The unbreakable bond: Remembering Military Working Dog Crock

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jimmy Nguyen
  • | 316th Wing Public Affairs

The 316th Security Support Squadron, joined by base leadership and community members Monday, honored the life and service of Military Working Dog Crock, who passed on March 4 from medical complications after five years of honorable service to the U.S. Air Force.

Assigned to the 316th Security Support Squadron, Crock served a distinguished career supporting national security and defense with his explosive detection and patrol capabilities, and he was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

“We as an institution give so much reverence for the trust that we must maintain between our fellow wingmen, and rightfully so, as the execution of our mission depends upon its integrity,” said U.S. Air Force Major Ryan Chylewski, 316th Security Support Squadron commander. “That trust is just as crucial between our handlers and their dogs, and it forms the core of their bond that, for anyone who has seen these teams operate, is nearly tangible.”

Crock's operational achievements, including 2,874 search hours, 4,495 vehicle inspections and 101 aircraft sweeps, directly supported the safety of the president, vice president, and numerous foreign heads of state and dignitaries transiting through the National Capital Region.

Crock's contributions to explosive detection, antiterrorism measures, and base security during his deployment to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve ensured the safe cargo transportation and the security of joint and coalition forces.

Beyond Crock’s achievements and contributions, he also developed a strong bond with his handlers. This bond is fundamental to their missions and the well-being of the dogs and their human counterparts.

“That bond is what makes this loss so hard, but building of such a bond is what drives many of military work dog handlers,” said Chylewski.

For U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Ryan Harris, Crock’s military working dog handler from October 2020 to August 2021, the experiences he shared when Crock first began his career and during their deployment were a source of motivation.

“He was my hardest working dog. He developed me and exposed me as a handler to want something better. It made us better as a team,” Harris said. “He definitely taught me some things I needed to know to grow as a handler.”

Harris commented that Crock is remembered not only for his vibrancy but also for the loyalty he showed to his handers. Military working dogs are typically able to do what they need to do, regardless of the handler. But for Crock, his devotion was unmatched.

“You had to have a bond, or he would not do anything for anyone,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Katherine Clothier, Crock’s military working dog handler from September 2022 to November 2023. “He had, I would say, one of the strongest emotions to his handlers out of most of these dogs.”

Clothier added that Crock's life is a testament to the skill, trust and loyalty of military working dogs and their handlers. His legacy is a reminder of the contributions of all military working dogs and their handlers to our nation's safety and security.

“Crock emulated what every Military Working Dog has at the root of their heart, which is love for their handler,” Clothier said. ”There will never be a dog like Crock in my life. Thank you for all the memories we shared, Crock. May you rest in peace.”