Fun fact: The idea of using military dogs dates back to Benjamin Franklin, who suggested the use of dogs “will confound the enemy.”
Via USA Today.
In war, the difference between living and dying can come down to a single step.
Ret. Air Force Staff Sgt. Len Anderson knows this too well. On patrol in Afghanistan in 2012, he was stopped just before he stepped on an improvised explosive device. Who saved his life? It was Azza, his military working dog, who alerted him to the danger.
Later in the patrol, Azza sensed another IED and signaled to Anderson to stay in place. But this IED was remotely activated. It detonated. Anderson suffered massive injury, but thanks to Azza he escaped with his life.
Tuesday is K9 Veterans Day, when we honor canine heroes like Azza and the thousands of other dogs who have served alongside our troops. Ordinary Americans can help give these dogs the recognition they deserve by observing this day. Extraordinary Americans can support efforts to reunite them with their handlers after their tours of duty are over.
Working dogs in the American military date back to the country’s founding when Benjamin Franklin recommended their use.They will “confound the enemy,” he wrote, “and be very serviceable.” Since then they have served in nearly every American war. During the Civil War they were used as messengers and guards. In World War I, Sergeant Stubby, one of history’s most famous war dogs, saved American fighters from mustard gas. War dogs sniffed out Japanese positions in the Pacific Theater in World War II. Nearly 4,000 dogs served in Vietnam, saving 10,000 American lives.
These dogs have taken on even more importance in the 21st Century wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because of their ability to detect the enemy’s weapon of choice: the IED. These hidden bombs are the “number one threat,” said Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have been responsible for roughly two-thirds of U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even when armor can block IED shrapnel, the blast wave can create traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress….