Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

MacDill 'hero dog' retiring

TAMPA — Eddie the war hero is retiring, tail and all.

The Belgian Malinois that may have saved the life of his handler and others in Afghanistan in 2012 is retiring with full military honors at a ceremony Friday, MacDill Air Force Base said Tuesday.

"Most significantly, Eddie's role in Operation Enduring Freedom resulted in him locating two improvised explosive devices containing 10 pounds of homemade explosives which saved the lives of his 13-member patrol unit comprising U.S. allied forces," the base said.

Eddie, a bomb sniffing dog assigned to MacDill's 6th Security Forces Squadron, has served for about five years. In retirement, he will be reunited with his first handler, Andrew Grymes.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Shannon Hutto credits Eddie with saving his life in that 2012 mission.

On May 23, 2012, Hutto had Eddie on a leash leading a platoon during a routine daytime patrol. The group stopped to rest as an officer talked to some locals. Hutto sat against a tree with Eddie beside him.

It wasn't long before the group got the command to move out. Hutto stood and took one step, but Eddie wouldn't budge.

"He didn't want to get up," Hutto recalled. "At first, I thought he was just being lazy."

Eddie gave his buddy a kind of exasperated look. The dog lowered his nose to the dirt. He nudged something under the dust. Hutto looked closely. Just six inches from his foot was the contact plate that would detonate an improvised explosive device, or IED.

Hutto said, "It was a moment of clarity."

He backed away, using "baby steps." He pulled a ball from a pocket. He threw it in the direction opposite the IED. It was Eddie's usual reward.

Brave as he is, Eddie has one weak spot — he hates swimming.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@tampabay.com

MacDill 'hero dog' retiring 04/08/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]