‘Guardians’ bid farewell to MWD Pit
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Saucier, kennel master, 523rd MP Co., 97th MP Bn., salutes a shrine to military working dog Pit during a memorial ceremony Aug. 12 at Camp Funston. Pit died at the Fort Riley Veterinary Treatment Facility after serving for seven years at Fort Riley. Photo by: Julie Fiedler, POST.
Story by: Julie Fiedler
1ST INF. DIV. POST
As Soldiers stood in line to raise a slow salute to a departed comrade, three simple words seemed to sum up a world: "Soldier. Friend. Partner."
Those words, inscribed on a nearby memorial stone, captured the essence of the life of the military working dog.
"Today, we sadly say goodbye to one of our own," began Sgt. 1st Class Richard Saucier, kennel master, 523rd Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, as Soldiers, Family members and friends gathered to bid farewell to MWD Pit during a memorial ceremony Aug. 12 at Camp Funston.
"Although officially classified as equipment, military working dogs have long been considered canine members of the armed forces," he said. "They are treated just as much a part of the unit as a Soldier, which is why we honor military working dog Pit here today."
Pit began his career as a MWD at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where he was trained as a patrol and narcotics detection dog before coming to Fort Riley in 2005.
During his seven-year career, Pit made contributions to Fort Riley by accomplishing 120 narcotics callouts and more than 75 finds. He also assisted military police in numerous apprehensions, according to the ceremony's program notes.
Described as "a good old police dog" by Staff Sgt. Sam Finney, 523rd MP Co., 97th MP Bn., Pit's mere presence on patrol served as a deterrent for wrongdoing.
"The loss is pretty hard," wrote Sgt. Ronald Steudle, 523rd MP Co., 97th MP Bn., inside the ceremony's program. "Pit was a great dog. He was strong, tough and extremely good at his job. I will never forget Pit and the service he gave to this country."
A table adorned with a photo of Pit, battalion coin, Army Commendation Medal, leash, water dish, folded flag and urn served as a shrine to the dog who was always ready to "assist, protect and defend."
"Pit will always be remembered as a dedicated and steadfast worker," the program read. "He was eager to perform his duties and displayed his love of attention by lavishing affection on those he deemed worthy."
The ceremony included readings of "Guardians of the Night" and "A Working Dog's Oath."
As volleys were fired, the sound of dogs barking in the nearby kennel punctuated the beginning notes of "Taps," as if they, too, were saying goodbye to their friend.
Pit passed away at the Fort Riley Veterinary Treatment Facility, six months shy of his 10th birthday.