Joint Base Langley-Eustis

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SFS keeps K9s deployment ready

By Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer | 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | November 20, 2017


From local work at Langley Air Force Base to deployments overseas, the 633rd Security Forces Squadron K-9 teams continuously train to ensure the safety of service members and civilians.

To prepare for world-wide contingencies, the military working dog section keeps at least two MWDs ready to deploy from base at any given time. The dogs are trained to assist Airmen in performing a variety of duties, including subduing an aggressive subject, detecting narcotics and detecting explosive materials.

“Our dogs are professionals,” said Johnson. “They don’t ask for much, just a little love and appreciation. They will sacrifice themselves for us at any given time. These dogs do anything from down range missions to secret service missions. The capabilities of these dogs are extensive.”

Before these furry service members report for duty, they, like humans, are first evaluated to see if they are right for the job. They are chosen for military duty using tests to see if the dog would be willing to work. One of these tests is as simple as throwing a ball to see which dogs go after it.

“For the dogs that go after the ball, we know we can peak their interest and train them” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Johnson, 633rd SFS kennel master. “Obviously there are health inspections and criteria that they have to pass as well.”

After selection, the dogs are trained to help Airmen on various patrol and detection duties.

According to Johnson, the dogs can be put at any location and secure it. The detection capabilities of the dogs can be a huge psychological deterrent to the enemy. Showing that the dogs are on their game can deter adversaries from planting explosives or causing harm to people deployed. 

Each dog team has a handler and dog. According to Johnson, each dog is matched with their handler by personality. The handlers feed the dogs, bathe the dogs and take them to appointments. While on deployments, the dogs also serve as a companion to the handlers.

“In my experience, my dog was not only my partner at work, but really helped me push through and not get down about missing loved ones back home,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Titus. “No matter what, your dog is there for you.”

Titus, a 633rd SFS MWD trainer, is responsible for training each dog team.

“It’s rewarding being a trainer because I see handlers grow and develop,” said Titus. “It’s very easy to take pride in being a trainer because if a dog team makes a mistake down range, it can kill people, so my job is to prepare the handlers and dogs the best I possibly can.”

The most important thing the dogs do is clear areas before troops are put in potentially dangerous situations. According to Johnson, whether it be patrol work or detection training, the dog is always put in realistic scenarios. They are never subjected to cookie cutter work because when they go down range, they need to really be prepared.

633 SFS 633rd Security Forces Squadron military working dog MWD security forces

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