Lucca is a Miracle Dog… Each dog that has served in the United States military and other military divisions around the world are to be applauded for unselfish devotion but there is one in particular that has recently made headlines around the globe. Lucca, a half German shepherd and Belgian Malinois breed joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006 and has been hailed as a true hero. At just two years of age, she completed extensive training to become a top search dog that would be used for a variety of military operations specific to open areas, roads, vehicles, and buildings in the effort to find ammunition, weapons, and explosives. For her first five years of service, Lucca worked with her initial handler, Gunnery Sergeant Willingham but was then handed off to one of Willingham’s teams working in Afghanistan, Corporal Juan Rodriguez.
Prior to March 2013, Lucca had already provided exemplary service during two Iraq tours of duty in 2007 and 2008 and one Afghanistan tour in 2011. Over that period, this service dog led more than 400 patrols, discovered countless explosive devices, and was directly involved with the apprehension of four insurgents later determined to be Improvised Explosive Device or IED manufacturers that supported numerous terrorist cells in the region. Lucca’s final mission occurred on March 23, 2013 while out on patrol with her handler Rodriguez and several other Marines. Walking ahead, she indicated the presence of an IED.