Fort Bragg soldier pleads for help in bringing combat dog back home

Specialist Brent Grommet (WTVD-TV)

Specialist Brent Grommet (WTVD-TV)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Specialist Brent Grommet is fighting a different kind of battle these days. Back from Afghanistan, he’s coping with and recovering from spinal and traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.

But it seems his own progress is taking a backseat to another mission. Grommet is trying to get his dog back, according to WTVD-TV.

The 23-year-old soldier is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but his focus has been on the Fort Bragg area where he’s been told his combat buddy, a young German Shepard named Matty, now lives. The challenge is now to convince Matty’s adopted family to return him to the first friend he ever knew.

“They’re not dog and handler, they’re brothers,” said Don Grommet, the soldier’s father.

Specialist Grommet and Matty were paired in the fall of 2012 as a part of the Tactical Explosive Detector Dog program. After graduating from TEDD in November of that year, the pair deployed to Afghanistan where they were injured in two separate IED attacks.

When the pair returned from deployment in July of 2013, Matty was whisked away from a New Jersey Air Force Base, and Grommet returned to Ft. Campbell to prepare for medical retirement due to spinal and brain trauma injuries, as well as PTSD.

“When you lose a dog it’s really hard, but after you’ve been through everything with that dog, and you come back and you’re told ‘Okay, you got ten minutes to say goodbye to your dog and then we’re taking him?’ It’s a very rough place to be left off on,” said Spc. Grommet.

Don Grommet was able to track Matty to Fort Bragg, where Vet Services was treating the K9 for a torn ACL, and preparing him for separation from service and adoption. The Grommets said they submitted and re-submitted adoption paperwork, and were told the first set of documents were lost.

“We were told several times not to worry about it; that everyone knew that Brent was going to adopt Matty” said Don Grommet.

But after months of weekly calls to check on the adoption status, Grommet said his son received a call in March 2014 telling him Matty had been adopted.

“It’s not the soldier’s fault, and the soldier shouldn’t be punished,” he said “But the only one being punished here is the soldier and the dog.”

The Grommets said they had a military contact track Matty’s adoption to a civilian in the Fort Bragg area. They said they were told the man had strong ties to the TEDD program, and was unwilling to give up Matty because he was too attached after a few weeks.

“I’d be willing to buy the dog off of him, get a new dog for him….Whatever it would take to get Matty back,” said Specialist Grommet.

“I’d like to think that people will do the right thing when it comes down to it,” his father said. “I do have times when I doubt that this is ever going to happen. I know my son has doubts that this is ever going happen.”

“I probably will not give up on this until the day I die,” said the father, who has reached out to the White House, Congressmen, and military representatives on this search.

“My son needs that dog for his healing.”

Specialist Grommet, who tattooed Matty’s service number V053 in he dog’s ear, hopes the new owner will have a change of heart when he or his family and friends hear the soldier’s plea.

“Veterans of war can call up their battle buddies and talk and help each other. Lifelong friendships have been formed in fox holes,” he writes in a public letter. “Matty and I was continually moving from unit to unit, I didn’t get human companionship, mine was canine. Matty was my constant. It is for this reason that I am requesting your help in order to try and get Matty back. This would mean the world to me.”

Grommet can be contacted through Facebook at www.facebook.com/brent.grommet.

9 comments

  • Ride hard, Ride strong, go hard or go home

    he should have his dog back, that was his partner and they belong together, The civilian just wants to be a dick about it, Give the man his dog, He deserves him more

  • Shelly Lynn

    I am sure these people do not care about the man involved. If they care at all about the dog they will give it back to the man. Dog’s have very deep feelings about their owners. I am sure this dog misses his partner very bad.

  • Shirely Flynn

    He should have the dog people need to have a heart and love each other the people that has him ha hasn’t got a bond with him but the soldier does he fighting for our country let him have the dog

  • Doglover

    I would like to know the real story on how come the white house, congressman and other military representative will not help this kid. There is obviously more to this story than what we are being told. Everyone wants to hear the sad solider story but I for one want to hear the truth. I have several friends who own previous Military Working Dogs and for certain reasons their previous handlers DID NOT have rights to adopt them. I am sure Matty is being loved and cared for greatly and why should the bond between his new owner and him be broken because Spc Grommett nor his family does not want to tell why noone will help him.
    I also want to know Sara how do you know that Matty’s new owners were made aware of the situation and that they refused. Maybe the new owners fell in love with Matty and have a deep connection and bond with him that they don’t want to give up. We only hear Spc. Grommett and his family story,not the whole story which includes information the government is not willing to release for some reaon.

  • DOGLOVER

    Again you do not know the whole story. I have worked for the federal government and I do know that people do make mistakes not only in the government but in all jobs. NOONE IS PERFECT. The VA has nothing to do with this story so why even bring it up. I do know how Veterans are being treated and I have handled it. Like I said before I am sure there is more to this story since the congressmen, White House and military representative are not willing to help. Another thing upon researching the adoption process did not go through the VET clinics so why did they continue to talk to the VET clinic when they did not handle the adoption paperwork. Grommet did not follow the proper channels to get his paperwork handled in that aspect. And again how do you know what Matty new family was told and what their response was. Were you there to hear the conversation? I doubt it. I wish everyone will quit jumping to assumption on Matty new family that they want money or fame or whatever. Maybe they just needed a companion and found a great companion in Matty. Another point is that what if the first trainier that raised and trained Matty from a puppy wants him should he get him. No I don’t think so. Matty was a military working dog while he was with Grommet not his personal dog. I still will like to hear the other side of this story to see what valuable information is being left out by the Grommet family.

    Matty’s new family is American in that they gave a RETIRED MILITARY DOG a home.

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