Hahn Air Base, West Germany: The 50th AP K-9 Section, 1961
...always trust your dog!
Don't Mind The Sign...You're Cleared For Entry!
Hahn's Kennels was located past the Motor Pool, the indoor pistol range of the Gun Club, on the far side of the base's golf course. The location was a quiet area, away from all the noise of the base and the aircrafts.
It was made up of four different areas:
The Kennel Building,
The Dog Housing Area,
The Grooming Area,
The Training Area
HAHN'S KENNEL BUILDING
The Kennel Building housed a very small office for the current KennelMaster; a combination kitchen storage area; a cot size room for the CSU caretaker; a treatment area for the Vet plus several indoor sick bays with attached outdoor runs.
Hahn's Kennels Had The Capacity To Hold 100 Dogs
BIRD CAGE DESIGN
The Kennel (Dog Houses) Area, was completely enclosed by the traditional 8-ft. chain link fence, with a privacy screen on the side facing the base golf course, to help provide the dogs with a quiet area, free from distractions.
Each dog house was built on stilts, which provided shade underneath, plus helped circulate the air to make them cooler in the summer, and kepted them drier during Hahn's foul weather. The roofs on each was hinged, so it could be raised for cleaning the interior or during the winter, adding straw for insulation.
Edo, My First Sentry Dog
They also had a small platform (what we call, a porch here in New England) extension; and inside each house there was a partial wall, which separated the dog's sleeping area, from the entrance and drafts ...again to help protect the dogs from the elements.
Chuck Taylor (left) and Les Benedict (right)
Everything possible was done to help provide our dogs with a comfortable and healthy environment.
Our Grooming Area was located just outside the Dog House Area, in between the fence line and woods, in a small clearing. It wasn't very fancy, just some old wooden tables to put your dog on, so he would be at the right height to make grooming easier.
Victor Danks - Killer - Chuck Voltz
Dog grooming was an important part of our Day Shift duties, it was alot more than just giving your dog a healthy coat and keeping him looking handsome. It was a way for us to become familiar with every bump and curve on him; so if you found something later, that didn't belong on him ...you would know! It was another way of keeping him healthy.
Grooming For Some Was Tiresome.
Bill Archer And Bob, Yup...Bob!
...And For Others ...It Was Fun!!!
Danks, Voltz & Dick Galbraith
THE TRAINING AREA
Like everything else at the Kennels, the Training Area was located off the Dog House Area, alittle ways from the Kennel Building, it was a good size and held the Obstacle Course, as well. Just outside the fence in area was a small review stand for when we gave Dog Shows for any visiting Brass.
7355th CSU CARETAKERS
The caretakers, Joseph Brandt and Willie (last name unknown) were from the German 7355th Civilian Service Unit, assigned to Hahn.
Most people don't realize it, but Joe Brandt was once a LSU dog handler, back in 1952, before the 50th arrived at Hahn.
When Hahn first opened, the 7425th AP Squadron used dog teams drawn from the 7355th LSU* (Labor Service Unit) for security on the base's outer fence line; but when the 50th APs arrived, the practice was stopped, it was then that Joe became a caretaker at the 50th kennels, so that he could stay with his beloved dogs.
SiteBuilder Note: *The name, Labor Service Unit (LSU) was change to Civilian Service Unit (CSU) in the mid fifties; these quasi military units were formed by the US military after World War II and used in all oversea commands by the US Armed Services; compose of english speaking native borned personel, they served mostly in law enforcement and acted as interpreters for the US military, air, and security police squadrons.
Caretaker, Joe Brandt
The caretakers worked 72-hours on and 72 off; both Willie and Joe were dedicated to "their dogs," and without them, nothing would have ran right, and that's a fact!
It wasn't a very easy job, they had to work around our K-9 Section duty schedule; of handlers going to work, getting off and then the training flight during the day. They really had no time to themselves!
Joe Was Always Running!
And if there were afew dogs in sick bay that needed attention or required medication during the night, they got no sleep or at the very least, just a little!
Every morning, they had to prepare the chow for 57 hungry dogs (and the night before, they made their own gravy from meat bones per orders of the base vet) and have them fed early enough, so that the dogs would be ready for the training flight at 8:00 a.m.
OK, Where's The Food?
Arras, My Second Dog
And believe me, they knew when it was feeding time! If you were late, they would let you know! At first, one or two would start barking and pacing about, then before you knew it ALL OF THEM would join in, until they got fed or one of them broke a chain. Nothing like a loose dog in the morning, to wake you up quickly.
Okay, It's Time To Wake Up!
After the dogs ate, you had to pickup all the pans and wash them for the next day; clean up their stools; police around the kennel grounds and whatever else the KennelMaster wanted done. After a 72-hour shift, you were dead tired! I know, from first hand experience, as I used to fill in for them, if someone was out sick or on leave.
On Kennel Duty ...With Arras, My Second Dog
Sorry! It's getting late...the dogs are barking, it's almost chow time and I think, one of them just broke loose ...you'll have to come back later; thanks for coming and watch out for that dog!