A former Navy SEAL whose military K9 was killed in the search for deserter Bowe Bergdahl broke down in tears while recalling the incident during yesterday’s hearing.
Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch testified before the military court on Wednesday in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, recounting how he and his fellow SEALs -to include his beloved dog, Remco- carried out the search-and-rescue mission, despite knowing that searching for the deserter would get someone hurt or killed.
“His name was Remco,” Hatch choked out, remembering the moment his four-legged partner was shot in the head during a skirmish with two Taliban fighters in a field.
“Take your time,” said the prosecutor, Army Maj. Justin Oshana.
In addition to the loss of Remco, Hatch was shot in the leg.
“I screamed a lot. It hurt really bad…I thought I was dead,” he said.
Thanks to a quick application of a tourniquet by a comrade, Hatch’s bleeding was slowed to a controllable level. In the long run, it would take 18 surgeries before he would be deemed “healed,” at least in the physical sense of the word.
A MEDEVAC helicopter swooped down to rescue the K9 and Handler, with medics dispatching two Afghans in the process. However, it was too late for Remco- his jaw was blown clean off by the 7.62x39mm round that struck him.
Hatch loved Remco, who helped protect his team by alerting the SEALs to the location of enemy troops.
In addition to being shot, Hatch recalled how the helicopters carrying them in took fire, a result of hasty planning in the search for the 25th Infantry Division’s infamous deserter. In fact, over 10 aircraft had been damaged in the search for Bergdahl.
According to Fox News, Hatch has since medically separated from the Navy and is now running a nonprofit dedicated to the care and support of military and law enforcement dogs.
As the trial over the fate of the deserter Bergdahl continues, it has become clear that the US military’s reputation was not the only casualty in the wake of one young soldier’s selfish decision to abandon his post.
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