• Dog handlers return from deployment

  • Two military working dog handlers of the 67th MP Detachment MWD returned to Fort Leavenworth last week after serving nine months in Iraq.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    Two military working dog handlers of the 67th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), Special Troops Battalion, returned to Fort Leavenworth last week after serving nine months in Iraq.
    “Staff Sgt. Brian Pate served as kennel master for the International Zone while in Iraq. He managed all dog teams in the area at the time,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Roberts, detachment sergeant, 500th Military Police Detachment. “Staff Sgt. Luis Berber and Military Working Dog Roy served as a Patrol Explosive Detector Dog - Enhanced and served as force protections at an installation within the Iraqi theater.”
    Roberts said the 67th MP Detachment (MWD)’s mission is to provide trained and certified teams ready to deploy in support of military operations around the world at a moment’s notice.
    “More specifically, this mission was to provide explosive dog and kennel master support in support of force protection operations for Operation Inherent Resolve,” Roberts said. “Both handlers deployed in November 2016, and their military occupational specialty is 31K, Military Working Dog Handler. The two soldiers served in different locations.”
    Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Thompson, kennel master for the 67th, said Pate was selected to fill a position typically designated for soldiers in the grade of E-7. He said the soldier first ordered to deploy in that kennel master position was unable to go forward.
    “We knew (Pate) could do the job because he has what it takes,” Thompson said.
    Pate, who has deployed four times, said serving as kennel master involved working with 10 teams of military working dogs and handlers. He said all dogs are afforded four weeks of acclimation and training when deployed to an operational theater or new assignment before use on any missions.
    “We all arrived in Kuwait at the same time and started acclimating our K-9 immediately,” Pate said. “We began the acclimation process by taking them out for short periods to get used to the heat. (Military Working Dog Roy) was coming from Kansas fall weather temperatures into 100-degree heat.”
    Pates’ wife, Jessica, said her husband has deployed three times during their marriage. They have a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.
    “It is great to have him home after nine months away,” Jessica said. “Our son was a very young baby when he left, and now he is an older, active young boy.”
    Jessica said her primary support came from the wife of the other deployed soldier, Rosa Berber. She said the two had children near the same ages and other things in common.
    “You need a support system within the community,” Jessica said. “Rosa was a good friend during the deployment, and we kept each other company.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Pate said it feels great to be home and reunited with his family. He said his family has several things planned during his leave period.
    “I think we are going to do lots of fishing,” Pate said. “Our daughter likes to go to a fishing place in Atchison, Kan., so, we will likely visit it frequently.”
    Berber said K-9 teams are required to demonstrate proficiency on any unique explosives to that area when deployed. He said they must also demonstrate search capabilities in the new environment before completing the acclimatization and training period.
    “The acclimation period continued when we arrived at our assignment to Ayn al-Asad Airbase. Our first mission tasks included becoming familiar with that area and our job description,” Berber said. “When done with the processing, our duties included walking patrols, serving as a deterrent by showing a K-9 presence and posting at gates.”
    Berber said getting back after the deployment was still surreal in some ways. However, he said it feels good to be home with his wife Rosa and their 6-year-old son.
    “We are going on vacation to Costa Rica,” Berber said. “We will have lots of fun and see the sights.”
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