Starting in 2008, when Will was introduced to the canine program, he and Cairo worked side by side, depending on each other for survival on hundreds of critical operations in the war on terrorism. But their bond went beyond their military service.
As Cairo aged and went on fewer missions, Will moved on to other assignments, forced to slowly―and painfully―distance himself from the dog. Then, in 2011, the call came: Pick up your dog and get back to Virginia. Now.
Cairo and Will trained for weeks for a secret mission, but it soon became clear that this was no ordinary operation. Cairo was among the first members of the U.S. military on the ground in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the successful elimination of bin Laden.
As Cairo settled into a role as a reliable “spare dog,” Will went back to his job―until a grenade blast in 2013 left him severely injured. Unable to participate in further missions, he tried to recover, medicine provided only modest relief. Instead, it was up to Cairo to save Will’s life once more―and then up to Will to be there when Cairo needed him the most.