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  #1  
Old 29 July 2011, 01:33 AM
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Dog Military dog ranking

Comment: It was reported that military dogs always have a rank one higher
than their handler. That way if the dog is mistreated, it is considered
an assault on a superior officer, a major offense.

My takes is that it's just an inside joke or something.
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  #2  
Old 29 July 2011, 01:54 AM
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Military dogs don't have ranks, they have classifications. And an assault on another soldier is an assault. An assault on an officer or a superior is serious in that if it's someone above you in your chain-of-command, and motivated by retaliation for being disciplined, or as part of an escalation of disobeying orders, it is very serious. But mistreatment of a dog by a handler is a serious offense no matter what, and there is no need to give the dog a rank that is meaningless, to prevent a carefully screened and trained handler from mistreating it. If superior rank were all that stood between a dog and mistreatment by its handler, then something is seriously wrong.

Probably some handlers jokingly refer to their dogs as their COs, and that's how the UL got started, and I think occasionally dogs that will participate in ceremonies are given ceremonial rank, but it's meaningless. It doesn't reflect education, training, or time in service, any of the things that make rank meaningful for humans.
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Old 29 July 2011, 03:25 AM
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I had a dog that we gave to MIL, and BIL* was so taken with her that he took her to be trained as a service dog. I know that she has a ceremonial rank at the very least, and that ceremonial rank was higher than her handler's, according to BIL.

*BIL was a captain of a unit that dealt largely in injured soldiers returning from Iraq, IIRC, so Nona was trained as a therapy dog for those soldiers.
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  #4  
Old 29 July 2011, 04:10 AM
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Some units have mascots, and the mascots has a traditional rank. I think Kolchak (they're up to #15 or 16), the mascot of the 27th infantry, has a rank, but it's really part of his name, and not a rank, per se. That's pretty much the case with "SGT" Stubby. He started out as a mascot for a WWI infantry division, and after his first exposure to gas, became sensitive to it, and would bark, and go a little nuts at the first smell of it, before any of the soldiers were aware of it. That was the beginning of his actual work as a military dog, and after that, the soldiers started referring to him as "Sergeant Stubby," calling it a "field promotion," but he wasn't an NCO in any real sense.

SGT Stubby was a Pit Bull mix, BTW, just a plug for my favorite breed. He learned to alert the medics to wounded men, and apparently held onto a German soldier once, who was trying to map out an American base, until the Americans could come take custody of him. He was wounded, but recovered, and was a morale booster in the veterans' hospital. His owner went to Georgetown after the war, and he became the Hoyas football mascot for four years.

He was a really remarkable dog, a great dog, and in some ways, a great soldier, but he wasn't a "sergeant," in any meaningful way, and even though the infantry unit provided for him, he didn't draw pay. I mean, he also had honorary memberships in the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA, but they were, you know, honorary. So was his rank.

A dog in the military is like a tank, or a weapon, which represents a significant investment. You don't have to invest a piece of equipment with a superior rank to make it clear to soldiers that you don't abuse it. Someone who misuses or breaks a $2,000 rifle is going to be in serious trouble, and a dog represents a lot more than that.

Besides, whatever the perception of people on the outside, and whatever the horrors of divisions that may have gone rogue, or whatever scandals like Abu Ghraib, that are scandals, because they are not the military as it normally operates, the US military does not exist to be cruel, to abuse, or to torture, and does not have to expend a lot of effort to keep those things in check, with little tricks, like giving rank to dogs. It's not prison.
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  #5  
Old 29 July 2011, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntie Witch View Post
I had a dog that we gave to MIL, and BIL* was so taken with her that he took her to be trained as a service dog. I know that she has a ceremonial rank at the very least, and that ceremonial rank was higher than her handler's, according to BIL.
It was probably part of her name. A lot of dogs get called "Corporeal," or "Sergeant." If she happened to have the same name as an officer, or something though, she may have jokingly been referred to by that officer's rank. That happens to privates who happen to have the same last name as a high-ranking officer or NCO.

I'll bet that as the handler got promoted, the dog didn't, though.
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Old 29 July 2011, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
SGT Stubby was a Pit Bull mix, BTW, just a plug for my favorite breed. He learned to alert the medics to wounded men, and apparently held onto a German soldier once, who was trying to map out an American base, until the Americans could come take custody of him. He was wounded, but recovered, and was a morale booster in the veterans' hospital. His owner went to Georgetown after the war, and he became the Hoyas football mascot for four years.
FYI If I can ever make it into the film biz (and get out of this damn service industry) I would totally make a movie about him. Pit's are GF and mine's fav breed as well. I'm actually amazed that nobody else has already made a flick about Sgt Stubby.
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  #7  
Old 29 July 2011, 04:24 AM
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Pits rule!

ETA: They were Helen Keller's favorite breed as well, and she owned several throughout her life. I like to mention that to people who think thy are unpredictable or untrainable.
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  #8  
Old 29 July 2011, 05:49 PM
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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Windsor_%28goat%29

Quote:
William "Billy" Windsor was a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh, an infantry battalion of the British Army. Billy is a goat.

His primary duty was to march at the head of the battalion on all ceremonial duties. According to the BBC, Billy was "not a mascot, but a ranking member of the regiment".

After inappropriate behaviour during the Queen's Official Birthday celebrations while deployed on active duty with the battalion on Cyprus, Billy was demoted to the rank of Fusilier. The change meant that other fusiliers in the regiment no longer had to stand to attention when Billy walked past, as they had to when he was a lance corporal.
So it seems that in the British Army at least, animals can hold ranks that aren't purely ceremonial.
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Old 30 July 2011, 06:00 PM
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The irony of that is the fact that it takes very little to train a pit. If you just give them a stern command or a disapproving "NO" they will do the best that they can to try and rectify whatever they did wrong. A while back my facebook status was "how come the 40lb pit bull will hang her head in shame if I tell her NO while the 4lb kitty just looks at me like 'who in the hell are you and why should I listen?'"
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Old 09 December 2011, 11:30 PM
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This rumor (minus the bit about rank being used to prevent mistreatment) was repeated on a Seattle news-talk station today. It was a segment about military dogs being diagnosed with canine PTSD, and both the reporter and military dog handler made the statement that canines are given a rank higher than their handler out of respect. The military fellow did follow by saying something to the effect of, "Well, everyone thinks he's the leader anyway, so we all call him Sgt. Rex," so it seems pretty clear that it's just an unofficial thing, but I don't recall them saying so explicitly (and thus the UL is perpetuated).
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  #11  
Old 15 December 2011, 01:05 AM
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I watched a documentary on PBS about service dogs in Viet Nam, and how in the 60s and 70s, far from having any kind of rank, they were actually classified as equipment, same as a shovel or a Jeep. That is why so many of the dogs were not brought back to the States, despite the pleas of the young soldiers who worked with them in the field.*

Today, they do have the status of being a member of their unit, and are treated accordingly. So they may not have an official rank, but at least they are not regarded as merely a tool.

*It was heartbreaking to watch an elderly man cry, because he had to abandon the dog he had handled in 'Nam, and never knew his dog's fate.
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  #12  
Old 15 December 2011, 02:26 AM
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Just for entertainment value, Wojtec, of the Polish 22nd Transport Artillery Supply Company
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  #13  
Old 15 December 2011, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut View Post
I watched a documentary on PBS about service dogs in Viet Nam, and how in the 60s and 70s, far from having any kind of rank, they were actually classified as equipment, same as a shovel or a Jeep. That is why so many of the dogs were not brought back to the States, despite the pleas of the young soldiers who worked with them in the field.*

Today, they do have the status of being a member of their unit, and are treated accordingly. So they may not have an official rank, but at least they are not regarded as merely a tool.

*It was heartbreaking to watch an elderly man cry, because he had to abandon the dog he had handled in 'Nam, and never knew his dog's fate.
I think it is the same here. There is a military dog monument here in Australia (think it is on the sunshine coast, I will goggle for it next) that is a statue of a dog with a little water bowel at it's feet for visiting dogs to have a drink (civilain dogs as well ). It lists all of the dogs that "served" and tells which ones were repatriated, which was usual in later wars.

Last edited by Dasla; 15 December 2011 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 15 December 2011, 05:00 AM
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Here you go. A web page on Australian Military Dogs

http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/vietnam/dogs.html

The monument I was taking about is at Alexandra Headlands and it is pictured in the very last picture on the webpage. Scroll right down. It also talks about the heartbreak of the handlers having to leave their dog behind.

Last edited by Dasla; 15 December 2011 at 05:06 AM.
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  #15  
Old 15 December 2011, 10:25 AM
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Dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut View Post
That is why so many of the dogs were not brought back to the States, despite the pleas of the young soldiers who worked with them in the field.
It might also be for the same reason that dogs aren't always brought back after having taken part in, e.g., rescue work after earth quakes, namely sanitary. Nobody knows what strange diseases they might have caught on foreign soil.
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  #16  
Old 15 December 2011, 12:20 PM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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When I was stationed in Panama, a skinny, timid dog came creeping out of the jungle and very cautiously approached my company as we did morning PT. Cue 200 soldiers (including our captain) immediately stopping PT and trying to convince the poor thing to come to us so we could feed it and take care of it. The dog was taken to the captain's office and given water, and somebody was sent to the PX to get some wet dog food for her.

Dog puts on weight, and the captain started to refer to her as "The Corporal" (I was in a signal unit, and we had specialists, but no corporals, so our captain figured nobody would get confused that way.) The Corporal put on weight, we had a good time writing up her 'request for medical leave' paperwork when she was strong enough to be spayed, and she would join us for PT every morning. One day another unit dared run by our unit's complex, and The Corporal barked furiously at them for invading our turf. (This just cracked us up, especially when we thought about how scared she'd been when she first came to us.) The Corporal wasn't perfect, by any means--she did get an Article 15 for 'doing her business' on the captain's office floor, and was temporarily reduced in rank to a PFC. (For all of a week.)

The Corporal, for those wondering, went back stateside with the captain, so she was well taken care of.

Magdalene
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Old 15 December 2011, 01:26 PM
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Thank you, Magdalene, I needed that.
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  #18  
Old 15 December 2011, 04:03 PM
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That made my day, Magdalene.
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  #19  
Old 15 December 2011, 04:35 PM
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But when the captain took the dog to a vet, he found out it was not a dog at all, but a Panamanian Sewer Rat!!!!!!!
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  #20  
Old 15 December 2011, 06:27 PM
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Edinburgh Zoo has a king penguin that was adopted by Norway and is a mascot for the Norwegian Guard. After several promotions, he now holds a knighthood approved by King Harald V in 2008.

Sir Nils Olav

The pictures of him inspecting 'his' Guardsmen are quite cute.
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