War Dogs Of The Pacific (2009)

| October 23, 2009

Who is your best friend? Jim? Tom? Dave? How about Duke? Rocky? Maybe Skipper? The latter is definitely what a group of three World War II U.S. Marines would say when asked that question. Those names belonged to a platoon of man’s best friends, who later became known as ‘War Dogs of the Pacific’. Dogs have mostly been viewed as popular family pets, but when trained to do a job, they can carry out a task as sound as a well-trained soldier.
In 1942, our Marines were deep in the thick jungles of the Pacific, fighting a losing battle against Japanese infantry and suffering heavy casualties. Our military leaders were running out of ideas to overcome our enemy and were willing to try anything that would turn the tides in our favor. Someone suggested using dogs to track and sniff out the opposition. Thus, the ‘War Dogs’ were actualized. A training facility was built in the U.S. and dogs were assigned to their handlers, who would soon be in combat together once training was complete. Some dogs were taught to be messengers, some to track the enemy, and others to sniff out mines. Most of the breeds were Dobermans, but there was also a good number of German Shepards and Labrador Retrievers to boot. And, a good number of the 450+ dogs were donated to the war effort by families that owned them previously as loving pets.
The affectionate bond shown between the handlers and their beloved K-9’s, as well as the amazing feats of bravery performed by these animals, is excellently portrayed in this documentary by Harris Done. Hundreds, maybe thousands of lives were saved thanks to the tenacity of these dogs wanting to please their masters by carrying out ‘suicide missions’ most soldiers were afraid to engage in. This film includes interviews with some of the actual handlers who were right there in the trenches with their four-legged friends, sometimes unable to control their emotions when asked about certain memories of the past.
This documentary definitely tugs at your heart-strings and leaves you with a great appreciation of the loyalty and general wanting to serve that dogs have for their human friends. I highly recommend everyone, young and old, to watch these tales of compassion.
The film is not rated with a running time of 46 minutes. Presented in widescreen format.

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