Cpt. Larry Boggs, commander of the 550th Military Working Dogs Detachment, accepts the Eagle Award from FORSCOM Commander, General Michael Garrett,  for being the best MWD Det. in Forces Command in Fiscal Year 2021.
Cpt. Larry Boggs, commander of the 550th Military Working Dogs Detachment, accepts the Eagle Award from FORSCOM Commander, General Michael Garrett, for being the best MWD Det. in Forces Command in Fiscal Year 2021. (Photo Credit: Adam J. Luther, Public Affairs Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Bragg’s 550th Military Police Working Dog Detachment received a high-five “paw of approval” February 10th, for being the best Military Working Dog Detachment in U.S. Army Forces Command for Fiscal Year 2021.

FORSCOM senior leaders General Michael Garrett and Command Sgt Maj. Todd Sims, presented 550th Soldiers with the Eagle Award honoring them for being the best military police detachment for readiness directly relating to mission accomplishment.

“This organization is an example of excellence,” Garrett said. “I know units are in constant competition with one another so this award is not only about winning, but it is also an example of Soldiers and leaders who truly care about what they do and lifting each other up.” he said. “I’m so proud of you.”
General Michael Garrett, FORSCOM commander, addresses Soldiers at a special ceremony honoring their exemplary dedication to readiness during Fiscal Year 2021. Cpt. Larry Boggs, 550th commander, and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Bozovich, Kennel Master, listen in as Garrett expressed his pride in the unit.
General Michael Garrett, FORSCOM commander, addresses Soldiers at a special ceremony honoring their exemplary dedication to readiness during Fiscal Year 2021. Cpt. Larry Boggs, 550th commander, and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Bozovich, Kennel Master, listen in as Garrett expressed his pride in the unit. (Photo Credit: Adam J. Luther, Public Affairs Specialist) VIEW ORIGINAL

There are five Military Police Battalions within Fort Bragg’s 16th Military Police Brigade, and every battalion has a MWD Detachment. Cpt. Larry Boggs Jr., commands the 550th “War Dogs” which is the largest in the brigade.

“These Soldiers work really hard. They love what they do and it shows,” Boggs said. “To have FORSCOM leaders come here to recognize their accomplishments is awesome.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims, FORSCOM CSM, checks out the Military Working Dogs of the 550th, as General Michael Garrett, FORSCOM commander, engages Soldiers standing in formation.
Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims, FORSCOM CSM, checks out the Military Working Dogs of the 550th, as General Michael Garrett, FORSCOM commander, engages Soldiers standing in formation. (Photo Credit: Adam J. Luther) VIEW ORIGINAL

Winning the Eagle Award meant Soldiers of the 550th excelled throughout Fiscal Year 2021 in many areas that were rated and carefully scrutinized as integral to the unit’s readiness and fitness. Boggs said Soldiers go to the range every three months to maintain proficiency with their weapons while also maintaining their medical readiness to meet the call whenever they are needed.

Boggs is quick to add that it is not just all about his Soldiers but also their kenneled companions – the military working dogs – that are a huge determining factor for the unit’s overall readiness posture and ability to perform required missions.

“Just as Soldiers have to maintain their physical readiness, so do our dogs,” said Boggs. “We maintain a 95-percent medical readiness of our canines. They have weekly vet appointments and weekly training with soldiers on detection and patrolling.”

Top-notch performance by military working dogs is not something just relegated to military missions, though. That’s because the 550th working dogs are supporting Fort Bragg health and welfare checks on the installation, sniffing out bombs and keeping things secure. They are also community ambassadors.

Cpl. Anthony Pastino, stands with Military Working Dog, Mex, one of 24 dogs currently assigned to the 550th MWD Detachment. Pastino is what is known as a "handler" and works with Mex to ensure his skills are always top-notch.
Cpl. Anthony Pastino, stands with Military Working Dog, Mex, one of 24 dogs currently assigned to the 550th MWD Detachment. Pastino is what is known as a "handler" and works with Mex to ensure his skills are always top-notch. (Photo Credit: Adam J. Luther) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We carried 75 percent of the Fiscal Year 2021 missions in the brigade; 269 total, and that included not only cooperation with Fort Bragg’s Department of Emergency Services and U.S. Secret Service missions,” Boggs said, “but also our dogs and their handlers worked with both Cumberland and Harnett County law enforcement agencies, too,” he added.

Cooperative partnerships formed between Fort Bragg soldiers and the surrounding civilian population is just as key as the relationship between soldier and dog. There must be a level of trust, communication and cooperation present for success. The recognition of the 550th “War Dogs” as the best MP Detachment in FORSCOM is testament to their understanding that it takes every member of the pack working together to succeed.