Islamic State fighters became intimately acquainted with one of the more unique weapons in the U.S. arsenal Sunday when a military working dog was sicked upon them during a firefight.
Drawing on anonymous sources, the U.K.’s Daily Star reports the dog was turned on ISIS fighters after a vehicle carrying U.K. soldiers with the Special Air Service (SAS) was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The event is believed to have taken place near the area where a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in combat May 3. After the IED, the SAS troops were ambushed by over 50 ISIS fighters mounted on two technicals (trucks mounted with heavy machine guns).
Just as the firefight was getting dire for the SAS troops, a U.S. serviceman attached to the unit let loose an unexpected, furry weapon.
The serviceman released his military working dog, a fierce German shepherd, on a group of militants. The dog immediately lunged after at one of the men after dodging gun fire, shredding his face. Seeing the fate of their comrade, two other militants turned and fled.
“It could sense the tension and had an overpowering urge to protects its handler and the other troops,” the U.K.’s Daily Star reports that an anonymous defense source said. “The dog did its job and returned to its handler with its tail wagging.”
Working dogs have become an integral part of the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are often attached to special operations units such as SEAL Team 6, also known as DEVGRU. One of the most famous examples was Cairo, a Belgian Malinois that accompanied U.S. personnel on Operation Neptune Spear, the 2011 raid which killed Osama bin Laden. Dogs like Cairo are trained in area security procedures, bomb sniffing and attack maneuvers. The dogs come as well-equipped as their human teammates; Cairo was outfitted with a bullet-proof vest, various harnesses, a camera and amphibious gear during the bin Laden raid.
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