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Working Dogs honored for their service

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

Sgt. Wes Brown & Isky

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown.

The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a German shepherd military working dog, had just saved countless lives.

For his service, he was honored on Capitol Hill – along with three other dogs – with the first-ever K-9 Medal of Courage. It is the nation’s highest honor for military dogs, acknowledging their extraordinary valor and service, awarded by the American Humane Association.

Isky found at least five deadly IEDs and 10 weapon caches as an explosive-detection dog deployed with Brown in July 2013. The two spent a year protecting U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama.

Isky and Brown were with 100th Military Working Dog Detachment and have been together since October 2011.

“After he came out of training from Lackland – he was about 18 months old – I was his first handler to certify with him,” Brown, now 27, said.

While most military working dogs can have two to seven handlers, Isky has only had one: Brown.

“I didn’t PCS,” Brown said. If he had, the dog would have gone to a new handler.

In May 2014, Isky’s military career came to an end.

“We were on a combat mission, one of many,” Brown said. “To avoid an ambush we had to get into the vehicles fairly quickly. While Isky was running up the stairs, I had a hold of him, but he fell off the side and broke his leg in six different spots.”

The leg had to be amputated.

“Once I knew he got injured and knew what was happening, as soon as his amputation was scheduled and his future with the Army was done,” Brown put in the paperwork to adopt him, he said.

Brown has been separated from Isky for only two weeks, and that was while Isky recovered. Even when Isky isn’t with him, Brown carries his picture.

These days, instead of searching for bombs, Isky suns himself on a porch in Virginia with Brown. He has become Brown’s PTSD service dog, and the two comfort each other.

“I have nightmares, I get night terrors stuff like that,” Brown said. “I’ll wake up, and he’s jumped up in bed with me. He kind of does the same thing. I’ll hear him have bad dreams and I’ll wake him up. For all I know he’s chasing a ball, but it sounds to me like he’s having a pretty rough time in some of these dreams. I’ll wake him up and he jumps right up in bed with me. And we both calm down.”

Brown has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, and has three crushed discs in his neck. He is currently waiting to be medically retired from the Army.

Isky hasn’t been trained as a PTSD dog. But his bond with Brown is strong enough that when Brown has an anxiety attack, Isky knows.

“When I look at him, I feel safe because of everything we did together in Afghanistan. If it wasn’t for him and doing what we did, there would be a lot more people unable to go home,” Brown said.

More than 200 Congressional staffers and 19 members of Congress attended the event to honor military working dogs. The other dogs who earned the Medal of Courage:

  • Matty, a Czech German shepherd, was a bomb-detection dog in Afghanistan. Now retired Army Spc. Brent Grommet, his handler, says that Matty saved his life and the lives of everyone in his unit more than once. The two were wounded together, including being in a truck that was hit by two roadside bombs. They were flown back to the U.S. for treatment, and while Grommet was in surgery, Matty was wrongly given to someone else. The Humane Association helped reunite the two, and now Matty serves as a support dog for Grommet.
  • Fieldy, a black Labrador retriever, served four combat tours in Afghanistan, where he worked to detect explosives. Handler Marine Cpl. Nick Caceres spent seven months deployed with Fieldy in 2011 and adopted him three years later when the lab was discharged.
  • Bond, a Belgian Malinois, worked 50 combat missions and deployed to Afghanistan three times. He was a multipurpose dog with a special operations unit before he retired. Bond suffers from combat trauma and will be reunited with his handler, who will leave active duty in a few months.

From “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Canine Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

  • Cairo, a Belgian Malinois used by U.S. Navy Seals in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
  • Gander –  a Newfoundland, was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medall for his feats during the Battle of Hong Kong in WWII.
    Civil War mascot memorial

    Civil War mascot memorial

    Gunner –  Canine air-raid early warning system during the bombing of Darwin in World War II.

  • Rags –  a Signal Corps mascot during World War I.
  • Rifleman Khan –  a German Shepherd that won the Dickin Medal for bravery.
  • Rip –  a Second World War search and rescue dog.
  • Sarbi –  an Australian special forces explosives detection dog, that spent almost 14 months missing in action (MIA) in Afghanistan before being recovered in 2009.
  • Sasha – bomb sniffing dog, posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal
  • Smoky –  hero war dog of World War II, was a Yorkshire Terrier that served with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific after she was adopted by Corporal William Wynne.  Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars.
    .Sgt. Stubby –  a Boston bull terrier, the most decorated war dog of WWI and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat.
  • Tich –  Dickin Medal winner of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, WWII
  • Treo –  awarded Dickin Medal for work as a Arms and Explosives Search dog in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
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National Dog Day(s)

OUR MILITARY WORKING DOGS

'Scoop' - Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

‘Scoop’ – Stars & Stripes mascot in Korea Sept. 1950

Whether battle-trained or just loyal, man’s best friend has been photographed following troops into battle since the Civil War. And just like the changes in tactics through the years, the relationship between servicemembers and canine companions has evolved through training, on the battlefield, and how they’re used back home.

With wagging tales and slobbering kisses, dogs now help assimilate servicemembers to life away after returning home — something Stars and Stripes has documented several times in the twilight of the United States’ most recent conflicts.

Smedley Butler - USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

Smedley Butler – USMC, San Diego facing his Drill Sgt.

In celebration of National Dog Day, here’s a look back at the dogs that have greeted, helped and stayed by their best friends during the most trying times.

 tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com
For a video about working dog, trained by veterans – for veterans______
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Military Dog Humor – eb41315790d1b4cd9f364661285535e5

dog-humor

 

 

DvilDog1

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Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Boverio – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 95th Field Artillery Battalion

Chester Carter – NY & NC; US Army, WWII, ETOBaby on tombstone.jpg Those left behind.

Milton Frederick – W> AUS; RA Army, WWII

Desmond Knauf – Rotorua, NZ; RNZ Navy #NZ3354, WWII

Henry Lee – Wichita, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peterson Jr. – Stevensville, MD; USMC, Korea & Vietnam [1st Black Marine pilot]

Matthew Roland – Lexington, KY; US Air Force, Afghanistan, 21/23 Special Tactics Squadron, Captain

Forest Sibley – Pensacola, FL; US Air Force, Afghanistan, Special Operations, SSgt.

William Owen Young – Burma & CAN; Royal Bombay Sappers & Miners, WWII, 411 Parachute Squadron

Frank Zimmerman Jr. – Gresham, OR; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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Patriot & National Service & Remembrance Day, 9/11

Thomas Kinkaid's tribute

Thomas Kinkaid’s tribute

Today we fly the American flag, not only in memory of the 2,977 who died that day, but for all who suffered from the consequences of the terrorist actions of a few and those that gave their all to assist in the rescues.

Memory of the Twin Towers

Memory of the Twin Towers

The Pentagon

The Pentagon

Pennsylvania Memorial under construction

Pennsylvania Memorial under construction

Pentagon memory

Pentagon memory

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

FDNY Station #12

FDNY Station #12

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Click on images to enlarge.

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WWII news update –

AP news service announced that in Italy’s Lake Garda a WWII DUKW, (amphibious trucks known as “ducks”) was found upright 900 feet down. According to Cpl. Thomas Hough, the sole survivor, on 30 April 1945, 3 DUKWs of the 605th Field Artillery left the east bank of the lake and his duck began to take on water. Loaded down with 25 soldiers and a 75mm cannon, they began to discard their ammo and equipment. Twenty-four of the men drowned. An Italian group of volunteer divers are making plans to locate and return the bodies home if they can be found.

the 'Duck", a DUKW

the ‘Duck”, a DUKW

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