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21st SFS retires seven, honors one fallen MWD

Staff Sgt. Logan Franks, 21st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and MWD Ben, salutes fallen MWD Rexo’s display during his memorial ceremony

Staff Sgt. Logan Franks, 21st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and MWD Ben, salutes fallen MWD Rexo’s display during his memorial ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oc.t 29, 2021. The empty kennel symbolized the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life for their country, and the leash and chain are to remind everyone the MWD is no longer bound to this world and may roam free. (U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Lt. Col. Jamie Hernandez, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander, speaks to the audience

Lt. Col. Jamie Hernandez, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander, speaks to the audience during the retirement of seven military working dogs and a memorial ceremony for one MWD stationed at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 29, 2021. Each MWD retiree received a retirement certificate and each MWD handler honored the fallen MWD with a last roll call. (U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

The 21st Security Forces Squadron honored the fallen Military Working Dog Rexo/V603 during a memorial ceremony

The 21st Security Forces Squadron honored the fallen Military Working Dog Rexo/V603 during a memorial ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 29, 2021. The memorial display for MWD’s includes a dog kennel, leather leash, chain, a food and water dish, a folded flag and the K-9’s ashes. MWD Rexo completed 1,321 hours and 19 minutes of explosive detection time, three missions and one deployment. Rexo loved running around in the snow and letting his large tongue flop around in the wind. (U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Tech. Sgt. Konnor Torkelson, 21st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, places MWD Rexo’s leash, chain and empty dishes inside his kennel during his memorial ceremony

Tech. Sgt. Konnor Torkelson, 21st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, places MWD Rexo’s leash, chain and empty dishes inside his kennel during his memorial ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 29, 2021. The empty kennel symbolized the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life for their country, and the leash and chain are to remind everyone the MWD is no longer bound to this world and may roam free. (U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Photos of seven military working dogs assigned to the 21st Security Forces Squadron

Photos of seven military working dogs assigned to the 21st Security Forces Squadron are displayed at their retirement ceremony on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 29, 2021. Each K-9 received a retirement certificate and is being placed in their forever home. (U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Military Working Dog Rexo, 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD

Military Working Dog Rexo, 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born May 10, 2012 and accepted by the USAF in Sept. 2013. He was certified for explosive detection before starting his 6-year career. MWD Rexo completed 1,321 hours and 19 minutes of explosive detection time, three missions, and one deployment. He loved running around in the snow and letting his large tongue flop around in the wind. Unfortunately, MWD Rexo never got to go home. MWD Rexo’s End of Watch was May 4, 2020. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Sultan (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD

Military Working Dog Sultan (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born Jan. 5, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosives detection before starting his five and a half year career. MWD Sultan completed 1,251 hours and 42 minutes of explosive detection time, seven missions, and one deployment. He loves to paddle board, eat gelato, and ride his BIG JOE pool float. He splits time living in Vail, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Dano (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD

Military Working Dog Dano (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born May 30, 2011, and accepted by the USAF in June 2012. He was certified for an explosives detection before starting his 7-year career. MWD Dano completed 2,498 hours and 32 minutes of explosive detection time, four missions, and three deployments. He loves showers so much his handlers have to lock him out of the bathroom or he will try to hop in there with them. He currently lives in El Paso, Texas, with a MWD handler. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Rrudy (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD

Military Working Dog Rrudy (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born Jan. 26, 2013, and accepted by the USAF in April 2014. He was certified for explosives detection before starting his 6-year career. MWD Rrudy completed 1,328 hours and eight minutes of explosive detection time, six missions, and one deployment. MWD Rrudy loves hot dogs, horses and cows. One MWD handler stated he has the softest fur in the Department of Defense. He is currently waiting to move into his forever home. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Uumbro (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD
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Military Working Dog Uumbro (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born Feb. 2, 2011 and accepted by the USAF in November 2011. He was certified for drug detection before starting his 9-year career. MWD Uumbro completed 2,121 hours and 23 minutes of narcotic detection time and completed one mission to the Mexico border where he seized 376 pounds of methamphetamine and 3,000 pounds of marijuana. He loves watching comedic television shows with his MWD handlers. He currently lives in Centerfield, Kentucky. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Jack (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD
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Military Working Dog Jack (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born Dec. 13, 2012 and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosives detection before starting his six and a half year career. MWD Jack completed 1,427 hours and 57 minutes of explosive detection time, four U.S. Secret Service missions, and one deployment. He hates washing machines, and loves hikes and ping-pong balls. He currently lives with a MWD handler in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Ppual (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD
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Military Working Dog Ppual (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born Dec. 15, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosives detection in May 2014 before starting his 7-year career. MWD Ppaul completed 1,427 hours and 17 minutes of explosives detection time, four missions, and two deployments. He has a Mohawk hairdo and likes to play peekaboo with a towel after bath time. He currently lives with a former MWD handler in Fountain, Colorado. (courtesy photo)

Military Working Dog Brick (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD
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Military Working Dog Brick (Ret.), 21st Security Forces Squadron MWD, was born April 4, 2012, and was accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for drug detection before starting his distinguished 7-year career. MWD Brick completed 1,283 hours and five minutes of narcotics detection time. He was the only narcotics dog responsible for covering three military installations. He currently lives with a MWD handler in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (courtesy photo)

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Trust in me my friend, for I am your comrade. I will protect you with my last breath when all others have left you and the loneliness of the night closes in, I will be at your side.

The “Guardians of the Night” poem completed the retirement ceremony of seven military working dogs and began the memorial ceremony of one MWD from the 21st Security Forces Squadron at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 29, 2021.

The first mention of dogs being used in war is in 600 B.C. when Alyattes, the King of Lydia, battled the Cimmerians. In the U.S., many centuries later, dogs were first introduced to war zones as pets and mascots. Soon after that, the true potential of canines in war came to light, and dogs started to enlist next to their two-legged counterparts.

Dogs were not officially recognized until March 13, 1942, when the first K-9 corps was established. On May 1, 1957, the responsibility to train sentry dogs was taken over by the U.S. Air Force from the U.S. Army. The first MWD school was established at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and to this day remains the sole Department of Defense MWD school.

The canine graduates are used for patrol, drug, and explosive detection, with specialized mission functions. The average cost for training a MWD ranges from $40K to over $150K and only about 50% of the dogs make it through the training program.

“Dog teams assigned here provide detection and deterrent capabilities for Peterson Space Force Base, Schriever Space Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station [in Colorado],” said Staff Sgt. Hannah King, 21st SFS MWD handler. “Teams also provide law enforcement duties for the Peterson [SFB] community, dispatch to alarm responses and additionally to high threat incidents.”

MWD handlers provide daily care and grooming to their assigned K-9. They ensure sustainment skills are maintained and perform conditioning training. MWDs provide defenders an enhanced capability to secure protection level resources, enforce military laws and regulations, suppress the use of illegal drugs, detect explosives, and protect installations and resources during peacetime, war and in support of operations other than war.

Peterson SFB retired seven K-9’s: MWD Brick/W074; MWD Ppual/W138; MWD Rrudy/W298; MWD Dano/T569; MWD Sultan/W034; MWD Jack/W094; MWD Uumbro/T268.

“Obviously it is hard to retire so many dogs at once,” King said. “But the MWD program pushes dogs out across the DoD as fast as they can. Once we submit a retirement package for a dog and it is approved, we can submit a request to get a new dog at the base.”

The retired MWDs:

  • MWD Brick was born April 4, 2012, and was accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for drug detection before starting his distinguished 7-year career. MWD Brick completed 1,283 hours and five minutes of narcotic detection time. He is the only narcotics dog responsible for covering three military installations. He currently lives with a MWD handler in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • MWD Ppual was born Dec. 15, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosives detection in May 2014 before starting his 7-year career. MWD Ppaul completed 1,427 hours and 17 minutes of explosive detection time, four missions, and two deployments. He has a Mohawk hairdo and likes to play peekaboo with a towel after bath time. He currently lives with a former MWD handler in Fountain, Colorado.
  • MWD Rrudy was born Jan. 26, 2013, and accepted by the USAF in April 2014. He was certified for explosives detection before starting his 6-year career. MWD Rrudy completed 1,328 hours and eight minutes of explosive detection time, six missions, and one deployment. MWD Rrudy loves hot dogs, horses and cows. One MWD handler stated he has the softest fur in the DoD. He is currently waiting to move into his forever home.
  • MWD Dano was born May 30, 2011, and accepted by the USAF in June 2012. He was certified for explosive detection before starting his 7-year career. MWD Dano completed 2,498 hours and 32 minutes of explosive detection time, four missions, and three deployments. He loves showers so much his handlers have to lock him out of the bathroom or he will try to hop in there with them. He currently lives in El Paso, Texas, with a MWD handler.
  • MWD Sultan was born Jan. 5, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosive detection before starting his five and a half year career. MWD Sultan completed 1,251 hours and 42 minutes of explosive detection time, seven missions, and one deployment. He loves to paddle board, eat gelato, and ride his BIG JOE pool float. He splits time living in Vail, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • MWD Jack was born Dec. 13, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in December 2013. He was certified for explosive detection before starting his six and a half year career. MWD Jack completed 1,427 hours and 57 minutes of explosive detection time, four U.S. Secret Service missions, and one deployment. He hates washing machines, and loves hikes and ping-pong balls. He currently lives with a MWD handler in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • MWD Uumbro was born Feb. 2, 2011, and accepted by the USAF in November 2011. He was certified for drug detection before starting his 9-year career. MWD Uumbro completed 2,121 hours and 23 minutes of narcotic detection time and completed one mission to the Mexico border where he seized 376 pounds of methamphetamine and 3,000 pounds of marijuana. He loves watching comedic television shows with his MWD handlers. He currently lives in Centerfield, Kentucky.

The 21st SFS Defenders also honored one fallen MWD, MWD Rexo/V603.

  • MWD Rexo was born May 10, 2012, and accepted by the USAF in Sept. 2013. He was certified for explosive detection before starting his 6-year career. MWD Rexo completed 1,321 hours and 19 minutes of explosive detection time, three missions, and one deployment. He loved running around in the snow and letting his large tongue flop around in the wind. Unfortunately, MWD Rexo never got to go home as he passed away on May 4, 2020.

Many tears were shed as Defenders performed a flag-folding ceremony in honor of MWD Rexo, followed by Rexo’s final roll call performed by the narrator of the ceremony, Tech. Sgt. Konnor Torkelson, 21st SFS MWD handler.

“Military Working Dog Rexo”

Silence

“Military Working Dog Rexo”

Silence

“Military Working Dog Rexo, Victor 603.”

Silence

“Military Working Dog Rexo, Victor 603 is no longer present for duty. The men and women of Peterson Space Force Base, and the United States Department of Defense thank you for your tireless efforts and dedication to our great country. You will never be forgotten.”

The ending of “A Dog’s Prayer” ended the memorial ceremony of MWD Rexo/V603.

Remember me not with tearful eyes…but instead with an abounding heart. Should you choose to fill my bed, feel no guilt, you have not betrayed my. Love another as you always loved me…and they too will love you as I always have.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui