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The Canines of Battle: Remembering Cairo

A Uncommon Breed

The demise of Osama bin Laden is a kind of occasions the place all of us keep in mind the place we had been once we heard about it. However sadly, though we discovered US Navy SEALs performed the raid, we solely knew the title of one of many operators that night time; Cairo, the Belgian Malinois.

In fact, Cairo wasn’t there all by himself; he had a little bit of assist from his human pal Will Chesney.

Will and Cairo. Photograph courtesy of the USA Navy

A few years in the past, Navy SEAL Will (Cheese) Chesney wrote a guide about his finest pal, Cairo. “No Strange Canine” (co-written with Joe Layden) first got here available on the market in April 2020. It garnered nearly common reward, 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon and one other 4.9 out of 5 on Folks love canine story and struggle story, and “No Strange Canine” is each.

Chesney’s guide is a tribute to his four-footed pal, who sadly needed to be put down in April 2015 due to inoperable most cancers. He nonetheless retains the bloodstained harness Cairo wore on the bin Laden raid. His ashes from him are stored in a spot of honor.

The guide begins:

“Cairo was my canine. And I used to be his father of him. I do not use that time period euphemistically. The connection between a handler and a canine SEAL is deep and intimate. It goes nicely past friendship and the same old ties that bind man to canine. The coaching is experiential and all-encompassing, a round the clock immersion designed to foster not simply experience however an attachment of unusual depth and complexity.”

An excellent boy. Screenshot from YouTube and The Reserve Label

Chesney joined the Navy in 2002, however it wasn’t till 2006 that he grew to become conversant in navy working canines following a coaching demonstration in Kentucky. Again in 2008, when Chesney was nonetheless seeking to discover his area of interest for him on the Groups, he stated, “It all the time appeared to me that the unhealthy guys feared our canines greater than they feared us, and perhaps with good purpose.” Iraqis, as a generality, have a tendency to take a look at canines as a nuisance at finest and a security hazard at worst. Rabies had been rampant in canines within the nation, and Saddam Hussein inspired killing of stray canines to assist take away the risk. One of many unintended penalties of our 2003 invasion was the estimated 1 million homeless canines that multiplied in Baghdad as a consequence of the cessation of typical public providers within the metropolis. In consequence, packs of harmful stray canines roamed the town streets.

Chesney was chosen to be a canine, or navy working canine (MWD) as they’re referred to as, handler. He took his coaching fairly critically, realizing that these weren’t pets; they had been devices of struggle, simply as he was. He’ll admit that Cairo was not his first selection for him to work with. He was serious about a canine named Bronco. Bronco was pleasant and generally needed to play. Cairo was extra aloof and was all about work. After two weeks of working with each animals, Chesney realized that Cairo was particular, however he was nonetheless not bought on him.

In his booties and doggles (doggy goggles), Cairo loved tennis ball. Photograph by Will Chesney.

Because it turned out, a program director ended up assigning Cairo to Will. The person instructed him, “He is the proper canine for you.” And that was that. Shortly after, the pair went to a seven-week coaching camp in California. Inside days, the 2 had been sharing a mattress. However, Chesney says,I do recall pushing him off in the course of the night time for being such an aggressive snuggler and blanket hog.”

Cairo excelled at his coaching: studying to maneuver shortly and quietly, sniff out explosives and weapons, and studying to skydive. In 2009 Chesney and Cairo had been deployed to Afghanistan. Chesney admits to being a bit nervous about how Cairo would do in choosing out the unhealthy guys among the many human shields the enemy positioned amongst them. These had been typically girls and youngsters. As he defined to the New York SubmitChesney stated, “A whole lot of the time, you yell at folks to return out [of a house]and the women and men will go away their infants inside — perhaps hoping that we damage or kill the infants in order that they’ll use that towards us.”


Will clearly remembers one specific summer season night time in 2009 in Afghanistan. It was June 30, and the SEALs had been participating targets in a woodline lots of of meters away. Chesney unleashed his canine, and Cairo shortly sped off after the unhealthy guys. Lastly, he cleared a four-foot stone wall and disappeared from sight. Instantly afterwards, the SEALs heard a number of rounds of small arms hearth. Chesney instantly referred to as out to Cairo to return. Slowly, the canine limped again in direction of his handler after which collapsed right into a pile, respiration closely. He had been shot within the chest and entrance leg and was bleeding out. He needed to stroll the entire manner round that stone wall in ache, as he might not bounce it.

A medic tended to his wounds instantly, and the decision “FWIA” (pleasant wounded in motion) went out over the radio, requesting a right away aeromedical evacuation. Cairo was MEDEVACED, with Will at his facet of him, to the closest medical remedy facility, the place navy docs and nurses shortly carried out life-saving surgical procedure on him. Chesney remained with Cairo for the remainder of the night time, catching bits of sleep on the chilly hospital ground. He says he knew Cairo would make it when he gave him a lick the next day.

Neptune Spear

Minimize to March of 2011, and Cairo was now six years outdated and near retirement. Will Chesney wasn’t only a Navy SEAL; he was a member of DEVGRU’s (aka SEAL Group Six) Purple Squadron, and he acquired the decision his Teammates had been ready for for years. They had been about to go after Osama bin Laden. Many believed it could be a one-way mission, as they did not envision the terrorist mastermind happening with out a huge and bloody battle. When the time got here to go, all the males stated their last goodbyes to family members with out disclosing the character of their mission. This was nothing new, however the goal was. Chesney was nicely conscious that bin Laden’s compound could possibly be fraught with tripwires and explosive units that might instantly imply the top to any one in all them; such was the character of Operation Neptune Spear.

On Might 2, 2011, as a extremely modified Black Hawk helicopter from the Military’s one hundred and sixtieth SOAR stealthily whisked them throughout a sleeping Pakistan, Cheney sat on the ground of the plane with Cairo, clad in a kevlar vest and sporting doggie goggles, sitting calmly between his legs within the darkness. The primary Black Hawk had a tough touchdown after skidding off the compound wall. The plane Cairo and Chesney had been in landed safely.

Rex Specs canine goggles with canine imaginative and prescient system. Notice the high-resolution digital camera lens between and above the canine’s eyes—a picture from Widespread Science and Rex Specs.

The pair jumped to the bottom, and Chesney unleashed Cairo to seek for explosives and potential escape tunnels. After doing two laps across the compound, he returned. All clear. They entered the home, serving to to clear the primary two flooring. That is when a SEAL coming down the steps from the third ground stated to them, “I do not suppose they want the canine.”

The Navy’s petty treatment of a SEAL who was on the Bin Laden mission

Learn Subsequent: The Navy’s petty remedy of a SEAL who was on the Bin Laden mission

“Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo!” had gone out over the radio, signifying that the person identified to them by the codename “Crankshaft” was useless. Osama bin Laden was no extra. By this time, all the shootings and explosions had woke up the locals, and so they understandably questioned what was happening. Cairo was taken outdoors to work crowd management whereas the remainder of the SEALs grabbed laptop arduous drives and what different intelligence they might earlier than getting the hell out of Dodge.

Thirty-six hours later, all the SEALs on the mission, together with Cairo, had been assembly with the President of the USA. Cairo’s was the one title launched that night time when the general public needed to know who performed the raid. He was immediately well-known and was stored on a navy base. Chesney would later be redeployed with out him. Over time, I’ve developed indicators of PTSD, melancholy, and extreme migraine complications and commenced consuming closely. The one factor that appeared to make him really feel higher was visiting Cairo.

When 2013 rolled round, the Navy introduced that Cairo could be retiring. Chesney needed the canine to return stay with him, however so did no less than two different males. Chesney grew to become so burdened at this thought that he later revealed he had plans to kidnap Cairo. He even purchased an outdated bike with a sidecar to provide Cairo rides. “I felt like he wanted me,” Chesney wrote in his guide, “and I positive wanted him.”

All Good Issues…

Cairo finally acquired to have a bunch of sidecar rides, and it positive appears he loved them. Photograph courtesy of Will Chesney.

It took an extended 12 months of ready for approval, however Cairo lastly acquired to go house with Will. The 2 spent tons of high quality time collectively, hanging out on the sofa, watching motion pictures, consuming steaks, and going for lengthy bike rides. Sadly, this did not final lengthy. Cairo developed most cancers, and his high quality of life deteriorated. He needed to be put down on April 2, 1015. Will was proper there holding Cairo’s paw till the very finish.

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