U.S. Army Spc. David Walls of Warren, Mich., mine detection dog handler, 49th Engineer Detachment, relaxes with Sergeant Homer, a mine detection dog, after a mine-proofing sweep at the Russian Grain Silo Combat Outpost, Kandahar, Afghanistan. The COP is the intended site of a 10 mega-watt power plant that will provide electricity to the western side of Kandahar. Walls and Homer are deployed to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.
I am glad that Man's Best Friend is out there, assisting our troops...I always enjoyed seeing the working dogs in Kandahar and other FOBs in Afghanistan....They are true Veterans and as valuable as any other member of the fighting force...Hats off to our K-9 Vets !!!
Bomb dogs see action in Afghanistan
By Michael Reinsch
ISAF Joint Command
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A mine detection dog was requested to sweep an area near Kandahar City and Spc. David Walls, 49th Engineering Detachment Mine Detection Dog handler, and his dog Sgt. Homer answered the call.
Naval Mobile Construction Detachments 40 and 18, along with the 557th Engineer Company and 864th Engineer Battalion, began razing the ground around an abandoned Soviet grain silo to make way for a future power plant. Since the area was once occupied by a force known for using land mines, a mine detection system was needed to declare the area safe before construction could begin.
U.S. Army Spc. David Walls of Warren, Mich., mine detection dog handler, 49th Engineer Detachment, oversees Sergeant Homer, a mine detection dog, as he performs a mine-proofing sweep at the Russian Grain Silo Combat Outpost, Kandahar, Afghanistan. The COP is the intended site of a 10 mega-watt power plant that will provide electricity to the western side of Kandahar. Walls and Homer are deployed to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Samuel Padilla, ISAF Joint Command
Although the military has several pieces of equipment to detect mines and other explosives, none are as quickly placed in the field for use than the mine detection dog. These dogs are capable of detecting unexploded ordinance nearly 100 percent of the time.
“The MDD can detect odors of land mines, UXOs, and explosives through scent detection combined with the moisture in the air. The moisture helps facilitate the detection,” said Walls. “The handler must also be able to read the MDDs demeanor and signals while searching. Training the MDD and the handler takes just under six months.”
Walls and Homer have a bond that is needed for this demanding job. They share the same cot, water source, and long runs together. Originally, Walls enlisted into the military as a combat engineer and was selected to be a dog handler during his advanced individual training. He has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as an MDD and specialized search dog handler.
“I have had 16 combat finds in Iraq to include IEDs and weapons caches,” said Walls. “I’m the only handler in the Department of Defense to have dual combat finds with MDD and SSD.”
Approximately 22,960 sq. ft. of ground around the silo was searched for UXOs and explosives. That’s more than four football fields.
“Where else in the world do you get paid to play with dogs and have a great time with your best friend?” Walls asked. “I get the best of both worlds on a daily bases by working with my Homer and keeping troops safe and uninjured. Who could ask for anything more?”