In 1998 a Special Operations unit landed in Afghanistan. A High Value Target was the mission. On board that Blackhawk helicopter was a team of operators ready to infil and cordon the compound. With them, for the first time was one K9 handler and his K9. As the team exited the aircraft, so did the K9 and his handler. This would mark the first time in history that a special operations team would engage in a mission using a K9 handler and his K9.
Over the next two decades, Special Operations would push the limits of training their K9s - now known as Multi-Purpose Canines (MPCs) and Combat Assault Dogs (CADs). These training events would result in a 90% wash-out rate among some of the world's most elite breeders. These K9s would learn to detect human odors specific to enemy combatants, various explosive compounds, and clear a structure searching out Military Aged Males while bypassing children. These K9s would jump tandem with their handlers from aircraft, be fast-roped out of a helicopter, and lead the way during infils to detect ambushes and IEDs. Today our dogs are smarter and more versatile. Our K9s have learned to switch from assault mode to detection during the raid of a compound.
Modern technology has also allowed our handlers to give commands via two-way radios (outside of the line-of-site of the handler) and has pushed the limits of using lasers as well as hand signals. These K9s have become a force multiplier and have enhanced our teams during combat operations. Our K9s have unequivocally saved the lives of countless special operators during their missions. The secondary effect of these missions have saved the lives of civilians who may have unknowingly tripped an IED or entered a compound ladened with explosives.
We have seen our K9s on major High Value Target raids such as Osama Bin Laden (Cairo) and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Conan). Our K9s are committed to the fight. Our K9s have seen countless deployments over years of assignment with our units and have then retired after years of dedication to live out their days in a loving home.
With all the hard work that has gone into training our elite K9s, the knowledge gain from nearly two decades of war has transcended down to our law enforcement and SWAT teams. Operators who have since retired and have started their own businesses have shared in some of the TTP and lessons learned with law enforcement and border patrols. Ultimately our successes abroad have disseminated its way down to our law enforcement which has arguably made our country safer.
This webpage honors the sacrifice that our K9s willfully endured - living, killed in action, or killed in training. These statues memorialize our K9s for having saved countless lives during operations to preserve our American freedom and the freedoms of others. We now ask that they provide enduring overwatch of our fallen heroes as they would in life. God bless our K9 heroes.
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This memorial is dedicated to and pays tribute to those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice in service to their nation.
It is also dedicated to the quiet professionals of yesterday, today, and tomorrow who, as part of a legendary community of uncommenly skilled and uniquely trained ground, air and maritime forces and civilians, stand ready to meet the challenges faced by our nation.