K-9, handler work together to keep servicemembers safe

by Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2009 – JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — It is often said a dog is a man’s best friend. For a Joint Expeditionary Tasking or JET Airman here, his dog is not just a friend, but a tool that could mean life or death for servicemembers patrolling the Iraqi streets.

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At the ready
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, and his MWD Robby, an explosives detector dog, train together here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and JET Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division here, and Robby, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, work together to keep servicemembers safe

“My mission here is to search for and expose explosives in any form,” said Airman Bailey. “(Robby and I) go on cordon walks, air assaults, raids, anything that the Soldiers on the ground need help in protecting themselves by the detection of explosives.

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Man’s best friend
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, praises Robby, his nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, after he successfully completed an obstacle course as part of daily training here. Airman Bailey and Robby are deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Airman Bailey is a native of Richmond, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala)

“We go out and find the bombs before something could go off and injure our fellow men and women fighting together,” he added.

The duo is constantly training to ensure they are always mission-ready.

“We do training daily,” said the Airman, deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “Training is constant with us; we have to stay proficient in our duties because of the dangerous aspect of it.

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To serve and protect
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Military working dog Robby, an explosives detector dog, charges a simulated aggressor to protect his handler, Senior Airman William Bailey, a MWD handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, during a training session here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

“Obedience (training) is done daily, and explosive detection (training) is done as often as possible,” said the native of Richmond, Va. “It’s vital.”

Paired for almost a year now, Airman Bailey said the team hit it off from the first time they met.

“We have a great bond together,” he said. “We’ve been together since June of 2008. We just mesh together perfectly.

“(Being deployed with Robby) has been a fun experience,” he said. “(Military working dog handlers) get a little extra privilege by having a little buddy with us the whole deployment. It’s nice to have that bond especially on those tough days when you’re feeling a little bit down. You just look down at the dog and see how happy he is to just be hanging out with you. It just brightens your day.”

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Tackling an obstacle course
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, prepares to let Robby, his nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, complete an obstacle as part of their daily training here. Airman Bailey and Robby are deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Airman Bailey is a native of Richmond, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala)

As a JET Airman, Airman Bailey has had the opportunity of being attached to the Army, and he said he has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Army’s 1st CAV MWD team. His Army counterpart feels the same way about Airman Bailey.

“It’s great having him as part of the team,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Harrison, 1st Calvary Division kennelmaster, who is deployed from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “He goes out on missions and does his part like any Soldier would. There isn’t a difference.

“We work well together,” added the Castle Rock, Colo., native. “We are helping keep our fellow servicemembers safe.”

As his deployment nears its end, Airman Bailey reflects on his appreciation for his K-9 Robby.

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Side by side
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary, keeps his MWD, an explosives detector dog, fit to fight by running with him through an obstacle course here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

“It’s been a great experience; I’ve had a lot of fun,” he said. “I was a little nervous (about being deployed to Iraq) this being my first time over here, especially with the dog. It has created a lot of good memories.

“The bond that I share with (Robby) is probably the most meaningful part of the job,” said the Airman with a smile. “If I didn’t have him, than I’d have to learn how to smell bombs. It would be much more difficult, more time-consuming, and a lot more dangerous. He’s been doing this all his life, and he loves to do it.”

Together, Airman Bailey and Robby will return together to Seymour Johnson AFB and continue working as a team — and preparing for future deployments.

This article is here-Air Force K9 Team

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2 Responses to “K-9, handler work together to keep servicemembers safe”

  1. i am a 26yrs old formers police officer i have competed a explosive detection dog handlers course and urgent looking for work in iraq please i beg would sumone help me plz my email is jaco_windt@yahoo.com

  2. saludos los felicito por su exelente trabajo y profesionalismo demostrado y el buen trato para con los mwd que son los mejores amigos. quisiera saber si este mwd robby fue entrenado y certificado el la base aerea de lacklan texas en el año 2002 y el correo del sgt morgan quien era instructor en ese tiempo
    les agradeceria informarme de estos dos grandes amigos
    saludos desde mexico compadres.

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