DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB (KGUN9-TV) – We honor military veterans for their courage, loyalty and sacrifice. Now we have the story of an unusual veteran who has retired to Tucson.
Buck, the German Shepherd seems like any playful pet but he was trained for a dead serious mission: sniffing out bombs.
The training is still burned in. Along with his owner and former handler, Air Force Tech Sergeant Caleb Snapp, he gave us a dog's eye view of how he'd check cars for explosives.
Sergeant Snapp worked with five different dogs in places like Korea and Afghanistan. His wife Melodi says in Afghanistan the enemy put a 50 thousand dollar bounty on him and his dog.
"Knowing that he has a partner and he has a look out and he has somebody that has his back no matter what that's a really good reassurance for me when he's gone."
When Buck worked with Snapp in Korea, Snapp knew Buck would do anything to keep him safe. He says, "He's very protective. The bond that me and him picked up when he first came into the service in '09, it was a great bond there and it's a great bond now and he'll do anything for me and my wife and daughter."
Buck is bonding with Snapp’s entire family now because when he learned the Air Force would retire Buck, he convinced the Air Force to let him take Buck home.
Buck was assigned to Korea. New duty assignments meant they hadn't seen each other for five years. When the Air Force sent Caleb Snapp back to Korea he checked in on his old friend.
"It had been so long. And he recognized me, jumping up and licking me in the face. He was so excited, he bit me in the elbow. It was just a love bite."
Buck is trained to give more than a love bite. He's an attack dog as well as a bomb sniffer but he's so well trained, loyal, and gentle by nature, he gladly obeys commands from seven year old Camille Snapp.
Caleb Snapp’s wife Melodi says, ”With him taking such a shine to her and immediately gravitating towards her. In the house she climbs in his kennel with him."
It's possible for civilians to adopt a retired military dog like Buck and to adopt puppies raised for the program but don’t quite qualify for the military. You can learn more from this website for the unit that trains dogs for all the military’s branches.