Skip to comments.Military Working Dogs Keeping Troops Safe (WOOF! - WOOF!!)
Posted on 03/22/2007 5:41:03 PM PDT by SandRat
| CAMP STRIKER, Iraq, March 22, 2007 The terrorist is quiet during the search, letting Army Sgt. Harold Corey pat him down all along one side. But when Corey gets to his right hip, the terrorist shoves at him. Its less than a second before Wandors huge mouthful of teeth is clamped around the terrorists arm and Corey is out of danger, telling the dog away! to make him release the mans arm.
But even playing, Wandor, a Belgian Malinois, can take down a grown man in seconds, running at 30 miles per hour and exerting 1,400 pounds per square inch of bite pressure.
It was really cool, said Owens, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. It was surprising how the dog looks so lean, but one twist, and he took me down. Theyre a great asset for enforcement and detection.
Corey, a native of Newport News, Va., has been working with dogs for three years with the 529th Military Police Company, based out of Heidelberg, Germany.
I enjoy it, Corey said of the March 19 practice session, which was attended by several 210th BSB soldiers. Its never not exciting to watch a dog take someone down.
The 2nd BCT, based here, has several attached handlers with dogs that accompany brigade missions every day.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hart, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and the BCTs provost marshal, explained that most of the dogs that work with the brigade are trained to seek explosives. But they are also adept at combat tracking. While a human usually requires hearing two shots to pinpoint the direction of origin, dogs can point to the origin after only one shot, a skill that is critical when a sniper is shooting. Once the dog finds the shooters hiding place, he can track the person and even pick him out of a lineup.
There are also patrol narcotics dogs, used during health-and-welfare inspections of troops, and dogs trained to seek bodies, Hart said.
The dogs are well-trained and well-kept, Hart explained. They have veterinary coverage twenty-four seven, he said. And theres medical evacuation coverage, as well, just like there is for humans. Theyre out there risking their lives too; its only fair.
The handlers know basic first aid and life-support skills for the dogs, and a veterinarian is at the helipad waiting if a dog comes in injured.
So far, Hart said, the handlers havent needed to medically evacuate a dog. One was killed in the line of duty while searching a house; an air-conditioning unit he jumped onto had an exposed high-powered wire on it. Other than that, he explained, they have had only minor injuries, such as cut paws.
And while the handlers havent let slip the dogs of war -- as in Mark Antonys famous speech in William Shakespeares Julius Caesar --, the animals have provided very tangible benefits for the brigade, sniffing out explosives and weaponry.
Theyre a force multiplier, Corey said. They can do the searching of five or six soldiers and do with their nose what a soldier has to do by prodding and digging. They make the job easier. Also, theyre a visual deterrent; the local nationals are scared of them, so theyre more cooperative.
Corey said that Wandor has found several weapons while helping on cordon-and-search missions. He finds weapons in houses even before the homeowners turn them over to us, Corey said.
Instead of having to move everything in a house, he just sniffs around, and when he finds something, he sits. Then we just have to move one thing to get to the weapons.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Bragg, a native of Denver, Colo., who is assigned to a San Diego-based deployable canine unit, is also attached to the 2nd BCT.
While Bragg has been working with dogs for several years, the one assigned to him now -- Don, a German shepherd -- is fresh from school at Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio.
Hes a green dog, Bragg explained. His detection skills are much better than his aggression. Hes got a great nose on him. But hes young, only 3, and hes still in the puppy stage.
Don showed his prowess at finding pieces of detonation cord hidden in the 210th BSBs supply yard, hunkering down as he caught a whiff of explosive and then sitting as soon as he found the source.
All of the hard training works, Corey explained, because the dogs think of the job as a game.
A dog is like a 5-year-old child, he said. To get a kid to do something, you make it fun.
The object of the game for Wandor -- as it is for almost every other military working dog -- is a beehive-shaped rubber toy called a Kong. If he finds explosives, he gets to play. Corey explained that the dogs are trained to understand that finding the object of their search might take awhile, but if a mission is fruitless for too long, hes prepared with a piece of detonation cord.
Ill hand it to someone else and ask them to hide it for me, Corey said. Wandor can then find the cord and win some quality time playing with his Kong before moving on and continuing the quest.
I always carry training aids to refresh his interest, Corey said.
Athough it may be like a game for the dog, the perspective is different on the other side of those sharp teeth.
After being bitten through the padded bite suit, Army Chief Warrant Officer Julio Hall, a native of Grafton, N.H., and a supply systems technician with the 210th BSB, said he had more respect for the dogs power and for the capabilities they provide against terrorists.
The dog took me down right away, he said. The dog itself is pretty intimidating. If I was an insurgent, Id be petrified.
(Army Spc. Chris McCann is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division.)
Multinational Corps Iraq
Question: In country, on a base, where weapons and explosives are everywhere, how do the explosive sniffing dogs function? You'd thin k it would be a sensory overload for them?
I wonder how easily these dogs adjust to civilian life after they retire?
I do think that i would do as this one says, at once and quickly.
What wonderful gifts from God, when he gave us dogs for helpmates.
They have an entire program to re-socialize them now. During Nam and before, I believe they euthenized them
Glad to hear that. Working dogs simply amaze me. My dog is wonderful, but he's just a lazy couch potato, like me. We suit each other.
[The dogs are well-trained and well-kept]
And well loved too, I'm sure!
(Please Freep-mail me if youd like to be on or off the list.)
After this war is over, I hope these canine heroes are better treated than those left behind in Vietnam.
No excuses can be offered at any level: what was done to those talented war dog heroes was just bl**dy awful, inhumane, and WRONG. To say nothing of the anguish their Handlers/Partners must have felt.
Let's hope that the US Armed Forces powers-that-be have learned at least *this* much since then!
Meanwhile: to all the Canine heroes serving the Cause of Liberty and Freedom anywhere. GOD BLESS YOU ALL, AND YOUR HANDLERS. "We be of one blood, thou and I". Here's to as much water as you want when you need it, the occasional treat when you do really well (but not too often), a cup-and-a-half of Eukanuba each day for a nice glossy coat, and a warm place to sleep at nite. And get in a few good Bites on the Bad Guys for the rest of us!
> They have an entire program to re-socialize them now. During Nam and before, I believe they euthenized them
They certainly did -- or turned them over to the ARVN. About 200 made it back from Vietnam: none to Civilian life.
> Question: In country, on a base, where weapons and explosives are everywhere, how do the explosive sniffing dogs function? You'd thin k it would be a sensory overload for them?
Same way they do in any target-rich environment: like my back yard and the surrounding Jungle, chock-full of wee creatures and sounds and scents. Or a sheep paddock full of sheep and lambs and other interesting distractions. They are selective and they are very clever: within their core competencies (smelling and hearing and "instinct") they are infinitely more talented than we are.
The scope of their senses is immense: the sense of smell, the sense of hearing -- orders of magnitude more developed and finely nuanced than ours. Some may argue, but I'd go so far as to say that they have a highly-developed "sixth sense" almost like ESP. This is especially true for wolf-like dogs like German Shepherds.
We hear a shrill whistle: they hear a finely-nuanced symphony of complex sounds, many beyond our ability to detect with the human ear. We smell a pungent odor: they smell a vast feast of multiple complex scents and smells -- look at their noses. Even a pug dog has longer and deeper nasal passages than most humans: imagine what it is like for a long-nosed GSD or a blood-hound!
Even for people, the scent of smell is the strongest and longest-lasting of senses. It's true! I could be 20 or 30 years since you last smelled a certain scent: but as soon as you do you are hot-wired to a certain lane in Seattle, say. And you can immediately visualize what you were doing and why. You can even "see" in your mind's eye who you were with, and can remember what you were talking about.
No other sense works quite like the sense of smell. And dogs are experts at that sense.
Dogs are smarter than we think they are. A well-trained GSD is about as smart as a 9 yr old kid. Maybe even smarter. They can certainly be trained to understand English -- not just terse commands. And if conditioned correctly, they have a very strong emotional bonding to their Handler. Their social structures and skills are truly astonishing...
...if trained. If not, they can be as dumb as a sack of hammers, fetching slippers and chasing cats and cars and kids on bikes, and peeing on fire hydrants.
Dogs are infinitely smarter, infinitely more resourceful, infinitely more trainable, infinitely better in every measurable way than cats.
How precious! Thanks for posting.
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