ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England —
With a top running speed over 30 mph, a bite force over 200 pounds and a sense of smell 40 times more sensitive than a human’s, the military working dogs of the 48th Security Forces Squadron here are not to be messed with.
Military working dog teams perform an array of jobs in support of the wing’s mission. Their hard work demonstrates the dogs’ value and necessity, and ensures security, detection and threat deterrent capabilities are always available.
‘The Dogs Are Psychological Deterrents’
“The dogs are psychological deterrents,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Hayes, 48th SFS kennel master. “You can take the fastest person and they won’t be able to outrun these dogs. They are very crucial to protecting the mission we have here.”
K-9 units execute the mission of security in a multitude of ways, using two types of specialized dogs, those trained to detect explosives and others to find drugs.
“Bomb dogs are used every single day on base,” Hayes said. “You may not see them, but they are used to search vehicles coming through the gates. Narcotics dogs are used to search the postal facilities to make sure nothing illegal is coming in, as well as for health and welfare checks in the dorms.”
Working Dogs Have Many Skills, Responsibilities
When they aren’t out apprehending bad guys, the dog handlers have plenty of other responsibilities, such as their dog’s medical care, hygiene and daily exercise. Daily training of the dogs ensures their skills remain sharp, whether it’s detection or bite training.
“I enjoy watching not only their progression but [also] my own,” said Air Force Senior Airman Alexis Priest, 48th SFS dog handler.
The military working dog teams keep the security of the base intact, and help ensure the F-15 Eagle aircraft based here continue to deliver combat airpower wherever and whenever needed.