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Tarzan is a 6-year-old German shepherd that serves as a narcotics and patrol dog with the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. The squadron has 14 dogs that conduct patrols and are trained to detect either drugs or explosives.
Tarzan is a 6-year-old German shepherd that serves as a narcotics and patrol dog with the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. The squadron has 14 dogs that conduct patrols and are trained to detect either drugs or explosives. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Tarzan is a 6-year-old German shepherd that serves as a narcotics and patrol dog with the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. The squadron has 14 dogs that conduct patrols and are trained to detect either drugs or explosives.
Tarzan is a 6-year-old German shepherd that serves as a narcotics and patrol dog with the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. The squadron has 14 dogs that conduct patrols and are trained to detect either drugs or explosives. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Tarzan, a 6-year-old military working dog, runs an obstacle course Thursday with handler Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
Tarzan, a 6-year-old military working dog, runs an obstacle course Thursday with handler Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks commands 6-year-old Tarzan, a German shepherd, to attack Staff Sgt. Brittney Turco during a demonstration of military working dogs Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Banks and Tarzan, a narcotic detection dog, have worked together for one year.
Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks commands 6-year-old Tarzan, a German shepherd, to attack Staff Sgt. Brittney Turco during a demonstration of military working dogs Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Banks and Tarzan, a narcotic detection dog, have worked together for one year. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks holds 6-year-old Tarzan, a German shepherd, following a military working dog demonstration Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Tarzan is extremely smart, so Banks said she teaches him tricks such as jumping on her shoulders to keep his mind busy.
Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks holds 6-year-old Tarzan, a German shepherd, following a military working dog demonstration Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Tarzan is extremely smart, so Banks said she teaches him tricks such as jumping on her shoulders to keep his mind busy. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Callie, a 2-year-old Dutch shepherd, is the Defense Department's only search and rescue dog and trained to skydive and ski. She was certified three months ago and is ready for her first real-world assignment, said Master Sgt. Rude Parsons. The team are assigned to the Kentucky Air National Guard, but attended a ceremony to unveil a military working dog stamp Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
Callie, a 2-year-old Dutch shepherd, is the Defense Department's only search and rescue dog and trained to skydive and ski. She was certified three months ago and is ready for her first real-world assignment, said Master Sgt. Rude Parsons. The team are assigned to the Kentucky Air National Guard, but attended a ceremony to unveil a military working dog stamp Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)
Robert Carr, San Antonio postmaster, unveils the military working dog forever stamp with Maj. Matt Kowalski and Master Sgt. Steve Kaun, both of the 341st Training Squadron, during a ceremony Thursday at military working dog memorial at Joint Base San Antonio. The new stamps are sold in sheets of 20 and honor the service of dogs in the military.
Robert Carr, San Antonio postmaster, unveils the military working dog forever stamp with Maj. Matt Kowalski and Master Sgt. Steve Kaun, both of the 341st Training Squadron, during a ceremony Thursday at military working dog memorial at Joint Base San Antonio. The new stamps are sold in sheets of 20 and honor the service of dogs in the military. (Rose L. Thayer/Stars and Stripes)

SAN ANTONIO — Standing before a memorial to military service of dogs, Air Force Maj. Matt Kowalski, commander of the 341st Training Squadron, the military’s only training program for dogs, was all smiles Thursday as he introduced the San Antonio postmaster over the yips and barks of a half-dozen energetic puppies at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.

Kowalski and San Antonio Postmaster Robert Carr unveiled the U.S. Postal Service’s newest forever stamp, which honors the contributions of military working dogs. The stamp features the four most common breeds associated with military work: the German shepherd, the Labrador retriever, the Belgian Malinois and the Dutch shepherd.

“We do stamp unveilings from time to time, but this is special for us because we are partnering with the military,” said Carr, an Army veteran.

Though the stamp officially went on sale on Aug. 1 in Omaha, Nebraska, Kowalski said it’s only fitting an unveiling be held at the joint base’s Lackland Air Force Base, where all military working dogs and handlers are trained. About 800 students pass through the basic handlers course each year, he said.

The base also boasts a puppy breeding program that populates about 80 to 100 new dogs into the service. Volunteers help raise the puppies until they are old enough for formal training.

“If I’m having a bad day, I go down and take a look at the puppies,” Kowalski said.

Prior to the ceremony, Air Force Staff Sgt. Sarah Banks showed the power and capabilities of 6-year-old Tarzan, a German shepherd. The two completed an obstacle course, then Tarzan conducted a mock takedown of a suspect, showcasing his speed and bite.

“He’s a very affectionate dog,” Banks said of Tarzan’s off-the-job personality. “And he’s super smart.”

thayer.rose@stripes.com Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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