OUR WAR DOGS
Dogs have been used by the Australian Military since WW1, where they were used as messenger dogs. In WW2 they were also used as messenger dogs, as well as tracker dogs. During the Vietnam War they were used for tracking, Engineer mine & explosive dogs by the army, as well as asset security dogs by the RAAF.
The training of the dogs was carried out at the Infantry Centre in Ingleburn NSW. Eleven of these highly trained dogs were sent to Vietnam where they served from 1967 until 1971. They served for three years, being shared with the different battalions as they rotated through their tours.
A Tracker Team usually consisted of two dogs and their handlers, two cover men; one a machine gunner and one a signaller. When required for duty they would be choppered in and inserted and removed from the jungle by being suspended from the helicopter in a special harness. The dogs enjoyed these chopper trips, loving the fresh air and escaping from the hot and humid conditions below in the jungle.
Their service to the troops was invaluable, being able to sense the enemy long before any human could, tracking enemy, hiding or retreating after being wounded. The sad part of this story is that the dogs could not be returned to Australia after their time was up because of Australia's strict quarantine laws, as was the case with the horses which served us so well in the First World War.
Homes were found with European families living in Saigon for 10 out of the 11 dogs left behind. One dog, Cassius died of heat exhaustion after a training run. In 2001 a memorial to these dogs was unveiled at Alexander Headland on Queensland's Sunshine Coast where the dogs names as follows are listed -
Cesear, Janus, Justin, Juno, Marcian, Milo, Trajan, Cassius, Julian, Marcus and Tiber.
These words are also inscribed on the Memorial –
Clancy's comment: Unsung heroes. Love ya work!
Fly over for our military dogs!