Military News

Friday, September 18, 2015

MWD, handler certify in detection

by Senior Airman Christine Halan
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

9/17/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Military Working Dog handlers are responsible for the training and care of their feisty companions. These teams provide RAF Mildenhall the protection and deterrence night and day - and they are certified in their trade.

Staff Sgt. Roy Carter, 100th Security Forces Squadron, and MWD Luc have been a dynamic duo since July 2015. They recently took their initial detection certification to ensure they're fit to fight.

This certification is initially done within a few months of the team working together, verifying the team is succeeding in their overall mission - explosive or drug detection.

Both dog and handler underwent inspection Sept. 8, 2015, while being observed by Team Mildenhall leadership.

The team's goal during the initial certification is to find 10 different training aids which are placed randomly within an open area, vehicles and buildings. The training aids, which resemble items that they would find in a real-world mission, must be found within a certain time limit that can vary depending on the situation they are put in.

"We have to show we're maintaining that standard. Not everybody is perfect, so there's a little bit of room [for error]," said Carter.

Held to high standards, bomb detector teams have to be 95 percent reliable. Drug dogs must also display their keen sense of smell by hitting the odors 90 percent of the time.

Carter and MWD Luc, they made the job look easy. Within a mere 40 minutes, the duo was able to locate all 10 aids, making them 100 percent successful.

Unfortunately, not all teams are as effective. If a team is unable to complete the task, they are then given 30-day of remedial training which incorporates MWD, handler and kennel master, in vigorous drills.

"Staff Sgt. Joseph Serrano, 100th Security Forces Squadron MWD kennel master and trainer, does a lot of work with us. He loves going out there to train," said Carter. "He pushes us by making it as tough as possible, leading up to certification, which makes the certification not quite as tough."

Although Carter and Luc make the job look easy, their accomplishment isn't possible without the extensive and continuous training.

"Everything they do leading up to it is a lot more difficult," Carter explained. "Pushing you to think outside of the box and to push your dog to different limits, it's challenging, but worth it."

Although demanding, the certification is only one step in the many mission requirements for a dog and their handler to stay fit to fight.

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