The nation’s military war dogs were hailed as four-legged heroes during a ceremony last week to dedicate stamps honoring their service.
“The bravery, loyalty and service of all military working dogs — past and present — will never be forgotten,” said David C. Williams, vice chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, who led the Aug. 1 dedication.
Military canines have aided U.S. soldiers in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The armed forces currently use approximately 2,300 dogs, providing the animals with extensive training and care.
During the dedication ceremony, Williams and other speakers told stories about dogs like Cairo, a Belgian Malinois who accompanied Navy SEAL Team 6 on its 2011 mission to find Osama bin Laden, and Maiko, a multi-purpose canine that was killed while accompanying Army Rangers during a raid on Al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan last year.
“Working dogs like Cairo and Maiko … are heroes deserving of our respect and gratitude,” said Williams.
Available in booklets of 20, the Military Working Dogs stamps showcase four breeds that commonly serve in the U.S. armed forces today — German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherd.
The stamps are available at Post Offices and usps.com.
Other speakers at the ceremony, which was held during an American Philatelic Society Show in Omaha, NE, were U.S. Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska; Scott English, the American Philatelic Society’s executive director; Lt. Col. Michael Cheatham of Offutt Air Force Base; Ronald Aiello, the United States War Dogs Association’s president; and Dave Keeton, an author and former military working dog trainer and caretaker.
In his remarks, Bacon recalled working with Navy SEAL team members, who told him how much they value the contributions of the dogs.
“They like having military working dogs on their team because it helps save their lives. So they save, they protect, they locate and they attack,” Bacon said. “We’re the land of the free and the home of the brave … and our military working dogs are part of that team.”