- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense chief canine correspondent
An army sergeant in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps was awarded an MBE — Member of the Order of the British Empire — last week for her work as a dog handler detecting bombs in Helmand Provence and for, “Always keeping a cool head and demonstrating unwavering bravery. … Wilson pushed herself and her dog to the limits of endurance … saving countless lives in the process.”
But Wilson was quick to share the commendation with her partner, a two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malanois, saying that their work is a “team effort.”
Her dog’s name? Obama.
Curiously, neither Wilson or the British press (at least the articles I read) made no comment on the dog’s name or his namesake. They did, however, report that Wilson remembered Cpl. Liam Tasker, a handler, who was shot and killed in Afghanistan last spring. He and his working dog Theo, who died shortly thereafter, had set the record for uncovering IEDs.
Wilson, who did three tours in Afghanistan doing the intense and dangerous work of roadside detection, remarked that Tasker’s death left an impact on her team. “We are all very close, so what happened affected everyone. Unfortunately jobs have to be done and we all had to carry on.”
Obama — the bomb-sniffing dog — is still on tour in Afghanistan. Wilson, who already has three other dogs at home, is considering adopting her former partner when his service is over.
A tip of the WDotW hat to Mr. David Rothkopf