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Special Report--

War Dogs

347th Security Forces Ssgt. Christopher Jones and "Robby." 347th Security Forces Ssgt. Christopher Jones and "Robby."
347th Security Forces Ssgt. Joseph Boyce and "Satan." 347th Security Forces Ssgt. Joseph Boyce and "Satan."

November 10, 2005

Lowndes County-- They go through intense training to learn how to protect military bases on the home front and overseas. They're willing to go head to head with the enemy and sometimes give the ultimate sacrifice.

We're not talking about the men and women of the U. S. military but about military dogs.

He's man's best friend, but with one simple command, he turns into the enemy's worst nightmare. "It's a very intimate relationship," said Ssgt. Joseph Boyce. "He's very obedient, but he's very protective at the same time."

This K-9 is an integral part of Moody Air Force Base's 347th Security Forces Squadron. The unit is made up of a combination of airmen and dogs, who form a perfect partnership for U.S. defense.

"They're a force multiplier, they allow us to do our jobs with less people and do the jobs more effectively," said Tsgt. Michael Gouge.

The training starts when the dogs are about a year old. Daily exercises like this obstacle course help teach them obedience. "You want to do something and keep working it until they do it they way you want it, and then when they do it right, you praise them," said Ssgt. Christopher Jones.

They also learn maneuverability, how to detect explosives, or anything else that doesn't belong on base. "The dog's sense of smell is about 100 times greater than a human being's sense of smell," said Boyce.

No matter how well it's disguised, or what hidden scents it may be masked with, the dogs will find it. "When we walk into Burger King or something like that we smell a hamburger, where he'll smell the hamburger, the bun, the lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mayo," said Boyce.

The training the K-9's go through is very intense, they're out here practicing every day with their handlers. But even more important than repetition is the relationship the dogs develop with their handler. "The better the relationship between the dog and the handler, the better that dog is going to perform, and the longer the handler is with the dog, the better he'll perform," said Tsgt. Michael Gouge.

So when is their training actually put into action? The dogs are used daily for base defense here on the home front. "They basically protect the base populas and protect the base itself," said Boyce. "If someone was to come after me in a traffic stop, he would come out of the vehicle and go after the suspect."

Many are deployed overseas now, helping fight the War on Terror. "As you know IED and vehicle explosive devices are something the enemy is using right now and we use the dogs to help us try and find those things and prevent the enemy from harming us," said Gouge.

"If somebody was say 50 to 100 yards off, he could detect an ambush that was about ready to happen and alert us," said Boyce.

They wear a badge of honor just like the men and women of the Air Force, and can even receive medals of distinction for their service. "Some dogs have been given certain types of awards, just for their service to not only their handler, but to the branch of service they serve as well," said Boyce.

They're war dogs, real American heroes, willing to put themselves in the line of fire for others. "Ever since the Vietnam War, they've been responsible for saving hundreds, maybe thousands of lives in combat," said Boyce.

Defending our freedom, and our loved ones overseas so they can all come home to us safely.

No K-9's from Moody's 347th Security Forces are deployed right now, but several likely will be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq soon.

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