Who doesn’t love a dog in uniform?
Meet two of them — Evy and Ricky, a pair of Belgian Malinois who just this week completed their helicopter proficiency training with the U.S. Coast Guard K-9 unit based in Alameda, California.
During their final exercise with the California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing, the canine Coasties performed an acclimation flight and several hoists from an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.
The dogs wear wear eye and ear protection to protect them from rotor wash, sea spray, foreign debris and engine noise, according to the Coast Guard.
When they aren’t spending leisure time with their handlers, a military agency spokesman said the two are used to detect explosives in ports in this country and abroad and throughout the maritime mass transit system, which includes ferries and cruise ships.
“One of the core missions of the U.S. Coast Guard is to save lives and you typically think of search and rescue operations,” Maritime Enforcement Specialist First Class Chris Hartman told Petcha.com. “While the canines don’t perform search and rescue missions, the explosives detection canine program exists for this same reason, and that is to save lives.”
Hartman said while the servicemen and servicewomen enjoy working with their canine colleagues, they will lose one of them soon. Evy will be retiring this summer after more than eight years of service and hundreds of missions, while Ricky, her replacement, has many years of service left.