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The bad guys and their improvised explosive devices couldn't hide from Marine Sgt. Yeager, a Purple Heart veteran of three tours in Afghanistan.
His specialty was route clearance, and he was credited with sniffing out dozens of roadside bombs in more than 100 combat patrols for his Marine buddies.
On April 12, 2012, Yeager and his handler, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, were hit by one of those roadside bombs while on patrol in southwestern Helmand province with a unit from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.
Tarwoe, originally from Liberia, perished in the blast and Yeager was hit with shrapnel and lost part of an ear.
Yeager was one of four working dogs who received American Humane's K-9 Medal of Courage in a ceremony Tuesday at the Rayburn House Office Building.
In 2012, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe and his dog, Sgt. Yeager, were patrolling the Marjah district of Iraq.
A Marine had been injured by an IED, an improvised explosive device, so the pair were looking for other bombs in the area.
Suddenly, Tarwoe stepped on a buried IED, and it exploded, killing him.
Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds that took months to recover from and cost him part of his right ear.
Ninety-two military working dogs died in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-13, according to a study in Military Medicine. Roughly one in four died from explosions, the second leading cause of death after gunshot wounds.
Yeager was awarded a Purple Heart for his injuries after serving three combat tours and over 100 detection patrols.
Now, the 12-year-old Labrador retriever is going to Hollywood, where he will be honored as the nation's top military dog and will compete for the title of American Hero Dog.
Earlier this month, U.S. military personnel at Naval Base San Diego were surprised with a special treat when country music singer and songwriter Chris Young ("I'm Comin' Over," and "Think of You") dropped in for a visit before a nearby performance as part of his Raised On Country Tour. Young and tour sponsor USAA have prioritized visiting military bases and offering tickets to every service members who wants to see his show, which is exactly what he did that night in San Diego.
But his visit was about more than just promoting his tour. As Young told Task & Purpose, his family ties to the military (both his sister and brother-in-law served as Marines), along with friends who serve, have made personally saying "thank you" to U.S. service members "really, really important" to him, no matter where he travels.
It's not necessarily surprising: the country star has a history of working to spend time with men and women in uniform.
In 2009, Young traveled to Iraq, Kuwait, and Germany with fellow country artist Craig Morgan for Stars For Stripes, an organization that provides entertainment for troops overseas; in 2013, Young raised over $30,000 for Stars For Stripes, and he partnered with Crown Royal a few years later for a fan giveaway, which included Crown Royal donating $10,000 to Stars For Stripes. And in April this year, a month before his tour kicked off, Young performed at a NFL Draft USAA Salute to Service event for service members at Fort Campbell.
Young spoke with Task & Purpose last Friday about his trip to San Diego and what meeting with service men and women means to him. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
It's a doggy dog world for the United States Postal Service.
The United States federal government's independent postal agency officially released a new set of Forever Stamps in honor of the nation's brave and loyal canines with the Military Working Dogs on Thursday.
Today is National K-9 Veterans Day, and if you didn't know, it's truly my honor to be the one to tell you.
The morning after Thanksgiving, my dog, Dyngo, was having trouble walking. He’s a strong, happy dog, so with some coaxing, he managed a walk outside. By that evening, he couldn’t stand, laying with his eyes closed, crying — something he never does. I sat on the floor stroking his large head, crying too because I thought he might be dying.