Local

March 1, 2013

Iron Dawg II: Military working dog handlers compete for “Top Dog”

Tags:
by Megan Crusher
452 AMW public affairs
Top Dawg 2
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Natisha Johnson, military working dog handler, accompanied by Firgo, MWD, dart into action during the Iron Dawg competition, held at the March Field Air Museum, Sunday, Feb. 17. The duo was required to search and clear several obstacles prior to advancing to the next level of competition. They were required to demonstrate their proficiency in tactical obedience, bite work, detection and endurance in order to win the honor of Top Dawg. (U.S. Air Force photo / Megan Crusher)

A U.S. Marine and his K9 companion crouch at the starting position, readying for the first task — securing a seemingly abandoned bread truck. When the signal was given, they take off! After a thorough search and clear, they proceed on to an old pick-up truck to do the same. After which, they advance to three trailers, where the pup takes the low ground under the trailers, and the handler takes the higher route over the trailers, an unusual stipulation because most K9’s instinctively stay with their trainer.

An onlooker might view this as a typical training scenario for a military working dog handler and his K9, but on this occasion, it was a competition where spectators gathered to watch military working dog handlers and their K9s, do battle in the second annual, Iron Dawg competition, held at the March Field Air Museum, Sunday, Feb. 17.

The competition involved nine Marines from Camp Pendleton and Miramar, a Marine veteran and an Airman from Beale Air Force Base, partnered with their respective MWDs. They competed for the title of “Top Dawg,” by demonstrating their proficiency in tactical obedience, bite work, detection and endurance.

After completing the first phase of the competition, the teams were tasked with running up and over a simulated bridge into an area where the dog was required to detect suspicious scents, such as narcotics or explosives. When detected, the K9 would immediately sit or lay down, signaling its final response, said Master Sgt. Joel Burton, kennel master, 412th Security Forces Squadron, Edwards AFB, an organizer and judge for the competition.  If a final response was rendered or the area was clear of suspicious scents, the teams then moved on to the next portion of the competition, the bite work.

“The objective of the bite work is mainly to engage the crowd and add excitement,” said Burton. “I looked to ensure the dogs attacked both types of aggressor decoys, one in a bite suit and then transition to the second decoy on the bite sleeve.”

When the aggressors confronted the teams, the handler would motion for the K9 to immediately charge and attack.  After subduing the first aggressor, another one appeared and the dog had to resituate itself to attack the second foe.  The judges score was based on a successful transition from one bite to the next, said Burton.

The endurance and final portion of the competition involved a one-mile run by the handler and K9 as a unit. They had to low crawl through a mud pit with plastic covering to retrieve a red flag. On the return run, during the last quarter mile, the dog handlers had to carry their K9s back to the mud pit, low crawl again and plant their flag at the finish line.

Staff Sgt. Natisha Johnson, military working dog handler, Beale AFB and her dog, Frigo, came from northern California, in permissive temporary duty status, to participate in the Wardog weekend. Johnson and her K9 Frigo have been together since Feb. 14, 2012 and she was thrilled to be competing.

“I’m excited, I don’t know what to expect. I’m just going to go and do what I was trained to do,” said Johnson. “Also, I wanted to come down here and pay homage to the guys who came before me.”

That training paid off, Johnson and Frigo won first place in the tactical/OB portion of the competition.

“She challenged the vehicles, used cover and concealment and outperformed the other contestants,” remarked one of the judges. “Not running the course tactically, lost points for other competitors. She lost no points in the course.”

John Pantoja, Marine veteran, won the ultimate “Top Dawg” honor and placed first in one of the detection categories.

Dawgs on Hawgs, a motorcycle-motorcade of the Patriot Guard, American Legion and others, were also showcased during the Wardog Weekend.  They rode to the museum to open the annual War Dog Memorial event, honoring all MWDHs, past and present, Saturday, Feb. 16.

The day continued with the All Services Feed for MWDHs, their families, kennel masters, veterans and others who work closely with the military working dogs.

Jon Hemp, the main organizer for the entire weekend, said the weekend was a great success.

“This is another fine event in a history of fine events. We don’t do anything that doesn’t turn out to be overwhelming and incredibly enjoyable and rewarding,” said Hemp.

The Iron Dawg competition, held at the March Field Air Museum, Sunday, Feb. 17, attracted spectators from all over southern California to watch current and veteran military working dog handlers and their K9’s compete for Top Dawg honors. Shown, is a MWD attacking two separate aggressors. The K9’s were required to attack the first aggressor, then release and attack the second during the bite work phase of the competition. (U.S. Air Force photos / Megan Crusher)

Staff Sgt. Natisha Johnson, military working dog handler, Beale Air Force Base, and her dog, Frigo, participate in the Iron Dawg competition held at the March Field Air Museum, Sunday, Feb. 17. During the endurance portion of the competition, handlers and K9s were challenged to a one-mile run, accompanied by a low crawl. They competed for the title of “Top Dawg,” by demonstrating their proficiency in tactical obedience, bite work, detection and endurance. (U.S. Air Force photos / Megan Crusher)




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

Team March maintainers refurbish KC-135 Stratotanker in record time

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann Staff Sgt. Caleb Meyer, an active-duty crew chief, and Staff Sgt. Neftali Rivera, an Air Reserve Technician and crew chief, both from the 752nd Maintenance Squadron, screw in th...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

Johnson assumes command of 56th Aerial Port Squadron

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Col. Timothy McCoy (left), commander, 452nd Mission Support Group, March Air Reserve Base, passes the guidon to Maj. Mark E. Johnson, commander, 56th Aerial Port Squadron, ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane

Airman, Guardsman recognized as ‘heroes’ in Paris

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone (right), Aleksander Skarlatos (center) and Anthony Sadler pose for a photo in Paris Aug. 23, 2015, following a foiled attack on a French train. Stone was...
 

 
150822-F-RK887-146

Chief Kacsmaryk Retirement

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kacsmaryk, superintendent, 752nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, receives a U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol, duri...
 
 

The 452nd Air Mobility Wing 2015, 3rd Quarter award winners

Airman of the Quarter – Senior Airman Christian Bojorquez, 452 SFS   NCO of the Quarter – Staff Sgt. Kevin Duffy, 56 APS   SNCO of the Quarter – Senior Master Sgt. Winston Demmin, 452 AMXS   Company Grade Officer of the Quarter – Capt. Dawn Schultz, 452 MDG/752 MDS   (Not pictured) Civilians of...
 
 

Healthy Base Initiative ends, Team March continues concept

The Defense Department’s Healthy Base Initiative is about to end, but the emphasis on health and wellness is merely making a transition. The Healthy Base Initiative, a DOD demonstration project at 14 installations that tested ways to improve the health and wellness of troops, civilians and their families, is ending this month. However, the successful ideas that...
 




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