8/20/16

Kaiser: 1st Vietnam War Dog to Die in Action



Kaiser became famous in history as the first war dog killed in action during Vietnam while leading his men in a search and destroy mission.




In December 1965, Marine Lance Corporal Alfredo Salazar was paired up with a German shepherd named Kaiser and the two quickly formed a close bond. According to Salazar, "He came to me and licked my hand. From then on we were a team." They trained at Fort Benning, Georgia with the Army's 26th Scout Dog Platoon, and after a stint at Camp Pendleton in California the duo was sent to the Republic of Vietnam.

In July 1966, Salazar and Kaiser were leading a patrol through heavy brush toward a small village. After breaking through the undergrowth they were ambushed by the Viet Cong and Kaiser was hit in the initial barrage. As the patrol moved in to attack the enemy, Salazar knelt next to his dog. Kaiser tried to lick his handler's hand one last time right before he died.

Kaiser was carried back to the camp and buried next to a tree near the tents. As a tribute to their fallen comrade, the men named their camp Camp Kaiser. A sign was posted on the site which read "This camp is named in honor of Kaiser a scout dog who gave his life for his country on 6 July 1966 while leading a night combat patrol in Vietnam."

In the short time Salazar and Kaiser knew each other, the two participated in a dozen major operations and made more than 30 combat patrols. After Kaiser's death, Salazar felt he lost "one of the closest friends he ever had."