436th SFS retires three MWDs

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 436th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog section held a retirement ceremony for three MWDs at the base theater on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Nov. 9, 2021.

MWD Johny V385, a nine-year-old patrol drug detection dog, MWD Ramos W334, an eight-year-old patrol explosive detection dog, and MWD Vito W285, an eight-year-old PDDD, were honored after more than six years of service at the base.

“The reason they’re being retired is because their mind is willing, but their body is no longer able,” said Lt. Col. Schneider Rislin, 436th SFS commander. “They go hard each and every day until they get up here and retire. These are Airmen. They’re dedicated and they went as far as they were able to, and [now] with their loved ones, they will finally be able to get their rest.”

Rislin explained that MWDs are evaluated from the moment they are born and continues throughout the MWDs career in the Air Force.

“If you thought it was tough going through basic [military training], they get looked at whether they can be a working dog, if they can be a military or police working dog and are finally evaluated again if they can protect the U.S. and its assets,” said Rislin. “They went through the same journey you all went through. At some point, you found your way to Lackland [AFB, Texas] to receive some training, went to your base and got some more training, maybe a deployment or two, and maybe some physical therapy because you have some miles on you.”

All MWDs complete their training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, with the 341st Training Squadron before being assigned their duty station and handler.

“Over [several] months, they go through vigorous training to learn how to be obedient to commands and how to be disciplined, just like [our Airmen],” said Rislin.

Each of MWDs retired to a previous handler, some who have already left the Air Force and traveled back to get their K-9.

“They’re coming back to get the K-9 they served with for such a long time,” said Rislin. “Once they are together, that is a bond no one can undo. We’ve gotten it right by allowing handlers to get their K-9 and do all the wonderful things they worked so hard for.”

For Tech. Sgt. Ashley Beattie, 436th SFS unit deployment manager, who has been on terminal leave for her own retirement, it meant getting a part of her life back. When Beattie heard of Vito’s potential retirement, she made it clear she wanted to adopt him.

“[Vito] plays a significant role in my life,” said Beattie. “In 2016, my mom died and he helped me get through that tough time. I’ve been waiting on him. Between losing my mom and having to stop [being a MWD handler] to progress my career, I finally feel whole having him again. It’s like having a part of my mom with me again.”

All three MWDs will now go on to live the next chapter of their lives outside of work.

“I’m just excited to get him home and introduce him to his [fur] brother,” said Beattie. “We’re going to live out our retired lives together.”