The Best Defense

From Stars & Stripes and NPR's 'Talk of the Nation': The latest news on my book

Here's a nice review of my new book from Stars & Stripes. (Sorry, Hunter.) They get to the point quickly: "The idea that people who aren't good at their jobs must be fired shouldn't be a revolutionary concept in a place like the Army, where failure gets people killed." The bottom line: "Army leaders would do well to take notes."

I also was on NPR's Talk of the Nation earlier this week with two novelists whose work I admire, Karl Marlantes and Tim O'Brien. They are both Vietnam vets. It was a moving show. I teared up during one of the phone calls. 

The Best Defense

Rebecca's War Dog of the Week: DOD's longest-serving canine, Tanja, retires

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

Tanja, a Belgian Malanois, was up until her retirement from service this week, the longest serving military working dog in the Department of Defense. With a 12-year career behind her, she's deployed five times. They were impressive tours of duty that included uncovering IEDs and even stopping vehicles from making off with  "extremely valuable" stolen classified documents.

Tanja, a patrol and detection dog with the 366th Security Forces Squadron was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. Her most recent handler, Tech. Sgt. Roseann Kelly, says that despite Tanja's age, the dog was still "kicking butt." During base patrol Tanja noticed a suspicious individual and alerted others to him. When they got close, Kelly says, "he decided to leave instead of deal with her."

Still, the tough exterior didn't mean she was above a little extra comfort. Tanja wasn't handling the cold weather like she used to so Kelly, who is adopting her partner, made sure the dog wore sweaters to keep warm even though the other handlers teased them. "I didn't care," Kelly insists, "because she liked it."

Rebecca Frankel's book about military working dogs will be published by Atria Books in August 2013.

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton