Sheppard Profile: Military Working Dogs

WICHITA FALLS - Part of the Air Force's enlisted force walk on four feet rather than two.

From dog to airman, the career cycle of these canine service members is long and vigorous and requires a lot of work.

Military working dog trainer, Staff Sgt. Jeffery Alvarez said, "To train a dog to become a military working dog, the process starts over at the 341st training center down at Lackland Air Force Base." 

From there, each dog will go through a 6-month training process and train on a variety of skills including narcotics and explosives, as well as combat techniques to bring human targets to the ground.

Operations officer, Capt. Bryan Duggan added, "Their nose and their scent detection is so much beyond what any of us can do."

Captain Duggan directs all the law enforcement operations on base. He told us,  "What we do is provide a safe environment for them to achieve their mission to get their training and get out to the force to get to the fight." 

Staff Sgt. Alvarez trains each dog and handler to become that perfect dog team, he said, "Every single day, we're training. We train about maybe 3 to 4 days out of the week and it's always running and gunning." 

On a day to day basis, these canines are not just training for their next mission. "They'll go on to patrol," Staff Sgt. Alvarez told us, "They'll conduct various duties, they'll go the gate and do some checks, they'll do law enforcement duties as well." 

"Our number 1 goal as law enforcement is to protect all the people on this installation," Capt. Duggan finished by saying, and that's able to happen, with the help of these handlers and their four-legged team members.

These military working dogs also work closely with our local law enforcement agencies. They conduct joint training with them as well as provide assistance when they need it.

Stay tuned for next weeks Sheppard Profile as we take a look at what happens on base while most airmen are away for the holidays.

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