The Coast Guard hosted a ribbon cutting and official dedication of a memorial to its miliary service dogs on K-9 Veterans Day.
Members from the Coast Guard Pacific Area, Base Alameda, Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco, and representatives from the Jack Ayre Trust, the Coast Guard Foundation, and the Chief Petty Officers Association Golden Gate Chapter attended the March 13 event.
"From Mal to the most recent K-9s etched in stone, we are honored to have this memorial to commemorate these special animals' service, loyalty, dedication, courage, and sacrifice," said Lt. Diane French, executive officer of Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco.
The Coast Guard K-9 memorial is dedicated to Seaman First Class Jack Ayre, a Coast Guard member who served in World War II as a member of the beach patrol, a critical mission to protect America's shores against German and Japanese spies who attempted to land ashore from submarines positioned along the East Coast. Ayre's patrol companion was a German shepherd named Mal, who, as a military working dog, accompanied him on assignments from the Coast Guard's Rehoboth Beach Lifeboat Station in Delaware.
Describing the Coast Guard's working military dogs as our "four-legged force-multipliers, and in many ways, our best friends," Vice Admiral Andrew Tiognson, commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area, shared that Seaman First Class Jack Ayre's dog Mal "represents loyalty, faithfulness, and dedication…a direct link to our service's core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty."
“We are grateful for our many supporters and the leadership from our Board of Directors and Trustees in building this monument to the service's unsung heroes," said Susan Ludwig, Coast Guard Foundation president. "It is truly inspiring to see this partnership build into a community that honors the Coast Guard's K-9s and their handlers."