"He was just a little puppy at the time," Smathers said. "He was 2 ½ months old and I immediately said, 'You know, we gotta keep this dog.'"
CBS News correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports that Smathers first saw Scout wandering the streets during the battle for the Baghdad airport. One of thousands of strays — but to Smathers — one of a kind.
Smathers says the first time he saw Scout, he fell in love with him.
"He was very vulnerable but he put on a front like he was a tough guy," he says. "Which is probably how a lot of soldiers feel."
Scout and John Smathers were together for a year.
"I was about to go out on a mission and I was saying goodbye to him there," Smathers says.
But when Smathers was seriously injured and flown home for medical care, Scout was on his own, but on Smathers' mind.
"He was probably very confused and I knew I had to get him back," he says.
He spent months e-mailing troops who had taken over his unit's old house begging for information about Scout.
"There's a bond with he and I," he says. "And as long as he was alive and it was within my power to get him here, I was gonna try. I owe him that."
And, almost unbelievably, one soldier wrote back. He knew Scout and agreed to take him to the Baghdad Zoo, where Smathers knew people who would care for him.
It took a year to get Scout out of Iraq. At one point Scout was driven eight hours to the Jordanian border only to be sent back to Baghdad because of paperwork snafus.
But finally, last August it worked — Scout was flown to Washington. This moment was, in Capt. Smathers words, the successful conclusion of one last mission.
"And when I saw him laying at my feet I was juts smiling," he says. "I lay down with him and I felt like … John you're done."
Scout has now taken up guard duty outside Smathers' house. One more Veteran of a Foreign War — home at last.