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This page contains current information on platoon reunion activities.

2008 Platoon Reunion Album: June 13-15, 2008 Salt Lake City, UT

1997 Reunion Video   1998 Reunion Video
2002 Reunion | 2004 Reunion | 2003 Pedestal Dedication Report
Ft. Benning War Dog Memorial | VDHA Reunion Information

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2004 Reunion

Beaumont, Texas

The 2004 Reunion was held in Beaumont, Texas from May 7-9. Read Bert Hubble's June 2004 Bow-Wow for a complete report on the happenings.

47th IPSD 2002 Reunion Coverage

2002 Reunion logo

2002 Reunion Album | Pedestal Dedication Speeches | Reunion Videos

Dedication Program (PDF file)

Read the June 2002 Issue of Dogman

War Dog Memorial Pedestals Dedication Held at Fort Benning

Fort Benning, Georgia, May 11, 2002

Ceremony's end as Taps is played
War Dog Memorial Pedestal Dedication
Five new War Dog Memorial Pedestals were dedicated May 11th at the War Dog Memorial statue at Fort Benning. The black granite pedestals with inscribed bronze plaques were the first in a series of pedestals designed to honor those men and dogs who served in combat. When completed, the pedestals will completely encircle the War Dog statue.

Pedestals included World War II Scout Dogs, US Army Korea Scout Dogs, Vietnam Scout Dogs, Combat Tracker Teams, and a special pedestal for Medal of Honor and Scout Dog Handler Robert W. Hartsock, the only War Dog handler to receive this award during the Vietnam War.

Jonathan Wahl of the 47th Scout Dog Platoon served as Master of Ceremonies while an estimated audience of 200 looked on under a bright Georgia sun. In his welcoming remarks Wahl said "Thanks to the efforts of SFC Jesse Mendez and private donations from veterans and others, we mark today as a time when we say to all those who have served, human and K-9, 'You were there for us, we appreciate your sacrifices, and we will never forget you.'"

After the posting of colors by the US Army Color Guard, playing of our National Anthem, and invocation by Chief of Chaplains Col. Richard Hartsell, SFC Jesse Mendez (ret) presented the pedestals and briefly described their purpose. Original Commander of the 47th Scout Dog Platoon Stanley C. Stockdale then delivered the Keynote address.

Stockdale said "Uniquely, scout dogs were one of the few infantry activities designed to save lives and they did. It is conservatively estimated that these handlers and their dogs saved more than 10,000 lives in Vietnam. Given that 50,000 lives were lost when it was said and done, these teams had an amazing impact and we are here today to honor them." He went on to recount experiences and sacrifices made by men of the 47th, noting that "similar experiences exist for each of the dog units that have served and their various teams - whether scout, tracker or sentry." He added "Many people have expressed concern as they have learned of the fate of these dogs as the Army eventually scrambled to leave Viet Nam. Some were given to the South Vietnamese army, many were euthanized, and a very few came home. I don't want you to feel sorry for these dogs. They had the opportunity to do something special and they knew it. They spent day after day and hour upon hour with their masters, exactly where they wanted to be. These were working dogs and they were happy dogs."

On hand to unveil and dedicate the pedestals by placing flowers were Ms. Bernie Zika representing her husband (deceased) and World War II K-9 handler Richard Zika, Mr. Leo Suiter, the last Korea wartime Commander of the 26th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon, Mr. Norm Ream of the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon, Mr. John Dupla of the 62th Combat Tracker Team and VDHA Vice President, and Mr. Kenneth Hartsock and Mr. Fred Hartsock, father and brother respectively of Robert. Col. Robert Nett, Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the Philippines during World War II was on hand to participate and spoke to the gathering about his combat experiences with dog teams and also about the history of the Medal of Honor.

Fort Benning Chief of Staff Col. Lonnie Dale Vona represented Chief of Infantry and Post Commander Major General Paul Eaton and formally accepted the pedestals on behalf of Fort Benning. Col. Vona spoke of the contributions made by the War Dog teams and recited a post-wide proclamation issued by Major General Eaton which declared May 11th as "Honor War Dogs Day" at Fort Benning.

Former 65th CTT member Mr. Kenneth Goss then conducted a special remembrance ceremony to honor the men and dogs who had fallen in combat. Those who dedicated the pedestals placed helmets on the butt end of inverted rifles and bayonets. This was followed by the slow raising of a large American flag while music from the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" played.

The ceremony was topped off when Wahl called to position a special K-9 Honor Guard which consisted of six handlers and German Shepherds representing the German Shepherd Dog Club of Atlanta. The dog teams lined the walkway leading to the memorials as Taps was played. Afterwards, veterans, families, and guests approached the pedestals and read the inscriptions.

Read more on the Dedication in Fort Benning's newspaper The Bayonet. Click here

Fort Benning War Dog Memorial: War Dog Unit Pedestals

View the War Dog Memorial Pedestals Plan

War Dog Memorial Scout Dog Pedestal
1966 - U. S. Army Vietnam - 1972
They Never Quit On The Field of Battle
47th Group at National Infantry Museum, Benning
In front of National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia, May 9, 2002
(left to right) Bert Hubble, Frank Steinhebel, Natie Hubble, Daryl Hubble, Jonathan Harraden, Belinda Shutz, Rusty Allen, Espie Hubble

(below) April 2006 update - photos by Dan Tupper:

WD Memorial and Pedestals, April 2006
Pedestals (above, clockwise from left): US Army WWII Scout Dogs, US Army Korea Scout Dogs, US Army Vietnam Scout Dogs, US Army Vietnam Tracker Dogs, US Army Vietnam MP Sentry Dogs, US Naval Services K-9, USMC War Dogs, WW II-Korea-Vietnam K-9 KIA (close-up photo below), Medal of Honor (behind statue), Vietnam MIA-KIA, US Air Force Security Dogs, US Army Vietnam Veterinary Service

K9 KIA Pedestal, April 2006
K-9 KIA Pedestal


New(below) March 2009 update - photo by Curt Knapp:

WD Memorial and Pedestals, March 2009
War Dog Memorial and Pedestals

Jesse Mendez, the father of all Vietnam era Scout Dog Handlers, is coordinating an ongoing project to add individual Black Granite Pedestals with bronze plaques listing all War Dog units around the Fort Benning War Dog Memorial. The plaques will have Unit listings based on Branch of Service and Era served (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc.). Jesse has initiated a campaign to solicit $20 contributions to cover the costs of each Monument Pedestal and Bronze Unit Plaque.

Please send a check, ($20 or more, or whatever you can) made out to "Columbus Monument Company" for the "War Dog Memorial" to:

Jesse S. Mendez
1205 Bismark Dr.
Columbus, GA 31907-4013

Please show that you support Jesse and his efforts to see this lasting memorial become a reality.

NewReport on the 2003 War Dog Pedestals Dedication
Fort Benning, May 10, 2003

by Jarvis Ellis, 59th IPSD

It was a beautiful day at good ol' Ft. Benning. But then, for us guys who were stationed there, every day is a beautiful day at Ft. Benning. The occasion was the dedication ceremony, Saturday, May 10, 2003, for six additional unit pedestals around the base of the War Dog Memorial at Sacrifice Field. The weather was almost a mirror image of last year when we had our 47th-59th IPSD reunion in Columbus and the first pedestals were dedicated, so you folks who were there last year can form a mental image of what it was like this year. Everything looked pretty much the same. The pedestals dedicated this year were to the dogs, men and K-9 Units of:
  • The US Air Force Sentry Dogs
  • The US Army Sentry Dogs
  • The US Naval Services Dogs (Coast Guard, Navy & Navy SEALs)
  • The US Marine Corps Scout, Sentry, & Mine Dogs
  • The US Army Veterinarian Corps
  • The Handler & K-9 KIA's from all services
The prelude included a procession of dog handlers primarily from the Atlanta German Shepherd Club (led, of course by one of our greatest supporters, Dixie Whitman) and the Augusta German Shepherd Club. Several of the dog handlers were veterans and each dog handler was accompanied by a flag bearer, most of whom were veterans. I was honored to be one of these flag bearers. Randy Kimler did a masterful job presiding over the ceremony. After the Posting of Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem and Invocation, the keynote address was given by Carl S. Adams. Carl is a former Air Force Air Policeman who served as a K-9 handler at Phan Rang Air Base, RVN from March '67-Oct.'68. He is currently a Regional General Manager with Weyerhaeuser Corporation in Illinois. His speech was well organized and well delivered. Many memories were rekindled. Randy then presided over the presentation of pedestals. Each pedestal was unveiled by a veteran representing the men and units of the respective pedestal. Jesse Mendez represented the Handler and K-9 KIA's, unveiling their pedestal. The acceptance speech on behalf of the Commandant of Ft. Benning was made by a Lt. Col. (Major Generals have other things to do on Saturday afternoons) who was about as STRAC as a soldier can be. He was the definition of what a career Army Officer should look and act like and he made a great speech. I did manage to restrain myself from re-enlisting, however. From my point of view, the most moving part of the program was a Remembrance given by tracker dog veteran, Kenneth Goss. The essence of his emotional comments was that we can't forget our experiences, good, bad or indifferent. We all have to deal with and live with them as best we can. I, personally, know that to be true. The ceremony was concluded with a member of the Army Band playing Taps.

The War Dog Pedestal Project was conceived and spearheaded by SFC Jesse Mendez. If any of you do not remember Sgt. Mendez at Scout Dog School you were asleep during your training. I recall him as being one of the most intensely focused persons I've ever met. He's still that way. If it wasn't for his white hair, he would look just as we remember him in the 60's at Dog School.

I'm glad I took the time to ride over to Ft. Benning Saturday morning to attend this ceremony and I hope you get something from these few comments I've jotted down. I am reminded over and over by occasions such as this that I was and still am proud to have served my country when it needed me. I am also reminded that the memories of that war are a permanent part of my soul and I live with them as best as I can. Lastly, I am truly proud of the friendships I made with the men I served with and will never forget those who didn't make it back. Those men now have a pedestal too.


Next VDHA Reunion:

Monday, April 18th to Wednesday, April, 20th, 2022
La Quinta by Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk
303 Blum, San Antonio, TX
Hotel Phone # 1-210-222-9181

Download VDHA 2022 San Antonio Reunion Information (PDF)



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