In the Doghouse

A new $250,000 kennel that will be used for the training of Air Force Materiel Command military dog handlers opened earlier this month at Eglin AFB, Fla. The facility, belonging to the base’s 96th Ground Combat Training Squadron, will host AFMC’s Brave Defender training program that teaches handlers to work with the dogs in an expeditionary environment. Previously, AFMC had to use an Air Combat Command regional training center at Creech AFB, Nev., to train its military working dogs and their handlers. The kennel has two instructors and currently is capable of hosting six dogs but that may increase to 10 by the time of the next training class in December. “We’re starting with six as a testbed to make sure the facility functions effectively and is programmed correctly for the course,” said Capt. Ben Jacobson, GCTS commander. Military working dogs continue to make an important contribution to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, supporting base security, and helping to hunt for hidden explosives. Just last month, the Air Force opened a new veterinary hospital on the grounds of Lackland AFB, Tex., to treat and rehabilitate wounded or injured military working dogs. (Eglin report by Lois Walsh)