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By U.S. Army photo/ By STAFF SGT. MATT MEADOWS/Special to the Leader FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq - Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Hazelton (right), a military working dog handler from Sachse, Texas, observes as his dog, Sinda, "attacks" Staff Sgt. Robert Moore, a specialized search dog handler and kennel master from Charleston, W.Va., during aggression training Nov. 12. Hazelton is assigned to the 37th Security Forces Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Moore is assigned to the 217th Military Police Detachment at Fort Lee, Va.; and Sinda is a German Shepherd trained as a patrol explosives MWD
Forward Operation Base Loyalty, Iraq -
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq - Many Soldiers work outside of their military occupational specialties when they deploy to Iraq; but for some who do not, it's a dog's life - or something very close to it.
Although a dog's life is associated with an easy and lazy existence, that's not the life of a military working dog or the military professionals who handle them. They earn their money each and every day.
"We give them as much down time over here as we possibly can, but still, training has to be conducted because it's a diminishing skill," explained Staff Sgt. Robert Moore, a specialized search dog handler and kennel master from Charleston, W.Va. "We try to put them on odors every day so that we can keep them in tune to what they are doing."
Deployed in support of Multi-National Division - Baghdad's 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division units at Forward Operating Bases Loyalty and Rustamiyah, Moore said MWDs and their handlers' schedules vary according to requests from various maneuver units they support.
Therefore, keeping the dogs on a regular schedule doesn't always work out, but he at least tries to feed his dog, Wisky, about the same times every day: once in the morning and once in the evening.
"Everything revolves around what missions need to be done," commented Moore, who is assigned to 217th Military Police Detachment at Fort Lee, Va., and attached to Multi-National Division - Baghdad's 4th Infantry Division Provost Marshal Office while deployed to Baghdad. "We are Soldiers just like everybody else. We have to mold (our schedules)
around missions the way that everybody else does."
Moore has been in the Army for 19 years and has been a SSD handler since 1997. Although he just deployed here Oct. 27, he has previously deployed 10 times and has served in Surinam, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Iraq. He has worked with his canine partner, Wisky, a 2-year-old Weimaraner, since March 2008, when he went to specialized search dog handler school at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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