By 2nd Lt. Michael Giles
Soldiers of the 510th Military Police Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, earned an Eagle Award, Tuesday, after being recently recognized as the Best Military Working Dog Detachment in U.S. Army Forces Command.
Since 1974, FORSCOM has presented the Best Military Working Dog Detachment award annually to exceptional military police units. Of the 14 military working dogs assigned to the 510th MPs, 92 percent of the teams successfully earned FORSCOM certification.
“I think it comes down to the Soldiers that come to Fort Campbell,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cyrus Vaughn, 510th Jaws of the Law lead trainer.
Vaughn has worked with the 510th for more than two years now, working to build rigorous training plans and prepare teams to face any challenge they might encounter, regardless of the mission.
“Our Soldiers are always ready to learn and always ready to embrace the next challenge,” he said. “That attitude has created a standard that no one else has touched this year.”
Soldiers and their assigned working dogs provide emergency response and special capabilities to the Fort Campbell community, the United States Secret Service, supports installation contingency operations and on order deploy worldwide, said Sgt. 1st Class Keith Bengtson, 510th MPs kennel master.
“We do a great job of integrating ourselves with the Brigade Combat Teams we support on Fort Campbell,” Bengston said. “Training with other units gives them a better idea of how to use us as an asset and integrate us into their operations.”
The Eagle Award went to the 510th MPs because of their vigorous training regimen based on validations and certifications required of military working dog teams to execute their operations. They conducted weekly validation days that mirror what is required by the certifications, then focus their training for the following week based on the shortcomings of the team’s performance. At the end of the week, they executed a simulated validation day that measures the team’s progress. Key individual tasks within this training regimen include odor recognition, obedience training, noise exposure [gun-shot training], bite work, obstacle course training and detection.
“Earning this award is solely the result of the 510th’s hard work and dedication to doing what they love,” said 1st Lt. Brandon Fleming, 510th MPs officer in charge. “Anyone who has been so lucky to work alongside these Soldiers has no doubt of their relevancy and the need for their skills.”
Often, the 510th MPs participates joint training exercises with the Hopkinsville and Clarksville police departments, Fort Campbell Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), 5th Special Forces Group and the Asymmetric Warfare Group.
Joint training provides alternate views and experiences within the MWD world and further enhances the detachment’s capabilities.
Within these joint training exercises exists opportunities for seminars with mobile training teams, who travel across the United States and specialize in explosives detection, narcotics detection, obedience training and patrol work.