Among the military service members to be honored at East Carolina University's Veterans Day services Nov. 11 is Ben, pictured above. Ben is a military dog who served two tours in Afghanistan and is now enjoying his retirement in Lenoir County. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU adds 58 pavers to Memorial Walk on Veterans Day

George Warren, left, and James Warren. (Photos courtesy of Edith Warren)

Warren Brothers Honored for Service

George, a Purple Heart recipient, was stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1940 and served in the Pacific Theater during most of World War II, including the Pacific Ocean nuclear bomb tests. After 23 years of service, he worked seasonally in area tobacco warehouses.

James, also with the U.S. Army Air Force, served in India and Burma during World War II. He was a crewman on the Air Force’s transport command that flew military cargo to resupply the Chinese war effort across the Himalaya Mountains. Among his decorations, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He owned and operated the City Barber Shop in Oxford for many years.

Floyd served as ship radioman during the Pacific naval campaign during World War II in the war between the Allies and Japan. He witnessed Japanese kamikaze aerial attacks on his and other U.S. ships almost daily during the campaign from Tarawa to Saipan. He and his family lived most of his adult life in Greenville and later in Goldsboro, where he was sales manager for Keebler.
Dennis Warren, above, and Floyd Warren, below

Dennis served in the European Theater during the occupation of Berlin with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was responsible for building the first and longest floating tactical bridge across the Rhine at Remagen and building and maintaining roads vital to the Allied advance into Germany. After service, Dennis was manager of Bissette’s Drug Store and Big Value Discount in Greenville for many years.

Dixie served in the Army in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Wounded in Korea, Dixie received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star among other decorations. He also served in Germany, Ethiopia and at Fort Benning in the U.S. After retirement, he worked in banking with First Citizens Bank and Trust in Atlanta. He is the only surviving brother.

Frank served in the Coast Guard on a weather ship during the Korean War and in the active Vietnam War zones. A highlight was sailing through the Northwest Passage. He also passed through the Arctic Circle. During Vietnam, he was a member of Coast Guard Squadron One, marking the first time since World War II that Coast Guard personnel were used in combat.

Frank was wounded during river patrol and received the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Decoration and U.S. Navy Meritorious Commendation Medal among other recognitions. After 23 years of service, he and his family retired to Pompano Beach, Florida, where he worked with the Hillsboro Beach Police Department. There is a monument in his honor as lighthouse keeper at Hillsboro Light Station.

-Information provided by the Warren family

Pictured below, Frank Warren, left and Dixie Warren.
Nov. 9, 2015

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Six Warren brothers from Robersonville saw combat in conflicts from World War II through the Vietnam War, but all returned home safely.

More recently, Ben, a military dog trained to find explosives, served two tours in Afghanistan. He also came home to the United States and now is an ambassador to veterans, school children and others in eastern North Carolina.     

The families of the Warren brothers and many more are remembering service members’ sacrifices by dedicating engraved pavers in their honor on Nov. 11 in an annual Veterans Day ceremony at East Carolina University.

Former N.C. Rep. Edith Warren of Farmville led the effort to remember her late husband Billy’s brothers: George Ben Warren, James Henry Warren Jr., Floyd D. Warren, Dennis Warren, Dixie Warren and Frank D. Warren.   

The six represent more than 75 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard. 
Kim and Paul Scarborough adopted Ben following his retirement from military service.

“I felt it was important they be recognized and what better place than ECU,” said Edith Warren. She decided on the pavers after dedicating one for her cousin, Lt. Carl Doughtie, a Navy fighter pilot, last year. “What a special way to recognize this family of brothers all in one place.”

Henry and Geneva Warren had 12 children, 10 boys and two girls. Several family members will attend the event Wednesday, where 58 brick pavers will be dedicated at the Memorial Walk beside Christenbury Gym, including the first one honoring a war dog.

Ben, whose rank is sergeant, is a 60-pound Belgian Malinois who lives on a Lenoir County farm with Kim and Paul Scarborough.

Ben was part of the Army’s Tactical Explosive Detective Dogs program, developed to support the surge of U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan. With the drawdown in early 2014, the program was discontinued, and dogs that couldn’t be re-trained to work in other areas were retired.

Ben suffers from PTSD and couldn’t be re-trained for narcotics or security. He’s agitated by gunshots, thunder, horses, mopeds or motorcycles – anything that reminds him of the Middle East war zone where he once worked. And his handler, whom the Army gives first choice for their dogs, couldn’t be found. The Scarboroughs adopted Ben after hearing from a friend of a friend working as a contractor with the Pentagon who was trying to place him.

“He’s the most gentle, loving dog,” Kim said. “It’s hard to know what he’s capable of because we didn’t know that side of him.”

Only a small number of dogs – approximately 1 percent - that enter military training actually make it through the program. Ben knows commands in four languages and can climb straight up a ladder, among other feats. “He was trained to jump tandem (from a plane),” Paul said.  

Ben was deployed twice - once in 2011 and again in 2012.

“There’s no telling the hundreds or thousands of American lives they (military dogs) help save,” Kim said. “It’s an honor and privilege to own Ben. A lot of young men and women came home because of this dog.” 

While the numbers of explosives that Ben found are classified, the Scarboroughs have been told “he had a rock star nose.”

Now his job involves chasing and catching any ball. He helps Paul look after the acres of tobacco, cotton, soybeans and corn on the farm. He also visits Boys and Girls clubs, schools and veterans homes and participates in parades and special events. And Ben’s best friend is the Scarborough’s cat, Sophie.

“He came into our lives as we became empty-nesters, so I don’t know who saved who,” Kim said.

ECU’s 2 p.m. ceremony will begin with a ROTC color guard and singing of the National Anthem by Rachel Webb, an ECU student pursuing a graduate degree in music performance with a concentration in voice. Speakers for the program will be ROTC commander Lt. Col. Roxane Engelbrecht, U.S. Air Force, who is a civil engineer and graduate of the University of Missouri, and Lt. Col. Joe Pierce, U.S. Army and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.

The Victory Bell will be struck with the reading of the names of each honoree.

The engraved pavers honor those who provided service in support of national defense, including military service and service to organizations such as the Veterans Administration, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Support the Troops, the Wounded Warrior Project and similar programs.

More than 250 people have been recognized through the paver campaign, which raises funds for Army and Air Force ROTC student scholarships and is sponsored by the ECU College of Health and Human Performance and the Office of Military Programs.

Pictured below, pavers honoring service on Veterans Day 2014 are ready for installation at the Memorial Walk on ECU's campus.