23 SFS welcomes new K-9

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Briana Beavers
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

At the start of his shift, a 23rd Security Forces military working dog handler, walks into an MWD kennel excited to meet the new recruit.

As Senior Airman Alexander Jones watches the K-9 trot around his cage, he decides to go in and meet him.

Normally, new dogs are calm and cautious during first impressions. To Jones’ surprise, the two-year old Belgian Malinois named Mio jumps into his lap -- marking the beginning of a great bond and journey.

On May 6, 2022, Mio began his new journey as he trains to support the 23rd SFS and safeguard the well-being of the base populace and the surrounding community at Moody Air Force Base. 

Mio is a procurement dog from Louisiana, and he was sent to Lackland to begin DTS, which is Dog Training School.

“DTS is (similar) to Basic Training because you’re just learning the basics,” said Staff Sgt. Cristina Rodriguez, 23rd SFS MWD trainer. “We’ve noticed that Mio is super energetic and obedient, so he’ll be a great addition to the team.”

Mio completed his DTS at the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where all MWDs are trained in substance detection as well as specialized mission functions for the Department of Defense.

Although Mio has graduated, it doesn’t mean his training is over.

“Just like people MWDs have areas they can improve in,” said Jones. “When they get here, we have to conduct evaluations and brush up on some skills. After that process, we begin field training to get our dogs up to speed.”

Similar to on-the-job training, field training helps develop an MWD’s specialized skills.

For instance, MWDs are trained to bite and practice that skill regularly.

“Mio received bite training in DTS, so within our 75-day evaluation we’re going to see where he’s at,” said Jones. “If he has any difficulties, we’re going to tend to them. If not, we’re just going to roll with it.”

Among these skills, Mio will act as a force multiplier for the 23rd SFS.

“We’ll take our MWDs up to the gate as a psychological deterrent so people (with bad intentions) or illegal items will think twice before coming on the base,” Rodriguez said.

Mio will have Jones on his side every step of the way while he continues to train and protect the base.

“As Mio’s handler, it’s my job to make sure he’s up to speed and capable enough to get the job done,” Jones said.

Mio will join a team of six MWDS as he goes through training, but that doesn’t stop him from maintaining his warm personality.

“One thing I noticed about Mio is his loving personality,” Rodriguez said. “I went to pick him up from San Antonio and he was the best dog to travel with.”

With a great start to his career and the help of the MWD team, Mio will continue to grow and maintain the mission of Moody’s K-9 unit.

“I’m very excited to see where this young dog will be in a couple years,” Jones said. “Whether it’s with me or another handler, I’m really excited to see where he goes.”