Dog handlers provide additional layer of protection

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

“Hands-down, being a dog handler is the best job in the Air Force,” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Gill, 90th Security Forces Squadron kennel master.


The military working dogs on base serve a vital purpose in the active defense of the instillation and those who serve within its confines.


“Our job is important, because our dogs provide a capability humans simply cannot," said Senior Airman Michael Pigg, 90th SFS military working dog handler. “You can’t just tell someone to go look for something and expect them to find it on a vehicle, especially if it’s well-hidden. The dog is sp0ecifically trained to find explosives or narcotics with their sense of smell,” said “They are always working, ready to find that scent. It’s a good capability to have a military working dog on base.”


The dogs are used in multiple force protection measures throughout base to include perimeter walks, vehicle inspections at entry gates and deterring potential adversaries.


“If people see a dog, they don’t want to do harm or they are less likely to run,” Gill said. “A big part of their job is psychological deterrence against those that would want to do harm to the base and those on it.”


Besides having the dog as a partner, the Airmen are normal security forces members serving the base as any other member of their squadron. Responsible for base security, military working dog patrols conduct routine walk-throughs and searches.  


“We are a police unit so we do everything that normal security forces do, patrolling the streets. As a canine unit our job is to read our dog on their different behaviors when we are working together,” Pigg said. “We are protecting all our resources here using the dog’s capabilities.”


Each dog has their own specialties when it comes to detecting either explosives or narcotics, but that’s not all that’s different about them.


“Every dog has their own personality. Some dogs don’t like it when you talk to them a certain way, other dogs are a lot more social so they love just being petted,” Pigg said. A big part of the handler’s job is learning the dog’s different personalities.”


Pigg explained, that it is possible for the MWD handlers to create a good connection with the dogs, it just depends on how long you work with them.  


The dogs and their handlers are constantly training and fulfilling their requirement to perform their duties. More specialized training is being pursued in order for the dogs to be more prepared for the deployed environment.


“We have been doing training with the helicopter units on base, going on missions, getting the dogs familiar with the loud helicopter noise and the environment,” Gill said. “We are working toward actually hoisting the dog and handler together up to a helicopter so if we were to ever deploy these guys would be ready.”


Gill adds that the MWD handlers are ready to fulfil their mission. All the dogs and handlers receive efficient training so the handlers know what to do and can execute their duties in any situation.