These Four-Legged Military Heroes Will Soon Have an Award of Their Own

By: Noah Nash, Military Times, 8 August 2018


Senior Airman Ryne Wilson, 99th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, praises Habo during a patrol at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 7, 2017. (Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver/Air Force) 


Military working dogs, the beloved canines who have saved countless of troops on the battlefield, will soon have their own commendation.

The “Guardians of America’s Freedom Medal,” created via legislation introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is the first official Defense Department commendation for military working dogs, the New York Times reported.

Menendez announced the passage of the legislation on Tuesday at the U.S. War Dog memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey. The award, included in the latest defense authorization act, will be official when President Trump signs the NDAA, something he’s expected to do in the coming days.

The legislation will allow each service to establish its own criteria for the award, Menendez said, according to the New York Times. Each service also will design its own version of the award.

“These dogs endure multiple tours of duty. Some come back having lost limbs and others give their lives in service to their teams,” Menendez said, according to the New York Times. “Yet until now the U.S. military did not recognize the incredible service and sacrifice of working dogs and their handlers.”



The military's first official commendation for military working dogs and their handlers is about to become official. The U.S. War Dog memorial in New Jersey is shown here. (Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. War Dog memorial, where Menendez made the announcement, features a bronze statue of a Vietnam War soldier kneeling next to his loyal canine companion. The memorial was built in 2006 next to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 



According to the New York Times, several hundred dogs are currently deployed to the Middle East.

Menendez, who cited the life-saving exploits of several working dogs and their handlers who attended Tuesday’s announcement, said there’s no reason why military dogs should be treated as just equipment or animals.

“If we as a nation can strap a Kevlar vest on Cairo and send him on a mission with SEAL Team 6, or we can deploy dogs like Kira or Khrusty or Rudy to dangerous regions around the world, then I think they deserve more than treats and a pat on the head,” he said.

The new measure is a significant change of pace from the way military dogs were considered at the time of the Vietnam War. According to the New York Times, dogs were often considered to be “equipment” and that many were euthanized or given away to the Vietnamese at the end of their service.

“Honoring [the dogs'] service — as well as their partner — I think is incredibly important. You know, we have lost a lot of dogs along the way who gave their lives ... others have been maimed for life,” the senator said. “At the end of the day, I think it’s the least a grateful nation can do for them and for their handlers.”

Defenders Wanted ... looking for a job?

HEB Security Site Monitor Position Open

HEB has two vacancies and will conduct interviews for others. They are looking for tranisitoning Security Forces types with Personnel Protection training and experience.

Security Site Monitor (2 openings)

Here is the link to the position.

A few things about the position:

  • It’s shift work. We have three shifts – 6a – 2p, 2p – 10p, 10p – 6a. They rotate shifts once a month and need to be able to work all three shifts, work OT, and be on call.
  • This is part of a small team monitoring security cameras (CCTV) for our executive team (several residences and business locations). They are the eyes and ears for the

Executive Protective agents. They monitor the cameras but don’t respond to incidents (the EP agents or SAPD, etc. would be called by the Security Site Monitor to respond).

  • Because of the confidential nature of the role, we cannot have anyone in position with a close friend or relative that currently works for H-E-B.
  • A unique factor that candidates also need to know is that they will not be able to move into other areas of the company after being in this role (sensitive nature of the position) and since the team is so small there are no promotional opportunities.
  • We are looking for someone with a security background, especially if they have experience monitoring CCTVs. A degree is a plus but not required.

 Executive Protection (no active openings but would like to conduct exploratory interviews)

  • Provides armed protection to H-E-B executive (driving, close protection duties)
  • They travel to events with their protectee and may be away up to 2 weeks at a time
  • Should be humble, intelligent, adaptable, well-spoken, well-groomed in appearance, and confidential
  • Must have several years of direct EP level experience with a high value client, well trained
  • We are looking for someone who wants to stay in position for several years
  • They cannot have relatives or close friends currently with H-E-B



Centerra Los Alamos

Position Title:                        CAS/CUAS Supervisor

Department:                          PF Operations

Hourly Wage Range           $38.79


This supervisory position is responsible for directing and controlling the Central Alarm Station (CAS) operations and supervising CAS personnel. It provides day to day

supervision and direction to CAS and SAS operators during routine operations and during any required security and/or emergency response operations. This position identifies CAS staffing needs and develops staffing analysis reports. In addition, this position has direct oversight and accountability for Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) Operations, including monitoring, detection, identification, tracking and neutralization of unauthorized UAS activity within LANL’s restricted air space. It provides direction to other area PF supervisors regarding the use of secondary CUAS systems.

Communicates with Emergency Management and Response (EM&R) in regards to a UAS situation and the compensatory measures required after employment of CUAS measures, including the initiation and coordination of render-safe operations for downed platforms.


  1. Associates degree or four (4) years’ experience in security or related field.
  2. Minimum two years Protective Force security experience with Department of Energy armed security operations.
  3. Demonstrated tactical leadership, oversight and supervisory skills and knowledge of security practices.
  4. Ability to speak and write in a grammatically correct, professional, effective manner, drafting correspondence, proofreading text, coordinating the work of others, preparing reports.
  5. Supervisory skills to include leading personnel, directing work assignments and tactical responses, planning, organizing, scheduling, team building, problem solving, conflict resolution, and directing activities of assigned employees.
  6. Must be able to react, provide direction, leadership and support under any type of emergency conditions.
  7. Intermediate-level computer skills that include all the Microsoft Office Suite of software.
  8. Required to successfully complete Site Specific Training Programs, OJT and maintain proficiency.
  9. Currently have or be able to obtain and maintain a Department of Energy (DOE) Q

-Clearance and be certified/volunteer for the Human Reliability Program (HRP).

  1. Ability to obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license.
  2. Successfully complete site specific CAS/ CUAS training course and certification designed to provide the minimum level of skills and knowledge needed to competently perform all tasks associated with job responsibilities.
  3. Must be available to work extended hours (day and night).
  4. Must be able to work in remote and austere environments.


  1. Certification as a CUAS operator with neutralization authority and Certification as a UAS pilot/pilot in command; prior military experience as UAS operator (Army MOS 15W/Air Force MOSC 1U0X1).
  2. Central Alarm Station Supervisory experience.
  3. Knowledge of and experience with early detection and alarm systems, and/or closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring systems.

NOTE: (Internal Applicants) Discipline on file does not disqualify an applicant.

However, discipline on file will be taken into consideration as part of the hiring process.


INTERNAL APPLICANTS: Internal applicants who are qualified and interested

MUST submit a resume and cover letter describing in detail how your experience meets the minimum and additional desired position qualifications. Internal applicants are not required to submit a new employment application. Email your resume and cover letter by the close date to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EXTERNAL APPLICANTS: External applicants who are qualified and interested

MUST complete both of the outlined steps below.

  1. Complete the online application process for this position by visiting the following link:

  • Select—“Jobs at Centerra!” Search by: Los Alamos
  1. Submit a cover letter describing in detail how your experience meets the minimum and additional desired position qualifications. Email your cover letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 POSITION CLOSE DATE: Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 5:00PM (MST) Contact Brandy at 505-665-7521 if you have any questions regarding this posting.

Benchmark! Way to go McConnell!

Kudos to Maj Gen Sharpy and the AMC leadership team for what Chief Hartz just witnessed at McConnell AFB. Her visit was intended to assist the unit with transitioning to our new shift schedule, predicated upon 8-hours of armed duty, protected time off, and scheduled reconstitution time. It turns out not only do they not need our help (they transitioned without our presumed manpower assist) they have essentially checked the box on every Reconstitute Defender Initiative we have which involves their mission set.

They accomplished this because of the support of their Wing leadership and in the words of their Defense Force Commander, Major John Farmer, "it just takes hard work and not pushing the easy button." Their Security Forces Manager, Chief Rebecca McNelley, is leading the charge and has her Defenders motivated to generate airpower.

For those who may think McConnell is a sleepy hollow, I don't believe such a thing exists in our Air Force -- this unit made it happen in the midst of working KC-46 bed down, an open house air show, an aggressive MAJCOM and Wing exercise schedule, and the need to relocate squadron facilities (the photo of the wood pile is what they are reclaiming and turning into unit farewell plaques through self- help). Everyone has a full plate.


 1st Leaders Led Trainer

 Automated Fingerprint Training

 Total Force Integration Training







Reconstitute Defender Initiative in Action!

  • New Shift Schedule - 8 hours armed
    • MSgts leading/coaching/mentoring as Flight Chiefs
    • Reconstitution Time Built into Schedule
    • Protected Time Off
    • Surge Capability
  • Leader Led Trainers deliver training on-duty
  • Firearms simulator in use—Milo system
  • Sending Defenders to Tiered Training
  • Expended 75% of ammo, requested/received more for sustainment firing
  • Enhancing Installation Access Control Points to eliminate perimeter breaches
  • Culture and history—prideful unit
  • Team of teams—UDM initiative benchmark 

Root Canal Gets Canine Warrior’s Bite Back

By: Daisy Grant, The Journal Record , Tinker Take Off, 5 July 2018

Kevan Goff-Parker, Staff Writer


One of Tinker Air Force Base’s 72nd Security Forces Squadron K9 team members, Aruba, a German shepherd, age 4, recently suffered a chipped tooth during a Military Working Dog demonstration after he was commanded to attack a man wearing a bite suit on May 29.



Military Working Dog Aruba, a four-year-old German shepherd, relaxes outside of the surgery suite in the vet clinic before his procedure to have a new crown fitted to one of his canine teeth. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)



Aruba’s handler, Airman 1st Class Marco Arroyo, said he and Aruba were doing bite work on controlled aggression training when one of his dog’s canine teeth broke off. Despite his injury, Aruba kept working.


“I heard a break, like a stick snapping, and saw his tooth fly in the air, but he didn’t give up,” Arroyo said. “I had to take him off because he was still biting. He’s one of the youngest dogs, very energetic and hungry to learn, but I was very concerned.”


Fortunately, Veterinarian Dr. Heather Cameron was in the audience along with visiting U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sidney M. Cobb Jr. Once Arroyo saw that his MWD’s tooth was bleeding, they immediately took Aruba to the vet clinic so Cameron could examine him. She provided pain management to make him comfortable for the night, and took X-ray images the next day.


Upon examining the X-rays, Cameron discovered Aruba needed a root canal. She then called U.S. Air Force Comprehensive Dentist Maj. (Dr.) Heather Brooks with the 72nd Dental Squadron, to see if she was interested in performing the procedure


“We don’t usually do root canals or crowns, but we discovered we could save a good chunk of the root — the actual part of the tooth that sits on the gum line,” Cameron said. “That’s always a better option for a Military Working Dog because it helps him maintain that bone as he ages, and Aruba’s only 4 and has a good, long working life ahead of him in the future. We’ve worked with Maj. Brooks and the 72nd Dental Squadron before and they’ve been very helpful and willing to help us out.








Airman 1st Class Marco Arroyo comforts a 72nd Security Forces Squadron K9 team member Aruba before his root canal. (U.S. Air Force photo/Amy Schiess)



“Dr. Brooks has a lot more experience on root canals than I do because they do them every day. The last one I did was four years ago, so if she was willing to do it, I’d rather have that quality of care for my Military Working Dogs.”


Brooks said she was thrilled to have the opportunity. She had actually saved a lecture she had heard five years before about performing root canals on the military’s canine warriors.


“It’s a good thing I’m a hoarder,” Brooks said, laughing. “I kept all those lectures. The irony was, I was briefed during my first residency at Travis Air Force Base and you never know you might get the opportunity to do this. I really studied up!”


Brooks said the biggest difference between dog and human teeth is that dog’s teeth, especially canine teeth, are significantly longer and the curvature is different. Cameron, Brooks and both vet clinic and 72nd DS staff assisted with the root canal. Aruba received a kiss from Arroyo, then anesthesia and Brooks got busy. The operation lasted more than two hours.


“Aruba had a deep break, so we had to do a little bit of dental heroics,” Brooks said. “We don’t have dental trays for dogs, so we created an impression tray and made a putty mold of his teeth. Aruba’s canine teeth are huge at 3.5 centimeters long, so we had some MacGyver moments, because while they had some of the equipment we needed, human dental instruments aren’t large enough for a dog’s tooth.


“In a perfect world I would have post drills for dogs, but we just had human drills so we did the best we could. We took out the nerve, cleaned it out and disinfected the tooth, put the filler in and sealed it and irrigated the area.”



Maj. (Dr.) Heather Brooks and Airman 1st Class Eliza Patton, with the 72nd Dental Squadron, along with Dr. Heather Cameron, Tinker veterinarian, work together to prepare MWD Aruba’s tooth for his new crown. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Because of the way Aruba’s tooth broke, Brooks decided to create a crown with a post, primarily because she didn’t want the dog to be sedated three times. On June 18, the team reconvened and inserted Aruba’s new crown. It is silver and made of high noble metal alloy.


Brooks described Aruba as “adorable” and said she enjoyed watching him do laps with Arroyo. She and the team also took photos of Aruba and his handler.


Arroyo said he found the root canal process interesting and felt confident that Aruba was in good hands.


“It was cool watching the root canal and going through the process and learning how everything works,” he said. “It was pretty exciting and the best thing I got out of that was when he woke up and was fine. It felt nice seeing him getting fixed up like that because he’s like my child.”


Arroyo said on June 26 that Aruba is doing great after his follow-up visit.


“He’s ready to rock and roll, he’s good to bite and to get back to work,” he said


Deputy Director's Introduction ...

By Heidi Scheppers


Defenders -- I am honored to be back with the Defender team as your Deputy Director of Security Forces. I was humbled when Brig Gen Tullos selected me -- sometimes you don’t appreciate the value or worth of something until it’s gone. I am rejoining the team after 14 years serving in other services, agencies and learning about warfighting of other domains, I’ve missed our Defender spirit and tenacity. This is an exciting time for Security Forces and big changes are a foot. The Reconstitute Defenders Initiative is in full swing with Brig Gen Tullos and Chief Hartz leading the way. This plan restores readiness, revitalizes the Security Forces organizations at all levels and builds a more lethal force. The enterprise-wide effort is aimed at aggressively delivering Security Forces capable of protecting, defending and fighting to enable Air Force, Joint, and Coalition missions across the full-spectrum of operating environments. The Reconstitute Defender Initiative is a huge undertaking and enormous changes have already been made in training, weapons modernization and equipment.

Over the past 14 years, I have been immersed in the world of program management focused on capability and cyberspace platform development and building the human capital framework to support the mission. I am going to take this knowledge and experience, focus on closing the Security Forces technology gap and help move Brig Gen Tullos’ Reconstitute Defenders Initiative forward. I’ll share a few things we are working on.

First up, if you didn’t know, we are in the process of fielding digital fingerprinting Air Force-wide with an estimated completion date of October 2018. The fielding is in lock-step with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and our Army counterparts. Digital fingerprinting is one piece of a larger Integrated Defense infrastructure we are developing as an Air Force and Sister Service community. New capabilities are under development in biometrics and evidence accountability, criminal case management and confinement systems along with a global blotter initiative that will allow for trend analysis, compliance checks and hopefully negate the need for last-minute data calls. We are leveraging what has already been modernized, built, fielded and tested by our sister services and our data will be shared and integrated with our service and Air Force Office of Special Investigation teammates. Our squadrons are our Air Force’s essential fighting force and the technological burden cannot add to the manpower burden, it must empower the squadron to accomplish the mission. Deliberate actions are being taken to ensure all technological advances will translate into making our squadrons more effective.

For our Department of the Air Force Security Forces civilians, I am working with our career field teams to develop a career path allowing for advancement and growth within the Security Forces and the larger Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection community. We need our civilian Defenders to provide continuity and fill the gaps created by resource constraints and deployments. We are looking at how you can grow from an entry-level Security Police GS-5 to an Air Force Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection GS-15, providing the training, education and experience required to meet our Security Forces mission and your professional goals.

The future is awesome! I am so excited to talk with all of you and hopefully get to see you at this year’s AFSFA National Meeting in Sacramento, California. I understand this is a great time and an opportunity for all of us to honor our heritage, learn from Defender trail blazers and chart the best path forward for our Airmen.

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Join Us.

32nd National Meeting
Sacramento, CA
23-26 August 2018

Room Cutoff 28 July 2018!!!

Holiday Inn Downtown
300 J Street Sacramento, CA
1-800-HOLIDAY (465-4329)
Request Group Code AAF
AFSFA reservations link

Visitors Bureau

33rd National Meeting
San Antonio, TX
26-29 September 2019