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

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

1 comment:

kelly said...

Reading this just breaks my heart all over again for your family. Kelly

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