Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The recent death of an Army sergeant in Afghanistan marks the first time a female war-dog handler has been killed in action in any U.S. war, according to experts on military working dogs.
Ron Aiello, head of the U.S. War Dogs Association and a former Vietnam War dog handler, and others who have studied the history of U.S. dogs in combat said they were not aware of any other women dog handlers killed in action.
Sgt. Zainah Caye Creamer, 28, of Texarkana, Ark., died Jan. 12 in the Kandahar area while patrolling for explosives, one of which detonated. She was on her third war deployment, but her first tour as a dog handler. Her dog, Jofa, was not injured.
Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, military dogs have performed hundreds of tours in the war zones, where they are used to detect explosives, serve as sentries and patrol.The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have claimed the lives of at least nine other U.S. handlers and at least five military dogs.
Scripps Howard News Service