Millions of men and women devote their adult lives to service in the armed forces. But one Dyess airman began his service when he was only two years old and now he's up for retirement.
Eight-year-old Belgian Malinois Condor will retire this Friday, April 19, after six dedicated years of K-9 service in the United States Air Force.
Condor deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he saved lives by identifying IEDs and over 300 pounds of other explosives.
He also aided U.S. Secret Service operations during President George W. Bush's terms.
At his retirement ceremony, Condor will receive the Meritorious Service Medal for all of his brave work.
He deserves it, since the life of a military working dog isn't easy.
"They're not always going to have the luxury of staying the night in a building or riding around in an air-conditioned car," said SSgt Jennifer Dean, kennel master at Dyess. "They're actually out on patrol, in the dirt, in the cold, the heat, extremes and roughin' it," she said.
In this world, dogs are like family.
"It's like your best friend working with you, somebody who has protected you," said Dean. "When you're on duty, that dog doesn't leave your side," she said.
Condor's retirement plans include a couch and lots of down time.
Those simple luxuries are well-deserved for this American war hero.
Condor is being adopted by Dyess 2d Lt. Karrissa Garza through the MWD Adoption Program.
He'll be a part of her family once she returns from an extended TDY.
To learn more about the MWD Adoption Program, click here.
This Facebook page is also a valuable resource for information about military working dogs.