Archive for war dogs

War Dogs on Military Channel *

Posted in Military Working Dogs with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by wardogmarine

“Follow the incredible story of the US Marine war dog platoons of WWIIwhen marine commanders were willing to try anything, including using dogs to sniff out hidden enemy. But nobody anticipated just how effective they would be against the enemy and how important they would become to their handlers.”
http://military.discovery.com

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Military War Dog Video

Posted in Tribute Videos, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by wardogmarine

WAR DOG

Man’s Best Friend

Posted in Marine dog teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by wardogmarine

5/8/2009  By
Pvt, Spencer M. Hardwick,
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C.  — It’s always been said, although the originator of the phrase is unknown, that a dog is a man’s best friend.

Corporal James Duck knows the depth of such a statement; his job, better still, his life revolves around this four-legged creature. He is a military police canine handler with the Provost Marshals Office and he spends his days taking care of, and training, his dog, Bancuk. Bancuk is a six-year-old Belgian Malinois and has deployed to Iraq as a working dog three times. Duck and Bancuk deployed together to Fallujah, Iraq as part of II Marine Expeditionary Force.
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Bancuk, a military working dog, works aboard the Air Station with handler Cpl. James Duck, a military police dog handler with the Provost Marshals Office, Monday.

“I’ve been here close to three years and I’ve had her for about half that,” Duck said, “I really love her; I consider her one of my best friends. I look at her like I would my child.”

While in garrison, Duck and Bancuk conduct random vehicle checks, health and comfort inspections for barracks rooms and walking patrols. They work here at the Air Station, as well as Laurel Bay, Marine Corps Recruit Deport Parris Island and Naval Hospital Beaufort. Handlers are normally solely responsible for their dog. However, sometimes other Marines help out around the kennel.

A handler’s duty overseas, however, is a totally different story.

“She was with me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” Duck said. “That dog did not leave my side the entire time I was there. Every patrol I went on, every cache sweep … she stayed with me.”

Based in Fallujah, Duck and Bancuk frequently ventured out to various forward operating bases to conduct sweeps for weapons caches, improvised explosive devices and house searches. They worked with various units in the province, including Navy SEAL’s and Company F, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He cared for her, fed her and groomed her. She even slept in the cot with him, diligently watching over her master and his gear.

“Every time I hit the rack she would jump up and sleep on my feet,” Duck said. “She lived with me for seven months. This one time, I had some food sitting on my rack and I walked away to get some water. When I came back, the food was missing and she was trying to give me this innocent look like she didn’t eat it. It was pretty funny; I couldn’t stay mad at her. It was really nice having her with me. It was like having one of your best friends on deployment with you.”

Having an animal at your side constantly in a combat zone paves the way for mixed emotions as there are good and bad experiences to be had.

“It’s like having a best friend and a newborn child at the same time,” explained Duck. “They offer companionship that is irreplaceable but they also need attention and care almost constantly. I was on a patrol one time near one of the F.O.B’s outside of Fallujah checking out hot spots some choppers warned us about and we came across this irrigation ditch. It was probably two or three feet wide and had a concrete slab on top of it.  While we’re walking across this thing, she decides to jump off the slab; the problem was that I was holding her leash. So, when she jumped, I had sixty pounds of weight pulling me down and I smacked headfirst onto the concrete. I was mad at the time but its kind of funny looking back on it now. That deployment was full of situations like that.”

Their working relationship will end soon, however as Duck prepares for his upcoming end of active service date. Bancuk will likely go to a new handler because she already has established habits and she already knows what’s going on, according to Duck.

“I am not looking forward to having to leave her behind at all,” explains Duck. “I’m ready to move on with my life but I love that dog. I really wish I could adopt her and take her with me. I don’t really know how to explain it but there’s a certain bond that grows between a handler and a working dog. I’m going to miss her.”

So, as Duck moves on with his life and goes forth to do great things, Banuck will remain here, continuing to serve the Marine Corps as a faithful military working dog and a Marine’s best friend.

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.
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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

K-9, handler work together to keep servicemembers safe

Posted in air force teams with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2009 – JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — It is often said a dog is a man’s best friend. For a Joint Expeditionary Tasking or JET Airman here, his dog is not just a friend, but a tool that could mean life or death for servicemembers patrolling the Iraqi streets.

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At the ready
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, and his MWD Robby, an explosives detector dog, train together here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and JET Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division here, and Robby, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, work together to keep servicemembers safe

“My mission here is to search for and expose explosives in any form,” said Airman Bailey. “(Robby and I) go on cordon walks, air assaults, raids, anything that the Soldiers on the ground need help in protecting themselves by the detection of explosives.

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Man’s best friend
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, praises Robby, his nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, after he successfully completed an obstacle course as part of daily training here. Airman Bailey and Robby are deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Airman Bailey is a native of Richmond, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala)

“We go out and find the bombs before something could go off and injure our fellow men and women fighting together,” he added.

The duo is constantly training to ensure they are always mission-ready.

“We do training daily,” said the Airman, deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. “Training is constant with us; we have to stay proficient in our duties because of the dangerous aspect of it.

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To serve and protect
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Military working dog Robby, an explosives detector dog, charges a simulated aggressor to protect his handler, Senior Airman William Bailey, a MWD handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, during a training session here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

“Obedience (training) is done daily, and explosive detection (training) is done as often as possible,” said the native of Richmond, Va. “It’s vital.”

Paired for almost a year now, Airman Bailey said the team hit it off from the first time they met.

“We have a great bond together,” he said. “We’ve been together since June of 2008. We just mesh together perfectly.

“(Being deployed with Robby) has been a fun experience,” he said. “(Military working dog handlers) get a little extra privilege by having a little buddy with us the whole deployment. It’s nice to have that bond especially on those tough days when you’re feeling a little bit down. You just look down at the dog and see how happy he is to just be hanging out with you. It just brightens your day.”

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Tackling an obstacle course
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division, prepares to let Robby, his nine-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol, explosives detector dog, complete an obstacle as part of their daily training here. Airman Bailey and Robby are deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. Airman Bailey is a native of Richmond, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala)

As a JET Airman, Airman Bailey has had the opportunity of being attached to the Army, and he said he has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Army’s 1st CAV MWD team. His Army counterpart feels the same way about Airman Bailey.

“It’s great having him as part of the team,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Harrison, 1st Calvary Division kennelmaster, who is deployed from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “He goes out on missions and does his part like any Soldier would. There isn’t a difference.

“We work well together,” added the Castle Rock, Colo., native. “We are helping keep our fellow servicemembers safe.”

As his deployment nears its end, Airman Bailey reflects on his appreciation for his K-9 Robby.

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Side by side
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary, keeps his MWD, an explosives detector dog, fit to fight by running with him through an obstacle course here March 24. A native of Richmond, Va., Airmen Bailey is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lionel Castellano)

“It’s been a great experience; I’ve had a lot of fun,” he said. “I was a little nervous (about being deployed to Iraq) this being my first time over here, especially with the dog. It has created a lot of good memories.

“The bond that I share with (Robby) is probably the most meaningful part of the job,” said the Airman with a smile. “If I didn’t have him, than I’d have to learn how to smell bombs. It would be much more difficult, more time-consuming, and a lot more dangerous. He’s been doing this all his life, and he loves to do it.”

Together, Airman Bailey and Robby will return together to Seymour Johnson AFB and continue working as a team — and preparing for future deployments.

This article is here-Air Force K9 Team

Vice President Joe Biden Gets War Dog Protection

Posted in air force teams, military working dog handlers, Military Working Dogs, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2009 by wardogmarine

341st SFS supports VP visit to Chile

by Senior Airman Dillon White
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
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Tactical obedience
Staff Sgt. Greg Maatta, 341st Security Forces Squadron, military working dog handler, and Blitz, a Belgian Malinois bomb dog, perform tactical obedience exercises April 2, outside the 341st SFS MWD kennel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon White)

4/10/2009 – MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont., — Two 341st Security Forces Squadron military working dog teams deployed to Santiago, Chile, March 25 to 30 in support of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit there.

Staff Sgts. Greg Maatta and John Johnson, with their partners Blitz and Bibi, supported the United States Secret Service by sweeping hotel rooms, hallways, elevators and the area surrounding the hotel where Vice President Biden stayed. The teams swept for explosive devices prior to the vice president’s arrival at the hotel and continually re-checked areas during his visit.

According to a White House press release, the vice president was in Santiago to attend a conference with the Presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, and the Prime Ministers of Spain, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Although the teams did not meet Vice President Biden, they said they enjoyed the temporary duty assignment.

“This was the first Secret Service mission I’ve done,” Sergeant Maatta said. “We were responsible for the entire hotel, and it was one of the biggest hotels in Santiago.”

The two teams from Malmstrom were responsible for a 25-story four-star hotel. Unlike deployed areas, the air conditioning provided a comfortable working environment for the Belgian-Malinois bomb dogs, Sergeant Johnson said.

Sergeants Maatta and Johnson left their Airman Battle Uniforms at home during the trip, as the teams do not wear military uniforms when working for the Secret Service.

“Your military affiliation takes a back seat,” Sergeant Maatta said. “For all intents and purposes, you are a Secret Service agent, so you wear what they wear, and that’s anything from formal dress with a tie, to a polo shirt and khaki pants. This just helps you blend into the group you work around.”

When the team showed up at the Santiago Airport, they were met by the noses of dogs trained to search for a type of contraband less ordinary for a dog to be trained to find — food.

“It is against the law to transport food in and out of Chile, so the dogs zeroed in on Sergeant Johnson’s bag,” Sergeant Maatta said. “We still joke about that.”

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K-9 post card

Staff Sgt. John Johnson, 341st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Bibi, Belgian Malinois bomb dog, pause for a photo opportunity in Santiago, Chile, where the team was on temporary duty assignment with the United States Secret Service in support of a vice presidential visit March 25 to 30. (Courtesy photo) 

Both of the sergeants were carrying their dog’s food in their backpacks, and when they were walking through the airport, an airport security dog singled out Sergeant Johnson.

The Secret Service agent in charge of their mission was at the airport to pick them up, and it was agreed the dog food was not contraband.

When they made it to the hotel, they were given times to arrive for duty, and “black-and-white” instructions, Sergeant Maatta said.

The two Malmstrom teams were part of a four-team unit, comprised of teams from various military branches. Each team also worked with four explosive ordnance disposal teams, consisting of two technicians from various services each.

“There is no [on the job training],” Sergeant Maatta said. “They expect you to be ready to go when you get there.”

The job required the teams to work roughly eight hours a day. Sergeant Maatta worked the night shift, and Sergeant Johnson worked during the days.

Constant sweeps of areas were normal during their on-duty time, Sergeant Johnson said.

“I swept one hallway about 16 times one afternoon,” Sergeant Johnson said. “Every time someone comes in or out of an area, it has to be swept, and it doesn’t matter how recent it was when they last came through.”

When the teams were not sweeping the hotel for explosives, they were sweeping Santiago, Chile, for lunch, and a few photo opportunities.

The sergeants are both looking forward to their next TDY in support of the Secret Service, they said.

Read this story here: VP K9 Teams

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