MWD Pito (L-590) was born in June 2006 and entered military training at Lackland AFB in January 2008. His trainer described him as independent, and exhibited ideal behaviors to become an excellent MWD. In May 2008, Pito graduated from detection school.
In August 2008, Pito arrived at his first duty station, known at that time as McGuire AFB in Wrightstown, NJ, as an Explosive Detection Dog. He entered into patrol training in Dec 2008 then on to temporary duty at Andrews AFB, MD to field-certify as a Patrol Dog. His job was to provide safety and security for more than $8.1 billion in resources and protection for more than 44 thousand personnel.
MWD Pito’s next assignment was with the USSS (United States Secret Service) and he traveled across the country providing secure travel accommodations for the President and Vice-President of the United States.
In 2009, Pito was deployed to Iraq in support of OIR (Operation Iraqi Freedom). In 2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Pito returned to his home base later that year.
On May 7, 2012, while on a regular daily training exercise, Pito suffered a massive, fatal heart attack. His post-mortem indicated he had a congenital heart defect that had gone undetected during all of his previous exams. The Veterinary Corps determined Pito should not have survived past puppyhood, but he courageously defied the odds and lived up to the traits of his name- which means “lucky, happy, and successful.”
It is comforting to know he was doing the job he loved, and did so well, until his last breath. Rest well, good friend, until we see you again. Thank you for your service!
SSgt McKenna Price
United States Air Force