There were no fewer than 57 dogs named Duke enlisted in the Marine Corps in World War II. One of them was awarded the Dickin Medal for service in Normandy. But the Dog Record Books in the National Archive show that gun shyness was a real problem, washing out roughly a third of the potential war dogs before they ever left the U.S. For some dogs that made it through training, actual battle conditions proved to be too much. One of the dogs named Duke (number 21 of the Dukes) was a Doberman sent to the South Pacific. He did an outstanding job with his trainers and when he initially arrived on the island of Bougainville. However after a short period Duke #21 was unable to tolerate the stress and battle noise. He had developed “shell shock” and was unable to do reliable work. As related in Dobermans Flunk out of the War, although at first most of the Marine dogs were Dobermans, due to their spotty performance in war settings German Shepards and other breeds gradually replaced them. Duke #21 was just one of the Dobermans that eventually failed and was sent home.

Duke #21