For 26-year-old Adam Carter of Lubbock, military blood runs deep through his veins.
"My grandfather, he was in the Air Force. I had a cousin, he had just gone into the Air Force, my father was in the Navy," said Carter.
But Carter decided to join the Marine Corps instead. "It's something I wanted to do since I was in middle school," he said.
He enlisted right after he graduated from high school in 2005. A few years later, he was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and again in 2009 to Afghanistan. But unlike most soldiers, Carter had a companion to go along with him.
Carter was a military police working dog handler and Rex was a military tracking dog. Two of them together had a very distinct job.
"Nine times out of 10 it's a person planting the improvised explosive devices. That's whenever a team, like me and Rex, a tracking team, would come in and we'll track down the person that laid down the explosive device," Carter said.
Carter says from the time he got Rex in 2007 until the time he got out, he and Rex were inseparable.
"I got out in 2010 and I cried like a little girl because I didn't think I was going to be able to adopt him."
But just a few months later he received a phone call that was music to his ears.
"It was 3 months later that they called and said, ‘Hey do you want Rex?' And I said, ‘Heck yeah, I sure do,'" said Carter.
Carter says there are only a handful of handlers that get to adopt their combat companions because most of the time the handler will get out and the dog will stay because they are part on that unit.
But the vet deemed Rex not fit for duty anymore and the pair became inseparable once again.
"My mind was going a million miles an hour, I couldn't believe it. The first night he got out, we went to Sonic. I gave him a couple of fries."
Although Carter got out of the Marine Corps in 2010, his service didn't stop there. He now works at the Lubbock Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and he says he is humbled whenever an older veterans walks through the door.
"To me, those are the heroes, the older gentleman, the older veterans that paved the way."
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