KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Ttaylor, the newest and youngest military working dog of the 377th Security Forces Squadron arrived at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 20, 2020.
MWD Ttaylor is the youngest dog assigned at Kirtland at just 23 months old. He is an 80 pound Belgian Malinois born and trained at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Puppy program dogs born and trained at JBSA are identifiable by the repeated first letter in the name.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Collin Lewis, 377th SFS MWD handler, is partnered with Ttaylor and will work together to keep Kirtland safe and secure. At this time, MWD Ttaylor is getting familiar with his handler Lewis and preparing to patrol Kirtland.
“Since being at Kirtland, [Ttaylor] has been in his acclimation period,” said Lewis. “This consists of walks, playing with toys, but no training. It’s also a rapport building phase, so we can get used to each other.”
The rapport building phase strengthens the relationship and establishes trust between an MWD and handler. That trust is vital to the work they do to accomplish their mission.
“Right now it’s just expected for Ttaylor to have a very basic understanding of what basic commands mean,” said Lewis. “It’s like picking up a new troop from tech school and now it's my job to mold him into a great MWD.”
Now, and even more so when fully trained, Lewis and Ttaylor bring additional and unique security capabilities to the installation.
“MWDs’ importance are nearly unmeasurable in their impact to national security and the protection of all personnel and assets on Kirtland Air Force Base,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Tejada, 377th SFS kennel master. “These MWDs and their handlers put in countless hours of hard work help to ensure the base is free from drugs and explosives, as well as often deterring criminal activity just by their presence alone.”
Many hours of training are being put in by both Lewis and MWD Ttaylor. Lewis expects Ttaylor to be fully trained and protecting Team Kirtland by mid-July or early August.