Military working dog receives Army Achievement Medal

During his deployment, Zzarr uncovered more than 5,000 pounds of explosives used in the manufacture of Improvised Explosive Devices. (Photo by Master Sgt. Tim Volkert)

Multinational Division – North PAO 

MOSUL, Iraq On his last day of duty at Forward Operating Base Marez, Sgt.1st Class Zzarr seemed excited with the Soldiers hovering around him at the 3d Armored Cavalry 

Regimental headquarters June 5. 

Zzarr was about to receive and Army Achievement Medal, a reward for his service to the Army during his deployment. Zzarr was responsible for discovering about 6,000 pounds of explosives in hidden caches around Mosul. 

Staff Sgt. Kevin Dee, Zzarr’s handler, puts the K-9 through his paces at Fort Eustis.(Photo by Keith Whitteaker)

As the Soldiers stood at attention and the orders were posted, Col. Michael Bills, commander of the 3d ACR, bent down and pinned the AAM on Zzarr‟s collar. Instead of a salute, Zzarr enthusiastically offered a paw, wagged his tail, and wanted to play. 

Zzarr, a three-year old Dutch Sheppard, is a military working dog assigned to the 221st 

Military Police Detachment stationed at Fort Eustis, Va.  

The dog‟s trainer, Staff Sgt. Kevin Dee, said Zzarr specializes in searching for explosives. During the past year in Mosul, the dog was credited with finding three major caches, one of which included 1,200 pounds of explosives that was going to be used in a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. 

The dog‟s discoveries have saved countless lives by “finding things the (human) eye can‟t find,” he said.  

“The military working dogs are extremely well trained and adept at discovering these caches. The „finds‟ remove these weapons from the hands of the enemy and decrease the resources they have to use against us,” said Maj. Parker Frawley, planning officer for the 3d ACR. Frawley‟s mother, Starline Nunley, and the Gem City Dog Club in Dayton, Ohio, also recognized the value of the dogs on the battlefield and have been sending a variety of items for the working dogs to ensure they have all the necessities and some creature comforts while deployed. 


Zzarr was one of 15 military working dogs in 3d ACR‟s area of operations that work daily with the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces to find hidden explosives and other weapons and keep them from making it to the streets. 

 “These MWDs have been extremely useful in our daily combat operations,” said Capt. William Nance, commander of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d ACR. Nance worked with Zzarr and other MWDs regularly as the Heavy Company, 3rd Squadron, 3d ACR commander during the first six months of the regiment‟s deployment to Iraq. “They can cover more ground, faster than human search teams and have been instrumental in clearing sites for COP builds, as well as quickly clearing a building during a raid. This speed allows us to spend less time on the objective, keeping everyone safer.  

“That and they‟re a lot of fun to have around the CP before and after missions,” Nance added.  

With the award pinned on his collar, Zzarr received a multitude of congratulatory pats on the head from the Soldiers. This attention is well-deserved for the dog. After all, Zzarr is the one digging around in the dirt and roaming through buildings looking for explosives, said Dee. 

“He does all the work. I have all the fun,” Dee said.  


2 Responses to “Military working dog receives Army Achievement Medal”

  1. Garrett Wright Says:

    My sister raised this dog through the DoD puppy program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

    • Roadkill/Lee Says:

      God certainly blessed your sister. I cannot imagine the pain of letting go after nearly six months of puppy love. Great Americans are found everywhere – another two have been found here. Zzarr and Garret Wright’s sister. I thank God for her selflessness. Zzarr, of course, is only doing what he’s be trained to do. But, just like many others who contribute to the success of the overall mission – they just don’t realize the scope of their contributions. I’m certain that Zzarr saved lives…and doesn’t know or care about that. He’s all about doing what it is that pleases his handler…isn’t that what we should all be doing?

      I trust God will bless Garrett Wright’s sister, and the thousands like her that do a fabulous job of preparing these K-9 warriors for their advanced training. And I trust God will continue to bless ZZarr. And finally, may God continue to bless these United States of America.


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