Heroic Dog ‘Valdo' Saves Four Coalition Lives
(April 20, 2011)
Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Lee, military
working dog handler, gives a silent command to
Petty Officer 2nd Class Valdo, his Navy military
working dog, during a training session at
Forward Operating Base Todd, Bala Murghab
District, Baghdis province, Afghanistan, April
2, 2011. During an April 4 fire fight, Valdo was
wounded by a rocket propelled grenade and as of
April 5, was in stable condition at Camp Arena,
Herat. Valdo likely saved the lives of four
service members during the RPG attack.
HERAT, Afghanistan (4/16/2011) – Petty Officer
1st Class Valdo is a Navy military working dog
and he's trained to smell explosives.
Though Valdo is a veteran at bomb and improvised
explosive device detection, the 7-year-old
patrol dog's abilities were tested on an April 3
combat foot patrol north of the Bala Murghab
security bubble in Badghis province,
Red Platoon, Bulldog Troop,
7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment scouts from
Fort Carson, Colo., ventured further than
coalition forces ever had before on the mission,
and plotted fighting positions, and to
anticipate possible enemy location.
Valdo's role was to smell out mines, IEDs or
booby traps. He served honorably.
all dogs are cut out to be patrol dogs. He was
hand selected in Germany,” said Petty Officer
3rd Class Ryan Lee, Valdo's handler, who hails
from Lynnhurst, N.J.
Red Platoon came
under a sustained attack the
following morning, and Valdo was injured by a
rocket propelled grenade, which breached Red
Platoon's fighting position and landed directly
Valdo was seriously injured in the blast. He absorbed most
of the grenade's shrapnel, which possibly saved the lives of
other nearby servicemembers.|
“If Valdo wasn't
here, I'm pretty sure I'd be dead right now,” said Pfc. Ben
Bradley, Red Platoon scout, who hails from Sarasota, Fla.
Bradley was dug into a firing position merely three
feet from Valdo, and suffered minor injuries to his leg.
A fellow sailor carried Valdo two kilometers south of
the spot he was wounded to Combat Outpost Metro, where Valdo
was treated by Spc. Kellen West, Red Platoon medic.
He was then air medical evacuated to Forward Operating Base
Todd. Once there a doctor stabilized Valdo then sent him on
another medevac to Camp Arena, Herat, where Valdo remained
in stable condition April 5.
It is doubtful that
Valdo will continue to serve as a working dog, which may end
up being a blessing in disguise for Lee, who'd hoped to
adopt Valdo but was having trouble aligning his rotation
date from Rota, Spain, to Valdo's retirement date.
light of the heroic wounds Valdo suffered, his service will
likely end in the near future.
“You get pretty close
to the dogs,” said Lee. “[Valdo and I] are always together.
We live in the same tent, eat at the same times, and don't
really have much, so make do with what we've got.”
Article and photo by USAF TSgt. Kevin Wallace|
Regional Command West
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