A Multi-Purpose Canine (MPC) assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion (2/75) was killed during a raid against an al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan. In doing so, he sacrificed his life to give his Ranger buddies a decisive advantage over the enemy.
The MPC has been identified as Maiko, a veteran of six deployments in Afghanistan with over 50 missions under its harness. The incident happened in the last days of November. A Ranger element, alongside elements of Afghan National Security (ANS) forces, was conducting a raid in Nimruz province, in southwestern Afghanistan. Upon reaching the target compound, the Rangers breached it and began storming inside. The reports indicate that Maiko led the way and unselfishly exposed himself to enemy fire, thus giving the Rangers the opportunity to neutralise multiple threats. Maiko’s actions on that night saved numerous lives.
According to its obituary, it was the most combat seasoned MPC in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. Born in the Netherlands, Maiko came to the U.S. at a young age and was successfully selected for service with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Before his death, Maiko had served alongside five handlers.
Maiko’s obituary sketches a loyal and capable warrior that everyone would like to have on his side when the going got tough. “[Maiko] was clear-headed, reliable, and relentless in his passion to do his work,” reads the obituary. “There was not a day that passed where he was not 100% committed to giving everything he had, regardless of how hot it was, how long the infil was, or how many buildings needed to be cleared.”
Before making any purchases, the Rangers utilise the Regimental Dog Program (RDP) to assess and select the best canines for service with one of the world’s premier light-infantry units. Then, those dogs that are selected undergo the Regimental Basic/Advanced Handler’s Course, where they are trained in patrolling techniques, explosives detection, apprehension of targets, and tracking.
Unfortunately, however, Sergeant Leandro Jasso was also killed in the same raid. Emerging reports indicate that he was killed by friendly Afghan fire during close-quarters combat (CQC) clearing operations.
Maiko hasn’t been the only military dog to sacrifice itself for its human brothers-in-arms. Earlier this year, an Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) special operations military working dog (SOMWD) named Kuga was awarded the Dickins Medal, which is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals. Like Maiko, Kuga, exposed himself to the enemy, thus giving the rest of the members of the SASR patrol a decisive advantage over the enemy.