GRP 98-On for this week's podcast is retired Master at Arm's Benito Olson. Benny began his career in the Navy working in Bahrain where he developed an interest in dog handling. He eventually became a dog handler and was stationed back in the states. Benny was then recruited as a dog handler into the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) to support the SEALs as their dog handler. We talked what it's like working with military dogs and then working with Special Operations dogs in the SEAL teams.
Benny deployed 5 times with the Tier 1 SEALs. He was paired up with SEAL dog "Digo". He shared stories of his first deployment where they conducted direct action raids in Iraq. Two of the DEVGRU assaulters were killed on this rotation. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Nathan H. Hardy and Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Michael E. Koch.
Benny shares the story of when he was severely wounded conducting a raid where they got into a brief gunfight killing two enemy fighters. Benny moved in with two assaulters to enter the building. Unbeknownst to them, it was rigged to explode. The blast seriously wounded Benny, Digo, and killed Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Luis A. Souffront. Benny's last trip was to Afghanistan during the Extortion 17 incident in which 30 Americans were killed when their helicopter was shot down. 17 were SEALs with 15 of them from DEVGRU. Many of them close friends. This was Benny's last trip before he was medically retired out of the Navy. He now runs a company called Patriot Dog Training.
3:50-Benito's Navy career, Master at Arms, Dog Handler
16:15-Benny's recruitment into the Naval Special Warfare's Development Group (DEVGRU) in a support role as a Dog Handler.
30:14-SEAL dog "Digo" whom Benny became his handler upon his entry into the squadron.
35:41: First combat deployment into Iraq conducting direct action missions. Two DEVGRU assaulters were killed on this rotation prior to Benny getting blown up. Rest in Peace Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Nathan H. Hardy and Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Michael E. Koch
1:02:25-The operation in which they assaulted a building that was rigged with explosives seriously wounding Benny, Digo, and killing Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Luis A. Souffront. Benny was told he wouldn't be able to deploy again. 9 months later he was back in Afghanistan and went on to complete 5 total trips.
1:21:20-Digo passed away after retiring from the Navy and being adopted by a family. Benny's last deployment was to Afghanistan during the "Extortion 17" incident which the 31 American deaths represent the greatest loss of U.S. military lives in a single incident in the, by then, decade-long war in Afghanistan that began in 2001.
15 of the SEALs on board were from DEVGRU and many were close friends of Benito's.
1:26:00- Patriot Dog Training. Benito's dog training company.
Check out Benito Olsen's website:
Social Media: Patriot Dog Training
Music provided by Caspian: