XLer of the Week: Senior Airman Patrick Cushing

Senior Airman Patrick Cushing, 47th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” for the week of Oct. 18, 2017. The “XLer,” a wing-level program, is awarded to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and Laughlin’s mission.

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Senior Airman Patrick Cushing, 47th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, was chosen by wing leadership to be this week’s “XLer”, Oct. 18, 2017

The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and Laughlin mission.

Cushing has been noticed for many accomplishments: one was deploying to Corpus Christi in support of the post-Harvey presidential visit.

“We went to Corpus Christi  and cleared the airport hangar the president was going to land at and cleared his motorcade as well as a neighborhood in Rockport,” said Cushing. “We also assisted in Houston.”

Cushing trained into the K-9 department and has become a part of a new facet of security forces.

“As a K-9 handler, we walk the dogs around the vehicles and let the dogs sniff the compartments,” Cushing explained. “It’s awesome, but it’s hard work. Day to day, we patrol with the dogs. They act as a psychological deterrent. If a would-be perpetrator sees the dogs, they are less likely to commit a crime.”

Cushing was also involved in creating a K-9 demonstration for the local JROTC unit.

“As a group, we planned what show we were going to put on for JROTC, and I was involved in catching the dogs,” Cushing said. “The kids seemed to enjoy it, and seeing the [demonstration] may encourage some of them to join [the Air Force].”

Meanwhile, Cushing has been taking college classes to earn his associate’s degree while maintaining a 3.25 GPA. He is now less than six credits away from obtaining his Community College of the Air Force degree.

Cushing earned this week’s “XLer” through proving himself capable and willing to support the mission, through being a reliable member of his team and through professionally organizing events within his squadron for the community.