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7.4 War and Pilot Dogs collection, 1933-2010, bulk: 1940-1945


Scope and contents

The War and Pilot Dogs collection, one of the first collections donated to the DPCA Archives by Eleanor and Rhys Carpenter (with later additions) is comprised of books, periodicals, clippings, photographs, videos, and correspondence regarding the War Dogs program intiated by the United States Marine Corps during World War II, and clippings and photographs regarding Pilot Dogs, trained to guide their blind or vision-challenged owners.

War Dogs, also known as "Devil Dogs," were typically German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers donated by their owners for war service and trained as scouts, messengers, command post defense, and night security, among other roles, and assigned to Marine handlers. This collection includes correspondence between various Marine leaders and Carl Spitz, a well-regarded dog trainer who trained many of the dogs intially used in the war program. Also included are magazine articles and books about the War Dog program and the role dogs played in combat, some written by former Marines who handled the dogs. In addition, there are various records, photographs, and videos about the War Dog cemetery in Guam and the Marine War Dog Memorial, "Always Faithful," sculpted by Susan Bahary Wilner, including photographs, dedication and unveiling invitations, programs, and clippings. A boxed G.I. Joe U.S. Marine Dog Unit toy, consisting of Marine and Doberman figures, is a playful addition to the collection. Finally, there are a few photographs and articles about breeder Joanna Walker's Pilot Dogs program, in which Dobermans are used as guides for the blind.

See also Box AV.X.2, disks 48 and 49, "A Century of Devotion" video about the War Dog memorial with dog cemetery footage and interviews.


  • 1933-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1945

Language of Materials

From the Collection:

The bulk of this collection is in English. There are also some periodicals, books, and pedigrees in German.

Access Restrictions

Two document boxes comprising governance files and National Specialty records are restricted and inaccessible due to the presence of inactive mold. Please see the archivist for details. The rest of the This collection is open to research without restrictions.

Physical Description

From the Collection: 141.52 Linear Feet (170 boxes) : in 64 document boxes, 6 legal-sized boxes, 7 cartons, 56 flat photo/folder boxes, 2 photo album boxes, 5 DVD/CD boxes, 1 slide box, 33 oversize boxes of varying sizes.