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MCAS Iwakuni PMO hosts joint K-9 training

March 13, 2018

U.S. Marines with Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s Provost Marshal’s Office conducted joint K-9 training with members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Hiroshima Police Headquarters at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, March 12, 2018.

The training brought Japanese K-9 handlers from the JMSDF Kure Repair and Supply Facility Petroleum Terminal unit and the Hiroshima Police Headquarters to the air station, where they practiced detecting explosives with working dogs.

This K-9 training occurs once a quarter and benefits the Japanese and Americans by allowing them to study and learn each other’s methods. It also gives the Japanese an opportunity to detect explosives that they don’t have access to in their own facilities.

“It’s definitely a culture shock and a change of pace for us,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Luke Fetterolf, a military working dog trainer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “It’s a really good experience for all the handlers, and myself as a trainer, to have that relationship with our Japanese counterparts because they train a lot different than us. It’s good for us to incorporate both styles of training together.”

Marines with PMO gave their Japanese counterparts scented rags to train their dogs, and they utilized explosives that could be found in real-world situations.

Hiromichi Nakashima, a senior police officer with Hiroshima Police Headquarters, said  the scent of the rags was weaker than real explosives and their dogs responded well to the scent of the real thing.

Most Japanese K-9’s are trained for search-and-rescue type situations, but training them to detect explosives can increase partner capabilities, security and safety for the people of Japan.