Retired dog awarded medal for sniffing out Taliban bombs in Helmand

A dog who aided the US Marines during a night-time raid in Helmand, Afghanistan, by sniffing out Taliban bombs, has been awarded a PDSA Dickin Medal by the UK’s largest veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, founded in 1943.

Equivalent to Victoria Cross, the highest medal in the British honour system, the dog, called Bass, is a Belgian Malinois, who, according to the Times newspaper, took part operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, discovering 350 explosives in 46 missions.

On 20 May 2019, the US Marines came under fire during a raid on a Taliban bomb-maker. Bass’s handler, with whom the he now lives in retirement, said during an online ceremony, “Bass and I located an IED on one of the roadways. You have to rely on the skills of your dog.”

“We found two more IEDs and were able to move the unit into that structure and then eventually accomplish the mission. We all relied on Bass at that moment.”