There are a million ways to be killed or wounded on the modern battlefield: bullets, bombs, drone strikes, a tomahawk-wielding SEAL Team 6 operator. But dogs? For jihadists squaring off with Western forces in the Middle East, the threat is real, and a group of ISIS militants learned that lesson the hard way when they recently ambushed a group of elite British commandos with the Special Air Service in Iraq. And they (or their corpses) have the bite wounds to prove it.
The incident purportedly took place in northern Iraq, not far from the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, and near the village where an American Navy SEAL was killed in battle on May 3. According to the British paper, Daily Star Sunday, a small team of SAS commandos were en route back to their base when one of their four vehicles was struck by a roadside bomb. The troops were immediately encircled by about 50 ISIS militants, who were armed with a pair of machine gun-mounted Toyotas.
Taking fire from three directions, the commandos dismounted their vehicles and scrambled for cover. A fierce firefight ensued, and the Brits feared they were being overrun. We’re assuming the jihadists were not expecting what happened next. As the battle raged, a U.S. soldier, who was attached to the SAS team, decided to give the enemy a taste of American might — or, shall we say, American bite — in the form of a pissed off German shepherd.
German shepherds — sometimes referred to as “Alsatians” in European countries — are often favored by U.S. military units because they’re intelligent, loyal, and extremely aggressive when need be. This one was no different. As soon as the American unleashed the K-9, the ISIS militants tried to shoot it. They missed. The dog leaped at one of the fighters, ripping into his face and neck, before mangling the arms and legs of another. Both militants turned and fled, screaming.
“[The dog] could sense the tension and had an overpowering urge to protects its handler and the other troops,” a source told Daily Star. “A snarling [German shepherd] running at you is very frightening and probably not something the jihadis had encountered. The dog did its job and returned to its handler with its tail wagging.”
The SAS commandos and their American ally had apparently just completed a 10-day training course with Kurdish peshmerga soldiers when the ambush occurred. The battle, which, according to Daily Star Sunday, took place last month, concluded how most skirmishes between Western forces and ISIS militants do these days: with U.S. fighter jets swooping in to bomb the terrorists to smithereens. No British or American casualties were reported, human or canine.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.