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380AEW Article

ADAB Military Working Dogs perform in capability demonstration

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nieko Carzis
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing
U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog handlers and their K-9 counterparts provided a live demonstration highlighting the capabilities of the military working dogs team at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Oct. 7. 


The speed, agility, and discipline of the working dogs were on display as their handlers performed simulated training scenarios that replicate real-world encounters the military working dogs and their handlers’ experience. 

The scenarios included the MWD’s escorting simulated potential suspects, played by handlers, as they chased and apprehended their fleeing targets on the command of handlers. 

Demonstration highlights t drew excited reactions from the crowd in attendance. Military working dog, Tuka, apprehended a suspect from his motor vehicle by jumping through the car window and dragging the suspect through an ajar car door. 

Members of the audience cheered in applause as MWD Max demonstrated great discipline as he resisted the urge to bite his target after running from a far distance and stopping within inches of his objective upon hearing the command to halt from his trainer, Staff Sgt. Carmen Pontello.

“This demo is the result of many hours of challenging and purposeful training between the military working dogs and their handlers,” said Staff. Sgt. Jeffrie Kennedy. “Their training and hard work has forged their opportunity to work in the U.S. Air Force as military working dogs and handlers. I’m truly proud of this team and their capability performed within this demonstration as they show what we bring to the fight and our team enjoys getting the chance to demonstrate our capability.” 

Those in attendance were also given the opportunity to participate in the demonstration as volunteers. Audience members were given the chance to don a red protective jacket the military working dog handlers wear during bite training scenarios. 

Capt. James Hedgepeth, a volunteer in attendance who participated during one of the bite training scenarios, spoke to his experience of participating in the demonstration.

“I had a blast putting on the bite suit and get a chance to feel what it would be like to engage the dogs face-to-face,” said Hedgepeth. “I knew the dogs were strong, but I was not expecting how hard they bite. Even through the giant suit, I could still feel the power of the bite through the dog’s jaws. They are truly incredible.” 

After the demonstration, the handlers provided an opportunity for the audience to ask questions about the working dogs and provided tips to help them better train their pets at home using some of the techniques the handlers use to train the working dogs. Many stayed after to get a chance to talk to the team and share their excitement of what they witnessed.

 Among those in the crowd, Brig. Gen. Adrian Spain, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, was impressed with the capabilities of the working dogs. 
“The K-9 exhibition, led by Staff Sgt. Kennedy, was outstanding and displayed everything we preach to our folks.  Pride-Teamwork-Core Values, this demo was a testament to all three. This team is an integral part of our ability to protect and defend our people and mission here. It was awesome for the rest of the base to be able to see them in action,” said Spain.