The 86th Security Forces Squadron and the 435th Construction and Training Squadron hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopening of the military working dog kennel after undergoing renovations at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 29.
The initial planning for the renovation began in 2015, according to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jessica Martinez-Santana, 86th SFS kennel master. Over the past few months, there were multiple obstacles that Martinez-Santana and her team had to overcome in order to open the renovated facility.
“Some of the hurdles that we had to face were COVID and Operation Allies [Welcome], but our whole team was able to push through that and we are here to finally reopen our kennels and bring our military working dogs to Ramstein,” Martinez-Santana said.
Throughout the renovation process, MWDs from Ramstein had been staying with the 100th Military Working Dog Detachment located at the Miseau Army Ammo Depot. MWD handlers were taking 20 minute trips to pick up their dogs and bring them back to complete the mission at Ramstein, Martinez-Santana said.
“This renovation creates a better, healthier environment for military working dogs,” she said. “We have a liaison here whose sole job is to transition military working dogs from downrange into going back to [their] home station, or from home station to downrange. It is going to create a more stable environment while they stay here on Ramstein and be able to complete the mission downrange, so that is why it is so important.”
Some of Martinez-Santana’s responsibilities as the kennel master include ensuring all dogs are certified, dog teams are trained and overseeing the kennel through spot inspections. She said she puts a lot of trust in her team to ensure dogs are proficient and ready at all times, and that it feels good to have the MWDs next door to be able to easily check on them.
Handlers must work with their MWDs extensively to ensure readiness and proficient training. Airmen from the 86th SFS military working dog section are excited for the completion of the renovations.
“There are only four of us that have experienced the dogs actually being here,” said Staff Sgt. George Brooks, 86th SFS military working dog trainer. “It will be a new experience for a lot of [the Airmen].”