Training for US SOCOM’s Best Friends
In early June 2011, Vohne Liche Kennels, Inc. in Denver, IN received an $11.3 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for “multi purpose canine and handler training in support of U.S. Army Special Operations Command.” The contract includes a base year and 4 option years, which would extend it to 2016. U.S. Army Special Operations Command manages the contract (H92239-11-D-0002).
Many military dogs are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, or Belgian Malmois, though other breeds may be used. SOCOM’s dogs became a topic of deep interest, after it was revealed that Osama Bin Laden was done in by 79 Navy SEALs… and one dog. As the humorous poster out there put it: “Man’s Best Friend… because you can’t strap a cat across your waist and parachute into Afghanistan.” The British SAS have reportedly bought American dogs for similar operations, and Austrian special forces jumped with dogs in a recent NATO exercise; they report that the dogs are actually quite calm about it. I guess it’s kind of like the world’s largest, best-ever car window. Vendors like K-9 Storm provide the associated parachute harnesses, camera vests, assault vests, and other gear. The accompanying picture is US special forces dog trainer Mike Forsythe and his working dog Cara, breaking a record by jumping from 31,000 feet, wearing K-9 Storm’s vest.