Approved by U.S. Congress    (Public Law 110-181, Section 2877)   Congressional Sponsor:  U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones, NC

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WAR DOGS and NAM… by Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys


I hope that folks will take the time to read this little commentary, because this subject has become very close to the heart of ALL The Oak Ridge Boys.

It seems that I'm finding myself reading a lot about Vietnam these days. I think it is because I have run into a bunch of appreciative Veterans who have either read my book G.I. Joe and Lillie or have listened to the Oaks CD COLORS or have seen the BOYS perform at the Vietnam Welcome Home concert in Branson in 2005.

This is not a political opinion or a positive or negative account of my feelings on this war, or any war for that matter, but instead I would like to write a few words about some unsung heroes of Vietnam . Much like World War I and World War II, our troops utilized the service of man's best friend to help fight the enemy on foreign soil. Dogs of all kinds were drafted into service, many of them German Shepherds.

The Oaks with Larry Chilcoat, an Air Force security policeman and sentry dog handler during the Vietnam War. Chilcoat introduced the Oaks to the National War Dog Monument project.

These canines and their handlers did some incredible things in country that very few of us know much about, and they paid an ultimate price for their service as well.

I want to point you to a documentary called WAR DOGS AMERICAS FORGOTTEN HEROES and a book by John Burnam called Dog Tags of Courage, and a website JBMF.US. All of this will be explained to you there much better than I can write it. And if you are moved by any of what you see and hear, I hope that you will help The Oak Ridge Boys by joining in an effort to build a national monument in Washington D. C. to honor these canine heroes.

Here is a copy of the letter that we sent to the sponsoring congressman…

Congressman Walter Jones:

The Oak Ridge Boys have tremendous admiration for those who have served our great nation in the time of war. History has shown that we owe our very freedom to our military, and that includes the brave canine soldiers who have served beside our men and women.

We want to thank you for sponsoring a bill to authorize a national monument in honor of military working dog teams. We believe that paying homage to the dogs underscores the important work and sacrifice of their human handlers.

If The Oak Ridge Boys can assist you in your efforts, please let us know.

These heroic dogs MUST be honored and remembered!

Thanks for you time and always remember to honor ALL Veterans who have served this great NATION and say thank you to the soldiers who serve us today.

Joseph S. Bonsall
P.S. Please go to the John Burnam Monument Fund website (JBMF.US) for all the info on the National War Dog Monument Project.