JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The first national monument dedicated to U.S. Military Working Dog teams was unveiled in a ceremony here Monday.
The dedication and unveiling ceremony completes a quest to nationally recognize military working dogs and handlers started in 2001 by John Burnam, a Vietnam scout dog handler and author of two books on military working dogs.
"This is a great day for Joint Base San Antonio and the Department of Defense," said Brig. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander. "To the working dog members and the dogs in the audience, this is your day. I'm so glad Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland could be the home of this monument. "
The Department of Defense Military Working Dog program, the world's largest training center for military dogs and handlers, has been based at JBSA-Lackland since 1958. The DOD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service and the Holland Working Dog Hospital, the largest for military working dogs, are also located on JBSA-Lackland.
The monument's main granite pedestal features the U.S. military's four prominent working dog breeds since World War II: Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois.
A nine-foot tall bronze dog handler represents all U.S. military dog handlers who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the war on terrorism. Another design feature is the "Not Forgotten Fountain," a fully functional bronze dog and handler water fountain that epitomizes the bond between dog and handler.
"As a nation we owe our war dogs a tremendous debt of gratitude," said Burnam. "Their selfless service, loyalty and sacrifices to our country must never be forgotten. The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a treasure for us all to ensure they are honored and remembered forever."
The monument is located on the southeast corner of Air Force Basic Military Training parade grounds on JBSA-Lackland.