Conan is a special operations military working dog in the United States 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force). He is a male Belgian Malinois and was named after late-night talk show host and comedian Conan O'Brien.[1] He is a veteran canine of the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and served in 50 combat missions.[2]

The declassified image of Conan tweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump
BreedBelgian Malinois
Born2013 or 2014 (age 8–10)
OccupationMilitary dog
EmployerUnited States
Notable roleSpecial Operations Military Working Dog (SOMWD) in the US Delta Force
Years active2015–present
Named afterConan O'Brien

Conan took part in the Barisha raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then-leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) terror organization, on October 27, 2019. He chased Baghdadi down into a tunnel where the terror leader detonated his suicide vest.[1] General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. stated on October 30, 2019 that the dog was injured during the raid due to exposed live electric wires, but had recovered and returned to field duty.[3]

Identity Edit

President Donald Trump posted the declassified picture of Conan on Twitter and called him a "wonderful dog" in the tweet.[4] His name was classified at the time, but it was revealed as Conan to Newsweek.[1] A few days later, Trump also referred to the dog as Conan.[5] Trump later re-tweeted a meme (photoshopped by The Daily Wire) of himself awarding Conan a dog version of a Medal of Honor.[6]

After quickly garnering mainstream attention following the raid, merchandising with Conan's depiction and the slogan "Zero Bark Thirty" appeared online, a reference to Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the 2011 special operations raid that killed Osama bin Laden.[7]

Conan's sex Edit

There were conflicting reports on Conan's sex following his reveal to the public. Newsweek initially reported that the dog is female, but the magazine later issued a correction which said Conan is male. RTL Nieuws reported that Conan was trained by a company in Best, Netherlands before being transported to the United States, and a man identified as his former owner and trainer was quoted as saying: "It is a five year old male. It is a very good dog."[8]

On November 25, 2019, a White House official said the dog is female before issuing a correction, saying Conan is in fact male.[9][10] The next day, defense officials confirmed with Stars and Stripes that Conan was male.[11] At the same time, a U.S. defense official disputed this and told ABC News that Conan is female, but ABC's report was retracted a short time later with multiple officials saying they had verified that Conan is male.[12]

The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) contested a Freedom of Information Act request for records related to Conan's sex. SOCOM stated that it can "neither confirm nor deny the existence or non existence of records."[13]

White House visit Edit

Conan is introduced in the White House Rose Garden, November 25, 2019

On November 25, 2019, Conan made a surprise appearance with a handler at the White House. The handler used dog commands in German during the meeting.[14] President Donald Trump introduced Conan to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, saying, "So this is Conan. Right now, probably the world's most famous dog." First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended the event as well, with Pence petting Conan and calling him a "hero" during brief remarks.[15]

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ a b c Laporta, James (October 29, 2019). "Classified name revealed of special operations dog wounded in Syria raid that killed ISIS leader Baghdadi". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  2. ^ Breuninger, Kevin (25 November 2019). "Trump praises Conan, hero dog injured in al-Baghdadi raid, at the White House". CNBC.
  3. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini (October 30, 2019). "ISIS Leader Paid Rival for Protection but Was Betrayed by His Own". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Zhou, Naaman (October 29, 2019). "Trump tweets photo of 'wonderful' dog that took part in Baghdadi raid". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Trump, Donald [@realDonaldTrump] (October 30, 2019). "Thank you Daily Wire. Very cute recreation, but the "live" version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "Trump tweets fake photo of Isis raid dog, and appears to declassify its name". The Guardian. 31 October 2019.
  7. ^ McDonald, Scott (October 30, 2019). "Conan, the military hero dog who was part of the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi raid, featured on "Zero Bark Thirty" merchandise". Newsweek.
  8. ^ Mouthaan, Erik (October 29, 2019). "Nederlandse hondentrainer: 'Hond die Al-Baghdadi opspoorde, was van mij'" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019. Het is mannetje van vijf jaar oud. Het is een erg goede hond.
  9. ^ Watson, Kathryn [@kathrynw5] (November 25, 2019). "A White House official now tells me that Conan is actually a male dog, after we were told earlier today that Conan is a female dog" (Tweet). Retrieved November 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Chao, David (November 25, 2019). "The White House said Conan, the hero dog that helped take down the leader of ISIS, was female. Now it says he's male". Business Insider. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  11. ^ Beynon, Steven [@StevenBeynon] (November 26, 2019). "Conan is a male, according to Special Operations Command. There has been some confusion on the gender. We can hopefully put this to rest now. Conan is a good boy" (Tweet). Retrieved November 27, 2019 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ McLaughlin, Elizabeth [@Elizabeth_McLau] (26 November 2019). "Two defense officials have now contacted us to say Conan is *for sure they say* a BOY. One official said they triple checked" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Martinez, Freddy (2020-06-22). "Dog Genitals at Center of Federal Public Records Lawsuit". Vice. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  14. ^ Hero Dog 'Conan' Visits the White House, retrieved 2021-03-13
  15. ^ Gregorian, Dareh (November 25, 2019). "Trump welcomes hero dog at the White House: 'Conan is a tough cookie'". NBC News. Retrieved November 25, 2019.