Paws, boots on ground again Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Command Sgt. Major Warren Montgomery, 5th Engr. Bn., shakes the hand of a Soldier at a deployment ceremony on Feb. 8.
Story and photo by Sgt. Kelly Malone
Special to GUIDON

K-9 handlers, a veterinary technician, a supply specialist and one mine detection dog were honored by 49th Mine Detection Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, in a deployment ceremony attended by brigade leadership, fellow Soldiers and Family members, held at the K-9 kennels on Feb. 8.

Battalion and brigade leaders spoke to the group of deploying Soldiers and their Families.

“We have come together many times over the last 18 months to farewell a K-9 team. The only company that has deployed since 2004 continuously, said Lt. Col. Christopher McGowan, 5th Eng. Bn. commander.

“No one gives more — but today, for me, more than ever — it’s a sense of the sacrifice that you all make,” McGowan said.

“Retired 1st Sgt. McFarland deployed three times with our unit and Spc. Cody McFarland is on his second time.  That is a lot to ask for one Family to offer their country,” McGowan said.

“1st Lt. (Wesley) Baker had a baby two weeks ago, Sgt. (Dustin) Pape had a baby four or five months ago, Spc. (Brandon) Ingram, four months ago, Staff Sgt. (Perry) Pyle, three months ago, and yet you stand up and you raise your hand and say ‘send me’.  I am in awe and our nation is in awe.  I am very proud of you and thank you for all you do,” McGowan said.

Mine detection dogs have been deploying to Afghanistan for more than eight years, McGown said.

“The first time I was associated with the mine dog detachment and saw what was going on at Bagram (Air Base), Bagram was one of the most dangerous places on earth,” said Col. James F. Reckard III, 4th MEB commander.

“The U.S. Air Force can have a presence on Bagram (Air Base) for a long, long time largely due to the efforts of this very company. I know that you have trained well enough to meet the challenge. I am proud of each and every one of you,” Reckard said.

One Soldier, Spc. Cody McFarland, K-9 handler, was individually recognized for having close Family ties to the battalion and will leave a few days sooner than his comrades.

“Ever since I’ve known him, and before I ever knew who his dad was, I had an awesome opinion of Spc. McFarland, and he has all the respect in the world from me,” said Capt. Patrick McLain, 49th MDD commander.

Command Sgt. Maj. Warren Montgomery, 5th Engr. Bn., closed the  ceremony with a prayer, after which the deploying Soldiers received handshakes and hugs from those in attendance.

This group of 49th MDD Soldiers and military working dogs are slated to deploy next week for a 12 month deployment to Afghanistan.

(Editor’s note: Malone is a photojournalist assigned to the 4th MEB Public Affairs Office.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 March 2013 )