Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Rebecca’s War Dogs of the Week: Lackland AFB hosts DoD K-9 trials

By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent A quick war-dog postcard from the reporting road this week: Lackland Air Force Base is hosting a branch-wide K-9 team seminar and competition for the first time in over a decade. There are 40 incredible teams from all over the country competing — a handful of participants ...

R. Frankel
R. Frankel
R. Frankel

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

A quick war-dog postcard from the reporting road this week: Lackland Air Force Base is hosting a branch-wide K-9 team seminar and competition for the first time in over a decade. There are 40 incredible teams from all over the country competing -- a handful of participants have even traveled in from U.S. bases around the world in countries like Japan and Italy. The competition is three days and consists of a range of obstacles involving patrol and detection work. The winners will be announced this weekend.

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

A quick war-dog postcard from the reporting road this week: Lackland Air Force Base is hosting a branch-wide K-9 team seminar and competition for the first time in over a decade. There are 40 incredible teams from all over the country competing — a handful of participants have even traveled in from U.S. bases around the world in countries like Japan and Italy. The competition is three days and consists of a range of obstacles involving patrol and detection work. The winners will be announced this weekend.

One of the teams competing is:

Staff Sgt. Pascual Gutierrez Jr., U.S. Air Force, and MWD Mack. Sgt. Gutierrez is a native of San Diego, CA and is assigned to the 10th Security Forces Squadron, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. Mack is a patrol/narcotics detection dog and the two have been teamed for one month. 

This is my third time watching Gutierrez work canines and so far, he and Mack are looking good in this competition. In this photo, Mack takes refuge in as much shade as he can find. The veterinary techs stationed at the leg of the competition have just poured cold water on the dog’s back to help keep the dog’s temperature in check. It’s hot and humid out here in San Antonio and not all the dogs are accustomed to the climate. Mack, who has a very gray muzzle, isn’t as old as he looks. But the light whiskers have garnered him a great nickname — other handlers in the competition watching Gutierrez work today starting calling this canine, the "ghost-faced killer."

You can check out a few of the competitors here.

Rebecca Frankel, on leave from her FP desk, is currently writing a book about military working dogs, to be published by Free Press.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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