49th Engineer Detachment Dogs Deployed

Sgt. Garret Grenier, a dog handler, and Staff Sgt. Drake, a mine-detection dog, seek out "mines."
Sgt. Garrett Grenier, a dog handler, and Staff Sgt. Drake, a mine-detection dog, enjoy a game of fetch before training at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.
Sgt. Garrett Grenier, a dog handler, and Staff Sgt. Drake, a mine-detection dog, enjoy a game of fetch before training at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.

Grenier and Drake are both attached to the 49th Engineer Detachment (mine dogs) and train daily pending weather and mission tempo. The handlers warm up their dogs with games of tug-of-war and fetch to get them into the training mindset.

Sgt. Brian Curd, a dog handler, shows Staff Sgt. Allen, a mine-detection dog, some affection after a training session at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.
Sgt. Brian Curd, a dog handler, shows Staff Sgt. Allen, a mine-detection dog, some affection after a training session at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.

Curd and Allen are both with the 49th Engineer Detachment (mine dogs) based out of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and deployed to detect mines for line units and clear minefields for expansion.

Sgt. Garret Grenier, a dog handler, gives Staff Sgt. Drake, a mine-detection dog, his favorite toy as a reward after a successful training session at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.
Sgt. Garret Grenier, a dog handler, gives Staff Sgt. Drake, a mine-detection dog, his favorite toy as a reward after a successful training session at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 8, 2013.

Drake and Grenier are members of the 49th Engineer Detachment (mine dogs). A military working dog’s rank is always higher than its handler in order to promote the welfare of the animal. If the handler abuses the dog, he can be punished for hurting a superior noncommisioned officer.

Photo Credit: Sgt. Christopher Bonebrake, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

More photos of Fons to go with article in September issue of Kennel Talk

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Cailin walking Fons
Cailin walking Fons

Fons’ new playmate is proud that she can walk her dog in heel position.

Fons denies he drank the milk....I'm innocent

What milk?  I don’t remember seeing any milk.

Fons with his KONG toy

Fons wouldn’t leave his KONG toy.  He couldn’t believe he could have it whenever he wanted.

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Last morning at the military kennel before Fons headed to his new home.

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Hubby loved playing with these dogs.  A special new KONG toy for a special new life in retirement.

49th Mine Dog Detection Detachment in Afghanistan

U.S. Army Spc. Adam Zettel, with the 49th Mine Dog Detection Detachment, and Allan, a mine detection dog, search a compound for unexploded ordnance

U.S. Army Spc. Adam Zettel, with the 49th Mine Dog Detection Detachment, and Allan, a mine detection dog, search a compound for unexploded ordnance in Qalat, Zabul province, Afghanistan, April 18, 2011. The team was asked to perform a ground sweep of the compound prior to the start of a forward operating base (FOB) expansion project for FOB Smart, which is home to Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Brian Wagner/Released)

10th Mountain Division

I fell in love with this photo of members of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. The 10th of Fort Drum NY has an interesting history of training to acclimate in the event of mountain warfare. In this photo U.S. Soldiers, from the 10th Mountain Division, a K-9 unit, alongside Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Tream 25th Infantry Division, Focus Targeting Force, use a Military Working Dog to track down suspected insurgents, during an air assault mission to capture insurgent personnel in the Ghanzi province of Afghanistan, July 17, 2009. (US Army phoito by Spc. Matthew Freire/Released.) I can’t help but believe some of our Combat Tracker dog handlers from Vietnam will see their work as a foundation for these current tracking dogs Seek on, track on.

The Dogs

Military Working Dog Dag sits in a shady spot, with his tennis ball, after completing a successful tracking exercise, at Joint Security Station Loyalty, in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick/Released)
Military Working Dog Dag sits in a shady spot, with his tennis ball, after completing a successful tracking exercise, at Joint Security Station Loyalty, in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick/Released)

We know how smart they are. They prove it daily, through rigorous training, weary missions, and amazing successes. And, while the handlers are the leaders of the team, they know very well that the dogs possess talents that people cannot duplicate. We know how smart they are, how dedicated, how loyal…but have you ever sat back to watch the eyes of a working dog? Intense, honest and inseeing. We have four dogs posted today for all to enjoy. Earlier this year, Military Working Dog, Dag, found a shady spot to sit and contemplate his tennis ball – a reward to a successful tracking mission. Photo by SSG James Selesnick.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stacey Harrington and Military Working Dog Ggabbi conduct a search of the neighborhood activities center prior to a business development seminar in the Gazaliyah district, Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 21, 2008. Bryson and Warren are in Green Platoon, Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Charles W. Gill/Released)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stacey Harrington and Military Working Dog Ggabbi conduct a search of the neighborhood activities center prior to a business development seminar in the Gazaliyah district, Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 21, 2008. Bryson and Warren are in Green Platoon, Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Charles W. Gill/Released)
U.S. Army military working dog, Andy, sits alertly during a pre-mission briefing for Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers participating in a joint operation with the Iraqi Army and U.S. Soldiers of 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, in Rusafa, eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2009. The Soldiers are searching for weapons caches and targeted insurgents. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick/Released)
U.S. Army military working dog, Andy, sits alertly during a pre-mission briefing for Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers participating in a joint operation with the Iraqi Army and U.S. Soldiers of 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, in Rusafa, eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2009. The Soldiers are searching for weapons caches and targeted insurgents. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James Selesnick/Released)

Also taken by SSG Selsnick is the photo of Andy, sitting alertly during a pre-mission briefing in eastern Baghdad. Andy spent the day looking for weapons caches and insurgents. MWD Ggabbi is photographed while conducting a search of a neighborhood in Baghdad last year. Her photo was taken by Spc. Charles W. Gill. And, lastly, we have the beautiful Kandy, another Army dog attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne. Kandy is paying attention during a pre-departure briefing. Kandy was also photographed by SSG Selesncik, who is an awesome MWD photographer.

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)

New on the job!

Danny Spaide and BoykeAs many of you may know, I’ve been looking for work recently, along with millions of other folks. It certainly hasn’t been easy or fast to find a new job, but I finally found one and am gainfully employed for all of one day now.

Yesterday was my first day, filled with orientation, classes and meeting new folks.

As luck would have it, I ended up sitting next to a nice young man. (At this point, I have to share that it finally dawned on me about 2 o’clock in the afternoon that I was the only “old” person there. All of those folks were born AFTER I got my college diploma.) Anyway, we did afternoon introductions and Justin advised that he had separated from the Army in October. Far be it from me to leave a veteran without thanking him for his service, I asked some more questions about where he had been stationed. He mentioned Balad and FOB Rustamiyah. “FOB Rusty?” I questioned. I knew Rustamiyah seemed small enough that he might know the dog handlers there. And, he did- the 95th MP BN. Small world? Coincidence? Either way, I always love being able to make those connections. Attached are some photos of Danny and Boyke, one of the FOB Rusty teams.