Monday, March 3, 2008

A special bond between soldiers in Iraq

Iron, a German shepherd trained to sniff out explosives, weapons, wires and other threats, and handler Sgt. Joshua T. Rose, right, wait as military explosives experts investigate a bomb that Iron found south of Baghdad. Sgt. Joshua Rose and Iron are one of about 200 canine teams deployed in Iraq, where the bond between soldiers and their dogs is so deep that some handlers have asked to be buried with their canine partners if they are killed together. On frigid winter nights in the Iraqi desert, Rose shares his cot and sometimes his sleeping bag with Iron to keep him warm. In the scorching summer heat, he makes sure Iron has enough water before taking his own share. If the heat is too much for Iron, who has a thick coat of glossy black fur, Rose lets him rest, no matter what the platoon leader might want. "These dogs are like our children. I'm closer to my dog than I am to anyone other than my wife," said Staff Sgt. Charles W. Graves, the kennel master at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, about 20 miles southeast of Baghdad. Since the start of the Iraq war, about 1,000 dogs have passed through the combat zone, and three have been killed in action. Their duties include sniffing out the roadside bombs, detecting booby-trap wires, searching for drugs and illegal weapons at border crossings, finding human remains and tracking and chasing down insurgents. The war in Iraq is the first in which the military has sent dogs to serve as therapy animals for stressed-out troops. Source: LA Times The above referenced story was written by Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, she has also created a war dog blog entry with more photos : IRAQ: Dog duty


jan said...

It's so amazing how much the dogs can learn to do for us.

Julie said... has had many orders for delivery to APO addresses. I hope one of our treats has made life a little more enjoyable for these canine heroes.