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Last week, on March 13, Working Military dogs, handlers assigned to the 100th Security Forces Squadron and Airmen of RAF Mildenhall took part in a 5k ruck in honor of K9 Veterans Day.
K9 Veterans Day marks the first time that dogs were used in the US Armed Forces, on March 13, 1942. The movement to establish an annual day dedicated to Working Military dogs began in 1987, when Vietnam veteran and handler Joseph White encouraged the adoption of March 13 as an annual day to honor canine veterans. New Jersey was the first State to pass legislation to mark the day, which is now officially recognized by over 14 States.
K9 Veterans Day isn't just one to commemorate Military Working Dogs, the event also offers the chance to honor all canines who have engaged in public service for the United States. Last year, Hurricane, a former US Secret Service Dog who protected the Obama family, became the first international recipient of the PDSA's Order of Merit. In a ceremony in London on October 4, 2019, Hurricane flew to the UK alongside his handler, Marshall Mirarchi, to be formally presented with the award. Mirarchi commented that "I am so proud of him [Hurricane] and extremely thankful to PDSA for honouring his service and actions in this way. We are very pleased to be in London to receive the honour – Hurricane has travelled in style and is receiving the full VIP treatment, just as he deserves."
For more details on K9 Awareness Day and other tributes to canines who have served the US, check out https://www.tailsofhopefoundation.org/.