The United States military began utilizing dogs in an official capacity during World War II. The Secretary of War created the War Dog Program on July 16, 1942. In August of 1942, the Front Royal Virginia Quartermaster Remount Depot was used as the first official training site for military working dogs. In October of 1942, additional training sites were opened in Fort Robinson, Nebraska; Camp Rimini, Montana; and San Carlos, California. In 1958, the Air Force Sentry Dog Training Branch opened at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, near San Antonio. On May 6, 1968, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to open the original Military Working Dog Veterinary Hospital at Lackland AFB. In 1972, the Federal Aviation Administration began training on Lackland AFB as well, and in October 1973, an inter-service Executive Committee decided all military working dog training would be conducted at Lackland AFB under the Executive Agency of the Air Force. Since that time, and especially since September 11th, United States military and other federal agencies have increasingly come to rely on the abilities of our canine counterparts in the defense of the country. As an Air Force facility, veterinary care was performed by the Air Force Veterinary Corps until the early 1980s when the Army was named as the Executive Agent for veterinary services and the Air Force Veterinary Corps was disestablished. Since then, veterinary support to the dog training center at Lackland AFB has been performed by Army Veterinary Corps personnel.
Currently, the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service (DoDMWDVS) at Lackland AFB supports approximately 900 assigned military working dogs. With the large population of military working dogs that the DoDMWDVS supports, a state-of-the-art facility was needed to provide the quality of care that our dogs deserve. With over $15 million contributed from the United States Air Force and the Transportation Security Administration, a new veterinary hospital was constructed which officially opened October 21, 2008.
The new facility was formally dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel Daniel E. Holland on May 28, 2009 as the Holland Military Working Dog Hospital. The capabilities of the new facility include two surgical operating rooms, two out-patient medical treatment rooms, an ICU, a specialized procedures room, rehabilitation and physical therapy section, and advanced imaging capabilities including digital radiography, ultrasound and computed tomography.
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Daniel E. Holland
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Daniel E. Holland attended Oklahoma State University and was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. Following graduation in 1988 from the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine he entered active duty as an Army Veterinary Corps Officer.
Initially assigned to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana as the installation veterinary officer, he subsequently completed a temporary change of station in support of Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras. His next assignment was at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he was responsible for service to Altus and Sheppard Air Force Bases as well as Fort Sill. He subsequently earned a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Health at Colorado State University. In support of his master’s thesis he conducted an epidemiological investigation of neurocysticercosis in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. His follow-on assignment was Deputy Commander for the 72nd Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services [VS]) in Giebelstadt, Germany. During this tour, he commanded the 72nd Medical Detachment (VS)(Forward) for six months in the Balkan theatre of Bosnia, Croatia, and Hungary. Returning to the United States in 1999 he was assigned to the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Center and School where he served as a branch chief in the Department of Veterinary Science and as an instructor for the AMEDD Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. Following his assignment at Fort Sam Houston, he commanded the South Plains District Veterinary Command at Fort Hood, Texas. In this capacity he was responsible for all military veterinary services in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. He volunteered for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the command staff veterinarian for the 352nd Civil Affairs Command at Fort Bragg, NC. He was further attached to the 4th Infantry Division as the Chief of Public Health and Functional Specialty Teams for Civil Affairs. In 2006, LTC Holland and three other Soldiers, 1LT Robert A. Seidel III, SGT Lonnie C. Allen Jr., and PFC Nicholas R. Cournoyer along with their Iraqi interpreter, made the ultimate sacrifice for their Nations when they were killed in action by a roadside bomb near Baghdad while assisting in the apprehension of an evading insurgent by blocking a canal road escape route. LTC Holland was always the first to volunteer for every mission, and he and his infectious enthusiasm and motivation will forever be missed. He has the eternal gratitude of the Army Veterinary Corps, the Army Medical Department, and the United States of America.
LTC Holland was a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. His military awards included the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Superior Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, and the Army Parachutist Badge. He was also a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit.