America in Uniform

America in Uniform


War Dogs

posted by goquin

When President Obama went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, . . . for a highly publicized, but very private meeting with the commando team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one of the 81 members of the super-secret SEAL DevGru unit was identified by name: Cairo, the war dog.

Cairo, like most canine members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, is a Belgian Malinois. The Malinois breed is similar to German shepherds but smaller and more compact, with an adult male weighing in the 30-kilo range.

 

 

 

 

 

German shepherds are still used as war dogs by the American military but the lighter, stubbier Malinois is considered better for the tandem parachute jumping and rappelling operations often undertaken by SEAL teams. Labrador retrievers are also favored by various military organizations around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform extraordinary military missions by SEa, Air and Land (thus the acronym).  The dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military teams to which they are attached: With a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human’s, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive material and hostile or hiding humans. The dogs are twice as fast as a fit human, so anyone trying to escape is not likely to outrun Cairo or his buddies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dogs, equipped with video cameras, also enter certain danger zones first, allowing their handlers to see what’s ahead before humans follow.  As I mentioned before, SEAL dogs are even trained parachutists, jumping either in tandem with their handlers or solo, if the jump is into water.

Last year canine parachute instructor Mike Forsythe and his dog Cara set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment, jumping from more than 30,100 feet up the altitude transoceanic passenger jets fly at.  Both Forsythe and Cara were wearing oxygen masks and skin protectors for the jump.  Here’s a photo from that jump, taken by Andy Anderson for K9 Storm Inc. (more about those folks shortly).

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well, the dogs are faithful, fearless and ferocious — incredibly frightening and efficient attackers.  I have seen it reported repeatedly that the teeth of SEAL war dogs are replaced with titanium implants that are stronger, sharper and scare-your-pants-off intimidating, but a US. Military spokesman has denied that charge, so I really don’t know (never having seen a canine SEAL face-to-face).  I do know that I’ve never seen a photo of a war dog with anything even vaguely resembling a set of shiny metal chompers.

When the SEAL DevGru team (usually known by its old designation, Team 6) hit bin Laden’s Pakistan compound on May 2, Cairo’s feet would have been four of the first on the ground.  And like the human SEALs, Cairo was wearing super-strong, flexible body Armor and outfitted with high-tech equipment that included doggles specially designed and fitted dog goggles with night-vision and infrared capability that would even allow Cairo to see human heat forms through concrete walls.

Now where on earth would anyone get that kind of incredibly niche hi-tech Doggie gear?  From Winnipeg , of all places.

Jim and Glori Slater’s Manitoba hi-tech mom-and-pop business, K9 Storm Inc., has a deserved worldwide reputation for designing and manufacturing probably the best body Armor available for police and military dogs.  Working dogs in 15 countries around the world are currently protected by their K9 Storm body Armor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Slater was a canine handler on the Winnipeg Police Force when he crafted a Kevlar protective jacket for his own dog, Olaf, in the mid-1990s.  Soon Slater was making body Armor for other cop dogs, then the Canadian Military and soon the world.  The standard K9 Storm vest also has a load-bearing harness system that makes it ideal for tandem rappelling and parachuting.
And then there are the special hi-tech add-ons that made the K9 Storm especially appealing to the U.S. Navy SEALs, who bought four of K9 Storm Inc.s top-end Intruder canine tactical assault suits last year for $86,000. You can be sure Cairo was wearing one of those four suits when he jumped into bin Laden’s lair.

Here’s an explanation of all the K9 Storm Intruder special features:

The Just as the Navy SEALS and other elite special forces are the sharp point of the American military machine, so too are their dogs at the top of a canine military hierarchy.

In all, the U.S. military currently has about 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed around the world, with roughly 600 now in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Several of the photos I have included here are from Foreign Policy, as you will see. Other photos are from K9 Storm Inc.

 

 

 

As for the ethics of sending dogs to war, that’s pretty much a moot point, don’t you think? If it’s ethical to send humans into combat, then why not dogs?

At least the U.S. now treats its war dogs as full members of the military.  At the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. combat dogs there were designated as “surplus military equipment” and left behind when American forces pulled out.


Loyal Subscribers!  We need some help.  The purpose of our “Heart” section is to publish stories of the experiences, contributions and sacrifices of our military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard) and public service personnel (police officers, fire fighters, EMS, merchant marines and others in the public sector) as well as stories of their families.  Please search your memory and computer for a few and send them to Bill (CPT Otis) O’Quin at boquin@ix.netcom.com for possible publication.  Thanks!


Important links for updated military/defense information:
The Daily News Briefing: Today’s News for the U.S. Military, their families and friends.
The Military Trivia Challenge: Register and test your knowledge about military history.
U.S. Department of Defense: Military Defense News.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Exclusive Trailer for SEAL TEAM SIX Released!
The death of Osama Bin Laden was a major occasion and a moment we will never forget. Now, the National Geographic Channel is hosting SEAL TEAM SIX: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, a blockbuster film that takes you on the inside of that fateful day. This big budget movie was filmed for a theatrical rele

posted 3:39:27pm Oct. 10, 2012 | read full post »

Taylor Morris of the Army Special Forces
Military Heroes - U. S. Army Special Forces  Taylor Morris Taylor Morris learned at an early age he was hooked on the outdoors, adventurous, the middle of 4 children and always the last one inside for dinner at his home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. His mother Juli recalled, "Our family took a campin

posted 10:00:28am Jun. 29, 2012 | read full post »

Ed Freeman, One of God's Own Lunatics
As many of you know, I was a helicopter pilot in VietNam and flew Hueys.  I did fly MediVac missions.  I could not resist featuring Ed Freeman.  What an individual!  Cpt. Otis Here’s the feature: You're a 19 year old kid.  You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia D

posted 10:00:23am Jun. 29, 2012 | read full post »

A Man and His Bear
During Operation Desert Storm, I was a legislative affairs officer for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Often I was required to transport gifts, sent to him from patriotic Americans, from Washington, D.C., to his home base in Florida. On one trip I "escorted" a four-foot teddy bear dressed in fatigues with

posted 10:00:00am Jun. 29, 2012 | read full post »

True Heroes from 9/11
THESE OLD WONDERFUL FACES SAY IT ALL......... These are the surviving dogs that worked the trade center that are still alive (as of September, 2011) but retired, they are heroes too.  Their eyes say everything you need to know about them.   Just amazing creatures! Click here for the story a

posted 10:00:58am Jun. 27, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.