Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe and his dog, Sgt. Yeager, were patrolling the Marjah district of Iraq in 2012. A Marine had been injured by an IED, an improvised explosive device, so the pair were looking for other bombs in the area. Tarwoe stepped on a buried IED, and it exploded, killing him. Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds that took months to recover from and cost him part of his right ear.
Yeager was awarded a Purple Heart for his injuries after serving three combat tours and over 100 detection patrols. Now, the 12-year-old Lab is going to Hollywood to be be honored as the nation’s top military dog and will compete for the title of American Hero Dog.
According to American Humane, fellow Marines described the bond between the handler and his dog as “unbreakable.” On the day of Tarwoe’s memorial service, Yeager approached the wooden cross and lay in front of it, unprompted, until after everyone had left.
Yeager is the 2019 Military Dog of the Year and one of seven dogs receiving 2019 American Humane Hero Dog awards. They are now finalists for the grand prize: American Hero Dog.