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K-9 remains resilient, bonds with handler

4/19/2016 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England (AFNS) -- Only months after recovering from hip dysplasia, Gina, an 8-year-old military working dog at Royal Air Force Lakenheath was diagnosed with yet another ailment. In February, a cancerous tumor was discovered on her mouth.

Gina's handler, Senior Airman Bryce Bates, a 48th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler, ensured Gina wasn't alone during her next battle of medical procedures. Bates and Gina had an immediate bond once they became teammates in October.

Bates stayed by Gina's side as she underwent anesthesia to have the tumor removed in March and faithfully waited at the veterinary clinic until she woke up 3 1/2 hours later.

"I wanted to be there for her because she would be there for me," Bates said. "I wanted to hear it firsthand if anything went wrong."

While Gina was in remission, Bates spent the next three weeks exercising, feeding and caring for her, until she made a full recovery and was able to return to work.

Gina is known throughout the squadron for her gentle disposition and pleasing demeanor. Bates claims she has the perfect balance between a house and working dog.

"She is super friendly for a working dog," Bates said. "She has the aggression and dedication for work, but she really just wants to please."

Bates further bonds with Gina by celebrating her birthdays, cake and hat included, dressing her up for the holidays, and taking her on sight-seeing trips to London.

"When it's time for her to quit, she will be adopted for sure," Bates said. "I hope I can take her with me. It would be great to have a dog like her."

The career expectancy of MWDs depends on their health and ability to carry on their mission requirements. For the time being, Gina is in good health and will continue to serve at RAF Lakenheath until the time to retire arrives.

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Lisa Hodgden, an Air Force athlete, and her military working dog, Boston, share a moment during a wheelchair basketball session at the adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 4, 2016.

100th Security Forces Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, England Dec. 4, 2015

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant, prepares food for the 100th SFS Military Working Dogs Dec. 4, 2015, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Black checks the dogs have been fed in the morning and ensures they have the correct quantity and quality of food to keep them fit for their active duties.

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant with one of the Military Working Dogs.

U.S. Air Force 100th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog Oorion eats his food . Deborah Black, 100th SFS kennel attendant, has many duties caring for the dogs, including ordering dog food and keeping tabs on when it’s required.

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant, takes a U.S. Air Force 100th SFS Military Working Dog out for exercise and down time. The dogs are fed early in the morning by the day-shift handlers and are given time to digest their food before Black walks them for about a mile-and-a-half or takes them in the enclosure to let them chase a ball. This gives the dogs a chance to relax and unwind, as well as keep fit.

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant, bonds with U.S. Air Force 100th SFS Military Working Dog Vvonya during her down time.

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant, gets U.S. Air Force 100th SFS Military Working Dog Vvonya ready for her bath.

Deborah Black, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant, checks a binder for outstanding work orders. As well as taking care of the dogs, Black keeps the military working dog facility tidy and clean, answers telephones and is one of the building custodians.

Deborah Black, right, 100th Security Forces Squadron kennel attendant; U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Junkins, center, 100th SFS Military Working Dog handler; and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Roy Carter, 100th SFS MWD trainer, check a medical kit for the 100th SFS MWDs. The personnel check the dogs throughout the day and night to make sure they are fit, healthy and ready for duty. In the field when there isn’t a veterinarian, the handlers are trained to administer first aid to their dog.

United States Air Force Portraits in Courage

In September 2013 Staff Sgt. Daniel Wilson deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, to the 455th Security Forces Group as a military working dog handler. Wilson and MWD Dan completed more than 60 outside-the-wire missions, working with Army Pathfinders, 1st Calvary and an Air Force security forces unit, call sign “The Reapers.” Through each of these complex missions, Wilson and Dan recovered 14 landmines, 12 rockets and three improvised explosive devices.


Fittingly, K-9 unit kicks off 'Paws to Read,' Summer Reading Program at Base Library

6/18/2014 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Children of all ages gathered at the Base Library June 13 for the kickoff of this year's annual Department of Defense-sponsored Summer Reading Program. The program aims to keep children interested in reading during the months that school is not in session. It combines reading with live demonstrations and events at the library.

For the first event, special guests from the 412th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog unit were a perfect fit for this year's theme, "Paws to Read."

Tech. Sgt. Ian Spivey, 412th Security Forces Squadron, MWD kennel master, spoke to the children and their parents through the demonstration, explaining each of the basic Military Working Dog skills. The demonstration included both on and off-leash obedience and controlled aggression.


Cub scouts visit military working dogs

10/7/2014 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Local Cub scouts got an introduction to military law enforcement during a base tour Sept. 27 with a stop at the Military Working Dog compound. Over 90 children and adults were in the pack as the MWD handlers demonstrated how the dogs pursue a suspect and how they search for illegal substances and explosives.


Military Working Dog Instructor rides for recovery

11/14/2013 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- "Making a difference in the lives of healing heroes" is a motto the Ride 2 Recovery organization members live by and one that Staff Sgt. Brent Olson, 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron military working dog instructor, set out to honor during the Las Vegas Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride Nov. 9.

Olson is a part of TEAM BLEK, in honor of Military Working Dog Blek, who was patrolling with him through a known hostile village in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when they were both struck by an improvised explosive device.

Olson and MWD Blek had been engaged off and on in a number of skirmishes and located 17 IEDs on their third day of patrolling Sept. 13, 2010. At approximately 9 p.m. while clearing the last structure in their sector, an adversary triggered a pressure plate IED that initiated four other devices leaving three killed in action and 13 wounded in action, including Olson and MWD Blek, who were both transported to the Kandahar Airfield hospital where they began their recovery.


Working dog handler at 59th MDW receives Purple Heart

10/23/2013 - Technical Sgt. Christopher D. Barker receives the Purple Heart from Brig. Gen. Byron Hepburn, 59th Medical Wing commander, Oct. 23, 2013 in the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center auditorium, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Barker, An Air Force security forces military working dog handler now assigned to the 59th Patient Squadron, received the distinguished medal for wounds sustained while deployed to Iraq in 2006.


Will to Win: Military working dog handler leads on battlefields of Afghanistan, life

14 January 2013 Staff. Sgt. Brian Williams, a military working dog handler, was severely injured by an improvised explosive device April 25, 2012, during a mission in southern Afghanistan. Now, months later, Williams is using the desire to win that he learned from a lifetime of competitive sports and a career in the Air Force to help him during his rehabilitation process.

The leadership skills Staff Sgt. Brian Williams developed in sports proved even more valuable in his career as an Airman and a military working dog handler. But Williams also brought the desire to win from the football and softball fields to Afghanistan, where his actions led to a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

April 25, 2012, was a day like any other for the 87th Security Forces Squadron member, who was midway through a six-month deployment with an Army unit in southern Afghanistan. He donned his battle gear, got a firm grip on his partner’s leash and headed to the convoy. Williams’ military working dog, Carly, was ready and willing to follow his confident handler.

His gait, strong from almost 12 years of military training and countless athletic trials, carried a conversation he was usually hesitant to share with words, “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”