LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas—Staff Sgt. Ethan Marquis, 47th Security Forces Squadron military working MDW handler, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of June 4, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Charlie Velino, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
As a MWD handler Marquis, who originates from Lakeland, Fla., focuses on maintaining health and sanitation standards for the working dogs. Another aspect of his job includes working with specific working dogs while patrolling and conducting searches.
While Marquis’ primary duties are working training and caring for the working dogs, he is able to assist with specific missions as needed. One of these missions was supporting Air Force Office of Special Investigation in dormitory walk-throughs to ensure no drugs are being kept on base or used by military members.
“It is important to me that the ‘zero tolerance’ gets enforced because people's lives depend on those below them who maintain equipment, planes, and the people who carry weapons which could be everyone at any given point,” Marquis said.
Aside from his day-to-day responsibilities, Marquis steps up to help with events within the local community of Del Rio such as the 2018 Fiesta of Flight open house and airshow. In the airshow, he led drug and bomb detection efforts, helping search more than 5,000 vehicles and ensuring the safety of everyone in attendance.
He also organized the entire police week to include coordinating one of the highlights, the fallen officer retreat, with the Val Verde Sheriff’s Office, the Del Rio Police Department, and the U.S. Border Patrol.
“The fallen officer retreat ceremony means the world to me,” Marquis said. “While in middle school, my stepdad lost a K-9 officer and his MDW in the line of duty. That hit him and the whole community hard. Now, being in the law enforcement community, I can relate. The fallen officer ceremony is security forces’ way of honoring those in our community who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
During another event, the George Paul Memorial Rodeo, the kennels performed an advanced demonstration. A decoy fired a blank shot, and two working dog teams attacked. After that portion, two decoys hid in the bed of a pickup truck, and a MDW hurdled the over hood and roof of the pickup while the other was set loose into the bed of the truck.
“The demo was awesome to do because it showcased our capability to the public, and the support they showed was amazing to see and hear,” Marquis said.
Marquis was chosen to be this week’s “XLer” because of his service to the community as well as his daily devotion the working dog and his section.
“Achieving the “XLer” award was an honor, but ultimately my peers have done equal work or have been standing next to me while I was doing the airshow, police week, dorm sweeps, and more,” Marquis stated.