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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Special Operations Force Dog Memorial, Fayetteville

  • Type

    Statue

  • Subjects

    Other Wars

    Animal Monuments

    Iraq War, 2003-2011

    Afghanistan War, 2001-2014

  • Creator

    Lena Toritch, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sculptor

    Harrison Burkart Eagle Scout Project, Unspecified

  • City

    Fayetteville

  • County

    Cumberland

  • Description

    The bronze monument on a granite base depicts a life-size Belgian Malinois in a sitting position, vigilante, with ears perked and wearing his full deployment kit. The monument was placed as a symbol of respect and mourning for Special Operations Force (SOF) dogs that have perished in the line of duty since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Each of those dogs is represented by a paver placed around the base of the statue and includes the dog’s name, the year and theater of operations where the dog was killed. Special Operations dogs from United States allies, Australia and the United Kingdom, are also memorialized. The statue was dedicated on July 27 2013, ten years to the day after the multi-purpose canine MPC, Ivan, was killed in Iraq. As of 2016 there were 62 memorial plaques.

    Images: Memorial stones | Plaque | Side view | Far-off view of the memorial

  • Inscription

    CONSTANT VIGILANCE / THE BOND BETWEEN A / SOF HANDLER & / HIS K-9 IS ETERNAL; / TRUSTING EACH OTHER / IN A NAMELESS LANGUAGE. / HERE WE HONOR OUR SOF K-9’S THAT HAVE PAID / THE ULTIMATE PRICE. / SCULPTOR LENA TORITCH

  • Custodian

    Airborne and Special Operations Museum

  • Dedication Date

    July 27, 2013

  • Decade

    2010s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.055950 , -78.885480 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      'SOF K9 Memorial Dedication Ceremony, Airborne & Special Operations via Brevard video crew," Youtube.com, published on Aug 6, 2013, (accessed January 9, 2017) Link

      Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation, asomf.org, (accessed January 10, 2017) Link

      Banks, Alicia. “Proposed War Dog Memorial to Honor a Soldier’s Best Friend,” Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, NC), May 14, 2013

      Barksdale, Andrew. “62 Flags Honor Dogs Who Died in Combat at Special Memorial,” Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, NC), May 26, 2014

      Futch, Michael. “Sculptor Sought to Show Personality,” Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, NC) August 28, 2010

      “SOF K9 Memorial Foundation,” SOF K9 Memorial Foundation, (accessed January 3, 2017) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze statue, granite memorial stones and sculpture base

  • Monument Cost

    $25,000

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Laura Miller, Vice President of the Special Operation Forces K9 Memorial Foundation, acted as master of ceremonies and read the story of Ivan, the MPC canine, killed in Iraq 10 years prior. Among those speaking were the memorial foundations founder, Army Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Chuck Yerry and Army Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Chris “Dutch” Moyer a former SOF K9 handler. “Amazing Grace” was played on the bagpipes as the memorial was unveiled by Moyer and the statue sculptor Lena Toritch who said, “It took me many hours of research to depict this dog accurately. My biggest reward was at the dedication, when all the veteran handlers came to me and shook my hand, thanking for the job well done.” Bob Owen acted as Chaplain for the day and the area around the memorial had been decorated with small American Flags, tagged with the dogs’ names.

  • Subject Notes

    Master Sculptor Lena Toritch, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, has created several SOF K9 Military Dog Statues for different branches of the US Military including one at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. She has also sculpted K9 dogs for law enforcement agencies across the country.

    SOF dogs are called “super dogs.” They are trained to jump out of a plane and can track and seize the enemy in the most difficult conditions. They are called multi-purpose canines (MPC) and are not to be confused with the more common military working dogs (MWD).

  • Location

    The statue stands outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, at 100 Bragg Blvd. Fayetteville, NC 28301. The sidewalk leading to the main entrance is embedded with square marble blocks inscribed in memory of individual deceased veterans. The General Hugh Shelton statue stands down a tree-lined sidewalk to the north of Iron Mike next to a grass lawn. The Black Test Platoon Marker is nearby.

  • Landscape

    The museum grounds are richly landscaped with trees, bushes and seasonal greenery.

  • Post Dedication Use

    Memorial Day, Airborne Day and Veterans Day services are held annually on the museum grounds.

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