iOTW Readers’ Family Archives

You never know what the readers will send in. This is pretty unusual.
I’ve been scanning in a bunch of pictures from my dad’s days in the army (1952-53) as a paratrooper with one of the Quartermaster Aerial Supply Companies during the Korean War.  He became quite the shutterbug after buying a nice German camera and using the base dark room to develop his own pictures (they trained troops that wanted to develop their own pictures and even supplied the chemicals.)  I ran across a couple of pictures that I thought might interest the readers of IOTWReport, although I’m not sure if they would like them or hate them.  I googled “dog paratroopers” and only found stories from 2014 about paratroopers jumping with dogs in Afghanistan (and the comments were mixed with some thinking the pictures were cool and others saying it was cruel for the dogs.) These guys had the dogs harnessed to them as they jumped.  So apparently dogs jumping out of airplanes, alone, is a fairly unique thing.

Jumping Dog - 1953
Jumping Dog – 1953
Parachuting Dog - 1953 Germany
Parachuting Dog – 1953 Germany
The pics from my dad (click to embiggen) show a couple of dogs owned by one of the men in his company (apparently a career army guy that lived on base full time) that jumped by themselves.  One is a Boxer and the other a German Shepard named “Mike.”  Dad said that the boxer was more “skittish” on the first jump than Mike (but he was also more “skittish” in general.)  He said the German Shepard seemed to love it from the very start.  After the first jump, the Boxer settled in and seemed fine with it (not unlike a lot of humans I suspect.) Dad also wasn’t sure if it was part of an experiment by the army or just that the guy that owned the dogs wanted to see how they would do.  The men had to jump many times a month as part of the work and training, so there were often a few “empty slots” on a given plane, so the dogs didn’t interfere with regular duties by jumping.  They made custom rigs for them and based on the pictures, they seemed to work pretty well  Anyway, I thought the pictures were interesting and gives a perspective from a different time when men were men and dogs were dogs. – Bubba’s Brother


19 Comments on iOTW Readers’ Family Archives

  1. Very interesting and not cruel at all. One thing that is so obvious to anyone who knows anything at all about dogs: they are up for ANYTHING. And especially if it means tagging along and doing something that humans are doing. They love it.

  2. Wondering if the dogs were used back then for bomb-sniffing, then parachuting them into Korea would make a lot of sense.

    Whatever they did, I sure hope a few earned some medals for courage, etc.

  3. That was on of my favorites Claudia. He doesn’t look all that happy about it LOL, but it made for a good picture.

  4. Thanks for the nice comments everyone. The only problem with the German Shepard was they had to hold him back long enough for his owner to clear before letting him jump. He took right off as soon as they let him go – just happily going wherever his master went.

    It really has meant a great deal to me that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know my parents as people (rather than just as parents) in their last years. My mom passed a few years ago and after 53 years of being married, it was really hard on my dad (and as he has reminded me, I’m no replacement for my mom).

    I think he enjoys sharing some of his memories as much as I enjoy hearing them. It really was a very different (and in a lot of ways better) world than we live in today. Thankfully, his mind is still sharp despite becoming physically frail in the last few years. He’s gradually been dragging out old pictures that I didn’t even know existed, so I’ve learned a lot about my family that I never knew growing up. I’m glad he is still here to explain them because they wouldn’t mean near as much to me if he weren’t..

  5. OldGal – from what my dad said, the army really wasn’t using dogs (as far as he knew) like they do now for sniffing out bombs and other things where there sensory skills were used. The only dogs he saw on post that were officially part of the army were at the guard shack.

    I wonder if things like this opened the eyes of the top brass to consider how dogs could be used to help America’s soldiers do their jobs more effectively.

  6. Bubba’s Brother , if you need any help restoring any old photos, I’d be glad to work on a few for you, no charge. Did a bunch of my dad’s old war pictures, taking out scratches, spots, adjusting contrast and sharpness, etc.. It’s a hobby I enjoy.
    Give me a hollar if you do.

  7. bubba’s brother…thank you for sharing. i hope your have many days weeks months years with your father. and take lots of notes!
    might even be cool to record some of his stories to share with your grandchildren.

  8. Thank you Bubba’s Brother. Really interesting. So glad for you that you are “knowing” your father as a person, not only as a father. You are blessed. I do wish I had had such opportunity with my father. He died when I was ten.

  9. OMgosh that is so awesome!
    I saw a guy jump with his dog on TV and I was sitting at home panicking! When they landed, the dog had a look like— “Well that was fun” and walked away like it was no big deal. Meanwhile, my face was frozen in fear and my teeth were dry. lol

  10. Thanks unruly. I use the free Picasa software which is ok for basic adjustments, but doesn’t allow for much else. I have a picture of him when he was just a few months old (about 1931) that is in pretty rough shape (wrinkles in a couple of places). I’ll get with you about it.

  11. Thanks for your comment Redde – I hope so too. I was never fortunate enough to have kids of my own, so I won’t have any grandkids (unless something drastic happens LOL). I have a nephew that should be interested in this stuff. I’ve been trying to get my dad to let me video him telling some of the stories from his life, but he has resisted to this point. I think I’ll keep pestering him in case he changes his mind.

  12. I’m sorry to hear that Jane (that was my mom’s name). It’s situations like yours that make me realize how blessed I really am. They were fine parents and people so it truly means a lot to me to have the privilege of being able to be here for both of them. I wouldn’t take anything in the world for it.

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