Over the course of four overseas battle deployments, K9 Lucky served our country by detecting bombs, enduring firefights, and working tirelessly – and indeed eagerly — side-by-side with his Air Force handlers to the astonishing age of 11.
The Belgian Malinois survived improvised bomb attacks, bullets and incredibly harsh and life-threatening conditions, but the two-time cancer survivor finally succumbed to the disease after recently returning with his handler, Staff Sgt. Chris Fall, to their home base at Fairchild Air Force Base, near Spokane, Wash.
In a statement, the Air Force said Lucky was an outstanding model of what the Air Force working dog represents.
“We are saddened by his death,” says Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “The passing of Lucky is a heartbreaking loss to Team Fairchild and the United States Air Force.”
“Lucky was an amazing dog, he was always eager to work,’’ says Fall, military working dog handler with the 92nd Security Forces. “Lucky was incredibly tough and extremely dedicated.”
As an explosives-detection dog, Lucky spent his career searching for improvised explosive devices and weapons caches, becoming something of a legend in the field.
Lucky courageously performed under heavy stress and fire by scenting out explosives, weapons caches and surviving a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. At one point, he scented out explosives fastened to a military generator in Afghanistan, potentially saving numerous lives.
Lucky’s remarkable career of valiant service did not go unnoticed. DOG FANCY named Lucky its Military Canine Hero Dog of the Year for 2011. “It was our honor to salute Lucky and his handlers for their service to our country,’’ says DOG FANCY Editor Ernie Slone.
In 2010, the American Red Cross gave Lucky and then handler, Staff Sgt. Gerald Martinez, its Hometown Heroes award.
Lucky and his Air Force handlers were also recognized in local, regional and national news agencies and magazines, such as Men’s Journal and Air Force Times.
When asked about Lucky, Fall says, “he was born to love, trained to serve and loyal to the end.’’