Press Release: History of Military Working Dogs to Be Honored at National Monument Commemoration

502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


Release Date: Oct. 26, 2023


History of Military Working Dogs to Be Honored at National Monument Commemoration


JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas –The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument 10-year Anniversary Commemoration will take place Friday, Oct. 27, 2023 at the parade field on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. JBSA and the 502nd Air Base Wing, 37th Training Wing, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Airman Heritage Foundation and Transportation Security Administration Canine Training Center will co-host the event which starts at 10:00 a.m. It will feature speeches by Col. Lauren A. Courchaine, 37th Training Wing commander, Col. James W. Pratt, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps assistant chief, and a keynote address by retired Master Sgt. John C. Burnam.


The monument recognizes the contributions and sacrifices made by military working dogs and their handlers past, present and future, as well as the staff who support them. It also features a special “Not Forgotten Fountain” dedicated to dogs left behind following the Vietnam War. The location of the monument holds special meaning as the base has been the recruiting and training facility for the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Training Program since 1958. It also provides training for working dogs for other government agencies and is home to the Holland Memorial Veterinary Military Working Dog Hospital.


“The Military Working Dog Teams Monument is the only national monument of its kind in the United States,” said AHF Board President Al Herring. “It is appropriate on this 10th anniversary of its dedication that we gather to honor the dogs and handlers who devoted their service to this country.”


Canines have been part of military history for decades as these four-legged warriors have provided crucial support across each branch of the United States Armed Forces. As a U.S. Army combat infantryman and German Shepherd Scout Dog Handler during the Vietnam War, retired Master Sgt. John Burnam wanted to keep the memory of these war dogs alive. In October 2013, Burnam’s dreams came to fruition as the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument was unveiled at JBSA-Lackland.


In attendance will be Neil Monaco, retired NYPD K9 Handler, who was a part of the New York Police Department’s Explosive Detection Canine Team that discovered the bomb on the Trans World Airlines flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1972. Monaco and K9 Brandy’s work led to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration Canine Program at the 341st Training Squadron, 37th Training Wing, and later the National Explosive Detection Canine Team Program and TSA Canine Training Center.




Media Notes: Media interested should submit their RSVP to the 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs via email,, no later than 8:00 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 26.


Airman Heritage Foundation is a volunteer-driven international nonprofit organization based in San Antonio. The organization has a mission to support the USAF Airman Heritage Museum and other heritage-related activities in preserving and honoring the history and heritage of enlisted Airmen and Guardians. For more information, visit