|Paper||Hill Air Force Base Newspapers|
|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Hill Air Force Base Newspapers|
HILLTOP TIMES H.iU.y TIMES April 30, 2009 MARY LOU GORNY/Hilltop Times Top, Arek rests on the crest of an obstacle on the kennel course. Above, Staff Sgt. James Jandreau takes a bite on the leg while Erik is off leash and under close supervision. Not all rough stuff Above, Arek < barks on jbmmand as he is provoked by someone out of camera range as Senior Airman Patrick Lau directs his actions. Right, Staff Sgt. James Jandreau receives a back bite from Erik, another working dog, as his handler Staff Sgt David Moulder assesses his performance. Belgian Malinois, a muscular, hardy breed of sheepdog known for its protective and territorial instincts, though these dogs make up only about five percent of the force From page 1 now. German shepherds and labradors are also used. music, including hip-hop, pop and urban sounds. Original According to the State of Utah web site, the area now songs written by the group are also performed. Based at known as Pioneer Park was the first stop the Mormon Boiling AFB, Washington, D.C., Max Impact vocalists are pioneers made when they entered the valley. There they Master Sgts. Shani Prewitt, Ryan Carson and Regina A. met with others, rested and learned of their ultimate desCoonrod, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Lee Mason. The ensem- tination before moving on to establish homes. The fort ble is Tech Sgt. Jonathan McPherson, piano-keyboard; was a focal point of early Mormon activity, and the presMaster Sgt. Matthew Ascione and Tech. Sgt. Matthew ent park continues to reflect the city's patterns of growth. R. Geist, guitars; Tech Sgt. David E. Foster, bass; and A fort — later known as the Old Pioneer Fort or Old Master Sgt. Dennis W. Hoffman, drums. Hoffman is also Fort — was built on the site a week after the arrival of the band's manager, Carson is the assistant manager, and the first immigrants in July 1847. The pioneers lived inAscione is director. side the fort until they could build permanent structures on their city lots. Log cabins and an adobe wall were built The Honor Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the Air Force, and the Drill Team is the traveling perfor- around the fort and within a month there were 29 log houses 8 to 9 feet high, 16 feet long, and 14 feet wide. In mance and exhibition unit, both based at Boiling AFB. the fall of 1848 two additional ten-acre blocks were added The Honor Guard's primary mission is to render military honors to Air Force personnel and their families to the fort. during funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The unit The pioneers assumed that they had settled in a dry includes more than 250 ceremonial guardsmen and sup- climate and used clay for plaster and piled dirt atop log port personnel in three elements — color guard, casket and bark roofs. However, the spring rains of 1848 caused bearers and firing party. At ceremonies and funerals, the considerable problems as the clay plaster quickly melted. colors unit displays and guards the flags; the bearers es- Another serious problem that plagued the fort dwellers cort and carry the flag-draped remains to burial sites and were mice. One account says that frequently 50 or 60 fold the flag for family members; and the seven-member mice had to be caught at night before the family could firing party performs the 21-gun salute. sleep. The Drill Team travels around the United States and Community activities, including meetings of all kinds overseas, promoting recruiting, retention and awareness. and even dances, were held in the fort's log cabins. A five Team members perform precision-oriented routines room home built on the east side of the fort in August in which they spin, flip and toss 11-pound M-l Garande 1847 was the site of most civic and legislative meetings. rifles with fixed bayonets. On Dec. 9,1848, some 50 leaders met there to consider petitioning Congress for a state or territorial governFour military working dogs and four handlers from ment. The first elections were held in an adobe school the 75th Security Forces Squadron will explain and constructed inside the fort. Public meetings were often demonstrate the "six phases of aggression" and show how the dogs find contraband items. The Hill AFB unit held near the liberty pole in the center of the fort. gives about 200 demonstrations each year at Police Week The first school classes were assembled in October activities, Kid's Deployment days and for school and 1847 in a small tent outside the fort and in 1848, school church activities, according to Staff Sgt. Patrick Meade, was taught in a log house inside the fort. In November kennel master. 1848 a school was completed just east of the northwest The dogs are trained to protect their handler, help ap- corner of the fort. Writing tables, seats, and benches conprehend suspects and search for contraband items. The sisted of pieces of a wagon box laid on trestles. 75th SFS has an agreement with communities to provide For two decades the fort was a center of city activity. dogs that can find explosives or contraband as needed. Then the site became a campground for newly arrived The dogs have assisted law enforcement officials from immigrants. After 1890 it was used as a playground, and as far north as Ogden to as far south as Utah County, as on July 24,1898, the location was dedicated as Pioneer well as with the FBI, the Unified Fire Authority and the Park. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The park remained over the years, despite shifting Military working dogs are trained at Lackland AFB, population and land use patterns. During 1948-55 city Texas, before going to units, and come in several breeds. officials explored other uses for Pioneer Park, such as The Department of Defense is moving toward training turning it into a larger complex that would include a golf SHOWCASE BY MARY LOU GORNY Hilltop Times editor H ill Air Force Base kennel master Staff Sgt. Patrick Meade really likes his work. He has always had dogs and gets quietly reflective whenever asked about the contributions of his partners in the field. "They are literally our backup," he said. "And we go whenever we are needed." The 75th Security Forces Squadron Military . ;;Working Dogs Unit teams have worked with Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and the Unites States * Secret Service in various missions searching for contraband, personnel, and protecting the president of the United States of America and foreign dignitaries. Right now, some of the most extensive work they are doing is in the Area of Responsibility. The teams often locate hidden improvised explosive devices and save numerous lives. The composure of the men as they talk about their dogs and potential reactions to risky situations is also measured and reflective as they recall " instances where the animals prevented the loss of life or reacted well under pressure. "Once a 5 : year-old child punched my dog in the head (during '•"' a deployment)," Meade said as he noted the dog's reaction of composure, when a normal defensive reaction would have been to get aggressive. He recalls several instances where the dogs located ; IEDs which were well hidden. Serious as their missions might be, the dogs aren't always about work though. • "Liska, on my last deployment, escaped my ; room and rounded up all the toys in the (working dog) compound in a big pile. She showed up 30 to . j 40 minutes later out of breath as if to say, 'OK, I'm ; ready to go back to my room now,'" he said with a i laugh about how she found him while he worked at , his desk. "Liska is our Houdini." There are currently a few more dogs than nan- : dlers but that is evening out, said Senior Airman Patrick Lau. The dogs have seen more deployments than the handlers because of that. : One thing that does come across from all of the • dog handlers is the respect they feel for the ani- mals and their work. "They open up our eyes," Meade said. The extra dimension of their senses really increases the effectiveness of search missions. "Because of what they do, moVe of our people can come home safely," he said. "There is a lot of satisfaction in that." course or even selling it because of financial problems. However, many Utahns objected to any change in the park's status including organizations like the Sons of Utah Pioneers, grandchildren of Brigham Young, and the Utah State Historical Society Plans were also made, starting as early as 1955, to change the site into a monument to the founding of Utah and the settlement of the West. But even when the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, few improvements were made. By the 1990s, the park's location near facilities such as the bus station, the , Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, and men's and women's shelters made it a congregating place for transients. Since the mid-1990s, portions of the industrialized area around the park have been changed to residential use. Condominiums, apartments, restaurants and hotels have replaced weed-strewn vacant lots and deteriorating buildings. The city's efforts to keep the park free from drugs and violence continue, and new activities such as the summer weekend farmers' market, outdoor movies and art festivals are attracting families to the area.