The Royal New Zealand Air Force gained four new members this week when two men and their dogs graduated from MWD school.
Wellington men, Leading Aircraftman Thomas Olsen and Aircraftman Danial Forsyth and their military working dogs (MWD) Koda and Axle graduated on Friday at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland in a ceremony presided over by the Base Commander Group Captain Tim Walshe.
Both men and their canine colleagues successfully completed the unique 14-week training at the RNZAF Military Working Dog School at RNZAF Base Auckland.
At the graduation, the two men and their dogs demonstrated several of the techniques they have learned during the course including obedience, agility and apprehension.
Flight Commander Force Protection Flight Lieutenant Andy Armstrong said the success of the programme relied on the ability of the dog and handler to work as a team and combine their talents.
“For the partnership to be successful the handler and their dog must have a great relationship,” Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said.
“Along with technical skills learned, both handlers have learned aspects of dog psychology and bonded successfully as a team.”
The graduates and their dogs will remain as a working team throughout their posting at the MWD unit.
MWDs undertake force protection and security duties, and are trained for air transport in the RNZAF’s Hercules aircraft and NH90 helicopters to prepare them for all types of situations.
The handlers and their newly trained dogs will be ready to respond to operations both nationally and overseas, including Exercise Skytrain in Napier this month and upcoming deployments to major multinational training activities in Australia.
PHOTO: Aircraftman Danial Forsyth and Leading Aircraftman Thomas Olsen with their dogs Axle and Koda.