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Memorial Day, 2010 at Arlington National Cemetery. These Military Working Dogs had just been retired.

Articles of Interest

Team Dover Airman loses work partner but gains a new family member

1/19/2016 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- It is a dream come true for every military working dog handler; retire your MWD and adopt them to come home and live a relaxing lifestyle for their remaining years. That dream is coming true for one 436th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler as his K-9 trades in his kennel and cement floors for a comfortable couch and a familiar companion.

MWD Rico/M137 retired from Air Force active duty after seven years and eight months of faithful and dedicated service Jan. 15, 2016, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Rico is now in the process of being adopted by his former handler, Staff Sgt. Jason Spangenberg, 436th SFS MWD trainer.

"Being able to retire your military working dog and take him home is probably one of the coolest things that can happen to you as a handler," said Spangenberg. "After everything Rico has sacrificed for himself and the military, it's just time for him to go home and chill. I'm extremely excited to let him go home and finally be a dog for once."

Even though Rico will go home with Spangenberg, he has had several handlers over his eight years of service. Rico was born Sept. 1, 2006, and entered the Air Force on May 5, 2008. Rico excelled through his initial training at the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and arrived to Dover AFB on August 27, 2008.


MWD Nora Retirement Aug. 21, 2015

U.S. Marine Corps military working dog Nora K115, with the Provost Marshal's Office K-9 unit, Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, receives an award aboard MCRD San Diego, Calif., Aug. 21, 2015. Nora received a Certificate of Meritorious Service during a retirement ceremony held in her honor

U.S. Marine Corps military working dog Nora K115 sits next to the MCRD PMO sign after a retirement ceremony that was held in her honor.

U.S. Marine Corps military working dog Nora K115 sits during the retirement ceremony held in her honor.

Becoming Astro: Military canine turned civilian

12/10/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.-- -- In April 2011 Astor, a military canine, was unable to complete his training when he became sick and ran into issues with the increased speed of his military working dog graduating class. This forced his retirement from the MWD program and he entered into the law enforcement adoption program.

Once adopted, Astor became "Astro, the narcotic detection dog," according to police Cpl. Charles Pettis, K-9 unit/patrol officer, Fort Walton Beach Police department.

Astro's journey into the police force began with training beside Pettis at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to transition him from military to the police force.


Wounded warrior adopts four-legged partner, friend

9/6/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- From the moment Staff Sgt. Brian Williams arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to begin his recovery, he had only one request. Carly.

Williams was deployed from the 87th Security Forces Squadron when he suffered serious injuries after an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on a mission April 25, 2012, outside Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.

The military working dog handler suffered the loss of his left leg above the knee, as well as multiple shrapnel wounds due to the explosion.

Present with him during the explosion, but unharmed during the attack, was his military working dog partner of one and a half years, Carly.


Tinker AFB honors retiring military dogs

By Mark Schlachtenhaufen The Edmond Sun, Okla. June 26, 2013

OKLA. CITY — These military working dogs served the nation with distinction and honor at Tinker Air Force Base:

Arras, a German shepherd born Aug. 26, 2006, was assigned to Tinker on Dec. 10, 2008, the start of his military career. Arras was deployed in support of Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan and Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. He used his keen detection ability to locate explosives and deter terrorist attacks against the bases. He was selected on three occasions to support the president, vice president, presidential candidates and foreign heads of state. Arras logged 490 hours of search time.

Blacky, a German shepherd born on May 11, 2004, was assigned to Tinker on May 6, 2006, the start of his military career. Blacky was deployed four times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed with the 2nd Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Iraq, he used his keen detection ability to locate two weapons caches, a mortar round and a half pound of homemade explosives causing disruption of IED (improvised explosives devices) operations. He prevented the loss of countless soldiers. Blacky was selected 13 times to support the president, vice president, candidates and foreign heads of state. Blacky logged 1,021 hours of search time.

Cita, a Belgian Tervuren born on Aug. 10, 2006, was assigned to Tinker on May 1, 2008, the start of her military career. Cita was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While embedded with the 1st Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Hutal, Afghanistan, she used her unmatched detection ability to locate 30,000 pounds of hashish, interrupting $7.2 million in insurgent funding. She logged 488 hours of search time.

Sheila, a Belgian Malinois born on Sept. 10, 2006, was assigned to Tinker on July 30, 2008, the start of her military career. Sheila deployed twice to Manas Air Force Base, Kyrgyzstan. She used her keen detection ability to locate explosives and deter terrorist acts. She logged 523 hours of search time. Sheila was selected twice to support the president, vice president, candidates and foreign heads of state.

Tuesday afternoon, the dogs were honored by the 72nd Mission Support Group and 72nd Security Forces Squadron during a retirement ceremony at Tinker. The highlight of the event was the traditional passing of the leash from the previous handlers to their caretakers during retirement.


Shara Adopted by her handler Codi Carter!

18th Security Forces hosts atypical retirement, honors service

6/19/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- "Present, arms!" shouted the Airman from the line of flag bearers, signaling crisp, polished movements from the honor guard detail.

As the notes of the Japanese and U.S. national anthems rang through the room, service members and their families stood frozen in silent respect for the flags and for those who've dedicated their lives for the symbolic and historic colors.

It was the ceremonial beginning, June 13, which marked the end of careers for four heroes who, like many before them, have dedicated the majority of their lives to their partners and their service. Characteristic of other retirements, it ushered in a new beginning in a life of rest and relaxation, long forgotten throughout the years of deployments and self-sacrifice.

Although it maintained the distinctive procession, this observance would host an atypical subject that would further distinguish the mysterious, yet impressive occupation.

As the emcee, Tech. Sgt. Kristen McKay, 18th Security Force Squadron military working dog kennel master, spoke to the crowd about the life accomplishments of each veteran, her words painted four separate pictures of honor and commitment in an ever-changing environment in a way that made each of the retiring working dogs almost seem human.


K-9 retires, finds retirement home

4/2/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Not many Airmen can say they've dedicated their entire lives to the armed forces, even less can say they were born to do so. However, for one Dyess Airman, being trained since birth is just something that comes with the job.

For eight years, Condor, a 7th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, has been the example of the Air Force core values without complaint or hesitation.

Deploying twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Condor performed exceptionally well, saving the lives of U.S. and coalition forces by positively identifying multiple IEDs and more than 300 pounds of explosives. He also aided countless U.S. Secret Service operations. This war-veteran is finally trading in his hazardous duties for a comfy La-Z-Boy and afternoon walks.


DOD's longest-serving working dog retires

1/28/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- For a few weeks in January, MHAFB held the distinction of having the longest-serving military working dog in the Department of Defense.

Base leadership, fellow Defenders and other members of the Gunfighter family came out to say farewell to Tanja as she left the 366th Security Forces Squadron kennels for the last time.

"She is a Belgian Malinois and has been in the program for almost 12 years," said Staff Sgt. Robert Wilson, 366th SFS military working dog handler. "She has deployed five times to various countries around the world and has been a definite asset during her military career."


MWD finds home with Rock Airman

10/30/2012 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, ARK. -- She tosses the ball high and far and watches as Mishka bounds across the terrain, striving to capture the red sphere in his mouth before it hits the ground. Mishka misses the ball this time, but picks it up, takes it back, lies on his back with his limbs extended and accepts a tummy rub as a consolation prize. Mishka then leaps back to his paws, eager for another chance at the ball.

"He has a lot of energy; I have to go home and let him out at lunch every day," said Maj. Maria Moss, 19th Component Maintenance Squadron commander.

Moss is talking about her newly adopted dog of course, and while she's been a canine lover for some time, Mishka is even more special to her because of his background as a military working dog.