Fort Huachuca’s law enforcement community gathered Monday to lay to rest and pay respect to the service of Military Working Dogs Beast and Dag.
“These dogs are absolutely devout military citizens. These dogs do so much for our country and like Turner said, it’s a solemn event but its great that … we can recognize MWD Beast and MWD Dag,” said Capt. Chris Sproul, commander, 483rd MWD Detachment and 18th Military Police Detachment.
MWD Beast was trained as a patrol explosives detector dog. After graduation she was assigned to the 483rd MWD Detachment where she went on to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on three different occasions.
Beast served the Fort Huachuca community honorably and was recognized Oct. 31, 2011, by the War Dog Association for serving with honor, courage and loyalty.
Her friendly and chipper attitude made it very difficult to believe that she had the ability to put someone in their place, but anyone who knew her knew she was more than capable of doing so, according to those who served with her.
After she retired a little over a year ago, Maj. Shawn Fitzgerald, the former 18th MP Det. commander, adopted Beast. He provided her with a life much different from her military service by taking her to visit New York’s Central Park and to see the sights of Boston. Fitzgerald returned to Fort Huachuca for the memorial with half of her ashes for burial in the MWD cemetery.
“I had a great year with her,” Fitzgerald said. “Towards the end she got sick, very sick in the last few days, but she never let on that she was in any pain. She was just as tough in retirement as she was while working here with you guys.”
MWD Dag was trained as a patrol narcotics detector dog. Following graduation, he served at Fort Huachuca. Dag’s presence in the room was entertaining and his loyalty to his handlers was unmatched, according to the 483rd MWD Detachment Soldiers.
Sgt. Troy Adkins, Dag’s last handler, spoke of his bond with Dag, remembering the goofy look on Dag’s face and how he liked to play so much he would find anything, even a rock or a stick, to play with.
“He was my best friend,” Adkins said.
During the memorial Spc. Robert Cavaco, 483rd MWD Det. dog handler, read the poem “Guardians of the Night” and Sgt. 1st Class Craig Hannum, detachment sergeant, 18th MP Det., read “A Dog’s Prayer.”
Following the memorial, guests gathered for a barbeque and talked about their favorite military working dogs, past and present.