8th MP Brigade hosts 2012 Hawaiian Islands Working Dog Competition
July 2, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HAWAII (July 2, 2012) -- Man and his best friend shed blood, sweat and fur as 17 working dog teams from the Korean Peninsula to Fort Eustis, Va., competed in the 2012 Hawaiian Islands Working Dog Competition hosted by the 728th Military Police Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, here, June 18-22.
The kennels on Marine Corps Base Hawaii made a strong showing after missing out on 2011's competition, and won nearly half the awards, headlined by Marine Cpl. Travis Cleaveland and his German Shepherd Lucky, nick named Lucifer, who won Top Dog.
Part devil, part dog, Cleveland and Lucky used their Marine and own personal brand of aggression to kick down doors and take the course by storm.
"We just don't want to give up," said Cleavland. "It's a never-die situation. We harness each others abilities and accomplish everything we can."
Bragging rights aside, the week-long event represented more than just pure competition.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Reese, 728th MP Bn. kennel master and event coordinator, the Hawaii Islands Working Dog competition is much more than that.
"The most important thing we want to get out of this competition is Espirit de Corps, sharing knowledge, and sharing with the Hawaii community that we are here and showing them what we can do," said Reese.
The teams navigated events from live fires, tactical explosive and narcotics detection to obedience and aggression courses. The competition culminated with a grueling obstacle course.
A series of events designed to test the possibilities a dog handler could encounter on any mission.
"You always have to be on your toes, you always have to be looking for the next thing," said Cleveland. '"You have to be aware of your surroundings, how you are going to encounter any situation at any given time,"
And according to Cleveland how the other military working dog handlers overcome their own obstacles builds unity and knowledge amongst the dog handlers, Marine or Soldier.
One handler defined that spirit. Staff Sgt. Andrea Abilos, a brand new dog handler with the 13th MP Detachment, 728th MP Bn., and her dog Bennie, a veteran of the competition, who at first stumbled during the obstacle course, but then stood up.
"My dog needs to go on diet," joked Abilos who carried the massive Bennie like a big hairy, slobbery rucksack up the hills of the obstacle course.
"I want to be competitive. There's a lot of good dog competitors here and I want to put forth my best effort, and I did it, they saw me do it," she continued.
As the military working dog teams return to their kennels across the globe they'll continue to protect the community, protect the Soldier, and support the force.
But this week was for the dogs.
The devil dogs.