Fifty years ago today at the Little Creek Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach, Silver, a 2½-year-old, 62-pound German shepherd, and member of SEAL Team 2 was awarded silver wings and is recognized as the first Navy dog to qualify as a parachute jumper.
Silver was joined by his trainer and handler, Quartermaster 3rd Class Dewayne “Wally” G. Schwalenberg, at a special awards ceremony where he was presented with silver wings recognizing his fifth successful parachute jump. Silver also successfully completed training in basic obedience, attack training, detection of booby traps, patrolling, scouting and helicopter rappelling.
Schwalenberg told reporter he thought Silver was one of the smartest animals he’d encountered. To prepare for the jumps, Wally and Silver practiced on an elevated platform to accustom the dog to the shock of landing.
When it came time to jump from a plane, the routine was pretty simple … if you could call jumping out of an airplane with a dog, simple.