NEWS | Feb. 24, 2020

AETC names Training Support Officer of the Year

By Rachel Kersey 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Maj. Tate Grogan, 341st Training Squadron Director of Operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, was named the Air Education and Training Command’s Training Support Officer of the Year Jan. 31. 

The 341st Training Squadron trains Military Working Dogs and their handlers for the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Security Forces, graduating 600 handlers annually, including some international allies’ students. 

“It’s an honor to have been named the 2019 AETC Training Support Officer of the Year,” Grogan said. “As an Air Force officer, our job is to support our troops and ensure they have what they need to execute the mission well. I am extremely fortunate to work in a unit that executes a one-of-a-kind mission in the Department of Defense.” 

Maj. Matthew Kowalski, the 341st TRS commander, agreed that the job is very special. The 341st Military Working Dog Schoolhouse is “a technical training school like no other,” he said. "Officers like Grogan have very little training themselves on procurement, training, mission planning and retirements before having to oversee all of these things. It is an immersive, learn-on-the-job sort of assignment.

“Major Grogan’s position as the Director of Operations is unique in the DOD,” Kowalski said. “Tate took the challenge and oversaw an outstanding training year, so much so that we produced a historical record breaking year, training 322 MWDs for the Joint Services.  I couldn’t do my job as the commander without the strategic and tactical direction of Major Grogan and the team he supports.”

Because of Grogan’s work this past year, the 341st TRS was also able to transfer dogs to the Secret Service, Special Forces, Australian partners, as well as multiple law enforcement agencies around the nation, Kowalski said. 

“Supplying these dogs and handlers to the military has incredibly far reaching effects,” Grogan said. “These K-9 teams work in deployed environments, at home stations, and in the communities around our military bases assisting local authorities that may not have K-9 resources. They also augment with other federal agencies to guarantee security at large attendance events and the security of high level personnel like the U.S. president.” 

But Grogan doesn’t take all the credit for himself. He acknowledges his coworkers for a job well-done.

“The men and women that work in this unit are the most passionate group of folks I could ask for,” he said. “Our folks absolutely love what they do and exhibit faithfulness and dedication to supply the military with the highest quality Military Working Dogs and handlers.” 

Grogan’s favorite animal is, not surprisingly, dogs, but his favorite breed is actually golden retrievers. He has volunteered with animal rescues in the past and, in 2013, he won the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for volunteering more than 1,000 hours in his community.

While stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming,  Grogan created the "Cops in Schools" program, which placed Airmen in local elementary school classrooms to help with tutoring and to mentor the students.