Salutes & Awards

May 4, 2012

56th SFS MWD teams place in Desert Dog Trials

by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
Courtesy photo
Maxo, 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, reacts after being given the command to stop pursuit by his trainer, Staff Sgt. Kyle Alltop, 56th SFS MWD handler, during the 2012 Desert Dog Trials in Scottsdale, Ariz., Apr. 13 to 15. MWD teams were participating in the tactical K-9 challenge, which tests the handler’s ability to control the dog when the suspect gives up.

Four 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers and their dogs competed in the 10th Annual Desert Dog K-9 Trials in Scottsdale. Of the 68 dog teams competing, the Luke Air Force Base teams were one of only two military units represented at the competition.

While the civilian canine units train regularly on the tests presented at the trials, military units had to put in more than 100 hours to acclimate their dogs to the new challenges.

“The trials were set up for law enforcement and in the military we train primarily for deployments, so we had to meld the two together to ensure we were ready to compete,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Alltop, 56th SFS MWD handler.

Aside from their uniforms, what sets the military units apart from their civilian counterparts is the length of the partnership between the trainer and dog.

Alltop explained that the civilians who competed had been partnered with their dogs on average seven to eight years, but military handlers don’t have the same continuity. While 56th SFS MWD handler Staff Sgt. Jessica Keller had been working with Oscar for two years, Alltop had only been with Maxo for four months and Staff Sgt. Lindsay Thompson had been working with Wax for three months.

Despite the differences in training and continuity, the MWD handlers stepped it up and placed in several categories.

  • Keller placed 5th in Top Dog with Oscar.
  • Alltop placed 5th in the tactical challenge with Maxo.
  • Thompson placed 4th in the explosives challenge with Wax.

The Desert Dog Trials is not the only competition they participate in each year. Two handlers traveled to Lackland AFB, Texas, to compete in the Defense Department dog trials April 30 through Saturday. Thompson and Tech. Sgt. Justin Kitts, 56th SFS MWD handler, will be paired with Chrach, (German spelling but pronounced Crash), a German shepherd and Dingo, a Belgium malinois.

Although the handlers enjoy the friendly competition of the Desert Dog Trials, it’s also an event that brings the community together and helps the handlers develop a deeper bond with their dogs.

“I’ve been a handler for a little over two years now,” Keller said. “Most of my experience has been at Luke. Being able to see what these dogs can do and the teamwork between dog and handler is amazing. I look forward to training with my dog, and every day is different. To be able to compete against the local agencies is an honor.

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



Thunderbolt of the Week – July 27, 2012

Airman 1st Class David Owsianka 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Public Affairs Specialist Hometown: Bradenton, Fla. Years in service: Two Family: Mom, dad, two brothers, two nephews and a niece Education: 19 credits away from ...

MXG announces awards

The following individual or units are quarterly best-of-the-best award winners:   Foreign object debris prevention program Individual: Senior Airman Thang Huyhn, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Flightline: 425th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Backshop: 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron FOD poster: Staff Sgt. Troy Anderson, 56th EMS   Quality assurance TAMS: 308th AMU Specialist: 62n...

Thunderbolt of the Week – July 20, 2012

Staff Sgt. Alton Wingate 56th Component Maintenance Squadron PMEL journeyman Hometown: San Diego Years in service: Six Education: Community College of the Air Force degree in electrical systems technology Previous assignments: ...


MSgt selects announced

The following technical sergeants were selected for promotion to master sergeant:   Kristina O’Meara, 56th Medical Operations Squadron Michael Perry, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron      

Luke officer saves drowning victim

Capt. Andrew Hoeffler, 56th Medical Group family nurse practitioner, Ashawnis Guidry, 5, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Guidry, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction equipment operator, pose for a photo near the Ba...

Thunderbolt of the Week – July 13, 2012

Airman 1st Class Taylor LeBlanc 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Optometry Apprentice   Hometown: Beaumont, Calif. Years in service: One Family: Mom, dad, five brothers and sisters Inspirations: My father, Maj. Jason LeBla...


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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>