FORT DRUM – Soldiers from the 91st Military Police Battalion at Fort Drum welcomed home two of their own when Spc. Alec Alcoser and his military working dog Alex were met with cheers and applause after the pair were injured in a suicide bombing.
Alcoser and Alex were assigned to 8th Military Police Detachment, 91st MP Battalion, 16th MP Brigade, when they deployed to Afghanistan and were severely injured in a suicide bombing last August during a foot patrol outside Bagram Airfield.
“I didn’t think I was that hurt,” Alcoser said. “I mean I could still shoot back, and I did what I could, but I also knew I couldn’t get on my feet.”
Alcoser said that he was more worried about Alex than himself.
“I mean, I think I’m a pretty tough dude and I knew I was going to be fine,” he said. “I was just worried about Alex. I saw that he was bleeding pretty badly.”
Alcoser took the medical gauze from his pouch and applied aid to Alex. Then, while Alcoser was being treated, Alex remained by his side.
The pair had to separate when Alcoser was medically evacuated. Alcoser suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, shrapnel wounds and broken bones, while canine Alex’s injury required a rear leg amputation.
He was reunited with Alex in Maryland.
“It was super emotional,” Alcoser said. “I actually had to ask everybody to leave the room because of how much I was crying. I don’t think I was quite prepared to see him with three legs that soon, so it was definitely emotional for me.”
Alcoser said that having Alex by his side once again motivated him during rehabilitation.
“That made me want to get back on my feet and get back to normal day life again,” he said. “I wasn’t supposed to be walking even now. It was going to be eight months before I was even going to be standing up again, and I’m already walking, even jogging a little bit.”
As successful as Alcoser’s recovery has been, he said that Alex is even more impressive.
“He gets around and runs and everything,” he said. “He’s still the same old dog.”
Alcoser said that Alex continues to behave like a bomb-sniffing dog.
“I guarantee you if I took him outside for training right now, he’d still find bombs. He loves it. He is super loyal to this job.”
On his vest, Alex wears the Purple Paw – the MWD equivalent of the Purple Heart – and some of Alcoser’s service medals.
“I got those awards serving with Alex, so he deserves them just as much as I do,” he said.