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.


 
 

 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Enlisted evaluation and promotion systems implementation timeline

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In July, the chief of staff and chief master sergeant of the Air Force announced a series of incremental changes to the Enlisted Evaluation and Weighted Airman Promotion Systems scheduled for implementation from August 2014 through January 2017. The evaluation and promotion systems changes are slated for implementation in a phased manner...
 
 
AFBirthday

67 plus years of airpower

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AFNS) — What does the Air Force want for its 67th birthday; new state of the art fighter jets, more unmanned aircraft, new maintenance facilities or how about additional satellites to launch in...
 

 

Tuition assistance program changes Oct. 1

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Effective Oct. 1, new changes will go into effect that impact the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program. Personnel using the TA program will now be required to pass all undergraduate courses with a grade of “C” or higher. A grade of “D” will be considered a failing grade and...
 
 

Air Force revamps AEF

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to present a...
 
 

Air Force reveals newest recruiting campaign

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas  — The U.S. Air Force is bringing back its “Aim High” advertising slogan after a 15-year hiatus with the launch of the “I am an American Airman” recruiting campaign today. The integrated campaign, created by the Air Force’s advertising agency, GSD&M, includes three commercial spots as well as new video...
 




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