***image1***Accommodations in the KMC for deployed military working dogs just upgraded from a trailer park to a five-star hotel with the grand opening of the Army’s largest dog kennel May 19 at Miesau Army Depot.
“This is a milestone for U.S. Army Europe, the Kaiserslautern Army and Air Force communities and Military Working Dog Program,” said Col. Jack McClanahan, USAREUR provost marshal, at the grand opening.
Army dogs stationed here will be moving into their new homes no later than Thursday, said Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Throckmorton, USAREUR military working dog program manager.
“We’re going to have enough dogs here to support law enforcement and protection issues for the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern,” said Sergeant 1st Class Throckmorton.
The new kennels cost almost $750,000 and took 18 months to renovate the existing 1970s structure, said Razeq Torakai, the garrison’s program manager for the new kennels.
“These facilities add size and convenience for handlers who are transitioning back and forth from downrange,” said Staff Sgt. Chad Jones, who has made that transition through the KMC using the old kennels. “It’s kind of like going from a trailer park to the Hilton basically coming over here.”
It can house 60 dogs at a time, whereas the old kennel at Pulaski Barracks could only fit the travel-weary dogs in with the ones stationed here. This often meant that the more than 180 Army and Navy dogs transiting last year from four theaters in support of the Global War on Terrorism spent the night in travel crates outside, said Sergeant 1st Class Throckmorton, who Colonel McClanahan acknowledged for having the vision to make this kennel a reality.
“These dogs are doing a great deal of work making sure this mission is carried on downrange,” said Sergeant 1st Class Throckmorton. “You’ve got to take care of this equipment, and in the end, that’s what a military working dog is – equipment that’s living.”
Deployed dog handlers also received an upgrade in accommodations with reserved barracks rooms on Miesau near their four-legged partners and working space in the new administration building adjacent to the kennels.
There is also a 41-by-41-meter training space for the dog teams to practice their skills and surrounding the kennels are lots of trees.
“Most kennels are on a hard installation that has no area for dog teams to do scouting training; however, here you have a lot of wooded area where they can do a lot of scouting, and scouting is very important in the mission downrange,” said Sergeant 1st Class Throckmorton.
An official name for the new facility has not yet been decided, but Sergeant 1st Class Throckmorton said he’s looking into naming it after a fallen dog handler.