Full view of that memorial:
25 Marine War Dogs gave their lives liberating Guam
in 1944. They served as sentries, messengers, scouts.
They explored caves, detected mines and booby traps.
Kurt Yonnie Koko Bunkie
Skipper Poncho Tubby\tHobo
Nig\tPrince Fritz Emmy
Missy Cappy Duke Max
Bursch Pepper Ludwig Rickey
Tam (buried at sea off Asan Point)
Given in their memory and on behalf of the surviving
men of the 2nd and 3rd marine war dogs platoons, many
of whom owe their lives to the bravery and sacrifice
of these gallant animals.
By William W. Putney DVM C.O. 3rd Marine WarDog Platoon
Dedicated this day 21 July 1994.
Fourth row; second from right is a dog named Cappy.
On a rocky island off the coast of Guam, a Marine line officer named William Putney was leading his men on a mission to flush out enemy soldiers.
Cappy, one of his faithful scouts, went ahead. "Cappy suddenly alerted that there were enemy ahead," Putney recalls. "A shot rang out and it hit Cappy and he jumped up in the air about three or four feet and fell dead."
Forewarned, the Marines were able to take the rocks, killing five Japanese soldiers and taking one prisioner.
A half-century has passed since that September day in 1944 when a Doberman named Cappy saved Putneys life, but the former Marine veterinarian has never forgotten.
On Wed., Putney and other survivors of the 2nd and 3rd war dog platoons will honor their canine comrades with a granite memorial at Naval Station Guam, part of ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the island's liveration.
"People ask, 'What's all this hullabaloo about a bunch of dogs that died 50 years ago?" says Putney, the driving force behind the memorial.
"The reason is, these dogs lived in foxholes with their men. They went on and led over 350 patrols. Their handlers killed 301 enemy soldiers with the loss of only one of my men on patrols.
"So the fact that these dogs were killed instead of us and kept us from ever being ambushed or surprised at night makes them heroes in my mind."
Putney, commander of the 3rd War Dog Platoon, arrived in Guam in the summer of 1944. He still remembers it all - stealing down jungle trails steaming under misty rains, nights curled in the uneasy comfort of a foxhole.
Having a dog made the shadows a little less menacing. One night, Putney remembers, a battalion of men without a dog fired off a round after round into the darkness, felling three coconut palms and a water buffalo - but nothing else.
The next night, "everybody wanted a dog in their foxhole" with a sharp nose to distinguish real enemies from harmless shadows, Putney says in a telephone interview from his home near Los Angeles.
But the success was hard won. The first casualty came July 23rd, when a Doberman Named Kurt was wounded by a Japanese grenede. He was the first to be buried in what would become the war dog cemetery.
More followed. "The Japanese had learned when they saw the dogs coming that the Marines would be close behind, and I guess in some kind of weird sense of self-preservation, they must have felt that if they shot the dogs that we wouldnt find them, "Putney says. In all, 24 war dogs were buried on Guam, Putney says. After the war, Putney moved to the Los Angeles area, started a veterinary practice and raised a family. But he never forgot the war dogs. In 1989 he returned to Guam to visit their graves and was dismayed to find the cemetery overgrown and neglected.
Putney found a new home for the cemetery at the naval station and worked with the United Doberman Club on the memorial.
Putney donated a granite monument that will be inscribed with the names of the dogs and the fate of each. It will be topped by a life=size bronze statue of a sitting Doberman, titles "Always Faithful," sculpted by Susan Bahary Wilner.
Wilner, a dog lover who lives north of San Francisco, was thrilled by the commission. "When I heard about it I was in tears, " she says. "Here are dogs that have saved...American Lives. They're finally getting their due."
Dogs have always gone to war. Roman armies used them, and they serve today. Dogs were part of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and Somalia, says Peggy Whitlow, spokeswoman for the Defense Department's dog-training program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
The Guam dogs were recruited directly to the Marines by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, Putney says. Other dogs served in World War II under the auspices of Dogs for Defense, which recruited for the U.S. Army Canine Corps.
On Guam, dog and handler made a formidable scouting team, Putney says. That made the end of a partnership all the more poignant.
The day Cappy was shot, his handler, PFC. Stanley Terrell, ran to the dog's side to cradle the bloody corpse. "Some photographer came up," Putney says. "Terrell looked at me, tears running down his face..."I said, 'Go take your picture somewhere else."