366 SFS commemorates canine comrade
By Senior Airman Tyrell Hall, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 27, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho. -- The 366th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers held a memorial ceremony to celebrate the life of a canine friend September 25, 2019, at the base chapel.
Alf V198 was a military working dog (MWD) explosive detection dog and served in the United States Air Force from May 16, 2013, to August 29, 2019.
Alf displayed supreme excellence as he supported OPERATION FREEDOM SENTINEL and OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE.
He provided explosive detection for coalition forces by searching over 1,700 vehicles, 5,000 pieces of cargo and completing 92 anti-terrorism measures. Alf successfully safeguarded 3,800 warfighters and $7.2 billion dollars in Air Force’s Central Command’s assets, enabling the execution of 5,500 combat sorties with 7,110 bombs deployed and successfully dropped on target.
“He was so determined and always wanted to work non-stop,” said Tech. Sgt. Dustin Cain, 366th SFS MWD kennel master. “Normally german shepherds have a cut off and get tired out, but Alf was always ‘go go go’.”
He was of the german shepherd breed and was described by Cain as having a kind and playful disposition. It was also said that he was very driven.
“Alf was the first dog I met when I arrived to Mountain Home Air Force Base,” Cain said. “Looking at Alf I could immediately tell he was eager to please, his eyes were kind and dedicated. Later I would learn just how kind and dedicated he was.”
Cain explained that military working dogs can be either detection only, patrol only or a mixture of both. Since Alf was possessed both skill-sets, he was what is called a patrol explosive detector dog (PEDD).
Additionally Alf was deployed twice. He also supported the United States Secret Service and ensured the safety of high-profile individuals to include the President of the United States, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, congressmen and other national and foreign distinguished leaders.
Unfortunately, it was later discovered that Alf was suffering from an identified mass and distressed breathing.
“He did his best to maintain that determination and playful disposition, but sadly his body couldn’t match his will,” Cain said. “His condition was terminal.”
Alf was transported to Fort Carson, CO, by his handler Tech. Sgt. Chelsea Uhlry, 366th FW Security Forces military working dog handler, August 29, 2019, to undergo further medical diagnosis and treatment. Due to a confirmation of terminal diagnosis, it was determined that Alf be humanely euthanized to end his pain.
Throughout his life Alf managed to effortlessly touch the hearts and lives of his handlers and people around him with his infectious personality – especially during bath times.
“All dogs have their own personality when it comes to getting a bath,” Cain said. ‘Some enjoy it and other can’t wait for it to be over. Then there was Alf with a mixture of howls and high-pitched barks.”
Cain explained how it was easy to see Alf didn’t find it fair that you were allowed to give him a bath and not let him play with the water hose.
Alf also had a gentle side to his personality one couldn’t help but admire.
“He was the nicest working dog I’ve ever worked with,” Uhlry said. “He was very affectionate and showed you he loved you.”
Uhlry explained how Alf had an amazing sense of smell, and sometimes would become protective and bark at passersby.
With his wonderful personality, Alf displayed the courage and tenacity that ultimately grew him into an outstanding military working dog.
Cain shared how he watched Alf progress over the years and witnessed how he bettered his handlers. He expressed how Alf’s level of determination encouraged his handlers to match and exceed that level to be the best team possible.
The Air Force has not only lost a great military working dog but a phenomenal companion.
Alf will never know how many lives he touched or how important his contribution was to this country; all he knew was service and to do his best at his job. The Gunfighters are forever grateful for all he did for this great nation and he will never be forgotten.
“Till Valhalla brother,” Cain said.
The distinguished accomplishments of MWD Alf reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force. After six years of honorable service, MWD Alf will be laid to rest at the 366th Security Forces military working dog section.