Devoted dog guards coffin of Navy SEAL master
Published 26/08/2011 | 10:32
A faithful dog has refused to leave the side of his Navy SEAL owner after he was killed in Afghanistan, lying beside his master's coffin at the funeral.
The heartbreaking image of loyal Labrador Hawkeye lying forlornly in front of the coffin of Jon Tumlinson, 35, has made its way around the world since it was posted on Facebook by Tumlinson's cousin.
Petty Officer Tumlinson was one of 38 killed when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan early this month.
"I took this picture and that was my view throughout the entire funeral. I couldn't not take a picture," Lisa Tumilson told US television network ABC News.
"It took several attempts since every time I wasn't crying and could focus on taking it, there was a SEAL at the microphone and I didn't want to take a picture with them for security and respect reasons. Our family is devastated to say the least."
Hawkeye led his family down the aisle into the funeral service in Rockford, Iowa, and followed his friend Scott Nichols as he rose to deliver a eulogy, television network MSNBC reported.
The dog then heaved a sigh and dropped down on the ground in front of Petty Officer Tumilson's casket as the speech started and more than about 1500 mourners watched on.
"If J.T. had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others, he would have went anyway," his friend Boe Nankivel said at the service.
Mr Nichols will now look after Hawkeye, television station KTLA said.
A total of 38 people died when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down on August 6 in the eastern province of Wardak, including seven Afghan troops and an interpreter.
Thirty US troops died, including 17 SEALs and five other navy sailors assigned to the SEAL unit.
The attack represented the most deadly incident for US and NATO forces since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001.