Category: Dog Advocate
Army Sergeant Nick “Kevin” Smith looked around the C-17 Globemaster airplane and marveled at the expansive inside. It was a massive hollow shell. No wonder they could fit three Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in there.
The guys called the C-17 the Cadillac of Air Force airplanes and, comparatively speaking, they were right.
In the old C-130 Hercules they could barely squeeze 64 Soldiers in that tin can, never mind that the troops had to sit knee to knee on netting with their gear on their laps.
About 250 seats were jammed into the belly of the aircraft strapped to cargo pallets … Read More »
Note: This is part five of the story. You may want to skip back to Part I before reading this piece
“Let’s go get some chow,” said Army Sergeant Daniel Sandoval.
“Yeah, all right. Let me get my cover and we’ll roll.”
Dan bit his lower lip and willed himself not to start cracking up as Army Sergeant John Nolan searched for his helmet. They couldn’t leave the building without head gear.
“What the hell, it was right here,” said John
That was all Daniel could take. His lip-biting tactic failed as a giant smirk spread across his face and he let out a chuckle.
Earlier today the pair had taped several Vari-kennels together, completely blockading their kennel master inside his room. It had been John’s idea. Now it was time for him to get a little of his own medicine.
“Did you check the freezer? … Read More »
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The 23-year-old sergeant’s voice breaks as he pauses to collect his thoughts on how to express his feelings for his fallen friends. The names of his comrades are engraved on his “KIA” Bracelets, which now sit on a table adorned with military memorabilia and memories of friends he’s served with.
“Every day you wake up is a blessing in itself,” said Sgt. Brian Riddle, a military working dog handler with Headquarters and Support Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion. “Every day I wake up is another day that they’re not going to, so I live my life as they would live theirs.”
Riddle, who served two combat deployments in Afghanistan, is currently recovering from injuries at the Hope and Care Center in Camp Pendleton, Calif. The two-time Purple Heart recipient was injured in both deployments.
He … Read More »
Last week I brought you the heart wrenching story of Military Working Dog Bak’s Memorial Service at Fort Stewart Georgia. MWD Bak was killed this past March in Afghanistan.
As a tribute to MWD Bak on Memorial Day, here is his story.
There was nothing better than seeing those Afghan mountain peaks slowly turning from brown to white. It seemed that, as the snow melted away, US Army Sergeant Marel Molina and his Military Working Dog Bak’s time remaining in Afghanistan withered away day by day.
But Sergeant Molina couldn’t think about going home today, even though he was a short two months away. He had work to do.
No, that wasn’t right. He and MWD Bak had work to do.
Keeping his Green Beret team alive was hard work.
Sergeant Molina listened intently as Captain Pedersen, his Green Beret Alpha Team leader, discussed that … Read More »
As a kid I thought of Memorial Day as an extra day off from school, a reason to barbecue and the unofficial start to the summer.
But with age comes wisdom (20 years of military service where I gained a true appreciation of duty, honor, and sacrifice doesn’t hurt either!)- Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving our country in Armed Service.
As we approach this important day I believe that this definition of Memorial Day needs expansion to include all service members. Two legged and four-legged, these heroes fight and die for our country and deserve to be recognized.
The story below is just one example of a 4 legged hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
Story by Staff Sgt. Roger RyDell Daniels
FORT STEWART, Ga. – The bond between a military police and his military … Read More »
A vicious, ass-eating, explosive detector dog.
New people and unknown expectations from her American contracting company
The only female handler in Kandahar with the company.
Would she make the cut?
Danica Djikov sat watching her clock tick from 4:29 to 4:30 to 4:31 to 4:32 to 4:33 to 4:34, and then closed her eyes, trying to fall back to sleep. She tried to wipe her apprehensions away, clear her mind, and sleep, but it had been like this since she had been woken by the dogs barking just after midnight.
Today, her second day in Afghanistan, was the day she started training and she knew all eyes would be on her. She had dealt with this before, had … Read More »
Back in November I posted a terrific piece, The Puppy Program, about the Department of Defense (DoD) Breeding Program located at Lackland Airbase.
I promised you a second part, so today ladies and gentlemen here it is!
Since I was delayed getting this next piece out, I’m going share a special something with you all. I am going to share with you how you can become an active contributor to the Breeding Progam.
Yes, you can help raise these future 4 legged heroes.
Eight weeks after the birth the puppies, they go home with qualified and dedicated ‘foster’ volunteers from the greater San Antonio/Austin area. During the ‘foster’ period, the pups are raised in secure, nurturing homes that provide learning and play opportunities, as well as outings for the puppies to be exposed to different environments and people to develop a … Read More »
I particularly enjoyed this story because it showcases just how “joint” the military working dog community really is, especially in Afghanistan. Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army, it simply doesn’t matter. What matters is that handler and dog. Our troops walking the ground simply want an explosive detecting dog team on their patrol. The service component listed on their name tape is irrelevant.
This story is by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – The helicopter lands in a small poppy field under the cover of darkness and a figure emerges from it with his four-legged companion by his side.
Even though it’s the middle of the night, Staff Sgt. Robert Wilson and his military working dog Troll, quickly begin to sweep the area for threats while the other members of the task force file out – then the chopper … Read More »
Listening to barking, whining, and growling, Private First Class Jeremy Wirths felt like he was standing outside the dog pound.
He could barely hear his sergeant’s commands as he looked around the sprawling Vohne Liche Kennel compound in Denver, Indiana. It looked like a small military compound and had the atmosphere of one.
Jeremy glanced over at the massive rectangular warehouse-like building where the barking was coming from.
Though the warehouse looked like your average run-of-the-mill rectangular building, he knew the other side was fenced, with at least 60 dog runs for the working dog candidates in the kennels—hence the ruckus.
Soon he would be walking point with one of those explosive-detecting dogs in Afghanistan. But he wasn’t a dog handler.
This was crazy, right? He couldn’t learn to do this in nine weeks.
Jeremy had only been in the Army for five months … Read More »
This Part VII of John and Honza Bear. If you haven’t already read the first six sections you may wish to skip back to Part I before reading this one.
Cold, thick air swirled in front of Specialist John Nolan’s face, disappearing into the blue sky as his heart pounded.
Somewhere along the way the sun had broken through the murky grey Afghanistan sky and John could feel a bead of sweat roll down his back which seemed to disappear somewhere in the small of his back.
Surely every member of the Green Beret Team he was patrolling with him could hear his heart … Read More »