NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Explosive detection K-9 teams from across the Las Vegas community came together with local agencies at Nellis to participate in a mass odor exercise held by the 99th Security Forces Squadron Dec. 11.
Security Forces Military Working Dog handlers and their civilian counterparts utilized several different sets of explosive material to put the MWDs through a more intense and realistic scenario.
“We’re using; Detonation Cord, Semtex, Dynamite, TNT and C-4,” said Senior Airman Luke Albrecht, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordinance disposal technician. “The dogs act much differently with the mass odor versus the normal odor security forces usually uses, and for us we get to see how the dogs respond differently, which is especially helpful for us when we’re deployed.”
This is the first year that the 99th CES provided the explosives for use during the exercise.
“Our standard scent kit isn’t nearly as much as we’re using here today. It’s a bit different than what we usually do. EOD has helped us quite a bit,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Spicher, 99th SFS MWD handler.
Utilizing more than 90 pounds of explosive material is a change of pace for the SFS working dogs and their local community counterparts.
“A lot of civilians use synthetic explosives, which is a lot different than what we’re using today,” said Spicher.
Agencies such as the Wynn Hotel and Casino use synthetic explosives to train their dogs. The Air Force Security Forces are required to use real explosives.
“We don’t get to do real odor or mass odor exercises that often, which helps us immensely by being able to use real [explosives] instead of synthetics,” said Darrin Tansill, Wynn Hotel and Casino security.
Agencies that participated in the mass odor exercise include the Wynn Hotel and Casino, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, U.S. Marshal, The Department of Aviation, and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.
This provides a different learning experience for the civilian agencies who are rarely able to receive this type of training.
“You get to meet new people in the dog world. You get to see how other handlers work and see what they do differently,” said Tansill. “It can help you learn,”