Four military dogs who served in Afghanistan received awards for their valor and sacrifice protecting U.S. soldiers and civilians.
The K-9s received their awards from some of the nation’s top military brass, including Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.; USMC Col. Scott Campbell, Commanding Officer of the Wounded Warrior Regiment in Quantico, Virginia; and First Sgt. Matt Eversmann (Ret.), known as the soldier whose story inspired the film “Black Hawk Down.”
The dogs — a Czech German Shepherd named Matty, a black Labrador Retriever named Fieldy, a Belgian Malinois named Bond, and a German Shepherd named Isky — all received the inaugural American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage, according to a press release put out by the American Humane Association.
The American Humane Association created the award to recognize military dogs who went above and beyond their call of duty while working in war zones.
“Soldiers have been relying on these four-footed comrades-in-arms since the beginning of organized warfare and today military dogs are more important than ever in keeping our service men and women safe,” American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert said in a statement. “At American Humane, which has been working with the U.S. military and military animals for 100 years, we feel it is time to recognize and honor the extraordinary feats and acts of devotion these heroic animals perform every day.”
These dogs were some of the hardest working soldiers in the service.
Matty saved the life of his handler and those of his unit more than once. Matty and his handler were tasked to clear a helicopter landing zone while under enemy fire. During a firefight, both Matty and his handler were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, which caused both to be flown back to the United States for treatment. It was here that they got temporarily separated, until they were brought back together. Today, Matty helps his companion deal with the visible and invisble woulds of war, according to the American Humane Association.
Fieldy, also a successful IED hunter, served four tours in Afghanistan and provided emotional support for the soldiers in his unit. He now lives life as Man’s Best Friend.
Bond went on more than 50 combat missions while serving three deployments to Afghanistan. He is credited with saving the lives of countless U.S. troops. Bond and his handler suffered from combat trauma. With the assistance of the American Humane Association, his former handler was able to adopt Bond when Bond was retired from military service.
Isky had one of the most important jobs of any military K-9 in Afghanistan. Isky was tasked to protect not only four star generals, he protected politicians as well, including the Secretary of State and the President of the United States. Isky lost a leg when a bomb he detected exploded. In addition to protecting generals and the president, Isky also is credited with locating five IEDs and 10 weapon caches. Isky now serves as his handler’s PTSD service dog.
Congratulations to these military K-9s. Your service has not gone unnoticed.