A Washington, D.C.-based sailor and K-9 handler was killed late last month after he was struck by a vehicle in the city, officials have confirmed.
Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Caleb S. Herndon, 21, was walking on Interstate 395 northbound near the exit ramp from the 9th Street tunnel at about 1:50 a.m. Aug. 23 when he was struck by a vehicle, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Herndon “was then struck by a second vehicle traveling westbound,” according to police.
The sailor was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
No arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation.
A Texas native, Herndon had been assigned to Headquarters, Naval District Washington, since late June.
He had recently completed K-9 handling school and was supposed to get his working dog the week he died, according to his father, Jim Herndon.
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Herndon had joined the Navy hoping to become a SEAL, but when he couldn’t immediately qualify for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, he took to dog training, his father said.
“He just fell in love with it,” Jim Herndon said. “He told me, ‘Dad, I cannot wait to get there in the morning and I don’t want to leave in the afternoon.’”
Herndon had adopted a retired military Belgian Malinois named Otto that now lives with the Herndon family in Texas.
He was a man of faith who sought to help other people, Herndon’s father recalled.
“He wanted so bad to help people and was wired that way,” Jim Herndon said.
Mission K-9 Rescue has set up a donation page set up at his family’s request.
The group helps bring working dogs home and reunites them with their former handlers.
“Those that served with him, knew him, and loved him want to honor him by giving to the dogs and work he loved,” the page states.
“The entire Naval District Washington community is saddened by the loss of MA3 Caleb Scott Herndon,” Navy spokesman Edward Zeigler said in a statement. “We wish his family peace and comfort during this difficult time.”
About Geoff Ziezulewicz
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.