The Canine Corps

On 13 March 1942, the US Army Quartermaster Corps established the Canine (K-9) Corps to train dogs for a variety of wartime duties. The dogs went through “basic training” for 8 weeks and then, based on performance, would be assigned a specialty: sentry, scout, messenger, or mine dog. The program was so successful that K-9 “recruiters” had sought “volunteers” to fill the burgeoning need for the dogs, and quickly separate programs were established in the Navy and Coast Guard. Originally, over thirty breeds were accepted into the K9 Corps but by 1944 only 7 were accepted: German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Siberian Huskies, Farm Collies, Eskimo dogs, and Alaskan Malamutes. The most famous WWII K9 was a sentry trained German Shepherd named Chips who was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. In 1943, Chips single pawedly attacked four Germans in a machine gun nest after they wounded his handler and forced them all to surrender.

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