Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s Provost Marshal’s Office K-9 unit trained with Hiroshima Prefectural Police Headquarters officers and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Repair and Supply Facility Petroleum Terminal unit military working dog handlers at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Aug. 24, 2016.
Handlers and their military working dogs train regularly in a variety of areas such as locating explosives, narcotics, conducting patrols and human tracking in order to become a more effective team.
“Whether it’s explosive training, search and rescue, and building searches, whatever training we may conduct . . . joint training is essential for us and our Japanese counterparts for almost everything we do,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brendon Teague, PMO military working dog chief trainer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “Conducting these different types of training gets the Japanese on par with us. We will be able to utilize them for any events we may do throughout the year.”
Marines placed explosives in hidden locations before handlers and their K-9’s arrived, resulting in a more cautious and thorough search, increasing the overall training effectiveness.
U.S. and Japanese handlers then escorted their K-9’s to locate explosives hidden throughout the station’s old furniture store.
“In the morning, we planted our explosives throughout the furniture store then ran both our K-9’s through it,” said Teague. “The Japanese were able to see how we train while we saw how they trained. We share our knowledge and try to better ourselves and our dogs to become a better team. We have conducted joint training for almost two years. Seeing their K-9’s progress as well as ours is amazing and being able to train in a new environment with some of their new K-9’s is even better.”
Handlers and their dogs later conducted evacuation training at the Penny Lake baseball field where they simulated reacting to a bomb threat. The area was set up as if residents had already evacuated the area and left their personal belongings behind.
“During this scenario we conducted a baseball evacuation drill,” said Teague. “If at any time we receive a bomb threat throughout the entirety of the installation, we have to evacuate the area. We evacuated the area and had our K-9 teams sweep the entirety of the baseball field, found the explosive aide and responded. The Japanese handlers watched how we conducted our searches, emulated it and did exactly what they needed to do.”
Upon completion of training, U.S. handlers presented a plaque reading, “We at the MCAS Iwakuni Kennels wanted to take time to thank you for all the great experiences and training we have shared over this last year. We appreciate the opportunity of being able to train and work side by side with you. Your help on the 2016 Friendship Day was greatly appreciated and we hope to be able to continue our great bond and unity, not only as two countries allied in one cause, but also as handlers of man’s best friend,” to JMSDF Capt. Yasushi Fujita, JMSDF Kure area security command post chief, and JMSDF handlers as a sign of gratitude and willingness to continue strengthening the U.S. and Japan alliance.
“I am honored and glad to receive the plaque,” said Fujita. “This training is effective for maintaining a good relationship and strengthening the cooperation we see while training with each other.”
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tyler Chabot, PMO military working dog handler with H&HS, said the Marines and Japanese learn new techniques and tactics from each other and if there is ever a big event where the Marines may need their help, they know they can count on the Japanese for their assistance.
“I hope this training continues in the future,” said Chabot. “I think it’s great that we associate ourselves with each other and I would like to thank the JMSDF and Hiroshima police for coming out and we will see you next time.”
Story by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson