A U.S. military dog who was killed late last month during a firefight with Al Qaeda forces reportedly saved Army soldiers' lives during the operation in Afghanistan.
Maiko, a 7-year-old dog, along with Army Ranger Sgt. Leandro Jasso, 25, from Washington, died after a raid in southwest Afghanistan's Nimruz Province on Nov. 24 that was intended to eliminate Al Qaeda militants, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday.
The military dog, according to the news outlet, was leading Rangers into a compound when their group was fired upon by militants — ultimately revealing where the militants were. Rangers were then able to target their location.
“The actions of Maiko directly saved the life of his handler … and other Rangers involved during the clearance,” a biography of Maiko that circulated on social media, but was confirmed by defense officials to Stars and Stripes, read. "The loss of Maiko is devastating to all that knew and worked with him."
Jasso, who was not Maiko's handler, and Maiko were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite unit within the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Jasso enlisted in the Army in August 2012 and was serving as a team leader on his third deployment to Afghanistan.
Maiko reportedly served six tours in Afghanistan and conducted more than 50 raids led by Army Rangers. When he died last month, "he was the most senior [multi-purpose canine] assigned to 2/75 with the most training and combat experience," according to the social media post.
The Pentagon told Fox News after the attack that the incident remains under investigation.
Jasso was the ninth American killed in action in Afghanistan this year, and the second this month after a former mayor from Utah who served in the state’s National Guard since 2013 was slain in an “insider attack" in Kabul on Nov. 3.