A Life of Service
Posted on May 20, 2019
We give dogs the time we can spare, the food we can spare, the love we can spare, and in return they give us their all. It is by any measure the greatest deal ever made. Similar things have been said before, and nowhere is that more evident than in our nation’s military, where dogs serve alongside their human counterparts on deployments and missions around the world, facing the same challenges and dangers.
And, just as our nation’s human marines are among the most highly-trained military personnel in the world, the canines that serve with them are among the most highly-trained nonhumans in the world. Designated MPC for multi-purpose canine, the dogs working with the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) receive training that far exceeds that of even other military dogs. MPCs receive training in searching, tracking, explosive detection, and all aspects of controlled aggression, while other military dogs typically receive training in only one area. Like human marines, MPCs are tasked with a wide range of missions on both land and sea. They must be innovative and prepared to adapt to new situations at a moment’s notice.
Gratefully, the service of these remarkable canine warriors is held in the highest regard by their military comrades, and their retirement at the end of five years is an occasion of great pomp and circumstance. Such was the case for MPC Roy, a magnificent Shepherd, who was honored at Camp Pendleton at the end of March.
For the past five years, MPC Roy has served at the side of his handler, Staff Sgt. John Koman, Delta Company, 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion. To enhance the relationship between dog and handler, the two were paired together at the very beginning of Roy’s training.
The dogs are evaluated and hand-selected to accomplish missions requiring higher drive to push through the scenarios and variables they are exposed to. This makes the handler a subject matter expert on the dog and their training so the canine is a fully-integrated member of the force.
Like MPC Roy, Staff Sgt. Koman has received training above and beyond that of the typical military dog handler. He, too, is well-versed in searching, tracking, explosive detection, and all aspects of controlled aggression, and he, too, has been trained for a wide range of missions and to adapt to new situations in an instant. They are a well-paired team, and while it is not always the case, in this instance Koman adopted Roy upon his retirement.
With the greatest of appreciation, Ranch & Coast thanks Staff Sgt. Koman and MPC Roy for their service and wishes them health and happiness in the coming years. Bill Abrams
Header image: Photo by LCPL Drake Nickels