Dogs of War

Out in front of America’s troops, combat canines and their handlers lead the way onto the most dangerous battlefields on Earth.    Image © Adam Ferguson/National Geographic

Above: Marine Cpl. John Dolezal poses with Cchaz, a Belgian Malinois, at Twentynine Palms in California. Dogs bred at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the military’s primary canine facility, are given names that begin with a double letter.



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Image © Adam Ferguson/National Geographic

 

Army Staff Sgt. Jason Cartwright bonds with his Labrador retriever, Isaac, during a mission to disrupt a Taliban supply route. Dogs are very sensitive to their handlers’ emotions. Says Jay Crafter, a trainer for the military, “If you’re having a bad day, your dog is going to have a bad day.”

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Image © Adam Ferguson/National Geographic

Sergeant Bourgeois clips Oopey’s toenails before a mission in Afghanistan. Handlers care for their dogs’ every need, learning canine CPR as well as how to spot canine post-traumatic stress disorder, which afflicts some 5 percent of deployed dogs.

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Image © National Geographic

The images are from the June issue of National Geographic magazine.

source National Geographic