Community briefs

NHS grad training to be military dog handler

Army Pvt. Josef Arreaga, of Naugatuck, is pictured with Bruno, a 5-year-old German Shepherd military working dog, at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Dec. 4. -DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PHOTO BY EJ HERSOM

Army Pvt. Josef Arreaga, of Naugatuck, is pictured with Bruno, a 5-year-old German Shepherd military working dog, at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Dec. 4. -DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PHOTO BY EJ HERSOM

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND — For the past two months, Army Pvt. Josef Arreaga, a 2012 graduate of Naugatuck High School, has been training as a military working dog handler in the Dog Training School with the 341st Training Squadron, Department of Defense Military Working Dog Program. 

The school is the world’s largest training center for military working dogs and handlers, dating back to 1958.

“My dogs are trained to attack with or without command. I search for explosives and drugs,” Arreaga said in a press release. “I have the greatest job in the Army.”

Within the 341st Training Squadron, there are five courses with about 140 students, 107 staff members and nine teams with about 18 dogs each. The mission is to provide trained military working dogs and handlers for the Department of Defense, other government agencies and allies through training, logistical, veterinary support and research and development for security efforts worldwide.

Arreaga said his favorite part about being a part of the DoD military working dog program is in having a dog for a partner. 

“Together we make a team,” he said.

When the military working dog handler is assigned to a kennel at their duty station after completing training, he or she is assigned to one dog and will deploy to war zones with that dog. They deploy as a pair. 

Arreaga said he looks forward to bonding with his first dog in a deployed location.

“When you are deployed, the dog becomes your best friend,” he said. “You’re thousands of miles away from family, and your military working dog you train with every day becomes the only thing that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling like home.”

Arreaga joined the Army in April 2013 and will be assigned to Korea in February.

-Shannon Collins

Naugatuck man becomes state trooper

Stephen J. Corona, of Naugatuck, was among 83 new troopers who joined the ranks of the Connecticut State Police on Jan. 9.

The graduation of the 123rd Training Troop came at the end of 1,400 hours of classroom training time, which began on June 14, 2013, according to a statement by Connecticut State Police.

A graduation ceremony for the new officers was held at Jorgensen Auditorium at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs. The new graduates were assigned to the state’s 11 troops. Corona was assigned to Troop G in Bridgeport.

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