Hero war dog given military funeral

Image 1 of 7

Rico is seen in Afghanistan with Russell Beckley, Jr. (Photo courtesy Russell Beckley, Sr.)

A Michigan family recently said goodbye to a hero. Rico was a retired United States Marine combat tracker. The German Shepherd and Marine Staff Sgt. Russell Beckley Jr, teamed up in 2008 and went to Afghanistan together on two combat deployments.

Rico's primary responsibility was to reestablish contact with the enemy. His superior tracking skills and aggression were essential to several operations in Southern Afghanistan.  He was medevaced in 2011 for injuries received during combat operations.

Rico retired in 2012 and was living with Tammy and Russell Beckley, Sr. while Russell, Jr. continues to serve.

Beckley, Sr. tells Fox 5 News, "If I were going to add one thing about Rico it would be his undivided loyalty. Every move I made was with Rico by my side. There could be 10 people in our home and he didn't care about anything but me. I was always honored by that and miss him so incredibly much."

Rico was given a military funeral in Saugatuck, Michigan complete with a 21-gun salute, Taps and a flag draped coffin.

As one Facebook poster wrote: "Rico you are now with all the other Marines Guarding the streets of Heaven. Demoed Fi Rico, you are finally home, no more pain, but you will be missed, Marine!"