Archive for the Army Dog teams Category

Four-legged Soldiers Sniff Out Insurgent Activities in 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team Area of Operations

Posted in Army Dog teams with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by wardogmarine

30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team
Story and Photos by Capt. Richard Scoggins

BAGHDAD — The four-legged Soldiers of Forward Operating Base Falcon’s military police K-9 section working with the 30th “Old Hickory” Heavy Brigade Combat Team, are making a name for themselves by patrolling for explosives and conducting combat tracking.

The section is led by Staff Sgt. Christopher Jasper of Everett, Wash., and includes fellow handlers Sgt. Kyle Harris of Essex, Conn. and Sgt. Jeff Todoroff of Willis, Texas.
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Willis, Texas native, Sgt. Jeff Todoroff, with a military police K-9 section attached to the 30th “Old Hickory” Heavy Brigade Combat Team, walks military working dog, Kain, through Forward Operating Base Falcon, June 9. Kain is a patrol explosive dog and is responsible for helping Soldiers locate explosive material.

The group has six years of combined experience with their dog partners. Jasper’s K-9 section covers the entire 30th HBCT’s area of responsibility, and during the past eight months, has participated in almost 100 missions for two brigade combat teams.

There are three types of missions all military dogs can train for— patrol explosive, specialized search and combat tracking. The dogs are certified in a specialty, then deploy with their handlers, creating a solid bond between Soldier and animal.

The dogs at Falcon go on explosive detection missions that range from suspected weapons caches to suspected weapons or explosives smuggling operations.

“These dogs are on point every mission,” Harris said. “They are here to find explosives before humans do.”

The dogs’ jobs are very physical. Patrol explosive detector dogs can work without a leash to warn Soldiers before the Soldiers get too close. The dogs find explosive materials by scent. The dog’s sense of smell is extremely precise.

“When we smell hot stew, all we smell is the stew,” Todoroff said. “But the dog smells all of the ingredients.”

The military dogs track scents close to the ground, and can identify whether a person is running or walking, and whether that person is under stress or at ease.

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Sgt. James Harrington, with a military police K-9 section attached to the 30th “Old Hickory” Heavy Brigade Combat Team, coaxes his military working dog, Ryky, to bark on command at Forward Operating Base Falcon, June 9. Ryky is a combat tracking dog and is trained to find people.

The dogs’ special skills put them in danger, but the skills also earn the dogs respect from the locals. Not an easy feat, as most Iraqis have a general dislike of dogs. Even the word itself is hurled as an insult.

“They are scared to death [of the dogs], but extraordinarily intrigued.” Harris said. When Harris’s team goes on patrol, people often move to give the dogs plenty of space.

To further increase their mission involvement, Jasper’s team is planning a demonstration geared for company and battalion level leaders to educate them on the capabilities of the teams, and how these animals can give Soldiers an advantage over our enemies.

By highlighting the dog’s abilities and continuing to seek new missions from units, Jasper and his team hopes that units will understand the K-9 section’s capabilities and continue to utilize their services.

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A bite out of crime in Iraq

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by wardogmarine

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.

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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.

Engineers and canines

Posted in Army Dog teams with tags , , , , , on May 11, 2009 by wardogmarine

By DawnDee Bostwick
Waynesville Daily Guide

Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. – The military has used animals in combat for years. From geese, to canines to dolphins, animals of all sizes and habitats have found a new purpose in helping defend the country.

The Engineer Canine Company at Fort Leonard Wood is no exception to this rule. Though they’re the first engineer company to have canines, the program isn’t something that’s new to the Armed Forces.
Historically, man’s best friend began military service in World War II. Since then, canines have served alongside men and women in uniform in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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And while this company’s soldiers’ furry buddies might look like your run-of-the-mill family pet, they’re far from it.
The working dogs, as they’re often referred to, undergo extensive training to detect explosive materials.

Two types of working dogs can be found on the post, including mine detection dogs and special search dogs.
The importance of the animals is not lost on their handlers. Without their superior sense of smell and aptitude for learning, many items that could harm soldiers might go undiscovered.
“We’re taking stuff off the battlefield that can be used against us,” John Chris, one of the company’s soldiers, said.

The canines are specifically selected to serve, and while not all that are selected make it through the program, many do. Assigned a military record, the animals are even eligible for certain medals for the work they do. The length of their career depends on the animal, Thomas Jefferies, another soldier, said.
But when they’re done with their job here, that doesn’t mean they’re not able to work in another field.
These working dogs can find homes at the FBI, local police agencies and the like.

Training is no easy task either, although it can be fun for both parties.
“Dogs are like humans, they learn at different paces,” Jefferies said, explaining that it might take one dog a bit longer than another to learn a concept. But the hard work pays off, as seen in a demonstration the company had for local media on Thursday.
Once this canine found its target, he was rewarded— and happily so.
A competition on May 14 will put these soldiers against some of the best in the nation, in both military and civilian life. The working dog competition will test the soldiers’ and their furry friends skills and ability to overcome obstacles.
“We’re going to be competing with teams across the country,” said Chris, who will compete with a special search dog.

This is also the first time the competition has been open to mine dogs, something that is both exciting and intimidating at the same time.
Mark Gray might have explained it best, saying, “It’s kind of nerve wrecking, but it’s fun all at the same time. I get to play with my puppy.”
Puppy might not be the word most would go to when describing a dog with the capabilities these ones have, but it also sums up the bond that grows between the soldier and their animal.
While these dogs aren’t family pets, they are family. Having a partner that won’t talk back, argue or get upset with you also has its advantages, Michael Tucker said.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to work with something like that,” Tucker said, noting it does take effort on the part of the human to learn a dog’s ‘language’. “It’s a whole new experience. It’s a new challenge, everyday.”
And for Chris, this career is an opportunity to do something he’s always loved to do.
“I’ve turned a game, when I was a kid of playing with the dog, into something I do for a living,” he said.

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.
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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

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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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

Video of US Army K9 & Handler on Patrol in Iraq

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

The 35th Military Police Detachment has added a new addition to the unit. As a team, this new addition is creating a physical and mental deterrent against insurgent activity in Iraq…

Iraqi Police K-9 Commander Learns K-9 Techniques, Handling

Posted in Army Dog teams, Foreign Dog Teams, Military Working Dogs, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by wardogmarine

Multi-National Division-Central

Story by Spc. Debralee Crankshaw
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – As the U.S. continues to assist Iraqis in becoming a self-sustaining force, the U.S. is providing them with valuable training, including the use of working dogs.

The 212th Military Police Detachment demonstrated to the Iraqi police K-9 unit commander from Hillah just how essential military working dogs can be in accomplishing the mission during a training excercise, March 15.

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Staff Sgt. Storm jumps a wall on the obstacle course with encouragement from his handler, Sgt. David Ricks, 212th Military Police Detachment, a native of Jourdanton, Texas, as Capt. Anis Fadhil, Iraqi police K-9 unit commander from Hillah observes. The IPs visited the kennels to witness the capabilities of the military working dogs.

The 212th provided a demonstration in basic obedience and aggression. Soldiers gave commands to their dogs, led them through an obstacle course and performed biting and explosives detection exercises.

“The purpose of the training is to show the capabilities of the dogs and get the Iraqis used to training the dogs,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Rodgers, Forward Operating Base Kalsu kennel master from Bradford, Pa. “It gives them a goal to accomplish. They have seen the capabilities of the dogs so now they have something to work toward.”

Capt. Anis Fadhil, the IP K-9 commander, took the training to heart.

“When we get the dogs, we will try to duplicate the training as closely as possible,” he said.

The training not only showed the commander what to work for, it also information on how to run his own kennel.

“Seeing our kennels helped give him a good idea of how it’s supposed to happen, so they can go back and start their kennels up,” said Rodgers.

This visit was the first of many, according to Rodgers. U.S. handlers will work closely with Iraqi handlers to teach them how to manage working dogs on their next visit.

“This will help Iraq because of the situation everyday with [improvised explosive devices] and suicide bombers,” he said. “This will help decrease that kind of activity.”

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 Capt. Anis Fadhil, Iraqi police K-9 unit commander from Hillah (right) and Dr. Abdil Husain Mohsin, IP K-9 veterinarian, greet Sgt. Xando and his handler, Spc. Timothy Conley, 212th Military Police Detachment K-9 handler and a native of Puyallup, Wash. The IPs visited the kennels to witness the capabilities of the military working dogs.

Read this story here: Iraqi K9 Handling

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Military working dog Sgt. Ccapo attacks Army Spc. Timothy Conley, 212th Military Police Detachment K-9 handler, during a bite exercise to demonstrate the capabilities of the military working dogs to the Iraqi police K-9 commander from Hillah on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, March 15, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw  

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Military working dog Sgt. Ccapo attacks Army Spc. Timothy Conley, 212th Military Police Detachment K-9 handler, during a bite exercise to demonstrate the capabilities of the military working dogs to the Iraqi police K-9 commander from Hillah on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, March 15, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Debralee P. Crankshaw