The Canine Service forms an integral part of the three main disciplines of the SA Air Force Task Force, the other 2 being VIP Close Protection and Autonomous Operations.
07 September 2023 will always be a sad day in the history of the 500 Squadron (also known as the SA Air Force Task Force). Yesterday we lost three (3) of our friends, our companions and our service dogs. They gave their lives to the SA Air Force and in particular 500 Squadron. They made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in service of their country. We salute you.
Viking, a MEDDS (Military Explosive and Drug Detection System) dog was born on 11 July 2010. Viking is a Labrador breed and he was transferred to 500 Squadron in 2013. Viking’s brother, Vian, was also in service at 500 Squadron but was put down in 2018 due to arthritis.
In the 13 years of exceptional service, Viking was predominantly used for Presidential Tasks during arrivals and departures, as he had a natural ability to detect illegal substances. Viking was the most decorated dog at 500 Squadron, with more than 2 000 Presidential Tasks serving the last two (2) Presidents (2 terms each) with grace. His last Presidential task was on 4 September 2023. Viking also participated in more than 1 000 VIP Tasks for Chief SA National Defence Force and Chief Air Force, serving the previous and current Chiefs with loyalty. Meanwhile Viking also participated in various other operations in support of the Air Force, Military Police and many other entities. These are within the Department of Defence.
Viking was very eager to complete tasks and was known for running out of the kennel towards the trailer, jumping in without hesitation and eagerly waiting for you just to close the door. He also enjoyed barking at the motorcycles in any convoy he was involved in. He was energetic and his presence will be greatly missed. Viking was known by our stakeholders and everybody wanted to interact with him.
A legend has passed on today, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice, giving your life in service of your country. May we always remember him. Rest in Peace.
Kelly and Kenny were also put down on 07 September 2023 at 10h28 and 12h00 respectively. Kelly and Kenny were both explosive dogs, with an instinctive talent of detection. They were born on 1 September 2014 and were siblings (brother and sister). They were hard-working dogs and were always eager to be deployed. Both were decorated animals with many operational hours behind their names. You gave your life to protect others. May we always remember them. Rest in peace.