Royal Australian Air Force military working dogs have successfully participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre, highlighting the breadth of jobs and training that was conducted over the past couple of weeks.

Military working dogs had varied roles throughout the exercise, providing security and support for military aviation assets at Queensland’s Rockhampton Airport, which included United States and New Zealand aircraft.

Leading Aircraftwoman Kate Williamson and Dutch Shepherd Afra, of No. 1 Security Forces Squadron, were just one of the teams working in Queensland as part of the exercise. 

“This was my first Talisman Sabre and I enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside other Australian Defence Force and international personnel from various nations and enhance my understanding of the contributions they make to national defence,” Leading Aircraftwoman Williamson said. 

“Afra and I have been a working team for three years and it’s great to work with her every day providing security for both Australian and international aircraft and personnel that took part in the exercise.”

“The simulation on exercise was as real as possible.”

Even the New Zealand Defence Force brought over two of their very best explosive detector dogs: Iris and Inky. The impressive brother-and-sister duo, together with their handlers, New Zealand Army Sapper Sean O’Keeffe and Lance Corporal Maylin Broderick, took part in varied simulated explosive detector training throughout the exercise in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. 

“Iris and I have been together since the start of the year, taking part in a range of simulated trainings in the field to detect unexploded ordnances. The simulation on exercise was as real as possible and Iris takes her job very seriously,” Lance Corporal Broderick said. 

As part of the Australian Army’s 2nd General Health Battalion field hospital, located near where Iris and Inky did their simulated training, a fully functional veterinary clinic was in operation at Williamson airfield during the exercise. 

The clinic could be deployed alongside the military field hospital in operations if required. If any military working dogs were injured during a real-life operation, it could be afforded similar health and medical care provided to servicemen and women.