John Burnam served two combat tours in the Vietnam War (1966, 1968), first as a US Army infantryman and then as a German shepherd scout-dog handler. John quickly learned the incredible advantages of having a dog to detect the sight, sound, and scent of hidden dangers. The dog was far superior to even the most experienced combat soldier at alerting on distant enemy noises and movement, finding hidden enemy caches of ammunition and supplies, searching base camps, and locating camouflaged tunnel entrances. The scout dogs' early silent warnings of ambushes and booby traps saved countless lives.
John's compelling interest and his passion to honor America's working-dog teams and their handlers at the highest level took him to the halls of Congress in pursuit of a monument. Thanks to John and the devoted efforts of his colleagues, the US Military Working Dog Teams National Monument was approved, and built at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, where all of America's military dog teams are trained.