Skip to comments.K-9, handler work together to keep servicemembers safe (WOOF! - WOOF!)
Posted on 04/17/2009 4:10:56 PM PDT by SandRat
/17/2009 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- It is often said a dog is a man's best friend. For a Joint Expeditionary Tasking, or JET, Airman here, his dog is not just a friend, but a tool that could mean life or death for servicemembers patrolling the Iraqi streets.
Senior Airman William Bailey, a military working dog handler and JET Airman from the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group attached to the Army's 1st Calvary Division here, and Robby, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois, work together to keep servicemembers safe. Robby's military working dog specialty is explosives detection.
"My mission here is to search for and expose explosives in any form," said Airman Bailey. "[Robby and I] go on cordon walks, air assaults, raids, anything that the Soldiers on the ground need help in protecting themselves by the detection of explosives.
"We go out and find the bombs before something could go off and injure our fellow men and women fighting together," he added.
The duo is constantly training to ensure they are always mission-ready.
"We do training daily," said Airman Bailey. "Training is constant with us; we have to stay proficient in our duties because of the dangerous aspect of it.
"Obedience [training] is done daily, and explosive detection [training] is done as often as possible," he said. "It's vital."
Paired for almost a year now, Airman Bailey, who is deployed here from the 4th Security Forces Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., said the team hit it off from the first time they met.
"We have a great bond together," he said. "We've been together since June of 2008. We just mesh together perfectly.
"[Being deployed with Robby] has been a fun experience," he said. "[Military working dog handlers] get a little extra privilege by having a little buddy with us the whole deployment. It's nice to have that bond especially on those tough days when you're feeling a little bit down. You just look down at the dog and see how happy he is to just be hanging out with you. It just brightens your day."
As a JET Airman, Airman Bailey has had the opportunity of being attached to the Army, and he said he has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Army's 1st Cavalry Military Working Dog team. His Army counterpart feels the same way about Airman Bailey.
"It's great having him as part of the team," said Army Staff Sgt. David Harrison, 1st Calvary Division kennelmaster, who is deployed from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. "He goes out on missions and does his part like any Soldier would. There isn't a difference.
"We work well together," Sergeant Harrison, a native of Castle Rock, Colo., said. "We are helping keep our fellow servicemembers safe."
As his deployment nears its end, Airman Bailey reflects on his appreciation for his K-9 Robby.
"It's been a great experience; I've had a lot of fun," he said. "I was a little nervous (about being deployed to Iraq) this being my first time over here, especially with the dog. It has created a lot of good memories.
"The bond that I share with [Robby] is probably the most meaningful part of the job," said Airman Bailey with a smile. "If I didn't have him, than I'd have to learn how to smell bombs. It would be much more difficult, more time-consuming, and a lot more dangerous. He's been doing this all his life, and he loves to do it."
Together, Airman Bailey and Robby will return together to Seymour Johnson AFB and continue working as a team -- and preparing for future deployments.
Senior Airman William Bailey praises Robby, his nine-year-old Belgian Malinois, after he successfully completed an obstacle course as part of daily training at Camp Taji, Iraq. Airman Bailey is a military working dog handler attached to the Army's 1st Calvary Division. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala)
We are absolutely bless to be taken care of every single day of the year by two of these wonderful dogs.
Our male, Shadow, takes his guardian job very seriously. No hawks or crows are permitted in our air space. All visitors get a full view of his magnificent teeth as he barks like Cujo at the door, with our female doing back-up barking. But, they both love our friends, and are surprisingly tender with little ones.
He demands to go out on the porch to keep watch when I am taking care of my husband’s legs, and stands guard there, while our female does indoor duty beside his chair.
They truly understand english, and when we tell them we have to go out, and they must “take care of the house, they go right to a room where they can see down the driveway, until we get home.
They are 9 and 10 years old now, and while still in perfect health, we know our years with them are growing short. We wish they could be with us forever. If you have experience with training, a suitable environment, can give these dogs a job to do, do not leave them alone all day, and can exercise these dogs properly (that means daily), you can’t go wrong with a Belghian Malinois.
But, if you don’t meet the above criteria, don’t even think about getting one. These dogs are not for the inexperienced.
I agree, good dog. God bless them and our service men
Beautiful dog! Not to mention wicked smaaht!