Skilled Animals Prove Men And Women Aren’t The Only Ones Cut Out For The Military

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In times of war, humans are renowned for their resourcefulness and innovation. Many innovations were born originally of a wartime need, from radar to advanced computing technology to the modern aircraft fleet. But when technology doesn’t fit the need, we turn to trusted friends with whom we have an emotional and intellectual tie to help complete difficult missions. Horses are some of the oldest examples of our compatriots in war, faithfully carrying messengers and warriors into the very heart of battle. Birds have long carried messages past obstacles that prevent people from passing. Even man’s best friend has had a long, enduring role on the battlefield. And there are many more. Here are a few of the species that made a place for themselves among the ranks of human soldiers.

Dogs

Dogs are not a surprising addition to any military unit — their bomb-sniffing noses are famous, after all — but their versatility and ability are incredible. Dogs started serving the U.S. back during World War I, when mines were plentiful. Today, they find IEDs, which can commonly be used as roadside bombs.

Horses

The horse’s role in the military is a longstanding one. Before tanks, trucks, and cars, horses were the fastest way to get around, and so the cavalry was born out of their ability and our need. Today, horses remain useful companions in mountainous regions that vehicles cannot traverse.

Elephants

Horses weren’t the only mounted animals for military services; elephants also carried soldiers into war, particularly in southeast Asia. War elephants, complete with tusks, would charge enemies, making for quite a terror-inducing sight. These sensitive creatures were not used by the U.S. military for war, but their bomb-sniffing ability was recently studied for research related to the creation of electronic bomb-detecting devices.

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