by 1st Lt. Alexis McGee
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
9/6/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- From
the moment Staff Sgt. Brian Williams arrived at Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center to begin his recovery, he had only one request.
Williams was deployed from the 87th Security Forces Squadron when he
suffered serious injuries after an improvised explosive device detonated
while he was on a mission April 25, 2012, outside Kandahar Airfield in
The military working dog handler suffered the loss of his left leg above
the knee, as well as multiple shrapnel wounds due to the explosion.
Present with him during the explosion, but unharmed during the attack,
was his military working dog partner of one and a half years, Carly.
Carly remained at the forefront of Williams' mind as he began his
recovery process. Carly was safely transferred back to Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst where he was on stand by for a while before being
reassigned to another handler.
Carly continued doing what he knew best - working - while Williams dedicated his efforts to recovery.
"Every time we went down to visit Brian, his first question was always
'how is Carly?' said Staff Sgt. Allison Price, 87th SFS military working
dog handler. "For the longest time he didn't know he even had the
option of adopting Carly."
Col. John Wood, former JB MDL commander, traveled to Walter Reed just
four days after the IED attack to visit Williams and continued to make
visits down to see him.
"Col. Wood asked me during one of his visits if there was anything I
needed," said Williams. "And I said, 'yes sir, I would really like to
have Carly as my service dog.' Col. Wood jotted the note down on his
hand and said 'I'll see what I can do.'"
This initial request to Wood began a year long pursuit to have Carly
enter early retirement to be adopted by Williams as a service dog.
As the adoption request made its way through various channels with no
certain conclusion, Williams' coworkers from the 87th SFS continued to
visit him frequently, even bringing Carly along on some of their trips
to the hospital to spend time with his old partner.
"The first time we brought Carly down to see Sergeant Williams, Carly
jumped into his lap an started linking his face," said Price. "Carly
never forgot who his dad is."
Price said it was apparent after the attack Carly knew something had
happened to Williams. Bringing them together for a reunion reassured
Carly that Williams was okay.
During the third or fourth visit to Walter Reed with Carly, Price said
Carly barked and cried after Williams said 'goodbye' because he wanted
to stay with him so much.
On Aug. 28, 2013, nearly a year and a half after the IED explosion,
Carly was officially retired as a military working dog and turned over
to Williams as his new service dog during a casual ceremony at the 87th
Just as he had more than a year ago when he first reunited with Williams
following the attack, Carly excitedly greeted Williams with barks and
whines as he jumped all over his former partner during the ceremony.
"Thanks to all parties involved for maintaining his body composition and
weight," said Williams jokingly of Carly during the ceremony. "And
thank you all for your support."
Williams said even though Carly is now retired, he still maintains his
desire to work. Williams said he will eventually lose his drive to work
and is already becoming more relaxed.
While many former military working dogs are adopted out as pets
following their retirements, Carly is only the second serviceable
working dog to be released from his duties to be adopted.
Williams said he is very thankful Carly was finally approved to be adopted out, even though many opposed the decision.
"When you look at it black and white, he shouldn't have been adopted
out," said Williams. "But he will do a lot to help me through my
Adopting out a serviceable military working dog is not a one step
process and requires a lot of time and analysis to ensure the dog is
suitable for adoption. Price said Carly had to be examined by a vet and
undergo a review process to ensure he was capable of being adopted.
She said even though he was approved for adoption, there will still be
challenges as he becomes a household pet. She said it will be
interesting to see how Carly acts in a social setting as opposed to a
"Military working dogs are not housebroken," she said. "So that will be one obstacle they will have to overcome."
Williams had to request a taller fence be built in his back yard to
prevent Carly from jumping over since many of Carly's former training
activities involved jumping over fences.
"I know he'll adjust fine, but it will be interesting to watch his transition in the next couple of months," she said.
Throughout the entire partnership between Staff Sergeant Williams and
his partner and best friend Carly, one thing is certain, "they truly
have an unbreakable bond," said Price.