Ratchet and Boo

There’ve been a few developments since I called attention last week to the plight of Ratchet, the dog befriended — and then taken away from — a Minnesota soldier in Iraq.

The military has decided to allow the dog to leave, and be flown back home to Gwen Beberg’s parents near Minneapolis. But the dog missed yesterday’s flight out of Baghdad. The plan now is to put the dog on a flight on Sunday.

Still unclear is what happens to Sgt. Beberg. In an e-mail to her friend last week, she said she might be demoted (see comments):

I was “negatively counseled” for disobeying a direct order. This is the icing on the cake towards getting demoted. We’ll find out how that turns out on the 10th when I face my demotion board. It could have been worse. I fully expected to be demoted for this. Do I deserve it? Probably. I did violate orders. Does Ratchet deserve to stay in Iraq when he has a loving home waiting for him in America? Hell no. Let my dog go!

Ratchet served America by protecting his troops as a loud alarm system for nighttime movements and by providing urgently needed moral to lonely troops (not just me!). If a citizen of, let’s say Mexico for example, enlists in the U.S. Army and serves honorably, he or she gets fasttracked for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Several people here from multiple nations have already taken advantage of this policy and become American citizens. Well, Ratchet didn’t enlist, but he served honorably, and I think that should entitle him to a chance to continue that service in the States.

I’m trying to arrange an interview with Sgt. Beberg, so perhaps I can get an update by later today.

boo_the_dog.jpgCuriously, the same sort of story played out in Chicago around the same time. Army Specialist Ashley Siwula has been trying to get Boo the dog out of Iraq against the orders of her superior. She, too, appears to have succeeded. Boo was able to make a flight to Kuwait yesterday and is expected in Chicago on Saturday, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The dog will live in Wisconsin until Siwula returns from Iraq late next year.

  • Esme Murphy at WCCO is reporting that Sgt. Beberg was demoted to specialist, citing the Specialist’s mother.

  • “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

    – Mark Twain

    The only exception I can think of might be Gwen Beberg.

  • Erin Gobrah

    “No good deed goes unpunished”

    — Clare Booth Luce

    Still seems like an overall win for Gwen and Rachet. So now who can we call to complain about her demotion, or did enlistee who successfully got a pet out of Iraq get the same treatment?

    If you are going to go by the rules, go by the rules.

    If you are going to be supportive, then make some exceptions. Most rules have them.

  • bsimon

    Given that we’re continuously hearing about the military being stretched too thin, it is somewhat amazing that they have time to enforce rules about whether our troops are befriending dogs overseas. Or is it just the enlisted folks who are over stretched, and the brass have plenty of free time to alternately ban and approve various dogs’ extraditions from Iraq?