It was pure luck of the draw when I adopted 3 K9 handlers who not only turned out to be from 2/3 Marines, home of my adopted platoon - they're even in the same company. Pictured 1st is one of those three, Sgt. Ray Lemmon and "Cross," as they executed a cordon and search operation in the town of Haditha, located in the infamous Anbar Province. "Cross" is a "bomb dog" trained to detect an impressive number of different explosive compounds. (He's also a big charmer!) You can read the full article
about this operation in Stars & Stripes
. Since it went so well, it's unlikely you'll read about it in the Times or see it on CNN. Below are some personal photos of the remaining two teams I've adopted, along with one more of "Cross." The faces and names of the handlers have been altered but the dogs are cleared to be shamelessly shown off.
First is "Cisco," also an explosives detection K9, being cradled in the lap of his handler LW.
(Is that a happy puppy if ever you saw one?)
"Gordon," is the gorgeous German Shepherd, posed with his handler LCI.
Unlike his fellow K9s, Gordon is a police dog trained to track, guard and attack on command.
I feel in love with him at first sight. (The dog...not the handler!)
Finally, we're back to "Cross" who is barely visible at the feet of Sgt. Lemmon.
As of 13 FEB 2O07, 22 members of 2/3 have been killed during this deployment and that number has already increased by at least four. On their previous tour in Afghanistan, 2/3 suffered one casualty for the entire duration of their deployment.
My adopted platoon is due home near the end of March, while these three K9 teams will be in Iraq until early 2008.
May God keep them safe.
Click to see 2/3 Marines in Action during their 2005 Afghanistan tour.
Click to see Marine Corps K9 teams training in the Anbar Province