Archive for canine team

Military working dog team inspects potential 22,000-gallon bomb

Posted in air force teams, military working dog handlers with tags , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
386th Air Expeditionary Public Affairs

4/10/2009 – CAMP BUCCA, Iraq (AFNS) — Military working dog handlers and their canine partners are used throughout Southwest Asia to detect explosives that are meant to injure servicemembers and innocent civilians. 

For one dog handler, Staff Sgt. Joseph Null, and his dog, Lucca, this task took an interesting turn.

air-force-k9-team
ROCK SOLID WARRIOR
CAMP BUCCA, Iraq — Staff Sgt. Joseph Null, 42nd Military Police Brigade military working dog handler, and his dog, Lucca, successfully investigated a 22,000-gallon fuel truck that had gone off the road in Iraq to ensure it contained no explosives. Sergeant Null is deployed from the 52nd Security Forces Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. (Courtesy photo)

“There was a fuel truck that had gone off road and got stuck in the sand,” said the sergeant, who is part of the 42nd Military Police Brigade. “It had been abandoned overnight, and I was tasked to go out with the Army to sweep the area leading up to the vehicle and basically clear the area for improvised explosive devices that had been attached to the vehicle.”

This is an important, though dangerous step, he said.

“Anytime you’re going to have people go into an unknown area, you want to clear it as best as you possibly can,” Sergeant Null said. “If you can have an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team clear it or a bomb-sniffing dog go out there and clear the area, then you’re taking one more threat away from the Soldier who has to go out there and do a job.”

But IEDs weren’t the only threat posed by the abandoned truck. It was carrying 22,000 gallons of gas, potentially turning the truck into a massive fuel bomb.

“That makes a pretty big bomb if there’s some C4 strapped to it,” he said.

For 45 agonizing minutes, Sergeant Null and Lucca searched the area, the handler waiting for the working dog to give him some sign that all wasn’t well with the tanker truck.

“It makes you a little nervous clearing a real area, because you know it’s the real deal,” he said. “But that’s your job. This is what I signed up to do. Somebody’s got to do it, right? If my dog had sat, I would have praised her and gotten back to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle as quick as possible to report what had happened.”

At this point, it was Lucca’s show. The German Shepherd would either sit, indicating the presence of a bomb, or she wouldn’t.

“You don’t look at the dog as a dog,” Sergeant Null said. “You train together all the time. We’ve been together since June and I couldn’t count the number of hours we’ve spent together. It’s like having a best friend. You think on that same wavelength. My dog goes and does her job, and you know what to look for while she does her job. If you can’t trust the dog, you shouldn’t be out there anyway.”

But Lucca didn’t sit. The truck was clear.

“Everything was good to go,” Sergeant Null said.

Eight hours later, the truck was finally pulled free of the sand, and the convoy made its way back to base. Sergeant Null said that although his primary mission is inside the wire, he’s more than willing to go out again if called upon.

“It’s my job,” he said. “It’s the best job in the Air Force. You get to play with a dog and get paid pretty well for it. You can’t beat that.”

Col. Alan Metzler, 586th Air Expeditionary Group commander, said Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airmen like Sergeant Null are providing critical services in the joint environment and excelling at it.

“Our combat Airmen are doing an outstanding job in support of the mission at Camp Bucca, and Sergeant Null proves it,” Colonel Metzler said. “Often, they have to adapt to situations and perform unique missions we don’t normally ask them to do in the Air Force. Airmen like him demonstrate the Air Force’s commitment to our mission in Iraq

Read this story here: K9 team inspects truck

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Dog Teams a Common Use in Joint Missions

Posted in air force teams, Navy dog teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by wardogmarine

Some joint missions are for the dogs

by Staff Sgt. Nathan Gallahan
407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs 

7/22/2008 – ALI BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — The dog days of summer are here, but the dogs — and their handlers — are taking it in stride. Together, military working dog handlers of every branch of service stand alongside their K-9 companions to make sure no insurgent can disrupt the mission. 

Staff Sgt. Sean Neisen searches vehicles with his dog, Goro E114, July 8 at the Vehicle Control Center at Ali Base, Iraq. Dog handlers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all coalition forces assigned here by searching vehicles that drive onto Contingency Operations Base Adder and Ali Base daily. Sergeant Neisen is a military working dog handler deployed to the 407th Provost Marshal Office from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Johnson)

“I’m not about to (let) a vehicle get on this base and (have) something happen,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Neisen, a military working dog handler with the 407th Provost Marshal Office, who is deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

Sergeant Neisen and his 8-year-old military working dog, Goro E114, work in cooperation with two Navy dog handlers to search vehicles that drive onto Contingency Operations Base Adder and Ali Base every day. 

Their specialty is detecting explosives. 

“If you can build a bomb with it, our dogs can find it,” said Tech. Sgt. Terry Gilbert, a dog handler here who’s finishing his deployment and will soon return to Kadena Air Base, Japan. 

Under sweltering heat that can reach almost of 130 degrees, the Airmen, Sailors and their K-9s can be found searching the vehicles. Working side-by-side is natural for Air Force and Navy dog handlers, who train in the same K-9 school, Sergeant Gilbert said.


Staff Sgt. Sean Neisen searches vehicles with his dog, Goro E114, July 8 at the Vehicle Control Center at Ali Base, Iraq. Dog handlers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all coalition forces assigned here by searching vehicles that drive onto Contingency Operations Base Adder and Ali Base daily. Sergeant Neisen is a military working dog handler deployed to the 407th Provost Marshal Office from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Johnson) 

“We learn the same stuff, so all our jobs are pretty much the same, especially in Iraq,” he said. 

The military working dog community is by nature combined, Sergeant Gilbert said. The kennels at his home station are a joint operation, with the Air Force and the Marine Corps each operating half of the kennels. Whether at home or in a deployed environment, the Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines put their joint training and culture to use every day. 

“It’s a wonderful experience, teaming up and working with the other branches,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ivan Winder, the kennel master. “It’s an equal match.” 

Each of the services varies slightly in terms of its expertise, said Petty Officer Winder, who is deployed from Commander Navy Region Southwest in San Diego. 

“The Army is great at pounding the ground, while the Air Force is great with force protection such as flightlines,” he said. “The Navy’s specialty is buildings, open areas and vehicles. Each (service) learns something from the others, and all entities working together creates a stronger, more cohesive unit.” 

The Air Force and Navy dog handling team here isn’t the only joint team in Iraq. Air Force and Navy dog handlers across Iraq work along side Army units searching for weapons and high-value targets. 

“The Army doesn’t have enough people or dogs to take care of their mission, so they need us,” Sergeant Gilbert said. “The K-9 community is already short-manned, but the Army is extremely short” because of mission requirements. 

The manning may lead to long days and nights, demonstrating that some joint missions are just for the dogs. 

Staff Sgt. Sean Neisen runs an obstacle course on base with his dog, Goro E114, July 7 at Ali Base, Iraq. Dog handlers keep their partners in shape to ensure they are ready for vehicle searches that drive onto Contingency Operations Base Adder and Ali Base daily. Sergeant Neisen is a military working dog handler assigned to the 407th Provost Marshals Office from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Johnson) 

This article was found here:http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123107130