A now-retired K-9 who served as a bomb dog alongside troops in Iraq and Afghanistan received top military honors Tuesday in London for her service and commitment.
Lucca, a 12-year-old German Shephard who was trained to locate IEDs, completed more than 400 successful missions in six years, protecting the lives of countless soldiers. But in 2012, Lucca located an IED, and while still searching, a secondary device exploded, causing the dog severe injuries.
Lucca, who was left with extensive burns, underwent surgery and lost one of her front legs. She is now retired and living in California, but was flown to England this week to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
Lucca’s handler Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, called it an “incredible honor.” He said Lucca was the perfect dog for the job she did.
“She’s incredibly intelligent and loyal,” Willingham said. “You can really see her processing information, applying what she learned in a combat environment and be successful. I feel extremely fortunate.”
“Thousands of service members have come home because of the capabilities of our dogs,” Willingham noted, “so it’s always great to see their actions on the battlefield being recognized.”
[ ABC News ]