Let's go back to October 2013. A new national monument was created that few people know about...unless you love dogs. That would apply to my sister-in-law, Laura, who raises, shows and trains dogs, has worked as a licensed veterinary technician, and donated to the fund for this new national monument. Are you curious as to what this national monument honors? Do you know?
First, let me say this new national monument is located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Are you getting closer to an educated guess?
We checked in at Lackland Main Gate Visitor Center to obtain a visitor's pass and were given directions to the monument. As we started walking to the monument, I took photos of planes on the edges of the parade ground.
The C-118 "Liftmaster" pictured below is a version of the DC-6 which was developed from a C-54 and first flew in February 1946. Between 1951 and 1955, 101 aircraft were purchased by the USAF for MATS (Military Air Transportation Service). The C-118A carried 74 passengers. When used for aeromedical evacuations, the aircraft carried 60 litter patients or 61 ambulatory patients. In 1947, a DC-6 was selected for presidential use. Known as the VC-118A "Independence," it was in service until 1975. Manufacturer: Douglas; speed 360 mph; range 3,860 miles; altitude 18,0000'; power plant Pratt & Whitney R-2800, 2500 HP.
"The Training Instructor badge I wear is a symbol of honor, integrity and excellence in military deportment. My job is one of the most important in the Air Force and I will spare no effort to properly prepare young men and women for military duty.Also at this monument is a plaque with names of the BMTS [Basic Military Training School] Blue Ropes of the Year...The Best of the Best
"I am dedicated to the principles of fairness, firmness and honesy in my dealings with those entrusted to my charge. I am pledged to strive for perfection and to reject mediocrity both in my own personal behavior and in the performance of those for whom I am responsible. I am an Air Force Military Training Instructor."
A master military training instructor is one who is a total professional in all phases of basic training - the top ten percent of the instructor force.
As we continued walking south on the parade ground, we reached our destination: Military Working Dog Teams National Monument. A number of photos are included in case you never get a chance to go to Lackland Air Force Base to see this.
- Is a leader among other instructors and exhibits only the highest characteristics of ethics, morality and integrity.
- Fully supports the mission, traditions and esprits de corps of the basic military training school.
- Is the "Best of the Best."
|Guardians of America's Freedom|
|Laura at the monument to which she contributed.|
Visiting the monument with Laura was very interesting. She gave us lots of insight into the Working Dogs program. For example, the photo below has significance because in Vietnam military working dogs were classified as "equipment," hence they were left behind at the end of the war facing almost certain death. Since Vietnam, the dogs' classification has been changed to "personnel" and are evacuated at the end of the conflict. The working dogs are also a rank above their handlers so that if a handler mistreats or abuses the dog under his/her care they can be charged with assaulting a superior officer. Who knew? Laura, that's who (and the military of course).
|"Not Forgotten Fountain"|
Laura also enlightened us on the types of dogs used in conflict. I questioned how they could use labrador retrievers because they're such nice dogs. She said different dogs have different purposes.
- Labs are used because of their superior sense of smell. For example, they can sniff out bombs.
- German Shepherds used to be the dog of choice in WWI and WWII, but in Iraq and Afghanistan the German Shepherds stop working in 120+ degree temperatures.
- Dobermans are better in confined or limited spaces, not out in an open range.
- The dogs currently being bred and used in military conflicts are the Belgian Malinois. These dogs work in high temperatures and are crazy enough to be war dogs. They just don't stop.
|Laura with a German Shepherd sculpture|
|Can't you just imagine a soldier and his canine scout in battle?|
If you know me well, you know I love cats, so I have to include two cat pics. As I was typing my blog, I happened to look over at a box on the floor. Here's what I saw...
|Sunnie had been sleeping under the box.|
|Bowie not wanting to be left out of the photo.|