MPs honor K9 with memorial ceremony
Staff Sgt. Moreno Thomas, a Military Working Dog handler, is pictured here with Brando, a Military Working Dog who was euthanized due to cancer. Brando was honored in a memorial ceremony March 9, 2012, at the chapel on Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany.

STUTTGART, Germany (March 14, 2012) -- The Soldiers of the 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, said goodbye to a Military Working Dog named Brando during a memorial ceremony March 9 at the chapel on Panzer Kaserne here.

After nine years of service, Brando was euthanized due to cancer.

"When I learned that Brando had cancer I was upset," said Staff Sgt. Moreno Thomas, the senior MWD handler with the 554th MP Company. "I realized that I had asked a lot of Brando and there was nothing that I could do to repay him."

Thomas became Brando's handler at Fort Myer, Va., where they worked together for numerous explosive sweep missions for the Secret Service. Together they were responsible for the safety of the president of the U.S., the first lady, the State Department and the chief of staff.

"I spent more time [on temporary duty] with Brando covering Secret Service missions than I did at home while stationed at 'The Old Guard,'" said Thomas.

"It was very easy to conduct missions for the Secret Service because of his non-aggressive personality. I'm really happy that I was able to spend such a long amount of time with him because normally the MWDs (military working dogs) don't (change duty stations) with the handlers," said Thomas.

Thomas and Brando worked together from April 2006 until Feb. 2012. Through the years Thomas grew increasingly confident in the abilities of Brando during training exercises that led to successful deployments.

"Military Working Dog Brando is a patrol explosive detector dog, which is serious business whenever we are called upon or employed for a mission," said Thomas. "I feel that every time we went out on a mission he was there to save my life and [the lives of] others."

Page last updated Wed March 14th, 2012 at 00:00