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:


http://www.defence.gov.au/defencenews/stories/2011/aug/0816.htm

http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=11120271


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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