Birth of Patrol Dogs


The use of sentry dogs were limited in the states to Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases with nuclear weapons or other high priority weapons systems. These dog were well suited for guarding these areas.  The majority of these bases were located in parts of the US not known for having a warm climate (for example: North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, Wyoming, etc). The use of a  sentry dog was considered deadly force which limited their use.

Patrol dogs were adopted by the Air Force because of the need for a more controllable dog. The patrol dog concept developed by the Washington DC Police Department proved that controllable but still aggressive dog could be effectively used at any military base. The concept of a dog being considered minimum force caused a rapid growth of military dog utilization.

Many sentry dogs were retrained to patrol dogs as Army Nike missile batteries located around American cities were phased out. As training methodology improved, drug detector & explosives detector dogs were included in the dog inventory. The dog program owes much to this first class. By the early 1970's many bases had small dog sections.

For example; Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi had 5 dogs in 1976. Two Patrol, Two Patrol/Drug Detector, and one explosive detector dog. Keesler is a training base, that would have never used sentry dogs.

The use of force rules concerning dogs evolved. A patrol dog handler could release his dog to attack or utilize physical restraint techniques. Security Police preferred to have the dog "rolling in the dirt" with a suspect instead of having it's personnel risk injury.

First Class - September 1968


First Row: Sgt Cisco & Yukon; A/C Bradbury & Enno; Sgt Bradley & Missy; A/C Callintine & Turk; Sgt Larson & Smokey; A/C Peaslee & Shadow; Sgt Rittichier & Bambi; Sgt Towns &Greywolfe; A/C Landis & Prince
Second Row: Sgt Johnson & Rocky; Sgt Sheckells & Ceasar; A/C Langford & Steele; Sgt Shive & Bingo; A/C Gibson & Spike; A/C Potter
& Raven; A/C Frisk & Duke; A/C Hunter & Demo; A/C Laplante & Ilex
Third Row: Sgt Yanez & Ceasar; A/C Lloyd Licciardello & King; A/C Berkowitz & Buck; Sgt Mattson &Major; A/C Nissen & Shadow; A/C Conklin & Nugget; A/C Puge & Saint; A/C Brugnola & Astor; A/C Borders & Sully


SMSgt Walker; TSgt Hooten; TSgt Witt; TSgt Nixon; TSgt Blackwell: TSgt Dover; SSgt Drysdale;  SSgt Leak; SSgt Conners; SSgt Rosenfelt


Many of these dog teams were shipped to South East Asia (SEA) bases. Many handlers had more than one tour in SEA.  There were more K-9 "slots" in SEA than at stateside bases. Handlers shipped early in their enlistment(4 year) had plenty of time to be reassigned again. 

Until the late 1960’s all dog training was conducted on Lackland, AFB, Texas. As the number of dogs used increased, training was moved to the Medina Complex. By the mid 1970’s Medina had over 200 dogs in training at any times with over 600 dogs kenneled at the DOD Dog Center.

Photos courtesy of Charlie Brugnola




              USAF Bases in SEA & Topics of Interest  Memorial      Why dogs?  

                      MWD History   Your dog's fate!    New K-9    Chemical Exposure!   Veterinarians

                                        Adopting Dogs    Old Dawgs Supporting Young Pups    

                    Bulletin Boards:  K-9 Issues    Chemical Exposure     Free Computer Backgrounds

                         Submit stories/photos     Nemo's Story   Links of Interest   For Younger Vistors




    VSPA  is an association for USAF Vietnam War Veterans who  served  in Vietnam or Thailand from  1960-1975, as  Air Police / Security  Police or as an Augmentee.  Visit the main pages for information on joining.


      This site, its design and content are Copyright   © 2012-1995, of the VSPA (Vietnam Security Police Association, Inc.)

                             All Rights Reserved.                   Website Last Updated:  July 05, 2016        


Please feel free to copy photos or stories. Just give the author/photographer, & VSPA a credit line.