History in the Pacific Theater

By Monty Moore 
Sentry Dog Handler Da Nang AB & Phu Cat AB (1968-1970)
Instructor Military Dog Studies Branch, Security Police Academy (71-75)
NCOIC, PACAF Military Working Dog Training Center ((1979-1981)

PACAF traces its roots to the World War 11 activation of the Far East Air Force (FEAF) on 03 August 1944, at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. FEAF, subordinate to the U.S. Army Forces Far East, served as the headquarters of Allied Air Forces Southwest Pacific Area- By 1945, three numbered air forces -5th, 7th and 13th-supported operations in the Pacific Theater. At that time, the Army Air Forces in the Pacific was part of the largest and most powerful military organization every fielded by any nation.

After World I1, FEAF and 5th AF remained in Japan- 7th AF operated from Hawaii and, 13th AF was located in the Philippines. In the post-war years, FEAF was, designated the theater air force for the Far East Command. Thus, all air force  units in the Far East and Southwest Pacific were placed under one Air Force commander forth e first time.

When the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel June 25, 1950, FEAF consisted of 5th, 13th and 20th AF and the Far East Materiel Command. Four years after the Korean War armistice, FEAF was re-designated Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and transferred its headquarters to Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

By 1960, PACAF maintained a combat-ready deterrent force of some 35 squadrons, operating from 10 major bases located in half-dozen countries. 

Photo Above: PACAF's first dog school, located at Showa Air Base, Japan,
Courtesy of  Larry Haynie
History of the PACAF 
Military Working Dog Training Center (MWDTC)

The PACAF MWDTC had its beginning during 1948 when the idea was born in the Office of the Provost Marshal, Far East Air Force (FEAF). Discussions were held between HQ FEAF and USAF concerning the possibility of using sentry dogs on FEAF installations because of the pilferage loss being suffered by all bases. In the latter part if 1949, the Provost Marshal General in Washington advised the Commander, FEAF, that the availability of Army trained dogs for FEAF utilization would be extremely limited and recommended that thought should be given to establishing a training center in the Far East.

On 5 December 1951, HQ FEAF authorized the Far East Air Logistic Force, Japan, to establish "Project Kennel." On 10 March 1 952, construction of facilities that included 50 kennels was started at Showa Air Station, Japan. On 1 7 March 1952, the final arrangements were made for the purchase of 50 German Shepherd dogs from the Nippon Police Dog Association, Tokyo, Japan. On 1 April 1952, the first 50 German Shepherd dogs were purchased in Tokyo. A total of 200 dogs were procured through the Nippon Police Dog Association during the year.

By virtue of FEAF Regulation 5-8, 16 December 1952, 'Project Kennel" officially became known as the FEAF Sentry Dog Training Center at Tachikawa Air Base. The center had the primary mission of procuring and training sentry does for FEAF-wide assignment as well as training Air Force sentry dog handlers. On 13 March 1953, construction of 30 new wire kennels was started They were completed in May 1953.

On I July 1957, due to reorganization of the United States Air Force in the Pacific and Far East Theater, the FEAF Sentry Dog Training Center was officially designated as the PACAF Sentry Dog Training Center (SDTC). A new contract for the purchase of 160 dogs was made with the Nipon Police Dog Association. Only 12 dogs were bought in the Tokyo area in January 1961. This contract was cancelled because of the difficulty in delivering qualified dogs meeting required specifications. Because of these difficulties, stateside procurement was initiated.

In February 1961, 70 new temporary kennels were constructed in the eastern area adjoining the fenced training yard. In May 196i, the first 50 dogs were procured at the Lackland Military Training Center, San Antonio, Texas, and airlifted to Tachikawa Air Base, Japan on 12 May 1961. On 1 July 1961, the 6100th Support Wing assumed responsibility for the operation of the PACAF SDTC. In January 1962, the PACAF Sentry Dog Training Center (SDTC) received authorization to procure dogs from military personnel and Department of Defense civilians in the PACAF area 'The center was eventually moved to Showa Air Base, Japan when Tachikawa was turned back over to the Japanese government. Japanese handlers were used to pre-train dogs that reduced the TDY time needed by military students.

While in Japan the Center trained approximately 4,000 sentry dogs for all US Forces in the Pacific command. The mainland Japan location was outgrown due to the rapid buildup of Vietnam K-9 sections, starting in 1965. In FY 65, 49 handlers and 150 dogs were trained. In FY 66, 150 handlers and 171 dogs were trained. In the first half of FY67, 160 handlers and 156 dogs were trained.

Photos Above: Old  and New Kennels at  Showa Air Base, Japan
This early type of kennels known as bird cage. The dog wears a thick leather collar and is chained   to the post supporting the dog house. A bed of gravel provides a mud free area with good drainage. These kennels were also safer for the handler, no gate to open or close. Sentry dogs by nature did not readily accept new handlers. In many cases getting in and out of a fenced in kennel was a challenge (Personal Experience). The dog school at Lackland used this type until the mid 70ís. Junior classes would move into the permanent kennels as senior classes graduated. At this time Lackland had a classes graduating and a new class starting each week.

History PACAF School # 2




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