Westie Rescue “Paw Award”

During this past weekend a Military working dog suffered severe injuries in the line of duty… Westie Rescue supports our four legged hero!

‘Special breed of courageous’: Delta Force operator hails valor of military dog wounded in Baghdadi raid

by Russ Read of the Washington Examiner | October 27, 2019

Though no U.S. forces were killed in the Saturday evening raid that led to the death of an ISIS leader, one military working dog suffered severe injuries in the line of duty.

The dog, “Conan”, chased Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi into a tunnel and cornered him. With no place to go, the terrorist leader blew himself up along with three of his children, who he was using as human shields. The dog’s injuries highlighted the importance of military working dogs in special operations. Often, they will enter the danger zone with a camera on their backs before the humans do so.

“The dog is a war veteran and a valued member of the team,” a currently serving soldier assigned to Delta Force told the Washington Examiner. The soldier did not provide details, pending permission from the dog’s handler and chain of command. Everyone involved in the mission is being debriefed and is out of communication for the time being, the soldier said. Within the community, he says, “The injury to the dog is an injury to one of us. These dogs are a special breed of courageous.”

Military working dogs are essential teammates for U.S. soldiers, especially in the counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations that followed the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. But the dogs used by the military’s most elite units are elite themselves. Like their human counterparts, they are hand-picked to serve in units like Delta Force, the Army Rangers, and the Navy SEALs.

In the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid in which al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed, a Belgian Malinois dog called Cairo flew into Abbotabad in Pakistan on a Black Hawk. Cairo, four SEALs, and a translator were used to help secure the perimeter around the compound while six other SEALs stormed the building.

The multipurpose canines, usually German shepherds or Belgian Malinois, are capable of a variety of tasks, including attacking the enemy and bomb-sniffing. They are often the first into the breach in a fight, giving them special significance among the special operations forces with which they operate.

he Belgian Malinois is the breed of choice for many units. These stocky dogs are essentially a smaller version of a German shepherd, making them ideal for parachuting and fast-roping out of aircraft. Their shorter coat is also well-suited for hot environments such as Iraq or Afghanistan. The breed has been so prominent in recent wars that the Special Operations Force Dog Memorial in Fayetteville, North Carolina, features a bronze statue of a Belgian Malinois.

“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 bond between handlers and military dogs is strong. Handlers are known to sleep in kennels with their dogs in order to gain their trust. Many of the dogs go on to live with their handlers after they are retired from service, though until 2000, older dogs were considered “surplus equipment” and were euthanized instead of put up for adoption. Today, handlers are prioritized in the adoption process and several organizations ( https://missionk9rescue.org/ ) exist to help place them in homes where they can live out their retirement.

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The hero dog — of the Belgian Malinois breed — is female, and her name is “Conan”
Paws Up for a speedy recovery from all of us in Westie Rescue! Military Dogs, K9 Hero, Westies Support our Troops!