MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Military working dog handlers from Cherry Point’s Provost Marshal’s Office held a demonstration for a group of spectators, Feb. 26.
Military working dogs and their handlers entertained the Primetimers, a senior citizen social group from New Bern’s Centenary United Methodist Church .
For demonstration, the dogs ran an obstacle course, performed a patrol and displayed basic obedience.
According to Lance Cpl. Luis D. Vallejo, a military working dog handler with PMO, military police officers are constantly training their canine counterparts for any type of situation they may face.
“We train the dogs five-days a week,” Vallejo said. “Half of our training is for garrison and half for deployments to Afghanistan. We train for everything, from vehicle extractions to building searches.”
During the demonstration, PMO dog handler Sgt. Travis J. McConnell spoke about the handlers’ and dogs’ job while Vallejo and his 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, Asia, tackled the obstacle course.
The handlers followed the obstacle course by showcasing the dog’s ability to protect its handler from an attacker. Lance Cpl. Christopher M. Krupa, a dog handler with PMO, donned a protective suit as he imitated an attacker lunging at Cherry Point civilian police officer Michael Copeland. Copeland’s 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, Cchyna, immediately prepared to execute her training. It was not until her handler gave the command that Cchyna attacked the supposed perpetrator, locking her jaws onto the protective suit.
After the display, the police played with the canines, showing that aggressiveness was only part of the dog’s training.
During the demonstration Joe M. Hudson, a retired airmen and spectator expressed his awe during the performance.
“I really liked the demonstration,” Hudson said. “This is the first time I have seen what they do and I am truly glad I came.”
Larry Gilliam, the Primetimers event coordinator, said of the different areas visited during the tour, the working dog demonstration was at the top of his list.
“The working dogs were definitely a number one interest,” Gilliam said. “We are very appreciative of all the military members and their jobs.”
Vallejo explained the demonstrations are not just for putting on a show. There’s also a practical reason for their canine display.
“We demonstrate for units so service members will be confident in the dog’s abilities.” Vallejo said. “It’s amazing what these dogs can do.”