Facts and FAQ's about Lex, the Marine dog - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Facts and FAQ's about Lex, the Marine dog

December 12, 2007


Cpl. Dustin Lee, 20, of Quitman, Miss., was killed in Iraq March 21, 2007, and his military working dog, Lex, eight, sustained shrapnel wounds in the same incident.  At the time of the attack, Cpl. Lee was detached from Marine Corps Police Department, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and attached to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 6, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.  This command has been deeply saddened by Cpl. Lee's death. 

Following the incident, Lex made a full recovery and the base was proud to welcome him back as part of our Military Police team, doing his job of safeguarding the base and saving lives. 

Cpl. Lee's family requested to adopt Lex, even though he was still in a working capacity.  During the fall of 2007, the request began going through military channels, and during mid-November, several congressional representatives began advocating for Lex's adoption.

While the command supports the Lee families' request to adopt Lex, the U.S. Air Force is the approving authority for such a request.  Once the approval for the adoption process to begin was received, the commanding officer of MCLB Albany instructed that Lex be appropriately screened here to ensure his suitability for the Lee family, and then be released to them on Dec. 21, 2007.

Quote from MCLB Albany Commanding Officer, Col Haliday:  "We are proud to have had Lex serve alongside Marines here and around the world.  His handler's and his sacrifices will not be forgotten.  I am glad to be able to support the Lee family, not just in the adoption of Lex, but also to reestablish their connection to their beloved son Dustin."


-8 years old.

-No medical or performance issues at this time.

-Military working dog aboard MCLB Albany for 5 years.

-Served two tours in Iraq, the first one with a previous handler.

-Injuries sustained in Iraq on March 21, 2007.

-Handler: Cpl. Dustin J. Lee, killed in the same incident that injured Lex.

-Medically evaluated for 12 weeks at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

-Fully recovered, rejoined active duty, and returned to MCLB Albany on July 6, 2007.

-Training includes explosive detection and patrol.

-Scheduled to be released for adoption to the Lee family Dec. 21.

-This is the first time any military dog handler's family has been approved to adopt a military working dog. 

-The Lee family also has another dog, Doenja that was adopted by Cpl Lee in the spring of 2006.  Doenja was Cpl Lee's partner prior to Lex.



TIMELINE (2007):

March 21       - Cpl Lee's death / Lex's injury in Iraq.

April              - Lex arrives in Camp Lejeune, N. C. for medical treatment.

July 6             - Lex is cleared to return to duty, and is sent back to Albany, Ga.

Late Nov.       - HQMC requests from U. S. Air Force to begin adoption process.

Dec. 1-6         - MCLB Albany provides necessary screening for U. S. Air Force.

Dec. 6             - HQMC request is approved by U. S. Air Force, HQMC notifies MCLB Albany.

Dec. 7-10       - Lex is cleared for adoption here.

Dec. 11           - Lee family is notified of approval by this command.

Dec. 21           - Lee family is scheduled to receive Lex here.




1)      Why wasn't this done sooner, why make the Lee family wait?

MCLB Albany was not able to approve the Lee family's request at this level.  MCLB Albany notified Headquarters Marine Corps of the situation.  Headquarters Marine Corps then requested permission from the U. S. Air Force to begin the adoption process.  Once permission was received, MCLB Albany screened Lex and is releasing him Dec. 21. We pray that any suffering the Lee family experienced since the loss of their son will be eased by the adoption of Lex. This command continues to support the Lee family through their difficult time.

2)      Several weeks ago, the base said that he was unsuitable for adoption because he was
fit for duty, why this sudden change in policy?

There has been no change of policy in the adoption of military working dogs.  This particular request was approved by the U. S. Air Force after the request from Headquarters Marine Corps identified the unusual circumstances of the Lee family's difficult situation.  In Lex's case, he was screened to ensure suitability, and now is being released to the Lee family.  MCLB Albany is proud to have had Lex on its Military Police team.


3)      Is Lex safe for adoption, will the Lee family be in danger?

Prior to the adoption being approved, Lex was screened extensively to ensure he is not too aggressive to be adopted by a family.  This command hopes that the Lee family will find solace reestablishing their connection with their fallen son, Cpl. Dustin Lee, through his dog Lex.

4)      How much does training a military working dog cost?

Training a military working dog can cost thousands of dollars; however, this is not about cost.  This is about a family who is grieving and finds comfort through Lex.  This is about honoring both the memory of Cpl Dustin Lee and honoring his family in their request.  MCLB Albany is proud to have had Lex on its Military Police team. 

5)      What were Lex's injuries?

Lex was injured by shrapnel in the back and on the front shoulder on March 21, 2007.  After undergoing 12 weeks of extensive medical evaluation at Camp Lejune, N. C., he was declared to be fully recovered. Like many other wounded warriors, he returned to active duty aboard MCLB Albany.  The base is proud to have working dogs like Lex standing beside Military Police in the performance of their duties.

6)      Are the military working dogs integral members of your military police team?

Military working dogs are an essential Marine Corps asset, especially supporting the military police teams.  In the conduct of their training and in operational situations, dogs and military members work side-by-side accomplishing their mission.  The dog and the servicemember develop a strong relationship that often carries well beyond the military career.  We are proud to have many working dogs like Lex beside our servicemembers both at home and in combat abroad.

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