K-9 Warrior: Special Operations Forces Tribute
By Roy Cook
Recently an official memorial, July 27, 2013 at 10 am. the first tribute in the nation specifically honoring SOF dogs, a life size statue of a Belgian Malinois was dedicated. During Sgt. Maj. Chuck Yerrys several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Special Operations Forces (SOF), dogs were almost always on his team. I saw them do things that saved lives every day, like avoid an ambush or detect explosives, says Yerry.
Most retired military dogs are adopted by their handler or another working-dog agency. But what about those that dont make it home? After being assigned to an SOF kennel at Fort Bragg in 2009, Yerry began to keep track of the dogs that died in war zones around the world. To date, the number of SOF dogs killed in action stands at 58.
Historically, grave markers and individual memorials were paid for by SOF handlers, but Yerry and others believed these four-legged warriors also deserved official recognition. So in May 2010, SM Yerry, along with a small group of military and civilian advocates, began raising money and lobbying for a memorial, eventually forming the nonprofit SOF K9 Memorial Foundation in 2012. This past spring, the group announced that an official memorial, the first in the nation specifically honoring SOF dogs, a life size statue of a Belgian Malinois with combat vest, would be placed at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg.