Top Dogs have their day
March 27, 2014
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The sun came out for the dogs. The Fort Carson Combined Forces Top Dog Competition, March 19-20, fell on the only two warm spring days in the middle of a blustery week.
"The weather cooperated," said Lt. Col. Christopher Heberer, commander, 759th Military Police Battalion. "Gorgeous, sunny, warm. It's just fantastic."
The competition pitted 11 teams against each other, nine from Fort Carson, one from Fort Riley, Kan., and one from the Colorado Springs Police Department.
"Getting Soldiers and leaders and civilian police all out to have fun and talk about the dogs, and then to really recognize excellence and let them compete in a healthy friendly environment with each other -- it's going to make everyone better," he said.
The dogs, led by their handlers, competed in narcotics and explosive detection, an obedience course and bite work -- all skills that the dogs need both in garrison and deployed.
"They are as deployed or more deployed than any Soldiers that have served in the last 12 years," Heberer said. "(Military working dogs) are worth hundreds of man-hours to search and clear to find explosives, narcotics and as a crowd deterrent."
The competition was an opportunity for the teams to learn from each other.
"There are so many different techniques, so many different experience levels … we combine that (military) experience with local law enforcement. Their dogs are out on patrol. They're more patrol work versus our deployed work, so there?'s so many lessons learned that can be shared," Heberer said.
The overall Top Dog in the competition was Dragon, led by his handler, Spc. Philip Goeckel, 69th Military Police Detachment, 759th MP Bn. The two have been together since Dragon came to Fort Carson in July.
"I couldn't ask for a better dog to do training with, to work the road, to work on Fort Carson with," he said. "It's my first dog (to be) certified with and being the outstanding dog that he is, I couldn't be any happier."
This is the first year for the event, but Heberer hopes to repeat it.
"We did it on a smaller scale this year to kind of test the concept," he said. "My goal is to … grow this into an Armywide competition, hopefully next year."