Airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base came together on Friday to honor one of their fallen brothers – Aslan, a military working dog.
Aslan was born January 2008 in Germany and he entered explosive protection training at Lackland Air Force Base in 2009.
"Those who call themselves dog handlers are the only people that truly understand the bond between the handler and their dog. A bond which can not be broken, even in death," said Staff Sergeant Colin Tucker of the 341st Security Forces Squadron.
He came to Malmstrom in 2009.
Not only did he protect Malmstrom with his bomb detection capabilities, but he also responded to 25 bomb threats and suspicious packages around Montana.
And his service wasn’t just in Montana – Aslan deployed to a combat zone.
"In 2010 Aslan was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He accepted multiple combat patrols and base security operations," said Major Marc Anthony Ortiz, the commander of the 341st Security Forces Squadron.
But for Senior Airman Kieth Retuyan, Aslan wasn’t just a military working dog – he was his best friend.
"Aslan has never saved my life in a real world scenario, but he definitely touched my life in a way I simply can not explain. If I could only a few would understand," Retuyan said.
Aslan made a big impact on Retuyan during the short time that they were a team.
During the ceremony, Retuyan shared some memories of Aslan from his previous handler of three years, Staff Sergeant Storm Doromal.
"When I first met I said to him, ‘Oh my what a big head you have. Followed by what big arms you have. I swear he barked, barked as if he understood. The moment his mouth opened I saw his canines and I said, ‘Oh Aslan, what big teeth you have!’ And this memory will be forever be in my mind," Retuyan said.
Aslan’s bothers were by his side as he took his last breath in May.
"Aslan as you cross the rainbow bridge to retire into heaven, your memories will forever be with me and every one that has ever met the loving goof ball that you are," Retuyan said.
Aslan will be forever be memorized at Malmstrom as part of a mural in the headquarters building.