Archive for the Various Teams Category

Military Dogs Bite Into Their Mission

Posted in military working dog handlers, Various Teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by wardogmarine

Marine Corps News|by LCpls Brian Marion and Jason Hernandez

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq  — Dogs have served in nearly every major conflict in human history.  The Romans deployed entire company-sized formations of dogs and armies in medieval Britain used dogs to pull armored horsemen off their mounts for infantrymen to kill with ease. During World War I, the Belgian army used dogs to tow machine-gun carriages and canines have been in action with U.S. forces since the birth of the nation.

That tradition continues today in Iraq’s Al Anbar province where military working dogs are hard at work detecting explosives, sniffing out drugs, tracking down potential enemies, and serving as an extra set of eyes and ears on patrols.
“We use these working dogs for a variety of counter-insurgent, counter-[improvised explosive device] and force protection roles,” said Sgt. Elijah S. Prudhomme, a kennel master with Task Force Military Police, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.  “They help us seek out dangerous materials while putting the Marines at as little risk as possible.”
They may be animals, but the dogs display just as much discipline as their Marine handlers.  Able to operate without a leash, the dogs show initiative, communications skills and, when necessary, ruthless aggression.
They’ve been trained on how to “sniff out” hazardous substances and point out the locations of these hazardous materials to their handlers.  It is also not uncommon to watch a dog sweeping an open area in a tight, scanning formation dozens of yards away from its master.
“They’re also highly trained on how to attack and take down an opponent,” said Prudhomme.  “We train them on that regularly to ensure that our Marines have a dog well-trained on how to non-lethally remove a threat.”
To show off their dogs’ prowess, the TFMP dog handlers put on a military working dog demonstration for the Marines of the Multi National Force – West command element aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, May 26, 2009. The handlers and their canine companions showed off their search and discovery techniques around buildings and vehicles, but the most intense part of the demonstration had a bit more bite.
To cap off the half hour-long demonstration, Prudhomme donned a protective set and attempted to ‘flee’ from another handler and his dog. In response, Diva, a German Sheppard combat tracker dog, was let off the leash and sent in pursuit. Latching on to Prudhomme, Diva was able to wrestle the much larger and heavier man to the ground within seconds. A simple voice command from her handler stopped the attack, and Diva returned to her master’s side.
“It was a lot of fun being the victim in the bite suit,” said Navy Lt. Chris Martin, the battalion chaplain for TFMP who has volunteered to be ‘attacked’ during an earlier training evolution. “It’s neat to see what the dogs can do and feel the type of force they hit you with. The impact feels like someone suddenly grabbing your arm and pulling you down to the ground.”
Getting the dogs into prime condition is no simple feat. The handlers spend almost every waking moment of the day with their dogs to establish the bonds and reinforce the skills necessary to make the animals an essential part of the ongoing mission in Iraq.
“Most people think we sit around and play with the dogs the entire time, but we don’t,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Danielle Kubit, master-at-arms for TFMP’s military working dog section. “It isn’t easy training. It takes a lot of hard work to train the dogs and you have to start with baby steps.”
According to Kubit, each day involves hours of training and reinforcement of skills to keep the dogs at their peak. Military working dog detachments are scattered throughout the Al Anbar province to support MNF-W operations, and at any given time, can be found conducting searches, out on patrols with Iraqi and Marine forces, or simply standing by for the call to leap into action.
Serving in Iraq presents a unique set of challenges for the dog handlers most people wouldn’t imagine, and that involves taking care of the dogs in the brutal Iraq heat. Unlike other ‘service members’ who can verbalize when they are becoming hot or tired, the handlers must look for non-verbal clues from their partners whose fur and body types make them more susceptible to the heat.
“We have to keep themydrated and in the shade because the heat makes them tired very fast,” Kubit said.
Kubit went on to say that the gravel and rocks dominating the Iraqi landscape can tear up a dog’s paws and when the ground gets too hot, it can cause their paws to crack and burn. To combat this, the dog handlers coat their canine partner’s paws with a special spray.
Despite the difficulties, Kubit, Prudhomme and the other dog handlers agree theirs is an essential job and well worth the extra effort.
“I love my job,” Kubit added.  “We put in several hours of hard work to train the dogs and get them to trust us enough to be our partners – and we do get to play with them.”

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Dogs, handlers compete

Posted in military working dog handlers, Various Teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , on June 4, 2009 by wardogmarine
By DawnDee Bostwick
Waynesville Daily Guide
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
-Forty-two teams made of humans and canines came from across the United States to determine who would be this year’s “Top Dog.”
The third annual TRADOC Working Dog Warrior Police Challenge, held for the first time on Fort Leonard Wood, tested handlers and canines abilities in a variety of situations.

The competition is one tool that can be used to assess training success and where improvements need to be made.

For some, the military environment was one that was entirely new.
Civilian Cpl. Brian Moore, who is with the Waynesville Police Department, brought Oxx, the department’s newest employee, to test his skills and learn some new things.

“I’m pleased with him,” Moore said of Oxx’s performance through the week-long competition. “I’ve learned a lot from the other handlers.”
Oxx performed well in the exercises, although one obstacle course proved to be a bit more challenging than anticipated.
“We’ve never run an obstacle course,” Moore said. “That was all new to us.”

And though the course wasn’t done to perfection, Moore will be able to take the experience and develop Oxx’s skills even moore.
SFC Sean Shiplett organized this year’s event— an undertaking he’s worked on since January.

“This gives the teams scenarios they may not see on a daily basis,” Shiplett said, explaining what goes on during the competition. “Every environment that the team goes into is going to be a new environment.”
Moore wasn’t the only civilian participating in the mostly military event. Mark Lenger, a K-9 handler with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, was there as well.
“I came down to enjoy the benefits of the training they’re putting on down here,” Lenger said.

“The military is known for having excellent dogs and excellent trainers,” he  continued. “It was worth it to me to come down.”
SFC Jimmy Blankenship said dogs have a long history in law enforcement and military operations. Their sense of smell and ability to learn make the ideal partners in fighting crime.

“They are very vital. They provide force protection,” Blankenship said. “We’ve been utilizing them for approximately 50 to 60 years.”

Northern Ohio Hero Dog Awards honor police forces’ bravest canines

Posted in police dog teams, police dogs, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2009 by wardogmarine

Posted by Kaye Spector/Plain Dealer Reporter
NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Dar the police dog is a tenacious fighter. In July, he endured repeated punches and an accidental Tasering to chase down and help detain a suspect who had assaulted his human police partner.
Zeus waits to receive the 2008 Top Honor for Narcotics Detection Award during Saturday’s ceremonies . Zeus and her partner, Officer Ronald Campbell III, are from the Fairport Harbor Police Department. Zeus has been in service for five years and had helped in narcotics detection for agencies including the Coast Guard and customs agentsBut on Saturday, Dar was the picture of calm and restraint as he and Shaker Heights police Sgt. Richard Mastnardo accepted top honors in the Northern Ohio Hero Dog Awards.

The competition is sponsored by the German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio and Medina-based Bil-Jac Dog Foods. Categories in the nine-year-old award program include Pursuit, Building Search, Tracking, Narcotics Detection and Lifetime Achievement.

Twenty-one officer-dog teams were honored on a grassy patch outside the Super 8 motel on Lorain Road, while a crowd of about 80 watched under sunny skies. Most were there for the dog club’s annual show, which featured competition and classes.

Dar, a black and tan German shepherd, sat alert and quiet at Mastnardo’s side as club officer Marcie Shanker told the crowd how the dog helped collar a man who later was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, assault, drug trafficking and drug possession.

Mastnardo, in a police car with Dar, had stopped a man riding a bike and the two began struggling after the man tried to reach into his pocket. The man punched Mastnardo, and Dar came out of the car.

In the struggle, Dar was accidentally Tasered, but when the man fled, the dog continued to chase him even after being punched repeatedly in the head. After a chase, police arrested the man and found a gun nearby. Mastnardo believes Dar knocked the gun out of the man’s hand and prevented the officer from being shot.

“Dar’s courage and drive to protect his partner is a testament to the breed as well as the many hours of training and bonding between Sgt. Mastnardo and Dar,” Shaker Heights police Lt. Jim Mariano said in Dar’s nomination.

Other dogs were recognized for feats such as tracking two men to their house after they had held up a pizza deliverer, intimidating a man who was violently resisting arrest and finding 30 kilograms of cocaine on a private plane. Gunner the dog and his partner, Euclid Patrolman David Trend, found two burglars in a cluttered, pitch-black warehouse.

“It’s great that there’s clubs out there that honor what these dogs do,” Trend said after the ceremony.

Each honoree received a plaque, a certificate and a gold medal hanging from a red-white-and-blue ribbon. But the best swag — for the dogs, anyway — was in the goodie bag: Bil-Jac dog food, treats and a plush toy.

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

Kunsan Air Base K9 VIDEO

Posted in various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

Kunsan Air Base, Korea military working dog team

Posted in Army Dog teams, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by wardogmarine

Another great video featuring a mwd team in Korea. Every time I hear a military working dog handler get interviewed they can’t help themselves and say that they get paid to play and work with dogs, how great is that. Although, as much fun as it is, you better believe that it is serious business when it comes time to training. These dog teams are counted on to save lives overseas and throughout the world .

Navy military working dog team in Afghanistan video

Posted in Navy dog teams, various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by wardogmarine

A report by the Armed Forces Network about a Navy military working dog team at Bagram, Afghanistan. MA3 Gerry Winkler and his mwd Zack are featured in this video titled by MA3 Winkler “Doggie Downtime Down Range”