Because of the secrecy of the mission, there was much speculation about whether Cairo was a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, and even some early reports that Cairo’s name was “Belgian Malinois.”
Cairo was strapped to his handler as they lowered themselves to the ground from a helicopter that was located near the compound. Dogs such as Cairo wear ballistic body armor that will “withstand damage from single and double-edged knives, as well as protective gear which shields them from shrapnel and gunfire,” according to The Sun.
The Sun states that the war dogs have been conducting stealth missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were instrumental in hunting down Saddam Hussein and his sons.
Each dog is equipped with an oxygen mask and undergoes intensive training to learn to jump from aircraft at 25,000 feet, before they are ready to start seeking out insurgents in hostile environments.
“Last year, the SEALs bought four waterproof tactical vests for their dogs that featured infrared and night-vision cameras so that handlers — holding a 3-inch monitor from as far as 1,000 yards away — could immediately see what the dogs were seeing. The vests, which come in coyote tan and camouflage, let handlers communicate with the dogs with a speaker. All four vests cost more than $86,000,” according to nytimes.com.
The dogs will attack anyone carrying a weapon and can crawl unnoticed into tunnels or rooms to hunt for enemy combatants.
Major Ticer, a spokeman for United States Special Operations Command, told globalanimal.org, “The primary functions of the dogs are finding explosives and conducting searches and patrols. Dogs are relied upon to provide early warning for potential hazards, many times saving the lives of the Special Operations Forces with whom they operate.”
Cairo and the Navy SEALs team that he works with met privately with President Obama, who thanked each member individually.
According to nypost.com, “Obama then awarded the SEAL teams the ‘Presidential Unit Citation’ — the highest honor a unit can get, in recognition of their ‘extraordinary service and achievement.’”
Sadly, Cairo wasn’t given an award by the president, but his team probably rewarded him later for a job well done.
PHOTO: The U.S. Army