Television viewers tune in each week to watch his portrayal of Detective Odafin Tutuola on the hit NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but on Veterans Day fans will see the star recall his previous real life role in the U.S. Army as he helps to shine a spotlight on the work of military dog teams on a float in a Veterans Day parade.
“I served in the Army and know the life-saving heroism of these dogs,” said Ice-T. “It is time that we recognize both our human veterans who sacrificed so much and our four-legged veterans who save lives on the battlefield and at home every day.”
One of 40 floats which will pass by an estimated crowd 500,000 strong as it travels along a route up Fifth Avenue from 26th to 52nd Streets in New York City, the dog-themed America’s Parade float will also include Ice-T’s wife, Coco; dog star Hudson (who showed film fans his acting chops in the silver screen comedy Our Idiot Brother); philanthropist and veterans advocate Lois Pope; American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert; Amy McCullough and Butler the Weather Channel Therapy Dog; Rudy Ridpath and retired Patrol/Explosive Detector Dog Alik, and six military hero dog teams, each of whom saved the lives of 150 – 200 service men and women:
- Corporal Jeff DeYoung and Military Working Dog Cena– After serving one tour of duty together as part of Operation Moshtarak, the largest military operation in Afghanistan at the time, the Corporal and the canine he proudly calls his “brother” were separated for more than four years. DeYoung’s dogged devotion to his barking buddy, however, led to a permanent reunion for the pair in June 2014.
- Staff Sergeant Jason Bos and MWD Cila– Defending freedom together for close to five years, in all Cila served a total of seven and a half years. Reunited in April 2014, the two are now enjoying life together in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Staff Sergeant James Harrington and MWD Ryky– The seven-year-old specialized Improvised Detection Dog served with Harrington for four years on two combat deployments– in Iraq from 2008 to 2009 and in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. The pair ere reunited in June 2014.
- Corporal Jonathan Cavender and MWD Maxi– Maxi, a 12-year-old Belgian Malinois who acted as a specialized Improvised Detection Dog in Iraq, served with the Corporal for two years as a military police dog at the Marine Corps Air Station in Japan. The pair was brought back together in August 2014.
- Sergeant Omar Peña and CWD Mariah– After serving seven months together in Afghanistan, Mariah the Improvised Detection Dog was assigned to a different handler, but since July 2014 the Sergeant and his ‘sister’ Marine are together once more.
- Corporal Nick Caceres and MWD Fieldy– “I trusted him with my life and he never let me down,” the Corporal stated at the end of a three-year separation of the Contract Working Dog who served alongside him in Afghanistan. “The bond we shared was so special and I’m so thankful to be able to adopt him and care for him in his retirement.”
In honor of the canines who serve their country, in 2014 alone the American Humane Association brought home 20 military hero dog teams, with help from Mission K9 Rescue and the U.S. War Dog Association. For more information regarding how you can help efforts to bring more military working dogs home:
- visit www.americanhumane.org
Note: Television viewers in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Phoenix and Washington DC will have the chance to watch America’s Parade, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/American Humane Association