The Sirius Courage Award

On September 11, 2011, the first two Sirius Courage Awards will be presented by Lt. David W. Lim, a Police Officer with the Port Authority of NY & NJ, posthumously to the family of SGT Zainah Caye Creamer, USA, and to the family of Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara, USN.  Lt. Lim was on duty in the World Trade Center on 9/11.  His explosive detection dog, Sirius, a yellow Labrador Retriever, was killed in the attack – the only working dog to give his life in the line of duty on 9/11.

SGT Creamer was a military working dog handler.  On January 12, 2011, she was killed in Afghanistan by an IED.  SGT Creamer is the first woman military dog handler to be killed in action in the history of the United States.

Petty Officer Douangdara and his canine partner Bart, assigned to an East Coast SEAL Team, were killed on August 6, 2011 in a crash of their helicopter in Afghanistan along with 29  other American service members.

This is their story.

Statement of Lt. David Lim to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States March 31, 2003

I am a Police Officer in the employ of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. I have been such for the greater part of the last 23 years. On Sept. 11th, 2001, our Police Department suffered the greatest single day loss in Law Enforcement history @ the World Trade Center. 37 Officers from every rank (Superintendent to Police Officer) as well as my partner, explosive detector K-9 Sirius were killed in the attack. Many would ask what the PAPD was doing in the World Trade Center. A little known fact was that we were always there. Since the Port Authority owned the buildings, we (the Police) were responsible for the public safety therein. We were there in 93′ as well as on 9/11. We were in fact the first responders to this tragedy & in conjunction with the NYPD, FDNY, EMS & other Emergency Service Units actively participated in the greatest rescue effort this city had ever seen.

On that fateful day, my job was checking vehicles that were entering the WTC Truck Dock for possible explosives. At about 0830hrs, I was in my office/kennel on the B-1 level #2WTC. About 15minutes later, I felt the bldg shake. I left Sirius in his kennel & responded to the mezzanine of #1 WTC to assist people coming out of the “A” stairwell. I saw bodies falling onto the Plaza & realized that I was needed on the upper floors. I proceeded up the stars giving encouragement & calming the fears of the people coming down. Those that were seriously injured I assigned to healthy personnel, directing them to the triage area. On the 27th floor, I met a man in a wheelchair with a friend. They were waiting for the crowd to clear before attempting a descent. I left them with FDNY personnel & proceeded up the “B” stairwell. This switch of stairwells later proved to be my lifesaving decision. Upon my arrival on the 44th floor, I started evacuating those on the floor towards my stairway. I heard an explosion & as I looked to my left, a fireball blew out the windows, knocking us to the ground. I knew now that we were under attack & proceeded down the stairway with my people. On the way down, we cleared floors of any remaining employees. On or about the 35th floor, I felt the bldg shake & thought that my tower was collapsing. I then heard on my Police radio that #2 World Trade Center had collapsed & we were ordered to evacuate Tower #1. We kept going down & met up with Chief Romito, Capt Mazza & Lieut.Cirri. They were assisted an injured male on the 21st floor. I advised my supervisors of the order to evacuate & we all kept descending the staircase. On the way down, we were losing our lights & could feel the bldg falling apart.

When we arrived @ the 5th floor, that’s where I met Josephine Harris & Ladder Co #6 (FDNY). I stopped to help her & got as far as the 4th floor when the bldg started to collapse on us. The sound was akin to an onrushing avalanche with the floors above us pancakeing down. When the noise stopped, I was very lucky to still be alive. Josephine, 12 firefighters & myself were the only ones left alive in that stairwell.

After about 5 hours, we managed to find our way out by an opening on the 6th floor. The devastation around us unimaginable. We somehow had survived in a small “air pocket”.

Ladder Co #43 assisted us out of the wreckage. We crossed the debris field first towards Vesey St. (north) & then after being turned back by fire & exploding ammunition (US Customs House #6 WTC) we went west towards West. St.

When we finally emerged, we turned to view the devastation & were struck by the total destruction of the World Trade Center complex.

I grieve for many friends that I lost that day. I grieve for all those that I didn’t know. I also grieve for the best partner I ever had.

Thank you

Lt. David W. Lim and Sirius

David W. Lim
Police Officer



Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara, USN

Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara, 25, was a native of South Sioux City, Nebraska. He enlisted in the United States Navy in February, 2003.

After graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois in April, 2003, PO1 Douangdara reported to his initial service school training at Norfolk, Virginia. Upon completion of his initial training, he reported to Naval Air Station Sigonella Security Detachment, Sicily, in June, 2003. In August, 2006, he reported to Public/Ordnance Safety Security Force, New London, Groton, Connecticut.  PO1 Douangdara then reported to his East Coast based SEAL Team in January, 2008.

ON August 6, 2011, Petty Officer Douangdara and his Belgian Malinois canine partner Bart, assigned to an East Coast SEAL team, were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that took the lives of 29 other American service members.

Petty Officer Douangdara’s awards include the Bronze Star with “V” device, Joint Service Commendation Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (3), Rifle Marksmanship Medal, and the Pistol Marksmanship Medal.


SGT Creamer’s last photo

SGT Zainah “Caye” Creamer, USA

23 FEB 1982 – 12 JAN 2011

SGT Zainah “Caye” Creamer was born on 23 February 1982.  She was a native of Texarkana, Arkansas.  She enlisted in the United States Army as a Military Policeman on 28 September 2004.  She completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Upon completion of training, she was assigned to Fort Drum, New York from September 2005 to May 2009.  While there, she deployed with the 543rd and the 511th Military Police Companies in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Afterwards, she attended the Military Working Dog Handler Course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  Upon completion of school in August 2009, she was assigned to the 212th Military Police Detachment Kennels on Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

On 26 October 2010, SGT Creamer and Jofa deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  She was attached to the 2d Battalion of the 502d Infantry Regiment.  Many of SGT Creamer’s duties required her and Jofa, as a MWD team, to search roadways, buildings, warehouse, vehicles, and open areas for weapon caches and explosive devices prior to her unit arriving in that area.  On 12 January 2011, during an air assault operation while conducting route and building clearance missions in villages and along roadways, SGT Creamer was killed in action when an improvised explosive device detonated during the unit movement. SGT Creamer was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the NATO Medal.

SGT Creamer proved to be a stellar performer who was always a responsible and professional Soldier, Military Policeman, and MWD Handler assigned to the 212th MP Detachment.  SGT Creamer gave her life and made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation doing what she truly loved.  She, with Jofa by her side, was dedicated to the mission and knew they were saving lives.

MAJ GEN John McDonald, assistant chief of staff of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea/deputy commanding general of the Eighth United States Army, presents the American flag to Carlyn Daug-Brown during the funeral of her daughter, SGT Zainah Caye Creamer

close window