Unlike some other organizations, the Military Order of the Devil Dogs are created equal. Only Marine Members in good standing in the Marine Corps League, with one continuous year may be “asked” to apply for membership. The success of the Pound is up to the membership and especially up to its leadership. The Kennel and the Pack will help, but will not do the work for the Pound, nor can they guarantee its success.
The official publication of the Military Order of Devil Dogs is the Woof-O-Gram (WOG for short). This publication is sent out quarterly to it’s members.
The Marine Corps League, formed in 1923 by members of what had been the Marine Corps Veterans Association, assimilated more than 40 existing Marine oriented organizations that sprang up following the end of World War I. Comprised largely of veterans of the fierce fighting between the Fifth and Sixth Marine Regiments and the Germans, these returning veterans of the Great War (“the war to end all wars”) were called “Teufelhunde” by their German adversaries, literally meaning “Dogs of the Devil,” or as we now know, DEVIL DOGS. Legend has it that, because our Marines were so under supplied during the battle of Belleau Wood; that, when they engaged the Germans in hand-to-hand combat, they bit them!
These battle-hardened Marines who, for all time, earned for ensuing generations, the title “Devil Dog”; on 6 June 1918 were a part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commanded by General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. They had set sail on 14 June 1917 under orders from Major General Commandant George Barnett as a “Force in Readiness.” At the time, the total strength of the Marine Corps, worldwide, stood at 511 officers and 13,214 enlisted men. Landing in Europe, they included two-time Medal of Honor recipient First Sergeant Dan Daly. Colonel A. W. Catlin, a Medal of Honor recipient at Vera Cruz, was evacuated from Belleau Wood after having been shot by a German sniper. Gunnery Sergeant E. A. Janson (who served in the Corps as Charles Hoffman) earned the first Marine Medal of Honor for saving his command, the 49th Company. At the end of the battle for Belleau Wood, 1,062 Marines lay dead. The French General commanding the Sixth Army ordered that Belleau Wood (Bois de Belleau) be henceforth known as “Bois de la Brigade de Marine.” Seven Marines would ultimately be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during World War I. Alphabetically, they were: Sergeant Louis Cukela, Gunny Sergeant Earnest A. Janson, Private John J. Kelley, Sergeant Matej Kocak, Corporal John H. Pruitt, Gunnery Sergeant Robert G. Robinson, Gunnery Sergeant Fred W. Stockham and 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Tabot. The Medal for Stockham was not authorized until 15 July 1939; and, only after Commandant designate Major General Clifton B. Cates prevailed on the Congress and President Roosevelt to enact special legislation awarding the medal posthumously on the recommendation of then Lieutenant Cates the day after the action.
The Order is organized in nearly every state where there is a Marine Corps League presence. Now in its 68th year, the Order boasts a semi-permanent headquarters in Michigan, a full-time Kennel Dog Robber, National Executive Secretary and Bookkeeper.
The Order, the FUN and HONOR SOCIETY of the Marine Corps League, is comprised of only regular members of the League who have been recommended for membership by 2 members of the Order. Each member undergoes a series of initiations. First, as a Pup, in their Pound (the local organization, the basis of the Order); then, as a Devil Dog in their Pack (the State organization which meets during a Department Convention); and, finally, as a Pedigreed Devil Dog at the SUPREME GROWL held in conjunction with the National Convention of the League. Each degree must be held for one full year before candidacy for the next degree may be considered.
What it Does
It promotes good fellowship amongst the members of the different Marine Corps League Detachments. The Order provides amusement and entertainment at all gatherings of the League, when and where advisable, preserves and strengthens the principles and ideals of the League, and maintains true allegiance to the United States of America and its Constitution and laws. It fosters and extends American institutions of freedom and defends America against all enemies whatsoever. The Order is also very active in raising funds for different charities.
You must be a paid-up member and in Good Standing in the Marine Corps League, Inc. The applicant must be active in his or her Detachment in the League, and must be invited to join the Order. He or She must be recommended by his or her Detachment Commandant and be sponsored by two Devil Dogs or Pedigreed Devil Dogs. The applicant is then interviewed by the members of the Pound at Pound Growl (a meeting is called a Growl). If accepted, the applicant must undergo an initiation and obligation ceremony. Then He or She becomes a Pup in the Order.
The Pound is on a local level and is usually made up of members of different Marine Corps League Detachments. On the State level there is the Pack, and on the National level there is a Kennel. There are three different degrees in the Order. The lowest degree is that of Pup. The next degree is that of Devil Dog. The highest degree is that of Pedigreed Devil Dog.
The head of the Pound is called the Pound Keeper. The head of the Pack is the Pack Leader. The head of the Kennel is also the head of all Devil Dogs and is called Chief Devil Dog.
The Order’s many charitable donations not only help people in need, but also build good public relations for the Order, the League, and the United States Marine Corps.