SiteBuider Note: The next five photographs are of two of my K-9's from Hahn AB, West Germany in the sixties; they were part of my history, the Air Forces' and certainly deserve to be part of my K-9 History: The Dogs Of War! website.
The United States MWD Program,Since Vietnam!
Tom Newton and Arras 1, at Hahn AB, West Germany, 1961.
Even before the conflict in Vietnam began to wind down, major changes were starting to occur within the Armed Services back home and overseas, as dog schools, programs and units were deactivated or closed.
Washington, DC, 1968. Feb. - the U.S. DoD announced their Military Working Dog Program and established a Dog Training Center at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas.
Vietnam, 1970. Drug smuggling (ie marijuana and other illegal substances) became a major problem with many of the combat troops returning stateside after their tour as they stashed drugs in their baggage and gear.
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1971. The AF discovered that Military Working Dogs could be used to detect narcotics (marijuana); the first K-9s trained were used to inspect all incoming planes and ships arriving from South Vietnam and the Far East. The new drug detector dogs were very effective, and the program was expanded to include hashish, cocaine and heroin.
Washington, DC, 1971. May 5th - the Department of Defense assigned the US Air Force the procurement rsponsibility for all Military Working Dogs, and K-9 equipment for all of the armed services, plus federal agencies, who elected to take part in the DoD Military Working Dog Program.
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1971. Following the successful use of explosive "sniffer" dogs by the British in Northern Ireland, the USAF 341st TRS adopted a similar program, to help combat the growing terrorist threats of civilian aircraft hijackings, and bomb threats to our military installations worldwide!
Washington, DC, 1973. 170 terrorist attacks of all kinds were recorded worldwide in '73; airline skyjacking (one tourist ship was also hijacked) it seemed was a favor terrorist activity then. Steps were taken to counter act these attacks, by the FAA, FBI and DoD, they included the installation of metal detectors at all airports, and the use of dogs trained to detect explosives and firearms.
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1973. The explosive - firearm detector dogs were all trained at Lackland AFB, Texas, by members of the AF Security Police Dog Training School and turned over to civilain police forces, who employed them at the nation's busy airports.
Hahn AB, W. Germany, 1961. Edo & Me!
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1973. The 341st TRS first graduating class of explosive detector dogs and handlers were all civilain law enforcement officers. (course: 9 weeks)
Washington, DC, 1973. June 3 - The Department of Defense Interservice Training Review Executive Committee announced the decision to officially transfer the MWD Training Program to the US Air Force.
Washington, DC, 1974. January - the USAF was appointed the sole MWD training facilities for all branches of the armed services.
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1974. Airmen Sheila E. Dugan and Richie M. Thompson were the first Security Police women to graduate from the Patrol Dog Handler Course. (course: 12 weeks)
Washington, DC, 1975. with the end of the Vietnam war, the DoD discontinued the use and training of: sentry, scout, mine, tunnel and tracker dogs; it also closed the Army's Scout Dog School at Fort Benning, Georgia (Ft. Gordon Dog School was closed in 1971); the Air Force's oversea school in Wiesbaden, West Germany; along with the training programs, that both the Marines and the US Navy had in place.
That lefted the armed services with only the U.S. Air Force's Security Police Dog Training School, at Lackland and PACAF Military Working Dog Training School, Kadena AB, Okinawa, which was finally closed in the mid 1980s.
Note: PACAF MWD Training School was the US Air Force's former FEAF Sentry Dog Training Center, located at Tachikawa AB and Showa Air Station, Honshu Island, Japan. Originally, it was the USAFs first dog school.
Philippines, 1975. Early November - the Air Force's first all women military working dog demonstration team was formed. The precision team consisted of nine voluntary women dog handlers, from Clark Air Base, who worked off duty.
Lackland AFB, Texas, 1976. - The Air Force started testing smaller breeds for detector tasks, american beagles and cocker spaniels and soon employed a number of these "pint size dogs." Smaller size dogs were desired, as they could search and access tight spaces, where a larger dog, like a german shepherd, wouldn't fit.
Hahn AB 1962. My Attack K-9: Arras 1.
Eighties & Ninties!
Lackland AFB, Texas, Early 1980s. The Air Force started to add Belgian Malinois to their mix of military working dogs; up until that time, the german shepherd was the dominate breed being used, but because of over breeding, there started to be high incidences of hip dysplasia.
Other breeds in the United States Air Force's Kennels were:
The US Air Force also began to experiment once again, with: Dobermans, Bouviers, and Giant Schnauzers (all not used since the 2nd WW) worldwide thru to the early ninties, but for one reason or another found them all unsuitable for military duty!
I doubt today's MWD can jump like this! Hahn's K-9 Section Vintage Photo.
Washington, DC, 1983. September 7th - The U.S. Air Force was appointed by the DoD the single manager for their MWD program for the military and Federal Agencies, who elected to participate in the program, United States allies and civilian police organizations.
In turn, the United States Air Force appointed their 341st TRS, located at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, in charge of the Department of Defense Training Program; the US Army, Navy and Marines maintain a staff of 125 at Lackland's Dog School, representing their various branches and special interests.
In the eighties and the nineties, new training methods were adopted one day and changed the next; new kennel design improvement were made, plus new MWD feeding plans and veterinarian care plans were implemented.
In April 1980, the USAF phased out their Veterinary Corps; by an Act of Congress, the Corp was disestablished, since then, the US Army has provided all medical support to the Armed Service's Military Working Dogs.
During the eighties and especially into the nineties, the key word in the military, was down sizing ...the size of K-9 Sections throughout the armed forces were drastically cut by 60% to 75%, or eliminated entirely as military bases and camps closed down with the end of the Cold War, and much smaller military budgets!
Hahn's AB, West Germany, My Dog Arras 1, far right; and Yes, The
Dog In The Middle Has Sunglasses On, It Was A Real Sunny Day!
Perhaps the biggest change in the U.S. Air Force's MWD program during the late '80s and '90s was the way volunteers entered the MWD program and the qualifications needed to become an handler.
No longer was there a pipeline from basic training, to the SF Academy, to the Patrol Dog Handler's School ...volunteers were hand picked for the duty, from either their first or second base assignment; and must have attained the 3 or 5-level SP AFSC and still had at least 24-months retainability. Supervisor needed a 5 or 7-level AFSC and at least 18-mo. retainability.
In the seventies, the US Air Force alone used over 1600 dogs worldwide. Today the Air Force is responsible for 1,349 DoD dogs worldwide; the AF has approx 579 MWDs in use, the Marine Corp is using 120 dogs, and the remaining balance of 700 MWD is divided between the US Army, Navy and Coast Guard!
The largest single K-9 Sections in today's US Military are:
--- Within The Continental United States ---
Fort Myer, VA., Military Police K-9 Unit
US Army ...with 16 dogs!
Andrews AFB, Md., Security Force K-9
US Air Force ...with 15 dogs!
--- Overseas ---
Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Sicily, Italy
US Navy ...with 17 dogs!
Osam AB, Korea, Security Force K-9
US Air Force ...with 12 dogs!
As a comparsion, before it closed down in the early '90s, Clark Air Base, in the Philippines was using over140 military working dogs, and our own 50th K-9 Section at Hahn AB Germany had 83 dogs in service when the base finally closed in 1991. Amen.
Military Working Dogs are still being used today, by the U.S. Military for "combat operations," such as:
Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989),
Operation Desert Storm (Kuwait, 1991)About eighty US teams were used,French forces used 1,177.
The Gulf War ...91 Days In 1991. USAF
Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti, 1994)
Operation Peace Keepers, Bosnia from 1995 to the present.
And today in Kosovo!