You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Dog who served in Iraq, Afghanistan honored at Wright-Patt


Speaking next to an empty dog crate, Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Pritchett fought through tears Friday while remembering his one-time partner, Arko.

“Those who have called themselves dog handlers are the only people who can truly understand the bond between handlers and dogs. A bond that can’t be broken even in death,” Pritchett told those attending a memorial service for the military working dog.

Members of the 88th Security Forces Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remembered the German shepherd as one of their own during a service Friday morning at the Base Club. About 60 people attended the memorial along with eight other military and area police dogs and their handlers.

Arko served nearly five years as a patrol and explosive detector dog at the base. Arko and Pritchett, now the squadron’s kennel master, served two overseas tours together in Iraq and Afghanistan, always side-by-side. Arko was laid to rest Feb. 16, 2014, at the base kennel after dying suddenly of a twist in his intestines. He was six.

After the service began with the posting of colors and the singing of the National Anthem, Maj. John Rose, commander of the 88th Security Forces Squadron, said the unit lost one of their own.

“They are family. They go with us to some of the worst places on Earth,” Rose said.

Rose told those attending that working dogs play an important role in thwarting what he said is one of the biggest threats to base security: an explosive device aboard a vehicle.

“On a daily basis they’re out there making sure that threat doesn’t get on this base, and ensuring the safety and security of both the people and the resources on this base,” Rose said.

Rose listed a few of the missions Arko completed in the final year of his life. The list included four detection sweeps of presidential support aircraft and safeguarding thousands of personnel at the base and visitors to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Arko also responded to a middle school bomb threat and searched 200 rooms and 500 lockers to ensure a safe return for students, faculty and staff.

“Sometimes they go out there with us. Sometimes they die with us. And sometimes they even die for us,” Rose said.

As the service drew to a close a bugler played taps and the country’s flag was folded and handed to Arko’s last handler, Staff Sgt. Aaron Charles Walker.

“We’re not just celebrating a dog’s life, we’re celebrating a service member’s life,” Walker said. “He was my partner. He was just like any other of my fellow airmen that I work with every day.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Father of NFL hopeful killed in South Florida
Father of NFL hopeful killed in South Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The father of NFL hopeful and Florida State University star Travis Rudolph was killed this weekend in an accidental shooting, according to reports from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. >> Read more trending news Darryl Rudolph was shot over the weekend near Sugar Daddy’s Adult Cabaret...
Space Glossary
Space Glossary

  Asteroid: A large space rock that stays in space. These rocky objects orbit the sun and are much smaller than planets.   Bolide: The light emitted by a large meteoroid or asteroid as it explodes in the atmosphere.   Comet: A solid body made of ice, rock, dust and frozen gases. As they fracture and disintegrate, some comets leave a...
12-year-old caught after driving 800 miles across Australia
12-year-old caught after driving 800 miles across Australia

A 12-year-old boy who was trying to drive across Australia was stopped by police 800 miles into his journey, the BBC reported. The boy was pulled over near the mining town of Broken Hill in the New South Wales outback on Saturday after a patrol noticed the car's bumper dragging on the ground. Police said the boy had been trying to drive from Kendall...
Nursery school offers services for sick kids so parents don’t miss work
Nursery school offers services for sick kids so parents don’t miss work

An Indianapolis preschool is offering a service to its parents when kids are sick. Parents with kids who are under the weather don’t have to miss a day of work, Rainbow Station at Geist will still take them.  >> Read more trending news The school, which offers nursery school, Preschool, pre-k, kindergarten and school-aged recreation...
Amber Heard, Elon Musk are officially together?
Amber Heard, Elon Musk are officially together?

There’s been talk of actress Amber Heard and billionaire Elon Musk being romantically linked, but this weekend the pair made it “social media official.” >> Read more trending news Johnny Depp’s ex has hooked up with the Tesla founder, and they were caught on film together in Australia, People reported. Heard is in...
More Stories