Military Working Dog Zita retires, honored at Fort Benning ceremony

Sgt. David Collett salutes his military working dog Zita for the last time during her retirement ceremony Sept. 30 at the War Dog Memorial on Fort Benning. (Photo Credit: Patrick A. Albright)

Sgt. David Collett salutes his military working dog, Zita, for the last time during her retirement ceremony Sept. 30 at the War Dog Memorial on Fort Benning. (Photo Credit: Patrick A. Albright)

By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /

FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 5, 2016) — Zita has officially brought her last Soldier safely home, and after removing her working harness Sept. 30 on Fort Benning, she was retired after seven years of active duty service.

Zita is a nine-year-old Czechoslovakian Shepard Military Working Dog who has been with her handler Sgt. David Collett since July 2013. She is an attack dog with explosive detection specialty.

“The first time I met her she was very sporadic,” Collett said. “She has calmed down a lot and she has a rapport with me. We are like a well-oiled machine when we work together. I couldn’t ask for a better partner at the end of this leash.”

Collett explained that MWD Zita has been on two combat deployments with Special Forces.
“We have not always seen eye to eye,” Collett said. “But she has always been the one to bring me home, so for that I am grateful and it has been an honor to be her handler.”

MWD Zita is being adopted by former Fort Benning kennel master, Sgt. 1st Class James Allred.

“It is unfortunate that the canine program is retiring MWD Zita today and that Fort Benning is losing a great asset,” Collett said. “But her work days are over and she has earned the right to sleep in a nice cozy home at the Allreds.”

Collett removed MWD Zita’s working harness at the War Dog Memorial to signify her retirement. Soldiers with the 209th Military Police saluted MWD Zita for the last time.

“The distinct service, duty and sacrifice that these MWDs provide have saved the lives of numerous Soldiers in combat and for those who have served with them are forever grateful and thankful to have them by their side,” said Staff Sgt. Gloria Greenidge, the kennel master at Fort Benning.

“The love that she has to work and the love she has to work with me is something I’m really going to miss,” said Collett. “Anytime I went to put the leash up to her I knew she was ready to work and work for me. I really didn’t have to worry about anything, whether that was in Afghanistan or stateside.”

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