ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait –
Tucked away in a tiny building, members of the 109th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services work around the clock to care for all members at Ali Al Salem Air Base.
The small team of professionals support two major missions that protect the base population.
Mission 1: Caring for Military Working Dogs
At AASAB, veterinary services provides health certifications and exams for all Military Working Dogs coming in and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. They ensure the MWDs are healthy so they can fly and do their missions.
“It’s important because of the capabilities of these dogs,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Dennis Subject, a 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron U.S. Central Command MWD liaison. “We have drug dogs and bomb dogs, and they are going down range, and they are typically out in the front clearing the area before our troops go in.”
U.S. Army Capt. Leilani Im, a 109th MDVS veterinarian, remembered doing 22 health certificates last month alone for dogs coming in and out of theater.
Im and her team are also available 24/7 to care for the MWDs stationed here.
“That is probably one of my favorite parts, just being able to keep those guys in the fight and doing the mission,” said Im. “We get to be behind the scenes helping them do what they have to do.”
Mission 2: The FARM Program
Rabies is endemic here and deadly. Veterinary Services works closely with pest management and public health to limit the number of stray animals on base.
“We play a big role in the Feral Animal Risk Mitigation program,” said Im. “Once the animals are trapped through pest management, we then determine as a team if they are an adoptable candidate. We are very privileged to be on an installation that has a really close relationship with a local animal shelter, so our goal is to give them a live exit off the base.”
Im stressed the importance of leaving the animals seen on base alone. She stated that feeding them or touching them could actually cause more harm than good. The animals were born in this environment and know how to survive on their own, so they should not become dependent on people who will not always be there to take care of them.
If you are interested in caring for the animals, you can do it in a safe way by joining the vet services volunteer group.