Former SEAL Describes Essential Role of Dogs in Military Operations

A screenshot of two men engaged in a video chat.

On Monday, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum continued its new digital public program series by welcoming Will Chesney, former Navy SEAL and author of the new book No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid.

In conversation with Clifford Chanin, executive vice president and deputy director for museum programs, Chesney described his time with the SEALs, the realities of dog training, and the essential role that dogs play in military operations. Chesney’s book, No Ordinary Dog, tells the story of Cairo, a Belgian Malinois and military working dog who who accompanied the two dozen Navy SEALs, including Chesney, who descended on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in May 2011.

In the video clip below, Chesney describes the realities of handling dogs as a SEAL.

Video Clip from "No Ordinary Dog"

2020_0608_No Ordinary Dog_Highlight_(Caps)

“I needed a job and taking responsibility of the dog on target, dogs are like little kids sometimes. You're having to babysit the dog while doing your job as a SEAL, it is a lot of responsibility as well. You don't want to make a mistake while using your dog, could get somebody injured. A dog is a valuable tool that needs to be used properly. It is a huge responsibility to take that on and take care of the dog. Some guys want to and also, you know, sometimes the dog's not being utilized, you're not being used as well. So the way I looked at it though, I love dogs. I always had growing up and it was a good responsibility. It was another passion that I was drawn towards and if I had the chance of saving one of my guys from getting hurt or killed, that was -- all the training and time and effort would be completely worth it if I had just one opportunity.”

For those who were unable to join the program live, you can stream the full program, and check 911memorial.org/programs to learn of forthcoming programs.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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