CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military dog whose handler was killed in Afghanistan was adopted by the fallen Marine's family, thanks to an approval by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz died on Sept. 28, 2011, while serving in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Military officials say Diaz was considered one of the most experienced military police dog handlers in the Marine Corps.
Salvador Diaz, the fallen Marine's father, asked the military if his family could adopt Dino, Diaz's MWD (military working dog).
Military officials initially denied the request, saying Dino, who specialized in finding explosives, was too young. However, Mabus granted the family's request on May 29.
The Diaz family officially adopted Dino in a ceremony held at Camp Pendleton Saturday.
"He is a duplicate of Christopher; I mean, it's just amazing," said Sandra Diaz, Christopher Diaz's mother.
"There's a public law that allows, under unique situations like this, to assist families with the grieving. We're with Wounded Warriors for rehabilitation that allows us to take an operational dog and adopt it out to the families," said Marine Corps Operations Manager Richard Landgrebe.
"We know that he's not going to replace Christopher, but what he will do is give us a little bit of what Christopher loved and that was the Marine Corps, that was Dino," said Salvador Diaz.
According to military officials, Diaz was buried with full military honors at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in Texas.
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