Military Working Dog ATAK

Military Working Dog Atak pictured in harness with his handler in military patrol uniform.Name: MILITARY WORKING DOG ATAK J240 (R)

Breed: Belgian Malinois

DOB: February 2004

Retirement: 2016 (Age 12)

End of Service: November 2016

Agency: United States Air Force, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO

Disciplines: PEDD/Patrol and Explosive Detector Dog

Formal Schooling and Certifications: MWD Atak J240 attended his basic obedience, Patrol and Explosive detection training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX.

Career Stats: MWD ATAK J240, has had numerous world wide deployments to the middle east, eastern Europe and many undisclosed locations.  MWD Atak has also supported the United States Secret Service on PODUS/ VPODUS missions across the United States and overseas.  MWD Atak has numerous finds and saved countless lives.  MWD Atak has protected billions of dollars worth of assets and personal in an 11 year career as a Working Dog.

Additional Information:  MWD Atak J240 (R) was medically retired in January 2016.  He was diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and DM,DLSS.  Basically he would one day lose the use of his legs.  There was no timetable given, as every dog and every breed is different.  Even though he could no longer deploy or work he had a life after service.  The only good thing about his diagnosis is that it was painless, he would just not be able to walk one day.  Atak also had K-9 IBS, so he was a category 2 dog and was on special food.

I was MWD Atak’s handler from Dec 2007 to Aug 2010.  We certified numerous times and supported the USSS on missions world wide.  In 2008 we were tasked to deploy to Iraq for the ”Surge” and support the United States Army.  Our mission set was to clear polling sites, house, buildings and anything that needed to be searched.  We were a force multiplier.  This was a newer mission for Air Force dog teams.  Up until that point most Air Force deployments you didn’t leave the wire.  Atak and I had ran nearly 150 combat missions in Iraq from 2008-2009.

I know that I’m here today cause this dog walked me into Iraq and walked me out.  We assisted numerous units while deployed.  We did a little bit of everything, route clearance, house-to-house, open areas, you name we did it!  We flew around the country in helicopters, Atak was not a fan.  I separated in 2010 and the toughest thing was dropping Atak’s leash.

Atak continued to serve for another 5 years with numerous handlers.  I stayed in touch with my friends and kept tabs on him.  I always wanted to adopt him if he ever was available.  There was a time when I thought that would never happen.  I was in luck a fellow handler from another base that I was stationed at moved to PAFB and became the Kennel Master.  There was a chance.  TSgt David Wilson called me and said come get your dog.  I flew to Denver rented a car and picked up my buddy!  We drove cross-country and re kindled the bound that had never broken.  I brought him home to a pregnant wife and my other dog.

I was more than a little worried; MWD Atak had been socialized with other dogs and was never a problem.  He met Jager my German shepherd and they were brothers from day one.  It took about a 3 weeks to get used to my wife, but once he figured out his new pack they were buddies to the end, he was her shadow!  MWD Atak made it 11 months before the disease reared its ugly head.  He came into this world on his feet and he left while he could still stand.  I’m forever grateful to his faithful service to this country and to me.  I owe this dog my life and saying good bye to him was one of the hardest days of my life.  It was the right decision and now he can watch my 6 from an elevated position.  He will never be forgotten and his story will live on!

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