MILITARY PHOTOS: Current Index  2013 Index  2012 Index  2011 Index  2010 Index  2009 Index  2008 Index  2007 Index  2006 Index

Willy Pete Watches over Marines


Posted 8/2/2011

COMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - Willy Pete and Marines with Company D, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), rest before going out on a recent patrol. Willy has gone on more than 30 combat patrols in the last 60 days.


Story by Cpl. Jeff Drew

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PAYNE, Helmand province, Afghanistan – He defends Marines and sailors with love and tenacity, protecting them as any Marine would protect a brother-in-arms. He is the epitome of man’s best friend, shielding service members from the enemy while providing companionship and camaraderie. His name is Willy Pete, and he’s a warrior, a protector, a friend. He’s also a dog.

Company D, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), arrived in the Khan Neshin District in the summer of 2009 for a seven-month deployment and established a coalition presence in the Southwest part of Afghanistan. The LAR Marines pushed west to gain a firm position in a town called Qal’ah-ye Now, where they found two dogs in a compound they began using as a patrol base. The dogs were beaten and malnourished. One of them was pregnant and the Marines named her Sandy; the other dog was small and frail, and the Marines fittingly named him Scraggles. The company adopted the two dogs, who accepted the Marines as family. Sandy soon had her litter of puppies, one of which would be named Willy Pete. All the puppies went to local residents to protect their farms and herd livestock, but Willy had a different opportunity – he went to the Marines of Company D for companionship.

Scraggles and Sandy grew fond of the Marines in Qal’ah-ye Now and began to protect the patrol base, keeping unwanted dogs and suspicious people away. Willy began to demonstrate the same protective traits of his mother as he grew. He also learned how to patrol with the Marines, what a patrol formation was, and how to react when they came in contact with the enemy. Willy has gone through three complete combat rotations since then as each LAR unit has taken charge of the area in the past two years.

The veteran dog usually takes the lead when the Marines go on patrol now. He stays in front until the Marines pass through the bazaar outside the combat outpost. Local residents often look up in recognition of the dog, who seems to fancy himself a Marine. Willy relocates to a new position once he establishes a clear path for the Marines and begins moving from one side of the patrol to the other, warning Marines of anyone’s approach with a quick bark or a low growl.


< Previous Photo: Carrier Training
Next Photo: Torpedo Practice >


Send Link to a Friend
Comment     View Comments (7)



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics