A former Navy SEAL and his partner were awarded the Medal of Honor for saving an American service dog and its handler from drowning while searching for the body of a Navy SEAL killed in a mountain ambush in Afghanistan.
A Marine Corps spokesman said the service dog handler was awarded the medal for his actions that saved the life of Sgt. Brian L. Hart.
The award comes after the Marine Corps conducted a rigorous review of the training that the pair received, including the fact that they trained with dogs in Afghanistan for six months.
The Marine Corps awarded Hart the medal in 2016 for saving Hart’s service dog.
The service dog’s handler, Staff Sgt. Adam K. Anderson, was awarded a Purple Heart for his heroism in the search for the missing Navy SEAL.
The Marines will conduct a review of Hart’s training in Afghanistan later this year and award Hart the Medal for his extraordinary service.
Hart was a Navy combat team leader in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012, according to a Marine Corps release.
He was a Marine’s guide dog handler at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during a three-month deployment.
Hart returned to the United States from Afghanistan in 2016 after more than three years overseas.
He enlisted in the Navy and served four tours in Iraq.
He returned to Iraq in 2017, the Marine said in a statement.
Hart said in the statement that his dog, a Portuguese Water Dog named Roo, was “one of my best friends” and a “huge asset” during the mission.
“I am proud to be able to say I never lost a dog in my life,” Hart said.
Hart joined the Marines in 2007 and was deployed to the Middle East in 2015.
The pair returned to Afghanistan in September 2016 and found Roo when they got into a shootout with Taliban fighters in the southern part of the country, according the statement.
The team then took the dog into an area where the Taliban were engaged in a fierce battle.
Hart and his team searched the area until they found the body and retrieved Hart’s dog.
They called for backup when the Taliban attacked them, the statement said.
They searched for the remaining American and found Hart, K.T. Anderson and three other Marines.
They were all rescued by the Afghan police and taken to the Marine unit, according Sgt. Anderson’s statement.
He said that Hart and the other three Marines are “still recovering in the hospital” from injuries sustained in the shootout.
Hart received the medal at the ceremony in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday.
Hart is the second service dog to receive the Medal.
In May, Navy SEAL Kyle Vogt was awarded an Air Medal for saving his service dog, named C-9, after it was attacked by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and lost his leg.
Vogt received the award after an American-led rescue team rescued him from the rubble of a collapsed building.
Hart’s heroism was praised by the Navy, the Marines and the White House.
The military has been under increased scrutiny over its use of dogs to rescue and assist soldiers in dangerous situations.
The Trump administration has ordered the Pentagon to conduct a new review of its use and training of dogs in support of soldiers, the Washington Post reported.