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American Hero Dog: Sergeant Yeager

Sergeant Yeager is a bit different from most U.S. Marines veterans. For starters, he’s got four legs and a tail!

At 13 years old, Yeager is also on the young side for a veteran. Today he enjoys a peaceful retirement with his loving family in North Carolina, but just a few years ago he was keeping his fellow Marines safe overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trained as an Improvised Explosive Detection Dog, Yeager has been credited with detecting the locations of dozens of explosive devices.

Over the course of three combat tours, Yeager participated in over 100 patrols and was tasked with clearing routes for his fellow Marines. While on patrol in April 2012, Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds from an IED that caused him to lose part of his ear. Sadly, the explosion took the life of his handler, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe. The pair was valiantly trying to protect the other Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Fellow Marines attest to the unbreakable bond between Tarwoe and Yeager.

After the attack, Yeager was transported back to the United States and treated for his injuries until he was stable enough to retire from the USMC. Tarwoe’s widow was unable to adopt Yeager as she would now be raising their infant son alone. Yeager was adopted by another Marine Corps family. Today, Yeager is beginning to show signs of aging, though his spirit is undiminished. Despite his trials and being witness to acts of terrorism, Yeager remains a sweet dog with an infinitely joyful disposition. He has settled in North Carolina with his family, where he is an ambassador for the Project K-9 Hero Foundation, which pays 100 percent of his medical bills from his sustained injuries.

Last year, Yeager was honored as our 2019 American Humane Military Hero Dog. The search is underway for this year’s dog.

Voting on the first round of this year’s applicants begins on March 26th. To learn more visit

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