Air Force promises change after Marine family’s dog died during PCS move

The Air Power is investigating the demise of “Kolbie,” a Marine Corps family’s canine that was discovered dead after transit on an Air Mobility Command plane from Yokota Air Foundation in western Tokyo to Maritime Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan on July 1.

Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Panko and his wife Amber are devastated by the decline of their 10-year-previous Pomeranian mix, according to a Fb submit on her site.

A necropsy observed that the dog died of warmth stroke. Air Mobility Command, which is accountable for the AMC Patriot Express on which Kolbie was flown, posted a statement to Fb on July 6 saying it was seeking into the incident.

“AMC’s Aerial Port specialists acquire significantly the responsibility to keep and implement recognized pet transport protocols when they are entrusted to our treatment,” AMC’s put up states. “We are working diligently to make contact with the loved ones to reconstruct what transpired, identify prospective locations of issue and devise steps we can consider now to mitigate a upcoming incident.”

Originally, AMC shared the submit just before achieving out to the Pankos. However, AMC commander Gen. Mike Minihan contacted the Pankos above the weekend to provide his condolences and converse about how the Air Force would make sure live cargo is safely and securely moved in the upcoming.

Lt. Col. Brandon Greenawalt, commander of the 730th Air Mobility Squadron, also attained out to the family to lengthen an apology.

A necropsy located that the family’s pet “Kolbie” died of a warmth stroke.
Amber Marie / Facebook

“[Minihan] described to us that Kolbie has his full awareness, and his problem, [and] the condition of dwell cargo transportation is his number a person precedence,” Amber Panko advised Military services Times. “[He] gave us his term that change will occur, and I do not choose that flippantly. Our request is for air-conditioned rooms to be crafted or selected at every single solitary military installation that transports dwell cargo for families touring with pets, as properly as pet aid stations.”

The typical did not convey to Amber Panko what unique alterations will or have been produced, but she mentioned that he promised to preserve her loved ones in the loop. She claims she will not rest till Kolbie’s tale produces definitive transform, this sort of as re-boarding pets on delayed flights instead of holding them in cargo, temperature controls in cargo area, and the pet aid stations.

“I have explained and will go on to say that till I see modify I will proceed battling the very good struggle and sharing Kolbie’s story,” she observed. “He deserved so substantially greater than this, as did just about every animal that has died at the fingers of carelessness from AMC.”

Lt. Col. Brandon Greenawalt, commander of the 730th Air Mobility Squadron apologized to the dog's family.
Lt. Col. Brandon Greenawalt, commander of the 730th Air Mobility Squadron apologized to the dog’s family members.
Amber Marie / Facebook

Emotionally, the relatives is even now reeling, specially Amber. Her oldest son, she included, is however rather in denial.

“A week afterwards and I obtain I am even now stuck in concerning the actuality that Kolbie is long gone and continue to believing it is not accurate,” she additional. “He was with me each individual next of each individual working day, he basically adopted me just about everywhere. Just one second I am in a panic searching for him, thinking wherever he is because he is not down at my feet, and the following I am tormented with his demise all over again.”

Panko explained that although this celebration has been heartbreaking for her and her relatives, she is hopeful that it will direct the Air Force to modify its methods with live cargo. Then, she said, it will give this means to the tragedy with Kolbie.

“I loathe that I had to reduce him, primarily like this, but if he can make a adjust and conclusion up conserving other animals, and just all round have them be taken care of the way they should be … then he did not die for very little, and I may possibly be equipped to locate therapeutic,” she claimed. “We are not accomplished with his story and will not be until finally a major modify is designed.”