Korean War veteran and his canine partner honored in book
By Cassie Lennox
Each year on Veterans Day, communities honor and celebrate the brave men and women who have protected the nation with their lives in the different branches of the military. Of course, it isn’t only men and women who serve. Military dogs deserve honor and recognition for their service, too, as is evidenced in J. Rachel Reed’s book, “K-9 Korea.”
Reed’s book follows the men of the 8125th Sentry Dog Detachment in the Korean War, one of which, Harlan Hoffbeck, is a local Custer resident who served in the first group of soldiers to “join the doggies” out of Fort Carson.
In June of 1953, Hoffbeck, along with 75 other young soldiers, traveled from Fort Orr, California, to Fort Carson, Colorado. to be a part of the K-9 sentry dog training program.
“We were basically military police with dogs,” said Hoffbeck of his time in the 8125th. Dogs in the sentry program were made into one-man attack dogs. They were taught to attack anything and everything, except for their handlers.
“Sentries had a reputation for being cold-blooded killers in war because of their attack training,” wrote Reed. “Yet there are very few cases of sentry dogs actually killing the enemy. Most often, it was the threat of a sentry’s aggression – bearing fangs and raising hackles – which stopped would-be assailants.”
To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Portage County Gazette at one of the many newsstands in the area, including gas stations and grocery stores. Or subscribe at shopmmclocal.com/product/portage-county-gazette/ to have weekly copies delivered by mail.
For more information or to subscribe over the phone, call 715-343-8045.