster Corps retained the mission of dog procurement. From that time until the Korean War emergency developed, very little was accomplished relative to dog training except in Europe where since the early days of our occupation many dogs had been used for guarding supply points, aircraft and for other types of security.
Army's School For Dogs, Darmstadt, Germany, 1950.
Responsibility for training in Europe was by direction of the US Commanding General, European Forces, continued under the jurisdiction of the Quartermaster Corps, at their Dog Training School, located at Darmstadt, West Germany, where Military Policemen, from both the Army and Air Force occupation units were trained for sentry dog duty.
--- 1951 ---
On July 11, 1951, at the outset of hostilities in Korea, a new Army War Dog Receiving & Holding Station was activated at Cameron Station, located at Alexandria, Virginia, where the newly purchased war dogs were processed and conditioned before they were shipped to the Army Dog Training Center, Fort Carson, Colorado. This station was placed on a standby status on May 4, 1954, after the fighting had ended.
On December 7, 1951 the responsibility of dog training in the United States (CONUS) was again transferred, this time to the Military Police Corps, and early in 1952 the dog training center, along with the 26th Scout Dog Platoon was moved from Fort Riley, Kansas to Camp Carson, Colorado, later designated as Fort Carson.
Entrance Sign For Fort Carson, 1950s!
Fort Carson could train approx 86 sentry dog handlers and 380 dogs during any training cycle, now set at eight weeks. Major emphasis was now place on training sentry dogs, which were considered a more valuable commodity for every branch of the armed services.
--- 1953 ---
Because of difficulties experienced in fully coordinating the dog program, procurement, processing, conditioning, training and issue of war dogs a staff study pertaining to the possible return of responsibility for war dog training to the QMC was submitted to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, on August 28, 1953.
The study included a recommendation that all dog training be returned to the QMC, and that a new War Dog Reception & Training Center be activated as a Class II installation at Fort Lee, Virginia; and the subsequent phase out of the dog training center at Fort Carson, Colorado.
These ideas were rejected in May 1954 but a new directive once again changed the responsibility of dog training. It stated that, "The Dog Training Center will remain a Class I Activity at Fort Carson, and that the Army Field Forces would retain and discharge the responsibility for supervision of the Army's war dog training.
Fort Carson's Kennels, Mary Ellen Ranch
And under provisions of AR 880-5, the Quartermaster General will continue to be charged with the responsibility for the procurement of dogs." Thus the responsibility for dog training passed from the jurisdiction of the Military Police Corps to the Chief, Army Field Forces, at Fort Monroe, Virginia ...with the actual dog training continuing at Fort Carson.
This shuttling around of training duties was perhaps the over whelming reason only one Army scout dog platoon would see service during the Korean Conflict.
Army's 37th ISDP, Korea 1954
The Korean War
June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953
United States Army's Role In Korea!
Before the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the Army was using dogs in Seoul for sentry duty around warehouses and storage areas. More than 100 dogs were stationed there and their work proved extremely beneficial in reducing theft and pilferge.
However, most of these dogs were killed or starved to death when North Korea launched a major attack against the South on June 30, 1950, and quickly took over the South Korean capital, Seoul.
Within days, the United Nations agreed to support the troubled South Korean defenses; and one month later, the first combat American troops, deployed from Japan, entered the war, poorly equipped and trained, and without the benefit of any dog units, the U.S. troops under the command of General D. MacArthur pushed the North Korean back.
But on November 26th, over two hundred thousand Chinese Communists entered the battle, pushing the United Nation troops back across the 38th parallel and recapture Seoul.
At the time, only one active duty scout dog platoon, the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, located at Fort Riley could be found in the entire US Army. The 26th primary mission was touring the United States conducting dog demonstration, television appearances, and training with infantry units during field maneuvers.
German Shepherd Pictured, Is TV Star, Rin Tin Tin, From The Series
May 1951, orders alerted the entire 26th Scout Dog Platoon to embark for Korea, but only a single squad, consisting of seven handlers and six dogs was ready to ship out. After arriving in Korea in June '51, it was attached to the 2nd Infantry Division.
The balance of the platoon, thirteen enlisted men, twenty scout dogs, and one officer joined the original squad in Korea, ten months later, in Febuary of 1952.
The 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, saw almost continuous service and opened the eyes of many regimental commanders to the potential value of dogs attached to night patrols. One regimental commander remarked that after using a dog for a while, patrols did not want to go out without them. This one dog platoon was not capable of spreading itself thin enough to full fill the demand placed upon it..
K-9 Transport, 26th ISDP, Korea '52.
On February 27, 1953, the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon was cited in General Orders, Department of the Army, No. 21, as follows:
"The 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon is cited for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services in direct support of combat operations in Korea during the period 12 June 1951 to 15 January 1953.
The 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, during its service in Korea, has participated in hundreds of combat patrol actions by supporting the patrols with the services of an expert scout dog handler and his highly trained scout dog.
26th ISDP On Patrol, Korea '52
The members of the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon while participating in these patrols were invariably located at the most vulnerable points in the patrol formation in order that the special aptitudes of the trained dog could be most advantageously used to give warning of the presence of the enemy,
The unbroken record of faithful and gallant performance of these missions by the individual handlers and their dogs in support of patrols has saved countless casualties through giving early warning to the friendly patrol of threats to its security.
26th Scout Dog Platoon, Korea
The full value of the services rendered by the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon is nowhere better understood and more highly recognized than among the members of the patrols with whom the scout dog handlers and their dogs have operated,
When not committed to action, the soldiers of the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon have given unfailing efforts to further developing their personal skills as well as that of their dogs in order to better perform the rigorous duties which are required of them while on patrol.
Throughout its long period of difficult and hazardous service, the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon has never failed those with whom it served; has consistently shown out standing devotion to duty in the performance of all of its other duties, and has won on the battlefield a degree of respect and admiration which has established it as a unit of the greatest importance to the Eighth United States Army.
The outstanding performance of duty proficiency, and esprit de corps invariably exhibited by the personnel of this platoon reflect the greatest credit on themselves and the military service of the United States."
(General Orders 114, Headquarters, Eighth United States Army, Korea, 18 January 1953).
26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, Korea 1952.
As a result of the outstanding service rendered by the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, recommendation was made and approved for the activation of five scout dog platoons, to be attached to each Division in Korea, but the war reached the "peace talks" stage before the 5 additional platoons were trained and ready to be shipped to Korea.
Outstanding War Dog!
Handler James E. Partan With York And Distinguished Service Award.
Scout dog York, was decorated for outstanding service, while serving with the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon in Korea. He was given a Distinguished Service Award by General Samuel T. Williams for performing 148 combat patrols between June 12, 1951 and June 26, 1953.
On May 8, 1957, York received orders to return to the Army Dog Training Center, at Fort Carson, Colorado to be used as a member of a demonstration team. It was felt that York would help improve public relations by arousing more interest in the recruitment and procurement of dogs for military purposes.
When the Army Dog Training Center, located at Fort Carson was deactivated on July 1, 1957, York was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, and attached back to his original platoon, the 26th ISDP.
United States Air Force's Role In Korea!
On 0400, Sunday, June 25, 1950, North Korean fighter planes strafed Kimp'o Airfield, a Korean Air Force facility. The Korean War had begun!
The United States Air Force quickly established 12 air bases throughout the peninsula with major bases located at Kimp'o, Suwon, Osan and Kunsan; each of the bases were assigned Air Police squadrons, with sentry dog sections of 6 to 8 dogs attached, for air base security.
Note: During the Korean War, the Air Force either improved or constructed some 55 airfields above or below the 38th parallel, some of which, like K-24 in Pyongyang (North Korean capital), were later abandoned to the enemy.
Photo © Sembach Veterans
The AF sentry dogs, like their Army counterparts, were used mostly at night: for patroling the air base perimeters, guarding POL sites, bomb dumps and supply areas. Most of the dogs used during the Korea War, were pretrained for 3 weeks at the new FEAF Sentry Dog Training Center, at Showa Air Station, on the main island of Honshu, Japan.
The handlers, all volunteers from attached Air Police units, were TDY back to the school, where they were matched to a dog, and trained together for three additional weeks in sentry dog tactics, before they were returned to their duty station in Korea as a K-9 Team.
K-9 Sentry Duty
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the USAF Air Policemen and K-9 Teams in Korea, during the conflict, was their lack of the necessary equipment, needed to do the job.
Sentry dog handlers carrried a 45 side arm, and a carbine on duty, but generally had no flashlights, flare guns or walkie talkies for communications with their command post, if trouble happened.
Although there were only afew instances of the United States Air Force Air Policemen or K-9 units actually being involved in combat in Korea, many AF historians considered it to be their baptism of fire.
The Korean War provided the Air Force a testing ground for individual training, unit training and planning, Korea began to define a combat role for the USAF Air Police.
USAF Cold Weather Gear, Korea
Concepts of "Air Base Defense" that were developed there, would stand the Air Force in good stead 20 years later when we found ourselves under fire in Vietnam.
--- July 27, 1953 ---
By the time the Korean Conflict was over, less than 500 dogs were used there by the combine United Nation ground forces.
While the United States provided the overwhelming majority of the dogs used during the war, Great Britain in November 1951 provided afew mine dogs, and trackers; at the same time, their Commonwealth Divisions: Australia Canada and New Zealand were using patrol dogs quite extensively. It isn't known, if any other United Nation forces used any dogs during the conflict.
NEXT: GB DOG SERVICES SINCE 1945