Fort Irwin Police Department Remembers Military Working Dog Rambo

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The Fort Irwin Police Department, said goodbye to Military Working Dog (MWD) Rambo, in a memorial ceremony held on May 5.

MWD Rambo provided distinguished service while assigned to the National Training Center, from May 23, 2014, to April  1, 2021. Rambo was whelped on June 24, 2012, and began training as a military working dog at the 343rd Training Squadron on Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas. There he entered initial narcotics detector dog training and was certified on March 4, 2014. Then after he was assigned to Fort Irwin on June of 2014. Rambo has been assigned to two different handlers and certified seven times over the course of his career at the National Training Center.

“I remember walking into the kennel area and seeing Rambo. He wasn’t bouncing around like the other dogs,” said Sgt. Michael Gardner, Rambo’s handler. “He was doing somersaults off the top of the walls.”

After his previous working dog had retired, Sgt. Gardner was given two options. Partner with MWD Rambo or wait for another working dog from Joint Base San Antonio Lackland.

“I wanted a challenge of working with a dog who was stubborn, and strong willed, that challenge was Rambo,” said Gardner. “From that moment on we were inseparable.”

Gardner had been Rambo’s handler for more than 3 years until his passing.

“I found Rambo to love his work whether it was detection or aggression,” he said. “Partnering with Lt. Wayne Stickels and then myself Rambo made a name for himself on Fort Irwin, with numerous sweeps and finds.

From 2018-2019 Rambo had the highest narcotics finds in all of U.S. Army Installation Command as well as holding the record for the biggest narcotics find on Fort Irwin. “There were several times CID or other units would call, even with me on the phone they would ask for Rambo, as if Rambo worked alone,” said Gardner.

Soldiers and civilians throughout the installation, came to the Fort Irwin Police Kennel to remember Rambo, as well as multiple Marines from the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow.   

At the conclusion of the memorial service a last radio roll call was made for Rambo. “All units K9 Rambo has answered the highest call, all units K9 Rambo has answered his final call. Rest in peace K9 Rambo we have the watch.”

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