A new monument in Dover honors the service of thousands of war dogs and their handlers.
The history of dogs in combat goes back hundreds of years. Some 5,000 dogs served alongside their human handlers in Vietnam. The Navy SEALs currently have a highly trained dog team capable of being parachuted into action along with their human partner.
On Saturday, the Delaware chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America dedicated their newest memorial at the Kent County Memorial Park in Dover: a five foot tall black granite stone memorial to war dogs and their human handlers.
“This is not only a tribute to the highly trained K9s that have saved so many lives, but it is also a recognition of their handlers from all branches and in all conflicts,” said Kent County Chapter 850 president Joe Startt Jr.
The monument is etched with the image of Air Force dog handler SSgt Jason Spangenberg and his dog Rico. Spangenberg and Rico served in Afghanistan and were awarded the Bronze Star for detecting IEDs.
An inscription on the monument states, “They protected and watched over us at home and on the field of battle. We are grateful for their undying loyalty, devotion, and faithful service. They are not forgotten.”
Dozens of current and former dog handlers attended Saturday’s dedication ceremony.