Military dog Benga begins next mission: Retirement

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Courtesy of NAS JAX

Photo of Military Dog Benga, who is being retired on June 1.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A special ceremony was held Wednesday at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Call it a tail-wagging celebration as Benga, its chief master-at-arms military working dog, begins his retirement.

Benga, who’s been a military working dog since 2015, participated in countless Secret Service Missions in his career as an explosive detector.

At his retirement ceremony Wednesday, Benga earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Capt. Wilfred Vilanova, with the NAS Jacksonville Police Department, is adopting Benga.

At his retirement ceremony Wednesday, Benga earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

“Well earned,” Vilanova said. “He’s gonna go home, be on the couch. And he doesn’t have to worry about working anymore, looking for explosives or doing any more patrol”

What makes this a perfect adoption? Vilanova is retiring, too.

“By the end of September, I’ll be gone, so we’ll both be partners in retirement,” he said. Both will be on the couch and going for walks together.”

Benga’s military service began in August 2015 when he was recruited to work at the Lackland Air Force Base and enrolled in the Patrol and Explosive Detection program.

After flourishing in his courses, he was certified in detection training in December 2015 and patrol training in April 2016 by the 341st Training Squadron.

Benga was stationed at NAS Key West in June 2016 after graduation, where trained alongside many MWD handlers to sharpen his skills.

Benga came to NAS Jax in May 2018 after working two years in Key West.

He attended redeployment training and worked countless numbers of Secret Service missions during his career trajectory.

About the Authors:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.

Kendra is a digital content producer for News4JAX, since May 2022. She graduated from Bethune Cookman University in 2015 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Kendra got her Master's Degree in English from Georgia Southern University in 2017.