Kuno the Belgian Malinois charged through enemy gunfire to save the lives of British soldiers fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is to be awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. During the raid, he tackled a gunman and was hit by bullets in both back legs
The retired British Army Working Dog suffered life-changing injuries while supporting the British special forces fighting Al Qaeda and has now been awarded the Dickin Medal – the highest award any animal can receive within the British military – from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
To put it into human perspective: that’s the animal equivalent of winning the Victoria Cross, the UK’s version of the Medal of Honor.
The four-year-old military pooch was deployed to support British troops attacking a well-armed Al-Qaeda compound.
Unfortunately, the assault force became pinned down by a heavy barrage of grenades and machine-gun fire launched by an insurgent equipped with night vision goggles, who had concealed himself in the compound.With the British and Afghan troops unable to move without sustaining casualties, it fell to Kuno to break the deadlock.
After being released by his handler, Kuno – who had already incapacitated one insurgent and discovered a stash of hidden explosives during the raid – sprinted through the compound’s doorway to attack the insurgent.
Startled by Kuno’s sudden arrival, the gunman fired wildly into the darkness, injuring the dog in both hind legs. Kuno continued to press forward and threw himself at the gunman, biting his arm and wrestling him to the ground.
Despite his serious leg wounds, the dog continued to attack the Al-Qaeda fighter until the assault force entered the courtyard and cleared the building. Only then did he finally take a rest.
"His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process. And despite serious, life-changing injuries, he performed his duty without faltering,"
Kuno is the 72nd recipient of the Dickin Medal since it was created in December 1943, at the height of World War II.
To date, its recipients include 35 dogs, 32 WW2 messenger pigeons, four horses, and one cat.