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    Navy Region Northwest hosts military working dogs competition

    Kitsap MWD competition

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Asato | Sailors, friends and family bow their heads during the reading of names of military...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

    By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato
    Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Northwest

    SILVERDALE, Wash. - Navy Region Northwest hosted the inaugural military working dog competition at Naval Base Kitsap, June 28-29.

    Kennel Sailors assigned to Naval Station Everett, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific competed with Naval Base Kitsap’s representatives to display the skill set and camaraderie developed among themselves and their canine partners.

    Frank Wehner and his wife Connie, of the Northwest Dawgs Project, hosted a barbecue to honor the local dog handlers, MWD and those who have fallen in the line of duty.

    “My wife and I travel to states in the Northwest region to let these service members know that they’re appreciated,” said Wehner, founder of the NWDP, who drove from Idaho to host the luncheon. “I really enjoyed coming up for the event.”

    Singing of the national anthem and the reading of the names of handlers who have fallen succeeded the barbecue which brought Wehner to tears as Master Chief Master-at-Arms Ricky Neitzel, regional kennel master and an Albert Lea, Minn., native, carried on the reading in place of Wehner.

    “You form a different kind of bond performing these duties, not just with the MWDs but with your comrades,” said Wehner. “For 20 years I didn’t know [some of my friends] died, but out of the 14 I kept in contact with 9 have passed.”

    “I always wished I have just picked up that phone,” said Wehner. “I want you all to never give up on your comrades and know that [this line of work] takes special people, and you are special people.”

    The afternoon ended with a cake cutting including Mr. Wehner, Capt. Thomas Zwolfer, NBK’s commanding officer and Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Northwest.

    In the tradition of Navy divers, Bolivar motivated the Sailors, Soldiers, friends and family in attendance to give three ‘Hooyahs’ for Frank and Connie, and a Hooyah for team MWD and America.

    Region dog handlers and kennel support provided a demonstration to those in attendance, having the MWDs neutralize Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Thomas Nygard, a Queensbury, N.Y., native, assigned to SWFPAC, as the decoy. Nygard was extracted from a vehicle and chased using the MWDs while wearing a bite suit.

    The evening brought the start of the MWD competition, which included a rotation of four stations testing the skills of the handlers and their cooperation with their MWDs and spotters over a course of more than five hours.

    The stations tested their control over the MWDs during intruder and explosive detection, building searches, the five phases of aggression and emergency first aid on the MWDs.

    “This event was a collaboration between everyone associated with MWDs and their handlers, from the kennel support Sailors to the [Soldiers of the Public Health Command, Kitsap Branch],” said Neitzel.

    MWD teams competed past 11 p.m. with the following results: Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Lisa Square, NBK’s 2013 Junior Sailor of the Year and a Cleveland native, earning the best in detection award; Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Devin Baione, a Round Rock, Texas, native assigned to NSE, earning the best in patrol award; Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Erice Brown, a San Diego native assigned to NSE, earning the top dog award; Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Kristina Vargas, a Houston native assigned to NBK, earning the underdog award.



    Date Taken: 06.28.2014
    Date Posted: 06.30.2014 01:28
    Story ID: 134826
    Location: SILVERDALE, WA, US 
    Hometown: ALBERT LEA, MN, US
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: QUEENSBURY, NY, US
    Hometown: ROUND ROCK, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, US

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