39th SFS retires man’s best friend

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Sheffield, 39th Security Forces Squadron commander, speaks at Military Working Dog Jerry’s retirement ceremony July 10, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Both canine and human friends gathered to celebrate MWD Jerry’s seven years of faithful service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Sheffield, 39th Security Forces Squadron commander, speaks at Military Working Dog Jerry’s retirement ceremony July 10, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Both canine and human friends gathered to celebrate MWD Jerry’s seven years of faithful service to the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Cain, 39th Security Forces Squadron manager, accepts the leash during the passing of the leash ceremony at MWD Jerry, 39th Security Forces Squadron patrol and explosives detector’s retirement July 10, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Cain adopted Jerry into his home where he will live the remainder of his days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Cain, 39th Security Forces Squadron manager, accepts the leash during the passing of the leash ceremony at MWD Jerry, 39th Security Forces Squadron patrol and explosives detector’s retirement July 10, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Cain adopted Jerry into his home where he will live the remainder of his days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Airmen gathered to honor Military Working Dog Jerry, 39th SFS patrol and explosives detector, during his retirement ceremony July 10, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Jerry hung up the leash after seven years and one week of faithful service in support of various North Atlantic Treaty Organization and DOD missions.

“The accomplishments of MWD Jerry reflect admirably upon the DOD’s Military Working Dog Program,” said Staff Sgt. Angel Santiago, 39th SFS military working dog handler. “He has served his handlers, the U.S. Air Force, and our nation with loyalty and honor.”

Jerry’s journey began when he was born in the Netherlands in February 2007, where he was evaluated by a purchase team and selected for military service. From there, he received his first set of orders to begin his training with the DOD Military Working Dog Program at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

He spent the next year at Lackland AFB training to perfect his patrol work, strengthening his bite and mastering his explosive detection skills.

“Military working dogs share a unique bond with their handlers and the community,” said Staff Sgt. Angel Santiago, 39th SFS military working dog handler. “Today’s MWDs serve many roles throughout their illustrious careers, from protecting heads of state to countering drug operations, and countering explosive operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

In March 2010, Jerry became a fully certified patrol and explosive detector dog and was given the crucial task of safeguarding over 7,000 military and civilian personnel at Incirlik AB alongside his human counterparts. During his time here, he served with eight canine handlers and protected over 18 billion dollars in assets.

Chief Master Sgt. Brian Cain, 39th SFS manager, adopted Jerry into his home where he will spend the rest of his dog-days comfortably.

“I don’t consider myself a handler for Jerry now, but a caregiver,” Cain said. “It’s all about helping Jerry live out the remainder of his time in comfort, not having to worry about anything but his next meal. He’s going to get a lot of love and affection.”

At the end of the ceremony, friends petted Jerry and offered him treats as a thanks for his accomplishments.

“This is a chance to reflect on the rigors of training, mission execution, and a transition to lazy days on the couch, taking naps and leisurely strolls said Sheffield.  “A ceremony is the least we can do to recognize his life of service.”