Honoring a hero on Sept. 11

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Richard Crotty
  • Military Working Dog Handler, 66th Security Forces Squadron
Sept. 11, 2001, will go on forever in the minds of people of this generation. It is a date that has produced sadness, but it has also produced countless heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of this country. This past weekend, there were nationwide remembrances and celebrations for these heroes.

This year, the 66 Security Forces Squadron's Military Working Dog (MWD) section traveled to Ashland, N.H., for a MWD demonstration and gala to honor one such hero.

In 2007, Marine Cpl. Dustin Lee and his MWD, Lex, were on patrol in Iraq when an improvised explosive device went off. Both the handler and dog were seriously injured. MWD Lex survived his injuries and surgery, but Corporal Lee did not. Through a lot of work, Lex was adopted by Corporal Lee's parents.

On Sept. 11, 2010, Corporal Lee's parents and Lex flew into Logan International Airport in Boston where they were met by countless people to cheer on the national hero. A Massachusetts State Police K-9 team escorted them to the New Hampshire border.

Along with Lex making an appearance, there was a classic car show, disc jockey, barbecue and dog demonstrations by the New Hampshire State Police, Laconia Police Department and the 66th Security Forces Squadron's K-9 section. State Sen. Deborah Reynolds also made an appearance.

The day was capped off with a group picture of all the dog teams and Lex laying down front row, center. Pictures were taken of this memorable moment with handlers and civilians alike playing with Lex, who had on his K9 vest with all his medals attached, including a Purple Heart.

For all of us at the K-9 section, it was a great deal to meet such a hero. We hear about dogs that make the ultimate sacrifice of protecting their handlers and comrades, but rarely get a chance to have this meeting.

Each and every day, military working dogs and their handlers carry on the honor of people and dogs like Corporal Lee and MWD Lex. Having the chance to meet Lex and know the hard work and sacrifice are a tribute to those who have gone before us is awe-inspiring. This Sept. 11 was much more than a remembrance, but an assurance to keep working hard to honor our heroes.