USWDA Newsletter











Canines with: Courage – Honor – Loyalty                  January 2013



The United States War Dogs Association has teamed with Nat Geo WILD, short for National Geographic WILD to promote a new and exciting new television series called, ALPHA DOGS”. Keeping checking our web site, and our facebook page, United States War Dogs Assciation for video peviews which will be coming soon..

New Nat Geo WILD Series Goes Inside One of the Most Elite Police and Military Dog Training Facilities in the World

Executive Produced by Jack Osbourne and Rob Worsoff,

New Series Alpha Dogs Premieres Friday, February 8, 2013, at 9 & 9:30 PM ET

(Washington, D.C. – January 4, 2013) They hail from Europe, and respond to commands in their native tongue; they are members of every branch of the military, the Secret Service and law enforcement agencies worldwide; they have helped take down some of the most infamous terrorists in history; and they are suckers for a tennis ball. They are the K-9s of Vohne Liche Kennels (VLK), one of the premiere K-9 training facilities in the world, and together with the team that trains them they are an integral part of the war on terror.

Beginning Friday, Feb. 8, at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET (and airing weekly Fridays at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET), Nat Geo WILD’s cameras go behind the scenes with exclusive access to VLK’s elite trainers at their headquarters in rural Indiana, as they work around the clock to train these Alpha Dogs in the art of detection and assault. They do it all with one goal: serving our country.

The training approach is intense: Any mistakes the dogs make—missing a bomb, letting an enemy escape or not detecting weapons—could cost lives. Join the VLK team as they teach handlers and dogs to leap from helicopters, rappel down buildings, search buildings and cars for explosives and drugs, and chase down human targets. The dogs can even be trained to find illicit cell phones in prison cells and money being brought through airports as part of laundering schemes. Training these K-9/human tandems in real-world situations, like staying focused on a bad guy while live gunfire is occurring around them, is critical. The VLK team will go to whatever lengths necessary, be it live explosives or real drugs, to make sure no dog or handler graduates from their program unprepared.

Though the trainers at VLK may look like a biker gang, and sometimes may act like one, they have extensive experience serving on the front lines in military and law enforcement agencies, and many carry top secret clearance. Led by owner and founder Kenny Licklider, a retired senior master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, each member of the team is an alpha male in his own right:

• Danny, head of police training, is the toughest guy with a mullet that you’ve ever met.

• Bobby, head of military operations, is cool under pressure, and has never seen a deadline he can’t meet.

• Luther, lead instructor for the kennel’s Tactical Explosive Detector Dog (T.E.D.D.) program, is the team’s most outgoing personality.

• K.C. isn’t just the boss’s son but also one of the best up-and-coming trainers at the facility.

“The K-9s you’ll meet in Alpha Dogs are serious animals, a perfect combination of muscle and smarts, trained at the highest level,” says executive producer Jack Osbourne. “If you met Kenny and team on the street, you’d never expect that this group of beer-drinking, motorcycle-driving, tattoo-covered guys from small-town Indiana would be some of the world’s finest law enforcement trainers. From the moment I met them and saw their operation, they blew me away.”

Fellow executive producer Rob Worsoff adds, “I think people are going to love this show. It has everything: awesome characters, funny moments, awesome dogs, explosions, tears and tons of tension. It’s an action-packed show.”

Premiere episodes include:

Alpha Dogs: Life and Death

Premieres Friday, February 8, 2013, at 9 PM ET

Meet Kenny, Danny, Bobby, Luther and K.C. — owner and staff at Vohne Liche Kennels (VLK), one of the most elite K-9 dog training facilities in the world. Together they train not just the dogs sent to the field to detect drugs, weapons and bombs and attack aggressors, but also the handlers who will work with them on a daily basis. In the premiere episode, it’s almost graduation for a team from Special Ops forces, and Kenny and Bobby are worried when one trainee struggles with controlling his dog. Any delay in their graduation costs the kennel money, but they can’t risk graduating a dog or human without being fully confident in their skills to transition between taking down an enemy and finding the bomb. Later, Kenny joins Danny, Luther and his son K.C. as they travel to a training seminar commemorating a fallen officer and former VLK student. Together they take the officers through exercises similar to what their fallen colleague encountered the night he was killed, including a rappelling challenge that causes one VLK trainer to confront his fears and sends another to a hospital.

Alpha Dogs: Bite Me

Premieres Friday, February 8, at 9:30 PM ET

The team at VLK has been working hard, and Kenny wants to take them “turtling” over the weekend as a reward; but they have a lot of work to get done before they can go. First, Danny and Kenny visit the police department in Terre Haute, Ind., to test a group of dogs’ reactions to live gunfire. One of the animals becomes anxious, and when his handler tries to subdue him incorrectly, he winds up with a vicious bite. The guys have to take the dog back to the kennel to determine if the dog has issues, or if the real issue was poor handling. Meanwhile, Luther has four dogs who he must teach to detect explosive odors in only a few short days before a new Tactical Explosive Detector Dog (T.E.D.D.) class. If he can’t get the job done they’ll have to work through the weekend, which means no turtling. The pressure is on!

Alpha Dogs: Rodney & Bullwinkle

Premieres Friday, February 15, at 9 PM ET

A new client, Rodney, arrives from Afghanistan looking for a new cadaver dog, which can be used to find mass burial sites and body parts. Rodney is used to using strapping Belgian Malinois, but Bobby and Luther are convinced the right dog for the job is a cocker spaniel named Bullwinkle. Rodney is skeptical, even after Bullwinkle shines in the indoor test, detecting the odor of body decomposition in a target box, and again outdoors finding a PVC pipe with real human remains. To really sell Rodney, they’ll have to test the dog to find an intact human foot they’ve buried — which will also test their squeamish stomachs. Over in Logansport, Ind., Kenny and Danny have been invited to participate in the police department’s drug interdiction detail, where they’ll attempt to catch cars using a side road to avoid a drug checkpoint, and then bring in dogs to search for drugs. Kenny and Danny are excited to be out on the streets, and hoping their dogs can make the grade..

Alpha Dogs: Blow Up

Premieres Friday, February 15, 2013, at 9:30 PM ET

VLK is welcoming a new group of T.E.D.D. handlers who need pairing up with dogs. This program trains K-9s to detect improvised explosive devices and trains the handlers to use the animals’ skills to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. Once Kenny and Luther have made the pairings, they set the duos to work in a bomb-sniffing exercise that features live gunfire and explosions. One of the dogs, who, like the rest in this class, has already served time in Afghanistan or Iraq, shows signs of resistance at the first sound of explosions, and it’s up to the guys from VLK to determine if she is capable of seeing combat again. Danny is dealing with a different kind of personnel problem: K.C., the boss’s son, is perpetually showing up late and missing work. His young age and lack of real-life experience make it difficult for him to earn the respect he thinks he deserves: not only from overzealous trainees but also from his own dad.

Alpha Dogs: Busted

Premieres Friday, February 22, 2013, at 9 PM ET

Kenny has high hopes to become the exclusive dog provider for K9s4Cops, a charitable organization that buys police dogs for departments across the country that can’t afford them. The leaders of the charity visit VLK with an officer who is to receive a K-9 from the charity, but after he makes his selection, Bobby and Kenny are shocked to learn the dog needs to be comfortable working in and around water. If these two can’t get the dog up to speed, it could affect the relationship with K9s4Cops and cost the kennel thousands of dollars in new business. In nearby Kokomo, Ind., Kenny and Danny work with a group of police officers to build their dog’s confidence in taking out a bad guy. One handler shines bright, so Kenny and Danny invite him along on a real drug bust to give him a taste for real-world detection. Will he falter in the face of adversity, or continue to show potential?

Alpha Dogs is produced for Nat Geo WILD by Schweet Entertainment, LLC. For Schweet Entertainment, LLC, executive producers are Jack Osbourne and Rob Worsoff. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producers are J-T Ladt and Ashley Hoppin, senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering, and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

# # #

About Nat Geo WILD

For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society. Part of the National Geographic Channels US, based in Washington, D.C., the networks are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. In 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) debuted, and 10 years later, Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with Nat Geo WILD currently available in 56 million U.S. homes. Globally, Nat Geo WILD is available in more than 100 million homes in 90 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit.




Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act – Up Date!

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1 – Short Title

• Designates this act as the “Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act.”

Section 2 – Findings

• Explains that military working dogs have served honorably in the armed forces and other government agencies in ways that go far beyond their current designation as “equipment.”

• Notes that military working dogs have prevented injuries and saved lives.

Section 3 – Retirement and Adoption of Military Working Dogs

• Reclassifies military working dogs as canine members of the armed forces and states that they shall not be classified as equipment.

• Authorizes the Secretary of the appropriate military department to transport retiring military working dogs to the 341st Training Squadron or another suitable location for adoption, if no suitable adoption is available at the military facility where the dog is located.

• Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to accept travel benefits such as frequent traveler miles to facilitate the adoption of a retired military working dog.

Section 4 – Veterinary Care for Retired Military Working Dogs

• Directs the Secretary of Defense to establish and maintain a system to provide for the veterinary care of retired military working dogs beginning on the date on which the dog is adopted.

• Directs the Secretary to operate the system through a contract awarded to a private non-profit entity. The non-profit entity would be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the system; no federal funds would be used to operate the system.

• Directs the Secretary to consult with the board of directors of the non-profit to establish standards of veterinary care, including the types of care to be provided, the entities qualified to provide the care, and the facilities in which the care may be provided.

Section 5 – Recognition of Service of Military Working Dogs

• Directs the Secretary of Defense to create a decoration or other appropriate recognition to recognize military working dogs that are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to the United States.

Up Date:

Important notice!!

Now here are the facts on the Canine Members of the Armed forces Act.

In 2012 the House pasted the full resolution of the Canines Member of the Armed Forces Act. But the Senate did not pass the full resolution.

It seems from what I have been told is that Senator McCain of Arizona who was Ranking member of the Armed Service committee did not want to reclassify our Military Working Dogs. So it was decided that reclassification would be removed from the Canine Members of the Armed Force Act, so the rest of the bill would be passed by the Senate.

One January 3, 2013 President Obama sign the Appropriations Bill which had attached the Canines Members of the Armed Forces Act attached which made into law.

Now in 2013 members of the Senate Armed Service Committee will work to get the reclassification issue back in the Appropriations bill for 2014.

Positions have change with the new Senate Armed Forces Committee. The Chairman of the committee is Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, which I understand has no problem with the reclassification of Military Working Dogs. Now here is where I think we have an ace in the hole, so to speak. The new ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee is Senator John Inhofe of Oklahoma. Senator McCain is no longer ranking Member.

So here is what it breaks down to.

For the next year we will need to continuously contact our representatives and let them know that we want our Military Working Dogs to be reclassified to Canine Members of the Armed Forces and we won’t accept anything less.

I suggest contacting Senator Levin of Michigan and Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma. Make phone calls, send faxes, and send letters.

Chairman – Senate Armed Service Committee


U S Senator – Michigan

Senator Carl Levin

269 Russell Office Building

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510-2202

Phone (202) 224-6221

Fax (202) 224-1388


Ranking Member – Senate Armed Service Committee.


U S Senator- Oklahoma

Senator James M. Inhofe

205 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510 -3603

Main: (202) 224-4721

Fax: (202) 228-0380


Keep the pressure on Washington!

Thank you,

Ron Aiello, President

U S War Dogs Association, Inc.




National Monument for Military Working Dogs Coming Soon!

2013 will be a year to remember for the John Burnam Monument Foundation (JBMF), and we want to thank U.S. War Dogs Association and all those individuals, organizations, and businesses that have supported and contributed to the National Monument for Military Working Dogs over the years. It could not happen without you!

The nationally televised New Year’s Day Rose Parade featured the Natural Balance Pet Foods float, “Canines with Courage.” It won the Rose Parade President’s Trophy. It was designed in a floral rendering of red, white and blue. It took an entire year of planning and development. The float’s centerpiece featured the National Monument’s four working dogs and dog handler. The float traveled 5.5 miles down Colorado Boulevard to an estimated one million cheering people who lined the street. The float’s secret family reunion of Sergeant First Class Eric Pazz surprising his wife and son was THE show stopper, making headline news across the country.

At the post parade events, people crowded around the float and the trailer mock-up of the Traveling National Monument Tour to capture a picture of Lucca, Astor, Rex, and Gabe and the bronze statues. The dogs and their handlers accompanied the float ride representing the National Monument and its inspiration for all dogs and handlers since WWII.

The onlookers have secured a small spot in history as they were the first public group of Americans to witness the unveiling of the four bronze dogs and dog handler. Paula Slater, the JBMF sculptor of the bronze dogs and handler (2 years of work) was there to talk about her beautiful art work. The Bronze statues will go on a national road tour. Stay informed of the tour route and dates by visiting our website and Facebook page as it comes to a city near you.

JBMF has a new T-shirt and Hat design for sale at the web store commemorating the New Year leading up to the dedication of the National Monument in October 2013. All proceeds go to help fund the National Monument.


Kristie Dober, Secretary.  JBMF.US



Hero Dogs: Secret Missions and Selfless Service – Published Nov. 2012

Today’s specially trained war dogs–like the anonymous canine hero that took part in the top-secret mission against Osama bin Laden–are a breed apart, assisting their human friends in locating improvised explosive devices, conducting clandestine missions, and more. Many have earned recognition for heroism. Others struggle with wounds and post-traumatic stress. Dozens died in the line of duty. Filled with hundreds of dramatic never-before-seen photos, this one-of-a-kind book features inspiring tales of selfless battlefield service related by the war dogs’ handlers and fellow soldiers.

About the Author

Ronald L. Aiello served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964 to 1970. During this period Ron had the honor of serving with the First Marine Scout Dog Platoon. In the year 2000, Ron and four other Vietnam veteran dog handlers formed The United States War Dogs Association, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization of former and current US military dog handlers and supporting members.


Lance M. Bacon is senior staff writer for Army Times, an independent weekly newspaper serving U.S. Army personnel and their families. He covers Army leadership, weaponry, training, and tactics. His combat coverage in Afghanistan includes an award-winning piece on the Battle of Roberts Ridge. Bacon has served as city/military editor of the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News and managing editor of the Kinston (NC) Free Press. During his tenure, the Kinston newspaper was twice honored as the best in the state for its category. It also received the Associated Press’ Openness in Government Award and the coveted Freedom of Excellence Award. Bacon is a Marine Corps veteran with eight honorable years of service (1989-1997). He spent two years aboard USS Independence (CV-62), two years as platoon sergeant with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Camp Lejeune, NC, and four years in Public Affairs. There, he received dozens of journalism awards, including being twice recognized as the Marine Corps’ journalist of the year, and runner-up a third year.

Go to U S War Dogs Web Site to place your order:





Hero Dog Award for 2012 is: MWD “Gabe”


FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Oct. 11, 2012) — Gabe, a retired military dog who completed morethan 200 combat missions in Iraq, was named American Hero Dog of 2012 last weekend at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Los Angeles.

The retired military dog spent several years sniffing out insurgent bombs, guns and ammunition in Iraq with his handler, Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Shuck, a drill sergeant leader at Fort Jackson’s Drill Sergeant School.

“Winning the award was an amazing feeling because I knew that many Soldiers were going to benefit from the $15,000 we just won,” Shuck said. “Looking out at the crowd, who gave Gabe a standing ovation, was also amazing. Seeing Betty White and many other celebrities honor Gabe was a moment I will never forget. Having the support of Fort Jackson and Gabe fans in all 50 states and 22 countries was the key to victory. Every vote counted and we surely appreciate it.”

Gabe won $5,000 for his charity in the previous round of competition, and another $10,000 from last weekend’s win. When the contest began earlier in the year, there were 359 dogs competing in eight categories, including therapy dogs, law enforcement dogs, emerging hero dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, military dogs and search and rescue dogs.

The pool of contestants was eventually whittled down to eight finalists, who appeared at last weekend’s awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Gabe’s charity is the United States War Dogs Association, which provides care packages for deployed Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and their K-9 partners. These packages include ear muffs and dog booties for the paws of the dogs. They also help with the expenses of military working dog adoptions.

The winner was selected by a panel that included Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Chenoweth and the handlers and owners of last year’s eight finalists. The seven runners-up each won $5,000 for a designated charity.




Michigan War Dog Memorial – 2013

Michigan War Dog Memorial

Lyon Township, Mi

We have good news.

When we started our restoration on this site our main goal was to bring it back to it former grandeur and to protect this hallowed ground from any further degradation. The property the site sits on is owned by Lombardo Homes who recently purchased the 80 acre section. When Tony Lombardo saw what the all volunteer group had done to restore the War Dog Memorial he offered to survey, record and deed this two and a half acre site to us at no cost. He has followed though to his word, the deed will be turned over in February, 2013.

The Lyon Township has agreed with us to allow internment at the sites cemetery for retired MWD’s only. We will have our first burial for MWD “Buddy” (E-154) scheduled, with full honors, at the end of March.

At the foot of the monument there is a War Dog named Sgt. Sparks buried there. This we knew from the local newspaper archives. However, we went on a search in the attempt to secure Sgt. Sparks military records. Believe it or not we found them through the National Archives & Records Administration in Maryland and the help of the Marine Corp Archives Department. Much of this credits goes to my partner Ken Reynolds.

Sgt. Sparks born 1939, joined the Marines in 1943. Sparks (49) was attached to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion 1st Marine Regiment. He survived Bougainville, Guadalcanal, Okinawa and last deployment was Guam for mop up operations in 1945. Sparks went home with his handler in 1946 and passed away in 1947.

Sgt. Sparks has laid to rest for the past 66 years without a headstone. We have contacted a monument company and in the process of securing a headstone for this heroic War Dog. The cost will be $466.40. We started a fund raiser in the area to cover the cost.

On March 9, 2013 we will hold a ceremony at the site to recognize “K-9 Veterans Day”. Several groups will be speaking along with a full honor guard and a flag line by the Patriot Riders.

Coming soon. We are in the process of building a website for the Michigan War Dog Memorial. It should be up and running by the first week in February.

Phil Weitlauf – Director

Michigan War Dog Memorial

Lyon, Twp. Mi.










Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.