Airmen, canines work paw-in-hand

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christina A. Rios
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

There are many reasons why members of the Department of Defense choose to put on the uniform and live a life of service to their country. For some, it’s due to the many unique professional opportunities that the DoD offers.

This is no different for the military working dog handlers from the 2nd Security Forces Squadron.

“We get to have one of the most unique relationships in the military by working with a dog,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Crouse, 2nd SFS military working dog trainer. “Especially when you deploy downrange, it’s a totally different experience because you get to build an even greater bond with them after spending 24 hours a day together. I think that sums up why people love this job so much. Plus, the actual work and training is really fun.”

The 2nd SFS MWD unit, a team of eight Airmen and five canines, are responsible for defending Barksdale Air Force Base and the 15,000 personnel that work and reside on the installation.

In addition to this, between a property value of $2.2 billion, a weapon system value of $3.2 billion and a capital asset value of $2.4 billion, the security provided by the 2nd SFS MWD unit, protects roughly $7.8 billion worth of assets.

This is made possible by having both narcotic and explosive detection working dogs at the unit.

“Generally every day is different for our MWD teams,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Baker, 2nd SFS MWD trainer. “In between doing their daily required tasks as security forces patrolmen, our teams are also knocking out training, which can vary anywhere from an hour to several hours long, depending on the type of aggression or substance.”

The bond between canine and handler is essential to achieving mission success. Each handler devotes countless hours towards building trust between themselves and their partner, especially in the beginning stage of their working relationship.

“We dedicate a solid couple of weeks, at least, to allow the military working dog and handler to begin establishing a rapport,” Baker said. “This bond is extremely important to the team dynamic, because as mentioned before, it allows for trust to be built. With the mission that we have, our lives depend fully on trusting our dogs capabilities as well as ensuring that our dogs completely trust us.”

Whether the Airmen and canine’s from the 2nd SFS MWD unit are safeguarding the installation or deploying downrange, they work side-by-side to defend and protect.