It's a dog's life at sea

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Tony White (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), HMAS Adelaide (L01), Exercise SEA RAIDER

Australian Defence Force Military Police dog Nitro waits to fly from a Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ship during Exercise SEA RAIDER. (photo: )
Australian Defence Force Military Police dog Nitro waits to fly from a Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ship during Exercise SEA RAIDER.

Three dogs and their handlers deployed to sea off Townsville recently, as part of the Australian Defence Force’s Australian Amphibious Task Group.

The Task Group was conducting Exercise SEA RAIDER – an exercise designed to test the Australian Defence Force’s capacity to conduct amphibious warfare, stability and security operations, render humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and evacuate civilians from uncertain environments.

Exercise SEA RAIDER operated from the Navy’s two largest ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra and included more than 2300 full time and reserve personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Army, Air Force, Royal New Zealand Navy, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Army and the Royal Marines.

Among the many different elements of the Task Group were three Belgian Shepherd or Malinois dogs and their handlers from the ADF’s 1st Military Police Battalion.

Private Joseph Fox and his dog Nitro had to make a range of adjustments in their first experience of life at sea, but Private Fox said the dogs adjusted quickly.

“The dogs were a little bit nervous at the beginning - well mine was anyway. But the dogs adapt to it and they are fine,” he said.

Private Fox said life on board a warship provided a number of unique training opportunities around the three themes of Apprehend, Deter and Detect, but it was not all hard work.

“As clichéd as it sounds, you do have a mate that you get to see every morning and they are always excited to see you,” he said.

Exercise SEA RAIDER runs into the major multinational TALISMAN SABRE exercise that will conclude in July.