Great story at Stars and Stripes about a joyful reunion at Landstuhl last week:
At Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., they were members of an engineer battalion. In Afghanistan, though, they were assigned to augment an already-tight-knit Special Forces “Alpha” team in a remote part of the country’s east. There, away from people they knew, their bond grew stronger.
“I think he was probably my best friend down there,” [Sgt. Eric] Goldenthal said of Corky. “I saw him every day. He slept in my room every day, woke up with me every day.”
Then, on Jan. 19, they were both shot.
Goldenthal, Corky and the Green Berets were four days into a 10-day mission to rout out Taliban militants in Kapisa province, an area of the country where few coalition forces are based.
The team had spent days pushing up a valley that had just one way in and one way out, Goldenthal said. They’d gotten into numerous firefights along the way.
“And that’s when me and him got hit, pretty much the exact same time,” Goldenthal said. “I just felt it hit the back of my leg and then I heard him crying.”
Goldenthal threw a tourniquet on his own leg and a team medic attended to Corky, who was shot in the foot.
After pushing to the valley’s mouth, dog and handler were whisked away to Bagram Air Field on a medical helicopter.
Two days later, they both underwent surgery in Germany — Goldenthal at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Corky at the Army’s Dog Center Europe, about a 20-minute drive away.
They got to visit Monday at Landstuhl, where Corky jumped up on his handler to bathe his face in wet dog kisses.
“It’s only been a couple days,” Goldenthal laughed.
Last Friday, according to myGuidon.com, they both returned home to Fort Leonard Wood.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Collins, 67th Engineer Detachment kennel master, credits Sgt. Goldenthal and Corky for keeping the rest of the team safe that day.
“That day’s events speaks volumes. That was actually the third incident on that day within a few hours. They had already found multiple explosive devices, thankfully nobody was injured by those devices. It took three ambushes in order to stop them. Our job is important because nobody was killed that day, not one person,” Collins said.
Goldenthal said was pleased with the care he and his dog had received since they were shot, and even though they weren’t ready to come home, he is glad to be on Fort Leonard Wood.
“I’ve been treated so well. A lot of the medics and nurses have been so nice to us both,” Goldenthal said.
“I am looking forward to being back with my Family.”
Well done and welcome home!