Local

November 22, 2013

Fort welcomes deployed K9 team home

Tags:
Maranda Flynn
Staff Writer

Staff Sgt. Jamie Decker, 18th Military Police Detachment, K9 Unit, and his military working dog Goliat, were welcomed home Nov. 10 from their recent one-year deployment to Afghanistan. This was their first deployment together.

Staff Sgt. Jamie Decker, 18th Military Police Detachment, K9 Unit, and his military working dog Goliat, a German shepherd, returned from their deployment to Afghanistan on Nov. 10.

At 9, Goliat, also known as “Gizmo,” has worked for the United States government since January 2006, training, detecting and protecting, in his role as a military working dog, or MWD.

Decker, who has served in the Army for just over nine years, has deployed twice prior to this past assignment. He has worked as Gizmo’s handler for one and a half years. The pair left for Afghanistan in November 2012 for their first deployment together.

“Gizmo did great during the deployment,” said Decker. “At one point it was getting to 120 degrees [outside] and he couldn’t work for more than 20 minutes before it was time for him to rest. But for his age and his ‘fluffiness,’ he did really well.”

Decker and Gizmo performed numerous missions while down range, such as patrolling the bases, searching vehicles and patrolling the front line.

“We have been on missions where we were looking for caches, a possible collection of weapons belonging to the enemy,” Decker explained. “We have also done route clearance for troops moving from one area to the next. We walk in front and search the roads so that the units can move safely.”

In these stressful situations, MWDs can boost morale when it is least expected. Decker laughed as he reminisced of a mission with Gizmo. “We were in a Blackhawk and we got pushed to the edge where the door was open. I had Gizmo pretty close to me, and I was holding on because there were no seatbelts, but Gizmo had his head out the door, looking around, without any fear,” Decker said.

Trained military working dogs are one of the most effective countermeasures against deadly weapons used by the enemy during war. MWD search and locate explosives that are placed to potentially wound or kill.

Between missions, Decker and Gizmo trained daily to maintain their detection and alerting skills. The relationship between a MWD and his handler must be a solid one, not just for those they are protecting, but for each other as well.

“You feel more safe when you are with a dog,” Decker said. “I know that … since my dog is in front of me, he has already searched that area.” The Soldier said he felt more secure in knowing that since the area where Decker would be walking had already been searched, there would be less chance of an explosive being present.

Throughout their initial training, handlers are advised to avoid becoming emotionally attached to a MWD, but many would say that is easier said than done.

“I couldn’t really ask for a better dog. [Gizmo] is great when he searches, he has a great mentality, and a good personality,” said Decker. “He’s always happy to see me, and he’s very loyal.”

Its not “all work and no play” for this duo. Gizmo is a non-aggressive MWD and knows how to socialize with the best. “He knows when it’s time to work and when it’s not,” said Decker. “He’s a very friendly dog.”

Upon return from the recent deployment, Gizmo’s future plans included retirement, but following an inspection from the veterinarian, Gizmo has been cleared to continue serving alongside Decker.

Since their return, Decker and Gizmo are settling in comfortably. “It’s really nice being back,” said Decker. “And Gizmo is still the happy dog that he is, wanting to chase squirrels and enjoying being outdoors.”




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


 
 

 
Stephanie Caffall

Women’s history showcased during special event Wednesday

Stephanie Caffall Fort Huachuca’s Thunder Mountain Activity Centre was the site of an event titled, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” Wednesday in celebration for National Women’s History Month. After the reading...
 
 
DoD

DOD warns troops, families to be cyber crime smart

WASHINGTON — Defense Department employees and their families should be vigilant when guarding personal and work information from expanding cyber-criminal activity, and to know how to recognize scammer tactics, according to DOD’s chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen issued a DOD-wide memorandum March 18 about the growing threat of cybercrime “phishing” and “spear phishing” in e...
 
 

Army health leaders advocate for importance of nutrition

WASHINGTON — During National Nutrition Month in March, “we encourage each of you to renew a commitment to achieving your personal Performance Triad goals,” said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho. This year’s theme is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” she said. The Performance Triad focuses on the importance of sleep, activity and nutrition...
 

 
Natalie Lakosil

Convoy exercise helps ready 111th MI Bde. for emergencies

Natalie Lakosil Soldiers from the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade take a short rest in lower Garden Canyon before returning to the motor pool as part of a convoy training exercise Wednesday. The exercise helps the brigade s...
 
 

Fort Huachuca Criminal Punishment Bulletin – February

For the month of February, in addition to Court-Martial and U.S. Federal Court Proceedings, 31 Soldiers were disciplined under Article 15, UCMJ; and 25 Soldiers were administratively separated, including 2 for misconduct. The following are notable recent criminal proceedings: A specialist assigned to the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion was tried at a General Court-Martial. The...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

111th MI Bde. NCO, Soldier, Platoon Sgt. of Quarter winners selected

Natalie Lakosil Sgt. Jason Grider, Alpha Company, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, inspects uniforms during the in-ranks inspection portion of the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarte...
 




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