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'Fantastic job': President Trump honors hero military dog from Baghdadi raid at White House

'And we just gave Conan a medal and a plaque'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Conan, the military working dog who was injured in the special forces raid that killed former ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, was honored Monday at a White House ceremony.

According to President Donald Trump at an impromptu news conference in the Rose Garden, the hero canine was given a medal and a plaque for heroism during the "flawless" military operation.

"Conan came over from the Middle East, just arrived with some of the great people from the special forces that did the — it was a flawless attack," the president told reporters outside the White House while flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump. "And al-Baghdadi is gone. That was a flawless attack and I just met quite a few of them. And we just gave Conan a medal and a plaque."

Trump went on to say that Conan — a Belgian Malinois who was confirmed by a White House official as female — "is incredible, actually incredible. We spent some good time with it. And so brilliant, so smart. The way it was with the special forces people that have worked with him, for obvious reasons they can't be out in front of the media."

He also noted that Conan and the special forces personnel from the raid all did a "fantastic job."

President Trump was also asked if the dog was retiring now, to which he responded that "Conan is not retiring yet," explaining that the dog is still "primetime, age-wise."

Conan's actions have even motivated some veterans to publicly call for the dog to receive a purple heart as a result of the injuries she sustained during the operation, despite a Department of Defense guideline that restricts such human awards from being given to working animals.

"Do I believe Conan should receive a Purple Heart for actions on target?" former Army Ranger Michael Bollinger said. "Absolutely."

At Monday's news conference, Vice President Pence recalled the president's decision to greenlight the Baghdadi raid, noting that the use of working dogs was put forward as an effort to help protect the lives of human special forces personnel.

"It had had been described to us by the fact they had dogs that could go in in the event that al-Baghdadi had on him an explosive vest," Pence explained. "And this dog was there, suffered some injury; we were able to complete the raid without any American casualty."

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