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Marine dog achieves legendary status in US special operations community

19 May 2020 Fox News

Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Alex Schnell said he knew that he had a very unique animal on his hands the very first time he saw Bass, a Belgian Malinois.

"One of the first things I noticed is his golden eyes," said Schnell in the new Fox Nation series "Hero Dogs" hosted by "Fox News @ Night" anchor Shannon Bream.

"He's got very piercing predator eyes," he continued, "I could just tell with that look -- this is a pretty special canine and I was very happy to get the chance to be assigned with him."

In "Hero Dogs," Bream told the stories of the men and women of the U.S. military and the dogs that are often leading the way.

"You've probably heard of Conan," narrated Bream, "a Belgian Malinois and Army special operations dog honored by President Trump for helping to track down ISIS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi."

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Like Conan, Bass was trained to master a wide variety of skills required by U.S. special operations teams during some of the military's most complicated and dynamic missions.

"You have one canine, one handler that can track, is explosive detection capable and patrol capable," said Schnell, explaining the Bass could sniff out weapons as well as find and take down bad guys if needed.

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During their time together, serving more than six years in Marine Corps special operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, Bass would do all of that and more.

Over time Bass would prove himself to Schnell time and time again in missions around the world, all of which are detailed in the Fox Nation show.

Eventually, units started seeking out Bass to accompany them.

"When I went to the company that was going to Afghanistan," said Schnell, "the team that had worked with me in the past -- they requested me not necessarily because of me, but because they wanted Bass."

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Again Bass would prove to be a critical part of the U.S. effort -- and one mission, in particular, stands out in Schnell's memory.

"We were in southern Afghanistan and we're going in to capture or kill high-value individuals at this specific location. We land, everything's normal, everything's very quiet," he recalled.

"We start making our way down to the objective area, that's when the enemy hears us coming and they start opening fire."

The engagement lasted hours -- in the dead of night.

"Bass is following me around in the pitch black. The entire night, and he's got explosions going off, gunfire constantly, and he's got nothing but his trust for me to follow me around in my little hip leash until it's time for him to get used."

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And used he was -- entering a building ahead of the team and neutralizing the enemy.

"Bass conducted more than 350 explosives detections and helped hunt down dozens of high-profile enemy insurgents," concluded Bream. "Amazingly, not a single member of the U.S. military lost his life while on patrol with this canine hero."

In November 2019, Bass was awarded the Medal of Bravery -- an award issued by the non-profit Angels Without Wings, recognizing the work of animals in combat.

To watch all of the new series, "Hero Dogs," and many more shows and series for "Grateful Nation" month, go to Fox Nation and sign up today.

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Original Link: https://www.foxnews.com/media/alex-schnell-bass-marines-hero-dogs

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