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    Multi-Purpose Canine program proves invaluable

    Multi-Purpose Canine program proves invaluable

    Photo By Sgt. Donovan Lee | Marines with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, and a Multi-Purpose...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Donovan Lee 

    Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Multi-Purpose Canine is not your average "man’s best friend" kind of dog; it’s a military working dog that far-exceeds the capabilities of even your average military working dog.

    An MPC is specially trained to meet demanding missions Marines with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command face during training and operations.

    When Lady, an MPC assigned to 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion, and her handler attached to a group of MARSOC enablers during a Tactical Skills Package held May 4-15 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., her skills were put to the test.

    The Marines assimilated Lady into their training, which allowed them to get a better understanding of an MPC’s capabilities and for Lady to refine her ability to support MARSOC personnel in an amphibious environment.

    The training MPCs undergo differs greatly from the average Military Working Dog, said the 1st MRSB MPC Master Trainer. MARSOC uses MPCs because the unit’s range of mission sets requires them to be able to adapt to multiple situations at a moment’s notice, he said.

    “These canines are trained and maintained in multiple disciplines to include tracking, explosive detection, and all aspects of controlled aggression,” said the master trainer. “We ask one dog to do the work of two or three conventional working dogs. This one asset provides the (Marine Special Operations Teams) with many capabilities and employments for all their operational requirements.”

    During the past few years, the MPC program at MARSOC has grown and adapted to the battalions’ missions. 1st MRSB has been assigned an area of operation primarily focused in the Pacific, and their canines’ training is designed with more of an amphibious focus to meet teams’ needs.

    The MPC’s learn how to swim long distances in the open water, how to clear beaches of explosives and other threats, assist during close-quarters battle aboard a vessel and to deploy in combat rubber raiding crafts. Many of these skills are common to all MPCs, but unique training is required for applying them in a new or different environment.

    “The teams are becoming more apt to use the dogs, and the teams want the dogs to participate in all of their training,” said the master trainer. “The Marine Corps is getting back to its maritime roots and the MPC program is following suit.”

    Marines often depend on MPCs to thwart threats they encounter, ultimately saving lives.The dogs become one of the most useful and reliable tools that the teams can take with them, said a critical skills operator with 1st Marine Raider Battalion.

    “On my last deployment, we were operating in Helmand province, Afghanistan; we always brought dogs with us and they proved to be a valuable asset,” said the CSO. “We knew how to employ them, as we would be methodical and deliberate in how we operated. We would use canines by having them sniff out IEDs, drugs, checking for anything that may harm any (of our) team members.”

    For 1st MRB, Lady’s ability to detect explosives is a particularly vital asset to Marines making beach landings, unaware of what might be buried ashore.

    “(Lady) was integrated during fins and boat work, to include surf passages and scout swimmer techniques,” said the CSO. “The MPC and her handler swam in through the surf zone; the canine handler would wait in the surf zone and send in just his dog to recce the beach. This was successful, as the dog located the (improvised explosive device), which was set just at the edge of the hinterland. Employment opportunities are growing with the use of Canines.”

    Time and time again during training, Lady proved her value in maintaining the forward momentum of operations.

    Teams frequently are tasked with missions that present situations riddled with uncertainties. As such, it is of paramount importance MARSOC personnel remain adaptive, innovative and flexible. The 1st MRSB MPC program embodies those characterizations, and continually pursues the expansion of those facets of operational relevancy.



    Date Taken: 05.15.2015
    Date Posted: 06.22.2015 14:52
    Story ID: 167653

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