With heavy eyes Sergeant John Nolan shuffled through the Norfolk Virginia Airport. A faded green, tan and brown camouflage pack weighed heavily on his sagging shoulders. His right hand tightly grasped a black leash.
John smiled when he saw us waiting for him.
The sergeant had just endured a journey half way around the world from war torn Afghanistan to the quiet and deserted Norfolk, Virginia airport this past Saturday evening.
On the end of the leash strolled a squarely build yellow Labrador Retriever. The Labrador had a black harness around his torso and the letters MWD emblazed on the side. It was Sergeant John Nolan’s partner, Specialized Search Dog Honza- aka Honza Bear.
Honza Bear pulled at the leash seemingly guiding the exhausted sergeant through the airport.
Their final patrol.
This was one last patrol for the pair on their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. But this round would lead Sergeant … Read More »
Once outcast and shunned from the military dog community, Sergeant Daniel Sandoval had gotten a second chance. He was accepted into the Fort Bragg’s dog kennels unconditionally.
Daniel was paired up with the stubborn, oversized wolf dog, Military Working Dog Bony. He was excited for the challenge and worked on bonding with the experienced German shepherd.
His wife Sabrina had just given birth to their second son, Carver. This should have been one of the happiest times of Daniel’s life.
But it wasn’t.
Daniel was stressed to the max. His career and his family were seemingly on a crash course and giving him sleepless nights.
He needed to talk to his new kennel master, Staff First Class Webster, the same man who squashed any rumors … Read More »
When we last left Sergeant Noah Carpenter he was staring intently at a darkened spot of dirt on the ground. What initially caught his interest was that the dirt wasn’t the same color as the rest.
It could be nothing. What sent spikes of fear down his spine was that his Military Working Dog, Chuck the Natural, locked on that spot and refused to move. The Belgian Malinois was an unruly puppy with an incredible nose.The Natural loved to work and find explosives. But could Noah trust him?Noah looked over his shoulder at the hulking Green Beret behind him. This Special Forces A-Team hadn’t worked with a dog team since they’d arrived in … Read More »
This is the next chapter in the compelling story of Army Specialist Marc Whittaker, his military working dog (MWD) Anax (now retired) and his new MWD, Dark. I suggest you read the first few pieces to get caught up if you haven’t already.
Readers Digest version: Anax is injured in Afghanistan protecting Marc. Anax loses his leg as a result. Anax is now located in Texas with Marc’s family. Marc is in Germany trying to get back “on the leash” and channel his passion for dogs through MWD Dark. But MWD Dark is no MWD Anax.
Marc Whittaker slammed his hand down of the buzzing alarm clock and turned over. He wasn’t in the mood … Read More »
This Part IV of John and Honza Bear. If you haven’t already…..you may wish to read Part III: Warning: The Bear Has Been Poked or skip back to Part I: John and the Lumbering “Honza Bear” prior to reading this one.
As the Blackhawk got ready to take off, Army Specialist John Nolan heard Sergeant Celeste says, “You won’t find shit out there man. There is nothing to be found.”
“I guess that’s good,” John said. “I mean, no improvised explosives means no one is getting blown up, right?”
Celeste looked down at John’s Specialized Search Dog (SSD) Honza, a.k.a. “Honza Bear,” and smirked.
John couldn’t resist. … Read More »
Sergeant Noah Carpenter leaned up against a dirt-splattered tan Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and sighed. He wouldn’t be in the relative protection of the MRAP today. No, today it would be he and his military working dog Chuck leading a foot patrol.
He had arrived at the remote camp a couple days before from the sprawling Bagram Airbase via Konduz Airfield. The small camp’s concertina-wired and dirt-berm perimeter was protected by battle hardened Unites States Army Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Noah didn’t worry about the Taliban attacking the perimeter. They would have to get through the paratroopers. What concerned him the most was the 30 Afghan policemen that lived in and … Read More »
This isn’t my story but I thought it was really cool. In many of my posts I discuss the challenges of validation for our dog teams. Remember Noah and Chuck’s challenges with validation?
Every team must complete validation when they first get into country. Validation is a series of trials to test a team’s proficiency in the local environment.
I’ve seen validation first hand and it is grueling and stressful. This story provides great insight into dog team validation.
Story by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hudson
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — His nose is working overtime. Seeking and scanning the dirt for the unseen. Aaron, a Military Working Dog, and his handler, Air Force Staff Sgt. Larry Harris, work their pattern back and forth, while Harris gives Aaron’s long leash slack letting it drag it the ground. Harris gives his commands of “Seek” followed … Read More »
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Staff Sgt. Jennifer Connelly, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Protocol office, pets Sgt. 1st Class Zeke, a combat stress dog from Kandahar Airfield’s Role 2, at 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron Dec. 1, 2011. As a combat stress dog, Zeke and his handler Army Sgt. Paul McCollough visit patients at Role 3 and requesting units around KAF to increase morale and welfare. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Carbajal)
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Senior Airman Travis Williams, a radar maintenance technician with the 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, lays next to Sgt. 1st Class Zeke, a combat stress dog from Kandahar Airfield’s Role 2, Dec. 1, 2011. As a combat stress dog, Zeke and his handler Army Sgt. Paul McCollough visit patients at Role 3 and requesting units around KAF to increase morale and welfare. … Read More »
Falsely accused, judgment passed on him without proof, Sergeant Daniel Sandoval had been sentenced to K9 death–a career without a dog. But Sandoval is determined to come back to redeem his good name and set the record straight.
His guide to the road back? The Grey Wolf, Military Working Dog Bony.
“You failed certification on purpose, Sergeant. You don’t want to deploy, do you?”
Sergeant Daniel Sandoval’s skin began to tingle and his head to spin, but he couldn’t find the words to respond.
Avoid a deployment? Why would he do that? He had heard of handlers doing this, but that wasn’t in his nature. He knew that his fellow handlers were beginning to get fatigued with constant deployments. He had already deployed to Kosovo and Cuba, but Daniel was ready to head to combat. The problem was his Military … Read More »
Sgt. Anouska a Tactical Explosive Detection Dog has just found detonation cord under a T-wall and now stands at attention to let his handler know that he has found some explosives. This was a demonstration showcasing different types of military dogs and their capabilities at International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-South headquarters on Kandahar Air Field.
(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jimmie Crockett)
As promised-actually footage of Working Dog Diego “sniffing it” Khandahar style!
Renco, a military working dog with the Provost Marshall’s Office, takes a well earned break after running a circuit obedience course. Renco and Lance Cpl. Sky T. Bryson, have worked together for almost ten months.
In case you missed or want to revisit prior weeks. Here are the links.