Since the twentieth century more than a hundred thousand dogs of many breeds and their handlers faithfully served our country as U.S. War Dog Teams. Such military K-9 teams guarded perimeters, led combat patrols, and fought and died beside our men and women of all services. Our nation’s military War Dogs served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi War, and peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and on many other foreign shores. War Dogs are not mascots, but highly trained, efficient, and loyal four-footed soldiers who know no fear. They served and continue to serve daily in harms way putting their lives on the line without hesitation to save military and civilian lives.
During the Vietnam War, patriotic families across America came forth to donate their beloved pet dogs by the thousands, to be trained as War Dogs and serve alongside their handlers in Vietnam.  Some military analysts estimate that as many as ten thousand American service men and women lives were saved due to the courage and heroism of War Dogs; many of those saved were Alabamians. However, of the approximately 4,000 War Dogs that served in the Vietnam War, only about 250 got out alive. The rest died in combat, were left behind, or euthanized by our Government when the Vietnam War ended; a sad legacy.
It is only fitting that Alabamians, as patriotic as they are, recognize the War Dogs who gave so much for so many for so little. We owe it to ourselves to remember those faithful creatures that served with, protected, and fought beside our men and women, and whose countless deeds saved so many American lives and helped protect our freedom. Yes, we remember, we need to remember man’s best friend and we owe it to these unsung warriors to never forget.  

The Alabama War Dogs Memorial will endear and educate Alabamians about the heroic sacrifices War Dogs made and continue to make in protecting and saving the lives of America’s finest. What better time is there than now to erect a memorial of remembrance to War Dogs?  

The Alabama War Dogs Memorial will be a unique addition to Alabama military history and an extension of the National War Dogs Memorial soon to be erected in Washington, D.C. Alabama has always led the way in honoring its veterans. Establishing a War Dogs memorial is another Alabama way of expressing its appreciation and respect for its veterans and War Dogs. There is no doubt that the proposed War Dogs memorial will be heart felt by so many Alabamians, her veterans and her children. As Alabamians we can say, “Yes, we remember!” and it shows.
The proposed AWDM will be erected on appropriate grounds within an existing Veterans memorial or municipality park, and situated in a suitable place of honor for all who visit to reflect on the deeds of War Dogs who enabled so many of our sons and daughters serving in the military to return home to their loved ones. Around the world, War Dogs and their handlers continue to help America preserve our freedom.

The AWDM Foundation
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A Story of a Soldier and his Dog by Kathy Brewster
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