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Back from vacation, for a few days anyway, hope you had a wonderful and Merry Christmas season.

We lost a lot of good folks the last couple of days, Jack Klugman and Charles Durning being the two main ones.  Both WWII veterans, and at least Durning was apparently VERY decorated.  Am waiting to get the documents on Durning pertaining to his Silver Star before I write about him.

But we lost someone else this week, a veteran of Iraq who passed away at the age of 11.  Sgt Rex.

Sergeant Rex, the bomb-sniffing dog who was finally allowed to retire in Rockland with his former handler, Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey of Valley Cottage, died Saturday at the age of 11.

Rex served two tours of duty with Leavey and had first gone to Iraq in 2004 with handler Mike Dowling, whose 2011 book, “Sergeant Rex,” focuses on the dog.

Rex was by Leavey’s side when they were both wounded by the blast of an improvised explosive device outside Ramadi in September 2006. They were separated a year later after she was discharged from the Marines.

I don't do well with dog stories, because I love mine so much, and I don't have any kids (yet).  When I see those videos of soldiers coming home to their dogs, it always makes me think of how mine reacted when I got home, and I just tear up.  Much like I did when I read this....

“I am so grateful for the last (eight) months I got to spend with my partner and my best friend,” Leavey wrote.

Rex enjoyed his final days swimming, playing with other dogs, roaming the yard, barking at deer, sleeping in a cozy bed, enjoying his first snowfall and chasing and eventually making friends with Leavey’s two cats.

“He knew I was with him the whole time and I laid next to him and held him and spoke to him and he was at peace in the end,” Leavey wrote. “He is now my guardian angel …even though he already was.”

Oooof.  Like a punch to the chest.

RIP Sgt Rex.  And my heart absolutely breaks for Sergeant Leavey.  I lost my dog on Thanksgiving a few years ago, and every time that holiday comes up I get a little sad.  I hope Sergeant Leavey is okay, and I pray for her and Rex.



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Rest in peace comrade.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.