American Soldier Killed in Action Has Most Loyal Dog Ever

dog casketWhen I saw the photo of a dog mourning in front of the casket of Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan this month, my reaction wasn't one even I expected. I didn't cry. I smiled. 

It was a sad sort of smile, of course. I'm not a jerk. I might even have felt a pricking in the corners of my eyes. But as Jon Tumilson's family grieves for the man they lost when a rocket grenade took down his helicopter, as they accept his posthumous Purple Heart for service to our nation, they have something so many don't. They have Hawkeye, Jon's best pal -- the best, most loyal dog a family could ask for.


While the boy from the all-American town of Rockford, Iowa was clear across the world fighting for freedom in Afghanistan, he had Hawkeye waiting at home. A dedicated military man who'd dreamed of being a SEAL since he was a teenager, a Navy man since toddlerhood, Tumilson gave up a lot for our country. For many guys and gals in that line of work, relationships are tough. You aren't home long enough to start one up, you leave so quickly that people are afraid to share their heart. But he always had his Labrador Retriever.

He was loved. In the way that only a dog can love.

I once read a book by a Marine Lieutenant who rescued a pup in Iraq and had to struggle to get him back home. They knew it was forbidden, but they couldn't help themselves. They saw the little ball of fur as something good and clean in a screwed up world, and they felt his love coming back to them. Jay Kopelman's story was the sort of humanizing memoir that reminded me why I will always support the troops. Because these are men and women far from home doing their darndest to support their country. They need all the love they can get.

Did you tear up at the sight of this?


Image via YouTube

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