Archive for April, 2009

Military Working Dog Lex Video-Interview with Cpl Lee’s Parents

Posted in fallen handlers, Marine dog teams, Military stories, military working dog handlers, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by wardogmarine

Here is a fantastic interview with fallen Marine Corps military working dog handler Cpl Dustin Lee’s parents.  The Lee’s were allowed to adopt their son’s military working dog Lex after he gave the ultimate price while serving in Iraq, the first time a family of a fallen handler was allowed to adopt their surviving military working dog. MWD Lex was injured and even received a purple heart while serving with Cpl Lee in Iraq. This video is very touching and it is great to see both Lex and the Lee family enjoying their life together. MWD Lex is a very special dog, I wish him and the Lee family all the best. Semper Fidelis

Military Working Dog Lex, Patriot Pet Interview- Army AirForce Exchange Video- Pentagon TV ©AAFES 2009

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Vietnam Veterans ‘Feed the Dawgs’

Posted in air force teams, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Lisa Camplin
95th Security Forces Squadron

4/22/2009 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  — On any normal day in Military Working Dog sections around the world the phrase “Feed the Dawgs” brings to mind the handler’s daily chores. However, on April 19 at the 95th Security Forces Squadron, Military Working Dog section here it had a completely different meaning.
vietnamvets
Vietnam veterans ‘Feed the Dawgs’
Staff Sgt. Eric Magnuson, 95th Security Forces Squadron K-9 handler, handles Military Working Dog Nix as they display the capabilities of today’s military working dog to group of Vietnam-era dog handlers at the 95th SFS working dog area April 19. “Feed the Dawgs,” is a group of Vietnam era dog handlers who visit K-9 handlers and provide meals for the handlers and their families. (Air Force photo/Lisa Camplin)

“Feed the Dawgs is a U.S. Veterans group of Vietnam era dog handlers who travel from base-to-base to provide a meal for K-9 handlers and their families,” said Kenneth Neal, Vietnam Dog Handlers Association member.

The Veteran dog handlers brought everything from cases of steaks to bags of homemade cookies, all served with a healthy side of K-9 war stories.

“The hardest part about going to war and coming home during the Vietnam Era was that nobody said thank you,” said Jon Hemp, U.S. Air Force K-9 Veteran. “We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” 

Mr. Neal served two tours in Thailand during the Vietnam War with his partner Sentry Dog Rinny.

“Back then military working dogs were sentry dogs, which meant they were virtually uncontrollable. Once the dog was released there was no calling them back,” he said. “Those dogs went through weeks of aggression training after their regular canine training at Lackland AFB, Texas. Their purpose was to cause irreparable damage.”

Regardless of the extreme ingrained aggression of military working dogs back then, the bonds formed between handler and dog were just as strong as they are today.

“I loved my dog [Astor]. He weighed 85 pounds to my 165 pounds but, he took me wherever he wanted to go,” said Mr. Hemp. “K-9 was the Air Force’s night vision back then. We stood guard along the perimeter at night watching for threats.”

Sadly, Sentry Dog Astor was killed during the U.S./Libyan stand-off at Wheelus Air Base, Libya. In fact, many MWD’s failed to return home during the Vietnam War era either due to loss in combat or because they had to be left behind due to threats of foreign disease and viruses.

As quickly as the Veterans eyes saddened while they reflected on their personal stories, they brightened again upon seeing Edwards working dogs brought out for a demonstration in the training yard.

Tech. Sgt. John Ricci and Staff Sgt. Eric Magnuson, 95th SFS military working dog handlers, escorted military working dog Nix. Together, they put on an attack work and bite training demonstration to show the skills of today’s Air Force working dogs.

“In the 60’s and 70’s our bite wraps were made of used fire hoses covered with old field jackets,” Mr. Neal said, as he watched Sergeant Ricci take several aggressive bites from military working dog Nix.

Today’s bite wraps consist of layers of burlap and leather, which take most of the pressure and pain out of a bite.

After the demonstration, several of the military working dogs were brought out to capture a rare group photo of Air Force K-9 handlers past and present.

“To be lucky enough to have prior K-9 handlers take the time to recognize what we do and to share their stories is so invaluable.” expressed Master Sgt. Jon Camplin, 95th SFS Kennel master.

“Working with military working dogs isn’t an exact science because you’re dealing with a living, breathing animal that has a mind of its own,” said Sergeant Camplin. “A great K-9 handler learns everything possible from other K-9 handlers and puts all of that knowledge into their own little bag of tricks.”

“Just spending 10 minutes with any of the war veteran handlers here today is one of the most special learning experiences any of our current handlers could hope for,” said Sergeant Camplin.

By the end of the afternoon one message was clear, even decades after a military working dog handler’s career ends, he or she still has a K-9 bond with all handlers that only people like them could understand. Their patriotism and love and respect for all things K-9 stands true.

You can see this article here: K9 Vietnam Vets

Man’s best friend wags tail to security in Mosul

Posted in Army Dog teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

By Pfc. Sharla Perrin, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq – The 351st Military Police Company, deployed under Task Force Greywolf, 25th Infantry Division, coordinated for 2nd Battalion, 6th Brigade., 2nd Iraqi Army Division soldiers to participate in a military working dog demonstration, April 6, at Combat Outpost Spear Base in Mosul, Iraq.
Running from Rronnie
Pvt. Khalaf Kassim Ketti, an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, donned a padded suit and played the part of “chew toy” as part of a demonstration at Combat Outpost Spear April 6. Rronnie, a military working dog used in Mosul, and his handler Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, with the 527th Military Police Company, demonstrated the importance of utilizing the dogs by performing several tactics including “pursue to attack.”

The demonstration was to prepare the Iraqi troops to potentially handle military working dogs in the future.

“Today at COP Spear we’re teaching these Iraqi Soldiers the importance of having a military working dog,” said Spc. Aaron Moseley, with the 351st MP Co., a native of Cordova, Ala. “Sometimes the military working dog can find things the human cannot, so we’re trying to convey the importance of having the K9 working with them.”
Find It!
Rronnie and his handler, Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, with the 527th Military Police Company, search a vehicle staged with a hidden baggie of explosives as part of a demonstration at Combat Outpost Spear. April 6.

Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, a military working dog handler with 527th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, demonstrated several search and attack tactics with his canine partner, Sgt. 1st Class ‘Rronnie.’

Rronnie successfully discovered a hidden baggie of C4 explosives in a staged vehicle, chased and attacked an escaped detainee and escorted the detainee to a secure location.

Moseley agreed to play the part of detainee by putting on a two-piece cushioned body suit and harassing and running away from Hile in the “attack” portion of the demonstration. Moseley prompted five attacks from Rronnie and both were panting for air by the end of the exercise.
Not All Dogs Are Evil
Staff Sgt. Michael Hile, a military working dog handler with the 527th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, and a native of Prineville, Ore., explains the importance of the military working dog to the Iraqi Army soldiers, April 6, at Combat Outpost Spear in Mosul. Hile and his canine companion, Rronnie, demonstrated their skills in search, detain and attack for the Iraqi soldiers.

“It was good, I really enjoyed it,” Moseley said. “It got a little nerve racking right before he let the dog loose. Once he actually latched on, I felt a lot of pressure on my hand. I didn’t feel the teeth, but it still hurt a little.”

Moseley wasn’t the only one that let himself be used as a chew toy. One IA Soldier also took the challenge and donned the bear-like suit.

Hile said that trying to get someone to get bit by the dogs is hard, and typically Iraqis are afraid of dogs.

“An Iraqi doing it is great,” he said. “It showed them to be less scared of the dogs and what it feels like to actually get bit.”

Moseley said that the training was a hit among his IA counterparts.

“I believe they enjoyed it very much,” he said. “They were attentive and wanted to join in on the class. I think that anything with hands-on activity is received pretty well.”
Break For It
Spc. Aaron Moseley, with the 351st Military Police Company, who hails from Cordova, Ala., played the part of ‘chew toy’ during a demonstration of one of Forward Operating Base Diamondback’s military working dogs. Moseley donned the padded suit and performed several scenarios, including “escape,” so the dog would attack him.

Being prepared to use military working dogs is another step towards the Iraqi Security Forces’ mission to permanently secure Iraq.

Moseley said that he likes teaching the IA Soldiers what it takes to complete their mission.

“I enjoy helping others. For us to be able to come and help the Iraqi forces gain some knowledge to help their country be a safer country,” he said, “you know, that’s something I take pride in.”

Article found here: Mosul K9

R.I.P.: Roy, the Petaluma police dog

Posted in fallen dogs, police dog teams, police dogs, retired dogs with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

By RANDI ROSSMANN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma’s acclaimed police dog, Roy, died last weekend, leaving a legacy of city service and a reputation as an award-winning law enforcement canine.

The 14-year-old Belgian Malinois “retired” from service in January 2007 after eight years and continued living with his handler, Officer Paul Accornero.
petaluma-police-dog
PETALUMA POLICE DEPARTMENT
Petaluma’s acclaimed police dog, Roy, died last weekend.

The death has been a blow to officers, said Sgt. Mark Hunter, who supervises the department’s two dog teams.

“It’s a part of your family and it’s a co-worker,” Hunter said. “It’s a great loss for us all.”

The police department bought Roy in spring 1999 and Accornero trained him for narcotics work, patrol duty and countless good-will sessions at schools and community gatherings.

Roy was a friendly police ambassador but also a serious tracker of lost people, hiding suspects and stashed narcotics. Officers appreciated the extra protection he offered.

Hunter said Roy helped arrest more than 120 suspects and seize more than $313,000 in illegal drugs and $155,000 in drug money.

Roy also built an impressive reputation in police dog competitions. He earned 103 awards over the years, including several “Top Dog” awards at California competitions. He and Accornero won gold medals in the 2001 World Police and Fire Games in Indiana, the 2001 California Police Summer Games and the 2004 California Police Summer Games, Hunter said.

In his final year working for the department, Roy won the “Top Dog” award in the narcotics division in the 2006 trial season competition for the Western States Police Canine Association.

“He was not just known on a local level. He was very well known throughout the (law enforcement) canine community,” Hunter said.

Petaluma currently has two police dogs, Rico and Kilo. They are two of about 20 police dogs working in Sonoma County.

Article found here: The Press Democrat

Ceremony recognizes military working dog’s contributions, achievements

Posted in Army Dog teams, fallen dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

By: Spc. Howard Alperin, MND-B PAO.

BAGHDAD – Military working dog teams from throughout Victory Base Complex came out April 13 for a ceremony at the division chapel to honor one of their own. Kevin, a military working dog, passed away due to complications from cancer. His death was unexpected and left the other half of his team, Staff Sgt. Aaron Meier, in limbo and in mourning.
ceremony1
A memorial tribute honors a fallen comrade April 13 at Camp Liberty. “Military working dogs are an important part of the military team and sometimes they are taken for granted,” said Lt. Col. Barbara Sherer, from Springfield, Mo., 1st Cav. Div. chaplain. “It is appropriate to honor their service.”

While in theater, military working dogs are not replaced, so Meier will be reassigned to other duties for the remainder of his deployment. As Meier now turns his attention to new job responsibilities, most of his focus still remains on the loyal partner and friend he lost.

“Kevin was the highlight of my day,” said Meier, a military dog handler, from Fairmont, Minn., assigned to Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.
ceremony2
Staff Sgt. Christopher Jasper, kennel master for Camp Liberty, attached to DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., addresses Soldiers at a ceremony to celebrate the life of one of their own, April 13, at Camp Liberty.  “We consider the military working dogs to be Soldiers too,” said Jasper, from Everett, Wash.  Jasper read the poem, ‘I wait by the gate,’ in honor of Kevin.

For more than four years, Meier and Kevin built an excellent working relationship together. “Kevin was a great patrol explosive detector dog,” said Meier. “I could flip his on and off switch easily because of all the training we did together.”

During their course of working together, the relationship developed further and formed a powerful, personal bond between them. “I was planning on adopting Kevin after this deployment,” said Meier. “This was his last time deploying because of his age.”
ceremony3
Staff Sgt. Aaron Meier, a military dog handler, sits somberly during a ceremony highlighting the life of his deceased partner, Kevin, April 13 at Camp Liberty. “Kevin was my buddy.  He was affectionate, very protective and an excellent worker,” said Meier, from Fairmont, Minn., assigned to Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.

Though he never got to adopt him, Meier and Kevin still had many unforgettable moments together. “I pampered him a lot because a happy dog works better.” Meier recalled the first time he gave Kevin a pillow to rest his head when they were together in a hotel preparing for a Secret Service mission. “Kevin had many human characteristics,” Meier added.

Kevin’s traits will always stick out in the minds of those who knew him. “He was very protective of Sgt. Meier,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Jasper, kennel master at Camp Liberty, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div. “Besides being a great detection and patrol dog, he was good for law enforcement purposes.”

As one of the first dogs to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kevin’s achievements were acknowledged during the ceremony. There were poems read in his honor, Taps was played by a 1st Cav. Div. trumpeter and military working dog teams left snacks in Kevin’s bowl as a tribute to his service. “It is appropriate to honor their service,” said Lt. Col. Barbara Sherer, from Springfield, Mo., 1st Cav. Div. command chaplain and co-coordinator of the ceremony. “Military working dogs are an important part of the military team and sometimes they are taken for granted.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Staff Sgt. Jasper, “We consider dogs to be Soldiers too, they are constantly working.” The ceremony gives credit to all the dogs and all the work they do here and in the United States, he added.
ceremony4
Soldiers and their military working dog partners take time to pray in honor of Kevin, a military dog who succumbed to cancer.  “It was a good memorial, they don’t happen often for the dogs,” said Sgt. Matt McCummins, a military dog handler, attached to DSTB, 1st Cav. Div.

Military working dog teams are called upon often to perform their duties, so there is rarely a chance for teams from the different camps to see each other. Kevin afforded each team the opportunity to see in each other more of the common ground they share.

As Kevin’s life, the attachment Meier had with him and the work they accomplished together were celebrated, new bonds formed among the Soldiers. They realized more the value of their military working dog teams and appreciated the chance for one of their own to be recognized.
This article found here: MWD Kevin Article

Bomber sniffs out jail cell phones

Posted in Miscellaneous, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

IN MOST PRISONS, sharp-eyed guards keep contraband out by doing surprise shakedowns, pat-downs and body-cavity searches, and by passing visitors and packages through metal detectors so sensitive that orthopedic implants, body piercings and even intrauterine devices can make them whoop.
prison dog
Bomber shows his stuff with Corrections Officer William McAdams during training session in the now-closed Holmesburg prison.

But Philadelphia has a new tool to keep contraband cell phones off its cell blocks: It’s a furry, four-legged 60-pounder who likes Milk Bones and squeaky tennis balls.

Bomber, a Belgian Malinois, began working in the city’s six prisons in January. He’s the only dog trained to sniff out forbidden phones in prisons in Pennsylvania.

Following the lead of his proficient proboscis, he has found 10 cell phones in the past three months – more than guards found all last year in the state’s 26 prisons.

And that’s not because Philly thugs are more cunning than inmates elsewhere at sneaking forbidden phones past security, experts say.

“I just think dogs are better at finding cell phones” than metal detectors, guard searches and other screening methods, said Sgt. William Finn, who supervises the Philadelphia Prison System’s five-dog canine unit.

“Dogs have a keen sense of smell,” Finn added. “A dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose. Humans have only five million.”

From shivs and shanks to cash and corrosive substances, the list of what’s considered contraband in Pennsylvania prisons seems longer than a repeat offender’s rap sheet.

But prison officials, from rural reformatories to federal lockups, say that contraband cell phones are a growing – and sometimes deadly – problem behind bars.

In Philadelphia last year, inmate Hakeem Bey used a throwaway cell phone to order the retaliation slaying of Chante Wright, a once-protected witness in his murder case.

A Maryland prisoner used a cell phone in a similar scheme in 2007, arranging the murder of a homicide witness.

Other inmates have used smuggled cell phones to plot escapes, continue their criminal doings, coordinate prison riots and threaten witnesses, lawmakers and others.

“A cell phone is the most dangerous weapon you can get into a prison,” said Terry Bittner, director of security products for ITT Industries, a Maryland-based company that developed a system of sensors that it markets to prisons to detect cell-phone signals in the slammer.

“An inmate using a cell phone is not using a cell phone because it’s cheaper than calling collect,” Bittner added. “They’re using it to conduct their business from the inside; it’s unmonitored communication. That means the state is now giving them food, lodging and health care to continue being criminals.”

Pennsylvania legislators years ago outlawed cell phones in prisons after drug kingpin Ronald Whethers used one to run his narcotics operation from a Westmoreland County prison. Most other states have similar restrictions.

But the law hasn’t stopped many incarcerated thugs from breaking the ban.

Some use the age-old strategies of smuggling contraband in body cavities or bribing guards. Four prison officers at Graterford were arrested in 2007 for sneaking cell phones and drugs in to inmates.

Other jailbirds have gotten more creative.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, inmates – assisted by accomplices outside prison – bred and raised carrier pigeons to fly out to fetch cell-phone parts. Other prisons have discovered visitors chucking cell phones over fences to incarcerated loved ones. And in Tennessee, prison officials banned peanut-butter jars after an inmate used one to hide a phone, with which he orchestrated his escape.

It’s a problem that promises to worsen, experts say, as technological improvements shrink the size of cell phones and their parts, making them easier to sneak into prisons and hide.

Some cell phones now are as small as a credit card, and the memory chips inserted into them – called SIM, or subscriber-identity module, cards – are postage- stamp-sized, Bittner said. That means a single cell phone can be used by countless inmates, who can just switch out their SIM cards.

Inmates who have contraband cell phones also tend to have other contraband items, said Lt. Xavier Beaufort, of the Philadelphia Prison System.

Cell phones can be big business behind bars. Some inmates will pay $300 or more to get one, and inmates with SIM cards but no phone will pay to “rent” cell phones from cellmates, Finn said.

Finn is banking on Bomber to take a bite out of that business.

Bomber is a pioneer in his field.

Law-enforcement officials for decades have used dogs to detect drugs, cadavers, explosives and missing people, and to assist officers in other ways.

But coaching canines to detect that cell smell is a new phenomenon, said Bill Reynolds, who owns the Reynolds Canine Academy, in Northeast Philadelphia, one of only a handful of schools nationally that trains dogs in cell-phone detection.

Reynolds donated Bomber last fall to Finn’s unit, which also has four dogs trained to detect drugs.

It isn’t clear which parts of phones the dogs detect, but Maj. Peter Anderson, head of Maryland’s K-9 operations for prisons, told the Washington Post that the animals are trained using the same techniques as those sniffing for drugs and other things. They probably take in a combination of odors from various sections, he said.

New Jersey’s Department of Corrections has gone to the dogs, too. Several dogs trained in cell-phone detection began making surprise sweeps of the state’s 14 prisons last October, the department said. Since then, the dogs have found 15 cell phones, five cell-phone batteries and numerous accessories, including chargers and SIM cards, corrections officials said.

Still, most prisons nationally try to quell the swell of forbidden phones by trusting technology – beefed-up front-door security, restrictive screening of jail mail and even triangulation technology that alerts guards to cell-phone signals.

And although jamming cell signals is illegal under federal law, some groups that want to use jamming technology to thwart thugs have petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to bag the jam ban.

Exactly how many cell phones make their way into prisons is unknown, because federal, state and local prison officials aren’t required to keep such data. Experts say that most prison officials probably find just a fraction of them anyway.

In Pennsylvania, for example, state prison officials found just eight cell phones in 2008 (through October, the most recent month data is available), 15 in 2007 and 10 in 2006, said Susan Bensinger, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

Bensinger attributed the state’s low numbers to aggressive screening. All visitors and staff must pass through metal detectors to get into prison and face physical pat-downs, Ben-singer said. All prison areas undergo regular, random shakedowns and searches, and officials scrutinize incoming mail, she added.

Pennsylvania is using Bittner’s sensor system, called Cell Hound, in an undisclosed location, Bensinger said.

But Bittner said that metal detectors and spot searches aren’t fail-safe. He suspects that thousands of cell phones are getting into American prisons every year. *

Staff writer Jason Nark contributed to this report.
This article was found here: Philadalphia News

Tribute to K9 dogs serving in The Military iraq and afghanistan

Posted in Military Working Dogs with tags , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

It’s that time again, another tribute video for the military working dogs.