If you were asked where the US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District was building a new kennel for military working dogs, what would your guess be?
Newfoundland? Barksdale Air Force Base?
The answer is F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and make no bones about it—the existing facility is in need of an upgrade.
“The current facility we’re in, we’re looking at 30 plus years,” said Tech. Sgt. Brett Hurley, kennel master with the 90th Security Forces Squadron. “It is quite old. Being able to transition to a new facility provides better living quarters for our dogs. It also provides the handlers better office space to conduct their paperwork, and if they have to pull 24-hour coverage of our dogs, there is more accommodations for them.”
Hurley’s primary job as kennel master is overseeing the training for the base’s eight military working dogs, and acting as coordinator between the base commander and his canine charges. The kennel master also maintains the health and wellness of the dogs on a 24/7 basis.
“We do have issues with heating and cooling,” said Hurley. “We do have some water issues. If we get too much rain here our facility does flood so we do a constant cleanup of our facility. Having a new facility, we won’t have to worry about ensuring that water isn’t getting into our building and that our heating and cooling for our dogs is maintained appropriately.”
The base expects the obedience course and training yard at the new kennel to remain the same but they are anticipating some HVAC improvements at the new facility, which would provide cleaner air; the improvements would help minimize the spread of illness among the dogs. The new kennel will also have space for an additional two dogs bringing F.E. Warren’s total capacity to ten.
The contract for the build is expected to be awarded September 2019, and construction of the new kennel is currently on schedule to begin October 2019 with an anticipated completion date of January 2021. The current total project cost is approximately 5.3 million dollars.
“We have a huge mission here at F.E. Warren—whether it’s for the base or the actual missile field and supporting their mission,” said Hurley. I see we take care of our human counterparts I think it’s just as important we take care of our dogs and provide them with the best living accommodations that we can.”