Air Force

August 22, 2013

Critically Manned: military working dog handler

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Josh Slavin
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josh Slavin)
Staff Sgt. Ian Porter, 355th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Mushe, military working dog, search vehicles for explosives on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Explosives had been hidden in a trailer park and Mushe had to find them as part of his training.

Military working dog handlers make up a small niche in the security forces career field. The handlers strictly work with K9s to provide security to military installations. Some of the main duties for the MWDs, as well as the handlers are detection and patrol.

“We try to be out and as visible as possible,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Mckenna, 355th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. “One of our biggest assets is psychological deterrence.”

The MWDs go through training just like their handlers, where they learn how to locate narcotics and explosives as well as learning how to subdue possible enemies. As for the handlers, they go through a three-month technical school where they learn how to train and take care of their dogs.

D-M’s handlers have a little bit of a challenge being stationed in Tucson. The heat means the trainers must be even more attentive to the dogs, so they don’t suffer from dehydration or any other heat-related illnesses. However, Mckenna sees the climate as an advantage.

“I believe it is in our benefit to work and live in this heat,” Mckenna said. “It requires less of an adjustment down range for us than it would for a team from North Dakota.”

Being a MWD handler is one of the more unique jobs in the Air Force, because of the unusual work requirements. To become a handler an Airman must be a security forces defender, more than halfway through their enlistment and be at least a senior airman.

Once accepted for the job, Airmen may only be handlers until they reach the rank of technical sergeant. Some Airmen will have the opportunity to become a kennel master after being promoted, but the majority will go back to their previous jobs.

Mckenna believes those strict requirements are one of the main reasons the career field is critically manned.

“Some Airmen are hesitant when it is time to decide between applying for this job or separating and pursuing a civilian law enforcement career,” Mckenna said. “If they wait too long, they miss the opportunity to be a handler.”

Although the job may only last a few years, it is an opportunity to gain experience while still being able to serve and protect.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

AF begins testing phase for women in combat roles

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In April 2015, the Air Force will begin conducting the physical evaluations required to explore opening the last six career fields currently closed to women. When the law prohibiting women in ground co...
 
 
DoD

New tuition assistance tool attuned to troops’ educational needs

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department continues to invest in its service members and has introduced a new online informational tool tailored to their unique school programs and educational needs, the Defense Department’s chief of voluntary education said in a DoD news interview this week. Dawn Bilodeau discussed a new online tool called “Tuition Assistance DECIDE.”...
 
 

D-M Airmen freefall into the blue

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — You’re standing in an open door of an aircraft soaring 12,000 feet above the ground. You have put your full trust into the person strapped to your back, who you’ve known for less than two hours, to bring you back down to Earth safe and sound. The count begins. “Out…in…out.” The floor of the...
 

 

Enlisted members selected for promotion to get EPR on “select” grade closeout date

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — In line with a recent update to the Air Force policy on enlisted performance report static closeout dates (SCOD), effective immediately, all future EPRs for promotion-selectees will close out on the date of the promotion-select grade. At the direction of Headquarters Air Force, Airmen promoted to technical sergeant...
 
 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

First Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event a success

The 162nd Wing’s Air Wing Integrator hosted her first Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event on April 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn Tucson International Airport. Christina Desiato began working here last September with a pur...
 
 

Make time to mentor your Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — The Air Force is comprised of Airmen with many skills and talents. The backbone to our continued success is our men and women who strive to be excellent on a daily basis. However, there are times when our focus is derailed by our own personal and professional guidelines. I was taught...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin