An Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) working with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) is Missing in Action, regrettably, likely to be dead after an intense fire fight in northern Helmand province last month.
On 4 July, EDD Lucky broke away from a partnered Australian Special Forces and Afghan National Police force heavily engaged with a large number of insurgents. Lucky went missing during the same battle that took the life of Sergeant Todd Langley.
Defence has delayed the release of information concerning Lucky in order to first exhaust all possible efforts to recover the dog and confirm his status after the battle.
Explosive Detection Dogs are highly trained search animals capable of finding buried munitions and indiscriminately placed bombs including Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). Their training enables them to detect explosives in all their various forms and concentrations. EDDs are chosen on the basis of their endurance, sociability, boldness, high retrieval abilities and their capacity to withstand extreme levels of distraction and noise.
Lucky was a male Golden Retriever/Labrador cross born in October 2009.
He was acquired from Canberra City Pound and was within six-hours of being euthanised when he was assessed as being suitable for EDD training by a visiting School of Military Engineering assessment team.
Lucky entered service in September 2010 and was registered in the Army as ‘EDD 499.’
He completed EDD training at the School of Military Engineering at Moorebank, NSW and was assigned to the Incident Response Regiment in Sydney. Lucky later proceeded on his first operational tour in Afghanistan.
Lucky is officially categorised as missing in action. He was last seen in the vicinity of a major insurgent concentration. It was not possible for the Australian soldiers to search for the dog in safety as they were under heavy insurgent fire. Despite efforts to recover the dog and confirm his status after the battle, Lucky is likely dead. It was Lucky’s first operational deployment.
Australian Special Forces and their Afghan partners have since made all reasonable attempts to secure Lucky’s return, including repeated calls to the dog by loudspeaker and broadcasting an offer of a monetary reward in the local area.
EDD 499 Lucky will be commemorated on a dedicated EDD memorial at the School of Military Engineering.
Defence Media Operations