Laughlin military working dog retires after 10 years of honorable service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John A. Crawford
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Members of Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, celebrated the retirement of Cchico, a 47th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, Jan. 28, 2020.

Cchico began his prestigious 10-year career at dog training school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas on September 2010 and completed the 184 training days May 1, 2011. After graduation, he was assigned to the 47th SFS at Laughlin AFB and became certified military working dog.

While assigned to Laughlin, he deployed and provided 5,700 hours at home station and 560 hours while deployed of explosive detection and deterrence operations in Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait. Cchico also supported 12 security and diplomatic missions for the U.S. President and Vice President, Department of Homeland Security Secret Service, Mexico City and Dominican Republic.

Cchico’s accomplishments were many, but unrivaled by his detection accuracy rate of 98 percent.

"Becoming a military working dog has a very high wash-out rate, even at the early stages of their career, maybe half make it through training and certifications and don't wash out," said Maj. Jeffrey Beene, 47th SFS commander. "But to finish that, then go 70 dog years of faithful service is phenomenal and there are not many dogs out there who can make it to that milestone."

Around 50 percent of military working dog puppies are not selected for the program, as they lack the personality and drive that is required for MWD duty. The dogs who are not selected, whether they are too unfocused, too friendly or a variety of other factors, are offered for adoption to loving homes.

All puppies born to the Department of Defense MWD Belgian Malinois Breeding Program are named with a double letter in the beginning of their name, with each puppy in the specific litter being named alphabetically down from “Aa” to “Zz”. The double letter denotes they were bred at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Cchico was formally adopted by his second handler, Jorge Cervantes Melchor, a former U.S. Air Force Security Forces member. Cervantes now works as an animal cruelty investigator for the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“When he was my MWD we did everything together, the majority of the time we were together 24/7,” Melchor said. “I’ve been wanting to see him again for the past five years. It’s been a long time coming.”