USAFA’s Top Dogs on Duty

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COLORADO SPRINGS – The 10th Security Forces Squadron works to protect the United States Air Force Academy cadets as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors that attend special events.

It is made up of man and man’s best friend.

FOX21’s Lauren McDonald got a chance to catch up with some of the four-legged crew ahead of Friday’s big game.

“We do law enforcement and security operations throughout the base, pretty much as a force multiplier,” MWD Kennel Master TSGT Dustin Braddy said. “We help out with any responses that need dog teams. We have patrol capabilities and also explosive and narcotic detection capabilities.”

The Academy dogs come from the 341 training squadron at Lackland Air Force Base. During a certification process, they’re trained by their handlers to protect and secure.

“It takes time, the dog has to have that knowledge to perform a task and the dog once they understand the task they perform it very well,” Braddy explained. “These dogs have to be smart to perform the variety of tasks we ask of them. They have to recognize multiple commands. They absolutely have to be the best of the best of the best to make it through obedience and all that.”

The obstacle courses represent real-world challenges and K-9 obedience can be the difference in stopping an aggressor in a way that humans can’t.

Oddessa is the only female dog on the force and a bit smaller in size compared to her coworkers but still packs a mean punch.

“If somebody sees a police dog, they know we kind of mean business,” Braddy said. “We are a show of force, hopefully in a way that we can de-escalate a situation if need be. People see a police dog, a police animal and ya know they kind of start thinking twice about stuff that they may be doing.”

Breed and athleticism are all important qualities of a military working dog but each four-legged airman has a trait that genetics can’t guarantee. The courageous companions are highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and invaluable members of the fighting force.

“We want a personality within a dog that has a drive to work, a drive to make their handler happy and do the task that is required to get the mission completed,” Braddy added. “You can build that bond with them and get them to do things that you wouldn’t expect any dog to be able to do. You spend all that time with them, you become best friends with them, it’s a strong bond.”

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