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.


 
 

 
DoD

DoD takes steps to aid absentee voters

WASHINGTON – As the Nov. 4 midterm election nears, Defense Department officials are taking steps to ensure absentee voting is even easier for service members, their families and overseas citizens via FVAP.gov. In coordination with the military services and State Department, Absentee Voting Week begins today, aiming to raise awareness and remind voters of important...
 
 

New EPR challenges status quo

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The enlisted performance report is going to drastically change. These changes seek to combat inflated ratings, which have been a prevalent complaint from Airmen over the years. The change is right around the corner and many Airmen are asking themselves, “How will it affect future promotions, and what can I do...
 
 

55th Rescue Squadron returns home

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu) U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephanie Harley, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bio Engineering Flight commander, and son welcome home Capt. Colin Harley, 55th Rescue Squadron HH-60 Pavehawk pilot, at Davis-Monthan, Oct. 11. Capt. Harley has just returned from a five-month deployment to Afghanistan.
 

 

AF to implement TDY policy changes

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) — Recently, the Air Force started implementing two temporary duty policy changes that will impact travel reimbursements for Airmen. The first change, which took effect Oct. 1, made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations, Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per...
 
 

OPSEC: Everyone’s responsibility

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Everyone who’s been around the military has heard the term Operations Security, or OPSEC, but do they really know what it means? Many people think OPSEC is all about classified information, when the opposite is true; OPSEC targets critical and sensitive unclassified information. OPSEC is a fundamental principle of the Air...
 




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