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MWD find what you fear

  • Published
  • By Chris Willis
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
On a quiet mid-April night while most members of Team Malmstrom are home sleeping, the Airmen of the 341st Security Forces Squadron military working dog section are out patrolling cars and buildings searching for any possible threats.  Even the base headquarters, which is usually filled with workers, appears to be empty.  For the canine this is ideal, with fewer distractions he executes his training and demonstrates his amazing capabilities.

Tech. Sgt. Robert Calhoun, 341st SFS military working dog trainer, believes night training missions throw in a lot of different scenarios and are important, not just for the dog but for the handler too.

"That fact that it's a night training mission makes it hard for the handler to see," he said. "The dog has the basic senses; hearing, seeing and smells but their eye sight is much better than the handler at night."

The training also helps handlers get into the mindset that this could be a real-world threat one day, and aided in a certification for Staff Sgt. David Nierzwicki, 341st SFS MWD handler.

"Tonight was part of my validation with the kennel master, as he made sure I was proficient and reliable," Nierzwicki said.  "He also observed how well me and my dog work together."

The military working dog isn't just a dog to their handlers but more like a partner. That bond is important just for the fact they could both be in harm's way. 

"The bond between the dog and his handlers is indescribable," Calhoun said.  "The dog relies on you to take care of him and we rely on the dog to take care of us."

Nierzwicki believes the previous night's training helped to bring the handler and dog closer.

"One of our training techniques called the 'blank problem' is to have the dog search for a possible threat, but not place any training aids," Calhoun said.  "This makes the dog do his job without always being rewarded but more on getting praise from the handler."

Whether training at night or during the day, military working dogs and their handlers serve a vital role in today's military.

"We are another tool in the tool box for the military police, most people respect the badge but everyone respects the dog," Calhoun said.