Page 21 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
P. 21

 OP FALCULAR – Royal Edinburgh Tattoo 31 Jul- 25 Aug 18
By LCpl Shanks, 104 Sqn 1MWD Regt
 104 Military Working Dog squadron (104 MWD SQN) were tasked with supporting the 1st Regiment Royal Military police on Operation Falcular throughout August 18. The Operation was part of a large- scale security effort ensuring the smooth running of the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo - an annual Public Military Event taking place in and around Edinburgh castle. It is the military’s main Public Military Event in Scotland, incorporating all three services, and regularly attracting an audience of over 9500 during each performance.
I was fortunate enough to deploy for just over a week with MWD Max, a fantastic small Labrador, as part of the 4 Arms Explosive Search Dog teams deployed for the duration of the tattoo. Our Main effort throughout was to provide a security presence and peace of mind to the public and to staff working and performing at the Tattoo. This was achieved by conducting various in depth thorough searches in and around Edinburgh Castle. The Areas we were tasked with searching were challenging, requiring our dog handling skills to be at a very high standard. We were required to trust our dogs immensely as some search areas in the upper part of the castle were extremely high with big drops over the castle walls, this is where a solid relationship and understanding of your dog is priceless. In between searches there was plenty of time available to conduct productive continuation training with each of the dogs. This proved pivotal in keeping them highly driven throughout the duration of their deployment. It was
also very positive for ourselves as handlers to conduct CT in a new environment. The nature of the Tattoo, being a busy and densely populated environment, allowed 1MWD Regt to demonstrate the high quality work our MWD’s and ourselves as handlers are capable of.
As IC for the Operation it was both challenging and rewarding. Along with managing the usual admin, tasks I had included liaising with the other units, managing search areas and ensuring the welfare of our MWD’s was maintained at all times. Personally It was also very rewarding as members of the public from all over the world often interacted with ourselves, commenting on how good of a job we do. This small praise was extremely satisfying, however greatest satisfaction came when the other military units recognised the importance of having AES dog teams at an event like the Tattoo. As well as working extremely hard over the course of the Military Tattoo we did get a bit of down time to relax, allowing us to run the dogs in the stunning countryside in and around Edinburgh, there was also time to take in the vibrant and upbeat atmosphere around the centre of Edinburgh as thousands of people flocked to the fringe festival over the month of August.
To summarise it was a very successful operation for 104 Military Working Dog Squadron with high praise for both handlers and dogs - even resulting in gifts for the MWD’s from some of the tattoo promotions team.

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