Author(s): Ronald L. Aiello
From World War I to nowadays, war dogs have served alongside the most valiant warriors in history's most decisive battles. Like the battlefields to which they are called, the war dogs' roles have evolved through the years. Missions have varied from landmine and tunnel detection to trackers and scouts. Today, war dogs are a primary asset when locating improvised explosive devices, the No. 1 killer of coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are members of Special Operations teams conducting clandestine missions and they help guard some of the world's most dangerous terrorists. This photographic book opens with a salute to the history of combat canines of the past century. It then uses illustration and insight to take the reader inside the careful selection process and months of rigorous training required to join the ranks of these elite "military working dogs." Hundreds of never-before-seen photos reveal the lifelong bonds formed in the heat of battle as tales of selfless service in Iraq and Afghanistan are told by the war dogs handlers and commanders who were there. Many of these war dogs have earned recognition for their heroic actions.
Hundreds struggle with wounds and post-traumatic stress. Dozens died in the line of duty. These are their stories.
RONALD L. AIELLO served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964 to 1970. During this period Ron had the honor of serving with the First Marine Scout Dog Platoon. LANCE M. BACON is senior staff writer for Army Times, an independent weekly newspaper serving U.S. Army personnel and their families.