June 11, 2009
By Eve Meinhardt, Paraglide
|Sgt. 1st Class Boe, left, and Sgt. 1st Class Budge, 528th Combat Stress Control, 44th Medical Command, wait to be released from formation inside the shed at Green Ramp on Pope Air Force Base after returning from a 15-month deployment to Iraq, June 6. Photo credit Eve Meinhardt/Paraglide|
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — After serving 15-months in Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Boe and Sgt. 1st Class Budge, 528th Combat Stress Control, 44th Medical Command, made the march across the tarmac at Green Ramp on Pope Air Force Base June 6. The 528th CSC, 44th MEDCOM’s mission in Iraq was to treat deployed Soldiers for any stress they may have experienced while overseas. Boe and Budge helped the unit accomplish its mission. The two noncommissioned officers are black Labrador retrievers, serving their country by providing combat stress therapy. The dogs were donated and trained by America’s VetDogs, an organization dedicated to training dogs to serve the special needs of Soldiers. “The combat stress dogs give the unit another tool in their tool box when they are talking to Soldiers about what they are going through,” said Mike Sergeant, chief training officer, America’s VetDogs. “Almost everybody likes dogs. These two served as an ice-breaker when patients talked with a combat stress technician, helping the Soldier to open up and relax.” Boe and Budge primarily provided the Soldiers with emotional comfort, just by playing, playing fetch, getting petted or providing a sympathetic, nonjudgmental ear.