It was a special day of remembrance as friends and family members of Marine Sgt Adam Cann gathered together to unveil a war dogs exhibit at Camp Pendleton. The exhibit is a display of pictures and statues dedicated to military working dogs and their handlers.
The sign for the exhibit says, Camp Pendleton War Dogs and has paw prints on it. The sign is special because it was made by Sgt Cann before he was killed in action on Jan. 5, 2006, at age 23.
Sgt Cann was a military police officer with the Security Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He and his bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, Bruno, were on patrol in Ar Ramadi.
Cann and Bruno were in front of the Ramadi Glass and Ceramics Works. Over 1,000 Iraqis were lined up for a police recruiting event. While the event was going on a car overran a security check-point causing panic to spread through the crowd.
Minutes later, Cann spotted a suspicious-looking man and approached him. Seconds later the suspect detonated a vest he was wearing that contained 40-pounds of explosives.
The vest was filled with bearing which mortally wounded Cann. Bruno, his military working dog, was also wounded on his left side from the blast. As Adam lay there Bruno laid next to him putting his head on Adam’s chest to further shield him from additional harm. Bruno was medevaced to Al Asad Airbase in Al Anbar province.
Cann was so close to the insurgent that his body absorbed the blast, he died shielding two other Marines and his dog Bruno.
Cann became the first Marine dog handler killed in action since Vietnam. Gunnery Sgt. Anthony W. Smit had this to say about Cann on the Marine Corps website:
Sgt. Cann was an outstanding Marine. His enthusiasm was infectious. Anybody that ever worked for him could tell you that.
Smit is a military police officer with Camp Pendleton’s K-9 unit. He was also Cann’s kennel master in Iraq. Those who remember Cann said that he always made them laugh. He constantly played practical jokes on them.
Adam was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, section 60, site 8319, with full honors.
The Arlington National Cemetery website said about the service: “The Marine honor guard carried Cann’s coffin with stylized movements. Once they reached the grave, they hovered, knees bent, then hoisted the casket high overhead — Marine ritual.”
Bruno is still a part of the Camp Pendleton unit today. It’s the sacrifice of men like Cann that makes America great. The Dothan Marine Corps Examiner salutes his sacrifice and prays his friends and family always have fond memories of him. Rest in peace Marine and Semper Fidelis.
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