MORRISVILLE, NC (WRAL/CNN) — A special soldier now gets to live out his golden years in retirement.
He has no medals, but is credited for saving countless lives.
WRAL was at the airport North Carolina where he was reunited with one of the soldier’s he saved.
“I’m anxious, not really nervous…” U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Andy Wolf said.
It’s been a long time — two years, two months.
And now, Staff Sgt. Wolf is down to the final 25 minutes.
“We did two tours in Afghanistan together and then he deployed again after I left,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
His trusted cohort in combat is on a Southwest plane — 12:25 arrival from Houston.
The two were inseparable.
“We just lived together 24-7, we were doing that. And then we came on orders to deploy. And I think we left in July 2010,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
“That’s where stuff got pretty intense down there at the time,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
Staff Sgt. Wolf’s partner was hurt.
“We slept there…” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
Emergency surgery. Lost his spleen…medivaced to Germany.
“Throughout that whole time frame, I slept on his side, like right next to him. I slept on a litter,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
Four months later, they were back in Afghanistan, dodging IED’s.
“The amount of time and what we went through together, there’s nothing that can explain what you feel,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
But these inseparable buddies did go their separate ways.
Staff Sgt. Wolf came home to his wife, Samantha, and boys, Tyler and Dominick.
They’re all here now to see two buddies band together again in baggage claim.
And now, a text:
“They landed,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
“Oh, there he is!” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
A German shepherd goes straight for his wolf.
“Iras, come here, come here, come here!” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
The name is Iras, a bomb sniffing dog who smelled his way through more than 100 combat missions with Staff Sgt. Wolf.
Saved lives, that dog.
Like that time they were about to cross a bridge. Iras sniffed, stopped, sat.
“There was an IED under the bridge we were parked on,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
Did his job well, that dog.
“We didn’t lose one soldier or one piece of equipment through every mission,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said. “We didn’t blow up. Everybody all came home.”
And now, Iras is home, retired to the good life of belly rubs and squeaky balls.
“That’s great,” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.
It had been a long time, but they’re inseparable. For good.
And now, the family picture … is complete.
“Good. Cheese!” Staff Sgt. Wolf said.