K-9 handler reenlists with partner at his side

  • Published
  • By Airman Zoë T. Perkins
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- “So help me God,” he recited, with his right hand raised and four-legged partner standing by his side. This American Airman just agreed to serve another four years in the world’s greatest Air Force.

On Jan. 23, 2018, Staff Sgt. Jose R. Fernandez, a K-9 handler assigned to the 71st Security Forces Squadron, after serving almost six years in the U.S. Air Force, reenlisted to serve another four.

Out of Fernandez’s six years in the Air Force, over two of those have been at Vance Air Force Base with his first military working dog, Akim, a 5-year-old male German Shepherd.

“Besides working on base, Akim and I have been on two missions,” said Fernandez. “One to support President Donald Trump, and one to support the vice president.”

Fernandez spent three years at his first duty station in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, training to be a K-9 handler before coming to Vance. After his time here, Fernandez will take a new assignment overseas.

He will be teamed with a different military-working-dog partner when he gets to his new location.

“It’s going to be tough leaving Akim,” said Fernandez. “But I knew this is what I was signing up for. I knew I wouldn’t be working the same dog for my whole military career.”

Akim has been a great dog, said Fernandez.

“The work you put into your dog is given back to you,” said Fernandez. “And Akim has given back to me in more ways than I can think of.”