Kaiserslautern service honors dog handler killed in Afghanistan
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Stories flowed as readily as the tears when friends and fellow soldiers bid an emotional farewell to Staff Sgt. James R. Ide V at a military memorial service Thursday in the Vogelweh chapel.
Ide, 32, was a specialized search dog handler with the 230th Military Police Company, based in Sembach. He worked at the military working dog kennel in Miseau. He was killed Aug. 29 while on a combat patrol near Hyderabad, Helmand province, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked with small-arms fire.
Staff Sgt. Blakely Pattison said Ide, known as “Jimmy” by his friends, was the best prankster he knew. He recalled when Ide hid his rucksack, giving him clues where to locate it. Pattison eventually found it strung up in a tree above his parking spot, the place from where he had started his search.
“When it came to pranks, nobody could top Jimmy,” he said to the standing-room-only crowd.
Staff Sgt. Brian Dolan met Ide only in January but their friendship was fast and strong. Unknown to him at the time, Ide was two years behind Dolan at DeSoto High School in Missouri. Yet, Ide was the mentor in their relationship, assisting him with some tough personal issues and helping him bond with his military working dog, Rena.
“He was my hero,” Dolan said.
Nearly everyone who spoke about Ide said he was devoted to his wife, Mandy, and their children, Trinity, 7, and son, James, 1. He was also a staunch Christian, so open about his faith that he earned the nickname “Father Ide.”
“The only thing you need to know about Sergeant Ide is that he was a great, great man,” said Pattison. “He was the guy you could count on.”
Even those who didn’t know Ide as well were affected by his death. Almost all the military working dog handlers from Stuttgart, some of whom trained with Ide at the Miseau kennel, attended the service.
“I first heard of him because of his pranks,” said Sgt. Richard James, 27, of the 554th Military Police Company. “He was full of heart.”
Ide worked with Ddaphine, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois. “They were buddies. He loved that dog,” Dolan said.
Ide was working with Ddaphine when his unit was attacked. Army officials said Thursday that Ddaphine is all right. They would not say where the dog would be placed. One soldier said he hoped the dog would go to the family.
Ide previously served a tour of duty in South Korea and two tours in Iraq. Among his numerous awards are the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device, and a Bronze Star Medal, the latter given posthumously.