By Warren Woodberry Jr.
AFTER A DOG’S AGE, K-9er COLLARS HIS BRONZE STAR
Dog trainer Anthony Jerone finally got his Bronze Star yesterday, 33 years after earning it while using dogs
to lead troops through hostile territory in Vietnam.
Jerone, 54, an Army veteran and founder of the Canine Patrol program for city subways, was honored
thanks to City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who located Jerone’s lost service records.
Jerone, who served from 1969 to 1970, was given a citation to get the star, but service records that vouched for his medal were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
For years, Jerone tried unsuccessfully on his own to secure his medal. He asked Gennaro to look into the matter last summer, and Jerone had the medal pinned on his chest yesterday.
“I feel like I’m pretty content with my life, and thanks to Mr. Gennaro, he was able to help me out with that,” said Jerone, of Fresh Meadows. “I feel quite comfortable and happy that the country recognized us Vietnam veterans.”
Jerone, who served in the 43rd Infantry Joint Dog Platoon, trained canines to detect ambushes, booby traps and mines to provide safe passage for U.S. troops.
“Had it not been for Mr. Jerone and his dogs, many of our troops would have died,” said Gennaro, whose office found Jerone’s records two weeks ago. “We were happy that we were able to go to bat for him and to get him his medal.”
Jerone worked six-month tours training dogs and operated 12 miles from the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam. “Our job was to walk the point,” Jerone said. “I was one of the lucky ones. We sent 4,000 dogs to Vietnam, and only 400 came back.”
After Jerone returned to the U.S., he got a job as a subway conductor in 1973, when crime underground was a vexing problem. Jerone had the idea to start a canine unit for New York transit cops. By the 1980s, other law enforcement agencies sought out Jerone for his expertise in dog training.
Jerone, who owns a German shepherd and a Doberman pinscher, runs Anthony Jerone’s School of Dog Training & Career inc. in Fresh Meadows, where he teaches dog training.