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Military Working Dog Retires at NAS Sigonella

28 December 2021

From Petty Officer 2nd Class Josh Cote

NAS SIGONELLA, Italy - Military working dog (MWD) Weezy, assigned to Naval Air Station Sigonella security department, retired during a ceremony on NAS Sigonella after more than 10 years of distinguished service, Dec. 17, 2021.

In his opening remarks, Chief Master-at-Arms Jordyn Japec noted that the history of MWDs can be traced back to at least 600 B.C.E. In ancient times, dogs were used to break up enemy formations, charging into ranks and tearing down as many soldiers as possible. Dogs have been used in every American war from the Civil War to our modern day conflicts. They have served as mascots, couriers, sentries, scouts and even rat chasers on ships.

Today, dogs are used to search for explosives, sniff out narcotics and to take down bad guys both at home and abroad. They are often the first line of defense between our armed forces and the enemy.

During the ceremony, numerous people spoke on Weezy’s behalf. He was also awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his years of service to his country.

While deployed, the relationship between a handler and dog can become more important than usual.

“Few will ever know the bond that is felt between a MWD and their handler,” said Japec. “It is saying ok, lets go sweep this roadway for explosives before we go tackle an objective. It is searching a building, and having the confidence in each other’s ability to let everyone back in. However, beyond that, is the part that the non-handler world does not see; it is the genuine joy that handler and the dog feel from just each other’s company. It is the only familiar face during long down-range deployments. It is the wag of a tail and a cold nose before, during and after a long day at work, and sometimes the only sanity during our chaotic days.”

Weezy was born in April of 2009, and he began his explosives training at Lackland Air Force base in March 2011. Upon successful completion of his training, Weezy was stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he received continued specialized search dog training.

In July of 2011, he went to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms to conduct pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. While deployed, Weezy took part in anti-improvised explosive device operations, supporting and defending countless service members. Following his deployment, Weezy returned to Fort Bragg in April of 2012 and continued his service there until Oct. 2021.

In November of 2021, Weezy crossed over to serve in the U.S Navy, where he was stationed at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay until Jan. 2020.

Weezy sustained severe injuries while completing a search training exercise in a warehouse at NSA Souda Bay, fracturing his tibia and fibula. It took Weezy 19 months, including three surgeries and rehabilitation, to finally get back to fit-for-duty status.

Following the end of his time in NSA Souda Bay, Weezy transferred to NAS Sigonella, where he was able to finish out his time in the Navy and prepare for his new life of relaxing on the couch with one of his former handlers in North Carolina.

 

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