Marine’s bid farewell to beloved combat dog

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SAUGATUCK, Mich. —  A Marine K-9 served two tours in Afghanistan, been a part of more than 240 missions and survived some 30 firefights. Oh, and he has lived for 12-and-a-half-years.

Rico, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, retired from the military in 2012 and died Saturday. He was laid to rest with the honor bestowed to such a patriotic pup, WOOD reports.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Russ Beckley Jr., who worked with Rico. “There was not a moment that it wasn’t his mission or his goal to be by my side. I was everything to him, and he was everything to me.”

Friday, after more than a year apart, Beckley Jr. was finally reunited with Rico. The patriotic pup retired from the service in 2012 and has lived in Saugatuck with Beckley’s parents, Tammy and Russ Beckley Sr., while Russ Jr. continues his service.

And they did so with honor. Both Russ Jr. and  Russ Sr. offered parting words as a crowd of dozens surrounded in tribute outside their family home.

“I can just imagine one day, seeing my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and my mother, standing there with Rico. And we will all be together again,” Russ Jr. told 24 Hour News 8 Saturday.

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