Animals in the Army: Companions Mascots and Animals of War
USAHEC's Newest Exhibit - Animals in the Army Throughout history, animals have been part of the Soldier's experience in times of both war and peace. For centuries, animals have been central to warfare and to the functioning of militaries throughout the world. They have played a vital role in combat by being used during the mounted attack, as transportation, for communication, and for bomb and other hazardous detection. The U.S. military has made use of horses, mules, donkeys, and camels for transportation. Dogs have had many different roles, from sentries to bomb and drug sniffers to sled pullers. Pigeons have delivered messages. Dolphins and sea lions conduct surveillance, defend against enemy swimmers, and locate underwater mines for the U.S. Navy. The centrality of animals to the U.S. military is demonstrated through the enduring mission of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, which provides veterinary expertise and animal healthcare for all branches of the U.S. military.
Animals have also played key roles not only as warriors and workers, but as companions and mascots. A "man's best friend" can be a Soldier's best friend. In war, little is normal, but having an animal to bond and interact with can take a Soldier's mind off the rigors and monotony of conflict. Whether it be a dog, horse, bird, bear, or some other creature serving as a mascot or adopted as a stray, animals can provide much-needed distraction, comfort, and companionship, and have at times even been considered bearers of good luck.
This exhibition explores both the service of animals in the U.S. Military, and the timeless and enduring relationship between Soldiers and animals. The exhibit is free and open to the public or you can join us online at https://animalsinthearmy.usa.yourcultureconnect.com/.