Military Working Dog Warrior Police Challenge
Marine Cpl. Joshua Mullins and Duke, Headquarters Support Battalion, Military Police Company, K9 Section, Camp Lejeune, N. C., dive into the water pit at the physical endurance confidence course, May 15.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., - The third annual Military Working Dog Warrior Police Competition was held at Fort Leonard Wood, May 11-15, putting more than 40 teams through the ultimate test to find out who could be "top dog."

After nearly a week of competition and 12 different events, Staff Sgt. James Cooey, 42nd Military Police Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C., and his dog, Randy took "Top Dog" honors.

"With an Airborne mentality, I worked really hard and did what I could," Cooey said.
Cooey attributed the win to initial training from fellow handlers at Fort Bragg.

"I am overwhelmed. I relied a lot on the training that I had early on and put that into effect. All of this was a challenge, but I am more rewarded when I am on the battlefield - these dogs really save lives."

The Soldiers and their dogs competed in a competition focused on events mirroring reality - something that proved to be challenging but beneficial for many.

"You are put to the test. You are given the scenario and asked how you are going to handle it," said Sgt. Sandra Gonzalez, 142nd Military Police Company, Yongsan, Korea. "This really deals with the handler and the dog as a team. You go and do the best you can, whether you have the knowledge on how to do it, or you might learn then and there whether or not you and your dog can do the task."

Gonzalez and her dog, Gino, traveled 18 hours from Korea to compete and she said she was looking to gain a number of things from coming to the Training and Doctrine Command competition.

"Competing has opened my eyes to a lot things, especially since I have never deployed with my dog before. It is like 'oh wow, this is what I need to do with my dog and train when I get back to Korea.'"

Staff Sgt. Mike Unruh, 212th Military Police Detachment, Fort Belvoir, Va., has competed in two TRADOC competitions and five military working competitions. He said even though it gets harder every year, getting the opportunity to create stronger bonds with fellow K9 handlers is worth the travel and competition.

"You build espirit de corps; you build fellowship with people you have probably never met before; you see how other handlers work their dogs - basically you are getting new tools to make your toolbox better," Unruh said.

The competitors competed in a number of events, including area-clearing operations, narcotic inspections, route- clearing operations, building searches, casualty extractions, obedience and obstacles courses, attack scenarios and others.

Page last updated Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 15:39