Dax .

Stripes Okinawa

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Wing is home to a world-class combat team ready to fight and win from the Keystone of the Pacific: the 18th Security Forces Squadron military working dogs.

Working not only alongside their canine companions, the 18th SFS MWD section works and train together with local nationals who help make up their unit, as well as a U.S. Marine Corps military working dog unit at their facility on base.

"Here at the 18th Wing military working dogs we provide a physiological deterrence for anyone trying to gain access to the base without authorization or the intent of use of explosives or drug contraband," said Tech. Sgt. David Aenchbacher, 18th SFS MWD section kennel master.

The MWD and handler work as a team. Partners are assigned by a kennel master who matches each handler with a dog based on personality, age and other characteristics. Housed in kennels, the dogs are trained, fed and spend majority of their time alongside their handler who cares for them.

"As a military working dog handler we search buildings, perform scouts, provide gate presence and conduct road patrols, but the biggest part of our job is to training and caring for our dog," said Staff Sgt. Jason Allaire 18th SFS MWD handler.

Dax, a 3-year-old, 89-pound German Shepard, is one of several K-9s assigned to the wing, and is Allaire's partner. Fairly new and considered a "green dog," Dax is still learning. He continues to train and learn how to complete his mission by working on his obedience, apprehension, detection, patrol and search skills.

From the day they are born and until the day they leave the service, MWDs undergo a stringent training regime. Everyday training for an MWD such as Dax, includes detection training: ensuring the K-9 is familiar with odors and respond correctly;  and obedience training: following commands such as "sit" and "stay" while on patrol, a run through an obstacle course, building and vehicle searches, and training on being a deterrence by guarding the installation gates. Military working dogs can be certified on nine different explosives odors and seven different narcotics to help the base stay safe and prevent potential attacks on the installation.

"We want to stay vigilante," Aenchbacher said. "We want to keep the K-9 as accurate and proficient as possible." Working together as a team, the K-9's senses and handler's eyes and voice form the bond to complete the mission.

By maintaining a good relationship, and training on a daily basis, the military working dogs showcase they are ready to fight and win.

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