SOUTH LYON (WWJ) — A little-known Iraq war veteran was honored for his service in the line of duty this weekend.
A veteran war dog will receive full military honors at a service at the Michigan War Dog Memorial in South Lyon on Saturday.
Shaman — a German Shepherd who served in Iraq along with his handler, Army Staff Sergeant Dennis Asher of Howell — died this summer after retiring a few years ago.
Director of the Michigan War Dog Memorial, Phil Weitlauf, said Asher will receive a flag that flew over the capitol to recognize Shaman’s service.
“We will play Taps and then the eight German Shepherds will do a semi-circle around the table of honor and these dogs have been trained to howl on command and they will give what they call a canine salute to their fallen partner and they will howl for 15 seconds,” Weitlauf said.
Weitlauf said that the military dogs deserve a burial with honors because they’ve saved thousands of lives in conflicts around the world.
“He was deployed with his handler, Sergeant Asher, to Iraq and his duty over there was twofold — one was guarding a high-profile prison, actually the same prison that Saddam Hussein had been detained at, and he was on call for the British and the American special forces in Southern Iraq,” Weitlauf said.
Shaman was trained in Germany and served at Fort Stewart, Georgia before he was deployed to Iraq in 2006, then retired in 2011.
“We have a color guard, we have a procession,” Wietlauf said. “The procession when he’s carrying the ashes is escorted by eight German Shepherds, four on each side. We have what’s called a table of honor and that’s where the ashes are placed, along with his picture and his leash and his collar.”