Female MWD Handlers Have a Special Bond

Kimberly Woodruff, Staff Writer, 72 ABW

More and more jobs in the Air Force are opening up to women. One such job is with the security forces K9 teams.
There are three women dog handlers in Tinker’s 72nd Security Forces Squadron. Staff Sgt. Teofila Ochoa-Hudson, Senior Airman Brianna Krayenhagen and Senior Airman Meredith Jordan, though very different, all joined the Air Force and the K9 team so they could work with the animals they love. The three have also overcome obstacles in their lives to better themselves and to live their lives as they choose

Tech. Sgt. Dwight Veon, kennel master with the 72nd SFS, said a woman’s softer, higher pitched voice makes it easier to bond with a dog, whereas a man’s voice is much deeper and authoritative so it takes a little longer for dogs to bond with men. He added, “Women invest more emotionally into making the bond than most men do.”
Sergeant Ochoa-Hudson is handler to Syrius, one of the newer military working dogs at Tinker. The sergeant said she loves being a dog handler and it was the main reason she joined the Air Force. As a senior handler, she helps to further train the new military working dogs.
“When we get the dogs, they have the basics down and it is up to us to continue training them,” said Sergeant Ochoa-Hudson. Additionally, as senior, she is able to help train the newest dog handlers on the team.
Being in a male dominated field, the sergeant said that the women who do come in need to be able to carry their own weight and not be afraid to get in there and get dirty along with the men.
Sergeant Ochoa-Hudson, who is married to Staff Sgt. Jacob Hudson, also with the 72nd SFS, is a first generation Honduran to live in America. Her parents were both immigrants. Her father, who has since passed on, was from Honduras and her mother is from Mexico. “I came from growing up poor and sleeping on cardboard to being able to spoil my mom,” said Sergeant Ochoa-Hudson.
Airman Krayenhagen, the newest member of the team, is handler to Nika. She graduated Military Working Dog handlers school at Lackland AFB, Texas, with the “Top Dog” award for detection in December and came here to start training with Nika in January. She was just certified to patrol the streets of Tinker AFB.

Airman Krayenhagen said that being a member of the K9 team is interesting and that they are all part of a family. It isn’t only a security forces thing, but a dog handler bond they share. That bond is strong with the K9 crew. They not only work together, but they play together — all three ladies are on the SFS softball team.

Airman Krayenhagen is no stranger to the police force, or the K9 team for that matter. Her father, a former Air National Guard member, is a police officer and had a K9 business on the side. Her sister also serves on the police force.

Airman Krayenhagen’s parents divorced when she was in high school. She said her father wasn’t around much because of his work.

Her mother was a stepping stone for her and made her what she is today. “Mom was a teacher and went on to become a school principal,” she said. “My dad always had K9 demonstrations at mom’s school and I got to see that and wanted to do it.”

She, like most dog handlers, simply loves dogs. Airman Krayenhagen is doggy mom to Emmitt, a loveable Pit Bull.
As for the rest of the family, she just became engaged and plans to marry her fiancé, Stormy Frazier, in September. Ms. Frazier is a nurse in Texas.

“My family has always been very supportive,” said Airman Krayenhagen. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She’s the strongest and most amazing woman in my life and I look up to her tremendously. She encouraged me to join the Air Force, and keeps me going.”

Airman Jordan, also a “Top Dog” award winner from MWD handler school, said she joined the military because she felt the calling to serve, plus she comes from a long line of military members. She has family in the Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force.

One reason she put off joining the military was because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” When that was lifted in September 2011, she decided to join the Air Force. Though she is geographically separated from her spouse, Alison, Airman Jordan said she’s her priority.

“She’s really supportive of me,” Airman Jordan said. “And I want to support her, too, in whatever she chooses to do.”

Airman Jordan said her lifestyle has never been an issue for her. It might have been a little difficult to share with her family at first — she waited until she had moved out of the house. “No one ever treated me differently,” she said. “My first unit was very welcoming and didn’t care about my sexuality.”

In fact, her first shirt helped her obtain benefits for her spouse.

“It all comes down to being judged based on your performance on the job,” said Airman Jordan. “I think we all have to prove ourselves at one point or another.”  Airman Jordan said she chose a career in security forces because she wanted to do something active.

“I didn’t initially choose K9, but there is so much opportunity in security forces to do different things,” she said.

Airman Jordan is currently going through Airman Leadership School, but stops by the kennels when she can to visit with her dog, Duke.
“I can’t wait to work the street and spend time with my dog,” she said.

These ladies all agree it doesn’t matter that they’re women because security forces is like family and as handlers, they have the dogs in common.
“We’re all loving the dogs, training the dogs and doing our jobs,” said Airman Krayenhagen.

Military Working Dog units have been a primarily male-dominated career field, but as is proof of Tinker’s unit, three female handlers are proving they are just as capable of working with their canine counterparts. From left, Staff Sgt. Teofila Ochoa-Hudson, with MWD Syrius; Senior Airman Brianna Krayenhagen, with MWD Nika; and Senior Airman Meredith Jordan, with MWD Duke, are proud members of Tinker’s Military Working Dog team. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

col-rankNew Colonels (Defenders),

CONGRATULATIONS on this occasion of your promotions to the rank Colonel! 

You should be rightly proud of this significant accomplishment as I can assure you this year was a very tough cut.  I consider you all high-caliber officers--exactly the type of senior leaders we need to drive our AF and SF to success in the coming years.  All the best to you and your families...well done!!!

Director of Security Forces
DCS/Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection

Jereme A. Barrett
Benito J. Barron
Jason L. Beck
Phillip G. Born
Theodore A. Breuker
Christopher J. Bromen
Jeffrey F. Carter
Chris J. DeGuelle
G. John Grimm
Philip A. Holmes
Earl "Don" Layne
Leonard T. Rose
David E. Williams, Jr.



Security Upgrades Coming to Help Make Base Even Safer

by Argen Duncan, Nucleus editor

3/7/2016 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Kirtland Air Force Base commander assured residents during a town hall meeting Friday that the installation is safe, despite three recent trespassing incidents, and modifications will make it safer.

"Your safety is incredibly important to us," Col. Eric Froehlich, 377th Air Base Wing commander, told an audience of about 200 in the Base Theater.

Col. Richard Demouy, 377th Security Forces Group commander, explained the three incidents.

On Feb. 10, he said, a civilian approached the Gibson Gate, said he was lost and asked to turn around. Instead of complying with the turn-around procedure, the man gunned the vehicle onto base. The intrusion resulted in a vehicle pursuit and arrest of the suspect, who crashed at the closed Eubank gate. He was turned over to Albuquerque Police Department, who took him to a local hospital.

Security Forces turned the man over because APD could pursue greater charges against him. Demouy said the vehicle had been stolen, and the driver claimed to be high on methamphetamine.

On Feb. 22, a man scaled the perimeter fence into a housing area just before 1 a.m. A woman saw and reported him.

APD took part in the search, with Security Forces apprehending the man in 35 minutes. The suspect was again turned over to APD, Demouy said.

Additional calls from residents during the search helped defenders locate the suspect. However, blow-by-blow descriptions of defenders' movements that appeared on Facebook could have hampered the effort and put personnel in more danger, had a hostile party been monitoring the posts, he said.

Two days later, a motorist approached the Gibson Gate, appearing lost. He refused to roll down his window to speak with guards, sped onto the base and dodged the barriers an Airman deployed. Security Forces pursued the vehicle for a little more than half a mile before the driver crashed through the perimeter fence and fled off the base on foot.

Demouy said there was no evidence Kirtland was targeted in any of the incidents.

"It was simply happenstance that they ended up where they ended up," he said.

Demouy said leaders learned from every critical incident. Froehlich and Security Forces officials discussed upgrades and evolving tactics and equipment to ensure fortifications at the gates and along the perimeter were bolstered.

Maj. Brenton Pickrell of the 377th Security Forces Group said defenders are planning upgrades to the base camera system, as well as adding elevated monitoring positions. Froehlich and Demouy fielded several complaints of too little communication during incidents.

Demouy warned that detailed procedures needed to stay private for operational security, and defenders need a chance to get control of the situation before providing information about it. He and Froehlich promised improved communication, as far as practical, in the future.

Carl Grusnick of the Public Affairs Office said his staff would post incident updates on the Kirtland Air Force Base Facebook page when they became available.

Demouy said most of the several hundred Security Forces personnel live on base.

"So like you, we have a vested interest in coming home to an environment that's safe and secure," he said.

Pickrell also highlighted the downward trend of crime on base and at the gate over the last three years. In 2015, property damage, with 31 cases; DWI, with 29 cases; and unauthorized entry, with 21 cases, were the top reported crimes on base.

Kirtland Air Force Base crime trends:

Annual numbers
2013: 313 crimes reported
2014: 254 crimes reported
2015: 118 crimes reported
Change: 62 percent decrease in 3 years

60-day crime rate:
Kirtland: 26 crimes
Albuquerque, within 1 mile of base: 1,024 crimes

Law enforcement to resident ratios:
Kirtland: 1.8 defenders per 100 residents
Albuquerque Police: 1.7 officers per
10,000 residents

Source: Maj. Brenton Pickrell, 377th Security Forces Group


USAF OSI Agents Receive Special Honor for Quick Action in Deadly Afghanistan Attack

by Oriana Pawlyk, Air Force Times, March 8, 2016

Lt Col Michael Mentavios, EDet 2405/CC recognizes SSgt Martinez as an honorary AFOSI Special Agent at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan (Photo: AFOSI)

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will honor three surviving airmen who sprung into action following a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan in December.

Master Sgt Aaron Frederick and Staff Sgt Bradley Mock, both with the 824th Base Defense Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and Staff Sgt Flavio Martinez, 105th Security Forces Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, have been made honorary AFOSI special agents, the agency announced Friday.

"Following the Dec. 21 attack, the immediate actions of three defenders were nothing short of heroic," OSI posted on its Facebook page. "In a time of chaos, uncertainty, and terror, they immediately ensured the safety of other teammates, cared for the wounded and protected the dignity of our fallen."

Six airmen were killed when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorcycle into a joint patrol with Afghan security forces outside of Bargram Air Field. The fallen airmen were directly responsible for the safety of the other forces on the ground, which included five fellow security forces airmen, five OSI agents and two linguists.

Last month, two of the six airmen killed were honored posthumously with Bronze Stars with Valor. The Air National Guard awarded Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa and Tech Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, both with the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart ANGB "for saving the lives of other airmen at the cost of their own."

The three OSI agents will receive an official badge and credentials in a formal presentation from Brig. Gen. Keith Givens, commander of AFOSI, and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher J. VanBurger, 15th Air Force Office of Special Investigations Command Chief, in the near future, the agency said.

bonacasa_lemmTwo Defenders Names To Be Added To The NLEO Memorial

A nomination package was submitted by the office of the Director of Security Forces, USAF to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Board recommending the addition of two Air Force Defenders to the memorial. At the 13 May 2016 candlelight vigil Security Forces Defenders TSgt Joseph Lemm’s and SSgt Louis Bonacasa’s names will be read aloud with the names of other Law Enforcement officers who lost their lives during 2015. This ceremony will take place in Judiciary Square during Police Week in Washington, DC.

 nleom"Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream." President George H.W. Bush 


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