War Dogs and Marines Reunited
In Southern Pines, North Carolina, Marines who served in Afghanistan were recently reunited with the ‘war dogs’ that accompanied them on Wednesday.
This included Marine Sergeant Chris Jaramillo, who had not seen his war dog, Shooter, since 2006. During their duty together, Jaramillo and Shooter worked to sniff out IEDs, thus saving countless soldiers and noncombatants in the process. After Jaramillo’s service ended, the two had separated, with little to no connection through military channels. Says Jaramillo, “I didn’t know where he was, or they couldn’t tell me where he was because he was still with military security.”
That all changed on Wednesday, when Jaramillo and two other Marine handlers were invited to the training facilities of K2 Solutions, Incorporated in Richmond County to adopt their ‘war dogs.’ The dogs served as part of the IDD program, which the Marine Corps recently defunded due to military downsizing; in the wake of that decision, the Corps gave approval to K2 to provide adoptions for the war dogs to their former handlers.
Shooter and the other ‘war dogs’ trained by K2 were crucial elements to the Marines’ survival and emotional support, providing needed companionship and psychological aid while also providing needed wartime assistance. However, once the Marines’ assignments were done, the dogs still had work to do – moving from handler to handler, these Marines had trouble staying in touch.
Being given the chance to see their Battle Buddies again was a welcome relief for Jaramillo and the other two Marines, Marine Corporal Stephen Kessler and Sergeant Mark Slocum, who respectively got to bring home their Battle Buddies Cade and Tug.
According to Kessler, these dogs provide more than just battle training, but companionship: “these dogs, they’re not certified, but in my eyes they’re every bit certified to help people.”
Image credit: ABC News