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.


 
 

 

Why Air Force Smart Operations – or AFSO?

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – RANDOLPH, TEXAS — Confucius once said that in order for a man to move a mountain he must first begin by carrying away its small stones. Now, if one is to imagine the Air Force as that giant mountain, how does an Airman begin trying to move it? That is,...
 
 

AEF Teaming brings new order of business to deployments

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — For many Airmen deployments are hard to understand, and for leaders they’re hard to sell and to sustain. Implemented in October 2014, Air Expeditionary Forces Teaming was designed as a way to improve predictability, visibility and stability for units and Airmen while maintaining the flexibility to satisfy combatant commander requirements downrange....
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Frank Casciotta)

New Airmen get their bearings

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — New Airmen go through a whirlwind of activities during the transformation of civilian to active duty Airman, which can be a confusing process. Lucky for new Airmen, there’s the First Term A...
 

 

Air Force seeks $10 billion over sequestration funding

WASHINGTON – The demand for Air Force capabilities is increasing, therefore the service is requesting $10 billion more than sequestration-level funding provides, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said today in Orlando, Florida. Speaking during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition, James discussed why the Air Force is taking its strongest...
 
 

75 day leave carryover ends Sept. 30

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Effective Sept. 30, military members will no longer be able to carry more than 60 days of leave into the next fiscal year, in accordance with 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requirements. Unless they are approved for special leave accrual, regular Air Force and Active Guard Reserve, or...
 
 

Generals outline Combat Air Force’s future challenges

ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) — Four senior Air Force leaders discussed key issues facing the nation’s Combat Air Forces at the Air Warfare Symposium here, Feb.12. During the hour-long discussion, leaders touched on budget concerns, ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant terrorist group, the future of fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-35A...
 




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