Archive for the Army Dog teams Category

PHOTOS: K-9 Team makes ‘scents’ for Raider Brigade Soldiers

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers, Military Working Dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

By Sgt. David Hodge

1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. Craig Walker, military dog handler, and Belgian Malanois, Carla, a military working dog, part of the Falcon K-9 Team, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. Walker, a native of Kelso, Wash., is part of the 40th Military Police Detachment, out of Fort Sill, Okla., deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. The Falcon K-9 Team joined Soldiers from the 1st “Raider” Brigade and Iraqi Security Forces during a combined cordon and search operation to find weapons and explosives in Rashid’s Abu T’shir community.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – A military working dog named Carla, a Belgian Malanois trained to sniff out weapons and explosives, digs into a scent inside an abandoned house in the Abu T’shir community of the Rashid district in southern Baghdad. Sgt. Craig Walker, a military dog handler from Kelso, Wash., part of the 40th Military Police Detachment out of Fort Sill, Okla., leads Carla during combined operations with Iraqi Security Forces and Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to search for any signs of activity. The 40th MP Det. is attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., Multi-National Division – Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. Craig Walker, military dog handler from Kelso, Wash., part of the K-9 Team, assigned to the 40th Military Police Detachment, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, leads his partner, a Belgian Malanois dog named Carla, through an abandoned house during combined operations in the Abu T’shir community in the Rashid district.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. James Bowhay, a cavalry scout from San Angelo, Texas, assigned to Troop C, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, helps military working dog, Carla, a Belgian Malanois, part of the Falcon K-9 Team, over a wall and into the hands of her owner, Sgt. Craig Walker, a dog handler, from Kelso, Wash., during a combined cordon and search operation in Abu T’shir. Capt. Sean Tennimon, a native of Mobile, Ala. and commander of Troop C, 7th Sqdn., 10th Cav., helped Walker, who is part of the K-9 Team assigned to the 40th Military Police Detachment, out of Fort Sill, Okla., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B. The K-9 Team supports the 1st “Raider” Brigade deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon, located in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Military working dog, Carla, a Belgian Malanois, sniffs out a scent while looking for explosives and weapons in the Abu T’shir community with her partner Sgt. Craig Walker, a dog handler assigned to the 40th Military Police Battalion, out of Fort Sill, Okla. Walker, a native of Kelso, Wash., is part of the Falcon K-9 Team, assigned to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. Carla and Walker assist Soldiers of the 1st “Raider” BCT during combined operations to provide security for the Iraqi people.

Army specialized search dog team in Baghdad proving to be a valuable asset

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by wardogmarine

Raider K-9 team brings added capabilities to Rashid district

By Sgt. David Hodge, 1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B
Blackanthem Military News

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Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, poses with Ryky, a Belgian Malanois, while out on mission Nov. 24 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier and his four-legged partner recently joined forces with other military dog teams at Forward Operating Base Falcon in helping to make the streets of Baghdad a safer place for Iraqi citizens and Soldiers to live and operate.

    
Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, along with Ryky, his K-9 partner, patrol the streets and communities of southern Baghdad’s Rashid district to search for weapons and make Soldiers a more effective force. 
    
Harrington, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., and his 3-year-old Belgian Malanois partner, completed approximately 52 missions and uncovered more than 25 finds since arriving to Rashid in October.

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Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, who is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

Harrington said that Ryky made several significant finds since beginning her mission in Baghdad, to include an AK-47 rifle hidden in a false ceiling and four mortar rounds that led to the discovery of a large mound of hollowed-out munitions. 

Ryky detects odors from many types of munitions, such as ammunition, weapons, mortar rounds, artillery rounds, homemade explosives and trigger devices with residue on them. 

Harrington, a native of New Orleans, said what makes the hollow ceiling discovery so significant is the fact that most K-9s do not acknowledge above space above their own height.

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Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, rests next to four 60mm mortar rounds she discovered while on patrol Nov. 26 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. Sgt. James Harrington, a native of New Orleans, who is Ryky’s handler, is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

“Ryky is a very friendly dog,” explained Harrington, a former infantryman in the Marines. “She is not a trained attack dog, so I allow her to be sociable with Soldiers. I let others pet her because it is a big morale booster.”

Harrington met Ryky at the Specialized Service Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. 

“At the school, the dogs are exposed to helicopter rides, simulated gunfire and simulated mortars to see how they react,” said Harrington, a 14-year military service veteran with six deployments since 1995. “The dogs must be confident around the noises; they can’t just take off running.”

Capable of detecting 19 separate odors on the battlefield and the ability to run off of a leash, the SSD dogs have a distinct advantage out in sector, said Harrington.

“Having Sgt. Harrington and the SSD dog gives me the extra capability to unleash the dog into an open area,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Ogle, who hails from Dayton, Ohio, and is the kennel master for the Falcon K-9 Team, 40th MP Det., from Fort Sill, Okla., attached to the 1st STB. 

“It is that off-leash capability that puts the handler out of danger,” he said.

Harrington said he feels the ability to multitask while operating in sector and conducting weapon searches is an important quality dog handlers should possess.

“I have to be able to watch for my security, watch for the dog’s security, watch what she is searching, and finally lead the dog in the direction I want her to search in next,” he explained. “I always have to be two steps ahead.” 

Recently, Harrington and Ryky cleared a 600-meter portion of a main thoroughfare in Baghdad for a distinguished visitor; it took them approximately an hour. 

“It would take another dog three hours to complete that stretch of road because they would be on a six-foot leash and the handler has to present everything to the dog,” Harrington stated.
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Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, poses with Ryky, a Belgian Malanois, in front of a weapons cache they discovered while on mission Oct. 26 in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B) 

Usually, the team uses a leash while out in sector due to stray dogs and small confined areas, he added, but, if needed, Ryky could be up to 200 yards away and still effectively search an area.

“It takes me out of the equation in case something was to go wrong; we lose a dog, but we don’t lose a handler,” explained Harrington, who has approximately two years experience with dogs.

According to Harrington, the SSD program has potential and is quickly becoming more widespread across all facets of the military.

One particular advantage of SSDs is the dog graduates ready to deploy right after completing the school, added Harrington.

Normal working dogs leave their school able to detect nine odors and receive additional training by their handlers in theater, said Harrington.

It is said in the “dog world” that the dog always out ranks the handler because the dog will lead the handler to where the odor originates, said Harrington.

“I think Ryky and I make Soldiers’ jobs easier because we can search faster, the dog can smell better and she leads from the front,” Harrington stated.

In the future, the need for working dogs may increase on the battlefield thanks to their keen sense of smell and ability to discover weapons with minimal Soldier over watch.

The Falcon K-9 Team currently keeps seven dogs in its kennels to support military operations in southern Baghdad, explained Ogle, who has six years experience handling dogs.

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Ryky, a three-year-old Belgian Malanois, is partnered with Sgt. James Harrington, a military policeman and dog handler from New Orleans, who is assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard,” stationed out of Fort Myer, Va., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. The duo conducts cache search operations and route clearance in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Harrington, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B)

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Kunsan Air Base, Korea military working dog team

Posted in Army Dog teams, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by wardogmarine

Another great video featuring a mwd team in Korea. Every time I hear a military working dog handler get interviewed they can’t help themselves and say that they get paid to play and work with dogs, how great is that. Although, as much fun as it is, you better believe that it is serious business when it comes time to training. These dog teams are counted on to save lives overseas and throughout the world .

Fort Huachuca honors military working dog SSgt Britt

Posted in Army Dog teams, fallen dogs, Tribute Videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by wardogmarine

Britt, military working dog, earns last rites befitting hero
Arizona Daily Star ^ | Carol Ann Alaimo 

Britt the bomb-sniffing dog, who served overseas in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, will get a funeral befitting a hero at Fort Huachuca. The ashes of the Army canine, recently put down due to neurological illness, will be interred behind the kennels that served as his home base as a military color guard looks on.

The 11-year-old German shepherd was euthanized on Sept. 11 and will be buried Dec. 3 at the Southern Arizona Army post.

Following tradition, taps will be played and a flag folded and presented to Sgt. Megan Hobson, Britt’s last handler.

“We lost a fallen comrade,” said Hobson, 24, a Utah native serving with the fort’s 18th Military Police Detachment.

“He may have been a piece of Army equipment, but I loved that dog,” said Hobson, who was with Britt when he died.

The German shepherd held the rank of staff sergeant — military dogs always outrank their handlers by one stripe, to discourage ill treatment of a superior. He had several Army medals to his credit and had worked as an explosives detector dog since 1999.

Overseas, he took part in numerous missions that likely saved lives, officials said. On patrol in Iraq, he unearthed weapons caches and makeshift bombs, and even collared an insurgent by chasing him down.

Hobson, Britt’s handler for three months, arranged for the canine to spend his final days in the Huachuca Mountains doing his favorite things.

“They let me have a couple days with him where he was just a dog, he didn’t have to work,” she recalled.

She bought him doggie delicacies — sirloin steak with mashed potatoes from a Texas Roadhouse restaurant — and they played fetch with his favorite squeaky toy.

Britt had a reputation for nipping people — “love bites” as the handlers call them — but Hobson, a rarity as a female handler, said she never saw that side of him. “I think he needed a woman in his life,” she said.

Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton said the fanfare at an Army dog’s funeral is not quite the same as honors rendered for a human.

Still, she said in a statement, the service aims to pay respects to “a different kind of soldier.”

“Britt served his country with loyalty and distinction,” she said.
● Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or at calaimo@azstarnet.com.

Video of Army Military Working Dog team in Iraq

Posted in Army Dog teams, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by wardogmarine

I love watching the team work together and then hear the handler’s perspective of being a handler. 

Army Military Working Dog Unit video-K9

Posted in Army Dog teams, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2008 by wardogmarine

“Gotta love this job”

Soldier, dog more than a team

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers, Military Working Dogs, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by wardogmarine

Great article here from The Mercury about military working dogs, specifically those at Fort Riley, Kansas. 

Paula Nardella, Fort Riley PAO-Article found in The Mercury in Manhattan, Kansas

It took Staff Sgt. Rico a few minutes to pinpoint the location of the C-4 explosive. Once he did, he alerted his team members to the potential threat by taking a seat. He was rewarded with a red chew toy, which he promptly chomped down on and then scratched the tattooed serial number on his ear.

  Rico is a bomb dog, and is handled by Sgt. Aaron Hill from Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 97th Military Police Battalion.

Training
  Training for Rico and Hill typically begins around 5 a.m. and consists of problems to solve. The problems are hidden explosives that the dogs have to find. Explosives, such as C-4, normally are used, but when lightning strikes Fort Riley, the handlers use a chlorate kit, which gives off the same kind of, smell as other explosives, just not as strong.
  The task of planting the explosives goes to Staff Sgt. Lawson Wooten, who is the detachment’s training manager.
  ”I always tell them, ‘I’m planting like I’m trying to blow you up,”’ Wooten said.
  Wind also plays a part in the training. If the wind is blowing toward the dog, it can smell explosives sometimes from miles away. If the wind is blowing the wrong direction, however, the dog may not smell the explosive at all.
  ”Dogs have 220 million olfactory sensors in the nose, as opposed to our maybe 20 million,” Hill said.
  Future military working dogs are either purchased at around 1 year of age, or are bred from the puppy program. The puppy program is where breeders breed the puppies, and begin small steps of training as the puppy grows, with items such as tug toys.
  Most canines are typically retired around 10 to 12 years old, when their noses begin to get less sensitive to odors, such as the smell of explosives. After retirement, many of the dogs are adopted out and become house pets.
  Not all dogs find explosives, however. Some dogs are used to find narcotics, and other dogs are what are known as specialized search dogs. A new designation of dog is the combat tracker. Combat trackers are trained to start from an explosion’s detonation point and trace the scent of the person who set the explosive.
  ”They do all this for the love of their handler and the joy of that toy,” Wooten said.

Deployment
  When soldiers deploy with their dogs, not only does that soldier have to take his combat gear, but also all of the dog’s equipment. Water bowls, food dishes, collars, leashes, play toys and reward toys are just some of the things soldiers must take for their dogs. Dog handlers are sent to Kuwait with a two-man team to help with the gear.
  ”I had 14 pieces of luggage,” Hill said.
  During the deployment, the dog and the handler sometimes live in the same room, which strengthens the bond between human and dog.
  According to Hill, cold packs like medics carry are an invaluable tool for a dog handler in a hot climate. He discovereed this during a mid-day mission in Iraq, when Rico began showing signs of heat stress. Hill opened two of the packs and put them against Rico’s body where his arteries were located. This helped Rico cool off and avoid a heat stroke.

Buddies
  Hill said Rico is his best friend, and proves it by doing anything he can to make sure Rico is happy and healthy.
  He also hates to see Rico have to be sedated, like he was when he underwent a medical exam at Kansas State University to remove several cysts. A handler never really knows if their dog is going to come out of sedation, Hill said. One preventive action Hill takes to keep Rico from another sedation is brushing the dog’s teeth, he said.
  ”I can’t be away from him for more than five days, at the most,” Hill said.
  Rico is an independent dog, Hill said, and he worries that if he is gone too long, Rico will forget about him.
  Wooten said that emotions ”go down leash,” meaning that many times, the way a handler is feeling will affect their dog, and vice versa.
  Hill said that this ”down leash” idea is how Rico knows when he doesn’t feel well. When Hill is sick, he said, Rico doesn’t pull him as hard — unless there is a rabbit involved.
  Rico also knows when his handler is cold, and will curl up with Hill to share his body heat with him.

Saying goodbye
  ”I cried like a baby when I dropped my first dog,” said Spc. Timothy Connelly, a dog handler with the 97th MP Bn.
  Since bomb dogs are considered equipment that belongs to Fort Riley, unless they are deployed as a team, the dogs remain at Fort Riley no matter where their handlers go.
  ”When we get orders to go someplace else, you say your last goodbyes to your pup and hop on a plane,” Wooten said.
  Goodbyes also happen when a working dog retires or is euthanized. Upon retiring, many former military dogs can be adopted out. When medical problems arise, depending on the severity of the problem, there may be no choice except to put the dog down.
  ”That’s, I think, the worst part, when you have to put a dog down, especially a hard-working one,” Wooten said.
  Hill agreed, and told the story of a dog he worked with who had to be euthanized.
  ”I took him in and I was loving on him. They gave him the first shot to calm him down and put him into a sleep, and then they gave him the other one. I’m laying on him, and I can feel his heart beating and he’s breathing and I’m rubbing him, playing with him and then she gave him that other shot, which euthanized him. His chest didn’t rise and fall, his heart quit beating, and they literally had to pull me off of that dog, cause I just bawled,” he said.
  Hill had the dog cremated, and Marco now stays at home with Hill in a mahogany box.
  Wooten remembered he had a dog for three months and then found out the dog was going blind.
  ”They had to calm me down, because I new what that meant,” he said.

Dog tales from down range
    ”We’ve done air assaults,” Hill said. When doing an air assault with a dog, the dog gets attached to the handler and they go down the rope together. According to Hill, the problem is that since dogs don’t have opposable thumbs and can’t slide down the rope themselves, they have to be pushed out of the plane or helicopter and then followed by their handler.
  ”I was lucky I didn’t fall off the rope and die,” said Hill, laughing as he remembered Rico thrashing below him.
  Wooten remembered when Hill and Rico first redeployed to Fort Riley in December after serving in Iraq. On the return trip to the United States, Rico’s crate got broken due to cold weather. Since Wooten didn’t know about the broken crate, he brought a vehicle that did not have a built-in cage, and had to ride to the kennels by himself with Rico who sat in the back of the Explorer.
  ”I remember thinking, ‘Rico is going to eat me,” Wooten said.

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