Sheppard Bids Farewell to an 82nd SFS 4-Legged-Hero

8/13/2015 – SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — It was Sunday March 22, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. when Military Working Dog Larry, 82nd Training Wing Security Forces Squadron, was called for explosive support by the Wichita Falls police department.

During that afternoon call, Larry helped the local police find several different explosives including fuses, black powder, smokeless powder and other military-grade munitions.

“I was pretty shocked,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Flores, 82nd SFS MWD kennel master. “I was like ‘wow, this is local and he found something off base. That’s a big deal’ and sure enough because of that find, he won the Elizabeth Jacobson Award that year.”

At a unique ceremony Aug. 12, 2015, Larry was recognized for his contributions to the Air Force and granted an early retirement from military service.

U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog Larry waits to make his appearance on stage during his retirement ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 12, 2015. Larry served overseas for four deployments, one to Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and three to Afghanistan and assisted in providing security for the President and Vice President of the United States for ten missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

Calls such as the request in March 2012 were not unusual for Larry, trained as an expert in detecting and locating explosive odors. During his six years at Sheppard he executed more than 8,000 working hours and 2,000 explosive detection search time. Throughout his career, he completed four deployments, one to Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and three to Afghanistan.

Larry’s first handler U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Jones hadn’t seen Larry for several years until his retirement ceremony at Sheppard.

Jones recalled one of his fondest memories from a deployment together when they found Improvised Explosive Devices on a night mission assisting one of the local Army units.

“They knew there were IEDs out in the area, they just didn’t know where they were, so we started going out and sweeping roads,” he said.

Larry had already found two IEDs that night and Jones realized he had come across a third under a group of rocks in the desert.

“I got behind the smallest twig of a tree because I realized what had just happened and I’m calling ‘Larry! Larry!’ trying to keep it quiet,” only the wrong Larry responded.

“One of the guys I was with was also named Larry,” Jones continued. “So he comes up and said ‘what!?’ then looks at Larry and said ‘oh shoot!’ and runs in the other direction. Finally I just pulled my kong out and basically did an emergency recall.”

During the ceremony, several more of Larry’s Security Forces friends and colleagues recognized him by reading his accomplishments and a MWD poem. They also played a service video and he conducted his final search as a service dog.

At the conclusion of his ceremony, Jones, who is now with the 325th Security Forces Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., adopted him. To signify Larry’s retirement he placed a new collar around his neck and fed him his first meal as a retired MWD.

“What’s going to happen now is that he is going to be able to be a normal dog,” said Flores.

“My goal is to keep him comfortable and as healthy as possible,” Jones said. “I think it’s going to be fun … I’m really looking forward to it.”

Larry will now enjoy a relaxing retirement on the sunny beaches of Florida, with his new owner and old friend Jones.

by Senior Airman Kyle Gese
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

Airmen attend the retirement ceremony of Military Working Dog Larry at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 12, 2015. Larry was granted an early retirement after more than 8,000 working hours and more than 2,000 explosive detection search time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog Larry performs his final search as a MWD during his retirement ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 12, 2015. Larry served four deployments, detecting numerous Improvised Explosive Devices, ensuring the safety of nearly 75,000 U.S. and NATO Forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog Larry receives his retirement collar from U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Jones, Larry’s first handler from the 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., during his ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 12, 2015. Larry was assigned to Sheppard from Aug. 12, 2009 to Aug. 12, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Jones, 325th Security Forces Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., plays with U.S. Air Force retired Military Working Dog Larry, after his retirement ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 12, 2015. Larry conducted more than 150 outside-the-wire missions during his deployments overseas. Jones adopted Larry during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

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