Marco’s new home

Marco’s new home

Retired military working dog Marco and Senior Airmen Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler, pose for a photo at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 24, 2017. Marco and Hansen have been partners for over a year while Marco was on active duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Maj. Ryan Natalini, 2nd Security Forces Squadron commander, Senior Airmen Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler, and military working dog Marco wait prior to the beginning of the retirement ceremony for Marco at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco served as a MWD in the U.S. Air Force for more than six years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Marco stands at attention for the presentation of the colors at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco was fully certified as a patrol and an explosives detection dog serving with the 2nd Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Guests attend military working dog Marco’s retirement ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco served as a military working dog in the U.S. Air Force for more than six years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Military working dog Marco is presented the U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal at his retirement ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. The medal is presented to Airmen who have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement and service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Military working dog Marco is presented a shadow box during his retirement at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco was fully certified as a patrol and an explosives detection dog for the 2nd Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Military working dog Marco is fed a piece of steak during his retirement ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. During the retirement ceremony all military working dog handlers fed Marco pieces of steak. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Maj. Ryan Natalini, 2nd Security Forces Squadron commander, Senior Airmen Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler, and Marco all pose for a selfie at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco served as a military working dog in the U.S. Air Force for more than six years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home

Members of the 2nd Security Forces Squadron all rub Marco’s belly after his retirement ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Sept. 8, 2017. Marco served as a military working dog in the U.S. Air Force for more than six years. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home
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Marco nuzzles up with Senior Airmen Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler, at his new home in Shreveport, La., Sept. 5, 2017. Hansen was Marco’s handler for more than a year while Marco was on active duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home
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Marco lays on the couch in his new home in Shreveport, La., Sept. 5, 2017. Marco lives with his former handler Senior Airmen Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

Marco’s new home
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A B-52 Stratofortress flies over during Marco’s walk in Shreveport, La., Sept. 5, 2017. For six years Marco protected the B-52, Airmen and all other assets on Barksdale Air Force Base and its surrounding area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

The old veteran lays down on the couch, taking in the comforts in his new home. He yawns. For him it’s a much different setting from what he has grown accustomed to over his service. Retiring his badge, he also retires his patrolling days. Now he favors a life of comfort and relaxation and leisurely walks twice a day.

After six years of service in the U.S. Air Force, military working dog Marco officially retired as of September 8, 2017, moving out of the kennels.

“Marco has done a lot in his time serving in the Air Force,” said Maj. Ryan Natalini, 2nd Security Forces Squadron commander. “He has seen a lot and has protected a lot of people.”

Handlers have the option to adopt their dogs upon retirement. Senior Airman Travis Hansen, 2nd Security Forces military working dog handler, took the liberty of taking Marco home and made him part of his family.

“My face lights up as soon as I see him,” Hansen said. “If I’m having a bad day he makes it better because he’s there for me. It’s definitely better having my best friend at my side all the time.”

Marco joined the Air Force in August of 2010 and begun his training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After becoming fully certified in June of 2011 as a patrol and an explosives detection dog, Marco was assigned to Barksdale AFB.

While serving he’s responded to numerous bomb threats in the Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas area. He’s also taken part in put on 150 public demonstrations, assisted in explosives sweeps for the Independence Bowl, the Air Force Ball and conducted explosive sweeps for the president, vice president, and other heads of state in our government.

In March 2016 Hansen was assigned Marco and they became partners. This was Hansen’s first partner, and one that he would never soon forget.

“From the very moment I met Marco I knew he was going to be a great partner,” Hansen said. “He had an incredible nose and he loved to bite. As time went on Marco and I built an incredible bond like no other, and I am thankful for him being my very first dog because I will always remember the good times we had together.”

Now Marco sits on the couch and gets to relax at home. Instead of sleeping in the kennels, he gets to sleep in a nice comfy bed. He also gets to spend time with Hansen’s other dog Charlie and has play time instead of training time.

“He’s not working long hours anymore,” Hansen said. “Marco no longer has to use his nose to find explosives and search vehicles. He gets to sit in air conditioning all day and go to sleep on a bed instead of concrete.”

Leisure walks around the neighborhood have replaced sprints and bite drills, and bite wraps have been traded for chew toys. Marco can rest easy now that his service to his nation is over.