Jon joined the US Air Force in 1965 on a delayed enlistment. He served tours at; Wheelus Air Base (Lybia) '66-'67 with Astor 275H, Blytheville Air Force Base (Arkansas) '67-'68 with Sam 5X23, and Tan Son Nhut Air Base (Vietnam) '68-'69 with Sarge 46X4. There are rumors that Hemp paid for an honorable discharge on his return to CONUS in 1969.
Now a retired inner-city high school teacher, Jon's focus is totally on not doing anything he doesn't want to do, but a whole lot more DAWGS.
Jon is joined by his wife, Jennie, and daughter, Candy, in keeping the Dawgs Project Tradition alive for as many of our Front Line Defenders as possible.
James D. (Jim) Bruno, MAC, US Navy, was officially "drafted" to the Dawgs Committee as a Kennel Master on 6 December 2009. An Iraq K9 veteran, Jim was selected by the US Navy to "ram rod" MWD Operations for CNRSW and then another slot that we can't mention. We are honored by his participation. Jim MC'd the formal dedication of the Military K9 Heritage Exhigit at MFAM on 17 October 2009. Jim will be a block in the foundation for the future of the Dawgs Project.
- Benjamin M. (Ben) Maple (Now Lt. US Marine Corps Police - then SSgt PMO Camp Pendleton and Sand Box veteran Dawg) has been a very significant part of the Dawgs Project since 2007. It took us until 17 January 2010 to "draft" him to the Dawgs Project Committee as a Kennel Master. We are absolutely confident that Ben will firmly uphold the Marine Corps interests in the future of the Dawgs Project.
Angel Landrau, MSgt, US Air Force, was officially "drafted" to the Dawgs Committee as a Kennel Master on 28 January 2010. Angel is a "Sand Box" K9 veteran and is recognized by the US Military K9 Community for his exceptional talents and expertise in MWD training - presently at "DOG SCHOOL" at Lackland AFB, San Antonio. Angel brings significant leadership to the future of the Dawgs Project.
Todd M. Thomas, DVM, Major, US Army, was officially "drafted" to the Dawgs Project Committee as a Kennal Master on 27 July 2010. Todd has proven beyond question his loyalty and dedication to the well being and exceptional care of today's Military Working Dog. He honors himself, the US Army, the services-wide MWD Program, and he honors the heritage of all that is "K9." We proudly bestow upon Major Todd M. Thomas, DVM, the title of "DOCTOR DAWG!"
Michael W. (Mike) Nelson, SMSgt US Air Force (ret), another of our Thailand Dog Handlers, was "drafted" to the Dawgs Project Committee as a Kennel Master on 4 June 2011. Mike tirelessly shoulders a large portion of the operational hustle for all Dawgs activites; feeds, memorials, and annuals. We're in tall cotton and damn fine company.
David Torres, Vietnam Veteran US Army Tracker Handler, was "drafted" to the Dawgs Project Committee as a Kennel Master on 4 June 2011. David was among the audience at the 2010 Red White & Cruise at California Speedway in Fontana when he spied Jon Hemp and Condor H053 on duty at the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall on site. David's keen business sense drives his interest in making sure that the Dawgs Project is funded and healthy with a constant flow of interested and supportive Patriots. We're graced by his support and dedication. Welcome Home, Brother.
Jerome Vahalik IV
Jerome Vahalik, MSgt, US Air Force, was officially "drafted" on 4 June 2011. Jerome is also a Sand Box Veteran and is recognized by the Department of Defense as significant MWD administrator. All the Old Dawgs agree, Jerome is a "Boot's" Dawg and the well being and morale of his subordinates is obviously important to him. Jerome will serve the future Young Dawgs well.
We're proud to have him on board.
Alan Kaul is an ARMY DAD and a genuine dogs patriot. Alan volunteered his graphic skills very early on in the development of the Military K9 Heritage Exhibit at MFAM and his infection with Dawgs disease only got worse from there. Alan was officially "drafted" to the Dawgs Committee as a Kennel Master on 18 February 2012. Alan (and Barbara) seldom miss out on any Dawgs event and they're willing to go the distance all year long. Alan's artistic eye provides frequent and qualified guidance for all visual aspects of the Dawgs Project as well as the often-required "plain ol' sweat" required of Dawgs Volunteers. Alan compliments, thoroughly, the depth of the Dawgs Committee and we're very proud to have him on board.
US Army LtCol Matt S. Takara, DVM, was officially "drafted" on 16 February 2013. Matt brings incredible skills and credentials to the table, something he's been doing among the MWD community for a career and among the Dawgs community since 2011. He's serves as vet support for all Dawgs events which interface with active duty MWD/IDD teams, and he does so well beyond the normal call of duty.
Matt also provides the Dawgs Project with a credible liaison capacity with the United States Military - all branches. We are honored and privileged to have his presence and expertise.
The Dawgs Project is proud to announce the inclusion to the "steering committee" the presence of US Air Force MSgt (ret) Joel Burton. Joel was officially "drafted" to the committee on 16 February 2013.
The consummate expert and authority of the MWD world, Joel brings endless capacity and dedication to the Dawgs Project.
Joel has unselfishly served as "BOSS DAWG" for numerous annual IRON DOG competition events hosted by the Dawgs Project. Confident and authoritative, he's is honored and appreciated by those fine Americans in our active duty military who walk the walk.
Kathleen "Kate" Stanford
The Dawgs Project is extremely proud to announce the appointment of USMC Sgt Kate Stanford (ret) to the Steering Committee of the project, 19 September 2013 - "DRAFTED!"
Kate has played an integral role in communication and planning of events for IMEF at Camp Pendleton over the past three years - ever present, ever supportive, ever ready. She has also stood with the Old Dawgs and project volunteers at events throughout the region.
We are honored to have Kate "on board."
Albert (Al) Johnson was "drafted" to the Steering Committee of the Dawgs Project on 19 September 2013, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Over the past three years Al has been among the very first to stand with the Old Dawgs, time after time, event after event. He was instrumental in the transition of the Dawgs Of War exhibit and the Dawgs Of War Memorial Monument. Ever ready, he's at the forefront of plans for future events of The Dawgs Project.
We're honored, and lucky.
Air Force SSgt Victor Sanez, now TECHNICAL SERGEANT, was "drafted" to the Steering Committee of the Dawgs Project on 11 January 2014, in San Antonio, Texas. Victor has the distinction of being the first previously "adopted down-range MWD Handler" to become a member of "the committee." He has served the mission well and on numerous occasions (including the 2012 and 2013 Iron Dog Competitions and as "host" for the very first JBSA/San Antonio Feed Event in 2015) over the seven years of the Project's existence. We're proud and honored to have him on board.
Martin "Rat" Ratkowski
Retired Air Force TSgt Martin "Rat" Ratkowski was drafted to the Dawgs Committee at the 2014 Joint Northern Feed Event at Travis AFB on 16 May 2014. Rat has supported the Dawgs mission from the outset of preparation for the very first Beale/Travis/Fallon feed event of 2010. He brings a unique menu of resources to the committee along with an incredible and repeatedly proven passion for supporting our Young Dawgs. Rat defines "WALK," and we look forward to his continued leadership and camaraderie in future endeavors of The Dawgs Project.
Jeff was first introduced to the Dawg Haus in February 2012 at the annual then-Riverside-based MWD memorial. Always eager to pitch in and help out, and a talented photographer, Jeff became a “regular” at most events throughout the past three years. Much of our recent photo history is a product of Jeff’s keen eye and creativity. Jeff was "DRAFTED" as a Dawgs' KENNEL MASTER on Saturday, 21 March 2015, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. We’re honored and proud to have Jeff in our ranks.
Mike Schmitz joined Dawgs in the field for the first time at the 2010 Davis-Monthan Feed the Dawgs Event. He's been haulin' ammo every since, tireless, dedicated, and willing to make the "long hauls." Mike brings his wife, Rachel (meet Rachel on our "Kennel Crew" page), with him to many of the venues on the Dawgs calendar. Mike was "drafted" to the Dawgs Project's Steering Committee on 18 March 2017 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. We are absolutely proud and honored to be blessed with the support and hard work of this man . . . one who claims he's never met a dog that wouldn't bite him!
Mike Seaver first joined in support of the Project at the 2011 War Dog Memorial Ceremony and Iron Dawg Competition at March Field Air Museum. He's been carryin' the water for us ever since and in every sense. A stalwart supporter of both The Dawgs Project and our affiliate Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project, Mike has continuously stepped up to insure that the calendars continue.
Kenneth (Ken) Neal was unanimously appointed by the Dawgs Committee to the position of Ambassador at Large at the 2010 Camp Cann Marines Feed Event. With a year of direct support and volunteering with the Dawgs Crew under his belt, it was obvious that Ken had totally acquired the Dawgs disease. There is no one that is better suited or qualified to represent The Dawgs Project among afiliated K9 and/or veterans groups. We are extremely grateful to you, Sir, for your friendship and support.