Marine Dog Lucca Honored: Heroic Dog Awarded Top Medal

April 9, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A Marine dog named Lucca was honored at a special ceremony. Lucca, a German Shepard, which took part in more than 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, was given the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal at the Wellington Barracks in London, England on Tuesday.

Marine dog Lucca honored

Lucca, the Marine dog Lucca, was honored on Tuesday in England. Lucca is a very special 12-year-old German shepherd, which lost one leg while saving lives in Afghanistan.

The beloved dog has participated in more than 400 missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan during her six years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps.

On March 23, 2012, Lucca took part in her final mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where an IED blew up underneath her while she was on patrol. According to official reports, Lucca had already sniffed out 30 pounds of explosives and was searching for more, when a second bomb went off.

No humans perished during the incident, but Lucca did suffer severe burns to the chest. Ten days later, after an emergency operation, Lucca was up and walking again. Honored that Lucca became the first Marine Corps dog to receive the medal, her handler, Cpl. Juan Rodriguez, had the following to say:

“It is very humbling to be part of this entire process. I think more importantly is that Lucca’s accomplishments are going to help bring awareness and recognition to all our military working dogs and their handlers.”

Mr. Rodriguez went on to share details about the explosion, which left his pal with a missing limb. Rodriguez stated:

“The explosion was huge and I immediately feared the worst for Lucca. I ran to her and saw her struggling to get up. I picked her up and ran to the shelter of a nearby tree line; applied a tourniquet to her injured leg and called the medics to collect us. She had saved my life on so many occasions — I had to make sure that I was there for her when she needed me.”

Lucca has since retired and lives with Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham and his family in California where she loves just being lazy on the couch, enjoying long walks, and swimming.

Since the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal was created in 1943, it has been given to dogs and World War II messenger pigeons horses and even a cat.

What are your thoughts on Lucca’s heroism?

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    Comments (2)

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    1. Laurie Yancey Tsgt USAF '83-'95 says:

      These animals are hero’s in every since of the word!
      We, as humans
      put them in these situations and they have no way of understanding what we are asking of them. Yet they go bravely forward and trust us to take care of them. I’m glad the military supports there efforts as well as our troops.
      Thanks for your service men and companion!

    2. Jacquelyn Alexander says:

      We need more soldiers like this and less of the 2-legged creeps I’ve met who have a breaking and entering ring and recently robbed me. They were Ft. Bragg soldiers who were raping and robbing women like me. One is 22 facing life in prison, the other 27 facing I don’t know what.

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