“We got every Army soldiers home safe, back to their respective camps safe, every time we went out for a mission Shelby never let us down,” said Sergeant Rafie F. Enmanuel, handler of Tracking Dog (TD) Shelby.
During the anniversary program of the Army Intelligence Regiment (AIR), the Command bestowed a Military Merit Medal to Sgt. Enmanuel while TD Shelby was awarded with a medal of courage for their faithful, splendid and outstanding achievements for their successful tracking operation in locating the Communist NPA-Terrorist (CNT) lair in Batangas.
With the expertise of Sgt. Enmanuel and TD Shelby during the counter-insurgency operation in Batangas, the people in the community has been protected by Army forces by foiling the NPA attack in a clash. Troops were able to recover an insurgent’s dead body, voluminous explosives and rounds of ammunition, rifle sling, flash drives, cell phones sim cards and other subversive documents with high intelligence value left by members of the CNT.
Over the time, we may not be familiar that the Philippine Army make use of Military Working Dogs (MWD) as early as 1950’s. The MWDs perform as scouts, message carriers, and sentries as well as protectors or safeguards the camps premises as deterrence force for the enemy.
MWD was proven to be indispensable, gentle enough but it numerously help-out in sustained direct support to tactical units to carry-out its mission.They can run 30 miles per hour, work in restricted terrain utilizing their 270 degree of vision and sophisticated sense of smell and hearing. That is why they are very effective on Internal Security Operation (ISO), war on terrorism, and Disaster Response Operation (DRO).
According to Sgt. Enmanuel, being the handler of “TD Shelby” is such a rewarding duty. This “Labrador Retriever”, has been mobilized by the Army for 10 years and six months now and as partners they have been through a lot of fruitful missions together. The MWD efficiency and wide range of capabilities cannot be replicated by human being or machine.
TD Shelby is now the third Military Working Dog handled by Sgt. Enmanuel. TD Shelby used to have a different handler but he was turned-over to Sgt. Emmanuel in 2016. They have been unstoppable ever since. “Shelby is a sure-footed dog. His steps are always smooth and certain. I believe this is because Shelby gained a lot of experience navigating mountainous areas when he was still assigned at the 5th Infantry Division in Isabela,” shared Sgt. Enmanuel.
Sgt. Enmanuel first MWD is TD Gomer who was his partner when he got his first accomplishment as a member of the K9 Battalion from 2006 to 2008. They were able to track down bodies of fallen CNTs in Quezon and received a MMM for their success. In 2010 to 2014 he handled an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) named Bombie in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila and was in-charge in securing the camp against bomb threats.
Overall, Sgt. Enmanuel now has a total of 11 MMM wards, 10 of which are all awarded as a result of his tracking and explosive detection missions.
Army Major Laurence San Juan, Commander, K9 Battalion attested that dogs are indeed, “human’s best friend”. But in military perspective, dogs can be more than friends. Through appropriate trainings, dogs can be transformed and utilized as “force multipliers”. In most instances, they can assist in explosives detection, checkpoint operations, combat tracking, force protection and disaster rescue operations.
“This is one unique story of human-dog partnership and commitment in pursuit of service and mission accomplishment. Shelby is not just a tool for our soldiers but a partner in defending and securing our nations democracy and the flag,” San Juan, added. OACPA / MCAG