Vance retires two working dogs in joint ceremony

  • Published
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
In a unique dual retirement ceremony Nov. 10, Team Vance bid farewell to two four-legged friends - military working dogs Samo and Maxik.

After a combined 17 years of service at Vance and other locations around the world, the dogs were recognized for their service with Air Force Achievement Medals and certificates of retirement.

Samo, a German shepherd, who enlisted in the Air Force in May 2007, completed more than 1,600 hours of search time including three deployments and 11 secret service missions protecting the President, Vice President, candidates and other foreign heads of state.

Samo was adopted by one of his prior handlers, Tech. Sgt. Shawn Brundzo, the 71st Security Forces Squadron kennel master. Brundzo was Samo's handler on and off for four years. The explosives detection team deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and performed four missions in support of the secret service.

"I was second in line to get Samo," said Brundzo. "Samo's last handler had the first option to adopt him, but chose not to, and I was the next in line."

He will be spending lots of time with the family, said Brundzo.

Maxik, also a German shepherd, enlisted in the Air Force in February 2009. He completed two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Maxik completed 1,450 hours of search time at home and abroad, during seven years of distinguished service.

Staff Sgt. Marshall Rains, Maxik's last handler, adopted the retired explosives detection dog. The team was together for two years and completed one mission in support of the Secret Service in addition to working at the Vance Commercial Gate inspecting vehicles.

"His legs aren't in great shape, and he is legally blind in his left eye, so I am just going to try and make things as easy for him as possible," said Rains. "I just bought a house in town, so he will have plenty of room to run, and for the time being, he has my futon."

The ceremony ended with the reading of a poem titled: "Guardians of the Night," while all current and former MWD handlers stood at attention on stage. "Guardians of the Night" is a poem about the relationship between a MWD and his handler.

To read the poem click here.