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A four-generation Marine Corps family in Michigan said goodbye to their beloved war dog, by giving him a full military send-off.

The German Shepherd named Rico was 12 years old when he died. He served two tours in Afghanistan, which included 240 missions and at least 30 firefights.

After his retirement from service, he was adopted by the family of the Marine whose side he loyally kept, Purple Heart-recipient SSgt. Russ Beckley Jr.

“There was not a moment when it wasn’t his mission or his goal to be by my side. I was everything to him. And he was everything to me,” Beckley Jr. told 24 Hour News 8 Friday.

On Saturday, the Beckleys made the difficult decision to put Rico down, after his health had deteriorated too much, and gave him a final farewell with a military-style funeral.

A flag at the Beckleys' home flew at half-staff. Visitors came to pay their respects at a home memorial. And Russ Jr. and his father, dressed in their Marine blues, carried Rico's flag-draped coffin. His body was then taken to be cremated.

Russ Jr. told the station he can imagine a day when everyone is together once again.

"I can just imagine one day, seeing my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and my mother, standing there with Rico. And we will all be together again.”

Learn more about Rico and the Beckleys and watch moments from the memorial below.


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