War dog Lucca honored in Tuscaloosa - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

War dog Lucca honored in Tuscaloosa

Posted: Updated:
Lucca gets a belly rub from Willingham. Source: WBRC video Lucca gets a belly rub from Willingham. Source: WBRC video
Lucca poses for a picture. Source: WBRC Lucca poses for a picture. Source: WBRC
  • More newsMore>>

  • Marijuana operation busted in Marengo Co.

    Marijuana operation busted in Marengo Co.

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:12:49 GMT
    (Source: Alabama ABC Board)(Source: Alabama ABC Board)
    Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board found and destroyed several marijuana plants on Wednesday. Agents discovered the plants while exploring a wooded area in the southeastern corner ofMore >>
    Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board found and destroyed several marijuana plants on Wednesday. Agents discovered the plants while exploring a wooded area in the southeastern corner of Marengo County. A subsequent search of a nearby residence turned up additional cannabis.More >>
  • GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:54 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:54:11 GMT
    General Motors is issuing six more recalls covering a total of almost 718,000 vehicles in the U.S.More >>
    General Motors issued six more recalls on Wednesday, bringing its annual total to 60 recalls covering almost 30 million vehicles.More >>
  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:43:23 GMT
    Dozens of Palestinian families trapped by clashes between Hamas militants and Israeli troops are scrambling to flee a southern Gaza Strip neighborhood as Israel reported that two more of its soldiers have died in...More >>
    Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.More >>
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

The Marine Corps League in Tuscaloosa hosted a very special soldier Tuesday.

Lucca is one of the countless four-legged soldiers that have served with the armed services since WWII.

By taking a quick glance at Lucca you would think she were like any other dog. She loves her chew toy and welcomes any and all affection. But if you look closer you can see she has a story to tell.

"She was leading a patrol. They were about four hours into it. Lucca located an IED, it was her second IED during the patrol. While she was searching for the secondary device it detonated and took off her front left paw," Marine Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham said.

Lucca's left paw was blown off and her leg had to be amputated after that incident last March in Afghanistan. Willingham, her owner, says she was very fortunate that she wasn't killed or left with a life long list of complications.

"She was extremely lucky. She had no permanent eye damage, no permanent hearing damage, no internal shrapnel. It was mainly damage to her left from foot," he said.

Without hesitation, Willingham says Lucca helped keep hundreds of people safe.

"She's led countless patrols. She's out front, she had numerous finds when I was with her. She had numerous finds with Cpl. Rodriguez. I mean there's no doubt she's saved lives," Willingham said.

In just 10 days, Willingham says she was back up and walking. And her demeanor never changed.

"She maintained the same spirit which means she's the same Lucca. It didn't really affect her. She's been through a lot. Through fire fights, been close to mortars and she was that close to an IED and she's still got the same spirit, same personality," Willingham said.

It took close to a month for Lucca to recover. And while she'll never go back to combat service, she's not minding retirement. Willingham has officially adopted her.

Lucca now serves as the face for the National Military Working Dog monument. She and Willingham will travel with the monument around the country until it is installed in Texas later this year.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow