Page 22 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
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 Exercise Green Dagger a culmination of Commando Brigade assets showing what they can achieve on the international stage against an overwhelmingly large Enemy. And it was exactly just that, an exercise. But that didn’t hamper the determination and air of pride that shrouded the result on many occasions! And being a former Royal Marines Commando (before joining the RAVC Reserve), I myself was rooting for them and with the same sense of pride.
Nevertheless I’m a Dog handler now, so it felt slightly different. To begin with at the very least. Leaning on my previous knowledge I was quietly confident in the lads. But I had to concentrate on my own job at hand. I had only previously passed my dog course last June, and had never taken a dog out in the field, never mind on an Overseas Training Exercise. Luckily Pte Jack Gayton of 102 MWD Sqn had taken me under his wing, and allowed me to dual handle his Belgian Mallinois, Rex. 102 Sqn provides the Canine asset to both Commando and Airborne Brigades. Myself, being 101 Sqn a lot of the characters were new to me. So if nothing was achieved integration definitely was. Corporal Andy Miles was section commander for our time in the USA, a face I myself I’m familiar with due to him previously being an awesome PSI for the Reserve Squadron.
The first Force on force Exercise against the United States Marine Corps was my first taste of roughing it in the field alongside a Military Working Dog (MWD),
By Pte Isaac Rasmussen RAVC
and I learned a lot just from watching his regular handler. However Pte Gayton always had sound advice to match his actions. From basic grooming of the dog all the way up to what the dog had to offer tactically. As well as just getting hands on with the dog with and without him by my side. I was pleased he trusted me, although that could have been down to the fact that Rex was suitable to dual handle, even as bold of a dog that he is.
The second phase of the exercise was a live firing exercise- the bread and butter of the Commando Forces. So, it seemed fitting to hone our own skills and drills,
'From basic obedience all the way up to bite work, bite work can only mean one thing;
it was time to don the suit'
which of course consisted of dog handling. From basic obedience all the way up to bite work, bite work can only mean one thing; it was time to don the suit. It had been a while and was getting broken in by a 35kg Dutch Herder. Slight bruising but I had been advised it can get a lot worse. All the guys helped me zero in my skills with great coaching tips. From Pte Gaia Owen, Pte
Sid Mitchell and Corporal
Andy Miles who has himself years of Protection Dog experience. We were staying with the American dog handlers and their dogs Freddie (search) and there tracker dog Charlie. A Labrador and long haired German Shepherd respectively. There was ample time to train together and cross reference ideas and I considered this as a huge opportunity for me as a Reserve.
The Culmination of the exercise was a replay of the first force on force Exercise against a more experienced US Marine Corps (USMC) unit. However, the outcome remained the same. Royal was able to make their lives perfectly difficult. The USMC were not able to gain a foothold in the Mock Town that is range 220. This is where I was called upon as a rifleman, attached to a section of EOD from 821 SQN. They too were raised as an infantry section to beef up the man power, and it was a great opportunity for me and Pte Owen to brush upon Infantry skills in a hasty environment. After all we serve in the Army, and we are all soldiers first. All in all a brilliant opportunity, a great integration experience with the wider Regimental handlers, and a great opportunity for me as Reserve handler to go to the USA on a good exercise allowing me to put all my skills into action as a soldier, handler and driver.
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