Honouring our four-legged heroes

Army and Air Force personnel have participated in a service to honour the loyalty and commitment of military working dogs (MWD) over decades of service, including on operations overseas.

The personnel joined the ADF Trackers and War Dogs Association, government representatives and community members at a commemorative service, in Wacol, Queensland, to mark National Military Working Dog Day on June 7.

Personnel and dogs from 2 Security Forces Squadron (2SECFOR) in RAAF Base Amberley took part in a series of activities highlighting the importance of this capability to the ADF.

Sergeant Marc Douglas, Air Force Explosive Detection Dog Capability Manager at 2SECFOR, said the day was a time to reflect on the life and service of his MWD Ajax who died in 2017, as well as a reminder to cherish every moment with his explosive detection dog (EDD) Cowboy, who retired into his care last year.

“These dogs, and all the furry warriors I have worked with over the last 16 years, are the reason I serve in our Defence Force and do so with pride and joy as a MWD handler,” he said.

“It was Cowboy who taught me how to become an off-leash detection dog handler and it struck me when we graduated the course, I could never explain to him what he had done for me.”

June 7 marks the death of the first Australian EDD handler killed on overseas operations. Sapper Darren Smith and his dog Herbie, along with Sapper Jacob Moerland, were killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

The service was held at the Military and Service Working Dog National Monument at the RSPCA Brisbane Animal Care Campus, with three EDDs and their handlers in attendance.

As part of Combat Support Group, MWDs are located on most Air Force Bases around Australia and provide security, emergency response, and protection of Air Force’s aircraft and people.

These canines are exceptionally skilled and loyal, playing a vital role in protecting personnel, detecting threats and providing companionship when troops are far from home.

MWDs are a key element of Air Force and will continue to adapt to a changing security environment over the years, through the implementation of the Security Force Transformation.

Defence image The Military and Service Working Dog National Monument at the RSPCA Brisbane Animal Care Campus, Wacol, Queensland, with the wreaths that were laid during the commemorative service for National Military Working Dog Day 7th June

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