September 25, 2017

Task Force Wraith Soldiers conduct joint training with four-legged troops

Maj. Jeremy Duffy
Camp Buehring, Kuwait

U.S. Marine military working dog, JoJo, takes a break during joint training held with Soldiers from the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Wraith on September 1 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

Soldiers from the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Wraith conducted joint tactical training with the U.S. Marines from Area Support Group — Kuwait’s Directorate of Emergency Services at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in early September.

This event afforded 29th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers an opportunity to work with U.S. Marines and their nine military working dogs and improve capabilities between the two services.

“Any time you get to integrate other branches of service, in this case Marine K-9 handlers and U.S. Army aviators, it is a success,” said Sgt. Michael Reynolds, a flight medic with Task Force Wraith.

The intent of the training was to get the dogs comfortable around aircraft. In the unfortunate circumstance their handlers become injured, the handlers could be medically evacuated with their military working dogs.

“The medevac mission does not just entail American Soldiers; we also pick up coalition forces, wounded enemies and even working dogs,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ward, an aeromedical evacuation pilot with Task Force Wraith.

The training not only allowed for the dogs to become comfortable around aircraft, but also gives medics from Task Force Wraith the opportunity to become familiar with the military working dogs and their possible medical needs in the event one may need medical evacuation.

Task Force Wraith Soldiers escort military working dogs and their U.S. Marine handlers away from an HH-60M aeromedical evacuation helicopter during joint training on September 2 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

“The best part of the training was integrating on-site Army veterinarians to teach IV access and wound management,” said Reynolds.

For many of the working dogs and their handlers, this isn’t their first flight. Most have at least three prior training experiences with other aircraft.

“Operating with military working dogs in the aviation environment could help in real life situations and it helps knowing how to handle the dogs in a situation that might intimidate them,” said Spc. Alec Brewer, a crew chief assigned to Task Force Wraith.

The military working dogs are trained to perform various tasks to include individual attacks, building searches, and searching for explosives.

The 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, an Army National Guard brigade, provides aviation assets, partnership training, logistical and operational support to Operation Spartan Shield while simultaneously conducting operations for Operation Inherent Resolve.

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