Sam Pedrick was born and raised in Penns Grove, New Jersey [Annotator’s Note: in April 1921]. He remained there until he entered into the service at the age of 20. He remembers the family’s first automobile. At the time, horses had the right of way. [Annotator’s Note: He smiles.] He grew up in an area where it was mostly small dairy farms and he was raised on one. He became familiar with horses as a result. While in grade school, he was hit by a car and was seriously injured. Some viewed his injuries as fatal. A doctor recognized that he was still alive and treated and hospitalized him. After extensive treatment, six months later he went home in a body cast. He recovered enough to win in a 100-yard dash in the Junior Olympics. The newspaper said a crippled boy won the dash. Later, he had another brush with death when he was working over the Delaware River on a bridge about 150 feet off the surface. While working on a scaffold, a come along [Annotator’s Note: a hand-operated winch] broke and hit him on the chest. It knocked him off the scaffold and down toward the river below. Instead, he fell on a lower scaffold. A man had fallen 60 feet to the river beforehand and died. The river is like concrete when you fall from such an elevated height as his crew worked. Pedrick pulled himself up from the scaffold and told the crew that they should return to work. Instead, they said they were going home. [Annotator’s Note: He chuckles.] Pedrick did not realize that he was suffering from shock. Later that night, when he was going to sleep, the whole bed shook. [Annotator’s Note: He chuckles.]
Sam Pedrick entered the Army in 1942. Initially, he was assigned to the 323rd Engineer Combat Battalion. After a year, he was reassigned to training dogs for K-9 service. His background training dogs on the family farm was instrumental in his new assignment. He dealt with various breeds and had preferences for the type of duties the dogs had to perform. He was stationed at Fort Robinson in Nebraska at the time. The dogs demonstrated their combat skills on the parade grounds for visitors and the Signal Corps.
Sam Pedrick [Annotator’s Note: an Army K-9 trainer] fed the dogs he trained in a progressive way varying meat content with cereal. Training the soldiers who worked with the dogs was a harder job. He began by showing the soldier how to work with a trained dog. It took a week to prepare them as a team to go overseas. Pedrick trained attack, search, scout, and rescue dogs. Some of the dogs ended up in the Philippines against the Japanese. Some went to Europe. Pedrick never knew where the dogs were bound. He worried about them because he felt responsible for them. A few of the soldiers who handled the dogs wrote back to Pedrick. He was in the service for four years. Pedrick heard about Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941] while working with civilians. He went into the service about six months later. The Coast Guard wanted men with horseback experience to go up to Canada to guard the border. He had spent his prewar years on horseback, so that intrigued him. Pedrick applied for the duty, but the Army called him up first. After he went in, he received a notice from the Coast Guard for him and his horse to report to them, but it was two days too late. [Annotator’s Note: He laughs.]
Sam Pedrick worked on his farm after the war. He mainly trained horses, but also did work with dogs. He was a religious man who sought out a church that taught the Bible in accordance with his beliefs. [Annotator’s Note: He discusses his faith and beliefs, as well as his understanding of the Bible with the interviewer.] He was married twice and had four children, and another out of wedlock. They all got along well. The service was good to him. He liked working with the dogs, but was more interested in working with horses.
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