Although not authorized for wear on a Marine Corps uniform, this patch is a great way for off-duty and veteran Marines to display their pride in working with some of the Corps most devoted members!

The Marine Corps’ first War Dog Training School was launched in January 194 at Quantico Bay in Cuba, with fourteen Doberman Pinschers donated by the members of the Doberman Pinscher Club of America forming the inaugural class. But after just a week the school was moved from the sunny climes of Cuba to Camp Knox, an old CCC facility at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina; there, the Dobermans and a Boxer named Fritz were officially signed into the Corps.

After initial training was completed, the dogs received specialized training to serve in one of three roles: Messenger, Sentry, or Scout. Scout dogs were taught to alert their handlers to the presence of enemy troops, but not by barking—something the Corps managed to teach them despite protests from “experts” that dogs could not be taught to avoid barking.

The first Marine Dog Platoon was shipped out in advance to New Caledonia in advance of the landings at Bougainville. Here, the platoon—48 enlisted Marines serving in pairs as handlers for 21 Doberman Pinschers and 3 German Shepherds, along with six instructors and HQ staff—worked to acquaint the dogs with the men they would be tasked with protecting. It was time well-spent: After landing on Bougainville, no unit that was protected by the dogs was ever ambushed or assaulted by surprised, and there were no cases of Japanese infiltrating the Marines’ perimeters, something that happened on many occasions during other battles where there were no dogs to serve as sentries.

In all, the Marine Corps trained over 1,000 dogs during World War II, with 29 of them being killed in action (25 during the Battle of Guam alone).
Color Patch

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