Guwahati: Gracy, the military dog, was daring, well-trained and always ready for her task. This Independence day, she was posthumously awarded with the Chief of Army Staffâs commendation card. Her handlerand officers at the 16 Army Dog Unit in Assamâs Cachar district fondly remember her.
The six-year-old Labrador saved many lives in Manipur last year when she sniffed out a powerful Improvised explosive Device (IED) during a counter-insurgency operation. Though Gracy (1B85) could not wear the commendation card on her collar, it is proudly displayed at her unit, her name along with the Unique Service Number is listed in bold on the roll-of-honour board of the military unit at Masimpur, Silchar.
Gracy passed away on February 4, 2018 from neurological disorder. She was buried in the graveyard compound of the veterinary hospital. <!–
–> âBeing an Explosive Detection dog, Gracy was deployed on routine IED detection at the national highway with one of the Assam Rifles battalion. On November 16, 2017, while carrying out sniffing duties, she confirmed the presence of an explosive near a culvert which was covered by haystack. The bomb disposal squad confirmed it and defused it,â says handler Sowar Shiju P. âThe army dog with her innate sniffing capabilities, transcendent precision and consummate professional skills patiently sniffed and confidently confirmed the presence of the explosiveâŚâ reads Gracyâs citation.
Like other military dogs, Gracy was received from the RVC Centre and College Meerut Cantonment, and joined the unit on November 7, 2014 when she was only two years old. Keenly responding to her infantry call sign, Gracy begun her training as a puppy to sniff out explosives – the components and main charge of an IED.
Sharing the same risks on ground as soldiers, she actively served in Northeast for four years, helping troops to search explosives and lead operations within her area of responsibility in Assam, Mizoram and Manipur.
Dog handler Sowar Shiju P who spent maximum time with Gracy recalls her as one of the best and brightest canine officers. He remembers her as technically proficient, obedient and an intelligent dog.
âBesides being a specially trained explosive detector, Gracy was equally good in basic dog demonstration display. She was also used for silent warrior display on a number of occasions. It was good to know her, and I am proud of her achievement,â recalls Shiju.
Retired Colonel Dilip Kumar Borah, a Kargil war veteran, believes that military dogs fully deserve the recognition.
âWhat military dogs like Gracy deserve for serving the nation is a life of dignity â they save lives with minimum fuss and are soldiersâ best friend during disaster management, anti-terrorist operations, bomb detection. Extremely devoted to the handler, they live for each other,â says Col Borah.
Different breeds of dog suit different requirements. At present, the 16 Army Dog Unit has a host of Labradors and German Shepherds that have undergone varied levels of training, and now wait to put their skills to test. The unit has the capability to deploy their dog teams anywhere in Northeast for any military operation.