Beale's K-9, EOD flights conduct collaborative training
By Airman 1st Class Jason W. Cochran, 9RW/PA
/ Published December 10, 2020
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The missions found on Beale vary widely, from high altitude intelligence, to aerial refueling, and also to space detection and observance.
It’s only through the cooperation amongst these missions, and Airmen, that they can continue upholding national security.
An example of this took place on Nov. 19, 2020, when Airmen from the 9th Security Forces Squadron’s (SFS) Military Working Dog (MWD) section and the 9th Civil Engineering Squadron’s (CES) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) flight teamed up to do mass explosive odor training.
Generally the 9th SFS K-9 handlers train their MWDs with a pound or less of explosives, said Staff Sgt. David Baumgartner, 9th SFS K-9 handler. In order to get access to and safely handle larger amounts of explosives, the 9th SFS reached out to Beale’s EOD flight.
“The training was a collaboration with EOD,” said Baumgartner. “It was mainly for the dogs to get them used to mass odor.”
The MWDs and their handlers were not the only ones to benefit from the training, said Staff Sgt. Travis Ditmanson, 9th CES EOD team leader.
“By mixing our mindset with their mindset, both of us are improving overall,” Ditmanson said. “It’s good for both of us to learn from each other, to see how each other does their job so we can both do better work when our turn comes. We set each other up for success.”
A common threat to be seen from the K-9 perspective on deployments are vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers, both situations where mass odor training proves invaluable.
“These connections are what keep the military as effective as it is,” Ditmanson said. “It’s 10,000 times more important than any training on a computer. It’s training like this that keeps us ready for any outside threats.”