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THE CENTURION

A series of pertinent — and impertinent — observations on the military scene

 USA Today reports on the leading cause of military deaths in 2012 and 2013.   For these two years, suicide  trumped war, cancer, heart disease, car accidents, and all other causes.  Reportedly, suicide accounted for three of ten military deaths.  More than 3,000 service members took their own lives in those two years.

*  *  *

 A new book by Rebecca Frankel, “War Dogs,” recounts  the history of animals in wartime.  In World War I, upward of 75, 000 dogs served in war-related roles. They were primarily used as scouts in Vietnam.  In  Iraq  and Afghanistan, the animals reached  a new level of sophistication as expert detectors of improvised explosive devices.

 Today, canines continue to serve as therapy dogs for victims of PTSD and as guide dogs for blind and disabled service personnel.   Like human soldiers, animals experience chaos, violence, and trauma — military working dogs return  from war much changed.

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 There had been some odd uniforms through the years.  We remember:

  • ·         A formal cape for officers.

  • ·         A summer uniform with long socks and Bermuda shorts

  • ·         An Air Force khaki summer shirt and pants called the “505.”   It required extremely heavy starch; the starch would dissolve quickly in hot, humid weather.

 


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