The Best Defense

U.S. commander discusses need for combat force in Iraq beyond August

Here's the story in which Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, the U.S. commander for northern Iraq, discusses the need to keep a combat brigade up there beyond President Obama's August deadline to get all combat troops out of Iraq. As reported here about two weeks ago, I might add.

What say you now, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell?

The Best Defense

Rebecca's War Dog of the Week: Three cheers for gallant Treo, VC

By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense
chief canine correspondent

I came across this photograph of bomb-sniffing war dog named Treo and his handler, Sergeant Dave Heyhoe, around the time we first started this series a few weeks ago.

But the 8-year-old Treo made headlines when he was recently awarded the animals' Victoria Cross from the British military, presented by Princess Alexandra at the Imperial War Museum in London.

"The bronze medallion, bearing the words 'For Gallantry' and 'We Also Serve' within a laurel wreath, is named after Maria Dickin, founder of the PDSA.

Dickin introduced the honour to acknowledge 'outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals serving with the armed forces or civil defence units in any theatre of war, worldwide.'"

The above photograph was taken in 2008, shortly after Treo began his tour in Afghanistan while he and Heyhoe were fighting the Taliban with a U.S. led task force in the village of Segera, Kandahar Province. Treo, now retired, appears to have displayed this kind of award-winning heroism on numerous occasions during his career as an "an arms and explosives search dog."

But this award was given for one very specific act of heroism during Treo's time in Afghanistan when this war dog uncovered an IED that could have otherwise taken out an entire platoon.

The pair has been together for the past five years, a relationship that is sure to continue for the long haul, according to Heyhoe.

"Everyone will say that he is just a military working dog -- yes, he is, but he is also a very good friend of mine. We look after each other."

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images