JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
Airmen with the 673rd Security Forces Squadron and Soldiers with the 549th Military Working Dog Detachment participated in joint explosives-detection training on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson March 17.
While the training may be performed regularly by the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, the joint aspect is what made this event significant.
"In the past we've tried to do [joint training] monthly or a couple times quarterly, but due to manning and [other restrictions] here, it hasn't taken place," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Turner, 549th MWD kennel master.
"We're trying to build that relationship back up and get everyone on track as far as ... being able to work together," he said. "We are hoping to have joint training as something that will happen in a much more regular basis."
Since JBER is a joint installation, there is a greater need for the coordination of military police and security forces.
According to Sam Finney, 673rd SFS kennel master, it's paramount for dog handlers from both branches to know what each side is going to bring in the event of an emergency.
The training was set up very much like a search that would be performed in a remote village, to mimic what dog handlers may experience in a deployed environment, said U.S. Air Force Spc. Jared Schultz, a 549th MWD dog handler.
"Very few times are we actually going to search an RV lot or a warehouse in a deployed environment," he said. "Not that it couldn't happen, but it's not as likely. This is why we train all these different areas."
Further importance of joint training lies in the ability to share training practices where service members can see training methods in practice that appeal to different learning styles.
"Just like a person, [all dogs learn differently]," Schultz said. "Someone might be a visual learner where another may need to hear something. [This is the same for a dog] and it's all about how you can get through to the dog. When you get to see other people [train] you get to see some of their ideas or concepts played out. Even if they don't work for you and your dog, you can learn from them and ... you have a tool that you can add to your toolbox. In the end, it's up to you what tools you put into that box."