Where’s Matty? Radio host Michael Savage is trying to help find him. (See video below)
NY Post On July 20, 2013, Spc. Brent Grommet returned from Afghanistan with his military working dog, a Czech German shepherd named Matty. The two had gone through basic training together, deployed together and were injured together when a roadside IED detonated.
Grommet slept on top of Matty’s crate as they flew back to the United States. Upon landing at an Air Force base in New Jersey, the two were separated — standard operating procedure. Grommet wasn’t worried, though: According to Army regulations, if he wanted Matty, he had the sole right to adopt his military working dog. This right is colloquially known as Robby’s Law, and was signed by President Clinton in 2000.
Grommet had already filled out the adoption paperwork in the Middle East and handed it over to K2 Solutions, the private firm that then contracted with the Army on canine issues — and who took Matty for an examination. But Brent Grommet never saw Matty again. He says a Lt. Col. Richard Vargas absconded with Matty, and the military has done nothing to make it right. “It’s like someone stole your kid in front of you,” Grommet says, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Grommet, now 23, came back from Afghanistan with traumatic brain injury, hearing loss and spinal-cord injury. The latter required surgery and still causes him severe daily pain. He also suffers from migraines, chronic breathing problems and PTSD. “Matty calmed his mood swings,” says Grommet’s father, Don. “When he thought he was getting the dog back, he seemed to be doing better.”
But months passed without any word on Brent’s adoption papers, and all of the Grommets’ queries were stonewalled. Furious, Don Grommet called every military base in the United States that handles military working dogs.
“Finally, I got down to Fort Bragg,” Don said. He was given the runaround there, too, until he got an anonymous tip from a civilian on base. “She said, ‘I have no control over this. You need to talk to Richard Vargas,’ ” Don said. “She never used his military rank, but she gave me his phone number.”
Vargas, it turned out, was in charge of military dog adoptions. Don got Vargas on the phone. “He said, ‘I adopted the dog out legally, so there’s nothing you can do about it,’ ” Don recalled. “He was very rude. So then the fight was on.” When Brent reached Vargas, he got a similarly cold response. “It was a 30-second conversation,” Brent says. “I nicely explained what happened to me, and could he help me find my dog? He informed me that was not his job. And that there wasn’t anything he could do, and not to contact him again.”
Vargas, now at the Pentagon, did not respond to messages left by The Post. The Grommets believe either Vargas or someone close to him has Matty. “It would make more sense to break regulation for that,” Brent said. Last Friday, after speaking to The Post, Brent Grommet was pulled aside by two majors at Fort Campbell and warned not to speak about Matty to The Post, or he would be sent to prison at Leavenworth. “It’s not a threat,” Brent was told. “It’s [military] law.”
Matty’s absence has only exacerbated Brent’s physical and mental anguish, according to Don. “It’s not allowing him to heal,” Don said. “If he had the dog to take care of, to take for walks, it would force him to fight through the pain. Because he’ll never let that dog suffer. Nobody knows what the two of them went through over there except for each other.”
Brent misses his best friend. “It’s hard, it really is,” Brent sayshe said. He’s still serving at Ft. Campbell, still longing for Matty. “If I just wanted a dog, I could get a dog. I don’t want a dog. I want my dog.”
Post on Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno’s Facebook page: facebook.com/RayOdierno
Also, Tweet to him at @GENRayOdierno
John McCain will mostly likely be the Chairman of Senate Armed Services. Call his office at (202) 224-2235
Email him here mccain.senate.gov
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