MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- Military Working Dogs aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany recently gave the phrase "in the doghouse" a whole new meaning after base officials cut the ribbon on a new kennel facility here April 28.
The ceremony for the grand opening of the new kennel featured presentations by several special guests, including MCLB Commanding Officer Col. Joseph Wingard.
Col. Wingard spoke volumes about the key function military working dogs serve in supporting the Marine Corps.
"We have (MCLB Albany) dog teams in Iraq right now, and we have two more on the way," Col. Wingard said. "These new facilities will give our dogs a safer, more restful environment, and help them live longer."
Deputy Provost Marshal Lt. Neil Davies said construction of the new K-9 facility reinforced the important role military working dogs play in the war on terror.
"Ever since the United States was victimized by the infamous terror attacks of September 11, security has become a premium," Davies said. "Our military working dogs and handlers are a tremendous tool and an invaluable asset to not only the Marine Corps and Department of Defense, but also various local, state and federal agencies."
According to Davies, MCLB Albany's military working dog teams have not only been instrumental in the war against terrorism, but also against illegal drug distribution.
"Along with various explosive detection missions, our dogs are also used to support the War on Drugs," Davies said. "While on assignment our (K-9) teams have had great success intervening large narcotics shipments destined for the United States."
The new kennel is located near the intersection of Cash Avenue and Walker Avenue, and features outdoor and climate-controlled indoor housing areas for the dogs; office space for the handlers; an in-house veterinary area and an expanded training field.
"Before we had the new facility, we often had to go out to the pecan fields to do some of our training," said Sgt. Kyle Holdmann, military working dog handler. "This larger training area gives us more options, and allows us to conduct our long-distance and open area scenarios right here. The location is perfect."
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the spotlight went to the dogs, literally. Handlers introduced their canine crime fighters to the crowd and showcased their talents in a post-ceremony demonstration.
The demo included obstacle course maneuvering, obedience training and simulated attack scenarios.
Amid the festivities, however, was a note of seriousness. Lance Cpl. Tiffany Jackson, military working dog handler, celebrated not only the opening of the new kennels but also a new chapter in her life. She was leaving for Iraq.
"I'm excited to go. This is what I've trained for since the beginning. I'm looking forward to being in a real-life situation. My dad was there last year, and my brother is there now," Jackson explained. "Now it's my turn. Ooh rah!"