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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » Unsung Glory #13
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Since the time of Imperial Rome man has gone to war with dogs by his side. In those barbaric days war dogs were unleashed to thin the enemy line and strike fear in their hearts. There was no thought to the dogs well being or to his other innate abilities, only the strength of is jaws, the sharpness of his teeth, and the viciousness of his heart.

Today we have a different relationship with our war dogs. They are valued as fellow soldiers and Marines, as special warriors with exceptional and unique skills. Their wounds are tended and their futures provided for. And it is an investment well worth the expense. Since WWII, war dogs have demonstrated their invaluable skills and devotion to their handlers. Their keen sense of smell could detect an ambush or sniper, and they could actually hear the wind “singing” across booby trap trip wires. Being more in tuned with their instincts, the could sense things that even the most combat experienced grunt would miss. There is the story of the Army dog handler in Viet Nam who received a new war dog, a rambunctious and stubborn German Shepherd. War dogs were in constant demand and the handler found his self on point with a dog who seemingly refused to listen to his commands. Moving through a field the dog would guide left, then right, going his own direction and ignoring the handler, who found his self along for the ride, as was the platoon following them. When they had crossed the field the platoon commander called a halt and approached the dog handler, who braced himself for an ass chewing of monumental proportions. Instead, the Lieutenant praised him and his dog for avoiding all of the mines and booby traps that his men had found at every “undisciplined” turn the dog had made. Later in his tour the same handler lay exposed and wounded in the middle of a firefight. The rambunctious Shepherd grabbed his LBE gear with his teeth and pulled him to safety. He then covered the handler with his own body and took five rounds that would have hit him instead. That kind of bond is as deep as any bond shared between men in combat. One such bond has come full circle this week.

Cpl. Dustin J. Lee enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004, like so many others straight out of high school. Born in Quitman Mississippi on April 7th, 1986, he had been raised with a sense of duty and service by his father Jerome, a Mississippi Highway Patrolman, and Rachel, a school teacher.

Cpl. Lee was a War Dog Handler stationed at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany Georgia, and was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Bn, II MEF for his deployment to Iraq. On March 21st 2007 he and his war dog Lex were conducting a patrol in the Fallujah area with 3rd Platoon, G Battery, 3rd Bn. 14th Marines. Lex was an explosives sniffing dog, and he and Cpl. Lee’s job was simple, smell out IED’s and save Marines lives. Both Cpl. Lee and Lex had just six weeks left on their tour.

During combat operations that day a mortar round impacted and sent white hot shrapnel into Cpl. Lee’s chest. Lex was also wounded by the same blast. Both were medevaced, and while Lex survived, 20 year old Cpl. Lee did not. He would have turned 21 on April 7th.

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Cpl. Lee was laid to rest on Saturday April 1st 2007.

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Lex, recovered from his wounds, was also there.

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The Lee family felt the same bond that Cpl. Lee and Lex had felt and decided to adopt 8 year old war dog. The problem was that Lex still had two years of military service left. In the history of the Marine Corps War Dog program, no dog had ever been retired early so he could be adopted out. That did not deter the Lee family however.

Rachel Lee, Dustin’s mother, believes her son’s spirit lives on through Lex because of their close bond, because they were wounded together and because Lex was there as Dustin died.

“It was blood on blood,” she said. “We can’t get Dustin back, but we have Lex.”

They lobbied the Marine Corps for months, even involving their congressman in the effort. It paid off and on Friday December 21st, exactly 9 months after Dustin was killed, Lex was retired from the Corps and adopted by the Lee family during a ceremony at MCLB Albany GA, .

Col. Christian Haliday, commander of the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany said during the ceremony “Nobody can do anything to replace the void in this family. We hope Lex can bring a small piece of his spirit and help maintain his memory.”

As she played with Lex after the ceremony, Madison, Dustin’s 16 year old sister said “It’s not going to bring back my brother, but it’s something close to it,”

“A part of Dustin is in Lex,” said Justin Lee, the fallen Marine’s father. “To have Lex at home is a part of having Dustin at home.”

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At Cpl. Lee’s funeral, Jerome his father was asked by a reporter that despite the “tragedy” of Dustin’s death, if he was still proud of him. He replied “Most definitely. I’m very proud of him.”

And so should we all be. Proud of Dustin, of Lex, and of all the warriors who stand, and fall, so that we may live safe, free and secure. And so that others, who have suffered under tyranny, may taste the sweet nectar of freedom so many here have come to take for granted.

As a good friend told me “We had better stay the fuck in this thing and win it this time so these kinds of precious, unmatchable lives won’t have been wasted.”

The Lee family has established a memorial website to Cpl. Dustin Lee. Look at the photos there and remember him, and all those we have lost.

Their sacrifice can not, and will not, be in vain.

15 Responses to “Unsung Glory #13”
  1. LC Hardclimber54 Comment by LC Hardclimber54

    LC 0311 crunchie I.M.H.

    You did it again you beautiful sumvabitch, dust flying everywhere in my office this morning…

    Indeed a precious bond. That dog will be loved and cherished just the way Cpl Lee would have been had he returned home… And that dog has more honor and loyalty than most politicians who seem so anxious to betray their own. That dog would never have run away like they did.

    Lex for President!

  2. Spartan24 Comment by Spartan24

    Beautiful story. I am a dog lover and hearing wonderful stories about these great creatures is heartwarming.

  3. Unregistered Comment by mindy1

    Aww everytime I hear this story I cry-too bad for that family, but at least they got his dog.
    Thanks for all like them. Merry Christmas.

  4. Unregistered Comment by Ignorant Mensan

    And anyone who says dogs don’t have souls is a complete and utter fool. When I get to heaven, I have no doubt all the dogs I have ever loved and who loved me will be there to greet me.

    God bless them all.

  5. LC Joe D,  A&IG/GWN Comment by LC Joe D, A&IG/GWN

    Crunchie

    Each Christmas I try stoically not to have a tear come to my eye for the fallen and wounded sons and daughters of all the Nations in this battle against a truly evil enemy…….now you’ve done it. Some of HardClimbers dust has found its way over to my place.

    I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and my thoughts are with you all and with the families of our heroes.

    God Bless America and The Maple Leaf Forever.

    Joe D.

  6. Intellectual Conservative Comment by Intellectual Conservative

    And here’s a little blurb from one of the leftish trolls on BlameBush .. this moron goes by Megapix / Irish / KB / Mariana / Kropotkin Beard

    “Happy Christmas BB’ers! Spare a thought for those in need - and I don’t mean American troops.

    Posted by: megapix | December 23, 2007 at 12:57 PM”

    Kind of says it all doesn’t it?

  7. LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR Comment by LC JackBoot IC/A-OBR

    Dangit Crunch !!!!

    HardClimber and Joe’s dust got caught up in the jetstream and pushed into my digs.

    Another American Hero and his faithful companion putting it all on the line so the rest of us can sleep in peace at night. I certainly love my critters, but G-d in His Infinite Wisdom gave the canine a special bond and relationship with humans. Throughout history we’ve seen endless stories of those furry, loyal and noble creatures sensing danger to their masters and responding in ways completely out of character with an animal’s self-preservation instinct.

    It’s only proper to note the similarities between a dog’s loyalty and protectiveness and the soldier’s, both recognize that, the society (or pack) are worth more than the individual’s own life or health.

    May G-d grant Cpl. Lee his loving embrace in the mansion prepared for us all, and that some day he’ll be reunited with his beloved Rex on that Rainbow Bridge.

  8. MAJ Mike Comment by MAJ Mike

    Shai Dorsai!!!

  9. Unregistered Comment by fireman1

    Dam, I’m cryin’ I have a black lab, defintely a stong bond. Rest with the angels Cpl. Lee

  10. LC HJ Caveman82952 Comment by LC HJ Caveman82952

    I read that story and my eyes welled up. What a precious gift and bond! To see your brother in that creature, his best friend, willing to die for him. If that dog was mine I guarantee you he would live very well indeed. Loving him would be the easiest thing I ever did.

  11. Unregistered Comment by Sandflea

    God– I have tears in my eyes reading that story. I am so glad they got to adopt Rex. That is a truly inspiring tale.

  12. LC Old Dog Comment by LC Old Dog

    That is truly loyalty returned. I hope Lex has a long and Happy life.

    And to Maj. Mike 1 to that.

  13. Wild-Eyed Charlie Comment by Wild-Eyed Charlie

    Rachel Lee, Dustin’s mother, believes her son’s spirit lives on through Lex because of their close bond, because they were wounded together and because Lex was there as Dustin died.

    And…

    I read that story and my eyes welled up. What a precious gift and bond! To see your brother in that creature, his best friend, willing to die for him. If that dog was mine I guarantee you he would live very well indeed. Loving him would be the easiest thing I ever did.

    Dustin Lee’s in Heaven
    Lex will guard your loved ones well
    While you wait for them.

    (Not So ) Wild Eyed Charlie

  14. Wild-Eyed Charlie Comment by Wild-Eyed Charlie

    Window Decals honoring Cpl. Lee’s and Lex’s service are available.

    I train German Shepherd Dogs as a hobby. I belong to a club that trains GSD’s and puts on trials and such. Mostly a conservative bunch, but there’s a few libs that need a reminder of why they’re able to enjoy a hobby. They’ll now get it every time they look at my truck.

    To order (from the blog link in the mani story):

    To place an order email Dana Rich at lathan_rich@yahoo.com
    In the email please specify:
    1.) the SIZE of the Decal(s) you want
    3.) Quantity
    4.) Your name, your return address and a contact number (in case of questions
    regarding order)

    Send checks, money orders, cashier checks to:
    Stonewall Fallen Soldiers Memorial
    P.O. Box 53
    Stonewall, MS 39363

    Make checks payable to Stonewall Fallen Soldiers Memorial Fund.
    Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Some items are not printed until order is placed.

  15. LC NCLivingBrit Comment by LC NCLivingBrit

    I have got to stop reading these at work…. people look at a big guy tearing up at the front desk, even if they don’t say anything.

    Each and every day, our debt to these souls gets deeper…. Not sure there’s enough I could do to ever pay it back, you know?