EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Airmen, family and friends gathered to honor Roy and Zuzu for 17 human years and 119 dog years of faithful service at the Air Force Armament Museum here February 28.
The retirement ceremony honored the 96th Security Forces Squadron’s military working dogs, and formally released them from service, to begin their lives as family pets.
“A retirement ceremony is a prestigious event and the highest honor we can give an Air Force member,” said Tech. Sgt. David Garver, 96th SFS kennel master. “Although Roy and Zuzu may not be traditional Air Force members, their contributions are equally important.”
MWD Roy’s contributions began with the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) here as a Special Operations Forces Multi-Purpose Canine at two-years-old in September 2008. During that assignment, he supported three combat deployments.
“Roy used his amazing nose to protect service members and civilians during those combat tours,” said Lt. Col. Lucas Hall, 96th SFS commander. “He was vital in finding multiple explosives and helped apprehend high value targets.”
The now 12-year-old Beligian Malinois’ service did not end there. While serving with the 96th SFS, Roy deployed again in 2017. He also supported U.S. Secret Service missions and provided security for Pacific Air Forces leadership.
“It was awesome to work with Roy,” said, the MWD’s former handler for three years, Staff Sgt. Luis Diaz Garcia, 341st Training Squadron. “I could be in the middle woods in the early morning hours and feel safe because Roy would alert me if there was anything around me.”
Zuzu, the 10-year-old German Shepherd and other retiree, began her military career when she was three years old. After she completed MWD training in Texas, she was assigned here, and searched more than 620 hours to support the War On Drugs.
“Her nose and keen senses were responsible for keeping Eglin a drug-free environment,” said Hall.
With their high-risk duties behind them, Roy and Zuzu’s handlers presented them retirement collars, certificates and their badges of authority.
“When I heard Tech. Sgt. Garver announce Zuzu was honorably discharged, I teared up,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Carrete, 96th SFS, Zuzu’s last handler. “I’m happy she completed her service. It’s her time to be a normal dog.”
Both Roy and Zuzu were adopted by Air Force families.
After the retirement ceremony Roy traveled to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas with Diaz Garcia and his family. Zuzu was adopted by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Godsey, 96th SFS, and remains in the area.
“We’re pretty excited to have a new addition to the family. Zuzu is calm and she’s going to fit in fine,” said Godsey. “She’s worked hard and deserves a break.”