I wanted to share with the followers of RMWDAO. I have the pleasure to announce that Brit K049 has retired from Active duty and is now enjoying life here in Fayetteville NC. We had a great flight “First Class” from Seattle to NC. Delta Airlines went above and beyond making his flight to his “FurEver” new home comfortable. Please visit my site and enjoy his pictures.
We landed at Tan Son Nhut AB (December 1966) the following day after the attack by the VC. In our group we had 50 Dogs and handlers. Our escort was also a Sentry Dog Handler who sustained a wrist injury from a slap flare that blew up in his hand. After we quartered and secured the dogs he took us on tour where I saw an Army Tank that continued to burn at the perimeter. Security was tight and and we were told to move back and away from the perimeter as they believed that the VC had snipers in place as they had random incoming rounds. As we came back to the kennel area I saw this dog (who was mad as hell) and had an eye missing and was bloody. I later learned that his name was “Nimo” and that his handler was wounded during the fire fight with the VC. I never forgot him and many years later I saw him on TV where he was exiting from the rear of a C-130 where he landed and disembarked. He was “Retired” and lived out the rest of his life at Lackland AFB. Of interest an “Eye Doctor” came by to visit him and observed that Nimo would look in the opposite direction and it appeared to him that he (Nimo) was ashamed or didn’t want anyone to see his missing eye. The doctor volunteered his services and gave Nimo an artificial eye and not long after that Nimo was like a new dog.
I honor these service dogs just as much as I honor my fellow veterans. When I saw the story of the Navy SEALS that shot Osama Ben Ladin and of the Service Dog who was also there I was so “PROUD” knowing I had a connection. Not a physical one but “Spiritually” for a better lack of word.
One of my most memorable days was after we had incoming rockets and mortars. I was already on duty and when the incoming started I had no place for cover as we were at the perimeter so we layed down and I covered my dog with my body but the rounds hit within the base area. The Augmentee’s (Base Personnel who are trained to fire their M-16’s but no combat training) dispersed along certain portions of the perimeter and some were directly behind me. As day light broke the all clear was given. As we walked off post the rain came down but as I looked inwards and away from the perimeter I could see the Augmentee’s as they looked at us and some pointed in our direction. I was tired, wet, muddy but when I saw these guys I walked with pride and for the first time I stood proud along with my dog “Koenig.”
Many of those Aumentee’s remembered me and they said they wished they could be a Sentry Dog Handler and admired the fact that we were out in the open when the mortars and rockets hit and we stood our ground. Some saw us as we walked the perimeter along with our dogs. We were the “First Line of Defense” for the entire base. Later that same year I was transferred to Pleiku AB and left Koenig behind where a new handler took him over and sadly Koenig was killed by friendly fire. When I got the news I was devastated as we had spent close to a year as one. We went though Combat Training and spent close to 5 months State side duty prior to deployment.
Hope I didn’t say too much.
Obviously since I’m a dog, I can’t speak, nor write English…. but I can understand it. I was born, January 1997. My handlers know me well enough that my female handler, “Mom”, figured she could translate my story on my behalf. My story is based on my history, (which includes 13 years worth of military files), contact to many of my handlers and Vets throughout my career (including my male handler now) and also based upon my behavioral signs and abilities and temperament. I am a retired military working dog (MWD)…Marco B 127. They call me, Marco.
My first home was Lackland AFB San Antonio TX. It’s where the best of the best in military k9′s are chosen and begin their training. Because of my intelligence and ability to learn quickly, the military had a special job for me. The testing I had to go through to be chosen wasn’t easy. I had to prove I would listen and follow directions at a very young age. As a pup, I really did get to play a lot..what else do puppies know how to do? But I was smart, and they could tell I would be a valuable asset to the Military. I was chosen as a military Narcotic dog and it wasn’t long before I had finished my core “puppy” training and passed all my testing. On November 23 1999 I found my new permanent home at Hill AFB Utah, sniffing a LOT of boxes and occasionally attacking people, which was always fun… K9 training is constant, it continues throughout our careers and testing is frequent. We can never let our guards down, we have to be on top of our game at all times.
Eventually I was so good at my job, between ’02 and ’09 they sent me to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. My handlers at those times could tell you exactly, what I saw and what I endured. Nothing less than war. I stayed at my handlers side, searching for narcs in warehouses and other various places. My job was also to protect my handler at all costs…I would have laid down my life for any of them…and they would have done it for me. Thankfully, I always made it home to Hill. A few of my friends, Bandy, Chico, Erik and Liska shared the kennels with me there. It was always a good day at Hill to see a fellow war dog come home at their handlers side. They too have their stories….
Active duty K9′s are paid very little… treats and scratches behind the ears, a pat on the head. Sometimes our favorite payment is wrapping our teeth around the bad guy. Or sneaking to drink my handlers Mt Dew he left in the patrol car, was enough for me. My handlers really liked me… Every year on my birthday I got a steak, MMMmmmmm birthdays. Sometimes, depending on where we were deployed, my handler would let me sleep on their bed….talk about a treat! Our handlers are our family. A big, big family.
My last deployment was to Afghanistan in July of ’09. By then I was 11 years old. By Oct of ’09, I was at the end of the tolerating doing my job. I was tired and my hips couldn’t take it anymore.. At 77, I thought I’d done pretty well… On July 6th 2010, I officially retired. I was fortunate to be adopted by a family who took me back to Washington to enjoy the rest of my days and retired/civilian life. Which includes soft floors, the occasional pizza crust and bites of chicken breast off moms plate…
I didn’t have to do what was asked of me, I didn’t have to listen… I did it because I loved doing my duty, it was my whole life, and I was good at it. My Mom says she’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure I get my honors. Please share my story and remember that I am only 1 MWD, there are many, many others that deserve their honors too.
Marco B 127