Veteran: Cairo, Special Forces
Artist: Joan Riverton
Writer: Richard Pels 

Cairo, a Belgian Malinois, and his handler, were part of the special forces team that targeted and killed Osama Bin Laden. 

Cairo had skills that not one of the other 24 highly trained individuals on the mission had. And he had a work ethic that rivaled that of his human compatriots. 

A Malinois can run twice as fast as a human and his nose is thousands of times more sensitive, making Cairo the perfect point man, or dog, sniffing out possible bombs, booby-traps and other hidden dangers, which he was busy doing, leading his men at high speed through Bin Laden’s compound. 

There are over 200 steps to training a K9 dog to sniff out hidden explosives. The routine is classified, and it’s only one of the many skills the dog learns. 

The regimen involves about $50,000 of training. And when the dog is on a mission, it wears a Kevlar harness with attachments for parachuting and rappelling with his handler. 

And if appropriate, the dog wears night-vision gear just like the men. 

The relationship of a dog and trainer is very intense, and the teams often stay together.

Cairo and his trainer have retired together.and he enjoys helping unpack and put away the groceries, along with doing a little child guard duty.