New homes for 2nd ID's canine pals
November 29, 2004
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Some furry friends are headed for the United States to welcome Strike Force (the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team) soldiers when they return from Iraq.
Area I veterinarian Capt. Michelle Jefferson said last week that several Strike Force mascots will be transported to the States in the coming months, and some will rejoin the unit when it moves to Fort Carson, Colo., next year.
Area I is home to numerous official and unofficial mascots. Some are strays at Camp Casey and, until recently, there were as many as 30 dogs living in the Joint Security Area, a tiny base in the heart of the demilitarized zone, she said.
Fourteen official Strike Force mascots, all dogs, were left behind when Strike Force deployed to Iraq in August. Eight of the mascots are still in Area I being cared for by the rear detachments of units serving in Iraq, she said.
Four mascots already have been transported to the States. Another has been adopted by a Strike Force soldier’s family and is awaiting transport, Jefferson said.
“Units will send some dogs back to the States to meet with the units at Fort Carson and some soldiers are going to adopt the mascots when they PCS (permanent change of station) from here,” she said.
The Strike Force mascots have been exempted from the normal adoption fee, which equates to paying for the dog’s medical bills for the 24 months prior to adoption, she said.
A soldier’s family in Tennessee has adopted Anthrax, a large mixed-breed dog that was the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment mascot, she said.
When a soldier wants to take a dog home from South Korea, the dog normally gets to fly space-available, free of charge, from Osan, Jefferson said.
However, because Anthrax, who weighs 207 pounds, was too big to fly back to the States, the family who adopted him hired a special shipping container, she said.
Three Strike Force mascots were sent to the adoption clinic at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, Jefferson said.
A veterinarian working at Yongsan adopted a large Saint Bernard named Crigg that was the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment mascot, she said.
“This dog is a sweet dog. Crigg was found during (an exercise) in August. One of the dog handlers brought him to us.
“Basically he just walked up to him. There were only two Saint Bernards in Area I so we know who it was. From what I heard he was at Camp Hovey where the soldiers used to live. His demeanor was fine, so somebody was taking care of him,” Jefferson said.
Capt. Srinivasan Saiprasad, commander of the 82nd Engineer Company, is looking after Bruno, another large former Strike Force mascot, who belonged to Charlie Company, 44th Engineers.
Saiprasad, who served with the 44th on a previous posting to South Korea, was quick to volunteer to care for Bruno when he heard the dog needed a home. He even knows Bruno’s lineage, which relates him to another famous 2nd ID mascot named MRE.
“We found out two days prior to C Company getting on the bus. He has got a lot of friends here (at the 82nd),” he said.
While with the 82nd, Bruno has been hanging out with Cadence, a golden retriever that is the unit’s official mascot.
“The dogs go running with us when we do PT on post. Before Cadence got clipped by a car she used to do six-mile road marches with us,” Saiprasad said.
Bruno has been adopted by a soldier’s family and will be sent back to the United States, he said. But because the dog is so large, its plane ticket costs more than it would cost a person to fly there, he added.