March 13: National Military K9 Veterans Day, commemorates first day of training for army’s war dog program in 1942

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 25, 2019, US President Donald Trump (L), Vice President Mike Pence (2nd L) and First Lady Melania Trump (R) stand with Conan, the military dog that was involved with the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at the White House in Washington, DC. - President Donald Trump has shattered through norms and niceties on the world stage in his nearly three years in office. Entering an election year, Trump is unlikely to slow down as he seeks what has largely eluded him -- a headline-grabbing victory. The tycoon turned president closes 2019 with a new stride after what was perhaps his most unambiguous achievement -- US commandos' raid that killed the leader of the Islamic State extremist group. But the year was also full of tosses and turns for Trump. On his ambition to end the war in Afghanistan, he startled Washington by inviting the Taliban to talks but then declared the talks dead before resuming them. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

In this file photo taken on November 25, 2019, US President Donald Trump (L), Vice President Mike Pence (2nd L) and First Lady Melania Trump (R) stand with Conan, the military dog that was involved with the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 1:55 PM PT – Saturday, March 13, 2021

March 13 is National K9 Veterans Day. It commemorates 79 years since the creation of the army’s war dog program, also known as the K9 Corps.

Canines are now trained for a number of different jobs to aid their units from explosive ordinance detection to combat tracking. Some military working dog handlers, like Master-at-Arms Joseph Adames, said that it is important to respect the canines that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“It’s important because these dogs lay down their lives for minimum to nothing,” Adames said. “Sailors, soldiers, we all get paid, but they just want love from us handlers. They want toys and just that love and feedback from the handler. They don’t volunteer for themselves.”

Some of the most famous canines were among those remembered, including Sergeant Stubby, who is known as the “Original War Dog” for his service during World War I. Another canine veteran who received recognition was Cairo, the canine who accompanied SEAL Team 6 during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Conan, the heroic canine who took part in the successful Al Baghdadi raid, was also among the canines honored. He was praised as “one of the most primetime age-wise service dogs the military has ever seen,” according to President Trump.

“We just gave Conan a medal and a plaque,” the 45th President stated. “I actually think Conan knew exactly what was going on. The dog is incredible, we’ve spent some good time with it. [He is] so brilliant so smart.”

OCTOBER 30 - UNSPECIFIED, SYRIA: In this undated handout image provided by the Department of Defense, the military working dog who sustained minor injuries during the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound is seen. The dog is a 4 year veteran of the SOCOM K-9 program and has been a member of approximately 50 combat missions. On October 26, 2019, U.S. Special Operations forces closed in on al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria with a mission to kill or capture the terrorist. The dog has returned to duty after being injured by a live electrical cable from the explosion of al-Baghdadi's suicide vest, which was detonated during the raid. (Photo by Department of Defense via Getty Images)

In this undated handout image provided by the Department of Defense, the military working dog who sustained minor injuries during the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound is seen. The dog is a 4 year veteran of the SOCOM K-9 program and has been a member of approximately 50 combat missions. (Photo by Department of Defense via Getty Images)

 

No matter their role, all military dogs were honored as important members of their military units for their life-saving contributions and selfless service.

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