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On National K-9 Veterans Day, I join our Nation in celebrating and honoring the important job performed each day by America’s dedicated working dogs who support our military.

Established in 1942, the K-9 Corps is a critical part of our Armed Forces.  Since its founding, more than 30,000 dogs have served in America’s military, with approximately 2,500 active Military Working Dogs (MWDs) currently helping to defend our freedom.  These heroic dogs use their unique abilities to perform a variety of critical functions that help reduce the dangers posed to our men and women in uniform.  From carrying messages and laying telegraph wire to detecting explosives and acting as guard and patrol dogs, MWDs have a storied history of assisting the world’s greatest fighting force in carrying out their missions.

Just recently our Nation witnessed the power and might of these remarkable K-9s.  Conan, a military working dog from 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, played a key role in eliminating Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—the world’s number one terrorist leader.  Conan chased the terrorist into a dead-end tunnel where, trapped, he met his rightful demise.  Many of our bravest and most adept military personnel were involved in the raid that brought this evil ISIS leader to justice, and Conan bravely worked by their side.  Thanks to Conan, no American personnel were lost in the operation, further demonstrating the vital role K-9s play in safeguarding our national security.

As a Nation, we will continue to support our working dogs who loyally protect the American people and our way of life.