Page 29 - Chiron Spring 2018
P. 29

I joined the RAVC in December 2000 and completed my Class 3 Dog Trainers course at the Defence Animal Centre (DAC) in April 2001 and out of the entire course I and one other didn’t deploy on Ops straight away. Pte Neil Horsley volunteered for the mine detection dog project with a view to deploy to Bosnia and I was selected to go to Germany to be part of the Mallinois training project introducing the first Belgian shepherds into the British Army.
I returned to the DAC having spent just less than a year in Germany when an opportunity came up for an operational tour to Kosovo as a vehicle search (VS) handler. I put myself forward for it and, after completing a 3 week VS course I was on my way to Kosovo. I was a little envious of my peers for going on tour immediately after their class 3 but on reflection I was glad of the training experience I gained in Germany as it would come in handy later during the tour.
I was very naïve to what the “real Army” was like because up to that point my experience was just Melton and Sennelager and not having much contact with other arms and services and as a consequence, I found the tour was a little daunting at the beginning. It seems
By Sgt Scott Davison
strange to think that I was so wary and unsure of what it was going to be like because on reflection compared to modern day Ops, Kosovo was more like a 6 month detachment and although it was busy it didn’t come with the threats that are apparent today. I arrived at Pristina airport and was greeted by LCpl Jenny Norwood who then took me to Slim Lines to meet the rest of the handlers there. I remember that I got a quick orientation of
"Kosovo was more like a 6 month detachment and although it was busy it didn’t come with the threats"
the camp and completed the arrivals and it was straight to it to begin the licensing process with my two spaniels Jamie and Sadie. Both dogs had been in Kosovo longer than I had been in the Army so they were seasoned veterans and got me through licensing.
From that point on it seemed non- stop. I was always out with various call signs form different nations conducting
planned Ops around Kosovo. The number one customers for the VS section were the Swedish battalion who often used the dogs weeks at a time at Gate 2 and Camp Bifrost as well as individual tasks around their area of responsibility (AOR). I would also conduct regular foot patrols through Pristina setting up random VCPs preventing the movement of weapons as well as travelling up and down Kosovo on pre-planned tasks and call outs.
When VS tasks slowed my time was spent utilising the knowledge gained in Germany visiting and improving the protection sections across the AOR as some of the Mallinois they were using were the ones I trained or was known from my time on the project. I was also used as an escort for the AES handlers going on tasks, with the most memorable one being the Boom Boom Room in Pristina which was a rather seedy night club which had other activities available other than drinking and dancing (if you know what I mean).
Overall it was a successful tour and I learned a lot about the Army, Ops and gained valuable experience for future tours. I have some great memories and made some great friends that I’m still in contact with 15 years later and if I could I would definitely do it again.
Kosovo April 2002- My First Tour

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