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New working dog regiment to support Afghan operations



www.army-uk.info    Department of defence UK
2010-04-01

Following the surge in operational demand for Military Working Dogs (MWD) in Afghanistan a new Military Working Dog Regiment has been formed, marked with a parade and skill demonstrations in Sennelager, Germany.


Lance Corporal Jennifer Lockhart with working dog Baloo
[Picture: Cpl James Williams RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

MWD Support Units have been in high demand by commanders of operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and most recently Afghanistan.

In recent years this demand has been met by the formation of five independent units - 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105 MWD Support Units based in Aldershot (101), North Luffenham (104) and Sennelager (102, 103 and 105).

To consolidate these units the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel David Thorpe, formally assumed command of the five MWD Squadrons last week, with the Regimental Headquarters to be established in Chiron Lines, Sennelager.

The Regiment will comprise 284 soldiers and officers and around 200 military working dogs and will continue to be based in three locations in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Its primary operational role is the support of the lead Brigade in Afghanistan with the provision of protection and specialist Military Working Dogs and veterinary support to the command.

The Regiment will provide a diverse set of assets which can assist in the full spectrum of military functions.

It will continue to play a leading role in searching and helping to clear routes, buildings and vehicles in Afghanistan and will help to guard and patrol key installations to assist in the development of enhanced base security and will provide a range of other capabilities wherever they are needed in the rest of the world.

General Officer Commanding Theatre Troops, Major General Bruce Brealey has taken a personal interest in the formation of the Regiment and was the senior visiting officer on parade. He said:

"The formation of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment is a major step forward in the development of a key capability that is making a major contribution to operational success every day in Afghanistan.

"I am always hugely impressed by the commitment, professional excellence and enthusiasm of the officers and soldiers of the Military Working Dog sub-units; their individual and collective efforts will be focused even more effectively by their new Commanding Officer."

Commanding Officer 1 MWD Regt, Lt Col David Thorpe said:

"Military Working Dogs have been in the vanguard of recent and on-going operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and are a key force multiplier across the full spectrum of operations.

"The dog and its handler have a uniquely close relationship both in barracks and when deployed on operations.

"I have been immensely impressed by the dedication of all those involved and have witnessed the huge amount of time, personal effort, support and resources it takes to deliver a trained dog team onto the ground in Afghanistan."

On parade at the formation of the Regiment was Private Kelly Wolstencroft, 103 MWD, with her Armed Explosive Search dog Molly. Pte Wolstencroft said:

"It is a real joy to work with these animals. It gives you great job satisfaction to know that you are working with dogs who are saving so many lives in theatre."

The 24-year-old also said her capability provides assurance and is a massive morale boost for the guys in the Forward Operating Bases.

Also on parade was Lance Corporal Jenny Lockhart from 103 MWD, who said:

"I love the job because you learn something new every day and there is a great morale within the unit to work with."

Jenny`s own dog is Baloo, a protection dog.

Command 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal & Search Group, Colonel Jonathan Welch MBE, said:

"The formation of 1st MWD Regt RAVC [Royal Army Veterinary Corps] is a significant milestone.

"It demonstrates the vital contribution that all the MWD sub-units are making to the campaign in Afghanistan.

"The provision of detection and protection capabilities combined with the wider veterinary support is adding real value to current operations, especially in combating Improvised Explosive Devices."

2010-04-01




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