Official Marine Corps Press Release for the Retirement and Adoption of MWD Lex click to comment

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Was it all a Lie after all? WALB Story, Albany, GA

I encourage all 2,500 plus people who have signed this petition to contat MCLB ALBANY. Contacts are at bottom of article.

So its come to this- It has all been a lie. Since the Marine Corps and Representatives form MCLB Albany have engaged in conversation concerning the death of Cpl Lee with Cpl Lee's family, one of the main topics has always been adopting Lex. And from the beginning they where told it would be no problem.

The Truth Comes Out
After months of being cooperative with MCLB Albany, staying in contact and putting our trust in them, this is what the family gets.
This is the story from WALB in Albany, GA. A local Albany, GA news crew went and covered the story and spoke to the Marine Corps Base officials.

According to the statement released by Lt. Caleb Eames of the Public Affairs office, they never intended to release Lex to Cpl Lee's family. If that is the case, every representative of this base LIED to the face of Cpl Lee's parents as they buried their son.They stood in front of them at their house, at the gravesite and at the funeral serives and lied to them as they buried their son. They lied by saying how easy it would for them to adopt Lex-do all the paperwork they said. There will be no problem with adoption, they said. This is what they where told by Albany. Now, its very clear that all along their intentions where to never allow them to be able to adopt their fallen son's canine.

One would think with the reputation that our military has in the public's eye lately, they would relly try hard to make their image seem a little better. I've got to say, after these statements from the base they aren't helping the Marine Corps at all.

taken from WALB-
"it's not as easy as turning Lex over to the family. Eames says Lex, although injured, is now fit for duty, and not eligible to be adopted at this time. "Lex at this time is fully fit for duty. Is successful in his mission, accomplished at protecting the base and potentially saving lives and we're proud to have Lex as part of our team."

Fit for Duty? Not Easy? Acccording MWD adoption laws and the precident set by the case of Air Force Tech Sgt Jamie Dana, that doesn't really matter.. and I know you are just the messenger here and were probably coached on what to say.. but thats ok...your doing your job-taking the heat for the base. It is VERY easy for an adoption to take place, just read the Congressional Bill.

And to even bring up the fact that he is a trained aggressive dog is absurd..yes he's trained, but if you took the time actually look through Lex's records (his SRB) you would see that he is NOT aggressive..Look at the pictures on the blog with Lex playing with CPl Lee's family...oh my..yea he sure does look aggressive. That was a real aggressive game of Tug-o-war he was playing with the kids, wasn't it? Something else to take note of-watch the video. You have have what looks to be an 8 month old Pregenant reporter playing with this highly trained kill.r I'm actually glad you allowed this on video- it actually proves my point- Lex is completley non-agressive, even to a complete stranger.

Bottom line is this
The Marine Corps at this point are embarrasssed and they should be. They are back-tracking and trying to make themselves look better while trying to make the Lee family look selfish and greedy-its not going to work. I personally think thats pretty low considering they sacrificed their first born son for the Marine Corps and this is the attitude they get in return?

If anyone would like to read about the bill that congress passed concerning MWD adoption, here is a link to the Adoption Bill:

other MWD Adoption links:
Tech Sgt Jamie Dana Article
Fluffy from Operation Iraqi Freedom

For the record Cpl Dustin Lee has only been the 3rd MWD handler killed since Vietnam.
-----The first handler killed in Combat since Vietnam was Marine Sgt Adam Cann from Davie, FL. He was killed Jan 2006. His dog was only 5 or so and his dad told me that he didn't push to adopt the dog because Adam saved Bruno's life. Bruno was uninjured. He does hope to have the chance to adopt him later.
-----The 2nd was TSgt Jason Norton - US Air Force. Jason was the trainer at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska, but the tasking came down for a Tech Sgt in Iraq to pull convoys so he was deployed without a dog.
-----The 4th and most recent handler was Kory Wiens from Oregon. He and his SSD Dog Cooper (a gorgeous yellow lab) were both killed and were buried together July 2007

Keep calling and emailing MCLB Albany..Call and email Albany's newspaper (the Albany Journal) and tell them you support the Lee family. Call and email their news stations and let them know how outraged you at this blatant disrespect for this fallen Marine's family. Contact these people but be courteous, state your objections but do not be rude. We would no want to reflect badly on any of the parties involved.

Here is WALB's information in Albany GA:
1709 Stuart Avenue
Albany, Georgia 31706-3130
Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 3130
Albany, Georgia 31706-3130

WALB telephone number is:
(229) 446-1010
Fax: (229) 446-4000
News Department: (229) 446-9252
News Fax: (229) 446-4041

and here is the webpage with WALBemail departments:

and following is the base information again:
Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB), Albany GA

Base Commanding Officer:
Colonel Christian N Haliday
814 Radford Boulevard
Albany GA 31704

MCLB Sergeant Major is R. D. Kennedy
Kennel Master is Capt Mike Reynolds
Headquarters Battalion - Company 1stSgt ---phone 229-639-5101
Headquarters Battalion - Executive Officer ---phone 229-639-7490
Public Safety Division - Military Police Services---phone 229-639-518

Brian Rich
Former Marine ('93-'99) and uncle to Cpl Dustin J. Lee

Ther Meridan Star

The Meridian Star Article published November 25, 2007.
Meridian, MS

Friday, November 23, 2007

WLBT Jackson, MS coverage

Aired 11/22/07
NBC affiliate Located in Jacokson, Ms

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Albany Journal article Albany, GA

November 20, 2007
story covering the "Battle for Lex" by Kevin Hogencamp

Great story and worth the read. Click the title to link to the story.
Thank you Mr. Hogencamp for your wonderful writing and support for the Lee family.


Repost of our mission

taken from my second blog of Updates and Contacts. November 8, 2007

My intent is to not disrespect our military (or Albany) but to only bring to the attention of the Marine Corps and our government that this is what the Lee family deserves. I am a former Marine myself and I am asking the Marine Corps to step forward and do the right thing - retire Lex and allow Cpl Lee's family to adopt him.

and to also add to that since this blog, that there is world-wide support of retiring Lex and allowing him to be adopted by his handler's family

Thanksgiving time
I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has signed this petition in support of the Lee family.
The comments that you leave are at times heartbreaking and touching and the support is overwhelming.

Right now the signature count is over 2,100 and has barely been posted a week. I never knew that we would get this much love and support.
From all over the 50 United States to the Middle East & Europe, to Africa to the Pacific Islands and everywhere in between. We thank you form the bottom of our hearts.

We would also like to thank our service men and women who are serving in our armed forces on the front lines and in the garrison. We pray for your safety and thank you for your service everyday. You put yourself in harms way everyday and we thank you all for fighting for and protecting our freedoms. God Bless everyone of you. You are all heros.

The Rich and Lee families

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Than Just Equipment

It has become very apparent to me in this "Battle for Lex" that Military Working Dogs are basically considered equipment. They are issued an ID number and that ID is tattooed in their ear. Lex Lee , which is what other Marines called Lex, is more to this family than equipment. On March 21, 2007, Lex did something that cannot be taught to a K9. While standing with his master at the time a RPG was fired onto their base, he was severely injured and his master was killed. Months after the attack, a Sgt Major visited our family and gave us a lot of information about that day. Before leaving, he felt it very important to tell us that when the RPG was fired and it hit that concrete wall by which Dustin and Lex were standing, that the shrapnel just splattered onto Dustin and Lex. Even though Lex was too hit by multiple hot pieces of shrapnel that he moved to Dustin's side trying to lick him and make him better. He laid with Dustin, watching vigil as his master died. He was the last one to see Dustin alive. He was the last one to hear his last words. He's more than just equipment. THAT BOND, THAT LOVE CAN'T BE TAUGHT. The comfort that Lex brought to our family at Dustin's service was incomparable to any words of comfort spoken by Top Brass. To be able to touch and look into the eyes of Lex is like getting to be in Dustin's presence one more time.

I was blessed with a wonderful little boy that is now three years old that asks me all the time why his Dusty can't come home from Jesus' house. He also calls the US flag a "Dusty flag" because the pictures of the flag draped over Dustys casket are all too familiar to him. Every dog that looks like Lex is a "Dusty dog".
Remember that my little man is three.......He asked me this morning if Dusty would be home for Christmas. I hate that my son will not be able to remember the times with Dustin. He will be raised to know that Dustin is a hero and that he became a hero by serving his country so that maybe my son won't have to.

I remember being in awe as Col. Christian Haliday spoke at Dustins service and he stood with tears in his eyes and said in a wavering voice that Dustin will never be forgotten. That he and Lex were "an exceptional team that came together and saved the lives of numerous other soldiers". I also remember him stating that the Corp is like a band of brothers.

We received all of Dustin's personal effects including all of Lex's belongings as well; his leash, harness and even the red "kong" that he loves so much. There is a photo of him in Iraq, sitting with Dustin, holding that red kong in his mouth. I believe that Lex would be so happy to walk into Dustin's home and smell his scent on all of his personal things, to get all of his toys back and to have a sense of becoming a gifted dog instead of a working dog. After all, what more could we have asked of Lex than to protect our Dustin to the bitter end. The least that we could do for Lex is get him retired so he can come home to us and heal.

I believe with all of my heart that if Dustin were given the chance to come back to this earth that he would choose to keep his wings but if able, he would send Lex to live with his family to help us deal with our loss.

The final decision, the fate of Lex completely rests in the hands of Col. Haliday. No matter what the vet says about their evaluation of Lex, no matter what congress says, The life of Lex is in his hands. Please pray that he will put aside the value of the Corp's "equipment" and comprehend that Lex is, as Dustins brother said, "everything to us". Pray that he will go home and sit among his own children and think as if this was his own family.

With all my honor,
Dana Rich

Will I See You Tomorrow- by Phyllis Ward

A letter from Phyllis Ward while servingin Iraq to Rachel and Jerome Lee after learning of Cpl Lee's death.

I am reposting this letter because it solidifies Dustin's love and care for Lex and that he did have plans on adopting him after his tour.

I was working the 1000-2230 shift at the internet café in Iraq. We had a crowd of Marines and Soldiers sitting in the waiting area for their turn to use the phones and computers.

Each night I would make popcorn and put on a movie. The troops followed the smell of the popcorn and meekly approached me saying, “ma’am, that popcorn sure does smell good. May I have some?”

As I cleaned up and went in the waiting area I looked over the room of about 30 troops while they laughed, ate popcorn, and enjoyed the movie.

I felt like I had a room full of sons and daughters and my family was in from missions. They were safe and sound under my watchful eye.

I thought about their mothers and fathers; what were they doing right now? I knew they must worry each day about their children. Even though they are technically adults, they are someone’s children.

I found myself wishing I had a camera so that I could film each one of them and send it to their parents or write each one a letter to let them know that their children were safe and sound right now.

At that moment they were peaceful, they were happy and they were not in any danger. Mothers and fathers, I know where your children are right now. I’m watching over them.

I wanted to hug each one of them. I wanted to pray with each one of them to let them know that they don’t have to go through this deployment alone, to tell them that God loved them and to pray God’s protection upon them.

I thought of the real possibility that I may not see them again and began to wonder, “Will I see you tomorrow?”

I talked with one young Cpl who had his dog Lex with him. I wanted to take a picture of the two of them together but Cpl Dustin Lee wasn’t sure how Lex would react since they had just experienced an explosion that day.

I spoke with Dustin a little while longer. He was very friendly and truly an “All American” kid.

Cpl Lee told me that he and his dog were going home soon and how excited he was to go home. His dog Lex was a seven year veteran and was retiring upon his return to the states.

Cpl Lee was obviously very proud of his dog. It was also obvious that Lex had great admiration for Cpl Lee. Lex was going home with Cpl Lee to become a pet.

It was weeks later that I heard someone talking about Lex and how he had lost his tail and taken shrapnel during an explosion. I asked about the dog and they said he was on his way back to the states; he was okay.

They seemed to leave out the most obvious information that one would want to know. If the dog was injured, what happened to the dog handler? I swallowed hard and asked the question.

She said, “I thought you knew. Cpl Lee was killed.”

I went through a range of emotions. I was angry, hurt, shocked but most of I didn’t want to believe it. One of my boys was dead. I will never see him again. He was only 20 years old…this makes no sense at all!

I don’t think I will ever forget that night. The memory will live on in my heart forever. I am so proud of our young men and women and I will continue to pray over them, a prayer my friend prays over me each day.

original letter posted at

Sunday, November 18, 2007

WTOK Interview with Jerome Lee, Nov 18, 2007

For those of you in the Meridian-West Alabama area and get Meridan news, WTOK will be airing an intervew with Cpl Lees's father, Jerome Lee tonight (November 18, 2007) Covering the retirement and adoption of Lex.
I am not sure what time the news come on there ..10pm or 11pm. For those of you not in the Meridan area, such as myself, I'll be checking their news site to see if they post a video or have a transcript of the interview.

copy and paste link or click on the title above

#1564 sums it up

#1564 Nov 17, 2007, Camryn Lee, Mississippi
"it means everything to me"

Cpl Lees's younger brother;

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sign the Petition

LEX at Cpl Lee's Funeral

Madyson and Camryn Lee (Cpl Lee's brother and sister) bonding with Lex after the funeral service

The images and content of the Retire Lex blog and the Cpl Lee Memorial blog are property of Cpl Lee family and the author of this blog. News articles are copyright of their original owners and may not be used without their permission. Entires of this blog, the petition and or images on this blog may not be used without permission or any other motive or agenda other than to allow the Lee family to adopt Lex. This petition is not affiliated with any political party is not intended to be used as so.
©2007-2008 one19designs

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Partner Dustin

My Partner Dustin
By John C. Burnam

I’m a U.S. Marine and the primary element of a two-member team trained to hunt and locate explosives. My partner and I trained as a team for many months honing our expertise to save American lives in the War on Terrorism in Iraq.

The date is March 21, 2007 and I was on the job in Fallujah, Iraq when an enemy fired Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) exploded in our midst. I was blasted to the ground. I’m Stunned. My head is ringing and my body feels numb. My eyes can’t quite focus on anything.

My partner is lying next to me severely wounded and bleeding. I move to him and touch him but he’s not responding. I feel sharp pains in my side and back. I’m bleeding but deal with it and concentrate on comforting my partner and protecting him from further harm.

Everything happened so fast that it caused disorientation and confusion. My senses pick up the lingering smell of burnt powder and smoke from the explosion. I hear lots of American voices and heavy boot-steps hurrying all around us. They reach our location and immediately attend to my partner. And then they carry him away. I’m separated from my partner for the first time. I’m not clear of thought and then I too am carried way but to a different hospital.

I’m in a building lying on a table with lights above and people talking. Still dazed and confused I hear a strange voice say my name, “Lex!” I gesture a slight reflex of acknowledgement. “Lex! You are going to be okay buddy! Just lay still. We are going to take care of your hurts, so stay calm okay, Lex?” My eyes dart around the room searching for your partner, but he’s not there and no one can interpret my thoughts.

I’m released from the hospital and well enough to travel so they transfer me from Iraq to a U.S. Marine Corp base in Albany, Georgia. I really miss my partner, Dusty. I know something has happened to him because he would never have left me alone for so long.

Yes, my name is Lex. I’m a seven year old German shepherd Military Working Dog. My master and loyal partner is Corporal Dustin Jerome Lee, U.S. Marine Corps canine handler from Mississippi. I’m well disciplined to my master’s commands and expertly trained to sniff out bombs and explosives. Where’s my master, Dusty? Where’s Dusty, my partner? No one can understand me but Dusty. Where’s Dusty?

Iraq was to be my last combat tour before retirement. Dusty talked to me all the time about going home and adopting me. I sure do miss my Dusty. He is the best friend I’ve ever had. I love that crazy Marine from Mississippi!

No one can measure the love and unconditional loyalty I have for Dusty. I’d sacrifice my own life for him and he knows it. I just wish I could have stopped that RPG or pushed Dusty away from that powerful blast. It all happened in a blink of an eye and I didn’t see it coming until it was too late. Now I sit alone in my kennel-run waiting for the day Dusty shows up.

The U.S. Marines are treating me very well. I get enough food and water and exercise each day. And the Veterinarian comes by to examine my wounds on a regular basis. I just can’t sleep well at night. I wake up to every little noise and I think about Dusty. Where can that Marine be?

The nights are long. The days turn into weeks. Still no Dusty! My wounds are healing and the hair is growing back. The pain still resides in my back but I can walk okay. I have a piece of shrapnel near my spine that the Veterinarians avoided removing for fear of further health complications. I’ve been fortunate to be declared physically unable to perform in a combat zone.

One of the dog handlers gave me a real good bath and grooming. I felt so refreshed because I was on my way to meet Dusty’s family. Maybe Dusty will be there waiting for me. When I arrived I sensed something was not quite right. Dusty wasn’t there and everyone was sad, but very happy to greet me. I then realized that I was attending Dusty’s funeral. Everyone showed up to pay their respects.

Dusty is a real American hero and he was buried with full military honors. I was so proud to have been his last best friend and partner. At one particular moment of total silence during the ceremony, I sniffed a slight scent in the air that was very familiar. It smelled like Dusty. I figured he sent me a signal that he knew I was there! I moaned a sigh of grief that he would only hear and understand.

I was greeted by the Lee family with joy in their hearts. It felt so warm and comfortable to be with my partner’s loving family. I wanted to stay but I was escorted away after the funeral and back to Albany, Georgia. What is going to happen to me now?

Wait a minute! I was due for retirement, right? Why did the military take me to see Dusty’s family and not leave me there? I belong with them in Mississippi not here in Georgia. There is something very wrong with this picture!

The Lee family adopting me would not be too much to ask considering they will never again see their son, grandson, brother, nephew and friend. Adopting me will keep a big part of Dusty’s life alive for them and for me. It will enable Dusty’s family to experience what he already knew about me. I loved and protected him everywhere we went and even on the battlefield in Iraq. It’s time the U.S. Marine Corps allowed Dustin’s family to adopt me. I’m not a young pup anymore, you know! I’m of retirement age and I want to spend the rest of my life with the Lee family. It’s where I now belong!

So please help the Lee family adopt me!

German Shepherd Dog
Military Working Dog
U.S. Marine Corps

Update and contacts

We are still working very hard to get Lex adopted. With the help of Kelly Hooker with Discover K-9 and John Burnham we will make this happen.

John is the Executive Director of The National War Dogs Monument, Inc. and is located in the Washington, D.C. area.
Kelly and her husband Rickey own and operate a K-9 Training facility near Defuniak Spring, FL.
Rickey is currently the Military Working Dog Trainer at Eglin Air Force Base.

With their help TWO letters have been written and the will be given to local papers to help get Lex adopted to the Lee family.

In the meantime, anyone who want to halp may do so.
Contact your congressman, your Senator, any of your represenatives and tell them you are outraged at this.

MCLB ALBANY should retire LEX and present him to the Lee family. IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

Military Working Dogs have been retired to families for less. Lex is being still at the kennels in Albany and being worked. Thats right his status is as far as I know is "WORKING".

Wanting to adopt Lex is a very small request for losing our son. Our son made the ultimate sacrifice, why can’t the Marine Corps make a small sacrifice for our family?

Write, email and call them!

Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB), Albany GA
Base Commanding Officer:
Colonel Christian N Haliday
814 Radford Boulevard
Albany GA 31704

MCLB Sergeant Major is R. D. Kennedy

Kennel Master is Capt Mike Reynolds

Headquarters Battalion - Company 1stSgt ---phone 229-639-5101
Headquarters Battalion - Executive Officer ---phone 229-639-7490
Public Safety Division - Military Police Services---phone 229-639-5181
My intent is to not disrespect our military but to only bring to the attention of the Marine Corps and our government that this is what the Lee family deserves. I am a former Marine myself and I am asking the Marine Corps to step forward and do the right thing - retire Lex and allow Cpl Lee's family to adopt him.

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