Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: Navy handler Sean Brazas laid to rest and saying goodbye to MWDs Nina and Paco

By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent MA2 Sean Brazas, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 30th, was laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetery. Earlier in the week, family and friends from his hometown in Greensboro, NC gathered for a memorial service. His high school also paid tribute, ...

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

MA2 Sean Brazas, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 30th, was laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetery. Earlier in the week, family and friends from his hometown in Greensboro, NC gathered for a memorial service. His high school also paid tribute, flying its flag at half-mast. 

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

MA2 Sean Brazas, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 30th, was laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetery. Earlier in the week, family and friends from his hometown in Greensboro, NC gathered for a memorial service. His high school also paid tribute, flying its flag at half-mast. 

Brazas’s parents and sister spoke to a local news team about their son — who leaves behind his wife and their 13-month old daughter — and how proud they were of him. "If I could turn out to be half the man…" his father started before stopping to regain his composure. "He got to be married and have a family, just not long enough… At the end of the day you want your kid back, it’s that simple."

Two other fallen servicemen were remembered in a memorial service held on June 1, on a military base in Afghanistan — MWDs Nina and Paco. Both of the dogs’ handlers got up and spoke about their fallen partners. Sgt. Adam Brown, Paco’s "one and only handler," said, "There’s only a few times in my life that I’ve come across an opportunity that’s changed my life, Paco was one of those opportunities." Nina’s handler Sgt. Daniel Wilker said he knew the two shared a special connection when Nina accidentally bit him one of the first times they trained together. "She laid next to me and had this look on her face that she was so sorry."

Among the mourners at Arlington National Cemetery and among those gathered to pay respects in Afghanistan, were fellow canine handlers and their dogs.

Rebecca Frankel, on leave from her FP desk, is currently writing a book about military working dogs, to be published by Free Press.

Thomas 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 ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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