“In the frightening and uncharted world of war, servicemen and women could count on the transport given by horses and mules, the protection offered by dogs, the communication delivered by pigeons, and the solace provided by mascots and pets.”—from Loyal Forces
At a time when every American was called upon to contribute to the war effort—whether by enlisting, buying bonds, or collecting scrap metal—the use of American animals during World War II further demonstrates the resourcefulness of the U.S. Army and the many sacrifices that led to the Allies’ victory. Through 160 photographs from the National World War II Museum collection, Loyal Forces captures the heroism, hard work, and innate skills of innumerable animals that aided the military as they fought to protect, transport, communicate, and sustain morale.
From the last mounted cavalry charge of the U.S. Army to the 36,000 homing pigeons deployed overseas, service animals made a significant impact on military operations during World War II. Authors Toni M. Kiser and Lindsey F. Barnes deftly illustrate that every branch of the armed forces and every theater of the war utilized the instincts and dexterity of these dependable creatures, who though not always in the direct line of enemy fire, had their lives put at risk for the jobs they performed.
Toni M. Kiser, Assistant Director of Collections and Exhibits / Registrar at the National WWII Museum, earned her master’s in museum studies at the George Washington University.
Lindsey F. Barnes, Senior Archivist / Digital Projects Manger at the National WWII Museum, earned her master’s in library and information science from Louisiana State University.