MWD Tanja, longest-serving military working dog in the Department of Defense with over 11 years of service and 6 deployments, recently retired with all the honors due to a hero.
Base leadership, fellow Defenders and other members of the Gunfighter family came out to say farewell to MWD Tanja as she left the 366th Security Forces Squadron kennels for the last time.
“She is a Belgian Malinois and has been in the program for almost 12 years,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Wilson, 366th SFS military working dog handler. “She has deployed five times to various countries around the world and has been a definite asset during her military career.”
“The dogs provide tremendous capabilities to military personnel by searching out explosives and narcotics as well as tracking down and apprehending individuals thereby ensuring the safety of base population both at home and overseas,” said Wilson. “They enhance the capabilities of law enforcement personnel and our mission throughout the Department of Defense.”
While deployed, dogs and their handlers spend 24 hours-a-day together; they train, eat, sleep, and fight together.
Here we see U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Bodge, 366th Security Forces Squadron commander, as he pins a Commendation Medal on retired military working dog Tanja while the canine’s last handler, Tech. Sgt. Roseann Kelly, looks on at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
MWD Tanja has been honorably adopted by her last handler, Sgt. Kelly and will be living the life of a dog at leisure.
“I don’t think she will have any problem adjusting to being a civilian since she’s been preparing and practicing for house-dog life for years,” laughed Kelly. “She loves to lounge around and play games like most dogs do. I love the military working dogs and am excited to adopt Tanja.”
“She is such a warm-hearted and caring dog,” Kelly said. “As old as she is she continues to have a fantastic personality and endless spunk. She has served her country and can now look forward to enjoying herself and relaxing. It’s going to be interesting watching her adjust to eating snacks and taking naps like any other regular dog.”
Happy retirement MWD Tanja… thank you for your honorable service, you are truly a hero and may you be blessed to have a long and happy retirement!