Thursday, August 9, 2012

McCaskill Helps Reunite Missouri Veteran With Military Service Dog

A Kansas City veteran of the Iraq war has been reunited with his former partner—a bomb-sniffing yellow Labrador named Diego—after the canine was retired from service. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill intervened with the Air Force to help find Diego and to set the path for Diego to be returned to his former handler upon Diego’s retirement from military service, which has now occurred.

After serving two combat tours, and most recently training new military dog handlers at Lackland Air Force Base, Diego has been retired from military service. Logan Black, an Iraq veteran in Kansas City and Diego’s former handler who had not seen Diego in years, began a social media campaign several months ago to help locate the Labrador. The campaign caught the attention of McCaskill, who contacted the U.S. Air Force to learn Diego’s whereabouts and to push for Diego and Black to be reunited at the appropriate time. Diego was believed at first to be retired from active military service and working with the Transportation Security Administration, but McCaskill was able to confirm that Diego was at Lackland Air Force Base serving the Department of Defense as a training partner for new dog handlers. 

This week, Diego was retired and officially adopted by Black, who reunited with Diego in Texas yesterday and is now returning home with his beloved friend.

“Senator McCaskill has been a great help—when I first reached out to her office, I had a reply within 10 minutes and when I called, her staff were already looking into helping me find Diego,” Black said. “Thank you all at McCaskill's office for helping out.”

“Both Logan and Diego have served our country with distinction—and while I work every day to make sure our veterans get the benefits they’ve earned, it’s good to remember that sometimes those benefits aren’t just health care or tuition,” said McCaskill, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran. “Sometimes they’re a little more unique. And I’m glad that I was in a position to help make this heartwarming reunion a reality.”

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