TV Picks: Saving Private K-9 on Sportsman Channel this May 15.
Often called “man’s best friend,” our dogs are known to be loyal, stalwart companions that love and defend their owners at any cost.
But the 2,500 trained canines serving America’s military and law enforcement are a breed apart. Sportsman Channel invites viewers into the lives of these military and law enforcement service dogs and their handlers with its new series Saving Private K-9.
Hosted by actor and former Marine R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), the show premieres Thursday, May 15 at 8:30 p.m.
Each episode of Saving Private K-9 highlights the dogs’ battlefield training, heroic accomplishments, and relationships with their handlers – as well as their impact on those who have worked with them.
We will see their battlefield service and acts of valor that these military dogs perform, as told by those who fought beside them. Additionally, the show will focus on the dogs’ lives post-service, which often involve rigorous rehabilitation and adoption.
“When R. Lee Ermey speaks, people listen. Sportsman Channel is extremely proud to bring Ermey on board to host Saving Private K-9,” said Marc Fein, Executive V.P., Programming & Production of Sportsman Channel. “Sportsman Channel is privileged to be able to bring the stories of these heroic dogs to life. Saving Private K-9 is a welcome addition to our line-up of lifestyle programming for the American Sportsman.”
“This show is a great opportunity for America to see our four-legged, sometimes forgotten, heroes in action,” said Ermey. “So many of us have no idea of the level of dedication and training it takes to prepare of a dog for a life of service. This show will shed light on that process.”
Ronald Lee Ermey served in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant before injuries forced him to retire. After serving the Marine Corps in numerous endeavors as a civilian, he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Following his service, Ermey moved to the Phillipines, appearing in several Filipino films before making his U.S. film debut as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). Though most famous for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination), Ermey is a seasoned character actor who has appeared in The Boys In Company C, Purple Hearts, Leaving Las Vegas, Se7en, Dead Man Walking and the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, among others.
Q&A with R. Lee Ermey
Please explain to viewers of ‘Saving Private K-9’ what they can expect to see when the show launches on May 15, 2014?
RLE: This is a show that gives viewers the untold stories of our military and law enforcement unsung heroes: working canines. From Afghanistan to Vietnam, to our own soil, working dogs have protected their handlers and the teams they work with, and now it’s their time to shine. The handlers of these incredible canines finally get to share their stories.
What should civilians know about the relationship/bond between Military dogs and their handlers?
RLE: While any pet owner knows there is a unique bond between man and dog, the relationships that the handlers have with their canines take it to the next level. The dog and handler work as one, working to keep each other and the rest of their unit out of harm’s way. Being on the same page as your working dog means the difference between life and death.
What role will you play in ‘Saving Private K-9’ and what are your expectations for the program?
RLE: I’m the host of this fantastic program and have the privilege of introducing these heroic handlers and canines to the American people. I expect this program to shine a light on some of the most amazing stories from the working dog world, and give viewers a totally new respect for animals and the brave men and women who train and handle them.
When viewers finish watching the show, what are a few messages that you want them to remember about ‘Saving Private K-9’?
RLE: It’s important to remember that these citizens are every day people like you and I, and they chose to march into the face of danger to protect our freedom. Every member of our armed forces and law enforcement is important to the security of our country. Every serviceman, woman, and dog is a hero, and their selflessness, honor, and bravery should be applauded.
What would you tell your younger self?
RLE: If I could do this sh*t over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. When I die, I want to come back as me. Maybe I’d tell myself to stop smoking earlier; maybe I’d get rid of the dip. There are a few bad habits I could do without. But life has been great for me. I’ve been very aggressive in seeking out opportunities and following through. I don’t see how I could have been any more aggressive. You know, I’d probably spend more time with the Young Marines. It’s like Boy Scouts for young men that need some structure and guidance. You can visit youngmarines.com on the web to see what they’re all about.