Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

At ease, loyal defenders: Peterson AFB honors Military Working Dogs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Lt. Col. Nicole Roberts, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Karissa Fitzpatrick, 21st SFS Military Working Dog handler, a plaque to commemorate Fitzpatrick’s MWD, Roky, career as a MWD in the base auditorium at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., April 10, 2017. Team Pete Airmen came to memorialize Roky’s legacy and military service.
 PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Lt. Col. Nicole Roberts, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Karissa Fitzpatrick, 21st SFS Military Working Dog handler, a plaque to commemorate Fitzpatrick’s MWD, Roky, career as a MWD in the base auditorium at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., April 10, 2017. Team Pete Airmen came to memorialize Roky’s legacy and military service.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Lt. Col. Nicole Roberts, 21st Security Forces Squadron commander, presents Senior Airman Karissa Fitzpatrick, 21st SFS Military Working Dog handler, a plaque to commemorate Fitzpatrick’s MWD, Roky, career as a MWD in the base auditorium at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., April 10, 2017. Team Pete Airmen came to memorialize Roky’s legacy and military service.

By Shellie-Anne Espinosa

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  —  Members of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, honored two Military Working Dogs at a memorial service and retirement ceremony April 10, 2017, at Peterson AFB’s auditorium.

Roky, 21st Security Forces squadron MWD, was honored through a memorial service. Gina, 21st SFS MWD, enjoyed a retirement after nine years in service.

Roky arrived at Peterson AFB in April 2011. His End of Watch was November 2016 when he was euthanized due to a serious illness.

Roky was trained in explosive detection. He was able to discover explosive substances used to construct devices that could threaten, damage or destroy personnel and property.

During his time at Peterson AFB, he went on four deployments. He served at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, and Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

In a tribute to Roky’s seven years of service, fellow MWDs stood post with their handlers on either side of his kennel. The kennel sat open with his collar, lead, and badge displayed on the door. A kong toy was sitting on top and his water bowl was placed upside down in front.

Roky’s final handler, Senior Airman Karissa Fitzpatrick, 21st SFS MWD handler, placed Roky’s ashes on top of the kennel before stepping up to speak of her time with him. She then accepted a plaque of remembrance from Lt. Col. Nicole Roberts, 21st SFS commander.

Afterwards, Fitzpatrick placed all of Roky’s belongings inside his kennel and locked the door. Then she, along with Roberts and Tech Sgt. Brett Marzo, 21st SFS kennel master, rendered a slow salute to Roky to end the memorial service.

“To say he was the best dog I ever had is a bit cliché, but it is an honest and simple statement,” Fitzpatrick said.

Roky was her first MWD. Her fondest memory of her time with Roky is “Netflix and snuggles.” She said he was a goofy dog and that’s a trait she hopes to see in her MWD partners in the future.

The event also celebrated MWD Gina’s retirement. Fellow MWDs, handlers and SFS defenders recognized her nine-year career.

She arrived at Peterson AFB in June 2006, and had a full career. She was trained in explosive detection, like Roky, and also went to Patrol Dog School. Afterwards, she was able to detect, deter and assist in the apprehension of criminals and protect her handler from any harm that criminals may present.

Gina served in three deployments including Forward Operating Base Falcon, Iraq, and twice to Al Udeid AB.

Gina’s handler, Senior Airman Amanda Legault, 21st SFS MWD handler, said that Gina always changed her days for the better.

“Gina was so excited to get her day started,” said Legault. “She loved to work.”

After nine years of service, Gina was adopted by Legault. She is excited to let Gina be a regular dog and finally relax. Legault called Gina a big cuddler and says her plans for Gina’s future are simple.

“I’m definitely going to spoil her,” said Legault. “She deserves it.”

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