The Royal Australian Air Force Security and Fire School (RAAFSFS) has unveiled its remembrance wall for military dog handlers at RAAF Base Amberley.
CAPTION: RAAF Dog Handlers Association members Ray Thomas, right, and Kim Hodgeo add another member’s name to the RAAF Dog Handlers Association wall of remembrance at the RAAF Security and Fire School, RAAF Base Amberley. Story by Flight Lieutenant Julia Ravell. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Schwenke.
Attending the unveiling ceremony was RAAFSFS Commanding Officer Wing Commander Craig Nielsen, the Patron of the RAAF Dog Handlers Association (RDHA), Group Captain Guy Burton, members of the RDHA, SFS staff and graduates of the basic military working dog (MWD) course session 0016.
“The wall features paw prints with the names of fallen military dog handlers engraved inside was a fitting tribute to the companionship experienced by dog handlers with their respective dogs throughout their careers,” Wing Commander Nielsen said.
Located in the foyer of the school’s training building, the remembrance wall is the culmination of four years’ work by former President of the RDHA and military working dog handler of 25 years Ray Thomas.
“The remembrance wall replaces a board that we used to have that was running out of space with a permanent honour that will be there for years to come,” Mr Thomas said.
“Handlers form a strong bond with their dogs over the years and I have great memories of Sabre and Chan, both of the dogs I worked with during my years in the field.
“Patrolling the flightline during the night, there’s just your dog for company, so you become really good mates.
“You can tell your dog absolutely anything and it’ll even smile at a bad joke!
“I’m grateful for the work of Flight Lieutenant Portia Cooper and Squadron Warrant Officer Steven Voll for helping us to realise this project.”