'Legendary' Military Canine Remembered at Ceremony

Military Working Dog Jack goes after a decoy perpetrator from the 325th Security Forces Squadron, during in-water bite training last June on the beach at Tyndall Air Force Base. (US Air Force photo/Alex Echols)
Military Working Dog Jack goes after a decoy perpetrator from the 325th Security Forces Squadron, during in-water bite training last June on the beach at Tyndall Air Force Base. (US Air Force photo/Alex Echols)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Military hero Jack went on Secret Service missions, saved fellow service members from possible harm and sometimes bit people.

Jack, a work dog assigned to the 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, was commemorated on base during a memorial ceremony Friday. The feisty Belgian Malinois worked in explosives and patrols, and recently died of illness.

Jack was "the best dog," according to former handler Quinton Pigg, who traveled from an Air Force base in Virginia to attend the ceremony.

"Everyone on base knew Jack," said Pigg. "Jack was a dog who could do anything you wanted with a little guidance. ... It was a hassle to travel with Jack, but I would not change a day of it. Jack got me through a lot while I was away from my family."

Jack's handlers mentioned filling his water bowl and how the dog could be temperamental when he first met people. However, once the vigilant canine got to know someone, he was a faithful companion and loyal service member.

"We became a team. Everyone that met Jack, they will always have a story, either that dog's crazy, that's an awesome dog," said O.J. Ornelas, another of Jack's handlers. "Jack is a legendary dog. My first memorable moment was on our first deployment together. We went to Saudi Arabia and our first stop from leaving the states was in Paris, France. ... Jack and I got to spend New Year's in Paris."

A picture of Jack and a kennel were displayed during the ceremony. Some onlookers and service members shed tears. Ceremonial speakers recited the Working Dog's Oath and Guardians of the Night Poem.

"Military working dogs enhance Security Forces capabilities to protect resources, enforce military laws, suppress drugs, detect explosives, and protect installations," according to a statement from Tyndall. "Because of their keen sense of smell, military working dogs are most effective during nighttime hours. In war fighting roles, military working dogs provide enhanced patrol and detection capability to perimeter and point defense. In bare base operations, military working dogs serve as an early warning system."

Pigg said Friday's remembrance was "special."

"I really appreciate everybody that comes out and shows their support because it's a small community in the Air Force, to see people come out from different walks of life in the military, to show respect to somebody that might go unseen that provided security for base personnel to do their jobs," said Pigg.

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This article is written by Collin Breaux from The News Herald, Panama City, Fla. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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