04/18/08 — Missing After Action

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Missing After Action

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 18, 2008 1:49 PM

Jamie Emerson had just gotten back from a deployment in Korea when she received orders to report to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

But her fiancé was assigned to Langley, so when the staff sergeant arrived in Goldsboro, she was "all alone."

Well, except for her German shepherd, Beny.

"He has just been my rock. We did everything together," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "He's like my little person. I mean, I know dogs don't speak English, but he got what I was saying, you know?"

But for the last two weeks, there has been no playful fetching of the remote control.

There have been no walks, no games with his ball or toys.

April 5, Beny went missing.

One minute he was outside using the bathroom, and the next, he was gone.

"He just disappeared into thin air," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "The one time he didn't have his collar on."

She knows dogs run away all the time.

But Beny is not your typical shepherd.

He is a retired airman.

So now that he is missing, his owner is passing on sleep to bring him home.

"He was a washout," Staff Sgt. Emerson said. "It's like, you know how some people just aren't suited for the military program? Well, it's the same with dogs. Beny is absolutely amazing, but he just didn't have the drive to go search for explosives."

Like other military working dogs that are retired, Beny's story only had two potential endings -- adoption or euthanasia.

Staff Sgt. Emerson understood the stakes.

She has been an Air Force handler for eight years.

So when he made the move the Goldsboro, he was treated "like a king."

"He deserves a great life," Ms. Emerson said. "He's a soldier."

So if you see a German shepherd wandering around a Wayne County woods, stop and make a call.

And if you have him, just bring him home.

The truth is, Staff Sgt. Emerson needs Beny as much as he needs her, she said.

After all, a comrade always has a better understanding of another.

"I love Beny. I need him. His mission was not done," she said. "So if somebody does have him, I hope they are someone with a heart. I hope they do the right thing. No questions will be asked."

Beny is black and tan and has a white spot on his chest.

But what makes him unique is the military-issued tattoo on the inside his left ear.

It reads L282.

Anyone with information on Beny or his whereabouts is asked to call the Goldsboro Police Department, Staff Sgt. Emerson at 757-478-3991 or The News-Argus at 739-7841.

A reward has been offered.