ALBANY, NY – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) honored Marine Cpl. and Purple Heart recipient, Megan Leavey and military working dog, Sgt. Rex at an emotional ceremony on Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building in Albany.
Cpl. Leavey and Sgt. Rex were nominated by Sen. Carlucci to be inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
“Marine Cpl. Leavey and military working dog, Rex are American heroes who shared a remarkable bond. Leavey's fight to bring Rex home to Rockland County after their service is an inspiring story that should continue to be shared. The pair risked their lives together and saved countless others while serving in Iraq. It is my sincere honor to recognize Valley Cottage's Megan Leavey and Rex for their dedication to our country and community by nominating them to the New York State Veterans' Hall of Fame,” said Sen. Carlucci.
Rex, a German Shepherd passed away in December of 2012 and the pair shared a special bond serving two tours in Iraq together where they carried out sweeps for explosives.
"I was so happy to be honored by the Senator, but I think what meant the most to me was that they honored Rex because to be honest without him I wouldn't be here today," said Cpl. Leavey.
“During their two deployments in Iraq, Marine Corporal Leavey, a Rockland County native, and her dog Rex were the embodiment of true American heroes, saving countless lives as they scoured the war’s most dangerous regions, uncovering deadly explosives, IEDs, weapons caches and suicide bombers, all while building an unbreakable bond. I’d like to send my warmest congratulations to my friend, Corporal Megan Leavey, on this well-deserved honor. Now Megan and Rex will forever be commemorated for their service to their country in the New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame,” said United States Senator Charles E. Schumer.
Leavey is well known for her fight to keep Rex following her service in Iraq, which was portrayed in the 2017 Hollywood film “Megan Leavey.”
The film starring, Kate Mara as Leavey told her inspiring story.
Leavey and Sgt. Rex completed two six-month tours in Iraq and more than 100 missions together.
Towards the end of their second tour in 2006, the duo was wounded in the line of duty.
Insurgents watching from a rooftop detonated an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) as they watched Leavey and Rex in front of a patrol sweeping the area.
With a full year left to her enlistment in the Marine Corps, Leavey completed physical therapy along with Rex, and helped train fellow dog handlers preparing for their future deployments.
Leavey was then discharged in December 2007 from the Marine Corps and unfortunately, she could not take Rex back home with her.
Rex was unable to deploy anymore, but was still able to work stateside at Camp Pendleton.
He was deemed "not adoptable" in his medical records, so toward the end of Rex’s service, it was unclear what his future would be.
After involvement from Rockland County veteran advocate, Jerry Donnellan and instrumental efforts by U.S. Sen. Schumer, Rex was granted retirement and entrusted to Leavey.
Leavey and Rex were able to spend the last eight months of his life together at her home in New York.
Leavey and Rex were among 61 veterans honored at the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Tuesday, which celebrates heroic veterans from across the state.