U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Not everyone training to be part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s security element walks around on two legs.
Marines with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15 and the Force Reconnaissance Detachment, 15th MEU, began a security element course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014.
Among the Marines from CLB-15 are military working dog handlers. These Marines and their dogs add another level of confidence to any patrol or situation they may find themselves in.
The three-week course is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of the Marines that make up the Maritime Raid Force security element. When the 15th MEU deploys in the spring, these Marines will support the Maritime Raid Force by providing exterior security when the raid force hits an objective, and by augmenting the personnel on that raid force.
“It adds more security,” said Cpl. Marc Plummer, a military policeman with CLB-15. “They can detect more than we can since their smell and hearing is more advanced than ours. We definitely benefit by having them.”
Marine Sgt. Jonathan Overland and his dog Jackson, a Labrador retriever work together to keep their fellow Marines safe. Jackson’s specialty is detecting objects, such as improvised explosive devices, while on patrol or searching vehicles.
“My dog and I go before the rest of the Marines to make sure they don’t step on anything and avoid injury,” said Overland. “I feel safer with him. When I think about actually getting deployed and being in dangerous situations, I know I want Jackson right in front, because I know he can save me and the other Marines.”
During the course, Overland and Jackson practiced searching vehicles as well as making movements through an urban environment.
The hours they spend working together builds the relationship and confidence between the dog and handler.
“It’s a bond that can’t be broken,” said Overland. “It’s not just like a working relationship; it’s more of a family bond. He’s there to protect me and I’m there to protect him; that’s what it’s all about. He’s not just a dog; he’s my partner, my friend.”
The dog handlers will continue to work with the MRF security element in order to support them and add security to any mission on the 15th MEU.