Military working dog serves in Iraq on his second deployment
By U.S. Army Sgt. Anna Pongo
3rd Infantry Regiment
"The capability they [Military Working Dogs] bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine. By all measures of performance their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory." -- Gen. David Petraeus
Rrobiek, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, was born to be a hero. He was bred and trained to serve and protect the people he works with. Currently, those people are members of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq.
Rrobiek is a patrol and explosive detector dog and he, along with his handler, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Charles Ogin, 3rd Infantry Regiment, work hard to ensure the safety of everyone inside the entry-point gate at Union III in Baghdad.
Rrobiek is one of six dogs who live and work with their handlers at Union III. These dogs work with their handlers to check each vehicle that drives through the entry point.
They also do other behind the scenes work to keep Union III safe.
"While it may not quite be thinking like us, they think," said Johnson. "This enables them to help us enhance our force protection."
Ogin and Rrobiek started working together in 2014, after Rrobiek's last deployment to Afghanistan.
"At first it was a bit of a rough relationship because it's two different conflicting personalities," said Ogin. "But we started meshing, and now I wouldn't have it any other way. He's a great partner."
While on a temporary duty trip to Kenya in 2015 the duo began to bond as they lived together for the first time. This opportunity brought the two together to form the connection they needed to become the partners they are today.
Rrobiek was born on June 1st, 2010 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. MWDs are either procured or bred specifically for their job. After he was born, Rrobiek lived in a foster home until he was old enough to go back to Lackland for training.
Through his training, which was like dog basic training, Rrobiek learned obedience, patrol and detection. He became an adept asset to his Soldier counterparts.
"He's a piece of equipment in the Army's eyes, but he has his own personality, his own quirks," said Ogin. "He's very set in his ways, kind of like a person."
The relationship that the 72-pound canine and his handler have is mutually necessary. They form a bond that is more effective than any machine at finding explosives, said Ogin.
"You got to understand that he's doing 90% of the work, but without me he can't do the 90% of the work," said Ogin.
This partnership enables the two of them to protect their fellow service members and also each other.
"I have a dog that's loyal," said Ogin. "He's willing to work until he dies and he's willing to defend me. I can't say that about every Soldier… But that dog will defend me until I die."