The heroic military working dog from the al-Baghdadi raid is a 'four year veteran' with 50 missions under her collar

news

VIDEO: Meet Conan, The Hero Dog Of The Al-Baghdadi Raid

The U.S. special operations canine from the Delta Force raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is one salty war dog.

In fact, Conan — the all-too fitting name for this particular military working dog — probably has more time downrange than some U.S. service members, which kind of makes us all boots compared to this dog, especially when you figure in dog years.


"This dog is a four-year veteran of the SOCOM K-9 program, and has been a member of approximately 50 combat missions," Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said during a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday.

"[She] was injured by exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after Baghdadi detonated his vest beneath the compound," he added. "I will also note that [she] has been returned to duty."

While animals are barred from receiving military awards like the Purple Heart, there has been plenty of speculation in light of Conan's upcoming visit to the White House — and a viral meme from President Donald Trump — that perhaps an exception would be carved out for Conan.

However, the Department of Defense clarified the military's stance on awarding canine courage:

"Earlier this year, the department established the Military Working Dog (MWD) Handler Certificate of Commendation program to recognize the actions of MWD Handlers and dogs," Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon spokeswoman told Task & Purpose. "Each respective military department is responsible for awarding the MWD Handler Certificate of Commendation in accordance with established award criteria."

Conan is hardly the first canine to draw national attention, and praise for being a very good dog. During the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, a Belgian Malinois named Cairo — reportedly the same breed as Conan — accompanied Navy SEALs on the mission.

And these two are hardly alone: Military working dogs were a common, and welcome, sight during the surge years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"U.S. special operations command military working dogs are critical members of our forces," McKenzie said during the press conference. "These animals protect U.S. forces, save civilian lives, separate combatants from noncombatants, and immobilize individuals who express hostile intent."


The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy arrives for exercises at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, U.S. March 17, 2004. Picture taken March 17, 2004. (U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols via Reuters)

(Reuters) - The suspected shooter involved in a deadly incident on Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, a major U.S. Navy base in Florida, was believed to be a Saudi national in the United States for training, two U.S. defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Four people including the shooter were killed in the episode, authorities said, the second deadly shooting at a U.S. military installation this week.

Read More Show Less
An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady flies a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds)

For some brave U-2 pilots, life on the ground just can't compare to flying a 64-year-old spy plane to the edge of space, but some airmen need that extra rush.

For Capt. Joshua Bird of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, he seemed to have found that rush in cocaine — at least, that's what an official legal notice from Beale Air Force Base said he did.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo)

A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.

The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.

Read More Show Less
A UH-60 Black Hawk departs from The Rock while conducting Medevac 101 training with members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, Feb. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

(Reuters) - A Black Hawk helicopter went down in central Minnesota on Thursday, killing all three soldiers on board, after it lost contact with the Minnesota National Guard during a maintenance test flight, Governor Tim Walz said on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.

Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."

Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.

Read More Show Less