Air Force confirms two more Patriot Express dog deaths
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – The Air Force Air Mobility Command expressed condolences for a second time this week for the death of a family dog at a military passenger terminal in the Pacific.
A transportation specialist discovered a dead French bulldog in its travel crate Thursday at the terminal at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Col. Damien Pickart, a spokesman for Air Mobility Command, told Stars and Stripes by email Friday.
“Air Mobility Command leadership learned overnight of the death of a new pet while on an AMC Patriot Express mission,” the command said in a post on its official Facebook page Friday. “We send our deepest condolences to the family.”
The dog, a French bulldog, is the family’s third pet found dead on a Patriot Express flight in the Pacific since June 5. The death of a Pomeranian mix on July 1 prompted the command to express its condolences and make a series of changes to ensure its passengers’ pets are handled safely during flights in the summer heat.
In the bulldog’s case, its owners traveled from Kadena to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport aboard the Patriot Express, Pickart said. The Patriot Express is a government-contracted air service between the United States and its overseas military bases. It serves passenger terminals administered by Air Mobility Command.
The bulldog was inside an air-conditioned terminal while the trip was being processed, except for 10 minutes while the crates were loaded onto the plane, the command said Friday. The Patriot Express is usually a civilian aircraft like a Boeing 777, 767 or 747.
During the loading process, the specialist noticed the dog was not breathing, then unloaded the crate and notified the on-call vet, Pickart said.
“The 733rd Air Mobility Squadron immediately informed and comforted the family and assured them that the animal’s remains would be delivered to their final destination,” he said.
The French Bulldog is a snub-nosed breed that Air Mobility Command considers high risk for air travel.
The command also expressed condolences on its Facebook page Wednesday for the July 1 death of Kolbie, a Pomeranian mix, found dead aboard the Patriot Express during a layover at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, after a flight from Seattle.
This dog died of heat stroke, according to its owners, Amber Marie and Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Panko.
“Gen. Air Mobility Command Commander Mike Minihan and 730 Air Mobility Squadron Commander personally reached out to the Panko family to offer their condolences on the loss of Kolbie, obtain additional details about what happened and the ensure that all measurements are taken. taken to ensure AMC Patriot Express missions are as safe as possible for families traveling with pets,” according to Wednesday’s post.
A pug, also a snub-nosed dog, died June 5 on a Patriot Express flight from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Julie Barker, a passenger on that flight, told Stars and Stripes Wednesday. .
Air Mobility Command referenced the incident in its Facebook post on Friday, but provided no further details.
He said that of 46,000 military pets transported by the command since 2017, only 16 died in the process and 14 of them were snub-nosed breeds.