A bite out of crime in Iraq
Horseheads grad trains Army dogs
U.S. Army Spec. Gregory Corsi must have nerves made of steel because he allows 80-pound snarling dogs to lunge at him and makes sure they get a good bite.
Gregory, a 2004 Horseheads High School graduate, is a student military working dog handler with the 341st Training Squadron, wrote U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Switzer. He spends his days at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
U.S. Army Spec. Gregory Corsi is a military dog handler at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.-Star Gazette
The center has courses that train human handlers and dogs to work together as sentries, and bomb and drug sniffers, Jessica wrote.
Four-legged students learn to identify the scents of a wide variety of explosives and drugs, many of which are odorless to humans, Jessica wrote. They also are trained to patrol and taught when it is and isn’t appropriate to bite a human, and when to let go.
Human students learn the basics about the dogs and then begin to work with them. For Gregory, working with canines is a completely different military experience.
“My job offers me the opportunity to encounter many law enforcement situations,” Gregory said. “I enjoy working with my dog on a daily basis; it’s very rewarding.”
He understands that facing ferocious attacks, hammering in constant commands and providing frequent praise will one day pay off with human lives saved on the battlefield.
“Military working dogs save lives in a number of situations,” said Gregory, who joined the Army for four years and served in Iraq for 15 months as a military policeman. “The dogs continue to get drugs off the streets and keep explosives off the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
It may sound dangerous, but Gregory’s job doesn’t surprise his mother, Lou Ann Lance of Elmira.
“He always wanted to be a police officer,” Lou Ann said.
He also followed in the footsteps of his older brothers: Army veteran Matt Corsi, 27, a former military policeman who served in Iraq, and Army Capt. Joe Corsi, 25, a military intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan and will go to Iraq later this year.
Their father is Tom Corsi, of West Elmira. Their stepfather is Dave Lance.
Having three boys join the Army didn’t rattle their mother, she said.
“They believe in what they’re doing,” Lou Ann said. “It’s my job to support them. We’re very proud of them.”
Kingsley is a staff writer for the Star-Gazette. Neighbors runs Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.