Shortest Marine In Afghanistan

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I posted this article on Giovanni’s World, where I once served as its honorary (i.e., unpaid) “West coast editor.” I’m re-posting it here because this needs to get to as many people as possible. We just received a comment from Lance Corporal Jeffrey De Young: Both he and Cena, “the shortest marine,” have been injured. Please pray for them! His comment follows the news article.
UPDATE: For Jeff and Cena pics, CLICK HERE.
May God Bless all our brave soldiers in harm’s way, human and canine,

Shortest Marine in Afghanistan

Cena, the bomb dog at Cpl. Jeffrey De Young’s side


 Jay Price – Dec 1, 2009 –
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HASSANABAD, AFGHANISTAN — He’s the most happy-go-lucky Marine in Golf Company, the shortest and the most likely to eat dead mice.

Cena, an easygoing two-and-a-half-year-old black Labrador retriever, is the unit’s IDD: IED Detection Dog. He’s trained to sniff out the homemade bombs — the military calls them improvised explosive devices — that insurgents have planted all over the roads, fields and paths where the Marines patrol on foot.

Patrols sometimes look like one big frolic for Cena, who likes his job. It is, after all, not much different from being walked. He lopes around, sniffing paths and piles of hay and corn shucks, wagging his tail and usually — but not always — obeying the command of his boyish handler, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey De Young, 19, of Holland, Mich.
De Young got five weeks of training before Cena and he deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C., a few weeks ago. Cena had been in training since he was 7 weeks old.
On patrols, which can last two or three days, De Young carries not only his own food and water but also enough for Cena, as well as a small kit of veterinary supplies in case the valuable dog get sick or hurt.
Cena’s role is to save lives by finding bombs — he’s found one big one buried in a road and another hidden, ready for burying — but he’s also a morale booster. Whenever De Young lets him loose in camp, the dog ambles around looking for someone to scratch him behind his ears.
Even Cena needs his own morale boost. On patrols, he sometimes gets bored and loses interest in bomb hunting, as he did recently while he was waiting for Marines who were searching an abandoned compound for a weapons cache. De Young reached into a pouch on his waist and pulled out a hard rubber ball on a short rope and threw it across the courtyard. The dog chased it down. After two or three tosses, he was frolicsome again and ready to go back to work
The job is a serious one, and the Marines, who are sometimes prone to dark humor, have nicknamed the solidly built Cena “Pressure Plate,” after a type of detonator that’s used on weight-triggered bombs. They figure he’s just heavy enough to set one off.
De Young said he hoped that didn’t happen. “The way I have to look at it is, if he’s killed that might save five Marines, and that’s a good thing,” De Young said. “If something happened to him, though, it would be like losing a brother. “It would almost be like losing another Marine. And, really, he is a Marine.”
Here’s the comment left by LCpl De Young this morning, copy-edited:

Hey guys, me again. Just checking in. Cena recieved some stitches when I was hunting for IEDs. Me and him both were hurt, but it hurt me most to see my brother (Cena) needing help. Please pray for him and contact my mom through here if you want my address. A lot of my fellow Marines need olive drab shirts and socks. It’s a lot to ask for but any help would definitely be much appreciated.
And to my mother …. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I got hurt as well. It’s tough over here and I didn’t wanna worry you. I love you mom and I’ll be just fine.
Love always,
Your baby
P.S. Again, if you all will, please do me a favor and pray for these dogs and their handlers:
Galagher and Chatter
Easterling and Boomer
Greenburg and Emmie
Krist and Max
Cpl Evans and Trip
LCpl Evans and Allie
Davis and Miley
Ellis and Carlos
Turner and Joe
Allar and Copper
McCoy and Crusoe
McMeans and Chance
Every day these marines put their lives on the line just like me, and they are my brothers. When all else fails, we have each other.
God bless
~LCpl De Young

UPDATE: Please go HERE for LCpl De Young’s mailing address to send your care package! Thank you.

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28 responses to “Shortest Marine In Afghanistan

  1. What courage and loyalty and love! I pray for all American soldiers and our allied soldiers daily, and their dogs. I have a long list, but if I
    forget, my guardian angel will include them for me.

  2. No address yet?

    • Nope. Mom deYoung has not contacted the Fellowship. As you’ve seen on Gio’s blog, she left a comment saying the Marines there need IV supplies and that she’d return with an address. But she hasn’t yet, as of this morning. (It’s Wednesday 4:45 am here on the left coast.)
      I don’t understand why either LCpl Jeffrey deYoung himself or his mom couldn’t leave his mailing address. For mom, how long does it take? and for Jeffrey, doesn’t he know what his own mailing address is?

  3. sorry bout not including the mailing adress i was nt able to remember it but i got it of off a letter lol i thank all of you and may god bless you YOU are the Heros im just doing a job so someone else doesnt have to
    lcpl jeffrey deyoung
    2/2 golf co 3rd platoon dog handler
    unit D 3080
    FPO AE 09510 3080 ..

    • Lance Corporal De Young,
      Thanks for the address! The care packages will be on their way ASAP.
      And THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH for your service to our country. You are truly a brave heart.
      Semper Fidelis!

  4. My heartfelt thanks for all you do and your dog as well. I am a dog lover and so respect what you all do. Care package inbound.
    All the best and prayers,
    Laura from Indiana

  5. I love you and pray for you and Cena! I’m proud of the job you and all the others are doing. Be safe and come home to all of us soon.
    Other mother!

  6. hey every one i just want to tell you you will be semper fraternus “always family” to me if in the fture you want to help out troops contact me ill help you ..ill pay it forward god bless

    • Hello, Jeff!
      So glad you gave us your mailing address. As you can see, we put up a “sticky” on this “Urgent Appeal” post so it’ll be the first thing anyone sees when they come on to the FellowshipOfTheMinds blog. The sticky will stay up for another day. As Steve said, we got hundreds of hits instead, so hopefully the word is getting around and lots of patriots will be sending off care packages to you and your 2- & 4-legged buddies in Afghan!
      Give Cena a big kiss for me and take good care of yourself, you hear? Prayers to you both!
      God Bless,
      Eowyn (who first found & posted the news article on “Shortest Marine in Afghanistan”!)

  7. it takes close to 3 weeks for a package to arrive we have most everything we need to sustain our selves i know alot of us are using clothes for pillows? not a nessecity but itd be nice other then that i cant think of anything . we have hygeine materials eye protection is a big one like shop glasses that way our eyes are safe other then that i cant think of much we need and thank you all for what your doing to this guy you are my hero everything you do makes my job much easyer and im grateful for that ill try to hard mail some fotos of me and cena to the gio email address

    • Jeff,
      Gio does not forward e-mail to us. Fellowship Of The Minds is a separate blog with its own e-address: If you e-mail photos to us, we’ll put them on Fellowship ASAP! Thanks!
      P.S. I’ve already offered TWO Masses for the recovery and safety of you and Cena. You guys are in daily prayers. I especially ask St. Michael the Archangel, who is the patron saint of soldiers, to watch over and protect you. Keep the faith!

  8. Jeff,
    I want to thank you for being the best son and Marine a mom can have! Bo and Tess miss you and will love to meet Cena when you get home. Lindsey wants me to say Hi and she loves you too! God bless you and keep you safe!
    I love you,
    Other mother

  9. LCpl De Young,
    You and your furry friend are in my prayers. I have a picture I found on the internet of you, Cena and my son, LCpl Gamble on patrol in Afghanistan. I’ve talked to friends about Cena and what a relief it is for this mom knowing he was on patrol with you guys. We have a black lab ourselves so it hit close to home.
    That picture was enlarged to an 8×10 and sitting on a shelf in the house.
    Thank you both for your courage and service. I’ll be putting a package in the mail this weekend.
    God Bless and Semper Fraternus

  10. Mrs Gamble, your son is down here with me still.I was moved and he soon followed. I’ll be sure to email fotos of me and cena to whoever wants them

  11. doingit for the ones i love

    hey everyone eowyn has fotos of meamd cena some of his surgery and our day together to make a correction i hate to be rude buit we need saftey GLASSES not the goggles thank you very mmuch ooh rah semper fi

    • Jeff,
      I haven’t received any e-mail or photos from you! I just sent you another e-mail, this time with THREE e-addresses for you to re-send those photos, including Surely, one of those addresses would work 😉
      You are now famous in the cyber world and there are many patriots who’d enjoy seeing pics of you and Cena.
      Take care of yourself. Big hug to you, and a kiss on the nose for Cena!

  12. eowyn what about my kiss ? im kidding i feel great today me and cena get to go back to work soon and im excited . i got to take the little guy for a walk yesterday and i loved it walking my dog in afghanistan ..kinda funny lol take care you all

    • Jeff, good news that you are both up and about!
      Take care – all of you.

    • Mr. Lance corporal, you are now so famous that when you return to America — with Cena — both of you will have to fend off kisses if you don’t want to be smothered. 😉
      Seriously, I’m so relieved both of you have mended. We will miss you when you are back doing your super dangerous work. Try to drop a note off to us when you can so that we don’t worry and fret…to much, okay?
      A big kiss on both of your noses 😉



  14. hey everyone hows it going not much here just checking in have yet to receive care packages but steadily waiting … i am in debt to you all for your kindness … mom i love you ill be home soon – lcpl De Young

    • Jeff,
      I just sent you a private e-mail about the dog anatomy book & my package. Patience! Those packages will be arriving in a week or two!
      How’s dear Cena? Hope her wound’s all healed. Take good care of yourself, okay?

    • Hey Jeff…hope you both have healed up good!

  15. GySgt Batten (Retired)

    LCpl Deyoung, I hope you recall who I am, sounds like all the training has paid off. Looking forward to seeing you and Cena on your return trip. Keep em safe!! & Semper Fi. If you need anything from this end, let me know.

  16. ooh rah gunny .. pardon me tremendously but i dont recall who you are .. i was in the young marines and i went to poolee meeting since i was 15 do i know you from one of those events ? please email me at id like to catch up
    ooh rah and semper fi

  17. Dear everyone I have been receiving the packages and forwarding them the only one I can tell is from yall was the ivs wich HAVE been sent over seas god bless and thank you all for the support


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