OMAHA, NE — The U.S. Postal Service today issued Forever stamps recognizing Military Working Dogs, the four-legged heroes of the nation’s military.
The first-day-of-issue event took place during the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in Omaha. In the booklet of 20, each block of four stamps features a stylized geometric illustration of one of the canine breeds — German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Dutch shepherd and Belgian Malinois — that commonly serve in America’s armed forces. News of the stamp is being shared using the hashtag #MilitaryDogsStamps.
“As a military veteran and former law enforcement officer, I have the greatest appreciation for these animals and the service they provide,” said David C. Williams, vice chairman of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, who served as the dedicating official for the ceremony. “Today, these dogs are born and raised to serve alongside soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women, and members of the Coast Guard. They are heroes deserving of our respect and gratitude.”
Joining Williams to dedicate the stamps were Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE); Scott English, executive director, American Philatelic Society; Lt. Col. Michael Cheatham, Offutt Air Force Base; Ronald Aiello, president, United States War Dogs Association; and Dave Keeton, author and former military working dog trainer and caretaker.
DKNG Studios created the stamp artwork by hand-sketching the dogs and then using Adobe Illustrator to bring them to life with basic shapes and layers of color. The red, white and blue color scheme represents the American flag and the patriotism displayed by military working dogs. The background of each stamp features a detail of a white star, and a star appears in the center of each block of four stamps. USPS Art Director Greg Breeding designed the stamps.
Background on Military Working Dogs
Brave and loyal military working dogs are essential members of America’s armed forces. Courageous canines have aided U.S. soldiers in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Today, the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base just outside of San Antonio, TX, trains American military working dogs and their handlers. Dozens of dog breeds have served in the U.S. armed forces. Modern military working dogs are predominantly Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, Dutch shepherds and Labrador retrievers.
German shepherds are tall, strong, fast, athletic and easily trainable. Dutch shepherds are similarly built but their coats differ in look and feel. Muscular but slightly smaller than shepherds and light on their feet, Belgian Malinois are also ideal military dogs. A Belgian Malinois named Cairo accompanied Navy SEAL Team Six on its mission to find Osama bin Laden.
The military prizes retrievers, including Labradors, for their extraordinary sense of smell. Labrador retrievers are often trained as specialized search dogs.
When military working dogs reach retirement age, they are usually adopted by their handlers or civilians. Across the country, there are memorials dedicated to these animals. The bravery, loyalty and service of all past and present military working dogs will never be forgotten.
Customers may purchase the Military Working Dogs stamps at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Information on ordering first-day-of-issue postmarks and covers is at usps.com/shop under “Collectors.” A video of the ceremony will be available on Facebook.com/usps.