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Military service dog Gretna will receive more medals

GRETNA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Like any other crafty old veteran, Paco makes the most of his pension.

Retired sergeant. Paco First Class and his combat dog handler, SSgt. Brad Missney served side by side from 2009 to 2017, including that day in Afghanistan when they passed the test that earned them the Purple Heart.

“Every morning you took mortar rounds, that was your wake-up call,” Missney said. “One morning during our regular patrol and getting too close, he got shrapnel in the side. [his] torso, a four or five inch piece.”

A few weeks later they returned to it. Paco had 33 positive IEDs, saving hundreds of lives in Afghanistan.

But when they first trained together in Texas, his wife Brittany wasn’t convinced.

“She said she got to Paco’s kennel… do you really think this dog will save your life? And I said that this is the best dog that we have,” said Brad.

In 2016, 6 News was there when they reunited after service. Now 14-year-old Paco is always ready with the girls, 2-year-old Brelynn and 6-year-old Blakely.

However, he is not exactly retired. He now works with Brittany, the counselor, and is also a comfort dog in some groups.

“That dog is the only reason I’m standing here today,” Missney said. “He is the only reason I have a family. If not for this dog and his nose, our joint work, I would not be here.

Paco has received just about every award a military dog ​​can have and will receive two more this week in Washington, DC. The Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Medal are both from Animals in War and Peace.

“It’s not just a dog,” Missney said. – He’s a soldier.

That’s why Brad and others are working to secure the right to have the Four-Legged Fighters buried in the National Veterans Cemetery, an honor he thinks Paco deserves.

“You fight shoulder to shoulder with the person next to you, and you fight shoulder to shoulder with the dog next to you, and it is more likely that a dog will save your life than a person next to you will save your life.” Missy said. “They will find this explosive device that no one can see or feel.”

Loud noises can make Paco anxious, but when children call him to duty, he does not lose his skills.

Wednesday’s ceremony will be broadcast live from Capitol Hill. Rep. Don Bacon is expected to present Paco with his medals.

Gizmo’s Gift is another non-profit organization that supports dogs like Paco.

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