War dogs: They are dogs that help fight war. The U.S. has some 2,700 of them deployed on active duty, and they are a key part of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them — who, at this point, “remains an enigma” — was involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden. We imagine that if we were being lowered out of a helicopter to go catch and kill Osama bin Laden, it would probably rather reassuring to have a trained fighting best friend along with us — not least because these dogs are pretty bad-ass. Foreign Policy has a great photo essay on them. After the jump, some fascinating facts about “Military Working Dogs,” or “WMDs.”
When Private First Class Carlton Rusk was shot after his unit came under Taliban sniper fire during a routine patrol in Afghanistan, Rusk’s bomb-sniffing dog, Eli, crawled on top of his body, attacking anyone — including Rusk’s fellow Marines — who tried to come near him. Rusk did not survive the assault, but Eli was granted early retirement so he could live with Rusk’s family.
Want to know more? Gerry Proctor, an officer at Lackland Air Force Base where the dog was trained, answered questions about war dogs in a live Q&A on WashingtonPost.com.