SAN LUIS, Colo. — The Navy SEALs that stormed bin Laden’s compound were not alone; they were accompanied by K-9 commandos. Considered to be members of the team, the dogs are some of the fiercest warriors in our military, but at the same time, some of the gentlest.
Strapped with armor and cameras, the K-9s go head first into danger zones. But before they are sent into the battlefields they go through a rigorous training regime in a remote location of Southern Colorado.
At all hours of the day and night the fierce fangs of a canine are unleashed.
It is where domesticated dogs literally sink their teeth into combat.
Training grounds for war, the terrain and altitude almost identical to that in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“They can swim, they do these high altitude parachute jumps,” a trainer said.
When Osama Bin Laden’s compound was raided, a war dog accompanied a team of Navy SEALs.
Alex Dunbar, a former marine and trainer at Close Quarter Battle K-9 School said that the dogs are often the first ones to go in.
“What they’re doing is saving lives for the guys going in their first. That’s really dangerous being on an entry team,” Dunbar explained.
The canines have become valuable members of special forces and squad teams around the world. They are equipped with breathable armor and cameras on their heads to stream live video, and titanium teeth.
“These teeth will penetrate Kevlar or any kind of suit,” Dunbar said.
The metal bite is for medical reasons really. The teeth, constantly being used are often worn down and can break, which can affect their sense of smell — another important tool they possess in the field.
“Seek out and make sure that there are no IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or booby traps or something,” he said.
The drills are targeted at building endurance, agility and the ability to sniff out trouble.
“They’re going in and searching in events in case there are any bad guys in any of these places,” Dunbar said.
While the dogs can be lethal, they’re also loveable.
“They can cuddle up with grandma,” he said.
Their devotion is something dog-gone hard to let go of — especially once they happen to sink their teeth into you.
While the bin Laden raid put these special warriors on the front page, the dogs are common on the front lines. They have been credited with saving many American lives by sniffing out bombs in war zones.