Home News Marine family says goodbye to 5th generation Marine, beloved combat K9

Marine family says goodbye to 5th generation Marine, beloved combat K9


A Marine who served his country with distinction was honored after his death in Saugatuck, Michigan on Saturday.

Rico, a 12-year-old German Shepard Marine, was part of more than 240 missions and 30 firefights during his two deployments to Afghanistan.

Rico’s handler, Marine Staff Sgt. Russ Beckley Jr., was able to return home to spend some last minute time with Rico –who has been living with Beckley’s parents since his retirement in 2012.

The Beckley family had to make the difficult decision to euthanize Rico because of his poor health, according to News 8.

Dozens of people showed up to pay their respects to the Marine who humbly served his country as Russ Beckley Jr. and Russ Sr. said their farewells.

“Mainly I was thinking about how loyal he was to our family. To my son. To myself. And to our country,” Russ Sr. said of that last moment with Rico. “He just kinda melted into my arms and we had a very nice goodbye.”

“I thanked Rico. For everything that he’s done for me. And I told him that I loved him,” Russ Jr. said.

Marine K9 Rico
Russ Beckley Jr. and Russ Beckly Sr. carry the remains of retired Marine K-9 Rico.

The Beckley family has served in the Marine Corps for four generations –with Rico making it five.

“I can just imagine one day, seeing my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father and my mother, standing there with Rico. And we will all be together again,” Russ Jr. told 24 Hour News 8 Saturday.

Rico was cremated in Grand Rapids, MI following the ceremony.  The Beckley family said they plan to set up in area in their home to honor him.

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