FORT MEADE, Md. (The Military District of Washington, Sept. 21, 2007) -- The Military District of Washington held the 2007 Canine Competition at Fort Meade last week. Twenty-four teams, each consisting of a handler and his dog, from Fort Meade, Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer, Fort Lee and the National Security Agency competed for four days trying to prove who is number one.

"We did detection, where the dogs found explosives," said Sgt. Anthony Moll, a handler with Fort Meade's 241st Military Police Detachment, K-9 Section. "Then we moved on to aggression where the dogs attacked the bad guys, and then we did some scouting where they go in the woods and find some bad guys. The culminating event was a three-mile course with an obstacle course and some actual range fire and more attack work. It was the big Iron Dog event."

The competition events were activities that handlers practice with their dogs on a regular basis.

"We train full day," Sgt. Moll said. "Every minute that we are not doing a mission, we are training our dogs. We work hands on with the dogs several hours every week."

Even with the hard work and long hours, handlers still enjoy their job.

"This is the best job in the whole Army," Sgt. Moll said. "It's a unique job and people look up to us. The best part is coming in and getting to work with the dogs every day. It's one handler, one dog, so over time you build a really strong bond and you definitely get attached to the dog you work with."

The dogs were judged individually in seven categories including explosive and narcotics detection, hardest hitting and patrolling. Performing these tasks may have been difficult, but judging wasn't easy either.

"Judging was difficult because you are going to have a lot of areas that you are deducting points, but you have to judge whether it's the handler that is causing the dog to miss something, or is it just the dog," said Sgt. 1st Class Claudesedric Grace, a judge for the competition. "It's kind of hard but it's always fun."

Even though it was a competition, the event also aimed to build camaraderie between the different kennels.

"A lot of this is to promote esprit de core within the installations," said David Reiter, MDW K-9 Program manager. "This is a way of rewarding them so they can show off their talent and their hard work throughout the year. I am very impressed. These here are top-notch professionals that we are dealing with. They did excellent work this week."

The 947th Military Police (MP) Detachment took first place in two events and that was all they needed to be named MDW's Top Kennel for 2007.

"It's about time," said Staff Sgt. Shauna Richardson, a handler with the 947th MP Detachment. "We deserve this, we work really hard. It was a team effort. Two months age we all sat down and trained together and gave our ideas. We are really excited about this."

Not only is the winning team excited, they are confident about their abilities and next year's competition.

"We are waiting for the other kennels to challenge us," Staff Sgt. Richardson said. "We can't wait until next year's competition. We are going to keep this trophy."

2007 MDW CANINE COMPETITION RESULTS

MDW Top Kennel 2007
947th MP Det.

Hardest Hitting
Sgt. Harris, 212th MP Det.

Iron Dog
First- OFC Lustig, NSA
Second- OFC Haught, NSA
Third- Staff Sgt. Nelson, 212th MP Det.

Narcotic Detection
First- Sgt. Nunemaker, 947th MP Det.

Patrol Dog
First- Spec. Steele, 241st MP Det.
Second- Staff Sgt. Pederson, 947th MP Det.
Third- OFC Popovich, National Security Agency

Top Patrol Explosive Dog Team
First- Staff Sgt. Pederson, 947th MP Det.
Second- Sgt. Warner, 241st MP Det.
Third- Staff Sgt. Bird, 212th MP Det.

Top Patrol Narcotic Dog Team
First- Sgt. Nunemaker, 947th MP Det.

Explosive Detector Dog
First- Staff Sgt., Pederson 947th MP Det.
Second- Staff Sgt. Futrell, 212th MP Det.
Third- Sgt. Bird, 212th MP Det.