During World War II, our British allies were the first to use parachuting dogs with their army's newly formed airborne regiments; their special SAS
forces, also used them as well behind enemy's lines in both North Africa and France.
The search and rescue sections of the No. Atlantic Transport Command, U.S. Army Air Corp began its own experimenting
in 1942, with the dropping of dogs, their sleds, and a flight surgeon by parachute directly to crash scene in the frozen north; where a quick response
could mean the difference in the survival of an injured flier or crew.
The Army parachute dogs wore a coat like harness, lined with sheep skin, developed by the QMC. It was found, that two dogs could be dropped together
with a twenty-eight ft. chute, while one could land safely with the regulation twenty-four foot chute.
Most of the experimentation was conducted at Fort Nelson, British Columbia, under the direction of a Major Joseph F. Westover. The knowledge that was
learnt there, was to enable scout dogs to be used by the U.S. Army Airborne troops in Europe.
The war dog, Jaint de Mortimormey reputedly made more jumps during World War II than any man. Although no training was ever formally adopted for
parachuting dogs, they were used quite extenively during the war.
There's a story told about a poor doberman, who was unceremoniously kicked out the door of a plane, with a special parachute attached to a static
line. Part of a special airborne unit, the dog shortly after landing, started to growled, and sure enough, coming over a rise were four germans, who
never made it back to the fatherland.
Was World War II the first use of parachuting dogs?
Surprisely...no...although they weren't part of any formal program or even an official outfit, there were some mascot dogs, like Jeff pictured above,
who were parachuting with their masters, as early as 1920, shortly after the Great War. Jeff alone made thirteen jumps, twelve successfully, he was
the mascot of the 120th Colorado Air