By Michael Appelgate | The Salt Lake Tribune
Hill Air Force Base • To a chorus of barks and applause, five military working dogs were recognized for more than 40 years of combined service Friday afternoon.
Four dogs, Bandy, Allan, Liska and Arek — all German shepherds — received their formal certificates of retirement, while one, Marco, was remembered in a memorial service that included a gun salute and playing of taps. The dogs were retired because they no longer met established criteria in bomb and drug sniffing tests.
All four retired service dogs have found homes with their previous handlers or other families.
Continue here to read about these dogs service ~ outstanding!
Arek, Allen, Liska, and Bandy – Enjoy your Retirement ~ you’ve earned it and then some.
Marco ~ rest easy now in the cool shade of a tree.
By Ben Wright — Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Arka, a female German shepherd, was a fixture at the annual School of the Americas Watch protests at the gates of Fort Benning. Fons, a male Belgian Malinois, served in Iraq and provided security for presidents and other high-level government officials.
But their days of sniffing for bombs, locating illegal drugs and chasing fleeing suspects came to an end Friday. Both were retired as military working dogs and adopted by two soldiers.
Enjoy your new missions, Arka and Fons!!
More on Lucca:
Injured bomb-sniffer passes through O’Hare on way to retirement in Finland
It’s humid and crowded at O’Hare International Airport’s Gate K9 Thursday, and you can tell passengers just want to board their flight.
Yet suddenly smiles appear on faces, applause breaks out and people make way for Marine Cpl. Juan Rodriguez and his three-legged companion.
Half-bouncing, half-limping, Belgian Malinois Lucca is a hero — one of an elite corps of military working dogs trained to sniff out ammunition, arms and explosives, and a veteran of tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lucca’s wounds were so significant they required the amputation of her left front leg. During her time in Iraq and Afghanistan, she participated in more than 400 patrols with over 40 confirmed finds of explosives. The lives of Marines she saved can’t be counted, officials said.
Waiting for Lucca in Helsinki will be a familiar face — Marine Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham, head of security for the U.S. Embassy in Finland and a dad with two kids about to get a new best friend.
He also was Lucca’s first trainer and served in Iraq with her. “She’ll get a big surprise,” Rodriguez said.
I love it when their first handlers get to adopt them! Such a special bond that can never be broken.
A woman after my own heart:
By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune
The woman with the blue star lapel pin tells me the dogs of war need help, too.
I met Deb Howard last week at the Florida National Cemetery. As a member of the Rolling Thunder Chapter 11, she was attending the reburial ceremony for Lawrence Davis Jr., a World War II vet who previously was buried in a cardboard box.
The blue star pin she wears is for her daughter, Army Reserve 1st Lt. Alexandra Gilbert. Gilbert comes from a long line of military members fighting for this country since, well, since before we were a country.
Working with other Blue Star Mothers of America throughout the state and around the country, Howard has helped send boxes of goodies and letters to the deployed, especially those who don’t have anyone to send them things.
For information about Howard’s efforts to send dog items to Afghanistan, email her at [email protected]
Continue here to read more about Deb and her Soldier daughter.
Bless you both, Deb and 1st Lt. Gilbert!