Sgt. Lucca’s feats of military heroism are legendary within the Marine Corps, and she was given a hero’s welcome Sunday at Dulles Airport, where she headed to a high-profile appearance at a bomb detection conference.
Sgt. Lucca and Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham have been paired together since Lucca was two years old. Lucca is a nine-year old shepherd mix, who may be the most renowned military explosives sniffer in recent memory.
Her job “was to lead patrols and located IEDS,” Willingham said.
During two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, she went on hundreds of patrols—hit on 40 IEDS—all in the process of saving countless lives.
She “led about 400 patrols and lead to zero injuries… [she’s the] only reason why I made it home to my family,” Willingham said.
Last year, Lucca was nearly killed while on patrol in Afghanistan. She detected the first IED, but a second hidden bomb exploded. She returned stateside as a wounded warrior after losing her front left leg.
Lucca’s trip to Washington, DC was one fit for her honor—she travelled in First Class, with all expenses paid for by United Airlines—a thank you from the Airline company for the decorated Marines.
After she retired, Willingham adopted Lucca—to take her home, after she took such good care of him.