The D o g g o n e Marine Corps

Combat Notebook: Dispatches from the War on Terrorism
By P. T. Brent, 5/24/2004 8:04:19 AM

And a Gyrene from Grand Rapids Ö.

CChyna, bred by the corps -- tattoo Delta-043, is the pride of the expanding Marine Corps dog tracker and security units Ö MWD Marine War Dog. Perhaps named after the legendary fourth Marines of Shanghai fame or she is just a close working pal with Marine Sergeant Dan Wheeler. CChyna has been busy from Cuba to Iraq. Trained to go ahead of Marines and sniff out explosives and hidden snipers or terrorists. This canine leatherneck knows her stuff. In Cuba CChyna was used for mind deterrent with Afghan detainees. After healing from a broken foot CChyna is now with his master Dan in red hot Fallujah to sniff out IEDís (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq. Born 12Sept 99 dual trained for aggression and bomb detection, CChyna is a Belgian Malau.

These dogs are treasured. Not only for loyalty but they cost $2,000 new and after training valued at over $60,000. When one dies they are buried with full marine honors. There is a special cemetery at Camp Lejeune with markers and appropriate history. War dog Meno just died from cancer and was buried with military honors, there some thirty dogs lay that have given life and faithful service to the marine corps. The new program is tracker oriented and will be assigned to Osama bin Ladenís back yard.

Now this gentleman from Grand Rapids, same home town as Frances Lucille Brent and Gerald Ford, is a soft spoken classic Marine Sergeant. He played football, ran track, and stared at swimming at Rogerís High class of í97. While his Mom Theresa taught at Rogerís elementary for over 20 years and his dad David worked at Grand Rapids water treatment after a hitch as a Navy Seabee.

Sergeant Dan after Ferris State joined the Marine Corps because his Uncle Gary, a cool guy, was a Leatherneck. Later his police Uncle Tony suggest K-9 corps activity and he reenlisted to get the assignment. Dan is seeking a commission program in the Corps at present. 

Americans, indeed are fortunate to have Lance Corporal Prentice and his Marines fighting for democracy. 

Sergeant Wheeler when asked about the war dissenters replied:Ē my family has always served. These people know that they are wrong.Ē His wife Sara family has always served in the Marines. Danís elder brother was a Seabee, another brother a fire fighter and a younger future Leatherneck brother Justin may just join the Corps after Rogersí high class of í04.

The daunting task ahead is overwhelming by comparison to the war. Iraq, which it not without portfolio, has the resources and the people to make it the renaissance of the Muslim world. Letís pray they give us a chance to help them.

This would be a most auspicious moment to take pride in America and our forces overseas. Do you remember pride in our country; we use to have it by the carload. Forget whether you agree or not with taking on Saddam, just get yourself a flag a wave it proudly. Letís pray for our distant warriors, and letís bring our young Americans home safely.

The faces of these young Leathernecks may seem younger. Faces like Sergeant Dan Wheeler from Grand Rapids and the face of Marine Captain Chris Borzi from Poughquaq New York (USNA í96). The packs, the rifles, they weigh as much. The heat, dust, cold and long night marches are all still there. Yes, the faces may appear younger. But beneath those faces runs the same blood that stained and won battlefields, from Tripoli to Iwo Jima, and from Guadalcanal to Iraq.

They are the same outfit.  

The United States Marine Corps.

P. T. Brent O U T 

P. T. Brent is a Hawaii business man and former US Marine infantry veteran. He has been embedded with the Marines in Iraq and other conflict areas for the past 60 days.

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