One of the five War Dog Training Camps run by the Army Quartermaster Corps during World War II was in San Carlos, specifically at the H & H Ranch, two and a half miles west of San Carlos. Construction began in October and was completed by December of 1942.

The center at San Carlos was used to train all types of skill categories – scouts, sentries, messengers and mine detection dogs – except sled dogs. This omission may have been due to our noticeable lack of snow. The San Carlos Center also became a lead installation for training of tactical dogs. These dogs were to be used in the battlefield as silent scouts or messengers. When the Germans began using non-metallic mine devices, it nullified the effect of the mine detection dogs. Training techniques were developed at San Carlos for adapting to the newer type mines.

San Carlos held a maximum of 550 military people, 15 civilians and 1200 dogs at a time. Over the duration of the war, 4500 dogs and 2500 men passed through. The San Carlos Operation was also used as a staging area for all dogs being deployed to Asia and the Pacific. Of the 10,425 dogs trained nationwide, only 1,894 saw action overseas. After the war, the operation closed in October of 1944.

Many of the others were turned over to the Coast Guard for beach patrol here in the United States. After the war, the dogs were sent for retraining before being returned to their civilian owners.

PHOTO: U.S. Marine `Raiders’ and their dogs, which are used for scouting and running messages, starting off for the jungle front lines on Bougainville. Source: US Marines. ca. November/December 1943

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