Monday, October 15, 2007
Most of you probably know by now who CPl Dustin Jerome Lee is. For those of you who do not, please take the time to read a little more about him and view photos of him at www.remembercpldustinlee.blogspot.com
In a nutshell-
Dustin was a K9 War Dog Handler and MP who was killed in Iraq on March 21 2007. His K9 Lex survived but with injuries.
He received shrapnel wounds to his body, almost lost his tail, and to this day still has shrapnel lodged near his spine. The Veterinarians opted to leave this shrapnel in place as to not risk damage to Lex's spine.
Since Dustin's death the family has tried diligently to get Lex adopted to them so that they may care for him. Lex was of course the last (person) to see Dustin alive.
Even before the incident of the RPG that killed Dustin, Lex was destined to retire upon returing from this tour in Iraq. The family has waited patiently for the last remaining part of Dustin to arrive home...and they are still waiting.
Rachel with Lex
Today is Oct 15, 2007. Seven Months after the incident and no Lex. I know there is government bureaucracy and paperwork, but all that was done...finished and turned over the proper personnel. They feverishly worked around the clock, made phone calls, sent emails, contacted all the right people....Lex is still not home. They jumped through all the right hoops and answered all the right questions to be able to adobt Lex.
Instead the Marine Corps has decided that Lex did not need to retire and is instead located at the kennels at MCLB Albany, Georgia, back in training.
Can you imagine how heart broken and distraught this made the family once they found out they where not getting Lex for possibly 2 more years or until they where done with him? Rachel and Jerome can not have their son back, they gave him up to the Marine Corps and he was killed in the fight against terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freeedom. Why not retire Lex to Dustin's family? I think its the least the Marine Corp could offer. They do not want to replace Dustin, they just want the last piece of his life that is still alive. And by adopting Lex it will bring back a small part of Dustin and maybe a smile and laugh that they have not had in months.
They say that Lex is needed to train other K9s and handlers there at MCLB Albany. As far I know that shrapnel is still located in his back while he trains.. We can all understand that Lex may be an asset to the Kennel in training, and is a great, obedient companion, but how long until the damage that he sustained in the blast catches up with him. Lex desreves a nice home to retire to and a family that will love and take care of him.
Dustin's family are not strangers to handling K9s. Rachel, herself trained with Search and Rescue K9s. So its not like the family is unfamiliar in having to deal with trained K9s....Dustin recieved his love of dogs from somewhere right?
So I am asking everyone that knows of Dustin and Lex's story to send your comments to me. Write them here on the blog, email me, how ever you can....Give me your thoughts and opinions and we will do our best to get Lex to Dustin's parents.
Cpl Lee's Uncle and Former Marine.