Walking Post

Duke X601

Walking post was my responsibility, along with the handler the Air Force assigned to me. Heading towards nightfall, we loaded in the back of a deuce and a half and then drove out, with several other teams, to be posted along the perimeter of our Air Base.

My responsibility was serious. I had to stand guard all night long on the stretch of boundary to which I and my human counterpart were assigned. We had to keep the base assets and personnel safe. My handler was also my responsibility. You know, he worked hard, but he had many shortcomings. Lord, he could barely hear the quiet threats of the night and he couldn’t smell a snake if it bit him– which wasn’t an idle threat.

We had maybe 200 x 200 yards to guard, depending on the terrain and conditions. There were things out there in the dark, there really were. Most nights I didn’t worry my handler, too much. We’d walk, endlessly it seemed and then, for a few brief moments, if all seemed well, we might sit to take a load off. My buddy talked a lot about a place called home and I loved to listen to his voice. Home sounded great, I could hardly wait to get there.

My handler was nervous much of the time, but heck, you couldn’t blame him. I mean he was all of 19 and sometimes there were people out there trying to kill us. And the night, well, it does take its toll when you are at war and fear is already in the forefront of your mind. Usually things went smoothly, but every so often, just enough to keep us on our toes, we were challenged. I never failed my challenge, I never failed my country, but most importantly, I never failed my partner.

I know my buddy is anguished still about the time we were in Vietnam. But, he needs to know that I’m still watching over him. I am still his “Guardian of the Night”.

During the Vietnam War, dogs like Duke X601 guarded base personnel and assets at bases across southeast Asia; Vietnam and Thailand.

One of the teams to which MWDTSA sent a care package

Airforce MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).

I adore these photos. And, even more special is that this is a team to which we’ve sent a care package. I would have loved to have included at least one of them in our 2014 calendar, but the DPI isn’t quite high enough. Which means I’m delighted to share them with all of you now.

Photos by Staff Sgt. Marleah Miller

This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronounced Crash).
This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson & Chrach patrolling the streets.
This is Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson and her MWD Chrach (pronouced Crash).
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessie Johnson & Chrach bonding.

Feeling the Pressure

Cezar, a military working dog, attacks bite wrap worn by a military working dog handler with the 305th Security Forces Squadron, 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., while his handler supervises during a training session with the bite wrap. Cezar is a four-year-old military working dog specializing in explosive detection/patrol.

 (U.S. Air Force photo by Denise Gould) (Released)

Up, Up and Away

Staff Sgt Jason Albrecht and Markey

Staff Sgt. Jason Albrecht runs military working dog, Markey, through an obstacle course July 13, 2011, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., during an obedience training session. Albrecht is a senior military working dog handler assigned to the 20th Security Forces Squadron, and Markey is a military working dog. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

We owe a debt of gratitude.

jestes_rebel_field_bwz Combat Tracker LabIt is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. For me, sometimes it’s even more than that.
Years ago, even before 9-11, as I started to learn about the role of Military Working Dogs in Vietnam, I ran into a couple of photos posted on a website that were just so compelling to me that I felt that I had to get involved. Both photos were of dogs and handlers from the 47th Infantry Platoon Scout Dog in Vietnam. The one that I have permission to use is attached. If you look at the photo, the face of the young man and the dog reveal tomes about being in a war.

I have been honored to have an opportunity to meet this young man, who is now many years older, at a reunion at Fort Benning back in 2002. And, although I told him then that a great deal of my passion for this work started with the connection I felt to that photo, I’m not sure he really fully understood. It haunted me.

Olivia, a military working dog, sleeps next to her trainer inside a U.S. Army Stryker after a morning of conducting vehicle searches in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2006, in support of a joint U.S.- Iraqi army mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michele A. Desrochers) (Released)
Olivia, a military working dog, sleeps next to her trainer inside a U.S. Army Stryker after a morning of conducting vehicle searches in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2006, in support of a joint U.S.- Iraqi army mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michele A. Desrochers) (Released)

Equally compelling is the photo of a dog handler following the lead of a labrador retriever through the dangerous waters of Vietnam. Following this dog team are the remaining members of a Combat Tracker Team.

If we fast forward to our current missions and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’ve been lucky to have received and uncovered many wonderful photos over the years. But again, but a few really stand out to me as photos that tell a full and valuable story about how two friends, one human and one canine, can combine into a force mulitiplier and make the world safer for all of us. Yes we do owe them all a debt of gratitude, but I think in these simple and straightforward photos you will clearly see the love that runs up and down that leash, the commitment to the mission and the unique work and nature of a military working dog and his handler. I think you’ll see it if you look with your heart. As one of my all time favorite books Le Petit Prince is quoted, “On ne voit bien, qu’avec le coeur.” One only truly sees with the heart. If you open your heart, it’s all so hard to miss.

A U.S. Marine and military working dog Marty take a break as they conduct training for the Lioness Program at Camp Korean Village, Iraq, Nov. 30, 2006. The program uses female Marines to conduct security searches of women who may not be comfortable having amale search them. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones) (Released)
A U.S. Marine and military working dog Marty take a break as they conduct training for the Lioness Program at Camp Korean Village, Iraq, Nov. 30, 2006. The program uses female Marines to conduct security searches of women who may not be comfortable having amale search them. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones) (Released)

Dog handlers, past and present we salute you all! Stay safe.

Dixie

Photo credits:

Olivia, a military working dog, sleeps next to her trainer inside a U.S. Army Stryker after a morning of conducting vehicle searches in Mosul,. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michele A. Desrochers) (Released)

A U.S. Marine and military working dog, Marty. take a break as they conduct training. f. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones) (Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Russell McLaughlin, takes a moment to scratch the back of his military working dog after the completion of a raid in the village of Tall Qabb village, Kirkuk province, Iraq.. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Maurice Hoffman, a K-9 military working dog handler attached to the 10th Mountain Division, rests with his working dog after a cordon and search in the village of Al Kahn in Kirkuk, Iraq,. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet) (Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Russell McLaughlin, a K-9 dog handler attached to the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, takes a moment to scratch the back of his military working dog after the completion of a raid in the village of Tall Qabb village, Kirkuk province, Iraq, Dec. 8, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet) (Released)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Russell McLaughlin, a K-9 dog handler attached to the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, takes a moment to scratch the back of his military working dog after the completion of a raid in the village of Tall Qabb village, Kirkuk province, Iraq, Dec. 8, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet) (Released)

Night Shift

With my new job, hours are taking me later into the evening, which is a totally new experience for me. I’m not fond of the hours, but you do what you’ve got to do. Without getting too sappy or dramatic, I do think about our deployed dog handlers, as well as all of the other men and women working in harm’s way many times throughout the day. When I saw these photos of the handlers working at all hours of day and night, and knowing how exhausted I am from just a little tweak in my schedule, it makes me respect what they do even more.

Here are a couple of photos of Marine buddy Chris and his MWD Lucca working in Al Qadasiyah and Diwaniyah, Iraq (both photos taken by Sr.A Eric Harris).

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham, attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, directs his dog Lucca, a military working dog, to search a car parked near an Iraqi election site for explosives in Diwaniyah, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric Harris/Released)
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham, attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, directs his dog Lucca, a military working dog, to search a car parked near an Iraqi election site for explosives in Diwaniyah, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric Harris/Released)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Francis from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and his military working dog, Z, search abandoned lots in Bacharia, Iraq, Dec. 17, 2008, as part of a joint search of the community conducted by 4th Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Owen/Released)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Francis from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and his military working dog, Z, search abandoned lots in Bacharia, Iraq, Dec. 17, 2008, as part of a joint search of the community conducted by 4th Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Owen/Released)
U.S. Soldiers and a military working dog provide command control during a security halt while conducting operations in the Multi-National Division (South-East) area of responsibility in Basra, Iraq, July 31, 2008. DoD photo by Pfc. Rhonda Roth-Cameron, U.S. Army. (Released)
U.S. Soldiers and a military working dog provide command control during a security halt while conducting operations in the Multi-National Division (South-East) area of responsibility in Basra, Iraq, July 31, 2008. DoD photo by Pfc. Rhonda Roth-Cameron, U.S. Army. (Released)
Timmy and Chay, military working dogs, strike as a team to take down U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sergio Sandoval, during nighttime double dog aggression training June 18, 2008, Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Sandoval is assigned as a dog handler to the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Detachment 1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)
Timmy and Chay, military working dogs, strike as a team to take down U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sergio Sandoval, during nighttime double dog aggression training June 18, 2008, Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Sandoval is assigned as a dog handler to the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Detachment 1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)

Checking empty lots in Iraq are USAF handler SSgt. Francies from Offett AFB with a photo taken by SrA Daniel Owen.

Also, working late are dog teams photographed by Pfc. Rhona Roth-Cameron in Basra. (No name was included for the dog or handler.)

In the last photo MWDs Timmy and Chay take a bite out of Navy handler, USNavy Petty Officer 1st Class Sergio Sandoval in a training exercise.(Photo by Sr.A Julianne Showalter.)

Our thoughts and prayers go out to these handlers and their dogs as they face down the demons of the night for all of us.

Friday the 13th ~~ Let’s Make This Billy’s Lucky Day

AURORA, COLORADO, NOVEMBER 5, 2004--Recently returned from a 6-month tour of duty in Iraq as an explosive detection dog, "Billy", a specially trained Dutch Shepherd dog, sits comfortably inside his handler's SUV at the Military Working Dog training area at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora on Friday. Billy and his handler, Staff Sgt. Chris Roach, currently perform security patrols at Buckley. "He likes that comfortable seat," Roach said. (DENVER POST PHOTO BY GLENN ASAKAWA)
AURORA, COLORADO, NOVEMBER 5, 2004–Recently returned from a 6-month tour of duty in Iraq as an explosive detection dog, “Billy”, a specially trained Dutch Shepherd dog, sits comfortably inside his handler’s SUV at the Military Working Dog training area at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora on Friday. Billy and his handler, Staff Sgt. Chris Roach, currently perform security patrols at Buckley. “He likes that comfortable seat,” Roach said. (DENVER POST PHOTO BY GLENN ASAKAWA)

Photos of Billy, a drop dead gorgeous Military Working Dog, looking for a cushy retirement home:

Here’s a note from his kennel:

“Our dog that has been considered excess about 2 months ago. His name is Billy B041. He is a 12 year old Dutch Shephard. He is on Rimadyl, Tramadol, and Dasuquin for his bad back. He has been approved for adoption. He back is bad enough that he needs the pain killers and the Glucosamine supplements but not bad enough that he still has plenty of energy to play. He still jumps around like a puppy when it’s feeding time. Only thing is he is agressive with animals and would need to be put in a home with no animals and preferably a fenced in back yard. Billy is a Explosive Detector Dog (EDD). He has not done any explosive detection in over 6 months since he was approved to be adopted.

He passed his adoption bite video with flying colors. I tried everything to get him to be aggressive and he wasn’t interested.As long as there is no bite equipment
around, Billy is your average playful “old man.”

We had one person call us back who was a retired handler. The thing that kept us from giving Billy to him was he lived in a assisted living home and was partially disabled. Because of Billy’s aggression training we need him to be in a home with someone that can handle him. Just as long as they have handled or had experience with dogs who have been aggression trained. We haven’t done any bite work with Billy in over 2 years to help prepare him for retirement. He is a good dog. Loves his toys and loves to be loved. Billy has been neutered as well to prepare him for retirement.”

Please consider supporting this retired Veteran.

If you’d like more information, please contact:
via email: Charles.Dahlberg@buckley.af.mil or via phone 720-847-3647, 720-847-3645

FURminators Flourish for Four-Footed Soldiers

You gotta love that FURminator Company. They make a terrific product and then, patriotic and generous, they share that wonderful product with us so we can support our Military Working Dogs. Since the charting of MWDTSA, the FURminator Company has been very gracious with us and, of course, we also have numerous individual donors who send us FURminators, too. (Including my own veterinarian.) This item is often at the top of everyone’s “Wish List”.

Here are some photos that we’ve taken or had sent to us showcasing the wonder grooming tool. Notice how in some cases, you could almost build another dog out of the hair taken out of the coat. You know that has to feel good to a working dog.

When I checked with one of the handlers to whom we had sent a FURminator as soon as he landed in Iraq and asked him if others in his unit would like to have one, he send this reply: “Actually I think there was two guys who tried to get me to part with mine. LOL. I’ll check to see if they’re still in need of them tho and ill get back to you.”

I love being FURminated FURminator 100_1446