Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Raritan students remember Vietnam War dogs, handlers

Posted in air force teams, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Veronica Slaght/For The Star-Ledger
Monday May 18, 2009, 8:58 PM

When students in Evelyn Van Nuys’ seventh grade history class were studying the Vietnam War, they learned that thousands of dogs served in the military, attacking enemy soldiers and sniffing out explosives. They also learned that many of these “war dogs” were abandoned and forgotten after the war.

The J.P. Case Middle School students decided the heroic canines and their handlers should be remembered, so they joined with their teacher to create a memorial at the Raritan Township school.

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Veronica Slaght/For The Star-Ledger
Students at the J.P. Case Middle School in Raritan
Township decided a memorial to the dogs lost in the Vietnam War.

The memorial to war dogs and their handlers was dedicated at a ceremony this afternoon.

The black granite slab was donated by Rich Kulinski, and the students raised $4,000 to have it etched. It bears a Terry Waldron sketch of a war dog named “Fluffy” and his handler, and a poem called “The Soldier Dog,” written by Vietnam veteran Joe Ferrara. It also lists the nine New Jersey military dog handlers who were killed in action in Vietnam.

Today’s event drew local veterans’ organizations, politicians and members of the public to honor “courage at both ends of the leash.” Veterans’ organizations included Hunterdon County Bulldogs Chapter 957, Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 27, Vietnam Vets of America Chapter 452 and American Legion Post 159.

The attendees were joined by about 500 students.

During the ceremony, students and veterans placed flowers in front of the memorial for the dog handlers who died in Vietnam. The program also featured a student choir singing “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” Lebanon Mayor Mark Paradis and Dan Schultz performing Echo Taps, and Rose Holden singing “America the Beautiful.”

According to Van Nuys, dogs were considered military equipment and left in Vietnam at the end of the war. The Gifted and Talented and seventh grade students attended a special assembly featuring veterans in the community and John C. Burnam, military dog handler and founder of the National War Dog Memorial in Washington D.C.

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Veronica Slaght/For The Star-Ledger
Senior airman Rodreques Boyd, from McGuire Airforce Base, with Cici, a German shepherd who has been to Iraq twice. The two have been training together and will start their first joint tour of in September.

In addition to inspiring her students to honor war dogs, Van Nuys also inspired Flemington resident J.T. Gabriel. Gabriel formed the nonprofit organization K9 Soldiers to collect and donate necessary goods to the K9 teams at Fort Drum, Lakehurst Naval Air Station, McGuire Air Force Base and Bolling Air Force Base.

To make a donation to K9 Soldiers call at (908) 284-0284 or visit k9soldiers.org.

Gabriel also arranged to have representatives from these bases attend the dedication, which was performed with full military honors.

Senior airman Rodreques Boyd came to the event from McGuire Airforce Base with Cici, a German shepherd who has been to Iraq twice. The two have been training together and will start their first joint tour of duty in September. Boyd, originally from Atlanta, said he thought the memorial was “awesome.”

Peter Abramchak, who goes by “Pittstown Pete,” said he is glad the school did this. Abramchak served in Vietnam and is a member of the Marine Corps League. He said some military dogs are trained to attack, while others are used to sniff out bombs.

“The dogs deserve to be remembered,” he said.

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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

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

Open letter to Barack Obama and family-adopt a military working dog!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2008 by wardogmarine

Dear President elect Barack Obama and Family, 

I would like for you to consider the possibility of being the first presidential family in history of having the opportunity to adopt a military working dog veteran. 

Prior to November 6, 2000, military working dogs were never allowed to be adopted by civilians after their time in service was complete. That all changed with the Resolution H.R. 5314. Now, if you are capable of caring for one of these courageous animals, you have the opportunity to welcome a hero into your home. 

To have a better understanding of what it means to embrace a retired military working dog in your home you must consider the history military working dogs have and the impact they have made.  

A military working dog’s impact on a large scale first came during World War II when Dogs for Defense was created and asked our patriotic citizens to donate dogs for use in the military. Of the 20, 000 dogs donated about half were actually utilized. The few dogs that survived the war were returned back to their original owners or taken care of by their handlers. 

Dogs continued their service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars with 1,500 and about 4000, respectively, being utilized. This time being credited in having saved thousands of US lives. In the Vietnam War alone it is noted that military dogs saved the lives of over 10,000 US troops. You would think that after serving so admirably on the front lines alongside their handlers they would be brought home and taken care of just like our brave soldiers that fought for our country. However, of the estimated 4000 dogs that served in Vietnam only 204 came back to the United States. Of those 204, none of them were allowed to be adopted out of the military. The dogs that did not return were classified as surplus equipment and left behind. A tragic ending for the dogs that sacrificed so much for our nation. 

mwd1

 

Dogs continued to serve during peacetime in the military and again were utilized during the Gulf war. Throughout the military’s history of utilizing dogs in the military, they were never allowed to be adopted and taken care of by patriotic families. Instead, older military working dogs were euthanized or if they were lucky, adopted by their handlers. 

With the passage of Resolution H.R. 52314 civilians can now embrace the dogs that serve so faithfully within our military’s ranks.

With the war on terror, and various other conflicts that continue throughout the world, we are welcoming a new generation of veterans. Military working dogs are part of this special generation of veterans that have served honorably and have sacrificed for their country.  They bear the heat of summer in Iraq, the mountainous terrain in Afghanistan, and the firefights and attacks our troops endure. They find bombs, locate insurgents, and they bring companionship to our troops. 

Some of these military working dogs have done three or more combat tours and have come back wounded. These dogs were first being used on our front lines around 2004. Now these dogs are finishing their career and need a home to live out the rest of their lives. 

A dog can bring so much joy and love into a home. What if it can bring so much more? What if you had a dog that has given it’s life so that your family’s life can be better and safer. It has already proven itself to be loyal and dedicated. It is very well trained and has a record of sacrifice and accomplishments worthy of honor. A dog so special that the question is not whether the dog is worthy of your home, but if your home is worthy of him. 

armydog

When you look at your dog’s eyes you would know they have seen the misery of war. They have endured the worst the world had to offer. They also served with the best that there is. They have protected their troops and have brought them joy. You know it will give it’s life to protect your daughters. It will be your guardian of the night. 

At no other time has our president had the chance to adopt one of our veteran military working dogs. It would be such an enormous symbolic gesture if the Obama’s would welcome a four legged hero into their home. A dog that represents all the dogs that served so faithfully throughout the years and are no longer forgotten. To embrace a retired military working dog veteran is to embrace the legacy of honor, courage, commitment, companionship, loyalty, and protection these dogs have so willingly provided. 

kindest regards,  

Sgt Mike Dowling
Military Working Dog Handler, USMC

Military Working Dog Hero Lex in a Veterans Day Parade

Posted in fallen handlers, Marine dog teams, Military Working Dogs, Miscellaneous, retired dogs, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by wardogmarine

If you have not read or heard about the Marine military working dog handler Cpl Dustin Lee and his mwd Lex then check them out. Cpl Lee was killed in action during the War on Terror but his mwd Lex survived and has been adopted by Cpl Lee’s family. This is video of Lex in a Veterans Day Parade in Phoenix from this past month.  

A video clip about adopting a military working dog

Posted in Miscellaneous, retired dogs, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2008 by wardogmarine

Imagine being able to adopt your very own soldier, marine, or sailor. I mean literally being able to take one home with you. Well you can. Here is a video showing a happy owner adopting a military working dog. How fortunate an adopted owner can be by having a dog so special. 

K9 Heroes of 9/11 Tribute Videos-Part 2

Posted in Miscellaneous, Tribute Videos, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , on September 11, 2008 by wardogmarine