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