AMN Waldo dog-K9

Photo added by Juanda Owens B.

AMN Waldo dog-K9

On his two deployments to Afghanistan, Waldo, a military working dog assigned to Joint Base Charleston, kept American units safe.

This morning, the 11-year-old German shepherd will be laid to rest with military honors, including a 21-gun salute.

A base spokesperson said the high honor is warranted, even though Waldo stood guard on four legs.

"He is considered an airman," Lt. Leah Davis, of the public affairs office, said Tuesday. "He supports the mission, just like all of our airmen do."

Waldo, part of the 628th Security Forces Squadron, passed away March 9. He was about to be adopted but died after a short illness. He had served most of his career at Charleston and was trained to detect narcotics and in installation protection.

Officials stressed Tuesday that dogs are part of the military, and that the working relationship with their handlers is considered extremely close. The pairs are known to share the same sleeping bag on some assignments.

"Military working dogs train, deploy and fight with their handlers, and oftentimes, save lives while performing their duties," said Rose Alexander, another base spokesperson. "They are ‘veterans' and have served our nation."

Immediately following the memorial, a procession led by the Patriot Guard motorcycle escort will proceed to the base's Military Working Dog cemetery, where Waldo's remains will be interred.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Joint Base Charleston Air Base Theater.
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To Air Force accountants, he was government equipment: military working dog Waldo F033.

To those who knew him, he was the top dog in the kennel, the one who had excitedly rubbed his tail against his cage so often that it had to be surgically removed. The "nub" only added to his personality.
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Funeral for Military Dog

Waldo Memorial Service
Included Media

"He was the first to start barking when somebody would walk through the kennel door," Col. Frances Dorish, security force commander at the Charleston Air Force Base, recalled.

Each day would begin with a commotion so loud "everyone longed for ear plugs," she added.

In a rare funeral ceremony on Air Force base property, Waldo's remains were laid to rest beneath a live oak tree Wednesday, not far from the kennel where the base's other team of security dogs are housed.

The 11-year-old German shepherd died earlier this year after a brief illness, ending an Air Force career that included two deployments to Afghanistan. He'd been both a combat patrol dog and a "sniffer," trying to expose locals wanting to smuggle drugs onto U.S. installations.

Col. Justin Davey said it was fitting to give full memorial honors to a working animal, saying any human member of the 628th Security Forces Squadron who performed similar deeds would be equally rewarded.

"He earned it," Davey said, "and honor requires it."

Wednesday's memorial was heavy on ceremony. Waldo's empty kennel crate was displayed with his leather leash hanging from the gate. His water dish was turned upside-down, symbolizing its use is over.

The set-up is called the "missing dog display."

However, a previously announced 21-shot memorial volley did not take place. Instead, three service members fired three shots each from their M-14 rifles, for a total of nine.

The base's media affairs office said the change was made because Waldo had been recently retired.

Waldo's handler of two years, Sgt. Brandon Edwards, has moved on to a new dog, but he said he still considers Waldo a best friend who only wanted to please in exchange for a toy, a scratch and a place to sleep.

"When he had to work, you just turned him on, and he would work," he said. "Then you could turn him right back off, and he was a fun-loving dog again."


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  • Created by: Juanda Owens B.
  • Added: 6 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 91432259
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for AMN Waldo dog-K9 (2001–9 Mar 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 91432259, citing Joint Base Charleston Military Working Dog cemeter, North Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Juanda Owens B. (contributor 46581824) .