K9 service members are an important part of every team. They bond with their handlers and have their backs. One K9 had the honor of working with the Navy SEALS and participated in Operation Neptune Spear.
Navy SEAL Will Chesney met the SEAL canines in 2008. He was paired with a canine partner, Cairo. He and Cairo worked to form a close bond over the following couple of years.
“A military working dog must be a fighter first and foremost. We have a saying, ‘Dogs have a switch on or off mode’, [so when you] put their vest on, they know they’re working, turn it off, they’re playful. You could turn it off, [and] Cairo was a family dog.”Will Chesney to We Are The Mighty
Chesney went on to say that his girlfriend’s mom’s bulldog attacked Cairo, was injured and did not retaliate at all. As soon as his vest went on, he was all business and thrilled to go to work.
In 2009, Cairo was shot in a battle with insurgents. Chesney said he remembers seeing Cairo drop. He thought his partner was dead but pushed forward with the mission until he could reach him.
Chesney got Cairo to safety, and a medic jumped in to help. Though Cairo was not planned for redeployment, he and Chesney went to Pakistan on May 2, 2011, with the two dozen Navy Seals as a part of Operation Neptune Spear.
Operation Neptune Spear
Operation Neptune Spear was a strategic mission to track down and capture Osama bin Laden, whose code name Geronimo. Chesney said it was just like any other mission.
“We conducted a little more training than normal, we’re always conducting training, being prepared for anything. We knew that the stakes were higher and there was definitely a lot more energy, because of who we were going after.Will Chesney
However, when the mission was over, Cairo was the only teammate who did not get a Silver Star because military canines are not eligible.
In 2013, Chesney deployed without Cairo, suffered a brain injury, PTSD, and could not deploy again. Chesney found himself in a bad place.
Once Cairo was eligible, Chesney officially adopted him. He wrote No Ordinary Dog about Cairo, their work, and Chesney’s mental health struggles because he thought it was important to get the factual story of Cairo on paper.