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A Wounded Marine Was Reunited With His Service Dog When He Needed Him Most
Every day in Afghanistan in 2011, Spike the black Labrador retriever had the important job of detecting explosives and clearing daily patrol routes. But Spike did more than just find improvised explosive devices before they could kill and maim U.S. troops; he also served as a loyal best friend and morale booster for his handler, Lance Cpl. Jared Heine.
The pair was inseparable. They slept in the same bunk and greeted Heine’s mother together via Skype. “We were just like brothers,” Heine told Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Jim Nolan. “We were like one person.” They were also inseparable on hazardous missions, including the three times they triggered IED explosions.
Wounded in the last explosion, Heine returned home with a Purple Heart, but not Spike. Seeing that her son was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, Heine’s mother turned to the Internet to try to track down Spike in the hope of reuniting the pair.
Her search ended with the Virginia Capitol Police and 27-year-old K-9 Officer Laura Taylor. Like Heine, Spike is the first and only dog she has partnered with in uniform. They had been together nearly nonstop, on duty and at home for two years as both friends and colleagues. “He never lets me down – he’s what I depend on and has always been there,” Taylor said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I can’t explain how much he means to me.”
Last week, the two lives of Spike formally converged outside Virginia’s state capitol building in Richmond. Heine, who had traveled from Louisiana for the reunion, approached Spike for the first time in three years. “Right when he got next to me he knew it was me … It was like we didn’t skip a beat,” he told CBS News, which aired video of parts of the reunion.
Taylor’s eyes filled with tears and her body shook as she watched the unshakable bond between two old best friends. “My knees were wobbly,” she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It was emotional.”
She then informed Heine that she and her superiors intend to retire Spike in a month. Since the first handler has the option to keep a retired military dog, that means Spike will be reunited with Heine permanently.
Although reluctant to give up her best friend, Taylor knew Heine needed Spike more than she did. “He’s more important to me than anybody else can know, but we have to do what’s right for the whole situation,” Taylor told CBS News.
Then it was Spike’s turn to watch as Heine embraced a teary-eyed Taylor. She had one request: “Just take good care of him.”
“I promise I will,” Heine replied.
Watch the CBS Evening News report below:
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
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"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
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Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
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