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President's canine bodyguard retires

PUBLISHED: 13:54 24 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

MILITARY dog Harras deserves a bit of a fanfare to mark his retirement.

During a career in the USAF spanning 12 years he has helped keep law and order, sniffed out drugs and explosives - and ensured the safety of the most powerful man in the world.

MILITARY dog Harras deserves a bit of a fanfare to mark his retirement.

During a career in the USAF spanning 12 years he has helped keep law and order, sniffed out drugs and explosives - and ensured the safety of the most powerful man in the world.

The 13-year-old Belgium Malinois, who was posted to RAF Lakenheath from a base in Germany in 1994, protected Bill Clinton during a trip to London when he was US President.

He also helped the British secret service during several other operations in London and one in Egypt.

The working dog has even shown off his skills by performing in front of dignitaries from Estonia and Bosnia.

In a fictional oath taken by the dogs it is declared: "I am the nose and ears of my officer. I will protect and serve him. I would die for him and you. I only ask for compassion and a kind word."

Harras retired in style when the US military held a special ceremony for his loyal service on Friday.

The 48th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron based at Lakenheath laid on the celebrations for Harras to mark the beginning of a quieter life for the dog.

Harras has worked with the USAF in England for the past nine years and retired due to old age and arthritis, which prevents him from carrying out his duties.

Military working dogs carry out a number of essential roles including law enforcement and drug and explosives detection work.

"The military working dog team is a highly versatile asset to a security forces unit" said Staff Sergeant Brian Kain, a military dog handler with the 48 Fighter Wing squadron.

Kennel master Staff Sergeant Edward Keenan said Harras would continue to be well looked after at the base kennels.

He added: "He is a very good dog although he is notorious for stealing sandwiches."

There are currently eight military working dogs at RAF Lakenheath. Harras was the oldest.


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