Buster, a Springer Spaniel who completed five tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, passed away at his handler’s home in Lincolnshire, England Thursday night. As a member of the RAF, Buster saved a thousand lives by sniffing out explosives and weapons at British bases and checkpoints.
Since his retirement in 2011, Buster visited schools along with his owner, Flight Sergeant Will Barrow, to inform children about his heroism and show off his awards, which include the Dickin Medal for military service, the Crufts Friends For Life Award, and a lifetime position as mascot for the RAF Police. Barrow released a book about the pup’s deeds titled Buster: The Dog Who Saved A Thousand Lives.
In addition to his bomb and weapon sniffing duties, Buster acted as a diplomat to children in combat areas due to his friendly approach. He had a calm demeanor, even in times when his patrol was under attack, and he saved his handler’s life almost every day.
The RAF Police is organizing an honorary event to commemorate dogs like Buster who do their duty to protect the humans they work with. Buster will be greatly missed.