Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off Topic-It's MWD, Not WMD!

This is Benny B163, MWD,
photo via MWD Adoptions Facebook  page
You know how I get when I find something new that I think is a worthy cause. I go off the deep end about it for a while. This is no different, because this is a very worthy cause!

The cause, my friends, is Military Working Dogs, and their care after they retire. HR 5314, which covers the care of retiring military dogs, needs amending, and it's officially called, "MWD Transport, Reclassification, and Recognition Amendment."

The upshot is that under their current classification, retiring Military Working Dogs (MWDs) are considered "equipment" and have no "return to home station" benefits, as do other military personnel. What that means is that people who are adopting these dogs currently foot the bill for their transport Stateside because the dogs are going to be pets when they arrive. (See this article from the U.S.A.F., and this article from FOX News.) Here's a quote from the article:
Although the DOD MWD program will implement an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century-approach to expedite processing for dogs out of the state and country, the general clarified why adopters must bear the brunt of transport for adopted dogs returning from overseas. 

"Once that dog is adopted, it becomes a pet, and therefore loses its MWD status," she explained. "So it would be fraud, waste and abuse for the DOD to transport that pet."  


Keep in mind that the average MWD saves about 150 lives during deployment and is just as much a soldier as any of its human counterparts. By the current logic, this means our human soldiers should pay their way home because they're going to be civilians. Can you imagine the stink that would (rightfully) cause? I don't think that it should be any different for the four-legged soldiers returning home. So I wrote a note to my congressman, which I include here, should you decide to do the same:
It's recently come to my attention that our retiring Military Working Dogs are in a pickle. You see, once they retire and are cleared for adoption into a permanent home, the adopter is forced to pay all transport fees because the dog is classified as "equipment." If that dog is coming from overseas, as many are, you can imagine the expense may make a potential adopter think twice about adopting one of these heroes, especially in our current economy. The reasoning behind having the adopting civilian pay for transport, is that the DOD feels it would be fraud to transport these dogs themselves because they will be pets when they reach their destination. Since these dogs are soldiers as much as their human counterparts, and the average MWD saves 150 human lives during its working lifespan, this is truly a grave injustice perpetuated on these silent soldiers. By that same logic, would we force our human soldiers to pay for their transport home because they're going to be civilians when they get there?  Never!
 What I'm asking is for you to support MWD Transport, Reclassification and Recognition Amendment to HR 5314:          
1.  Provide for authorized DoD Transport of retiring MWDs stationed at permanent OCONUS (overseas) bases who are ADOPTION SUITABLE or ALREADY ADOPTED back to CONUS (continental United States) via military transport.      
    A. If the MWD is ALREADY adopted, the dog will be transported to whatever CONUS base the Mil Air plane lands, whereupon the adopter is responsible for paying the MWD's domestic transport to a Forever Home. Support may be required from that base's MWD Facility to place the dog (still a military asset because he has not been relinquished to his adopter) on a commercial flight to the dog's end destination. An overnight stay at the MWD Facility should be an option.  
      B. If the MWD is ADOPTION SUITABLE but is NOT adopted, the dog should be integrated into the already existing MWD Adoption Program at the 341st MWD Training Squadron. The chance of finding a suitable adoption situation will be increased by having the MWD transported Stateside. The MWD's Owning OCONUS Unit SHOULD NOT be required to pay for Lackland transport of any as yet unadopted  ADOPTION SUITABLE MWD.*   
(*Current standard is that if a unit wishes to get a retiring MWD to Lackland AFB, the UNIT MUST PAY FOR THE TRANSPORT. This should not be the case with our retiring adoption-suitable MWDs returned to the 341st Training Squadron MWD Adoption Program.)   
2. Grant an OFFICIAL reclassification of current active duty MWD from "Equipment" to "MWD Troop/Soldier". This change is necessary in order to undergird the reclassification of a RETIRING MWD from the current "Excess Equipment" to "MWD Veteran" or "Military K9 Veteran".   ACTIVE DUTY MWD RECOGNITION  3. Mandate the creation and establishment of a DoD recognized Commendation and Medal for Meritorious MWD Service for Active Duty MWDs.*  
(* For the last five years, the efforts and all official requests of the US War Dog Association have been rebuffed by the Department of Defense with absolute refusal to even consider the creation of any DoD recognized commendation for MWDs. Experts estimate that the average MWD saves 150 soldier lives during his tenure of service. This is a LAUDABLE FEAT which should be recognized in an OFFICIAL CAPACITY.)
Please, _______________, help us speak for the portion of our military that has no voice to speak for itself.

I hope you decide to take a minute to help out with this, since those affected can't do it for themselves. It's bad enough that our soldiers are having all their benefits cut, but for these dogs to be considered "equipment" is ridiculous! Equipment doesn't bleed and die in the line of duty!

Oh, and if you're interested in adopting a retired MWD, go to Military Working Dog Adoptions, who can help connect you with the military bases in your area with dogs awaiting adoption. I'm definitely keeping them in mind when it's time to add to our pack!

1 comment:

  1. If Hal was not a dog eating cat......

    Thanks for sharing.



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