72.6 F
Clarksville
Monday, October 3, 2022
HomeNewsFort Campbell Soldiers help out teammate with retirement

Fort Campbell Soldiers help out teammate with retirement

Written by Sgt. Leejay Lockhart
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

101st Sustainment Brigade - LifelinersFort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – Like most weekdays, loud voices and shouting rang through the early morning air at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. However, this morning was different.

It wasn’t just the incredibly thick gray fog clinging to the dewy grass that made it different. Nor was it the unusually large numbers of Soldiers conducting conditioning foot marches on A Shau Valley Road that made it unusual.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rose, the kennel master for the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, supported by the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, gives instruction to Pfc. Jared Bridges, a dog handler also with the 510th MP Det., during a retirement assessment for Arno, a military working dog, Sept. 4 at Fort Campbell, Ky.  (Sgt. Leejay Lockhart)
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rose, the kennel master for the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, supported by the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, gives instruction to Pfc. Jared Bridges, a dog handler also with the 510th MP Det., during a retirement assessment for Arno, a military working dog, Sept. 4 at Fort Campbell, Ky. (Sgt. Leejay Lockhart)

What made this morning different was that much of the noise was coming from two Soldiers wearing civilian attire, loudly arguing over a dog.

The argument continued to grow louder then the aggressor started getting physical by pushing and shoving the Soldier holding the leash.

Close by, two members of the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, supported by the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, watched intently and one even made a video of the entire altercation.

While the shoving and shouting continued, Arno, the veteran military working dog, tried to insert himself between his handler and the female aggressor, with no result. Then with a word, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rose, the kennel master for the 510th MP Det., ended the fracas.

Rose then checked to ensure Sgt. Michael Holmes, a dog handler also with the 510th MP Det., had properly documented the both the verbal altercation and the shoving episode.

Arno, a military working dog with the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, supported by the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and two dog handlers also from the 510th MP Det., Spc. Samantha Ramirez (left) and Pfc. Jared Bridges (right) perform a scenario to determine his aggressiveness Sept. 4, at Fort Campbell, Ky. The two Soldiers and Arno ran several scenarios recorded for the veterinarian who would make an assessment of Arno's suitability for adoption after he retires. (Sgt. Leejay Lockhart)
Arno, a military working dog with the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, supported by the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and two dog handlers also from the 510th MP Det., Spc. Samantha Ramirez (left) and Pfc. Jared Bridges (right) perform a scenario to determine his aggressiveness Sept. 4, at Fort Campbell, Ky. The two Soldiers and Arno ran several scenarios recorded for the veterinarian who would make an assessment of Arno’s suitability for adoption after he retires. (Sgt. Leejay Lockhart)

“Today we’re doing a disposition video for MWD [military working dog] Arno, who has lymphoma cancer, so he’s on his way out the door to retirement,” said Rose, a native of Massena, New York. “Once we’ve done this video, we’ll turn it over to the vet … and he’ll do an assessment on the video plus the rest of the documents in the packet.”

The packet includes recommendations from the kennel master and the commander in charge of the military working dog detachment along with the video and reports from the dog’s veterinarian, which goes to the vet’s supervisor who determines if Arno is a candidate for adoption or not, said Rose.

“When a dog retires many of the Soldiers who work with them find it touches them on a personal level,” said Rose.

“They’re more than just dogs. They are also other Soldiers and also military policemen as we look at them,” said Rose. “So we don’t look at them as just a piece of equipment. They are a living, breathing thing. Plus, you get bonded with these dogs. Even for me in my position, I don’t get to train with the dogs every day, but I’m still around them every day. … So it’s like seeing a Soldier retire or ETS [expiration of time in service]. You don’t want to see that Soldier go.”

Though these canine Soldiers aren’t treated like equipment, they perform like fine-tuned machines in a job where even machines fall short.

“Arno was a great dog,” said Rose. “From my time here for the past two years, he had approximately six or seven finds of illegal narcotics between spice and marijuana. It helped really curb the amount of illegal drugs coming onto this post.”

Rose described the dog handler and his dog as a potent force on both the battlefield and in garrison.

“We are an enabler,” said Rose. “So we provide a searching asset that once again cannot be replicated by man nor machine.”

The quarrel’s instigator, Spc. Samantha Ramirez, had walked across the misty field, while the person holding Arno’s leash, Pfc. Jared Bridges, both dog handlers with the 510th MP Det., calmed Arno. Although the dispute seemed heated, it was actually a carefully planned portion of the video.

“It’s kind of hard to come up on the spot with what to say,” said Bridges, a native of Manassas, Virginia, about the argument. “So usually we just say your dog pooped on my yard and we just go back and forth from there.”

Once the video starts, they cannot quit until they have reached the allotted time without pausing or stopping the video. Otherwise, they have to start over and do the segment again.

Moments later, after Ramirez, a native of Fort Knox, Kentucky, donned a large padded arm protector called an aggression sleeve, the team started making their next portion of the video. Bridges released Arno, and directed him to attack the sleeve.

It took only seconds for the muscular dog to cover the distance between the two Soldiers and for Arno to forcefully leap and attack the sleeve on Ramirez’s arm.

Though, for everyone’s safety, Arno wore a muzzle throughout the assessment. Until Bridges ordered Arno back to his side, the dog showed no mercy. Then the dog, which had spent most of his life training, quickly obeyed.

“Once they do start training at 6 months old, they have 120 days to certify them as a dual purpose dog,” said Rose. “That is the patrol requirement, which is to bite and hold, and also the detection whether it be narcotics or explosives. Once they certify from that then they get shipped out to us.”

“They have tons of capabilities,” said Bridges. Just having a dog on the scene of a crime causes people to comply.

“If I show up on the scene of a domestic [disturbance report] or anything like that, usually some people just stop and say ‘arrest me. I didn’t do it,’ or ‘I did it. I give up.’”

The final scene for the video was of Arno being ordered to attack the aggression sleeve, which was now on the ground a few feet from Ramirez. According to the handlers, occasionally an aggressive dog would still lunge at the handler and not the equipment. Arno bolted for the sleeve and showed no aggression to Ramirez.

Arno did well during the scenario because he wasn’t aggressive toward people; he was aggressive toward the equipment, said Rose.

“He was more going towards the wrap as we call it; the aggression sleeve,” said Rose. “Also when it was just the two arguing, he wasn’t trying to bite at the decoy; he was more trying to put himself between the two and say ‘I’m not liking this arguing. … I’m not going to bite you, but hey stop it.’”

After years of hard work and service, the Army is losing a valuable member of its team in Arno. However, Bridges is hopeful that Arno will get the life he deserves, and he was glad to participate in Arno’s retirement process.

“It means a lot to me,” said Bridges. “They work their entire lives here – hard days, long hours, deploy multiple times. I mean, it’d be nice to just go see them get a couch somewhere and just relax and live the good life of an actual dog.”

Photo Gallery

RELATED ARTICLES

Latest Articles