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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-16-2009, 01:41 AM
AbbyK9
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: North Country, NY
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Re: Iraq withdrawal

At the end of the Vietnam War, the official reason why dogs were not returned to the United States was that they could bring the disease ehrlichiosis, which (at the time) was not found in the United States back into the country. The illness was not officially recognized as being found in the US until after the Vietnam War, and we now know that it is transmitted by the brown dog tick.

At the end of the Vietnam War, the dogs were either turned over to the South Vietnamese, or euthanized, but a number of dogs were also sent to other bases in Asia, such as Korea and Japan, where they would finish their service life, but would not be returned to the US.

Since then, military working dogs have deployed much like soldiers do - they go overseas and return stateside when their deployment is over. They sometimes change handlers, but they now try to keep dogs and handlers together if at all possible, especially for detector dogs where a good rapport between dog and handler is so important to make sure the handler doesn't miss the dog's subtle clues when alerting.

As we now have dogs on pretty much every base, there are dogs needed all over the place. The dogs that will be pulled from Iraq will go elsewhere, stateside or overseas, where they are needed, as will their handlers.

And yes, Foader is correct. The dogs now are one rank higher than their handlers. The reasoning behind this is to prevent bad treatment of the dogs - it would be handled the same as assaulting an NCO. The rank isn't carried on official documents or anything, though, as it changes depending on the handler they are assigned to. So you wouldn't see, SSG Fluffy on any paperwork. Just Fluffy followed by the tattoo number.

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