Georgia Proclaims 

"Military Dog Handler Day"

On March 28, 2005, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed a proclamation declaring June 25th, 2005 as "Military Dog Handler Day" in Georgia . This will coincide with an event at Fort Benning, Georgia, at the War Dog Memorial on that date.  The signing of the proclamation took place in the Governor's office and was attended by Military Working Dog teams from the Air Force, Marines, Navy and the Army. This is the first year all four branches were represented by active duty handlers.


Several of the teams had recently returned from Iraq. Also, witnessing the  signing were several former handlers who had served in Vietnam and Thailand, along with Ms. Dixie Whitman, who was the primary catalyst for the proclamation.


Governor Perdue is a licensed veterinarian, and mentioned that he had previously worked with our War Dogs while stationed at Rickenbacker AFB (formerly Lockborne AFB - SAC), in Columbus, Ohio, while in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. The group made a real connection with the Governor.


This is the fourth year in a row that we have received a proclamation from the Governor of Georgia regarding a Military Dog Handler Day.  This year it is scheduled for June 25th, to coincide with an event at Ft. Benning at the War Dog Memorial.  A Combat Tracker Reunion will be held the same day.


The original idea behind the proclamation request was to finally give some thanks and show appreciation to the Vietnam War Dog Handlers. From the very beginning, we also wanted to share with the current handlers. The group was greeted by the Governor and each handler and each dog was individually introduced to Governor Perdue. 


After the introductions, photos were taken.  Then event then adjourned to an "attitude-rich" restaurant called The Vortex Bar and Grill where everyone sat for an informal meal and had an opportunity to exchange ideas and make connections.  Many of the current handlers had just recently returned from Iraq. Gifts were given to the handlers.





Back row:  MA1 Sean Stull (USN), TSgt Christopher Barnett (USAF), Johnny Mayo 39th IPSD ( USA - Vietnam ), Kenneth Goss 65th IPCT ( USA - Vietnam ), Claire Leonard, Governor Sonny Perdue, Dale Miller 8th SPS Ubon (USAF - Thailand ), Dixie Whitman, Anne Wilkerson, SFC Tyshawn Anthony (USA), Sgt Nester Antoine Jr.



In front of desk: MA2 Jay Aldrich with MWD Rocky (USN), SSgt William Rider with MWD Rex (USAF), Sgt Scott Armantrout with MWD Sonny ( USA )


Kneeling to the right of the desk: LCpl Larry Mayberry with MWD Max (USMC)


Provided by Bill Cummings




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