Here at NAS Meridian, there is a new face on base. However, he’s a little furrier than most. “Baba” is a five-year-old German Shepherd that is the base’s first Military Working Dog since 2007.
His handler, Master-At-Arms 3rd Class Jonathan White says, “his personality is just as complex as a human being. He has good days, he has bad days, and he’s easy to read, which really helps me manipulate how I need to be around him to make the work day more efficient.”
The dog-training program at NAS has been put on pause for the past several years, but it is now back, with Baba being the first dog to jumpstart the program into action again.
“I think it’s a great thing because it enhances the capability of the base. A dog can search fifty cars in about fifteen people, as with people it would take a longer time, and dogs are more effective at it. So, I think it’s great that we’re enhancing the security department and showing people what we can do as dog handlers,” says Master-At-Arms 1st Class Anthony Guglielmo, who is also the Kennel Master.
“The soul of the dog team and it’s chemistry is the repour, which is the connection that you have with the dog. They’re social animals just like we are. The repour that you have with your boss, with your brother, or your mom—it determines the state of the relationship. The reason why that is so important is because it’s life or death in an actual scenario where we have someone with drugs or some guy with a bomb or another guy with a knife behind a door. Having a stable relationship with your dog could save your life.” -White
Today at NAS, a demonstration was held to show Baba’s skills. Members of local law enforcement and Lauderdale county officials were in attendance.
“He’s a great community asset. We do a lot of shared assets with the local community, whether it be Lauderdale or Kemper County Sheriff’s Department, as well as local police departments. He’s a shared aspect that we can employ. Just like when we borrow their stuff when they can help us out with some extra facilities or equipment, we can do the same thing with Baba. It’s not just good for NAS Meridian, but it’s great for the entire Lauderdale community.” -Capt. Brian Hortsman, Commanding Officer