Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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Sgt. Mike Dowling and Rex were deployed to Iraq’s infamous “Triangle of Death” in 2004. COURTESY OF MIKE DOWLING

By GREG HARDESTY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

CAMP PENDLETON – The second RPG round blew Cpl. Mike Dowling off his feet.

The Marine had never seen combat before, but in 2004, he found himself in the thick of battle in Iraq’s infamous “Triangle of Death.”Boom!

The blast from the rocket-propelled grenade slammed him into the ground, along with a fellow Marine, Sgt. Rex.

As Dowling recounts in his just-published book, the explosion must have knocked him out cold for a second:

"I come to with Rex on his feet, eyes white with fear and searching wildly in the smoke and dust to find me.

"Then he’s on top of me, madly licking my face. If my dog could talk I know what he’d be yelling right now:

"Wake up! Get up! Show me you’re alive!"