The Air Force now needed to establish its own procurement and training location to continue their dog program.Typical Mace Missile Site, USAF.
With the army's position well stated, on March 22, 1957, the air force launched it own pilot canine program using ten dogs and their handlers at several Nike sites for a trial period.
If this program was successful, the plan called for adding more dogs until a full operational complement of 300 was reached.
While the Air Force continued to expand its sentry (attack) dog program, the Department of Defense began another Austerity Program in the fall of 1957, by scaling back the number of the Army Infantry Scout Dog Platoons.
The DoD deactivated the 25th IPSD (Fort Ord, California on September 23, 1957, and eliminated the 44th IPSD (Fort Benning, Georgia), the 48th IPSD (Fort Riley, Kansas), and the 49th IPSD (Fort Lewis, Washington state) two months later.
Once again, the 26th IPSD remained the army's sole survivor as a training and demonstration unit at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Army Dogs In Overseas & CONUS Commands
In the Army as a whole, there remained a small number of sled dogs on duty in Alaska; 4 sentry dogs in the Caribbean, used to protect over 43,000 circuit miles of subterranean cable, which was valued at $2,000,000; and 250 in the Far East Command and 500 in EUCOM (European Command), plus 250 dogs scattered about in CONUS as of November 1, 1957.
From 1956 to 1957, the US Army Quartermaster Corps, now relegated to procuring dogs for the Air Force, now found itself scrambling to secure sufficient quantities of dogs for itself as Air Force requirements increased.
The Corp announced the need to acquire 1,000 dogs in Sept. 1957, followed by an urgent appeal to the public in January 1960. The army offered up to $150 for german shepherds or mixed breed shepherds to fill the Air Force quota.
The FEAF Sentry Dog Training Center, Japan 1952
The first Air Force Sentry Dog School was activated on March 10, 1952 at FEAFs Showa Air Station, Japan. A second dog school, attached to the 17th AF, USAFE, was opened in 1953, at Wiesbaden, West Germany, at the site of a former German officers school the Hindenburg Kaseme in the Biebrich suburb.
USAFE 17th AF K-9 Center, Wiesbaden, Germany.
United States Air Force
Security Police Dog Training School,
Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
October 20, 1958
Sensing it was time to take matters into its own hands, the United States Air Force on October 20, 1958, established the Sentry Dog Training Branch of the Department of Security Police Training at Lackland AFB, near San Antonio, Texas.
Lackland's "Dog School" and Kennels.
Eventually over 700 acres were set aside for training dogs and handlers, and more than 700 kennels were built to house dogs in training and those newly procured.
SiteBuilder Note: In the above AF photograph, the "bird cage" dog houses are the small dots, in between the building shown, and the tree line. The early design of the kennel was the same, that was used during World War II by the Army's QMC; a crude wooden box, wth the dog attached to it, by a steel chain. The entire area was separated from the main base, by a huge field, that acted as a buffer zone.
1960, the general appearance of the Sentry Dog School was still pretty much the same as two years earlier, the only major difference was that privacy fencing had been added to the kennel area, probably because the area surrounding the dog kennels was just starting to be built up. New PAT barracks had been built, as well as a mess hall and quarters for foreign officers in training; there was still a buffer zone, separating the area from the main base.
By February 1962, a shortage still existed, with another urgent appeal by the Quartermaster Corp for 560 dogs and then an additional 1,700 shepherds during the later part of '62. The QMC fell well short of this goal; it purchased only 524 dogs and received another 92 through donations.
Lackland: The Gateway To The USAF
In June 1964, the Air Force relieved the Army Quartermaster Corps of procuring all "live animals not raised for food" ...the Air Force would now purchase their own dogs, and train them at their new school at Lackland.
Lackland AFB Basic Training Center
USAF Procurement Teams!
In a effort to attain the necessary dogs to fulfill its assigned quotas, the Air Force established twelve man teams, consisting of a team leader, a procurement officer, a veteriarian and assistant, and several dog trainers and handlers; they then went on dog buying trips around the country. Although the use of the Procurement Teams was sucessful, it also proved very expensive.
The dog candiates were given examinations on the spot, and most were purchased for $150 on average.
The US Army for awhile considered doing the same thing, but quickly realized, that it was cheaper to just purchase whatever dogs they needed from the Air Force ...for only $175.
Scenes From Lackland's Dog School, Mid 60s
SiteBuilder Note: The above photo shows six scenes from the Air Force's new Sentry Dog School in the mid sixties (from top left to right): (1) A newly arrived K-9 candidate being removed from his shipping crate. (2) The dogs were then weight in and (3) Assigned to a new handler and ready for inspection. (4 & 5) They were then quarantine from the general population for several weeks and given a thorough medical exam, before being assigned to their (6) "bird cage" kennels with the other dog trainees.
A New Type Of Dog
In the early sixties, the primary use of Sentry Dogs was base security and guarding missile sites ...they were the Air Force's "Guardians of the Night!"
The dogs, mostly male German Shepherds, were trained as attack dogs. At the time of their purchase, they were tested for aggressiveness and had to show a strong attack tendency.
They were one handler dogs, unlike the patrol and messenger dogs from WW II; they were a valuable tool in the US Air Force resource protection plan, but their use was limited to restricted, and isolated area.
Lackland Sentry Dog School, Bldg 1130
It was suggested in the mid sixties, by Colonel John A. Cady, from USAF HQ Security Police, that there was a real need for a more social dog, one that could work in proximity to people other than its handler, like a civilian police dog.
In 1966, one NCOIC and four sentry dog teams from Andrews AFB, Md., were given Patrol Dog Training by the Washington, DC, Metroplitan Police Department.
The additional advantages and capabilities of more tolerant and controllable dogs were quickly proven.
"Get Him." cried the handlers.
By 1967, the USAF approved the new dogs and the patrol dog program was initiated at the new Security Police Dog Training School, at Lackland, as the new standard AF military working dog.
The program produce dogs that could be worked in a crowded public place, dogs that could be approached by any child and petted like a normal dog, but would attack only on command.
Very quickly, the patrol dog team became a common sight worldwide, at base exchanges and commissaries throughout the Air Force.
But as we'll see in the next section, it was the Army's Scout Dogs, that became one of the U.S. most valuable tools during the Vietnam War, along with the Air Force's Sentry Dogs!