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 computer tomography.