Archive for k9 team

K-9 cop keeps military safe

Posted in Military Working Dogs with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2009 by wardogmarine

Howdy Stout – Staff Writer

“We’ve got a bomb threat at the shoppette,” the Airman says. “Who do you want to send?” Tech. Sgt. Michael Jones thinks for a second. “I’ll go with Blacky,” he says.

It takes only a few minutes for Sergeant Jones, the kennelmaster for the 72nd Security Forces Squadron to locate his partner, an all-black German Shepherd. Blacky leaps into the rear cab of the truck and the two — cop and canine — are on the way.

blacky
Tech Sgt. Michael Jones and military working dog Blacky pause during patrol in Iraq for a water break. (Courtesy photo)

“We don’t normally get those on base,” Sergeant Jones says of the bomb threat. “They’ll have set up a cordon and then we’ll go in and search it out.”

For Sergeant Jones and Blacky, their Monday morning call to duty is another day of a partnership that started several years ago and included two eventful tours of duty in Iraq, for which Sergeant Jones received the Air Force Combat Action Medal, three Army Commendation Medals and the Army Combat Action Badge.

“Both times I was there, we were on nothing but combat missions,” Sergeant Jones said. “We’d go out on patrol and see what the dog would find.”

Like other military working dogs, Blacky is trained in a number of skills, including searching out explosives, drugs, weapons and people.

Trained with other canines destined for military service, Blacky learned his basic skills at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Assigned to Tinker, with Sergeant Jones as his handler, Blacky refined those skills before he and Sergeant Jones were deployed to Iraq in September 2006.

As one of only two dog teams supporting an entire Army Brigade, Sergeant Jones said the days were busy. “We did everything,” he said. “A wide array of jobs.”

Using Blacky’s training and superior sense of smell, the German Sheppard could sniff out IEDs, illegally-cached weapons and even terrorist suspects. On raids of suspected terrorist hideouts, Sergeant Jones said he and Blacky would often wait outside in case the suspect tried to flee. Dogs, of course, are faster than humans.

“That’s where a dog comes in handy,” Sergeant Jones says.

Patrols were conducted in Hummvees, Stryker armored vehicles or by helicopter. “Which is pretty interesting with a dog who’s never been in a helicopter before,” Sergeant Jones said. Like any combat newcomer, Sergeant Jones said Blacky was a bit skittish at first. “Going from here to the streets of Baghdad, it’s a completely different environment.”

Gone were the air-conditioned K-9 trailers and patrol vehicles. In their place were dusty vehicles loaded with fellow warfighters.

“They adapt to the environment just like we do,” Sergeant Jones said. “By the second deployment, he was like a vet.”

Returning home in May 2007, Sergeant Jones and Blacky had a six-month respite before returning to Iraq in November 2007. This time, Sergeant Jones oversaw 13 teams of dogs and handlers and spent much of his time assisting Special Forces in locating insurgents. Although they were a experienced team, the work was still dangerous.

“We were out on a search and we got ambushed by insurgents,” Sergeant Jones said. “At first, it was like in slow motion…I could see the rounds hitting the street and I remember thinking, ‘Are they shooting at me?’”

Faced with a firefight, the insurgents fled.

“We went to another location, searched it, and it happened again,” he said. That day, Sergeant Jones said, “was eventful.”

Sergeant Jones said insurgents often used hit-and-run tactics as they knew they couldn’t win a stand-up firefight. And they especially respected the capabilities of trained military dogs. “They looked at our dogs as completely different,” he said. “And for some reason, they don’t like black dogs.”

Dogs were a good tool to keep people from congregating in one place, making themselves good targets for suicide bombers. In addition, the psychological effect of a dog’s presence often deterred aggression.

“That’s the biggest part of our capability is psychological deterrence,” Sergeant Jones says.

Returning to Tinker in May 2008, Sergeant Jones and Blacky resumed their duties of supporting the base’s security forces and even patrolling as “ordinary” police. As the Kennelmaster at Tinker, Sergeant Jones oversees the 12 teams of handlers and dogs. Every day is a training day for the handlers and the dogs as they continually build on their skills and practice their proficiency. The dogs must maintain the ability to identify explosives with 95 percent accuracy and identify drugs with 90 degree percent accuracy.

“It’s our job to progress the dog through training,” Sergeant Jones says. “Once a handler is assigned a dog, they’re responsible for everything concerning that dog, from grooming to washing to training.”

Dogs too old or ill to work are often adopted by handlers. Sergeant Jones adopted one, Sonja, after her retirement. But sometimes they don’t make it to retirement. In 2007 Marco was electrocuted and killed during a building search in Iraq. “He’s our only combat casualty,” Sergeant Jones said.

However, the work continues, with the odd bomb threat to vary the routine.

“I bet they don’t run no exercises on us today,” says one Airman as he and his partner eyeball Sergeant Jones and Blacky searching the suspected bomb area.

“It was nothing,” Sergeant Jones says of their search. “But I’d rather do that than do paperwork.” Blacky jumps back into his spot in the truck and quickly snuggles down. “And that’s a day’s work.”

(June 19, 2009)

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”

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

Iraq Base Mourns Loss of a K9 Team Member

Posted in fallen handlers with tags , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by wardogmarine

 

One of the most difficult times a war dog handler faces is the loss of his military working dog. At a base in Bali Iraq, it’s not just the handler that is mourning the loss of mwd Goro but the entire base. The mwd’s are more than just a detection dog, they bring morale up and remind troops of their pets back home. They ease some of the stress and tension that can be brought on by war and they are usually very popular with everyone in the units they work with. MWD Goro was eight years old and passed away from bloating, which is when the stomach turns out of place which prevents gasses from escaping the stomach and becoming poisonous, a common cause of working dog’s deaths. The full story can be read here. Mourning MWD Goro

MWD Goro
MWD Goro
ALI BASE, Iraq — This collage honors the life of Military Working Dog Goro — Feb. 1, 2000 – July 28, 2008. Goro and his K-9 handler, Staff Sgt. Sean Neisen, deployed to the 407th Air Expeditionary Group Provost Marshal Office from the 435th Security Forces Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Master Sgt. Russell Dodson)  
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