- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
I came across a series of photos of Wilbur, a U.S. Marine Special Operations dog, taken over the last few weeks in Afghanistan by Marine Corps photographer Sgt. Pete Thibodeau. The collection of images follows Wilbur through Helmand Province — working security, encountering livestock, playing fetch in front of an idle Humvee, and watching a group of children, his ears pricked in earnest attention.
Today’s post title (and the use of the word “adventures”) isn’t intended to be flippant — Wilbur is a Special Ops dog, which means his job is especially taxing and dangerous. But Thibodeau’s photos show the non-violent side of combat-zone living from Wilbur’s point of view with its own kind of wonder and whimsy — a view worth seeing.
More photos of Wilbur are after the fold but first a couple of War-Dog Announcements:
60 Minutes will be airing a segment on MWDs this Sunday, April 21, called “Sniffing Out Bombs.” The show sent a correspondent out to Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, home to the nation’s premier pre-deployment course run by the USMC and Gunnery Sgt. Kristopher Reed Knight and his crew of experienced handlers. (I spent two weeks there last year.) Longtime readers of this column are likely to see the faces of those written about here on the CBS news show this week.
For DC locals (and supporters near and far): The Third Annual Annapolis 5K Run & Dog Walk is raising funds for America’s VetDogs — an organization that “provides service and assistance dogs, free of charge, to disabled veterans.” The run will kick off at 9 am this Sunday at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, Maryland. Looks like early registration has closed but walk-ups are welcome, as are dogs — leashed, of course.
Wilbur vs. cow:
Wilbur watches children after Afghan National Army special forces escorted a district governor to a school on April 15:
Wilbur receives his “favorite toy” as a reward for a job well done after “successfully sweeping a build site for an Afghan Local Police checkpoint”:
Wilbur tries on his handler’s gear after a mission:
Hat tip to TR for sending the opening photo and an accompanying and particularly apt caption, “Nothing like feeling safe in a war zone.”
Rebecca Frankel is away from her FP desk, working on a book about dogs and war.