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    Search and Rescue Teams Train with Experts in Arctic Exercise

    Search and Rescue Teams Train with Experts in Arctic Exercise

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ashley Low | Amanda Del Frate and partner Finley, Alaska Search & Rescue Dogs (ASARD), search for...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ashley Low 

    104th Public Affairs Detachment

    Approximately 14 local, federal and Alaska volunteer search and rescue K-9 teams trained alongside emergency response agencies across Alaska and the nation along with search and development experts during Exercise Arctic Eagle-Patriot 22. The training explored innovative ways the military and emergency responders can better perform in arctic conditions.

    Exercise AEP22 is a homeland security and emergency response exercise operating throughout Alaska, hosted by the Alaska National Guard, from Feb. 22 – Mar. 10, 2022. The exercise provides an opportunity for National Guard states to participate in high-level training opportunities that generate combat readiness and the ability to operate in extreme cold-weather environments. The AEP22 intends to explore arctic capabilities and restrictions in the context of domestic integration.

    U.S. Army Cpt. Patrick McFadden, officer-charge, veterinary services, Fort Lewis-Wainwright, Wash., was on-site observing the different training techniques.

    “The reason why I am here is to take some of these lessons learned in an arctic environment and apply them to our working dogs,” McFadden said. “We ask our dogs to perform in temperatures of negative 40 and below and as part of the Army’s Arctic Strategy. We have to develop our forces to compete and win in extreme arctic environments.”

    McFadden said that the lessons they learn here would be invaluable for the Department of Defense’s working dogs.

    “When it comes to things like chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN), there is little known data on how it is impacted by the cold. So we’re basically starting at ground zero for the dogs,” McFadden said.

    The assembled group included representatives of the different services, agencies and capabilities, including veteran Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe, who shared her knowledge of caring for canines.

    “Some of the areas I can bring in my expertise are cold weather survival skills and ways to protect dogs in the cold, like leggings and booties…things that we’ve developed over the last 50 years,” Jonrowe said. “It’s really about not taking the dogs beyond their capabilities.”

    The dog-handler duos comprised five rescue teams in attendance tasked with completing several challenges while devices monitored their vitals and internal conditions.

    “It’s really important for all of us to come together, academia, different governmental agencies, because all of those groups are to be involved in moving our understanding forward,” Dr. Erin Perry Ph. D., lead scientist and decontamination expert, said. “Opportunities for participation in events like Arctic Eagle are really critical because they allow us to see the benefits and challenges that exist under real-world operational conditions.”

    Perry said she attended the event to study the impacts of various decontamination procedures and environmental conditions on canine health.

    “I’m proud of the work my lab has done,” Perry said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the collaboration with the Army Veterinary Corps, the National Guard and other universities, to me, not only as a scientist but as a canine handler because it just reaffirms that we are all here to put the dogs first and to endure that their well-being is maximized so that their performance is maximized.”

    The volunteer search and rescue teams participating in the training found great value in working with the other government agencies and learning new techniques to find or track missing persons in various weather conditions.

    “I love it,” Lisa Jaeger, Search and Rescue volunteer said. “My partner, Mac, loves it too. He loves having a job and going to work.”



    Date Taken: 02.28.2022
    Date Posted: 03.01.2022 12:15
    Story ID: 415494
    Location: ANCHORAGE, AK, US

    Web Views: 112
    Downloads: 2