The United States military has always made heavy use of the various non-human creatures that inhabit their nation. However, no group is represented more strongly than werewolves. In terms of both raw numbers and the percentage of the population, werewolves are better represented in the US military than any other non-human species. While their raw numbers don’t equal the human service personnel, as a percentage of the total werewolf population they beat the humans by an order of magnitude.
The story of how this happened starts well before the United States as a nation was even formed. During the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a push by several religious orders in Europe to purge creatures they saw as a threat. Werewolves before this time did not see themselves as enemies of humanity, but a few cases of particular werewolves attacking humans caused them to be classified as a threat. Many innocent werewolves were hunted down and killed during this time period. Some werewolves fought back, but with the rise of American colonization, many saw a chance to flee.
While some European werewolves stayed (especially in Scandinavia where they were more tolerated) the bulk of the population fled to the Americas. There they found vast expanses of forest that were perfect for their preferred lifestyle. This was aided by the fact that werewolves were well respected by several of the native cultures. They were seen as a type of forest spirit that was more friendly with humans than most.
For decades, the werewolves fell into a critical role in the growing American colonies. As a people more comfortable in the wilderness and more comfortable with the native than the typical colonists, they became an important group of liaisons. They became the main source of contact for any British or French colonists that wanted to reach further west.
This state of affairs changed when the British colonies in American began to fight for independence. It quickly became apparent that the Continental Army needed amphibious warfare specialists. Initially, a Marine Corps was formed solely for use for oceanic warfare. However, more marines were needed for aiding Washington’s terrestrial troops in amphibious maneuvers. Werewolves who had previously been fighting as a part of irregular militias flocked to this call.
With the aid of their experience quickly traversing rough terrain, Washington was able to maneuver his army in ways the British did not expect. At the Battle of Trenton, werewolf marines formed a critical elite unit. They provided the vanguard for Washington’s daring assault over the Delaware River. Later, at the Battle of Princeton, they were merged with a unit of already established marines. From that point forth, werewolves would forever be tied to the USMC.
Though the Marine Corps was disbanded after the Revolution, it was reformed a short time later in preparation for the expected military needs of the new nation. Werewolf veterans of the Revolution clamored to have a chance to be a part of this and their enthusiasm encouraged younger generations to continue. For a people who had spent centuries benign persecuted as a threat, a chance to be hailed as heroes was a very welcome change.
This enthusiastic participation in the Marine Corps continued for generation after generation. It grew to the point that it became almost impossible to find a werewolf who did not have a Marine as a close family member. Because of the strong psychological aspects of werewolf pack bonding, it became SOP in the Marine Corps for werewolves to be grouped together. This had the benefit of being able to schedule whole units around the full moon cycle. They became the elite core of the Corps and other units looked up to them even if they did not know the truth about their non-human nature.
While in human populations it was more expected for women to be peaceful homemakers, among werewolves the expectation was different. Women were expected to be as capable hunters as the men and they were the ones who took the lead in training children in the necessary skills. Werewolves all regarded women as just as capable as men.
Until the Civil War, they didn’t push the issue because they had no problems with personnel shortages and there was plenty of other work to be done. However, with the general push for instituting a draft, fears began to grow among the werewolves that they would be forced to integrate their units with humans. In response, they pushed for allowing women to serve instead of diluting their units with human Marines. While publicly, this was never allowed, several “auxiliary” units made up of female werewolves were formed.
To keep them out of sight, they were given more clandestine assignments that kept them outside of public view. This had the ironic effect of the female units gaining more of a reputation of being ruthlessly effective. The descendants of these units are still kept largely off the books and outside of the public eye, but are still entirely female out of tradition. Those who are aware of them know them primarily as Skadi’s Valkyries, but they are known by a wide range of euphemisms due to their clandestine nature. They remain the Marine Corps’ main option for black ops missions.
Eventually, the entire Marine Corps would be branded with a nickname stemming from werewolves. In WWI, several Marine Corps units were deployed into Europe to fight against the Germans. At the Battle of Belleau Wood, a marine counter charge stopped a German offensive in its tracks. Leading the charge was a unit of werewolves that advanced in wolf form. The terrified German soldiers called them “Teufel Hunden” which translates as “Devil Dogs”. As reports of this spread, the Marine Corps considered trying to silence it to keep the involvement of werewolves a secret. However, they quickly realized that the rumors were out of their control. So, instead they chose to act as though the term “Devil Dogs” referred to marines as a whole. The Marine Corps proudly carries this label to this day with many human marines who have no idea about the werewolf involvement proudly calling themselves Devil Dogs.