US War Dog Association | National Headquarters

A Memorial Day Message


With Memorial Day fast approaching I started to think about a young Lady I met back in 1965, she was only 18 month old (her name was Stormy) and I fell in love immediately. We stayed together for the next 16 month and if not for her there is a good chance I would not be here today on this Memorial Day 2012.

I thought about the first mission we went on together, Operation Orange and it was the first time she saved my life.

I remember as we entered the clearing of the second village we were searching that day, Stormy my Military Working dog stopped and alerted to our right flank. I instinctively knelt down by her side. The bullet from the sniper’s rifle zinged past my ear. The Marines behind us returned fire and there was silence. It wouldn’t be the last time that my friend would save me and a good number of others in the fields and jungles of Vietnam. In fact, when you’ve been in combat with a Military Working Dog the statement that dogs are man’s best friend isn’t even close. A Military Working dog is part of you and also you’re guardian angel. Dogs have been in the toughest fights throughout history.

In modern warfare, the dogs and their handlers have set a new standard of performance. From sentries to scouts and on to bomb sniffing, the Military Working Dog Teams have become trained to the absolute maximum of performance. When you spend time with a Military Working dog the bond is incredible, and what a dog can do with their natural instincts and senses is amazing. As General David H. Petraeus stated in 2008 as the top commander in Iraq, The capability the Military War Dogs bring to the fight cannot be replicated by men or machines. By all measures of performance their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory.”

Military Working Dogs and their Handlers serve in a special way with a special bond between them. Perhaps, it is fitting in this case to say that Military Working Dog Teams

Dog teams are definitely a different breed.

They learn new ways to communicate where actions truly do mean more than words.

They learn to work in total sync with each other for the protection and good of others.

They develop a rare relationship where both completely know the heart and soul of the other.

When they signed on for a combat mission, they acknowledged that they would not only be part of a mission, but that they were there to protect everyone on that mission in an incredible way.

These Military Working Dog Teams would willing give their all for us and for many they would never know…

So on this Memorial Day 2012, where ever you and whatever you are doing, Stop and take a brief moment and thank the Men, Woman and our Canine Members of the Armed Forces of America for their sacrifices that we may live in freedom.


Ron Aiello, President

U S War Dogs Association, Inc.




  1. Thank you so much for your and your partner’s service to this great country. Your words are very dear to me as the mother of a USAF SSgt deploying for the 4th time to Afghanistan withhis partner, “Liza”. May we all pause and reflect on the immeasureable sacrifices made by so many. God Bless you, and the work you do.

  2. Of all the years I’ve spent honoring and remembering those who’ve served our country, I’ve honestly never knew about the Military Dogs that served as well. Some may say, we’ll you’ve been living under a rock, and sadly, I feel foolish admitting I never knew about them. Especially when I love animals! Thank you for sharing your story and THANK YOU TO ALL WAR/MILITARY DOGS THAT HAVE SERVED AND CONTINUE TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY!! GOD BLESS!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless all of you that have so valiantly defended us.

  4. Ron, I actually found this website and originally read your account of Stormy through the book Paws & Effect. I am proud and grateful to all who served our country, whether they walk on two legs or four. I hold great sorrow in my heart for what you and many of the other handlers in Vietnam discovered about their companions after you came back to the States. I admire your efforts to change the way the military “retires” their four legged comrades and for the way you have honored the memory of the canine military. God Bless!