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News // Nov 16, 2022

Groundbreaking Held for Coast Guard K9 Memorial

  • Jennifer Crowley Fyke

The Coast Guard held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 19 at Base Alameda to formally establish a memorial where Coast Guard service dogs will be honored.

Coast Guard Foundation director Fred Brodsky spearheaded the initiative, including the project design. He committed time and personal resources to its development, with additional lead gifts from fellow board members Roger Wacker and Abbott Brown.

“We are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from our Coast Guard Foundation community,” said Susan Ludwig, Coast Guard Foundation President. “Together we will create a lasting legacy to the Coast Guard’s most faithful companions.”

The Golden Gate Chapter of the Chief Warrant Officers Association, under the leadership of retired Chief Warrant Officer Tony Ross, played a significant role in the coordination and development of the project as well.

2022 k9 groundbreaking webstory
Coast Guard service dogs and their handlers. Photos by U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

The Coast Guard K9 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, an important 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.

The memorial will consist of a six-foot tall cornerstone panel “in honor and remembrance of all the faithful and brave U.S. Coastie canines” flanked by two walls that will display tributes to individual service dogs. Memorial panels can be personalized by Coast Guard handlers in honor of their dogs. The space will also feature a landscaped border that will create a warm, welcoming area to honor the Coast Guard’s dedicated canines.

Coast Guard service dogs are professionally trained to complete essential Coast Guard missions, including assignments with Marine Safety and Security Teams to ensure safety at large, public events and conduct explosives detection in ports around the country.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for K9 Veterans Day in March 2023.

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