Thursday, May 06, 2004
AL TAQQADUM, Iraq(May 4, 2004) -- The unconditional love and loyalty of an 11-week-old Iraqi puppy named Melissa has softened the hearts of the battle-hardened "Rhinos" of Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, Marine Wing Support Group 37.
"I believe all Marines, in their hearts, are dog lovers," said Maj. Gen. James F. Amos, commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, "so it's easy to have compassion for a dog who is out in the middle of a war zone. I felt that maybe a dog would pick their spirits up and be something the squadron could identify with and get a touch of home."
The arrival of Melissa as a gift however, was quite unexpected, said Lt. Col. David R. Leppelmeier, commanding officer, MWSS-374.
"I received an e-mail from Gen. Amos back in April saying that he was going to bring me something, but I really had no idea what was going on," said the 44-year-old native of Babylon, N.Y.