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Recognizing Military Working Dog Program

Rep. Jim Marshall

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Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 812) recognizing the significant contributions of the Military Working Dog (MWD) Program to the United States Armed Forces, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas the Military Working Dog Program, or K-9 Corps, was developed in 1942, shortly after the United States entered World War II; Whereas all four branches of the United States Armed Forces as well as other government agencies, including the Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency, and Transportation Security Administration, use Military Working Dogs in service to the country; Whereas Military Working Dogs are trained in explosive detection, narcotic detection, sentry, patrol, tracking, and other specific areas; Whereas Military Working Dogs, through their training, have prevented injuries and saved the lives of thousands of United States citizens; Whereas more than 19,000 Military Working Dogs were acquired by the United States Armed Forces during World War II and of those 19,000, a little more than 10,000 Military Working Dogs were utilized in the war effort; Whereas more than 1,500 Military Working Dogs were employed during the Korean War and 4,500 in the Vietnam War; Whereas, since September 11, 2001, Military Working Dogs have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and have been employed in detection work as part of homeland security and defense efforts; Whereas today approximately 2,000 Military Working Dogs serve at nearly 170 United States military bases worldwide, including bases in 40 States and 3 United States territories; Whereas retired Military Working Dogs are recognized for their lifetime of service in the United State Armed Forces; and Whereas charitable organizations and community groups are recognized for their work in coordination with the Department of Defense to help bring Military Working Dogs stationed overseas home to the United States for adoption when their active duty days are over and provide support to active K9 military teams worldwide: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) recognizes the significant contributions of the Military Working Dog Program to the United States Armed Forces; (2) honors active and retired Military Working Dogs for their loyal service and dedication to protecting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces; and (3) supports the adoption and care of these quality animals after their service is over.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Marshall) and the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

Rep. Jim Marshall

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I ask that all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia?

There was no objection.

Rep. Jim Marshall

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Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of House Resolution 812, recognizing the significant contributions of the Military Working Dog Program to the United States Armed Forces. I would like to thank my colleague from New Jersey (Mr. Lance) for bringing this measure before the House.

Military working dogs contribute essential services to our Armed Forces through their capacity to detect explosives, illegal narcotics, and unwarranted persons beyond the capacity of any human patrol. They offer an invaluable ability for tracking missing people as well as fleeing suspects. Their support with sentry is crucial for the protection of our soldiers and civilians, and they are vital in so many different roles. Our military would not be as effective without them.

Military working dogs serve the four branches of the military, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Transportation Security Administration. Their service has developed and expanded since their implementation in 1942 during World War II and has since played important roles overseas in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The Military Working Dog Program has increased its role in safeguarding our homeland. Since September 11, 2001, our expanded homeland and defense efforts would not be as effective if it were not for the expanded effort of the Military Working Dog Program. Thousands of dogs serve every year both in the United States and around the world, and I am glad to be here today in honor of their service.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Walter B. Jones

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Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of House Resolution 812, which recognizes the significant contribution of the Military Working Dog Program to the United States Armed Forces. Dogs have long been known as man's best friend. They are brave, loyal, and trustworthy. It is not a coincidence that these are the same traits so valued by the United States military services. It is these qualities that have made our Armed Forces unsurpassed. It is no wonder that the natural bond between man and dogs and these shared characteristics have made military working dogs vital to the success of our Armed Forces since the K-9 Corps was established during World War

Prior to the Second World War, the only dogs employed by the military were sled dogs used by the Army in Alaska. War dogs, as they were called in World War II, were trained to be sentry dogs, scouts or patrol dogs, messenger dogs, and mine-detection dogs. Today, military working dogs provide critical services in explosives and narcotics detection, sentry, patrol, and tracking, not only to the military services but to the Secret Service, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Transportation Security Administration.

Currently there are over 2,000 military working dogs serving at military bases throughout the world. Over 250 are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside our troops fighting to rid the word of tyranny and terrorism. These dogs are credited with saving countless American and coalition lives by their actions and are recognized as a true force multiplier and enabler.

Sadly, military working dogs experience the same hardships and horrors of combat as the men and women they work to protect, including paying the ultimate price with their lives. Since the beginning of the program, hundreds of dogs have been killed in action, 281 in the Vietnam War alone.

On a brighter note, Madam Speaker, today's military working dogs are retired after their lifetime of military service. With the help of the countless charitable and community agencies working with the Department of Defense, these dogs are placed for adoption after their active duty service is over. They bring joy to their adoptive families and serve as ambassadors for the Military Working Dog Program.

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the gentleman from New Jersey for introducing this resolution to recognize the extraordinary military working dogs. I join him and all of my colleagues to honor these incredible dogs and their military handlers and to support adoption of military working dogs who have served this Nation so well. I therefore strongly urge all Members to support this resolution.

Madam Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman who introduced this legislation, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Lance).

Rep. Leonard Lance

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Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from North Carolina and the gentleman from Georgia.

Madam Speaker, I rise today as the proud sponsor of House Resolution 812, legislation to honor and recognize the significant contributions made by military working dogs to the United States military and to our Nation.

Dogs have been used by people to help protect themselves and their property since ancient times. Trained dogs have been used by most of the world's military forces since the first military units were organized. From these ancient beginnings, the U.S. Armed Forces adopted the Military Working Dog Program, called ``the K-9 Corps,'' shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when dog owners across the Nation donated their noble pets to assist soldiers and sailors in the World War II effort.

Since that time, military working dog training has been continually refined to produce a highly sophisticated and versatile extension of the warrior's own senses. Military working dogs are trained in explosives detection, narcotics detection, sentry, patrol, tracking, and other specific areas. Even the most complex machines remain unable to duplicate the operational effectiveness of properly trained working dogs.

The branches of the United States Armed Forces as well as several other governmental agencies incorporate military working dogs into their operations, including, as has been mentioned, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Transportation Security Administration.

The United States military utilized more than 10,000 dogs in World War II. More than 1,500 military working dogs were employed during the Korean War, and 4,500 in the Vietnam War. Since September 11, military working dogs have served not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in detection work as part of homeland security and defense efforts. Approximately 2,000 military working dogs currently serve at nearly 170 U.S. military bases worldwide, including bases in 40 U.S. States and three U.S. territories. Over the past six decades, these dogs have helped prevent injuries and have saved the lives of thousands of Americans.

This resolution to honor these brave canines was inspired by a military working dog that was adopted by a family in Fleming, New Jersey, in my congressional district. Military Working Dog Ben C020 was retired from the Air Force last July after nearly 11 years of loyal service in the military. Ben, trained as a narcotics and patrol dog, served with a security unit at Bolling Air Force Base. As the premium narcotics dog in the unit, he was selected to deploy to Texas to assist the United States Customs and Border Protection agency, where he detected and prevented 300 pounds of marijuana from being smuggled into the U.S. in one month. Ben also worked in law enforcement, foot patrols, and resource security to keep employees, residents, and visitors at the Air Force base safe. In September, the Air Force awarded Ben with a medal of commendation to recognize the major achievements that he has achieved throughout his career.

House Resolution 812 also recognizes community organizations for their efforts to assist in the adoption process of retired military working dogs. J.T. Gabriel, a constituent of mine and Ben's new owner, is the chief executive officer and founder of K-9 Soldiers, a nonprofit organization that supports military K-9 troops worldwide. In addition to providing support for active military working dog units, K-9 Soldiers and many other community groups work closely with the adoption program at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to help secure a home for military working dogs once they retire. Thanks to their efforts, hundreds of retired military working dogs have been able to find good homes and continue to lead happy and healthy lives after their years of loyal service to the Nation.

I thank the chairman and the ranking member for allowing us to bring this resolution to the floor, and the Members who are cosponsors of House Resolution 812. I encourage all of my colleagues to support this resolution and honor the thousands of active and retired military working dogs that have helped save lives and protected the members of our Armed Forces in harm's way.

Rep. Jim Marshall

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Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I simply observe that our very effective military dogs cannot function at all without their handlers, and so I would just like to recognize and thank those who work with these dogs and make them all they can be. The dogs are very important to security efforts by our Armed Forces, and without their handlers and the general support they receive from others, they would not be effective at all.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Walter B. Jones

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Madam Speaker, I would like to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson).

Rep. Glenn Thompson

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Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 812 recognizing the significant contributions of the Military Working Dog Program to the United States Armed Forces, and I thank my good friend from New Jersey for bringing forth this resolution.

As my colleagues have stated, military working dogs have served side by side with the brave men and women protecting our Nation. They serve as loyal companions in combat and beyond to their handlers. Many of these working dogs serve on the front lines as bomb sniffing dogs, detecting explosives and other threats, but also working narcotics detection, patrols, and even as sentries, alerting our brave soldiers when they are in danger.

Back in 2005, then Air Force Tech Sergeant Jamie Dana and her military working dog Rex were traveling in a convoy in Kirkuk, Iraq, after searching several villages for explosives. Rex, a 5-year old, 80-pound German shepherd, had been working with Dana for more than 3 years. Returning to base that evening, her Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device. Dana was the most badly injured in the convoy, and was rushed to the operating room by helicopter, continuously asking if Rex had survived the blast.

``My heart was broken,'' Dana said. ``He was my best friend. Rex and I were together 24/7, and my life was in his hands, just as his life was in mine. I thought he was dead.''

Dana then went through several surgeries and defied the odds, continuing to improve and get better. During her recovery at Walter Reed, she awoke one day to find a big surprise: Rex was there, alive, with little more than a slight burn on his nose.

The time of the gentleman has expired.

Rep. Walter B. Jones

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Madam Speaker, I yield an additional 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Rep. Glenn Thompson

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Dana's best friend, Rex, was alive. However, the reunion was short-lived as Rex was scheduled to be brought back into service.

Growing up in Smethport, Pennsylvania, in Pennsylvania's Fifth Congressional District, Dana has always loved animals, especially dogs and horses. During her recovery, she repeatedly asked to adopt Rex. However, she was not allowed to keep him until Congress, recognizing the importance of military working dogs, passed a measure that would allowing certain exceptions for wounded veterans. Tech Sergeant Dana and others put their lives on the line every day in defense of this country, but so do their dogs. Their activities have truly touched the lives of so many, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution honoring military working dogs.

Rep. Walter B. Jones

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Madam Speaker, I would think it is appropriate that I might say to everyone who has spoken today, thank you for your comments, but also I would like to share that the House has passed legislation that would allow a war dog memorial to be built at no expense to the taxpayer, either the building of the memorial or the upkeep. With that I would like to say to the gentleman from Georgia, it is a pleasure to work with you. You are one of the gentlemen who I have a greatest respect for in this House for your integrity.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Jim Marshall

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Madam Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from North Carolina saying that since he is widely viewed in the House as being nothing but integrity.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Marshall) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 812, as amended.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.

The title of the resolution was amended so as to read: ``Recognizing the significant contributions of the Military Working Dog Program to the United States Armed Forces.''.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.