Ramos, who lives in the Tysons Corner area of Virginia with his handler and family, retired from the Air Force last November after just over eight years of service as a military working dog.
This memorial day is the first that 9-year-old German shepherd Ramos is not working.
Ramos, who lives in the Tysons Corner area of Virginia with his handler and family, retired last November after just over eight years of service in the Air Force as a military working dog.
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The K-9 served two roles during its tenure in the Air Force – finding explosives and providing protection and patrol.
Malcolm Young, Ramos’ “father” and handler, spent 11 years in the Air Force, most of that time serving as a K-9 trainer. Working out of Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the couple served a tour of duty abroad and spent countless hours protecting the President and Vice President alongside foreign diplomats on intelligence missions.
Ramos participated in 35 dignified airbase transfers with the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operation. Graceful transfers are made for service members who have died while on duty in a military operation. The remains will be returned to Dover Air Base before being handed over to their families. Young says Ramos would go inside and look around the base area to look for explosives and provide shelter to Gold Star families and US leaders
The Air Force also recognized Ramos for conducting thousands of searches of buildings, vehicles, and government assets during his tenure. Young says they never found a bomb at Dover but stopped an intruder who managed to get over a secure fence.
Young affectionately calls Ramos his “roll dawg,” who was always by his side. Young’s wife Mimi says she has always been grateful that the German shepherd brought her husband home safely during their assignments or missions.
As we remember on Memorial Day the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation during their service, Young hopes we will also recognize the military working dogs who have also made sacrifices.
“There are some dogs out there that gave their lives and unfortunately got blown up, but they save fifty, sixty other people in the process,” Young said.
Memorial Day resonates with him, too, because he believes spending time in worship with Ramos helped pave the way for a brighter future.
“From the K-9 career to us in the military in general…to honor the fallen,” Young said.
The Northern Virginia man’s grandfather and uncles also served in the US military.
Ramos now spends his days playing with his favorite toys, going on fun walks and learning to be a dog again, alongside his four-legged brother Douglas, a French bulldog.
Young says the retired military dog still walks with a target and thinks he’s working looking for bombs or other explosives. Young says it will take a while for Ramos to adjust to just being a regular dog. “Douglas is teaching him how to ‘dog’ again and how to be a puppy.”
Ramos has a few health issues with his hips, but Young said he’ll be running with his canine brother. He added that Ramos is on the couch most days.
“That’s exactly what I wanted for him to be able to relax on the couch,” Young said.