JBA K9 handlers 'paws' for retirement ceremony

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham
  • 11th Wing Public affairs
Members of Joint Base Andrews gathered to recognize the accomplishments of three military working dogs during a retirement ceremony held here in their honor, May 1.

Sam, Guero, and Besy served approximately seven years each under the care of their handlers at the 11th Security Support Squadron, with the exception of Besy, whose career started at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.

"With a sense of smell 20 times more powerful than a human's, MWD's are a vital asset to Air Force operations and are considered essential for detection of explosives, narcotics, and can be used as attack dogs when necessary," said Tech. Sgt. Manuel Garcia, 11th Security Support Squadron military working dog section training supervisor.

Combined, these MWD's completed more than 31,000 search hours and cleared approximately 297,000 vehicles. Their efforts provided detection capabilities for more than 180 foreign heads of state and dignitaries transitioning through the National Capital Region, and supported more than 100 missions for the Department of State and United States Secret Service.

During the ceremony, all three dogs received the Meritorious Service Medal and were officially retired from service.

"Besy, Guero and Sam have blazed their trail following in the legacy of those canines who have served before them," said Joseph Rector, 11th Security Forces Group director. "They have made Joint Base Andrews a safer place to work and live."

The Military Working Dog Adoption program, enacted by Congress in 2000, allowed adoption of retiring dogs to law enforcement agencies, former handlers, and other persons capable of caring for the dogs. Thanks to this, following the ceremony, the dogs were collected by their new families.