Nightly News | May 30, 2011
>>> we close on this memoriam day with a story about some four-legged friends who aren't exactly the cute and cuddly type. we all remember it was an elite unit of navy s.e.a.l.s who led the raid on osama bin laden 's compound in pakistan, but they announced one of their canines played a big role that night. they call them war dogs , and tonight, we have been given acassociate to a facility where those dog s become true fighters.
>> reporter: a training mission in the nevada desert . a simulated high-stakes overnight raid. the 99th ground combat squadron, heavily armed, but one of their best soldiers doesn't carry a gun. these four-legged warriors, pursue, attract, and attack.
>> what they bring to the fight for us cannot be overstated. their senses are what are literally saving people's lives.
>> reporter: today, 2,700 war dogs are on active duty . leaping into battle outfitted for war. radio callers relay orders, kevlar vests, goggles to sheer their eyes, but it's their senses the military depends on. able to smell six times better than humans, they're the best bomb detector the military has. nbc news was given access during the intense training. only the best of the best would be deployed. during their near lly month-long training at this facility, the canines and their handlers will go through virtually every scenario before they head out.
>> the team has been together for years. the war dogs are fiercely loyal to their leaders. tech sergeant julian carlos spends more time with his dog than his family back home. 300 canines have died in the line of duty since the vietnam war . war dogs , more than man's best friend . a special breed of soldier. miguel alvarez .