While American forces raided a compound that held ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the military dogs came out as heroes. They chased al-Baghdadi “down a dark underground tunnel before he detonated a suicide vest.”

The explosion injured one dog, but the heroic animal should recover.

President Donald Trump said during his press conference on Sunday that this “beautiful dog – a talented dog – was injured and brought back.”

A soldier with Delta Force did not provide many details about the dog. Nothing will come out until those involved in the raid receive permission to talk.

This soldier told The Washington Examiner the military “dog is a war veteran and a valued member of the team.”

He described the dogs as “a special breed of courageous.”

The military hand picks these dogs to serve in these special units. The dogs have the ability to attack “the enemy and bomb-sniffing.” They often become the first to jump into a fight, “giving them special significance among the special operations forces with which they operate.”

The dogs even outrank their handlers:

“The dog holds one rank higher than who’s handling them because that’s how valued they are as a team member,” Deborah Scranton, a filmmaker who directed the documentary War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend, told the Washington Examiner.

Traditionally, the dogs hold the rank of a noncommissioned officer. They outrank their handlers as a way to prevent mistreatment, according to the U.S. Army.

“That’s out of respect,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Regina Johnson, operations superintendent at the Military Working Dog School, told Linda Crippen of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. “I see it all the time, especially in these young handlers. They make the mistake of thinking they’re actually in charge. You’ve got to tell them, ‘Hold up. That dog has trained 100 students. That dog is trying to tell you something.’ I think the tradition grew out of a few handlers recognizing the dog as their partner.”

The dog was either a German shepherd and Belgian Malinois, the two common breeds used by the military. A dog with full training can cost $283,000, but their abilities are priceless for the military because soldiers “can’t replicate what they do.”

Retired Marine and U.S. War Dogs Association President Ron Aiello said they pick these dogs because “you want a dog that can be aggressive when necessary.”

The dogs receive “their own protective gear, including waterproof vests with night-vision cameras.”

Handlers and dogs share a special bond, which often leads them a lifelong companionship. It’s not uncommon for retired dogs to live out the rest of their lives with their handlers.

 
 
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