Some of South Carolina’s most obedient members of the military march on four legs, sit alert and love to eat food.
Military working dogs have been used unofficially since at least World War I, but were not formally recognized until March 13, 1942, when a private organization called Dogs for Defense was created to recruit for K -9 United States Corps.
Last year, military working dogs reached national acclaim when Conan – a Belgian male Malinois named after the nightly talk show host Conan O’Brien – helped kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the state’s leader Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Most military bases across America, including South Carolina, have dogs in the ranks. Here are some very good service members:
Joint Base Charleston
During the summer, Charleston Air Force Base won a Labrador named Freddy.
She was originally in the Marine Corps, but after reducing the size of her military working dog section, the Air Force took her.
Freddy is the only laboratory at the Charleston military facility. Although the base traditionally has German shepherds, Sergeant-in-Chief Jenings Casey said that it fits well with the unit.
“Freddy is a good dog,” said Casey. “She is different from some of our other dogs because we never taught her to work with the bite, which changes her behavior and makes her more friendly. She is much more social and interactive and can be a pet. “
Sgt. Team Jake Mikell, a military working dog trainer at the base, said Freddy and all military working dogs are irreplaceable.
“It’s 2020 and they still need to find something that works as well as a dog,” said Mikell. “We have all this equipment and technology, but nothing works better than a dog that we can train. This essentially saves a lot of time, money and effort. “
Spc. Caitlin Cale and Maike are a team.
Maike is a 6 year old Belgian Malinois. She and Cale work for the military police unit in Fort Jackson. Their job is to detect explosives and deter people from committing crimes on one of the largest basic training bases in the country.
Last year, the two were sent to Iraq together to offer support abroad.
The animal’s full name is Maike W554, similar to an identification number that soldiers have on their identification tags.
Cale and Maike will stay together until the supervisor changes jobs, said LA Sully base spokeswoman. When dogs retire, their trainer has the first choice to keep them.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
In 2017, a cub broke barriers on Parris Island.
An English bulldog named Opha May became the 21st mascot of the Marine Corps’ famous training base and also the first woman to hold the title.
The dog was recruited in 2017 to replace the outgoing mascot named Cpl. Legend. May was a poolee, but now holds the spearhead post. She even has her own gala uniform for special events.
The bulldog is named Opha Mae – with a different spelling – who in 1918 enlisted and became the first marine.
The pets of Parris Island date back to 1914. The first, an Irish Terrier named Mike, has a memorial at the base near the commanding general’s home. It is the oldest monument at the base.
Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter.