Local News

Air Force retires military dog wounded in Afghanistan

Posted August 23, 2013

— It’s always a big deal when a Purple Heart recipient retires from active duty.

There are speeches and spectators and maybe even a certificate.

But at a retirement ceremony Friday at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the guest of honor was simply happy with his chew toy.

Charlie, a hard-working German shepherd, is finally getting to relax after 10 years of sniffing out trouble as an explosives detection dog for the military. He’s heading home with his handler, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Seekell.

charlie the dog Life of leisure awaits retiring Air Force dog

“We love these dogs, often as if they were our own children,” Seekell said.

“Charlie is a true hero,” said Maj. Troy Jones. “He’s been a companion and, as most would say, a best friend.”

Seekell and Charlie served together in Afghanistan in 2011, and were both wounded when a bomb went off.

“The first words that came out of my mouth is, ‘Where is the dog?’ And I started calling for him,” said Seekell, who also earned a Purple Heart.

The explosion blew out Charlie's ear drums and caused some shrapnel wounds. Seekell had part of his leg amputated.

“They used to bring him up to the hospital while I was recovering, and those were some of the best days that I had,” he said.

Before he heads to Seekell’s house, Charlie will have a bit more training to get him out of the military mindset. Then he’ll be treated to a life of leisure.

“We’re a team,” Seekell said, “and we’d do it again.”


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  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 23, 2013

    Bless their hearts!!!

    The military use to just shoot military dogs they no longer needed (or were leaving behind) because they were considered "equipment" rather than "a being with a beating heart".

    Blessed that is no longer so.

    Praying for a bright future for both of these fellas.

  • ims1924 Aug 23, 2013

    You treat a dog right and you will have a friend for life.

  • carolinaprincess62 Aug 23, 2013


  • Liebe ist fur alle Aug 23, 2013


  • robsarge Aug 23, 2013

    Happy times Charlie & Ssgt Seekell, Thank you for your service! Friends for life, Enjoy!

  • 426X3 Aug 23, 2013

    Great story.

  • US VET Aug 23, 2013

    Well done Charlie. You have my complete respect. You deserve a happy life...