Fluffy: Special Forces Dog

Maj. Jim Pompano (left), 615th Air Mobility Squadron, escorted Fluffy, an Iraqi-born honorary military working dog, back to the United States to retire with Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell Joyce at Fort Bragg, NC, 1 June 2003
Maj. Jim Pompano (left), 615th Air Mobility Squadron, escorted Fluffy, an Iraqi-born honorary Military Working Dog, back to the United States to retire with Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell Joyce at Fort Bragg, NC, 1 June 2003.

Today in WW II: 10 Jun 1940 Mussolini's fascist Italy declares war on Britain and France, invading through the Riviera with 400,000 troops. More 
10 Jun 1940 Norway surrenders to Germany.
10 Jun 1942 Operation Blue: German Summer Offensive in the Ukraine begins, with Soviet oil reserves in the Caucasus region as the objective [10 June-14 Sep].
10 Jun 1944 With no reason given, German soldiers kill 642 men, women and children in the Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre in France.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Iraq Special Forces Military Working Dog (MWD): Fluffy

A twelve-man U.S. Special Forces unit serving in northern Iraq had successfully used dogs as sentries in Afghanistan. They had no official dogs in Iraq so they requested help from their Kurdish allies. Sgt. 1st Class Russell Joyce, in charge of supplies for the unit, asked the Kurds for a dog. They brought him a scarred, underweight, abused German Shepherd once used by Iraqi police. The Kurds called him “Tariq Aziz," named after Iraq’s former deputy prime minister, an unsuitable name for a soon-to-be U.S. Military Working Dog. Joyce renamed him "Fluffy", and while not a traditional warrior's name, Fluffy rapidly showed he had the heart of a soldier.

When he first joined Sgt. Joyce, Fluffy weighed only about 31 pounds and was missing his front two bottom teeth. But after only two weeks of basic training, he was put to work. Although he did not get the full MWD training normally provided, the German Shepherd quickly learned to respond to commands and was able to become a guard and pursuit dog with Sgt. Joyce as his handler. Joyce was completely satisfied with his progress and performance and Fluffy became member of the unit with regular assignments. The dog guarded Special Forces soldiers on missions including taking control of Maqlub mountain, and overcoming the last of Mosul's defenses.

“He’s been in harm’s way and shot at more times than anyone on my team," Joyce says. “He proved himself to be a worthy asset. He means a lot to me because we definitely went through a lot over there together." Joyce rates Fluffy an “immeasurable success".

Fluffy's Retirement

When Joyce's unit concluded its work in Iraq, they returned to the Special Forces base at Fort Bragg, NC. Since Fluffy was from Iraq, he had to be left behind. Health and customs laws created barriers to bringing him into the United States. Although Fluffy was in the care of an Air force Squadron at Kirkuk Air Base, Joyce became alarmed that Fluffy might be euthanized. He wrote to Senators, the Pentagon and the State Department as well as using the Internet to get public support. "What every American soldier is doing around the world in the war on terrorism, Fluffy was part of it and definitely deserved the opportunity to come home and be free," Joyce said.

There was a tremendous outpouring of support and the red tape was cut. Fluffy was fast tracked to be brought to the U.S. and put up for adoption as "military surplus". Sgt. Joyce is first in line and expected to be able to become Fluffy's adopted family.

On 1 June 2003 Fluffy was flown from Iraq to Germany and then to Charleston Air Force Base, SC, where he was reunited with Sgt. Joyce.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: iraq fluffy. Then click the Search button.

Especially recommended: