Mine Detection Dog Yankee ( MDD Yankee ) who has made an outstanding contribution as a Mine Detection Dog ( MDD ) for nearly 7 years in the mine fields in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, was given a rousing welcome by the Embassy staff on 12 June 2019 upon her surprise visit to the Embassy accompanied to the Embassy by Perry Baltimore, Executive Director, Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), Kimberly McCasland, VP of Children's Programs and Victims' Assistance; Rachel McCasland, CHAMPS Assistant; and Tamara Klingsheim, CHAMPS Manager.
MDD Yankee and her handler were selected as the MDD Team of the Year in 2017 and this outstanding team received its Award at MLI's prestigious Clearing the Path Gala in Washington, MDD Yankee is a 10 year old female German Shepherd, who was born in the Netherlands and trained in Texas. She was sponsored and named by school children in Greenwich, CT. MLI donated MDD Yankee to the Sri Lankan Army's Humanitarian Demining Unit (HDU) in 2010 to "sniff out" landmines and other dangerous explosives in communities throughout the North and East of Sri Lanka. MDD Yankee is one of 31 highly trained, lifesaving dogs that MLI has given to Sri Lanka since 2004. These amazing dogs with their Sri Lankan handlers trained by MLI have helped the HDU search and clear millions of square meters of land for safe and productive use by the Sri Lankan people.
After working in the minefields for nearly 7 years, saving countless lives and improving the livelihoods of thousands of Sri Lankans, MDD Yankee earned a richly deserved retirement and the Sri Lankan Army kindly allowed her to return to the United States in 2017 to serve as MLI's Canine Ambassador. Today, MDDYankee visits schools and donor organizations throughout the US with MLI's CHAMPS Team to demonstrate her incredible lifesaving, sniffing skills.
The US Government has been at the forefront in supporting mine detection, clearance and livelihood programme being carried out by the Sri Lankan Government covering the Northern and Eastern provinces and has contributed approximately USD 60 million since 2004. In recognition of Sri Lanka’s success story in mine clearance, the US State Department has committed additional funding for mine related activities in Sri Lanka for 2019 and has made arrangements to send three additional MDDs to Sri Lanka as early as next week to help the country become mine-safe within the next few years.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
12 June 2019