Dr William W. Putney, is a retired vet, who served with the marines in
WW2, he was the Commanding Officer of the dogs and their handlers.
"Those dogs saved hundreds of lives in the battle of Guam. Now I can go
to my grave knowing that the dogs have a good place to rest and the
government is honoring them in the manner they rightly deserve" quote
from the new york
times 19 july 1994.
"The monument, the nations first to honor the heroic canines will be
transported to the pacific island of Guam, where it will stand guard
over the offical war dog cemetery at the U. S. Naval base in Orote
Twenty five dogs were killed in action and buried in Guam.
The dogs' duties included leading scouting parties, exploring caves and serving as sentries. During the war, many familites donated their pets so they might be trained to aid the soldiers. "quote from Detroit News 21 jun1994
"For men and women who gave their lives to their country in times of
war, statues have been built, citations and medals bestowed.
Until now, however, the four-legged heros have gone unhonored".
The first ever war dog memorial, a life sized bronze of Kurt, a
doberman pinscher who served with distinction on Guam during WW2, will
be unveiled at the pentagon on june 20. The sculpture, "Always
Faithful" was created by Susan Behary Wilner of
Greenbrea, who was commissioned by the United Doberman Club and
Veterinarian William Putney, Commander of 3rd dog platoon on
Putney says Kurt saved the lives of 250 Marines trying to take back Guam when he went out ahead of the troops pointing to warn
them that the enemy forces were ahead. The Japanese bombarded
the dog with grenades: surgery performed by Putney failed to save
him. Twenty four American Dogs died in the Pacific during the war, says Putney.
A doberman was borrowed from its owner and lived with Wilner for a
month, serving as a model for the "Always Faithful" a clay sculpture.
The bronze is being poured at Mussie Art works foundry in Berkeley.
After its Washington unveiling, the statue will be shipped to Guam, where it will be unveiled again during July 21 ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation of that island.
Dogs served in both world wars, in vietnam-proponents of a monument to
a Vietnam war dogs are lobbying for a national monument in
washington-and in the gulf war" quote from san Francisco Chronical
March 21, 2003: It is with a very heavy heart that I must inform
you Captain William W. Putney, D.V.M., U.S.M.C. (Ret.) died today. The
world has lost a very courageous and dedicated man. Doberman's have
lost a true friend! Dr. Putney was the commanding officer of the 3rd.
War Dog Platoon responsible in large part for the liberation of Guam
during WW2. Dr. Putney requested the "United Doberman Club" to work
with him "To honor the working heritage of the Doberman Pinscher." This
resulted in the Doberman statue "Always Faithful" being placed at the
United States Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery in Guam June 20, 1994. His
tireless energy and friendship will be greatly missed.
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."
The Wardog Platoons, William Putney
K9 History...The Dogs of War!