Soldiers from the 91st Military Police Battalion and invited guests gather June 6 to break ground on a new military working dog memorial. Above: Lt. Col. Anthony Howell, 91st MP Battalion commander, speaks about the importance of honoring fallen military working dogs. The future site of the William Eddy K9 Memorial will be outside the gated 8th Military Working Dog Detachment Kennel to make it accessible to community members and visitors. Right: Howell joins members of the Eddy family for the groundbreaking ceremony.
Left: An artist’s rendering depicts what the future memorial will look like. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
91st Military Police Battalion breaks ground on new military working dog memorial
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 7, 2023) – Gone but not forgotten, the names of 25 fallen military working dogs are etched in stone that rests on the kennel grounds at Fort Drum.
The memorial is located within the gated facility, so it is not widely known in the Fort Drum community. And when the grass grows high, it is barely visible to the Soldiers working at the kennel.
Now, an effort is underway to establish a new memorial at the 8th Military Working Dog Detachment Kennel, one that is public-facing and honors both the military K9 community and a former Camp Drum veteran.
Soldiers from the 91st Military Police Battalion and invited guests gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony June 6 at the future site of the William Eddy K9 Memorial.
“Our military working dogs are an asset that cannot be replaced by a machine or any other piece of technology,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Howell, 91st MP Battalion commander. “They become our friends over time and then become part of our family.”
“What we have currently to memorialize military working dogs doesn’t really provide a fitting tribute to our friends who died while in service to our nation,” he continued.
Howell said the memorial, which includes a marble headstone with the MWDs’ names and serial numbers, will provide proper recognition to the unit’s four-legged heroes.
“We chose to have this out front, so people visiting post can come out and see it,” he said. “What this also does is show the partnership and connection we have with the North Country, and we really appreciate the community aspect of this project.”
The memorial is named after the late William Eddy, a noncommissioned officer who served at Camp Drum before the post expansion in the late 1980s. Eddy’s children – Patricia Bach, Catherine Greenfield, and James Eddy – attended the groundbreaking.
Bach said her father had a love for animals – dogs in particular – and when he died last May, the family wanted to do something special in his remembrance.
“My dad and mom always had four or five dogs, and they would train them all over the country,” she said. “He would have been so proud to know this was being done. He was a very quiet man, but very patriotic.”
Bach and her husband own a local sand and gravel business, and they are contributing resources to the project.
“A lot of people in the communities are donating material, time and labor to put this together,” she said. “I’m from the North Country, and it’s awesome that we are able to be a part of the Fort Drum community.”
After the ceremony, Soldiers from the 8th Military Working Dog Detachment provided guests with a tour of the kennel and a MWD team demonstration.
“This is exciting for the Soldiers,” said Capt. Eric Napier, 8th MWD Detachment commander. “This memorial enables us to recognize our fallen four-legged soldiers who deployed, worked and supported the 91st MP Battalion and the 10th Mountain Division (LI).”
Napier said that the battalion is celebrating its anniversary this week, and former Soldiers are invited back to Fort Drum to participate in unit activities.
“Years from now, our Soldiers will be able to come back as alumni and return to this memorial and honor our fallen friends,” he said. “Military working dogs are constantly active, supporting all commanders on post when it comes to health and welfare checks, and going on missions around the world. For us, it’s important that we take the time to honor them.”