Camp Pendleton K9

Awesome video here, I served with both Sgt Gehring and Sgt Maple at Camp Pendleton. Both are fantastic handlers and great Marines. Quick story about Sgt Ben Maple below the video.

Sgt Maple and I went through the same military working dog handler’s course at Lackland Air Force base. I’ll never forget the first time he decoyed. We had been in class for about a month and a half and everyone had been taught the basics of decoying and started practicing. Everyone except Maple. Ben’s training dog was handler aggressive so to counter it Ben spent the time trying to build better rapport with his dog while the rest of the class decoyed for eachother in training. No one noticed that he never decoyed.

We had a beast of a training dog in our class named Chaos. Chaos was a prototype Belgian Malinois. He was one of the hardest hitting dogs I had ever seen. A big, strong, athletic dog that seemed to be a perfect working dog. However he had a difficult time certifying as a working dog because he consistently failed two key areas. He would not stop biting when commanded to, and he wouldn’t stop pursuing the suspect when commanded, he would keep going to get the bite and then they had a hard time getting him off the bite. If you ever decoyed for this dog you felt like a train wreck afterward and you certainly would not be standing up anymore.

Well our instructor asked Ben to decoy for Chaos one day not knowing Ben had not practiced decoying before. Ben didn’t mention he never decoyed because he figured it was simple. The only gear he used was a bite sleeve he put on his left arm. As Ben took off facing away from us he ran at half speed. He never looked back to see the dog coming at him he just ran at half speed with his back completely turned thinking the dog was trained to bite the gear and not the actual person.

Chaos was released and shot away like a bullet across the field-seriously, if there was a dog I thought that could go through a brick wall it would be him. As we watch we are saying quietly “present the sleeve” thinking Maple was going to present the sleeve just before Chaos jumped. The sleeve was never presented and Chaos hit him at full speed right in the middle of his back-direct hit.

Maple flew a good fifteen feet or so forward with Chaos’ jaws locked in his back. In unison we all started yell the command to release “out! out! out!.” But Chaos’ number one problem was not releasing on commmand and he stayed locked onto Maple. Maple finally had the sense to lift his arm up with the sleeve and shake it and Chaos ended up transitioning onto the sleeve releasing the flesh in his back.

He had hit Maple so hard we thought he might be seriously injured. However, other than a few canine holes and cuts he was ok. Once we found out he was alright, we laughed about it for the rest of the day-actually the rest of the three months we were there… Priceless

Obviously Maple has come a long way since then. He has done multiple tours in Iraq and has established himself as a premier handler in the Marines. He is also the recipient of a purple heart after taking shrapnel through his throat when a raodside bomb detonated next to his vehicle. I visited him before I left Camp Pendleton and he showed me a picture of him and about a dozen Marines he worked with while in Iraq. He mentioned out of all those Marines in the picture, he is the only one still alive today. Semper Fi


8 Responses to “Camp Pendleton K9”

  1. Glad you dropped by my joke blog and left a comment. Otherwise I’d probably never have given a thought to the roles of K9’s in combat. Yeah, sure, I knew they served alongside men, women and machines of the United States Armed Forces, but I never sat down and though about the REAL roles they play and the REAL good it sounds like they do. Thank you for opening my eyes just a little bit wider.

    – blakk frogg ( )

  2. Great site, it gives people a look at the working dogs, their lives and their handlers. I really don’t think people fully understand the whole picture.

  3. Axel Bickel Says:

    Proud of you Handlers and Dogs, glad we have the Marines and their dog Teams to Protect us.
    Axel Bickel
    Bomb dog Handler
    Jackson Int. Airport

  4. Holy Cow. That’s a great story.

  5. j harrison Says:

    Why is there a man training dogs at Camp Pendelton when, he had a dog of his own die of starvation (when he ‘adopted’ the dog off of Craig’s list [I believe[, it was perfectly healthy). Within less than a year, he is dead. At least 50 lbs. underweight. Poor Princeton he was such a nice Rottweiler. Problem is when you are so thin and, it is 32 degrees outside and all you have to lay on is a wooden pallet, you cannot get warm. He is better off…. rest his soul.
    Now, this man has been cited by San Diego County Department of Animal Control (January 7, 2012) to get his other emaciated dog to the vet for a check up also, to provide shelter (doghouses) for the other unfotunate dogs in his care. I do not know where to turn to to get attention to his poor dogs’ plight.
    He is now feeding them white rice (no nutritional value) and kidney beans. He claims that he got this recipe off of a website. When confronted with the poor condition of his personal dogs, he started having his kennel boy give them kibble three times a week. Whoopee! Yes, the other emaciated dogs have gained weight….they still are underweigt but, above emaciation.
    There has been concern going on his list of dogs who would die first. Princeton was second. Poor guy. Next on the list are Rizzo, Micky and Baulto. Please tell me, how can this be stopped and how can we get such an evil man away from the dogs that take care of our troops??? My son and son in law are Marines. I do not take this lightly.

  6. j harrison Says:

    It is 1/19/12, yesterday, Paul W. had yet another one of his dogs die. Mickey was an older male Rott but, should not have died on a wood pallet with no shelter when it was in the thirties. Why doesn’t Camp Pendelton do a background check on the people that take care of our military dogs?

  7. j harrison Says:

    Here we are in March. Paul Witherspoon (hopeful Marine dog trainer or, Marine dog trainer?) has bred an app. 7 year old German Shepherd bitch to a Belgian Malinois male. he already has dogs dying in the kennel. Dogs that have been there for 5 years and never been off the property except for rabies shots and he is making more mutts ?!!!??? His “girlfriend” Deb Harrison thinks this is okay since both dogs are AKC registered and in the Herding group. What part of purebred does she not understand? Unfortunately, according to San Diego Animal Control, he can feed the dogs rice and beans only as, nowhere in the law does it say he has to feed “real” dog food. Just that the dogs are fed. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM OUR MARINES DOGS!!!!!!!!

  8. j harrison Says:

    So, why is Paul Witherspoon on the “do not let this person adopt” list of the San Diego County Animal Control? Should he be allowed to work on our country’s dogs????

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