The Story of
Lex and Dusty
"I was on the
job in Fallujah,
when an enemy fired Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) exploded in our midst. I was
blasted to the ground. I’m Stunned. My head is ringing and my body feels numb.
My eyes can’t quite focus on anything. My partner is lying next to me severely
wounded and bleeding. I move to him and touch him but he’s not responding. I
feel sharp pains in my side and back. I’m bleeding but deal with it and
concentrate on comforting my partner and protecting him from further harm.
happened so fast that it caused disorientation and confusion. My senses pick up
the lingering smell of burnt powder and smoke from the explosion. I hear lots of
American voices and heavy boot-steps hurrying all around us. They reach our
location and immediately attend to my partner. And then they carry him away. I’m
separated from my partner for the first time. I’m not clear of thought and then
I too am carried way but to a different hospital.
in a building lying on a table with lights above and people talking. Still dazed
and confused I hear a strange voice say my name, “Lex!” I gesture a slight
reflex of acknowledgement. “Lex! You are going to be okay buddy! Just lay still.
We are going to take care of your hurts, so stay calm okay, Lex?” My eyes dart
around the room searching for my partner, but he’s not there and no one can
interpret my thoughts. I’m released from the hospital and well enough to travel
so they transfer me from Iraq to a U.S. Marine Corp base in
really miss my partner, Dusty. I know something has happened to him because he
would never have left me alone for so long. Yes, my name is Lex. I’m a seven
year old German shepherd Military Working Dog, service number E132.
master and loyal partner is Corporal Dustin Jerome Lee, 20 year old
Marine Corps canine handler from
Mississippi. I’m well disciplined to my master’s
commands and expertly trained to sniff out bombs and explosives. Where’s my
master, Dusty? Where’s Dusty, my partner? No one can understand me but Dusty.
Where’s Dusty? Iraq was to be my last combat tour
Dusty talked to me all the time about
going home and adopting me. I sure do miss my Dusty. He is the best friend I’ve
ever had. I love that crazy Marine from
Mississippi! No one can measure the love and
unconditional loyalty I have for Dusty. I’d sacrifice my own life for him and he
knows it. I just wish I could have stopped that RPG or pushed Dusty away from
that powerful blast. It all happened in a blink of an eye and I didn’t see it
coming until it was too late.
I sit alone in my kennel-run waiting for the day Dusty shows up. The
Marines are treating me very well. I get enough food and water and exercise each
day. And the Veterinarian comes by to examine my wounds on a regular basis. I
just can’t sleep well at night. I wake up to every little noise and I think
about Dusty. Where can that Marine be? The nights are long. The days turn into
weeks. Still no Dusty! My wounds are healing and my hair is growing back. The
pain still resides in my back but I can walk okay. I have a piece of shrapnel
near my spine that the Veterinarians avoided removing for fear of further health
complications. I have spent twelve weeks in rehabilitation after my surgery. One
of the dog handlers gave me a real good bath and grooming. I felt so refreshed
because I was on my way to meet Dusty’s family. Maybe Dusty will be there
waiting for me.
I arrived I sensed something was not quite right. Dusty wasn’t there and
everyone was sad, but very happy to greet me. I then realized that I was
attending Dusty’s funeral. Everyone showed up to pay their respects. Dusty is a
real American hero and he was buried with full military honors. I was so proud
to have been his last best friend and partner.
particular moment of total silence during the ceremony, I sniffed a slight scent
in the air that was very familiar. It smelled like Dusty. I figured he sent me a
signal that he knew I was there! I wagged my tail and moaned a sigh of grief
that he would only hear and understand. I just about lost my tail in that
horrible explosion and a veterinarian fixed it so it wags okay now.
was greeted by the Lee family with joy in their hearts. The picture is of
Dustin’s mom, Rachel, and me in church. It felt so warm and comfortable to be
with my partner’s loving family. I wanted to stay but I was escorted away after
the funeral and back to Albany, Georgia.
What is going to happen to me now? Wait a minute! I was due for retirement,
right? Why did the military take me to see Dusty’s family and not leave me
there? I belong with them in Mississippi not
here in Georgia.
The Lee family
adopting me would not be too much to ask considering they will never again see
their son, grandson, brother, nephew and friend. Adopting me will keep a big
part of Dusty’s life alive for them and for me too! I will enable Dusty’s family
to experience what he already knew about me. I loved and protected him
everywhere we went and even on the battlefield in Iraq. It’s time the U.S. Marine
Corps allowed Dustin’s family to adopt me. I’m not a young pup anymore, you
know! I’m a senior and of retirement age. I want to spend last years of my life
with the Lee family. It’s where I now belong! It’s been eight long months since
we buried my partner, Dustin, and all attempts by the Lee family to adopt me
Marines have placed me back on duty training new recruits. My back bothers me
some but I’m an expert on the job. It’s the recruits that have a lot to learn
about keeping their eyes on me and understanding my body language. Dustin and I
bonded as a team and our minds were always in sync. Then there was a turn of
events in my adoption. Congressman Walter B. Jones of North
heard my story and immediately contacted the U.S.
Marine Corps in Washington D.C. demanding my release.
Marines really showed off their passion for the Lee family and me too! They even
dispatched a Veterinarian to give me a complete medical examination. I felt a
sense of excitement that I hadn't felt in a very long time. I even have a prance
in my step! The Veterinarian signed the papers saying I’m okay to be adopted. I
got an honorable discharge from the
Marine Corps was home with the Lee family for Christmas. Dusty? I’m sure you had
something to do with all this from heaven. I still love to visit your room and
lie down on your bed and sniff your boots and clothes. Living with your family
is like having you around again, Dusty!" Always Faithful, Lex (E132) German
Shepherd Military Working Dog U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)