A very good nose
In Villaggio Italia, MNTF-W home base, there is a special squad formed by four wonderful dogs with their handlers. Shrek, Samir, Boy e Heiko with their “two legs colleagues” Alessandro, Salvatore, Paolo and Vincenzo form the K9 squad belonging to TF ASTRO (coy level engineer unit).
The purpose of this squad is to guarantee a Safe and Secure Environment (SASE) and to improve the Freedom of Movement (FOM) in favor of MNTF-W personnel. In fact, these dogs are specialized as Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) and usually they work as support of EOD/IEDD teams in case of search operation and are able to detect all main explosives present in Kosovo.
When a call arrives it means that someone needs of them! The right time to prepare all the equipment and just few minutes after, Shrek, a wonderful Belgian “Mali noise” sheepdog, is ready to start the work with his human colleague OR5 Alessandro DI FABIO. A short briefing with EOD/IEDD team leader is good to gather all information and then all soldiers can start the movement to the spot. An anonymous call reported the probable presence of an explosive device in an abandoned building nearby a gas station! Kosovo police evacuated some buildings close to the gas station and cordoned off the “Hot area”.
There is strain in the air and Shrek feels it! Alessandro strokes him and whisper “Are you ready my friend?” Shrek is stirred by the idea to start the job! His tail moves without stopping! It is enough a look between them and…Shrek begins his work. “Search, Search!” says Alessandro. The nose of Shrek is able to find just a drop of a substance in a thousand liters of water! The search activity continues and Shrek is now looking for an explosive source. During the activity Alessandro urges his friend: “Go, Go, Search, Search!” After few seconds, he points a bag! Now they know where the danger is! All people involved can breathe a sigh of relief!
Shrek knows that if he performs a good job, he is awaiting a award, a wonderful rubber ball! All soldiers involved in the operation are very proud of their “four legged colleague”!
“Fantastic job my friend! Very, Very good nose!” says Alessandro stroking him.
Now it is time of IEDD operators, but this is another story.
Story and photos by OF-2 Fabio Fazino (IT Army)