Special Forces' Parachuting Recruit Is a Dog

Special Forces? New Parachuting Recruit, a Dog!
Taking Man?s Best Friend to a New Level, 10,000 Feet Above

Dogs, used for companions, search and rescue efforts and to aid the handicapped, have added parachuting to their list of skills.

Austria's explosive sniffing dog joined NATO forces in Norway's Operation Cold Response exercises. Strapped to his handler, the dog plunged 10,000 feet from a transport plane over Narvik, Norway.

The Austrians' Belgian Shepherd dogs appeared to be perfectly calm both before and during the jump, according to a reporter with Central European News agency.

"They don't perceive height difference the same way humans do, so that doesn't worry them. They're more likely to be bothered by the roar of the engines, but once we're on the way down, that doesn't matter and they just enjoy the view." One handler explained to CEN.

Some 8,500 soldiers from 14 nations participated in Norway's Operation Cold Response. The three-week exercise ran from February 17 to March 4 in Northern Norway and included special operation forces, conventional forces, NATO units, and marines.

Dogs, just like their human colleagues, are regarded as valued team members and aren't put into situations that could prove unnecessarily dangerous.

One operation trooper even said the new four-legged trainee "has a much cooler head than most recruits."

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