By Andrea Sutherland, Fort Carson Public AffairsNovember 4, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo., Nov. 4, 2011 -- Images and footage of dog handler Cpl. Kory Wiens and his canine partner Sgt. Cooper show the softer side of a relationship between a military working dog and his handler. Scenes of Cooper cuddling up next to Wiens in a Humvee before the two head out on patrol, Wiens brushing the sand from the yellow Labrador retriever's fur and pictures of the two sleeping side by side flash across the screen, revealing the loving connection the two shared.
"They had a special bond," said Kevin Wiens Sr., Kory Wiens' father.
The video is a tribute to Wiens and Cooper, who died July 6, 2007, in Muhammad Sath, Iraq, after an improvised explosive device detonated. They were the first K-9 team killed in action since Vietnam, said Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander, in remarks at the event.
Kevin Wiens Sr. traveled to Fort Carson Oct. 28, along with his son, Kevin Wiens Jr., and daughter, Lindsay Wiens, for the dedication of the Fort Carson dog park, named for Kory Wiens and Cooper.
"It's an honor to memorialize Cpl. Kory Wiens and his partner, Sgt. Cooper," McLaughlin said. "From this day forward, this will surely be a special place."
Established in Ironhorse Park a year ago, the dog park features obstacles for large and small dogs and offers owners a place to let their pets play off leash. The Wiens family unveiled a memorial to their fallen son and brother at the ceremony.
"You can't explain the overwhelming gratitude," Lindsay Wiens said. "To know this is going to be here forever ..."
Kory Wiens served with the 94th Engineer Detachment (K-9), 5th Eng. Battalion, 1st Eng. Brigade, from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. His grandfather, also named Kory, served at Fort Carson as a canine handler during the Korean War.
Kevin Wiens Jr. said it meant a lot that Fort Carson chose to name the park after his younger brother. Both Kory Wiens and Kevin Wiens Jr. enlisted in the Army after high school. Kevin Wiens Jr. served two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division. He escorted his brother's body home after his death.
"My brother, he died honorably," said Kevin Wiens Jr. "It's an honor that everyone is honoring (Kory's) memory."
Dozens of Soldiers, family members and Fort Carson officials attended the ceremony, which featured demonstrations from handlers and military working dogs from the 148th Military Police Detachment, 759th MP Bn.
"(The dedication) means a lot," said Spc. Hector Rodriguez, 148th MP, 759th MP Bn. "There's more recognition for (military working dogs). We're out there in the front, always."
Rodriguez said the job of a handler comes with a lot of pressure, but each handler shares a special bond with his canine.
Looking out at the newly renovated dog park, Kevin Wiens Jr. said, "Kory would love (the dog park). He would have brought Cooper here every day."