Just a dog and his family, almost, after being a hero
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 23, 2013 1:46 PM
Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell
News-Argus file photo
Charlie, a military working dog, was retired by the Air Force this morning during a ceremony on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The dog partnered with Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell, a 4th Fighter Wing Security Forces airman who stepped on an improvised explosive device during his tour in Afghanistan. Both Charlie and the airman were injured in the blast -- and both received the Purple Heart.
To Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell, he is more than just a dog.
He is a confidant -- a partner.
He's family -- a bond forged in Afghanistan when the two were nearly killed while on patrol not far from the Bagram Airfield wire.
So when the Air Force announced that it would retire Military Working Dog Charlie this morning during a ceremony on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base -- when Seekell was told that his home would be the place where his four-legged best friend would spend the rest of his days -- he started to get excited.
Charlie, he said, deserves a dignified retirement.
And he and his family are proud to be the ones to provide it for him.
A MWD that has been profiled everywhere from local newspapers and radio stations to the "Fox and Friends" television show traded in his military collar today, as the 4th Fighter Wing officially deactivated Charlie from service.
But he and Seekell, who were both injured -- and received the Purple Heart -- when the airman stepped on an improvised explosive device during their 2011 tour, will have to wait a few more weeks for their next, and final, reunion, as Charlie still has to pass some tests before finding his forever home.
"You know, it's gonna be great to have him in the house enjoying the rest he deserves," Seekell said. "As we're getting closer to bringing him home and just letting him be a dog and be part of the family, I'm starting to get really excited about it."