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Tag: john burnam

Love story 2: A soldier and his dog


 

 When U.S. Marine Cpl. Dustin Lee was cut down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq’s Anbar province, his partner was hit by shrapnel too, but still managed to crawl over to Lee and lay on top of him, protecting him until medics arrived.

Lee, who hadn’t yet turned 21 and was three months from finishing his tour, didn’t survive. But his partner did. He came back home for medical treatment, attended Lee’s funeral, got awarded a Commemorative Purple Heart  and — though still carrying shrapnel — was assigned to complete his tour of duty.

That’s when Lee’s family intervened and, with help from a Congressman, persuaded the Marines to let Lee’s partner — a bomb-sniffing German shepherd named Lex — take early retirement and come live with them.

Lee’s parents, Jerome and Rachel Lee, and his teenage brother and sister, thought that adopting the dog that survived the attack would help fill the void left by their son’s death. They had previously adopted another of their son’s military working dogs after the animal started going blind and had to retire.

Lee and Lex, who were renowned for their abilities to detect and clear roadside bombs, shared a deep bond, his family says — as evidenced Lex’s behavior when they were under attack.

“He was still protecting him until the end,” said Lee’s mother. “Lex was bleeding. Dustin was bleeding. “Their blood combined. They were already brothers and partners. They just became one.”

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