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Navy with White Star pattern (Lucca was a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois service dog who was employed by the United States Marine Corps for 6 years. She was trained to detect explosives. She was deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. In her over 400 missions, no human fatalities occurred under her watch. She crossed over the rainbow bridge 2018. To learn more click the "We honor Lucca" section below) 


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  • A German shepherd named Lucca worked missions with the U.S. Marine Corps for six years under handler Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham. Her job included detecting explosives during her two tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Under her watchful eyes and keen nose, she led more than 400 missions where she uncovered explosives, insurgents, and ammunition.

    During Lucca’s final mission on March 23, 2012, an IED blew up beneath her. While she survived, she underwent surgery and lost her front leg. She retired and went to live with Staff Sgt. Willingham and his family.

    In 2016, Lucca was honored for her hard work by The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). She received the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. 

    The story of Lucca’s life has been turned into a book, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage.

    Lucca died in January 2018.

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