Shortest Marine in Afghanistan

3 12 2009

Update 01/06/10 : We have a mailing address for Lance Cpl. Jeffrey De Young. He’s requested drab olive T-shirts, Sox, and some Medical supplies (see comments section).

Send to: Lance Cpl. Jeffrey De Young
2/2 golf co 3rd platoon dog handler
unit D 3080
FPO AE 09510 3080

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

MARINES’ BEST FRIEND: A DOG DUBBED ‘PRESSURE PLATE’

Jay Price = Dec 1, 2009 – http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/v-print/story/79818.html#

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.”

~Submitted  by Eowyn

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73 responses

9 01 2010
doingit for the ones i love

i have posted fotos to eowyn so enjoy therre are some graphic ones of the surgery and i cried so u might cry to just an fyi

9 01 2010
giovanniworld

Thanks for the heads-up Jeff,

There not exactly the kind of photos that people would be excited about seeing, but it’s a nice jesture because it gives us a little insight as to what you and your partner are up against. Besides, you feel like family and family is always nosy. I mean that in the most respectful way imaginable.

Stay safe!

Gio-

9 01 2010
DCG

Jeff, glad to know you are both OK. Hang in there…!

9 01 2010
Eowyn

I’ve not received e-mail or photos from Jeff, but Steve has received one photo of Jeff and Cena taking a much-needed nap. Go to:

http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/2-brave-soldiers-jeff-cena/

~Eowyn

11 01 2010
lcpl deyoung

hey steve can you please pass the foto to eowyn somehow my pc wont email him idk

11 01 2010
Eowyn

Jeff,

Steve did send me that one photo, which I immediately posted here: http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/2-brave-soldiers-jeff-cena/

I also got your email with the 5 photos, all of which I posted here: http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/more-pics-of-jeff-cena/

Hugs to you and Cena. Stay safe!

~Eowyn

13 01 2010
jeff deyoung aka lcpl deyoung

hey everyone its jeff not alot going on here thanks for the packages that will soon be arriving i want you all to do something dont focus oin me and my marines focus on the wounded warriors back home and the ones whove lost family in the war it isnt just our job its everyones job and i believe if we all do our best we can win this war but my brothers and sisters of all branches need your support everywhere so please dont just stop with me .. keep giving and finding ways to give i have put together money for carepackages to fellow troops so please start coin jars and such we are in this for the long haul..whos with me ?

13 01 2010
giovanniworld

Jeff,

What exactly do you have in mind?

Gio-

15 01 2010
deyoungs moms

gio at home jeff was active in the wounded warriors program doing community service for our wounded vets i also know that he gave monetarily just have readers contact thier local uso organization or military center and ask how they can help . We as americans owe our service members our way of life wether we’re rich or poor we’re what we are because young men like my believe in thier country come on america wake these individuals voluntered thier lives so we could live

15 01 2010
giovanniworld

Thanks Mom!

We Americans owe them a debt of gratitude that will never be paid back, but we can sure as heck try!

Gio-

20 01 2010
that one guy people seem to know

hey every one yeah (blushing) my mom was right i was a young marine for 5 years before joining the marines and yes i played bingo and gave to charity such as sammy ray of hope its local but i liked it and i also did church work fixing houses in pensacola and i spent a summer at “christ outreach for the blind” in mount vernon kentucky both very great experiences it isnt just a job im doing its providing my right to say that president doesnt know shit or that politician is wrong but also ive earned my freedom and ill gladly fight for yours as well . no strings attached..lol my mom always said my heart was the only thing bigger then my ears lol

20 01 2010
giovanniworld

Well now we know why none of the pics we have gotten of you are close-ups.
😉

Gio-

20 01 2010
that one guy people seem to know

to add about the bingo thing it was with vets

20 01 2010
Aunt Sam

God Bless you Jeff,as well as all the men in the armed forces.Thanks for all you do,be careful and know your in our prayers.

22 01 2010
deyoung

gio, put pickle jars for change in your local gas stations call people to try and sponser troops ..we had fox river the sock company send us 1600 dollars worth of socks and these socks cost about 8 dpollars a pair . just like you all . help is out there we just have to find it also alot of local high schools love to help . contact your local recruiter or Young Marines Unit . god speed and good luck (statside by spring time )

22 01 2010
giovanniworld

Haven’t tried the jars yet but have talked to some local people to see what can be donated. Reaction has been great so far. All I’m waiting for at the moment is for some of these people to have meetings over my requests to see what they are willing to do. Keep checking in here and I will keep you updated.

Gio-

22 01 2010
DCG

Glad to hear fox river sent you so many socks! Hope all is well w/you and Cena.

22 01 2010
Chastity Stillwell

Hey jeff. I took your advice and me and a few of my friends have jars set out around town that we check on every few days. Just lets us know what you guys over need and we’ll do our best to get it. Well stay safe buddy you and all the other service men and women are in our prayers here. And yeah i know your heart is just as big as them ears of your. just kidding buddy. Love you and stay safe.

28 01 2010
jef deyoung

hey yall im doing great out here ill keep ya posted as often as i can ..watch the news in march!!!!!!!!

28 01 2010
giovanniworld

Yippeee for March!

Gio-

30 01 2010
lcpl deyoung

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 ps thank the canadians for letting me use their pc eh

30 01 2010
DCG

Man, that mail is slow….hopefully you’ll receive the pckgs very soon! Hang in there…

1 02 2010
deyoungs moms

AS always thanks to everyone interested in what our soldiers our doing it’s nice to know that what theyrisk isn’t for nothing. Thank god for Cena keeping him and all of our military personnel safe..Thanks to the grand rapids young marines for helping my son become the man i knew he could be not the man eveyone expected him to be lol he wasn’t always so good as alway son stay low, stay safe keep Cena out front and your angel on your right shoulder

1 02 2010
giovanniworld

Mom,

We are all here praying for your soldier son. Between all of us, we should be able to keep him safe. And cena too!

Jeff wrote and said that care packages were not getting through. Do you know anything about this?

Gio-

2 02 2010
Deyoungs mom

due to his moving around i assume also takes about a month normall

17 02 2010
sandra gerard

Hi Heff, it’s taken me awhile to get the info. Aunt Brenda’s been trying to keep me in the loop. I saw a message about an injury, and then saw something from you that you and your right hand(Cena) are healing. Take care always. And of your dog too. I love the pics. Your mom is right – keep your head down, and your dog in sight. Many prayers, Jeff. Love you lots. I will try to find some of those things on your list.
Auntie

21 02 2010
Aunt Brenda

Hey Jeff!!!! Trying to keep up-to-date, but, unfortunately I didn’t realize this site was an on-going communication feed until this week!! I see you mentioned “March”. What’s going on in March? Well, as always, we love you and miss you!!!!! Stay safe!!!!

P.S. Did your Mom tell you that you are going to have another cousin? Collen and Lora are expecting sometime in early Fall!!!

6 03 2010
Chastity Stillwell

Hey Jeff,
Hope that all is well with you and all the other servicemen & women over there. I saw that in an early message you mentioned March…What is happening in March? Just wanted to let you know that me and all my friends and faimly are praying for you and Cena have a safe return home. But just to let you know everything is good here, the baby is doing well and I’m going to Wake Forest University in the fall. Well I got to go stay safe and always remember when you have no one to turn to God is always there and on you side.

Love you and miss you lots,
Chastity

30 03 2010
lcpl deyoung

REMEMBER THE FALLEN!!!!!!!!!!!
lcpl freeman-2/2 may heaven greet you with a smile
lcpl gamble -2/2 rest in peice my freind
lcpl yazzie-1st combat engineers – ooh rah brother
may the wind carry them for miles and the sun shine upon their families to let them know they are loved .
my freinds parished doing what they love . i cant express the anger it made me feel and the tears i cried over these 3 men these 3 angels may you pray for them and their families … to my mother my job is done cena has proved to be an angel and kelsie is always protecting me i love you mom i dont say it much but i couldnt ask for a better mother you knew how to shape me and put me in place so i could do this job ..im proud of you mom.. i wasnt an easy challenge

31 03 2010
DCG

Prayers for your fellow soldiers. May they rest in peace.

31 03 2010
Eowyn

Jeff,

So relieved to learn you and Cena are okay and coming home at long last. Prayers are going to your fallen comrades’ families.

Giovanni’s World is inactive. We’re over at FellowshipOfTheMinds:

http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/shortest-marine-in-afghanistan-is-coming-home/

25 04 2010
Karen

So glad that you are finally coming home and safe.

12 06 2010
nick cole

LOL i went to school with this kid hes cool as all get out. funny thing is im in iraq right now so apparently were not to far apart at all here and back home.

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