Hoosick Township Historical Society

War Dogs and the Hoosick Falls Connection

The brothers, Bill and Doug Ogilvie, joined the Marines together in September 1942.  They lived on Abbott Street.  Doug was just seventeen and his father had to sign in order for him to join.  They finished basic training around Christmas and were given the opportunity to be part of a new War Dog Training Center in the Marine Corps.Captain Boyd and 19 enlisted men were sent for five weeks of Army dog basics at Fort Robinson, Neb.  After five weeks they were back at Camp Lejeune as the first members of the new dog detachment.  In 1943 it had the necessary curriculum and training techniques to become a functioning outfit.  There were 50 men and a few less dogs, mostly Doberman pinschers and German shepherds.

The brothers received orders to choose a dog and were sent immediately to "Camp Shangri-la", the new retreat for President Roosevelt.  This area is now called Camp David named after President Eisenhower’s grandson in 1953.  This retreat was to be kept secret, but it was common knowledge.  Security was a major concern and marines stationed at Camp Misty Mount patrolled the area.  Two sections of 12 dogs each and two handlers per dog were used to patrol the area surrounding the lodge and grounds used by the President.  Doug in a telephone interview told me the dog they took was not trained, and they had to spend many hours training the dog for the situation.  Their dog’s name was "Gunner" and worked out well.

In July 1944, both brothers were sent to the Pacific Theater with the Marine dog platoon.  They were sent into combat at the invasion of Peleliu Island on September 12, 1944.  They were responsible for a messenger dog called Eram Von Lutenhimer called "Von" by the brothers.  Messenger dogs were taught to carry messages, ammunition or special medical supplies from one handler to the other handler.  Doug told me that you had to have your back against a tree or wall because when the dog found you, it would jump several feet into your arms.  The two brothers joined together and stayed together and both were wounded in this invasion.  Doug by a blast concussion on September 18, 1944. They both were in medical facilities on the Island until mended.  Their next combat duty was in the invasion of Okinawa in March of 1945.  Three days into the battle, Doug was wounded by a hand grenade and evacuated for medical care on a hospital ship.  This separated the brothers until they saw each other for a day on Guam in September, 1945.  The service would not send an individual wounded twice into combat again.  Doug was to be sent home for discharge.  The two brothers were sent home and discharged a few days apart in December, 1945.  They had been in the service 40 months with 15 months in the Pacific.


In all, 1,047 dogs served in the Marine Corps in World War II, and 327 were still on duty in the Pacific when the War ended -  465 served overseas, 29 were killed in action, 25 on Guam where dogs served on 500 patrols.  Of 60 dogs that landed on Guam, only 15 survived unhurt.  Not one dog patrol was caught by ambush.  A dog cemetery was established and is taken care of today.  "Von" lived through the War and was returned to its owner Ruth Whiteman who had served in the Woman Marine Corps and lived in Philadelphia.

Compiled for HoosickHistory - Phil Leonard