Explosive Detection Dog missing after contact with insurgents

An Explo­sive Detec­tion Dog (EDD) work­ing with the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group (SOTG) is Miss­ing in Action, regret­tably, like­ly to be dead after an intense fire fight in north­ern Hel­mand province last month.

On 4 July, EDD Lucky broke away from a part­nered Aus­tralian Spe­cial Forces and Afghan Nation­al Police force heav­i­ly engaged with a large num­ber of insurgents. 

Lucky went miss­ing dur­ing the same bat­tle that took the life of Sergeant Todd Langley. 

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group, Lieu­tenant Colonel G (who can­not be named for oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty rea­sons), said accu­rate small arms and rock­et pro­pelled grenade fire pre­vent­ed the imme­di­ate safe retrieval of Lucky. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly Lucky was not recov­ered and, due to the tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion on the ground, we were unable to fol­low up after sev­er­al hours of intense fight­ing,” Lieu­tenant Colonel G said. 

The tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion was such that it was impos­si­ble for the part­nered force to safe­ly fol­low the dog through and beyond the veg­e­tat­ed area insur­gents were using as a fight­ing position.” 

Despite repeat­ed attempts to call him back, Lucky was last seen in the vicin­i­ty of a major insur­gent concentration. 

The insur­gent posi­tion was heav­i­ly tar­get­ed by the SOTG ele­ments using offen­sive air sup­port dur­ing the course of the battle. 

Lieu­tenant Colonel G said post-action analy­sis of the bat­tle and ongo­ing mon­i­tor­ing of the region had led Defence to con­clude that Lucky was like­ly killed in the fighting. 

The team made all rea­son­able attempts to secure the safe return of Lucky, includ­ing repeat­ed calls for the dog on a loud­speak­er and broad­cast­ing the offer of a mon­e­tary reward in the local area. 

Our dogs are impor­tant to our oper­a­tions and our han­dlers form extreme­ly close bonds with their dog – los­ing an EDD is par­tic­u­lar­ly hard on them, but it also affects the whole team who enjoy the com­pa­ny of the dogs.” 

EDDs are high­ly trained search ani­mals capa­ble of find­ing buried muni­tions and indis­crim­i­nate­ly placed bombs includ­ing Impro­vised Explo­sive Devices (IED).

Defence has delayed the release of infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing Lucky in order to first exhaust all pos­si­ble efforts to recov­er the dog and con­firm his sta­tus after the battle. 

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion and images of EDD Lucky are avail­able at: 



Media Contact: 

Defence Media Oper­a­tions: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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