BUSTER - A REAL DOG OF WAR
Sky News 4/2/03
A real Dog of War has been hailed the hero of a British Army raid on an Iraqi stronghold.
Explosives sniffer dog Buster unearthed a hidden cache of arms from an enemy camp in the southern Iraqi village of Safwan writes Nick Parker of The Sun, in this shared report from the front line.
The Springer Spaniel's find was followed by the arrest of 16 Saddam Hussein supporters.
Brown-eyed Buster, who is five, took part in a raid launched by 200 troops.
His handler, Sergeant Danny Morgan, 37, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps said: "The soldiers had found nothing so I unleashed Buster and sent him in.
"The rule is that the dog always goes first in case there are booby traps and I was obviously concerned for him as he started his search. Within minutes he became excited in a particular area and I knew he'd discovered something.
"The Iraqis we spoke to had denied having any weapons. But Buster found their arms even though they'd hidden them in a wall cavity, covered it with a sheet of tin then pushed a wardrobe in front of it.
"I'm very proud of him."
Buster's haul included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, grenades, ammunition and bomb-making equipment.
Suitcases full of cash, a suspected stash of heroin and crack cocaine and pro-Saddam Hussein Ba'ath Party literature were also discovered in the buildings used by the mafia-style gangs.
Sgt Morgan keeps Buster at his home in Aldershot, Hants, where he doubles as a family pet for his five-year-old daughter Emma and wife Nicki.
"I trained him by teaching him to fetch weapons like guns and ammunition instead of sticks and balls," he said.
"He loves his job simply because he thinks it's a game and obviously has no idea he's going into dangerous situations.
"I end up doing all the worrying because he's not only doing a job out here - he's my best friend. Buster is the only arms and explosives search dog working in Iraq right now and has been worth his weight in gold today.
"But my daughter Emma is missing him terribly - even more than she misses me!
"She was upset when I went off to war but wept buckets when she was saying goodbye to Buster. She's been sending him more treats than me since we arrived."
Buster is so valuable to the army that he has even been given his own protective gear in case of chemical or biological attack.
When Scud or gas attack warning sound, he leaps into a special sealed pen equipped with an electric motor that pumps air through a gas mask filter.
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